Too Far From WorkHomeowners John Capostoe and Jeff Hopp are tired of driving to work — they want to walk instead. So, they have decided to pack up, sell their suburban Virginia home and move to downtown Washington, D.C. Their two-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot home has a lot of great selling features. It is located in a trendy part of town, has a finished basement and the spacious living room sports a big fireplace.
Real estate expert Terry Haas points out the flaws that will prevent this home from being a quick sale. She likes the townhouse-condominium concept, with each unit having its own entryway. She thinks the living room is a nice neutral color, but the furniture placement makes no sense and doesn't highlight the room's best features. Down in the basement, Haas has a problem with the raised platform in the office area; it is awkward and makes the ceiling feel very low. She is grossed out by the basement bathroom, remarking that it is filthy with dog hair, there are burn marks on the linoleum floor, and the vanity looks cheap and dated.
Designer Taniya Nayak agrees with Haas' comments and has a $2,000 design plan that will turn all the negatives into positives.
Step 1: Rearrange the living room furniture to emphasize the room's best features.
Step 2: Remove the strange platform in the basement, and transform the room into a trendy media room.
Step 3: Overhaul the bathroom by painting, knocking down the shower wall and replacing the floors and vanity.
Contractor Simon Ley and carpenter Lynn Kegan have the all the right skills and high-powered tools to get the job done, and they are ready to get to work.
Before: Conflicting PatternsThe walls are a warm, neutral color, which is great when selling a home. The furniture is attractive, but it is spread out too far and arranged rather awkwardly. The busy patterns in the rug and upholstery are distracting, taking away from the room's best features — the large fireplace and the French doors.
After: Cohesive Seating AreaBefore, the living room layout was too spaced-out for conversation, and the conflicting patterns in the chair and rug were far too busy. Fortunately, the homeowners had extra furnishings in their storage unit. A set of side chairs are brought in, and the couch is placed opposite the fireplace to create a more cohesive seating area. The patterns are toned down, but then color is added back with new throw pillows and a fabric wall hanging made for very little money. All it took was a $10 remnant of textured fabric wrapped around a frame that was made with $10 worth of lumber.
rental furniture and TV $350
velvet curtain $118
bathroom upgrades $349
Living room makeover products
toss pillows: T.J. Maxx - 995888
rug: T.J. Maxx - 839754
fabric for art project: Calico Corners
Before: Awkward BasementA finished basement is a big plus as potential buyers are always looking for extra space anywhere they can get it. But the office space here is up on a raised platform that looks really awkward and cuts the place in half. The platform also makes the already-low ceiling lower and more confining.
Real estate expert Terry Haas thought the basement bathroom (not shown) was disgusting. It is where the homeowners groom their dogs, so it is filled with dog hair and dirt. Haas said homebuyers are looking for a spa retreat not a doggie salon.
After: Repurposed Media RoomThe basement office for two was situated on an unnecessary platform riser. By removing the platform, replacing the carpet and repurposing the basement into a media room, potential buyers are sure to notice the added living space. Theater rooms are a hot trend right now, and the comfy rental furniture and plasma TV look very hip and dramatic next to the red velvet curtains.
Before, the basement bathroom (not shown) used to look like a burned-out pet barbershop. Now, it is clean, streamlined and fit for humans. The Designed to Sell team redid the whole room for less than $500. That included everything — tiled floors, a new vanity, light fixture, stylish round mirror, soft colors and original artwork.
Tip: Before you buy, look at the house at night as well as during the day. The curb appeal can look completely different after dark.
Basement makeover products
toss pillows: HomeGoods - 098992
framed art: Target - 074121121
paint: Benjamin Moore - Yorkshire Tan HC-23 (eggshell)
carpet: Empire Carpet - Stainmaster Dixie Home Duration
Bathroom makeover products
towels: HomeGoods – 090636 and 084653
silk grass: T.J. Maxx - 859827
shower curtain and hooks: T.J. Maxx - 394814 and 497788
soap dispenser: T.J. Maxx - 491689
three-light vanity fixture: Lowe's - 226525
bathroom mirror: Lowe's - 28-inch circle 33621
toilet paper holder: Target - 097010341
supplies for art project: Michaels -16 x 20 canvas - 94376892031, paint brushes - 90672089564 and Americana Craft Paints - 1645118306, 16455194300, 16455228302 and 1645526430
paint: Benjamin Moore: Victorian Garden 1531 (eggshell)