Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson, the hosts of “Married to Real Estate,” know that not everyone is willing to spend a fortune on their house. However, that doesn’t mean thrifty homeowners need to settle for subpar designs.
In the Season 1 episode “Sandy Springs Love,” Sherrod and Jackson’s clients, Jeff and Kecia, have bought a house for $415,000 in the sought-after neighborhood of Sandy Springs in Atlanta. Built in 1965, the house has a funky layout, ugly floors, and a very dated bathroom. Still, Kecia and Jeff consider this property an investment. While they plan to live in this place for a while, they don’t want to spend too much on the renovation and come up short when they put it back on the market.
Sherrod and Jackson plan to spend just $70,000 giving this house a minimal makeover. Here are some easy fixes and budget-friendly upgrades they do, which might inspire some similar changes around your own abode, too.
1. Don’t want to knock down a wall? Decorate it instead
When Kecia and Jeff first step into this house, they’re unimpressed with the wall in the entryway. Sherrod and Jackson offer to knock down the wall as part of the renovation, but Kecia and Jeff don’t want to spend a fortune changing the layout or endure the headaches that come with it.
Still, Sherrod is determined to make this wall more aesthetically pleasing.
“I’m going to find a creative way to make them fall in love with the wall as is,” Sherrod says. “So I’m going to use a few abstract objects and give it something really pow.”
She screws gold decorations into the wall in a starburst pattern. The shiny addition takes attention away from the odd layout while adding some style to the entry. It’s a great upgrade that proves homeowners don’t need to knock down walls in order to make a home look good.
2. Keep hardwood even if it isn’t the right color
As it turns out, this weird wall isn’t the only problem in the entry. Jeff and Kecia aren’t pleased when they look down and find weird, leather-like tile right inside the front door. They want to take the tile out, but they don’t want to break the bank installing new floors throughout the house, which would also be a massive inconvenience.
Sherrod suggests that they keep the dark hardwood they find elsewhere and merely replace the entryway tile with a new dark wood that’ll match.
“It’s going to be more cost-effective if we only have to lace in and match the rest of that hall and into the bedroom,” Sherrod says.
While light floors have been in style lately, Jeff and Kecia don’t want to spend extra when these dark floors are in great shape. They save a lot of money, and Sherrod is able to keep the home looking bright with light furniture and decor.
3. Upgrades shelves for an easy fireplace face-lift
The third area Sherrod and Jackson don’t have the budget to completely redo is the fireplace. Still, Jackson wants to at least update the shelves on either side.
“I’m figuring that I get in there and give it an update, you know what I mean?” Jackson says. “Take it from four shelves to three thick shelves.”
Sherrod knows this update won’t cost much, but it’ll make all the difference for the feature wall.
“This is a way to update a focal point of the room for not a lot of money,” she says. “I mean, we’re taking paint and some wood, and a little bit of arm muscle.”
Splurge on mixed metals for a unique look
Jackson and Sherrod work hard to turn this home’s dated kitchen into a modern marvel with new cabinets, quartz countertops, and an elegant tile backsplash.
To finish the space, Sherrod changes up the design, switching out a set of black rectangular lights with satin-brass sconces. She explains that the black lights they had were too similar to the rest of the design, and she wants lights that will pop.
“Really, what you want to do is mix metals and mix shapes for interest,” she says. “So, if we’ve got this rectangle here, we don’t want to put rectangles on both sides.”
Unforeseen problems can be an opportunity
When it comes to the bathroom, Sherrod offers to rearrange the layout, putting the shower on the back wall and creating a better flow. But her clients insist on saving money and leaving the layout as is.
However, once demolition starts, Jackson finds water damage in the flooring, to the point where a couple of floor joists have rotted out. Jackson explains that he’ll need to pull up the subflooring, which puts the renovation budget over by $2,000.
Jackson points out that this provides an opportunity to switch the layout.
“Jeff and Kecia’s budget didn’t allow for us to move the flooring around in the bathroom,” Jackson says. “But thanks to this problem, we can actually give them their dream bathroom layout.”
The new bathroom layout makes a lot more sense—proving that it pays to take advantage of any surprises that might throw a wrench in your budget. In this case, these homebuyers turned a problem into a much better bathroom!
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