A Before & After In the Making

We all love a good before and after story, do we not?!  From weight loss comparisons to home renovations, it can be both inspiring and a little dumbfounding how something can be transformed.  My husband, Steve Smith, and I own Irish Realty.  He is one of the top realtors in our area, and I own a subset company called Designed to Flourish.  My work in DTF helps compliment his efforts as a realtor.  When we work with someone who wants to list their home, He makes recommendations on updates they need to do to maximize their potential selling price and limit their days on market.  Then I come in and make selections for those updates; paint, carpet, new countertops, new light fixtures, etc.  I also often end up staging these homes with furniture and home decor accessories.  It’s really a blast to see the potential in a home be manifested before our eyes into sale-able updates and style.  When we are done with the homes, they are much more on trend and updated so that they meet what the market desires.  This process makes for some great before and after photos.

Today I thought I would share the specifics of one such remodel.  I’ll show you the actual photos and also explain what we did and why.  This home is one of our newest listings and is located in Mishawaka, Indiana in Sagewood Estates.



The front exterior of this home got a small but valuable face lift!

At first glance it may not appear like we did all that much to the front exterior.  And while the bulk of the budget indeed went towards the interior updates, some important changes were done outside as well.  For example, we changed the carriage lights by the front door and garage from brass to nickel finish.  We did the same for the front door handle and kick plate as well.  In fact that’s all we had done until the week the listing was about to go live.  I stopped by the house to make a final to do list and prepare for staging it and when I pulled up, the thought crossed my mind that the front door needed a little pop and contrast to complete the transformation.  So we called the painter back for one more task and voila….the front door now has a rich java look that gives the whole exterior a little more interest and depth.  These changes were not expensive BUT they contributed immensely to the updated style and they make a great first impression for guests and potential home buyers.


The front entryway of a home is important as it serves as a first impression.  Here you can get a good look at the difference our fresh paint and carpet makes.

When we started helping the sellers on this home, they shared with us they had had their home on the market for over 4 months last year with little showings and no offers.  Our specialty is helping people update their home and go to market with a product that will be in high demand.  In this case not only will the home sell faster but it will most likely sell for well be above the margin of their investment.  Ie. we are helping home owners create instant equity in their homes!  One of the MAIN things we often suggest is fresh paint and new carpet, which is on display above.  My staging also helped make the most of the home owners existing furniture.  They already owned most of these pieces but I added new mirrors and accessories.  I also removed the multiple, dated rugs from the foyer and let the wood floors shine on their own more with just one pretty neutral rug at the front entryway point.


Letting in more natural light and removing dated furniture allowed this room to look much larger and more luxurious.

While draperies and window treatments are important for privacy, I removed them here to both update the home and let in more natural light.  It also shows off how beautiful this big bay window is!  The furniture shown here was already the home owners, but came from another room.  I brought these pieces in so that the room was not empty after I removed the dated couch set.



The great room also got a facelift: new carpet and paint continued into this room.  We also painted the mantel white and replaced the fan.  

This great room was already a wonderful gathering space, but the intense colors and overcrowded furniture was not as conducive to selling.  Again we removed the heavy window treatments to brighten up the room.  We changed the paint colors from bold Burgundy and mustard to grey walls with white trim, including the woodwork on the mantle. When I cam back and staged the furniture, I simply added a couple new pillows to the couches and decluttered the walls and surfaces.


Kitchens are an important part of a home.  The home owner’s budget kept us from being able to paint the cabinets in this case or add granite/quarts BUT we still made some key changes!

We all have heard that the kitchen is in fact THE most important room in the house when it comes to selling a home.  And that could not be more true!  In this case, our budget for updating the kitchen did not allow for a total overhaul.  Had we had the room, I probably would have painted the cabinets white, added crown to them, changed the appliances to stainless steel, added a tile backsplash, updated the hardware, and added grant or quartz counters.  However, we DID make some awesome changes that will still help maximize the sale price of this home.  Some of our changes here include new high definition laminate counters with an ogee edge, removal of wall paper and painting the room grey with white trim, changing out all electrical faceplates to white, new light fixtures in both the kitchen and the dinette, and decluttering the surfaces throughout.


The laundry room is now so much more fresh and bright!

Before, this laundry room felt small and enclosed with the dark blue patterned walls.  We simply painted the walls grey and the trim white as well as decluttered the space to get this brighter and more cheerful impression.


This main floor guest bath now looks much more modern and luxe.

These are the same cabinets folks!  We simply painted the oak with Sherwin Williams “Black Bean” color!  We also traded the old Builder mirror for a framed one that matched our new cabinet color and then continued our effort to paint the walls grey and trim white in here.  And while you can’t get a great view of it here we also put in a new vanity light above the mirror.  Finally the right staging shows off the new look.


If the kitchen is the most important room, the master bedroom and bathroom are a close second!

This master bedroom was laden down with old wallpaper and too much furniture for the space.   We simplified things with fresh paint, more natural light, less furniture, and fresh accessories like a new duvet and pillows.


The master bath looks amazing now!  Read on below for how we made this new look come alive!

Once again we used Sherwin Williams Black Bean to update the cabinet and woodwork in the master bathroom (like we did in the main floor guest bath).  We also reglazed the counter tops, tub surround and master shower).  We removed wall paper and painted the walls grey with white trim.  And we removed the unframed builder mirror and installed elegant framed ones instead.  Finally staging with new accessories helped show off the new updates.


One of the secondary bedrooms got updated too!  Here’s how we did it…

I love a good canopy bed and in fact always wanted one as a little girl.  So I was exited when I saw the potential this room had to offer.  To make it ready to sell, we painted the room grey with white trim, put in new carpet, removed extra furniture including the trundle under the bed, rearranged the furniture placement, and added some fresh decor accessories.  Now the room looks much more inviting and modern.

There were more rooms too, but this gives you a good indication at what all went into this renovation.  I have to give a HUGE shout out to the homeowners.  They were extremely open minded in letting us make these changes and they worked tirelessly to prepare the home for the remodel and contributed to decluttering and moving the furniture etc.   Also, thank you to our amazing crews of painters, flooring experts, handymen etc who made it all possible.  And lastly can I also point out how amazing our photographer is and what a difference there is in the quality of images too?!  This home is now listed and available for purchase.  Call Steve Smith at 574-360-2569 to see this home in person!

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