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FOLIO LINE FOLIO LINE M c C l a t c h y - Tr i b u n e

The little things make a big

difference, whether you’re selling
your home or staying put
BY STACY DOWNS much more than a flathead
McClatchy Newspapers screwdriver can be major mood
boosters. One Friday, I came
he tiniest home home from work and saw my
improvement can make a husband had installed a new
huge difference. Even brushed-nickel doorknob.
replacing a dumb old I was ecstatic. “Goldie,” my
doorknob. nickname for the tired but BEFORE
“A doorknob is a preview of brassy doorknob, had finally
what’s to come inside the bitten the dust. She had been
house,” says Susan Fehlig, the first part of my house I had
design consultant and owner of resolved to get rid of when we
Turn Key Interiors in Leawood, had moved in seven years ago. AFTER
Kan. “If it’s in rough shape or if But bigger projects had always
it’s out-of-date, the rest of the grabbed our attention, and I had
home might be, too. When a learned to live with her, as
Realtor is fumbling around to many homeowners do with their
open the front door, potential uglies.
buyers already are making up However, Goldie had always
their minds. And the same goes bugged me. She wasn’t gold in
for guests.” the sense of Donald Trump
The good news is that a bling or in the up-and-coming
doorknob is so simple to sophisticated brushed gold
replace that you needn’t possess hardware finish. Goldie was
the skill set of a do-it-yourself shiny in parts, worn out in oth-
weekend warrior. And it’s an ers and definitely clashed with
inexpensive project that certain- the fresh apple-green paint
ly doesn’t involve taking out a inside the house.
loan. In retrospect, it makes sense
This type of upgrade is that Goldie and the other uglies
cheap and easy. Make “dump were bothersome, because I 1. Buy the doorknob.
the frump” your rallying cry. touched them and looked at
2. Drop off the knob with your house
Think about updating the them every day.
key at a locksmith who will make sure
uglies. You know, that bad As a home stager and design
your existing key fits the new lock.
brassy fireplace screen or those consultant, Fehlig looks past the
beat-up kitchen cabinet pulls. “house blindness” many of us 3. Remove the old doorknob. If the
And, of course, that unattractive develop and sees a home envi- mounting screws are not visible, look
front doorknob. ronment with a fresh eye. Paint for an indent on the trim plate. Inserting
“It doesn’t matter how big or is her top suggestion. She tells a screwdriver under the plate will pop it
small a project is, but you feel homeowners to paint switch loose, revealing the two mounting bolts.
empowered,” says Krista plates and air-return vents the 4. Install the new doorknob.
Williamson, owner of colors of the wall. She freshens
K2Workshops in Overland up brass lamp bases (the color
Park, Kan., a home-improve- of Goldie) with paint made
ment business that specializes specifically for metal. ■ Cost: A new doorknob starts at
in teaching homeowners how to “It saves money to try to about $25. The locksmith’s work
fix electrical and plumbing save the hardware if you can,” costs between $5 and $10.
problems. “It sounds cliché, Fehlig says. “I use oil-rubbed
■ Tools required: A screwdriver.
but you feel proud because bronze or brushed nickel colors
you’re taking charge. I love it of paint, depending on the ■ Time: 15 minutes or so to install.
when my family tours visitors house.”
around the house and points out Fehlig suggests updating the
things I’ve done.” uglies in the kitchen and bath-
These uncomplicated rooms first since they’re the
upgrades that don’t require rooms that sell a home.
TA M M Y L J U N G B L A D / T H E K A N S A S C I T Y S TA R / M C T

INTERIOR Window treatments: Ditch the dingy

Towel bars: Replace beat-up bathroom sheers for some new, cleaner drapes.
hardware with more classic finishes EXTERIOR
such as brushed nickel. House numbers: Replace the small
Furniture knobs: An old chest of black old-fashioned numbers that are
drawers can look fresh and fun with difficult to read.
new knobs. Light fixtures: Make sure they coordi-
Kitchen hardware: New pulls and nate with the style of the house and
knobs can update a kitchen without illuminate your new house numbers.
expensive new cabinets. Mailboxes: A modern-style mailbox
Lamp shades: Drum shades offer a can update a house.
fresh look. Landscaping: Some new mulch and a
Paint: Fresh paint, in an updated color, few flowers really help with curb
can give a room a whole new look. appeal.

TA M M Y L J U N G B L A D / T H E K A N S A S C I T Y S TA R / M C T

In dark-colored rooms, paint the switch plate the same color as the walls so TA M M Y L J U N G B L A D / T H E K A N S A S C I T Y S TA R / M C T
that it doesn’t stand out.
Replacing house numbers and light fixtures can give a new look to
your house’s exterior.

Not easily found, and that’s the point.

PROJECT DETAILS Painted switch plates blend into the wall, a ■ Anthropologie sells vintage- Order through stores to avoid shipping
good thing because you don’t want to draw inspired hardware such as furniture costs, www.restorationhardware.com.
■ Cost: A paintable wooden pulls, www.anthropologie.com.
switch plate with a single switch too much attention to switch plates because ■ Rejuvenation sells classic interior
starts at $2. they’re not a pretty focal point. ■ Chiasso offers modern address and exterior lighting and hardware
Standard beige or white plastic switch numbers, mailboxes and towel bars, according to the style and period of
■ Tools required: A screwdriver. plates can make a room look unfinished www.chiasso.com. the home, www.rejuvenation.com.
■ Time: Five minutes or less because they seem to jump right out of the ■ Lutron makes modern dimmer ■ And don’t forget Home Depot
after it’s painted the same color wall — especially in a room painted in vivid switches, www.lutron.com. (www.homedepot.com) and Lowes
as your walls. or dark colors. Those types of switch plates ■ Restoration Hardware sells classic (www.lowes.com) for home
also show dirt and fingerprints. furniture and cabinet hardware, switch improvement classes and all kinds of
plates and address numbers. Tip: materials.