Projects & Improvements

Before and After: A Sad Estate Sale House Redesigned To Sell

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Kelly Potter)

This is an interesting project, as it was purchased and remodeled for the express purpose of being sold. Unlike many projects we see which intimately reflect the residents’ needs, habits, and tastes, this one was freed from such restrictions. As the homeowner described the process, “The house was an estate sale, and was extremely dated. It hadn’t been touched in many years, though it had a lot of potential.” That potential has now been unlocked!

(Image credit: Kelly Potter)

This new kitchen is such a massive improvement over the cloying floral wallpaper and the inexplicably western-style cabinets. I love the bubble-like pendants from West Elm, the ample counterspace, and the way the new refrigerator placement keeps the rest of the kitchen unblocked. The new open plan concept is great, too. Here’s how Kelly Potter described the home and the kitchen:

My husband and I purchased the home for the purpose of renovating and selling it. The house itself had some great qualities. It was a walk out ranch, so it sat high up, almost in the tree tops. It had incredible windows and natural light. The original kitchen was a tight galley style, with the basement stairs dividing it from the living room. Right away we knew that if we could open up the kitchen to the living room, it would be stunning and open and bright, with a loft-like feel.

I love the airiness, the openness. It is a fabulous house for entertaining. I had a lot of kitchen envy on this one. Lots of deep kitchen drawers for storage. Lots of counter space. I’m not even a very good cook, but I would love to cook in that house.

If any of you live in Nebraska and are house shopping, you could cook in that house!

(Image credit: Kelly Potter)

Ooh, blue toilet, tub, and sink! Always fun to see colorful bathroom fixtures in the wild. The blue floor and tissue box really push things over the edge.

(Image credit: Kelly Potter)

The new bathroom is so clean and modern. I especially like the gridded floor and black faucets. The vertical subway tiles are also an interesting play on a ubiquitous design element. Going from a full-size window to a narrow, horizontal one makes perfect sense—now there’s privacy without needing a curtain—but it would be difficult to give up on all that natural light. The vanity is from IKEA.

(Image credit: Kelly Potter)

Kelly was kind enough to share time and financial details (I love knowing how much things cost but would never ask in real life, of course):

Start to finish about 5 months. It cost around 115k (I think! Need to double check that!) My husband, David Potter, is a realtor with Nebraska Realty, and while he did a lot of work, we hired out plumbing, electrical, structural, tile work, and some things that my husband had the skills to do but not the time. Shockingly, there were very few surprises! I gave birth to our second child, about 3 months into the project, but that was a setback we were happy to have! Though I have to say, this project felt pretty foggy for me! Would not recommend flipping a house with a newborn and toddler. Haha!

That sounds like an absolute nightmare. Well done to Kelly for surviving the endeavor, and I salute all of you who have been through similar trials.

(Image credit: Kelly Potter)

Here we have the remodeled living room! The refurbished fireplace and windows are so dramatically improved, and I love the way the grid of the windows echoes that of the stair railing:

I really love the custom horizontal iron railing. If we had to have the basement stairs open and in such a highly visible spot, we wanted them to be a cool feature. I love how it turned out.

It’s amazing how often a necessary, practical element becomes one of the strongest parts of a project.

(Image credit: Kelly Potter)

I adore the way the the gorgeous beam coordinates with the floor, and how the stairway creates a delineation between the kitchen and the other rooms; it’s a barrier, but it’s an open one, if that makes sense.

After the trials of the renovation, Kelly had some great advice to share:

Take a risk! We thought about renovating without opening up the main floor. It would’ve saved a ton of money and time, but the end result was so much better and more functional and inviting! If my husband and I look at each other and say, “should we do it?” we typically do, and it’s always paid off so far!

Thank you, Kelly!