With our design, styling and staging help, this 1950s Windsor Park home was completely transformed and sold in just 2 days (in the midst of a mid-January deep freeze, no less). After our mid-century modern makeover, the realtor increased his recommended listing price by $20,000 over his initial market valuation – and there was an offer within 48 hours of hitting the MLS, for just $2,000 under ask. The owner spent only about $3000 to carry our our recommendations.
Let’s start with some before shots….
This mid-century modern home had tons of potential, but needed some help in recapturing its former luster. Over the years, this home had become tired and outdated, but we knew that with a little love it had the bones to look modern and on trend, even on a minimal budget of only about $3,000.
The owner called us in to work our magic when he made the decision to sell the house. He was initially just looking for furniture staging and intended to sell the house in its existing condition, but we helped him to realize that he’d be leaving a lot of money on the table if he sold the house in as is condition, and with a few basic improvements we could significantly increase the appeal, marketability and the value of the house.
When we came on board, all that had been done was a fresh coat of white paint on the walls throughout the house. And that was about as far as the home owner was planning to go.
If we had come in before he’d repainted the walls, we would have suggested creating a bit of warmth and contrast in the living room/ dining room by using a calm grey or an earth tone on the front wall with the windows – this would have helped highlight the windows and play them up as a feature.
But since the place had just been re-painted before we were brought in, we needed to work with what was there. We did recommend, however, to paint out the wood-toned door trim and baseboards in white, to freshen and modernize the look, and match them to the white window trims. We also recommended painting out the dark wood paneling and one of the ceiling beams (seen in the photo above, right) to modernize and freshen up the look.
Aside from painting out that dark paneling, we suggested freshening and modernizing the stain on the built in dining room cabinets with a more modern Espresso, and adding some sleek, elongated brushed stainless steel pulls to the cabinet doors. While we wanted to lighten up some of the woodwork, there were other areas of woodwork we wanted to re-stain one of the ceiling beams (shown above), as well as the dining room cabinetry and the original hardwood floors to a more modern, rich, dark espresso. The beam show in the photo below, right, between the dark paneling and the closet, is the beam we advised painting white.
We advised the home owner that the dark wood closet doors also dated the look, and recommended moving to more modern style bi-fold doors in white for the closets. It was also our recommendation that the hardwood floors be refinished and stained a darker color – they looked pretty scruffy in person, and the light maple color was not as flattering to the space as a deeper darker Espresso stain would be.
Our advice was to do away with the dark stain on this particular beam, and on the woodwork on the built in book shelf/ room divider. Typically we try to avoid painting out natural wood tones, but in this case a lighter, brighter look was desperately needed to give them room a more modern feel and tie in with all of our other design suggestions.
We also recommended painting out the dirty, dingy, tired looking brick on the fire place to freshen it up and breath new life into it.
Above: Making progress! With the dark wooden paneling now painted white, the room instantly feels fresher, newer, brighter – and much more modern. Now we just need to re-stain that beam with a nice deep, dark, rich Espresso colored stain to create some stunning contrast which will continue the modernization.
The homeowner implemented most of our recommendations, with the exception of a few minor things that would have upped the wow factor of the home, but weren’t essential as long as all our other suggestions were implemented.
Jan 16, 2017 update
And Now the Big Reveal….
How It Looked Before Our Recommended Improvements….
After Our Recommendations Were Implemented (below):
There’s that beautiful espresso stain that we envisioned for the floor! Notice how striking it looks contrasted against our freshly re-painted bright white fireplace. Exactly how we pictured it – stunning!
Now See It Fully Staged! (Below)
But Wait – There’s More….
Oh, what a mess – old, mismatched flooring in the living and dining room. Vinyl flooring in the dining room meeting up with honey colored hardwoods (in pretty rough shape) in the living room. Keep in mind the dining room was completely open to the living room, so having two different flooring types in this situation a huge design flaw, and not something buyers would want to see. The homeowner was going to put it on the market as is, but we strongly encouraged him to consider our suggested improvements….
After we worked our magic!
And Now, Fully Staged! (Below)
More of the Story….
We recommended that the vinyl flooring in the dining room be removed – we wanted a consistent look flowing from the living room into the dining room, since the rooms are open to one another. Having different flooring when two rooms are open to one another is not in keeping with good styling, and its not something buyers want to see. Further, sheet vinyl flooring just never belongs in a formal dining room.
We hoped to find hardwood under the vinyl (which we did) so that we could then re-stain all of the flooring in the living and dining rooms to be the same (an Espresso colored stain for a high-end look). If there had not been hardwood under the vinyl (you never know what you will find!) we had our back-up plan in place – we’d use a dark wood laminate for the dining room and then color match the hardwoods in the living room to it, still achieving a more consistent look.
The existing hardwoods in the living room were a light honey color – we recommended staining all of the hardwood throughout the living and dining room a more modern, sleek espresso (dark brown). Not only is this a very rich and contemporary look, but the added benefit was that the darker color would help draw attention away from the narrow floor boards used on the hardwood floors, which is a more dated and less contemporary look. The house was built in the 1950s when narrow hardwood floor boards were the style. Today, however, the look is a wider planks. A light flooring color makes the narrow planks more noticeable. The darker color helps to minimize the narrow appearance of the planks (the plank size is not easy to see from the photos, but in person this would be obvious).
We also recommended the built in dining room cabinets be re-stained that same modern espresso color and suggested that sleek, contemporary cabinet door pulls be added. It was our recommendation that the dark paneled wall to the right of the dining room be painted white, as shown below, to give it a bright, fresh modern look, and that the wood toned baseboards and door trims be painted out white to freshen and modernize the look. And of course, we recommended a new dining room chandelier – a statement piece. We specifically hand-selected this bronze and brushed stainless steel sphere chandelier to complement the overall styling and achetecture of this room, and give it a punch of contemporary WOW factor.
The client followed our recommendations and the space was dramatically transformed.
(We also recommended removing the vertical blinds to show off the large wall of windows, a terrific feature which really complements the architecture of the home, but the client wanted the blinds to remain; we would have preferred to see more modern, light filtering roller shades which can be purchased inexpensively from IKEA).
The client followed our recommendations to install the more modern, sleek, brushed nickel cabinet pulls on the lower cabinets – it gave a more sleek and contemporary look to the cabinets, however, we had also recommended that even longer, sleek pulls be added to the upper cabinets as well (to break up all that darkness and and add contemporary styling). The client chose not to incur the additional expense (only about $50) for the extra pulls, which we felt was a missed opportunity (its the details that make a difference in design!) — but ultimately, its always the client’s choice. Fortunately they did implement all of our other recommendations, and the room looked elegant and updated.
We pulled back the vertical blinds for our photo shoot – to show off that beautiful feature wall of windows which is an important part of the achetecture and styling of this room. Now you barely know the blinds are there, and look how the room comes to life! As noted before, it would have been our recommendation to play up this feature wall using a touch of color to create a bit of contrast and accentuate the window, but that wall had just been freshly painted in the white selected by the client before he brought us in. This is why its best to consult with a designer before doing any work. Nonetheless, it was all still very workable.
See How We Staged the Rest of the House…
Master Bedroom Before:
Master Bedroom After:
2nd Bedroom Before
2nd Bedroom After:
Office/ Third Bedroom
After the relatively simple upgrade suggestions we gave to improve the home at a cost less than $3000, the listing agent increased his recommended selling price of the home by a whopping $20,000!
The house sold in 2 days!
In the middle of January – the homeowner was very pleased 🙂