On HGTV’s “Unsellable Houses,” Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis often lean into a light, bright look to sell a house. But in the latest episode, they prove that darker colors can also look like a million bucks—in this case literally.
In the Season 3 episode “Million Dollar Design,” Lamb and Davis go to Edmonds, WA, to help Brian and Alana, empty nesters who are hoping to sell their 3,400-square-foot home for seven figures so they can retire comfortably. However, six weeks on the market has yet to reel in an offer.
The sisters invest $100,000 to fix up this house, leaning into the home’s natural dark style to create a moody, luxurious home. Read on to see how Lamb and Davis renovate one of their biggest projects yet, and get some smart lessons on how to dabble in the dark side around your own abode, too.
Bold accent colors can freshen up a dark feature
This old home has a lot of dark features, and instead of removing them all, Lamb is determined to work with them. One of the features she decides to work with is the large, wood-paneled fireplace.
“Everything in this home already feels kind of dark,” Lamb says. “With all of the cedar throughout, wood-burning fireplaces, we’ve got to get luxury into this house.”
Lamb updates the fireplace by switching out the dated tile with a more colorful design. The bold colors liven up the wood feature wall, making the room look brighter and more contemporary. While a wood feature might seem dark, a colorful accent can make it look less gloomy and more glamorous.
Turn a drop ceiling into a design feature
The kitchen feels incredibly small for such a big house: It’s stuck in a cramped corner and, to make matters worse, the area is hidden under a drop ceiling. Lamb and Davis soon realize that they can’t do much to change this layout.
“Originally, my vision was to raise the ceiling in the kitchen because a dropped ceiling always gives you that impression of a dated home and really being closed in,” Lamb says.
They decide to turn the side of the drop ceiling, a triangular piece above the kitchen, into a design feature.
“I am thinking let’s maybe paint it a dark, deep color and then add wood slats to it,” Lamb says. “Almost like it was meant to be there and embrace it as part of our design, so it’s like a work of art.”
They paint it gray and add wood strips to play off the wood beams. In the end, the wall truly looks like a design feature worth keeping.
Balance dark features with plenty of lighting
When it comes time to design the kitchen itself, Lamb has an interesting idea. She suggests using all dark finishes, including gray counters, a black backsplash, and gray cabinets. Right away, Davis acknowledges that this kitchen design seems very grim, but Lamb goes ahead with her plan.
When the space is done, Brian and Alana are shocked.
“Our kitchen was dark and now you’ve put in dark colors—and it doesn’t look dark, so I don’t know how you pulled that off,” Alana says.
Lamb is quick to share the secret to their success: “We put in can lights, we painted all of the walls white, which really does brighten things up, and then we embraced what we had. It is darker, but it’s warm and comfortable,” Lamb says.
Paint a fireplace (or anything) for a whole new look
In the main bedroom, Lamb and Davis find an old fireplace, which they know could be a good selling point. However, the red color doesn’t go with the new home design.
“I love that there’s a fireplace in the main bedroom,” Lamb says. “I really, really don’t care for the fact that it’s, like, this bright red and it doesn’t go at all with our deep, dark luxury kind of vibe that we’re going for.”
They paint the fireplace black using high-heat paint, which won’t chip or come off no matter how hot the fireplace gets. The results look modern and match the home’s new dark design.
This upgrade is a good reminder that walls aren’t the only thing homeowners can paint to get their desired look. (Here are some other surprising things you can paint.)
A dark tub in the bathroom adds drama
To push this house into the million-dollar range, the HGTV hosts know they’ll need to add expensive upgrades.
“We’re doing high-end materials. We want it to feel very rich, very expensive,” Lamb says.
So, to finish the main suite, Lamb and Davis add a large, luxurious black bathtub to the bathroom.
“That’s moody, deep, dark luxury right there,” Lamb says when the tub arrives.
Do Lindsay Lamb and Leslie Davis sell this unsellable house?
After investing $100,000 and six weeks into the renovation, Lamb and Davis list the property for $1 million. This house gets a lot of interest, and the homeowners end up accepting an offer of $1,320,000.
The sisters leave with a profit of $210,000—and renewed confidence that their instincts to go to the dark side might pay off more than they’d ever imagined.
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