How a little staging, a great canvas, a lot of sweat, and dream clients can transform a house in just a few shorts weeks even on a tight budget... (See the photos below)
Meet Sarah and Justin. I sold them their very first house in Kirkwood just five years ago. Since that time their family has expanded to include an absolutely darling three year old son with a second baby on the way! Unfortunately that means they have now outgrown their two bedroom home and will be looking for a new place to settle before their daughter arrives.
Sarah has amazing energy and Justin has renovation skills that would put most husbands to shame. So when they called and asked me what they needed to do to prepare their home for market and a quick sale I asked if they were ready to step up their game and do whatever I recommended (within budget of course) and they were all in! (To view more photos visit this listing live at: http://468Longfellow.WebsterKirkwood.com
So together, over the past three weeks we have transformed their home into a modern, breezy and light filled cottage style home with perfectly placed retro embellishments. I'd love to take more credit but they did the "heavy" lifting. I on the other hand got to fill my favorite role as design director and stager.
Their home is very quaint but there were a couple of key areas that could have prevented them from getting top dollar including an outdated bath and a somewhat nondescript kitchen. So the challenge was how to get the most bang for their buck without breaking the bank.
The bath was the biggest project and Justin agreed to take on the job of tearing out a very old and out-dated shower surround and installing sparkling white tile. Half-way through the process I received a series of progress text/photos from Sarah that included a surprise...namely a photo of a window hidden under layers of tile and plastic. It was glass block and in perfect condition sans a bit of clean-up. Justin restored it and now natural light floods the bathroom. A coat of vibrant chartreuse paint, white wainscoting and new bath fixtures were the final touches to what is now an absolutely darling modern bath.
Next was the kitchen. They had original metal cabinets and a fantastic porcelain double drain-board sink that did not really stand out among all the white in the room. Beneath layers of paint there were also original 50's counter tops complete with metal edging. Unfortunately it was impossible to restore the counters to their former beauty so we decided to complement the white cabinets and sink with black counters that had tiny specks of colors throughout. (We were hoping for the old "boomerang" pattern from the 50's but alas it was not available in the time-frame needed.)
A fresh coat of sunny yellow paint and strategically placed red accessories were the final touches that returned their kitchen to it's 50's roots. We also added a butcher block table and shelf to provide more counter space and to allow for an eat-in area within the kitchen. The result was a cheery, delightful kitchen that buyers will love.
Next we turned to the living/dining areas. The existing furniture layout did not make the best use of the space as the dining table filled the majority of the large open room. We switched the eating and lounging areas, replaced the wood table and chairs with an industrial style dining set and and they repainted the entire room in soft blue/green hues. Justin also painted all the interior woodwork in a fresh white linen which was perfect against the addition of tiny pops of fuchsia, red and blue accessories. Now it's an airy open space with designated living areas and a true cottage feel.
In the bedrooms they simply decluttered, and rearranged the furniture for a better flow and layout including moving the master bed to another wall. This opened up the room and showcased it's size. Paint and woodwork touch ups added some fresh pops of white.
Outside there were a few minor challenges. Namely the fact that St. Louis has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave and half the lawns and landscaping in the area are either brown or dead. They trimmed all the trees and plantings, watered daily and did a thorough clean up of the exterior and now the house looks revived despite the 100 degree temperatures.
The backyard is surrounded by a darling picket fence, a large curving patio and beautiful perennials and gardens. Again it was a matter of cleaning up the patio, removing unnecessary items and trimming up the vegetation. Now you really notice it's potential for entertaining and enjoying the outdoors. And the wonderful screened porch has a commanding view of the entire space.
Overall the transformation is pretty amazing and I have to say that Justin and Sarah are incredible. There were some minor trade-offs along the way so we could stay within budget but they were always open to examining options and adjusting accordingly. They also really worked their tails off!
The home went on the market tonight at 11 pm and I am anticipating welcoming feedback from potential buyers. I anticipate that the home will sell very quickly and for top dollar as they did exactly what a seller should when preparing for market. Congratulations Justin and Sarah, I wish every seller was as excited and open to changes. I know you questioned a few of my recommendations throughout the process but I'm hoping the end result was as amazing for you to see as it was for me.