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Wanted: Room to Roam

Our team of experts sets out to move a couple's home into this century.

Elizabeth and Irwin Fistel are horse lovers who want to move to a place that has plenty of room for their horses. But first, they need to get their current home updated to appeal to buyers. The Designed to Sell team saddles up to help these equine enthusiasts find the money trail.

Real estate expert Shannon Freeman is immediately concerned that the Victorian-style furniture is too stuffy to encourage buyers to linger. Lacy curtains are too frilly to have broad appeal, and the window treatments darken the room, making it appear closed in. Once in the kitchen, Freeman's eye goes to the outdated cabinetry and the need for moderate repairs. Clutter throughout dominates the space, and she's afraid that buyers will interpret that to mean the home lacks storage.

Design expert Lisa LaPorta has a plan that will have this couple filling their saddlebags with cash. The team's work is all centered on playing up the home's best features. She wants to make the living room feel more comfortable with softer furniture and paint. They'll replace the kitchen cabinets to update the look and provide much-needed storage, and they actually expand the size of the space. Here's her plan:

Step 1: Don't distract, subtract. Cut down on clutter to uncover the home's best features.

Step 2: Pump up the plusses. Focus on positives to spotlight the bottom line.

Step 3: Have more in store. Streamline storage to maximize profit potential.

Carpenters Steve Hanneman and Brooks Utley are ready to do demolish the old cabinets to make way for a whole new look.

Real estate expert Shannon Freeman felt the living room was old-fashioned and wouldn't appeal to a broad range of buyers. The built-in shelves flanking the fireplace were cluttered with books and personal items, and the walls were a harsh shade of yellow.

For specific product information, click on the After photo(s) of the room.

Create mass appeal. Now, the living room has comfortable furnishings and a classic color scheme that will appeal to a variety of tastes. The built-in bookshelves have been decluttered to showcase their architectural appeal, and the rich wood floors shine with lots of open space.

Cost breakdown:

cabinets and hardware $1,390
countertop and sink $258
paint $89
window treatments $182
lighting $64
fabric $2

Total: $1,985

 PDF
Makeover product information

Before, the kitchen was worse for the wear with outdated cabinetry and beat up countertops. Clutter was out of control, giving the impression that the kitchen lacked adequate storage.

For specific product information, click on the After photo(s) of the room.

The kitchen is now the blue-ribbon winner in this home. New cabinets and hardware, along with new countertops, give this kitchen a fresh, new look that will have offers pouring in. A wall separating the kitchen and dining areas was removed, visually doubling the size of the space.

Cost breakdown:

cabinets and hardware $1,390
countertop and sink $258
paint $89
window treatments $182
lighting $64
fabric $2

Total: $1,985

 PDF
Makeover product information

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