Unsellable Houses

Nineties to Now

Season 2, Episode 11

When it comes to selling an older house, getting the most out of the sale can be hard, especially when you’re competing against new construction in the area. 

That’s exactly what we faced this week. 

Jeff and Kristen were ready to downsize now that their kids were grown, but their 1990s-built family home just wasn’t getting any bites. During our first walkthrough, Les and I immediately identified why.

The house’s siding was badly in need of replacement—a task that most buyers saw as a major turn off. Inside, space was poorly used, making it hard for buyers to envision life in this house. So…we had our challenge! We needed to invest in repairs and update key living spaces and get the house back on the market!

Keep reading to find out how we pulled it off, but first we need to share the results. Ready for the numbers? Here it is…

Um, that’s $202,000 over asking price and almost $300,000 more than what Jeff and Kristen were hoping to get on their own. 

We definitely had a dance party when we sold this one! 

Colors, Patterns, & Texture Inspos

In order to stand out on the market, this house really needed to feel like a custom home. We also knew that we wanted to appeal to the family buyer looking for space to raise kids. That’s why we opted for a rustic luxe vibe, working with tons of rustic woods, clean whites, and metallic finishes that did a great job of balancing masculine and feminine tastes. 

In all honesty, I really wanted to replace the dark hardwood flooring in the home to brighten up the space, but it just wasn’t in the budget. Instead, I got really intentional about adding canned lights in the main living areas, using light paint on the walls, and staging with furniture and decor that made the home feel open and bright. It’s a great example of how “compromise” in home reno decisions is definitely not a deal breaker. There’s always room to get creative and still get the results you want!

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Key Updates

DIY Project: Wood Wrapping

This home needed some focal points to make it memorable and help it feel like a custom build. Our answer was pretty simple: wood wrapping. We selected three key spaces—the entry wall, the fireplace, and the archway between the living room and kitchen—and added rustic wood wraps. Each of these features added a “wow factor” that totally set the home apart.

Pro tip: with timber prices on the rise, one super cost-effective way to accomplish this look is to use stained fence board. That’s what we did!

JL’s Take

At first glance, we knew that this Lake Stevens home was certainly a diamond in the rough.  

We often reconfigure a home by removing walls, but with this project we did something a little different. We wanted to keep the existing flooring which can make removing walls a challenge. Closing in the second dining area provided an additional living space, perfect for a family, and was actually more cost effective than some of the alternatives.  

In the kitchen, we removed the island and relocated the refrigerator, installing new pantry cabinets on each side of the refrigerator. This added storage and functionality to the space while opening up the floor plan.  Wrapping the window, adding the counter-to-ceiling tile, and installing a pendant light above the sink are other stand out features that made a big impact.  

For the main bath, we enlarged the shower and installed a free standing soaking tub for that spa-like feel.  

We had to make a few concessions on this project due to the amount spent on the siding replacement. Getting creative and using our budget wisely, we were able to update the look throughout by re-styling outdated elements of the home. A good example of this is seen when we cut back the great room archway and added the prefinished wood wrapping. Mirroring this on the fireplace and entry wall tied it all together giving the home that “Rustic Luxe” theme.

Overall one of our favorite spaces to date. We love this “Rustic Luxe” home!

JL Remodeling

Shop the Look

You can find several of the items featured in this episode online and in our Snohomish Storefront location! Check these out: 

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Key Materials

You can see all of our great Amazon finds right here!

See ya back on HGTV next Tuesday at 9PM ET/PT!