On “Unsellable Houses,” twin sisters Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis have proven they can sell just about any home. But on the latest episode, they accomplish the rare feat of pushing a humble country cabin into million-dollar territory.
In the Season 3 episode “Rustic Cabin Reno,” the sisters meet Michelle, who’s tired of living on the outskirts of Snohomish, WA. Her four-bedroom, two-bathroom house is on a beautiful, woodsy 9-acre property, but the decor is stuck in the ’70s. After three weeks on the market for the asking price of $675,000, the home has yet to find a buyer.
Lamb and Davis invest $100,000 into updating this property with a midcentury modern style. Ultimately, they turn this unwanted, out-of-the way cabin into a coveted getaway. Here’s how they pull it off, with plenty of lessons for your own place.
Curb appeal is important—even if a home can’t be seen from the street
Michelle’s home is surrounded by big, beautiful trees, but the home itself isn’t much to look at. So Lamb and Davis decide to repaint the siding a more neutral shade of green to give the house a fresh look that will complement the surrounding forest. When the siding is done, Lamb and Davis are thrilled with the new look.
“Wow, that made it pop,” Lamb says. “And it fits really, really well with all of these surrounding trees.”
“It just kind of pulls out all of the beautiful colors in the rocks and the bricks and everything else,” Davis says. “But it also emphasizes all this beautiful greenery around you.”
While a new shade of exterior paint can be important for any house, Davis and Lamb prove that color can be especially important for homes in more rural areas, where homeowners should consider how a hue will look against the surrounding landscape.
Make a long driveway feel welcoming
While the home’s exterior paint is easy to fix, Lamb and Davis realize that the property’s inconveniently long driveway is a bigger challenge. Not only is the home far from town, but it’s far from the main road, too, making it unappealing to many buyers. Luckily, the HGTV stars have a solution that will make the driveway seem a little less intimidating: a bus hut.
“Here in Snohomish, we tend to build little outbuildings at the end of our long driveways for kids to stay out of the elements when they’re waiting for the bus,” Davis explains.
The sisters construct a simple but adorable little hut out of extra lumber. It’s a smart addition because this little structure will not only provide shelter for kids (or adults) waiting for a ride, but also clearly marks the driveway, making the entire property seem a little more welcoming.
“It’s always about what can we do to make our house stand out, not spend a lot of money,” Davis says.
“Honestly, this would be why I’d buy this house,” Lamb adds.
Show off a country home’s beautiful view
One of the big advantages to having a home in the country is the view of nature. However, buyers won’t be able to appreciate a view if their line of sight is cut off, like it is in Michelle’s kitchen.
When first touring the house, Davis notices a bulky vent hood above the peninsula and points out that it should be removed.
“I get the purpose of the hoodm but it’s such a distraction from that view,” she says. “I mean, you have a whole wall of windows there and we’re blocking it.”
Plus, the kitchen is dated and due for a makeover, Davis says. “We are absolutely stuck in the ’70s. The blue laminate countertops, the cabinets, as charming as they are with the etching, it all screams ’70s. And that’s a lot when you’re two, three steps in the front door.”
The sisters completely reimagine the kitchen, replacing the peninsula with an island, switching the dated cabinets with white and blue ones, and adding midcentury modern style with new lights and simple black hardware.
When the kitchen is done, it looks completely different. Now, buyers can walk around the space and admire both the updated kitchen design and the lovely trees outside—the views are great inside and out!
Paint walls white for a brighter ambiance
Michelle’s living room features lots of big windows, but with wood paneling on the walls, the space looks small and dark. Davis and Lamb decide to paint the walls white, making the room look bright and fresh.
“This wood wall is so dreamy with all the textures, the knots, like, so much character,” Davis says. “We just need to lighten it up a little bit. For this design and this house that’s surrounded by large trees blocking a lot of sunlight, it’s a must.”
When the new white paint is done, the home is transformed.
“Just adding a fresh coat of paint has changed the entire feel of the house,” Davis explains.
A gas stove can have a hearth, too
Since this home is a bit out of the way, Lamb and Davis want to make sure the future buyers have plenty of space to hang out. This means updating the basement bonus room and adding some stylish tile behind the gas-burning stove.
“In the basement of Michelle’s house, we’re adding some elegant tile to make a hearth for the gas-burning stove,” Davis says.
“It’s got the cement look, too,” Lamb says. “So it feels more modern, and it will dress it up. It looks expensive.”
Does this unsellable house sell?
The twin sisters invest $100,000 to give this property a whole new look, and it pays off: Soon enough, they receive an astonishing offer of one million dollars.
Once Lamb and Davis recoup their $100,000 investment, they split the profits two ways, giving themselves and Michelle each $112,500. That’s quite a windfall that proves that even a country cabin can make big-city-style bucks!
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