On “Call the Closer,” it’s clear that real estate agent Lauren Risley knows the market is tough for homebuyers right now. Yet she also knows that buyers make things much harder for themselves in one key way: by expecting the house they buy to be perfect.
Why not renovate to perfection instead?
This is the important lesson imparted in the latest Season 1 episode, “The Investors,” where Risley meets Kalen and Alexis, a St. Louis couple. They have experience as real estate investors, but they’ve struggled to find a home for themselves since nothing seems up to snuff.
Risley finds them a lovely 1885 house for $415,000, but it needs some work. Armed with an $85,000 budget and a five-week timeline, Risley gives this home a makeover that blends its traditional style with modern, glamorous touches. Here’s how Risley balances classic charm with modern chic, along with some smart advice for any homebuyer who wants to add their style to an old home.
Switch out an old hand railing for an instant upgrade
Kalen and Alexis love this home’s classic exterior, but Risley knows her clients will appreciate a few small but meaningful updates. She revamps the landscaping, replaces the front door, and even switches out the old metal handrails with custom railings. These new railings are simpler, giving the entryway a cleaner look.
To finish the exterior, Risley even includes metal flower boxes. These boxes add a clean, modern look to the home without removing any of the structure.
“We wanted to mix some of that modern touch in,” Risley tells the homeowners.
In the end, these simple metal additions do wonders to the front of this house, bringing a touch of modern without taking away from the historic exterior. This small change makes an old home look new.
New lights can easily add a glamorous touch
Risley and her team make a lot of changes in the living room, but one of the most important changes is the lighting. Swapping out a light fixture is an easy and relatively inexpensive upgrade that can change a space.
Kalen and Alexis help Risley choose a modern fixture with touches of gold, and when the room is finished, these homeowners are thrilled. The new living room fixture complements the old architecture as well as the new furnishings.
“It really looks nice. I like the gold accents tying in with the fireplace, the green couch, the rug—everything’s really coming together,” Kalen says.
A little bit of wallpaper can go a long way
Risley wants to keep the home’s beautiful old fireplaces, but she also wants to add some modern, wow-worthy style. She incorporates a wallpaper design that’s understated but bold.
“I like simple,” Kalen says when she first sees Risley’s wallpaper sample. “The bold lines and the negative space, it really looks cool.”
When the wallpaper is finally up, it looks great. The black and white make the space feel modern while the old-fashioned fireplace grounds the home in history.
A vent hood can make a statement in a kitchen
Risley knows she’ll need to update the kitchen. She replaces the old wood-tone cabinets with white ones and adds quartz counters and a stunning black vent hood with gold trim.
The hood doesn’t arrive until the last week of the renovation, but it’s well worth the wait. While clean, simple finishes look great in an old home, it pays to add a bold statement piece.
“It looks so rich, so high-end, so different than anything else that we’ve done,” Risley says. “I think this is going to be right up Kalen and Alexis’ alley.”
To complete the kitchen, Risley plans to install a black marble backsplash in a chevron pattern. However, she soon finds out that the tile is delayed by a whopping six months. So instead, Risley chooses a simple white subway tile with black grout, which she knows will also complement the unique hood.
“That’s pretty much a timeless look. I think it’ll go really well with this kitchen,” Risley says.
In the end, the white subway tile shows classic style, while the black grout adds a fresh, edgy look. It’s a nice mix of old and new that carries all through the home.