By Kim Wyse
Red Deer Express
Last week I was working with a client who is getting her house ready for listing. She has owned it for several years and has rented it but has finally decided to sell it in an effort to simplify her life and her portfolio – and aren’t we all doing this lately?
At first, she thought that she would be having to replace everything including cabinets and floors to make this home sellable. The house felt dark and gloomy and at first, she envisioned tearing everything out of the place to make it feel lighter and brighter. I went with her to the home to find that the cabinets were in great shape and a rich shade of mahogany and that the floors were new but in need of a repair here and there.
With this to work with I went about choosing lighter paint tones to brighten the homes atmosphere and instructed the painter to paint out all the dark wood trim and doors to a grey based white (General Paint had a white called ‘Deerfeather’) which is still my favourite trim and ceiling colour. The house is a traditional three bedroom bungalow with a long hall and lots of doors so lightening the walls and trim was imperative. Once these softer colours are in place the cabinets will shine instead of adding to the perceived gloom of the dwelling.
Kitchen countertops were changed to a granite look Arborite brand (still thinking economics here) which had pale grey tones and a mahogany coloured marble through it which pulled the cabinets perfectly. I chose a simple subway tile which was only a tone or two darker than the wall colour to help the small kitchen backsplash seem more endless and have more flow with the wall. Keeping the pattern simple and the colours blended is a good way to make a backsplash seem more impressive.
The other issue in this home is that they had very dark feature walls which only close in and move the space in tighter. Neutralizing these walls and making them all flow opens the visual and makes the rooms look larger. Feature walls using a strong colour are pretty much a thing of the past and if a feature is required it is usually in a larger home and is featured with wallpaper, stone or wood.
The changes that were made to this home were dramatic yet very economical and the result was drastic and will help this property show very well. Sometimes homeowners take a too personal approach on renovations prior to listing (I don’t like the cabinets) when in reality it needs to be looked at through a professional opinion on what will sell and what makes buyers sit up and take notice. There are many ways to brighten and modernize an interior and it doesn’t always have to cost the earth if you look at the practical side of design and how it can help a home look the best.
In today’s market if you are considering renovating your home for sale it is good advice to have a professional look at the planned changes and to see if the dollars spent will give you the payback you are looking for. You might not have to do all the changes you think the house needs!
Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer/Ask a Realtor’.