“Cathy, this house just won’t sell.”
I was called by a builder to have a look at a cute house which had been on the market for 4 months with no offers. Nearly everybody who viewed the house absolutely loved it except for one thing…the layout.
Everybody said the same thing: “I don’t know what to do with this living area.”
Have you ever heard that objection?
This home would be great for down-sizers or first time home buyers. At 885 square feet, it has 2 bedrooms, one bathroom and it has a full undeveloped basement.
After hearing the same complaint many times over from prospective buyers coming to see the home, the builder called me in to have a look.
The main concern of buyers was the layout of the open concept living space, which is awkward and very difficult to visualize as furnished. To compound the problem, an awkward wall juts out so that the narrow living space was cinched in the middle, just 10ft wide at its narrowest part.
This is the area that was causing the problem:
And from the other end, you can see the kitchen and the other half, designed to serve as a dining area:
The long, skinny (in some places very skinny) room was supposed to fit a dining area, a seating area, and (as most people would expect) likely a T.V.
It didn’t look like it could comfortably fit. Prospective buyers were walking away, every time they saw the home.
In order to preserve space and make the most out of what we had, I opted for a condo-sized sofa and love seat. Because of the narrow spot, I decided to put the long sofa against the wall and use the love seat at the narrowest point, to create a sort of divider between what would be the living room and the dining room part of this open space.
I didn’t want to make the space feel closed in so I opted for a glass end table and coffee table. The transparent glass helps to make the space feel more roomy by not obstructing the line of vision.
An accent chair, a floor lamp and a small table created a cosy nook in the space directly across from the sofa.
I brought in a simple rug to tie the seating area together and to make it more cozy. I added some art, pillows, throws and accessories and… voilà!
The next issue was the small dining area. Getting a suitable table and chairs into this space was also a challenge.
The dining area had a beautiful light fixture but it seemed to be overpowering the space because it was so large.
A simple style rectangular table helped to balance the dining area. Nothing too sophisticated, but nonetheless elegant.
I chose a contemporary table to maintain a clean and space-conserving look. The table had 4 chairs and by placing two chairs on each side of the longest side of the table, it freed up much needed space for great traffic flow.
Finally, to finish the design, I added a runner on the table with a bowl of fruit in the center and a floor vase with reeds in the corner.
Here’s a look at the how the dining area turned out:
As you can see, it’s small but cozy. The space turned into a warm living room and a small but comfortable dining area. What originally seemed a tiny and impractical space with an awkward layout became something that prospective buyers could see themselves in.
The raw ingredients were a little creativity, some furniture, and accent elements. The end product is proof to a prospective buyer that the space most definitely can work. Their lifestyles can be lived in this space. The potential is made real.
If you have a home that’s not selling and people are telling you they don’t know what to do with a certain space in your home, consider having it staged. As you can see, staging is a great technique to show a prospective buyer the potential of your home.