This Delwood Diamond in the rough was a particular challenge on account of the lamentable state of the property when we bought it. But the house had good bones, and with a little TLC (and, yes, a fair amount of sweat equity) it cleaned up nicely.  The final product includes decorative combinations chosen especially for the East Austin real estate market. Neutral design choices with just the right amount of flare put this beauty under contract in just under four days! As an added bonus: all of the materials and design schemes were chosen with the bottom line in mind.

Much of the success of this particular project can be attributed to having stumbled upon a good formula that seems to really work in Windsor Park.  Clean lines, an open floor plan, and modern detailing have, in my experience, defined the remodeled properties in this particular area that have fetched the highest prices per square foot and moved most quickly.

What the remodel cost: $47,000. This includes all materials, permits, and professionals we hired (electricians, exterminators, plumbers, etc.). This also includes the two bathroom remodels and the exteriors.


  • Staging by Susannah Blanton
  • Carpentry/labor by Olivier Boudou
  • Design by Karen Pagani

Living room: from drab to fab (on a budget)
This living room was heavy on the drab: old flooring, dingy paint…no comment on the curtains. We fixed things right up. Light, floating hickory hardwood floors, a designer door, and some more modern light fixtures made this a much more inviting place to entertain. The new coat of paint also lightens the mood (we used Behr’s “Lucky Potato”). We took a chance with a riskier color choice on the bar. Color, even some darker color, is not necessarily something that renovators need shy away from. That said, it is imperative to keep the space neutral enough that potential buyers can imagine moving their own furnishings (and color scheme) into the house. Staging helps potential buyers imagine all that can be done with a space, and is well worth the cost.

The kitchen: a doorway dilemma
The kitchen, like many original kitchens in this neighborhood, was closed off and dark. Worn out knotty pine cabinets and an oddly colored counter top hardly made this a place to entertain. The doorway to the left limited our options for where we could place appliances and how much counter space we could have. We did like the easy access from the kitchen to the bathroom and bedrooms. Wanting to maximize both the space and the openness, we were tempted to keep this door in place. Remodeling is about compromise, however, and this door’s days were numbered… Closing off the door gave us the space we needed for a modern fridge. Partially opening up the wall between the kitchen and the addition provided the open feel we were aiming for. Ikea cabinets, white metro back splash and quartz counter tops gave the kitchen a modern and fresh feel. Because wall space was limited, we decided to go with a dramatic, “midnight blue” (Behr) on the walls. It was a bit risky as far as color choices go, but it brought the room together nicely. Can lighting and a small pendant light brought some much needed additional light into the space.

The addition: Let there be light!
This room was on the other side of the kitchen. Through the sliding glass door, there was some kind of “screened in patio” (we called it alternately the “death trap” and the “wasp’s nest”). It was added by a previous owner and was not, by any stretch of the imagination, up to code. The exterminator we used said he had never come across so many wasps in his 30+ years in the business! Obviously, the wood paneling and the dingy carpet would have to go. With the patio roof removed and some more of Behr’s “Lucky Potato” paint, light now floods the living room. A little bit of elbow grease made the fairly recent windows sparkle again, and the old barbecue became a new planter for a nice herb garden. This house had great bones.

Bed and Bath: freshening up