My latest project involved getting a home ready for sale that was totally vacant, had been "unloved" by its last tenants and the owners were on an extremely tight budget, of not only money but time - we had 5 days before the first open house! There was no extra money for furniture, artwork, rugs, or accessories to 'pretty it up' and replacement flooring for certain rooms of carpet was not an option as payment from the former tenants for damages to it had not been received. It was a predicament!
The home had great bones though! A custom-built 3,000 square foot house with vaulted cedar ceilings, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, a large office, huge family room with reclaimed brick-faced fireplace, 2 other wood-burning fireplaces, an unfinished 1,700 square foot basement with 10' ceilings, and an area that could be closed off from the rest of the house for separate quarters for a nanny, in-laws or guests that had a bedroom, bath, and it's own outdoor entrance. The kitchen and family room led onto a 2-tiered deck and concrete patio that had beautiful views of trees (some flowering), shrubs, and field - 3 acres in total, all nestled in a beautiful bay-shaped subdivision.
I needed to make a plan that involved very little money and time, made the unique architectural details stand out, and updated the decor slightly. It occurred to me that many people may be in a similar situation, so I thought I would write about what I did in this case, to hopefully offer tips/suggestions that others may benefit from.
The main things to consider in a vacant home are the lighting, the paint colours, and an overall uniformity in style (inside and out), so that the home feels comfortable to potential buyers and not overwhelming. With this project, neutral colours were chosen for almost every room (I personally love a shade of red on a wall in a dining area, if it suits the space)... Paint has to be one of the cheapest ways to completely transform the look and feel of a space! I am a big believer in the effects that colour can have on us - and take this into consideration before making any changes! Walls are always the first thing that people assume when hearing painting, but in this case there was more of a need to paint all the trim, railings and doors to create a uniform and brightening effect on the home. The original colours were 3 different shades of stained wood - cherry, basic cedar, dark brown - depending on which room you were in. As much as I love natural materials, I found myself picking out a bright white paint to cover it all... The effect was amazing! A more modern feel emerged and allowed the cedar ceilings to be showcased rather than seem old, dated and "more wood". The garage doors were changed from worn-out, faded cedar to a dark brown to match the rest of the trim on the exterior, certain lighting fixtures were changed to work with the new look, the insides of the wood-burning fireplaces were cleaned and spray-painted black with a high-heat form of paint, white now covered the dark-brown brick that faced a living room fireplace that had unremovable splatters on it from former paint jobs, and voila, ready for new people to fall in love with it again!
No offers yet, but the open house was a great success with comments like "so light and bright", "beautiful high ceilings - you just don't see details like this anymore", "so many possibilities - so much space", and my favorite - "I have to talk to my husband - we weren't planning on moving out here, but after seeing this, we may just have to!"