Taking a Mansion to Market

A historic 7,000-square-foot Victorian home gets restored and revamped for a profitable resale.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThis parlor is far too busy. There are contrasting patterns everywhere — on the floor, the furniture and the lampshades.
Homeowner Arik Foster wants to pursue his doctorate degree in North Carolina. The only problem is, he lives in northeastern Washington D.C. So before he can pack up and move South, he needs to sell his turn-of-the-century grand estate. The 7,000-square-foot home has a rich history. It used to be a bed-and-breakfast for the historic Howard Theater. Great performers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington actually slept here. The home also generates rental income. Around the back is a carriage house with two apartments.

Real estate expert Terry Haas takes a tour of the stunning home to give her assessment of its sales potential. She thinks the exterior architecture is phenomenal, but is concerned about a scary little gargoyle that is perched above one of the windows. She finds the parlor room too purple and the abundance of different patterns too overwhelming. The office is so overcrowded, Haas calls it a graveyard for old office furniture. She loves the high ceilings and big windows in the master bedroom, but feels they are overshadowed by drab walls and boring color.

Designer Taniya Nayak agrees with Haas' critique and has a $2,000 plan to transform this troubled treasure into big cash for the homeowner.

Step 1: Repaint the parlor room a neutral color, and tone down the busy décor.

Step 2: Declutter the office and turn it into an efficient workspace.

Step 3: Warm up the bedroom with paint, window treatments and new bedding.

Contractors John Allen and Matt Steele roll up their sleeves and get to work restoring some elegance to this mansion.

This room feels overcrowded with all the knickknacks and mismatched furniture. The powerful purple walls need to change to a neutral color to better enable would-be buyers to picture themselves in the space. The elegant room still has a lot of its original architectural detail, but some of it is in sorry shape and needs to be restored.