1990’s House Gets a Facelift


Fresh paint and contemporary furnishings help would-be buyers appreciate the features of this suburban home.

Fresh paint and contemporary furnishings help would-be buyers appreciate the features of this suburban home

This homeowner bought his house in 2007 at the height of the real estate market in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.  Ten years later, he was ready to move south.

The house, in a suburban subdivision of Silver Spring, MD, was built in 1993. It’s a spacious home with four bedrooms and two baths on the upper level and another bedroom and full bath in the basement.  When the owner hired me to help him get his house ready to go on the market, I recommended some renovations and updates in addition to the usual decluttering and staging.

Why?  For one, what was popular and current in the early ’90s was no longer the case 25 years later.  Also, during the home-building boom in the 1990s, many houses, including those in this subdivision, used “builder’s grade” materials. That meant basic kitchen cabinets with no pull-outs, little or no storage in the bathrooms and inexpensive light fixtures throughout, among other things.Newly renovated bathroom

What was done: Real estate agents say that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, and those were the two areas on which we focused.  They also say that homebuyers don’t want houses with projects, so we updated and modernized this house as much as possible while sticking to a budget.

The master bathroom was the major project. The old bathroom was plain and dated and didn’t have any towel bars or even a medicine cabinet. My design featured a new shower with a frameless glass door, a new tile floor, fresh paint and updated LED lighting. Further, the new towel bars and vanity added much needed functionality and storage. 

Kitchen updated with new countertops, backsplash and lightingIn the kitchen, we decided to refresh it rather than remodel. We kept the existing appliances and cabinets, but added crown molding.  A new granite countertop and white subway tile backsplash brightened the kitchen, as did the new pendant light.  A round glass table replaced the rectangular table and chairs, which were too big for the space.

Elsewhere, the entire interior was repainted and many of the outdated brass light fixtures were replaced. With all that done, it was time to stage  the house and put it on the market. It was under contract in less than two weeks.