Rental Rescue Packed With Color

Dr. Carolyn Bannister lives in a spacious 5,000-square-foot home in Stone Mountain, Ga., but when the anesthesiologist came across a potential income property opportunity just one mile from the Atlanta hospital where she works, she couldn't pass it up. The 1,300-square-foot two bedroom, two bathroom condo built in 1985 seemed like the perfect temporary home for medical students and residents to avoid commutes and live comfortably with affordably priced rent. The medical professional comments, "Buying the condo seemed like the best of both worlds: Students and residents could afford a great-looking, temporary home less than a mile from campus, and I could generate extra income."

Although the property was listed at an excellent price, offered a great layout for renters, and was conveniently located, it would need some serious design work to get it ready for new tenants.

After setting on a timeline of two weeks, Carolyn stuck with a budget of $10,000 to tackle updating the shared living spaces by doing the following:

  • Tearing out wall-to-wall carpet and replacing it with dark birch engineered floors
  • Adding architecture to the space by cladding the fireplace wall with horizontal whitewashed pine planks
  • Installing pendant lights on dimmers
  • Updating an entire wall of dated 1980s mirror with decorative trim
  • Installing a flat-screen TV
  • Covering the windows with custom draperies and blinds
  • Painting the walls in warm earth tones

In addition to the $10,000 remodeling budget, the doctor would also furnish the property with timeless, gender-neutral pieces to appeal to male and female tenants.

While most of the remodel was fun, there were a few hiccups along the way. Originally intent on keeping the color palette earthy and rich, Carolyn envisioned the living room painted in a rust tone of orange, one with brown undertones. "After all, the condo is indeed a rental and I didn't want to go too out there with color choices ," Carolyn notes. "When my designer suggested a warm rust tone on the walls, I expected to come home and see a brown tone with hints of orange but instead it was full-on pumpkin. The living room is definitely orange. Call it whatever shade you like but it sure is orange."

Although the color was intense at first, Carolyn was reassured by her designer that it would take on a toned-down appearance once furnished with more neutral-toned pieces. Once the furniture started to arrive, her color-related concerns quickly subsided.

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