Small Cottage Makeover
The Spierers are ready to sell their first home, but need help fixing it up before it lists. The Designed to Sell team helps the couple fix up their home.
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Filed under: Home Staging, Home Offices, Curb Appeal, Living Rooms, Walk in Closets, Bedrooms
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Newlyweds Sunny and Mike Spierer are ready to start a family--they already have a pot-bellied pig and a Chihuahua--and now they want to add to their brood. But first they need a larger house.
The house, which was built in 1949, is 1,368 square feet, and the original layout included two bedrooms, one bath, combination living/dining rooms and a kitchen. The previous owners added on a large family room and master suite. Mike has had the house for eight years, and it was quite the bachelor pad when Sunny moved into it. They have made a few changes along the way and admit it's going to be hard to leave.
They enlist the help of the Designed to Sell team, starting first with an appraisal from real-estate expert Donna Freeman.
The first thing she notices is the dull landscaping--it should look fresh and alive. The front door also needs sprucing up, and the white plastic chairs have to go. There is also some dry rot on the porch (see photo at right) that needs to be removed anywhere the railings connect with the rot.
Moving inside the house, Freeman finds a lot of clutter, which means a massive sorting party is in order.
There are too many pieces of furniture in the master bedroom, which makes it look smaller. The walk-in closet is a good selling point, but contains more items than it should.
The office shows more of the same--more furniture pieces than are necessary and chaos in every corner.
In the kitchen, Freeman finds clutter on top of the refrigerator and suggests that the cabinets be removed and lightly stocked. The pet food dishes should also be put away before potential buyers arrive.
The family room is a great size, but dull and dreary. The vertical blinds are outdated, and personal items such as compact discs and videos should be stored out of site.
Resident designer Lisa LaPorta weighs in with her two cents, laying out the steps she and her helpers will use to make the transformation happen:
Step 1: Create more space.
Step 2: Make the addition flow. The family room needs to appear seamless with the rest of the house.
Step 3: Wake up the curb appeal to entice viewers inside.
Mike's parents, Sharon and Bob, have agreed to pitch in with the work, and contractor Jim Collins brings in carpenter Nick Ralbovsky. They've got just a few days to get things ready for the open house.
Once the exterior face-lift, including a new front door, new railings, accessories and landscaping, was complete, the interior projects start to come together nicely. The main obstacle was sorting through all those items and repainting several rooms.
First up: the living room. It needed a more inviting floor plan, and the guest room warranted muting. Both housed excess furniture and were disorganized. The living room is now a welcoming entrance into the home and boasts a new slipcover for the couch, modern window treatments and fresh flowers and accessories.
LaPorta used dark window treatments to tone down the wall color in the guest room and added fresh bedding and pillows to finish the look.
Next came the walk-in closet and office, both of which mainly needed to be cleared out and depersonalized.
Dramatic changes took place in the family room. It was the most labor intensive, with the ceiling oddly low and dark and the walls a stark white. The lighter ceiling adds lift, while the warm wall color creates a cozy feel. The seating area still has the same furniture but is revived with fresh accessories. New draperies and throw pillows make for a great finishing touch.
An offer made less than two hours after the open house began, but the Spierers decided to wait. A few weeks later, they accepted an offer for $15,000 over the offering price.
Here's the breakdown of total costs:
house exterior $665
plants and flowers $125
bedding and accessories $1,065
paint and supplies $160
fresh flowers $15
Products from Home Depot:
front door hardware, nickel finish
front door hinges, nickel finish
wooden porch beams
front yard gardening--queen palm, fertilizer and top soil
family room ceiling paint--Swiss coffee
family room wall paint--Behr Wild Porcini
Product from Contractor's Warehouse:
front door, oak exterior with glass inserts, 36" x 6'8"
Product from Restoration Hardware:
mailbox, nickel finish
Product from The Great Indoors:
porch-light fixture, nickel finish
Products from Target:
living-room sofa slipcover, Mushroom Chenille
living-room throw pillows, Burgundy velvet
living-room throw blanket, chenille
living-room window treatments, Burgundy silk valances and rods
guest-room window treatments, 2 sets Amber drapery panels and rods
Amber throw pillows
Products from Anna's Linens:
family room window treatments--velvet drapery panels and scarves, brass decorative rods and finials
family room throw pillows, Bone velvet
This hip young couple took their home from non-descript to English blue cottage.