The project: A two-bedroom condominium on a lake in Waconia.
The positives: Great views, privacy and abundant storage.
The negatives: Worn and soiled carpeting, dated fixtures and a faint smell of stale cigarette smoke.
"You could tell there had not been any updates since the building went up," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "The lakeside views were definitely going to help market this place, but to get the price it deserved, upgrades were absolutely necessary."
Here's what Matzke did to ensure this home earned what it was worth.
An antique glass cupboard was moved down the opposite wall to give the dining area balance and a stronger sense of purpose.
Matzke removed the center leaf from the oblong dining table to create a smaller table and repositioned it at an angle to open up the space.
Two bouquets of red mums add cheer and a favorite Monet postcard in a bright gold frame adds a shot of sparkle to the room.
The dining room chairs were given a mini makeover by adding short, oblong pillows in a striped silk pattern to visually break up the woodgrain and add softness and color to the setting.
Replaced carpeting with a more current style in a neutral tone. Also replaced the linoleum in both the kitchen and baths.
Matzke removed the picture and sconces behind the dining room table, which were too high and too small for the wall space, and replaced them with a larger, more colorful painting.
Since the owners had opted to leave the kitchen ceiling fan in place and the dining room chandelier was on a movable track, Matzke replaced it with a more updated pendant light and positioned it 6 inches to the right, visually staggering it with the fixture in the kitchen. To give the light fixtures a sense of continuity and to make the ceiling fan feel more up-to-date, she replaced the old sconces with new ones made from the same frosted, marbled glass as the nearby pendant light.
Painted the walls a soft shade of creamy beige to warm up the space and the woodwork. The door, which was badly scuffed, was painted in a high-gloss finish in a shade slightly darker than the walls. And the ceiling was painted bright white to help illuminate the entire unit. "Fresh paint not only adds to the visual appeal, it also helps to eliminate the odor of stale smoke, which can be a definite deal-breaker with potential buyers," she said. (Note to homeowners: Don't undermine your efforts by reverting to smoking in your home. "It's better to puff outside while your home is on the market.")
Other improvement (not shown): Replaced the scratched and worn stainless steel sink and faucet (not shown) with a newer sink that's the same color as the countertops and shiny chrome faucet. The countertops were cleared, clutter was boxed and the room was accessorized in a simple fashion to keep the kitchen looking open and spacious. Scrubbing the cabinets with orange oil makes them look fresh, and also helps make the space smell cleaner, too.