Lessons From Listing Photos: A Stuffy Seattle Mansion Fetches $3.35M

2022-03-25 10:02:54 By : Ms. Enya Zhang

Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is known for its hip bars and restaurants, but it’s also home to a historic mansion district and a block known as Millionaires Row, named for the wealthy citizens who built homes there in the early 1900s. This neoclassical home, built in 1905, is technically one street east of Millionaires Row, but it fits right in with the area’s architectural gems.

The previous owners of the property made a sound investment when they bought it for $1,775,000 in May 2020. The spacious home was in major need of an overhaul, so they got to work on a dramatic interior renovation. Less than a year later (in March 2022), they sold the 5,500-square-foot home for $3.35 million—almost double what they paid.

While the renovated kitchen was likely the primary feature that made the home attractive to buyers, other design choices also factored into the home’s aesthetic and financial success.

Below, the home’s before and after photos—along with some expert observations—illustrate how the right changes helped to sell this impressive property.

One of the top rules in home renovation: Know charm when you see it—and don’t mess with it!

Instead of revamping this dreamy space, the previous owners focused on making a few small changes, like installing new flooring, to bring it up to date.

“The flooring change was a welcome addition. Parquet flooring is out and has been for quite some time. Hardwood floors would be the No. 1 choice for a study. The owner made the right choice going with a rich medium stain,” says real estate agent Bill Gassett, founder of Maximum Real Estate Exposure in Hopkinton, MA.

New windows and clever staging also helped to turn this stodgy study into an elegant office ready for show.

From stuffy to stylish, the living room gets a contemporary upgrade that feels true to the home’s historical roots. By choosing to keep the unique pocket doors, the previous owners were clearly wise to the fact that modernizing a home doesn’t mean doing away with its charm.

“The living room has a much more modern feel with the light gray paint and matching color scheme on the fireplace. The room has gone from having an ’80s feel to a style more in line with what today’s homebuyer wants,” says Gassett.

Arguably the most significant upgrade in this home, the kitchen went from a confused, distracted layout to a cohesive cooking space fit for an ambitious chef.

The mix of white and blue Shaker-style cabinetry helped to pull the room together, Gassett explains. He adds that the addition of the stainless-steel appliances and the pot filler, which are luxury upgrades, suit this upscale kitchen.

Susan Serra, a certified kitchen designer based in Huntington Station, NY, notes the abundance of natural light. The previous owners made the smart decision to keep the existing skylights to accentuate the space.

“This kitchen design has maximized cabinetry for all storage needs, has expansive counter space, and includes professional-size appliances that any serious cook would love to use,” says Serra. “Multiple workstations and a large island provide space for efficient cooking and invite visitors to comfortably gather,” says Serra.

There are very few buyers who wouldn’t be charmed by a breakfast nook. By removing a wall of cabinetry and appliances (that were relocated to another part of the kitchen), the previous owners had plenty of space to build this cozy seating area.

“The nook is fantastic! It has an interesting rustic feel with warm blue paint adorning beadboard wainscoting,” says Gassett.

“A breakfast nook is always a good idea,” says Serra. “Its configuration is conducive to conversation. It’s cozy and great for kids who love to pile in together, but it can also be used as a work-from-home station. The blue shade on the banquette is delightful, and vertical wall boards add a feeling of height, which is always a desired effect.”

This odd space gives way to a luxurious wet bar. While open floor plans are all the rage, the previously wide-open area seemed like a strange kitchen extension. Now clearly delineated from the rest of the kitchen, the wet bar is a space with a purpose.

“It ties in perfectly with the theme of the kitchen. The coffered ceiling was a great touch; it adds a warm feeling to the space,” says Gassett.

“The cabinetry integrated with the molding creates a stunning and custom-built design,” says Serra, noting that the glass doors and brass hardware add a lovely touch of formality to the area. She also loves the practical touches like a centered sink and a built-in wine fridge.

Bringing this bathroom into the 21st century is just one of the effective design moves we see in this home. The owners made the right choice to remove the dated brown tile on the walls and floor and replace it with clean, white drywall and geometric floor tile.

“The work has taken a tired-looking space and made it look more modern and popular. The mixture of black cabinetry with the white and gray of the countertops and flooring is tastefully done,” says Gassett.

The double sink and rain showerhead also add major value to the room.

Steph Coelho is a writer and editor who has covered everything from home design to farming and beyond. She has bylines with Healthline, Hunker, Bob Vila, Washington Post, and more.

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