See How House Flippers Converted a Dark Bungalow into a Bright, Airy Abode

published Apr 19, 2021
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Before: Entryway and dining area with beige walls and white door
Credit: Courtesy of Wedgewood Homes

You’d think that in such a hot homebuying market, the aesthetics of a home’s interior might not matter as much to buyers who are eager to get to the closing table. But it’s actually quite the opposite — people are seeking out move-in ready homes in droves.

Jessica Rae Sommer, senior creative director at Maverick Design in Redondo Beach, California, took that into account while renovating and staging a Spanish-style bungalow in Glendale. The team at Wedgewood Homes was working to flip the house and hired Sommer to breathe life into it.

“From a resale perspective, we knew that, with everything people have been facing over the last year, the aesthetics and functionality of a home matter more than ever,” she says. “Our buyers were likely going to be looking for a clean, beautiful, turnkey home that allowed them to move in and not need to change a thing.”

The 1,430-square-foot home was full of charm and architectural details — but it felt dated and cramped. Sommer’s goal was to retain and celebrate that original character, streamline the flow, and highlight the best elements within the three-bedroom, two-bath house.

Her first order of business? Making sure the living and dining areas, which are the first spaces you see upon entering the home, felt as roomy as possible. “Like many Los Angeles area bungalows, this home is on the smaller side, so our goal was to make the space feel more expansive, open, and connected to the incredible outdoor spaces,” she says.

Unfortunately, the original wood flooring was damaged in high-traffic areas. It was also severely worn through, and wouldn’t take further sanding and staining. So new white-oak flooring was installed, which helps add to the airy feel of the space.

Credit: Michael McNamara Photography

The ceilings posed another issue. They were heavily textured, contributing to the home’s dated look, and many of the architectural elements, like archways, window mouldings, and a tray ceiling, were painted a “bland, green-beige color” that didn’t do them justice, Sommer says. So, the ceilings were smoothed out for a more modern feel, and bright white paint let those unique features shine while further emphasizing the expansive feel Sommer was going for. A black front door, meanwhile, adds “a punch of contrast” and a bit of edge to the otherwise bright color scheme.

Likewise, in the living room, the original fireplace was given a facelift. The team painted the brick mantel in Behr Space Black paint, and added a black Nero Marquina marble mosaic on the surround, creating a bold focal point. Then, the dated chandelier in the dining room was replaced with a modern, larger-scale fixture. “The brass of the fixture tied into many of the other brass elements in the home, while the white shades gave a light visual weight,” Sommer says.

Credit: Courtesy of Wedgewood Homes

When it came time to stage this central area with furniture, Sommer knew it was extra important to get it right. She felt buyers might have difficulty envisioning how the space would flow functionally — especially since the living area itself is divided into two smaller spaces: a main living room and a sunroom off to the side.

To emphasize the sunroom’s potential for lounging, the team chose an oversized bench, soft pillows, and potted plants for a welcoming vibe. After restoring balance to the main living room area by anchoring it on the fireplace, structurally lighter furniture pieces in an appropriate scale were selected. “To make the room feel more expansive, we opted to locate the sofa on the wall perpendicular to the fireplace and chose open-back chairs to create more visual connection,” Sommer says.

Credit: Michael McNamara Photography

In the dining room, a midcentury-style table and matching chairs with black accents pick up on the black motif while recalling the home’s vintage character. Plenty of windows, a faux moss centerpiece, and additional houseplants serve to bring the outdoors in. 

While they were surface-level, all the changes by the Maverick team made a clear difference in the sale of the home. It was listed by agent Keith Scaduto with Coldwell Banker for $1,099,000 and went into escrow three days later for $1,310,000. Talk about a job well done.