Tamara Day of “Bargain Mansions” knows how to breathe new life into cheap, old fixer-uppers—and her latest renovation reveals one upgrade we’d bet most buyers have never seen, or even heard of before.
In the Season 2 episode “Race to the Finish,” Day has bought a four-bedroom house in Leawood, KS, for $425,000, and invests $300,000 to fix it up. Once renovations are done, she plans to list the property for $960,000.
What merits such a steep markup? Read on to find out the upgrades that make this house so special, which might inspire some improvements to your own abode, too.
With kitchen islands, bigger is often better
The kitchen is often a family’s favorite gathering place, so Day wants to make sure this kitchen can accommodate even a large family.
Luckily, this home has a large kitchen area, so Day decides to install the biggest island she’s ever built. This massive, 20-foot oak island is certainly a statement piece in this home. It spans the length of the dining and living spaces, effectively connecting the rooms and giving the home a gorgeous flow. It just proves that the right-sized island can do wonders!
When the island and the kitchen are finished, Day is impressed with the design.
“This is one of those spaces that’s definitely a selling point because not every home can hold a 20-foot island,” she says.
Book-matched slabs create a gorgeous fireplace
When Day first sees the family room’s outdated fireplace, she knows she has an opportunity to update this feature in a unique way.
“I like how wide it is and substantial,” Day says, looking at the original fireplace, “but I feel like it is kind of wasted being just painted stone.”
So she removes the stone and replaces it with a feature that most home buyers have never seen or likely heard of before: book-matched slabs. This means the veining in each porcelain slab is identical—and, when placed side by side to mirror each other, creates a Rorschach butterfly effect.
These book-matched slabs steal the show, bringing some grown-up style to this now elegant family room.
Use color to give a mudroom personality
Storage is important for most home buyers, especially when it comes to storage for coats, shoes, and bags.
Day knows the addition of a mudroom would certainly be appreciated by any home buyer, so she steals some space from the living room to make some cubbies and cabinets.
When renovations begin, Day explains that the secret to creating a mudroom is to use lots of fun colors that’ll make the small space feel fun and full of personality.
“Mud spaces are one of my favorite parts to design, because I can go over the top with the color—and this one is no exception,” Day says. She ends up with green cabinetry paired with bright white and yellow wallpaper. The space looks bright and youthful, and it provides lots of great storage.
Ombre herringbone tile is a hot new trend
Day wants the master suite to look elegant. To do this, she upgrades the bathroom with a glamorous soaking tub with an ombre herringbone tile design behind it.
“I love the idea of the herringbone going up this wall, but I wanted it to be a little bit more interesting,” Day says. She uses a beautiful limestone tile that stretches across the bottom of the wall and then fades into white marble tile in the middle.
The ombre effect looks elegant and unique, especially behind the clean, white tub.
Add a desk to the bedroom
With a stunning master bathroom, Day wants to continue making the master suite feel extra special. So when she finds some unused space between the closets, she decides to turn it into a desk space. This new built-in desk is beautiful and functional. It provides an extra workspace in the house, far from the activity of the family room.
“In today’s world you can never have enough spaces to work from home,” Day says, “and having a beautiful desk right here in the bedroom is the perfect addition for the space.”
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