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Condo Goes Contemporary

A historic loft is converted from a studio into a contemporary one-bedroom apartment.

Old Bicycle Wheel Factory
Native Australian James and his girlfriend, Maya, are getting married. After the wedding, they want to buy a house, but they first have to sell her loft condo. It is located in a historic old factory where bicycle wheels were manufactured. The loft used to be a one-bedroom unit until the couple tore down a wall and converted the space into a large studio.

Real estate expert Bethany Souza provides her opinion on how this home will stand up in today's tough real estate market. She is impressed by the grand old building and thinks buyers are going to love its uniqueness. Upon entering the loft, Souza has nothing but kudos for the exposed brick walls, high ceilings and hardwood floors. But then she realizes that the bed is awkwardly tucked in the corner of the living room. She strongly advises to put back up the wall that used to separate the bedroom from the living room –– a one-bedroom unit will sell for a more money than a studio. In the bathroom, she criticizes the cheap vinyl flooring, broken cabinet door and bad caulk job around the tub. She also has some harsh words for the kitchen. The laminate countertop has burn marks, the cabinets don't close properly, and it is obvious that there is not enough storage space.

Designer Monica Pedersen agrees with Souza's statements and has a $2,000 design plan that will rectify all that is wrong.

Step 1: Build a wall between the bedroom and living room, so the condo can be sold as a one-bedroom unit.

Step 2: Spruce up the bathroom with some cosmetic fixes, including new paint and a granite countertop.

Step 3: In the kitchen, replace the burnt countertop and create some storage space.

Carpenters Robert North and Chad Lopez are on hand and ready to tackle the job.

Before: Lacking Storage and Privacy
The real estate expert said that when it comes to condos, renters rent studios, and buyers buy one-bedrooms. She strongly advises building a wall between the bedroom area and the living room. A one-bedroom condo will sell for a lot more money than a studio. Another problem with the bedroom area is the lack of closet space. Buyers like seeing a lot of storage, especially in the bedroom.

For specific product information, click on the first After photo of the room.

After: Private and Profitable
Before, when buyers walked into this condo everything was in plain sight. Now, a bedroom wall makes the sleeping area a lot more private and a lot more profitable. By making this home a true one-bedroom, the couple can increase their asking price. Inside the bedroom, a new closet, neutral wall color and colorful linens turn the room into an enticing retreat.

Cost breakdown:

bedroom wall $382
bedroom closet $204
kitchen counter $297
kitchen cabinets $270
bathroom counter and cabinets $203
art and accessories $453
paint $72

Total $1,881

Kitchen makeover products:

concrete stain/dye: The Home Depot - Buff color, 039645131725
brackets (used for shelves): Ikea - BJ Rnum
cabinet doors and facing: Ikea - Nexus Birch and Maple wood – Wylldwood
overhead cabinet: Ikea - glass and aluminum cabinet
hanging rail (used to mount glass/aluminum cabinet): Ikea
paint: Benjamin Moore; J.C. Licht - 1537 River Gorge Gray

Bedroom makeover products:

chandelier and wall sconce: Menards - five-inch Mini Sage Bell
paint: Benjamin Moore; J.C. Licht - HC-21 Huntington Beige
pillow and sheets: T.J. Maxx
closet rod: The Home Depot - 77355001877
brackets: The Home Depot - chrome/077355045048
curtain rods: Ikea - Sarita/70072244, NN SGL/30079351 and NN Curt/70079349
lamp base and shade: Wal-Mart – 002201177776 and 8280390221
bedding and pillowcase: Wal-Mart 007665781040
coverlet: Target - Thomas O’Brien cream
photo mattes: Wal-Mart - 11x14 Np/007859211789
photo frames: Ikea – 3855543495
velvet pillows: Wal-Mart – 002569504286
nightstand: HomeGoods – 121829
floor lamp: Lowe's
decorative pillows: HomeGoods 191141

Bathroom makeover products:

granite for sidesplash: Hobo
paint: Benjamin Moore - 1116 Sepia Tan
towel bar: The Home Depot - 24 Colt WI Birch/071862957016
bath, hand towels and washcloths: Wal-Mart - 80940702346, 80940702246 and 80940702146
countertop and satin-nickel faucet: Hobo

Before: Tacky bathroom
The threshold is missing from the entryway to the bathroom, making the problems obvious from the first step. What's more, the real estate expert said that the flooring inside the room is the cheapest laminate she has ever seen. The caulk around the tub was poorly applied, it looks awful and is starting to collect mold. This tacky room does not belong in this cool loft.

In the kitchen (not shown), the homeowners have dishes and cookware stored on top of the cabinets instead of inside the cabinets. This is a red flag to potential buyers that there is not enough storage. The deep burn marks in the countertop and the worn cabinets are also sure to turn off buyers.

For specific product information, click on the first After photo of the room.

After: Updated Elegance
This bathroom used to be as boring as a white box, but now it is elegant and worthy of the cool loft in which it belongs. The unfinished threshold, caulking and cabinet doors have all been fixed. The dull, faux-marble countertop has been replaced with a beautiful piece of granite.

Before, the kitchen (not shown) looked outdated and worn out. Now, a cement countertop, new drawer fronts and new cabinets doors give the kitchen a cool and industrial feeling. The Designed to Sell team saved money on the makeover by reusing the homeowner's sink and cabinet hardware.

For specific product information, click on the first After photo of the room.

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