Getting Top Dollar for a Split-Level

Neutral wall colors and coordinating furniture are sure to help this couple receive top dollar for their split-level home.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThis couple wants to move to the coast but needs help selling their home.
Homeowners Renai and John Albaugh are leaving their suburban Washington, D.C., home to migrate to coastal South Carolina. They love their 2,000-square-foot home and its location near a historic downtown in northern Virginia, but it is time to move on. Their three-bedroom home should be an easy sale — its spacious kitchen and formal dining room are sure to appeal to a growing family.

So Renai and John can get top dollar for their home, real estate expert Terry Haas will point out the things that buyer's won't buy. Haas is a big fan of split-level houses and likes the exposed brick and large bay window, but her compliments come to a screeching halt in the dining room, where she points out the mismatched chairs and oddly placed wall guards. In the kitchen, Haas makes note of the three different kinds of countertops, the big light fixtures and missing cabinet hardware. The master bedroom is way too purple; Haas thinks most homebuyers won't find it appealing.

Designer Taniya Nayak agrees with Haas' assessment and has a $2,000 design plan that will have these homeowners southward bound.

Step 1: Make the dining room more formal by toning down the color and replacing the mismatched furniture.

Step 2: Unify the kitchen countertops, cabinet hardware and lighting.

Step 3: In the master bedroom, neutralize the colors and coordinate the fabrics.

Contractor Simon Ley and carpenter Lynn Kegan have all the right tools and talent to get the job done.