While rustic and luxe may seem like they’re on opposite ends of the style spectrum, the latest episode of “Unsellable Houses” combines them to create a fresh style that makes buyers swoon.
In the episode “Nineties to Now,” twin sisters Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis meet with Jeff and Kristen, a married couple who are having trouble selling their four-bedroom home in Lake Stevens, WA. While this home has a great location, the place is stuck in the ’90s—so it’s no wonder it wasn’t selling at the original list price of $415,000.
Now, it’s up to Lamb and Davis to maximize their $60,000 renovation budget and bring this house into the 21st century.
Wondering how they pull off a rustic luxe style in this ’90s house? Study these before and after photos to see what simple fixes can make all the difference, and score some take-home lessons that could help you with your own home, too.
’90s siding has not stood the test of time
When Lamb and Davis first see the house, they’re unimpressed with the old siding—but the problem isn’t just a dated look. Davis explains that this particular engineered wood siding was popular in the 1990s and 2000s, but the product simply hasn’t stood the test of time.
“What happens is moisture gets inside and causes mildew or mold or things like that,” Davis says. “So the siding on this home is failing, and it’s absolutely something we need to address if we’re going to get top dollar for this property.”
The sisters replace this old siding with a newer one that looks very similar—but to give the home a fresh look, they paint it gray while brightening the porch railing with a new coat of white.
When the siding and paint are finished, the whole exterior looks crisp and clean. This ’90s house now looks new!
Show off tall ceilings with a vertical accent wall
Lamb is determined to give this home a style that’s a good combination of rustic and luxe. She decides to use lots of wood, but also wants to make this natural material look high-end.
One way she does this is with a feature wall right off the entryway. This home has wonderfully high ceilings, and Lamb wants to show that off while still sticking to her theme. She has wood planks of different lengths and tones installed all the way up the wall to the ceiling.
“You’re going to immediately walk in and go, ‘Oh, the high ceilings,’” Lamb says. Plus, the wood adds some personality to the entryway, a space that can be a difficult spot to decorate.
Wrap your beams for a new look on the cheap
While the accent wall in the entryway looks great, Lamb and Davis want to continue the rustic luxe wood look throughout the house.
“To boost that rustic feel, we’re wrapping the beam between the living room and the kitchen,” Lamb says.
Wrapping the beam in a wood veneer not only carries the rustic theme into the living space, it’s also an inexpensive way to fix a dated feature. While they’re at it, the sisters take out the curve so that this area looks more modern.
The clean lines of the finished feature give this living space and kitchen some elegant separation, while the dark wood adds to the earthy, rustic theme.
Get rid of a bulky kitchen island
A lot of buyers love kitchen islands. But in a small kitchen, an island can often feel like an obstacle.
Lamb and Davis decide to take out the island in this kitchen, even though they’re aware they’ll be exposing another issue: the floor.
Lamb explains that removing a kitchen island usually leaves a big, empty space in the middle of the floor. So they have to replace the tile.
“We picked out new flooring for the kitchen, and we’re doing a beautiful gray slate tile in there to define the space,” Lamb says.
They lay the gray slate at a diagonal, making the space look unique. Not only is the island gone, but the room looks much brighter and more interesting with the new flooring.
Turn a spare bedroom into a second living space
Knowing the area well, Lamb explains that the people who buy this house will probably have kids. But with four bedrooms and only one living room, she points out that kids will need a second space upstairs to hang out.
“We only have one main living space here,” Davis says. “So if I walked into this house, my first question would be ‘Where can the kids go that are not on top of me?’”
Lamb has the great idea to turn one of the bedrooms into a media room by installing wood paneling in the closet, complete with shelves, which can serve as a spot to set up a TV, stash gaming consoles, or store DVDs.
It’s a great solution to the problem of limited common space. Plus, Lamb is quick to point out that the next buyers can certainly still use this room as a bedroom if they simply put a door back on the closet.
Does this unsellable house finally find a buyer?
Once renovations are done, Lamb and Davis list the house for $510,000—and are pleasantly surprised when they fetch an incredible 32 offers in five days!
In the end, Kristen and Jeff accept an offer for $712,000, which shakes out to a profit of $142,000. The twins split these proceeds with the homeowners, allowing each side to walk away with $71,000.
It seems that Davis and Lamb’s rustic luxe style is a hit!