On HGTV’s “Unsellable Houses,” twin sisters Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis are experts at figuring out why certain homes sit on the market. Yet in the latest episode, they see a house that’s been listed for so long, there must be something really wrong with it, right?
In the Season 2 episode “Mid-Mod Oasis,” the sisters meet Kim, a homeowner whose $500,000 house in Edmonds, WA, has been for sale for six months. That long time period is a red flag in today’s hot market.
While Kim knows her 1,200-square-foot home is small, Lamb and Davis find a much bigger turnoff that home sellers tend to be blind to since they’ve been living there for so long: dated decor.
These sisters know they’ll have to modernize this house, but with only $40,000 and three weeks, they’ll have to pick their upgrades wisely.
Here are the updates that Davis and Lamb decide are necessary to sell this house. Check them out, and see if your own home needs them, too (whether you’re selling or not).
A slatted wall adds definition and some midcentury charm
Lamb realizes right away that the biggest problem with the living room is its lack of definition from the kitchen. To fix this, Lamb gets an idea to create a midcentury-inspired slat wall.
Lamb explains her vision as “all of these boards lined up top to bottom to create this visual screen that you can still see through.” She stresses that this slat wall would go along with the home’s natural midcentury feel, adding style as well as some privacy.
Davis argues that it’s probably not a good idea to add a wall (even a see-through one) in such a small house, but finally agrees since it’ll be so visually appealing.
In the end, the stained wood beams create a bit of separation between the spaces (without closing off the kitchen) and give the home some extra midcentury charm.
While many designers focus on creating open floor plans, sometimes a small home needs a little separation to make you feel like you’ve got more room—or, rather, rooms with distinct purposes.
Paint a wood ceiling to make a room seem taller
This small living room seems even smaller with its dark ceiling, so Lamb and Davis decide to give it a makeover.
“We wanted to brighten it up, so we painted the ceilings,” Lamb explains to the homeowner when the house is finished. It’s a simple change but it really makes the living room seem larger. Sure enough, Lamb and Davis prove that the old trick of using light colors on small spaces really works!
Use brass finishes for midcentury flair
In the kitchen, Lamb and Davis do a lot to improve the space. They move around the appliances, replace the black counters, and add some period-inspired floor tiles. And while these sisters make a lot of big changes, they know kitchen design is all about the details.
To give this kitchen a midcentury look that will match the rest of the house, they pick fixtures that were popular in the era.
“We have brass fixtures, which really add to that midcentury vibe,” Lamb points out to the homeowner. While this kitchen looks brand-new, the touch of brass brings a retro feel.
French doors add more indoor-outdoor flow
Davis and Lamb want to prove that small homes can do just about everything a bigger space can do, so they add new French doors leading out to the patio. Combined with a round table, this dining space now feels like it extends outdoors.
“I want buyers to know that they can absolutely entertain here,” Lamb says when showing off the table placement. The smart upgrades are workable, even in a petite home.
Glam up a shower with glass
While Lamb and Davis want to play up the midcentury style of this house, it turns out that the main bathroom is just too dated. It has a corner shower, which takes up a lot of space. Lamb and Davis replace the bulky shower walls with glass to modernize the shower and make the bathroom feel bigger.
When the work is finished, the space is transformed.
“Remember before, it was, like, walls on the two sides,” Lamb points out. Now, the bathroom feels much more open.
The new shower walls save this eyesore—and save Lamb and Davis from redoing the whole bathroom.
After Lamb and Davis put in three weeks and $40,000, they decide to list the home for $610,000. It’s a big jump from the initial $500,000 list price, but Lamb and Davis are sure they’ll find a buyer fast. In just 24 hours, the sisters get five offers and accept the highest bid: $735,000.
That means after recouping their $40,0000 investment, this house earns a total profit of $195,000. That’s a lot of money for such a little house!