Twin sisters Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis, host of HGTV’s “Unsellable Houses,” are experts at renovating houses so they fetch a nice offer, but is renovating a house the same as fixing up a condo? Not quite.
In the Season 2 episode “Renewed Ocean Views,” Lamb and Davis meet with Shauna, who’s trying to sell her late mother’s old condo in Edmonds, WA. It’s in an upscale neighborhood with gorgeous views of the ocean, but surprisingly this property isn’t selling.
As it turns out, there are problems with the house.
“It’s dated—and it’s dated,” Shauna explains. “And lastly, it’s dated.”
While Shauna had listed the home for $644,000, the sisters are sure that after investing $50,000 into modernizing the place, they’ll sell it for $750,000. Here’s how they pull it off, which contains plenty of lessons that might inspire some changes around your own abode, too.
Ditch wall-to-wall mirrors
It’s true that putting up a few mirrors can help make a small space seem bigger—but this condo has taken this tactic to the next level with a whole wall of mirrors.
Lamb jokes that they could hold a Jazzercise class in this living room, but the truth is that these mirrors take up a lot of wall space.
“If this wall did not have these mirrors, you would have so much more potential of your own personality and decorating ability,” Davis says.
The sisters remove the mirrors and use this space by adding seating in the corner. When the room is finished, it looks more like a modern home and less like a dance studio. So while mirrors may help a space look bigger, a smart, simple design can make a space feel much more homey.
Tile a fireplace to make it stand out
Like the mirrors, Lamb and Davis have a problem with the fireplace right away. While a fireplace is a popular feature in the Pacific Northwest, this smooth, monotoned fireplace looks both plain and imposing.
The twins originally plan to cover the whole fireplace, except the hearth, with a cool blue tile, but their contractor suggests covering the hearth with a darker tile.
At first, Davis wonders if the dark tile will go with the Mediterranean style they’re going for in this condo, but Lamb explains that this tile could tie into the design nicely.
“In Mediterranean, we’ve got a lot of lighter colors, but we also accent with really dark woods and blacks and things like that,” Lamb says.
When the fireplace is finished, it looks much better. With the ocean-inspired blue tile, the dark hearth, and a new wood mantel, this fireplace oozes Mediterranean style.
Install a buffet counter in the dining area
While removing the mirrors and updating the fireplace are relatively easy fixes, the dining room is more of a challenge.
“The dining space is huge,” Lamb says. “It probably would be nice to, you know, connect the dining to the kitchen ’cause they do feel a little separate right now.”
The sisters decide to add a long buffet area on the back wall, extending the kitchen counter so that the kitchen and dining room feel like one big space. Then, for some added flair, they tile the wall above the buffet.
“We felt like whoever lived here would want a lot of room for entertaining,” Lamb tells Shauna when the work is done. “So we wanted to give a big buffet area, and not all cabinets. Instead, we did that wall of tile to be more like an art piece.”
This buffet will be perfect for big parties, and the tile wall is certainly a statement piece. With a few creative changes, this dining room goes from being closed off and dull to being one of the best rooms in the house.
Add the right doors to a laundry closet
This condo’s washer and dryer are tucked into a closet in the kitchen, right next to the refrigerator. While this may seem awkward, Davis assures Shauna that it’s not a big problem.
“That’s not necessarily a negative,” Davis says. “It’s more about how we present it.”
The twins have the closet doors replaced so that this feels more like a laundry closet and less like a pantry. With these new doors, and a new color, this laundry location feels more purposeful and less like a design afterthought.
Make the master bathroom feel special
Lamb and Davis expect that this condo’s two bathrooms will be dated, but they say the real problem is that the powder room and master bathroom look exactly the same.
“Buyers do like a little bit of that luxury in their main bath,” Lamb says. “This feels very similar to the hall bath. We want it a little bit more elevated for the buyer.”
They add an epoxy shower wall to make this space feel extra special. It’s a one-of-a-kind, colorful feature that looks expensive but really costs only $400. It’s an elegant feature and sets this master bath apart from the guest bathroom.
Do Lamb and Davis sell this unsellable house?
Shauna had originally listed this house at $644,000, but it sat on the market for six months. After Lamb and Davis put $50,000 into renovating the space, they list it for $750,000.
In just five days, they receive an all-cash offer of $760,00. This means they make a profit of $66,000, and the twins and Shauna each walk away with $33,000. It’s a big success story for this little condo!
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