The Split Level Flip – Design & Staging

This house had been a rental for many years before the owner decided to sell. It was important to stick to a very tight budget to get the most out of the sale during the uneasy Covid market.

After consulting with the realtor, it was determined that putting in about $10-15k for renovations would turn an additional profit of ~$30k – well worth the investment.

The home wasn’t in the best shape and the kitchen was extremely outdated, so the owner and their contractor put in a lot of elbow grease to fix up and clean up each room of the home.

Unshelf Design was brought in to help determine the allocation of funds as they pertained to designing with the biggest impact for sale. We not only helped them decide where to put their reno budget and what areas could just be ‘spruced up’ to save money, but also planned and sourced affordable designs for countertops, backsplashes, cabinets, paint, etc.

The house was unrecognizable after the change.

After (Listing Photos)

Major Changes:

Entire Home

  • Painted each and every wall a beautiful neutral colour (“Drizzle Grey” – Siko brand, from Lowes) to eliminate ugly yellow/beige walls throughout entire home (including in closets)
  • Installed flush mount lighting throughout the entire house
  • Painted all doors a fresh white
  • Painted and dapped all baseboards and trim
  • Painted ceiling white


  • Replaced outdated RED cabinets with clean and budget-friendly white IKEA cabinets (spraying was a slightly cheaper option, but the outdated style of the cupboard doors would not have modernized the space enough for the top desired sale price).
  • Refreshed the existing island by cutting down the second tier to create one large surface with 12″ overhang for bar stools.
  • Cut down and turning non-functional island pony-wall into a full L-shape with built-in shelves for below-counter microwave and storage.
  • Added wainscotting on all sides of the island.
  • Matching new IKEA hardware throughout.
  • Painted island a modern blue to POP.
  • Replaced dirty outdated tile and laminate (yes, both) countertops with new Cararra quartz countertops (from Calgary Granite) on both main and island areas (unfortunately, the slab was cut slightly too large around the pillars so we had to add a white subway tile to cover the gap).
  • Added beautiful glass and marble-style backsplash (from The Tile Box) to keep the small area clean and minimal and allowing the island to be the statement.
  • Purchased new (to us) black and stainless steel stove off FB Marketplace to replace dirty old white stove (to match the black fridge and dishwasher we needed to keep for budget purposes)
  • Added matching Martha Stewart Chandeliers above the island and the kitchen sink (scored from Restore).
  • Installed additional flooring to fill areas previously bare (thank goodness they had some spare flooring left).

Dining Room

  • Spray painted outdated dining room chandelier black to match the kitchen appliances – carrying the black-accent theme throughout the home.
  • Added dimmer switch for mood lighting.

Master Bedroom

  • Replaced stained/tattered beige closet curtains with heavy white drapes (scored from FB Marketplace) and steamed them.

Second Bedroom

  • Painted closet doors fresh white
  • Added chandelier (scored from FB Marketplace)

Main Bathroom

  • Added light blue shower curtain

Fire Place Room

  • Resurfaced outdated brick/faux-wood fireplace with stunning cultured stone to match and downplay the existing flooring (Thanks to the great selection at I-XL) from top to bottom.
  • Spray-painted brass to be glossy black (REALLY modernizing it).


  • Painted cement floor and walls light grey throughout
  • Changed out the broken window (Thanks to the quick turnaround by Spencer at Big Rig Glass & Mirrors)
  • Spray-painted brass ceiling light black
  • Painted worn-down wooden stairs light grey.


  • Repainted all white fence and gate
  • Stained deck and stairs
  • Weeded existing gardens and planted all new flowers and plants
  • Created new shade gardens with cedar trim where grass would not easily grow
  • Painted ceiling of gazebo white to cover ugly particle board
  • Took off trellis and old cupboard doors previously covering openings
  • Took out unstable pallet fence and added chain link gate at end of property for buyers can store toys within a fenced area, visually expanding yard.
  • Weeded added sod where necessary.
  • Added flowers and hanging baskets throughout

I am sure there was more but that those are the big things.

After (Details)

And then of course… we staged. We staged the main floor and one master bedroom. We do not normally stage vacant properties, but the client had their own furniture to move in, and we pulled from our Decor warehouse to get the job done.

The result?

  1. A total transformation.
  2. A list price of $414,960 instead of $380,000 if sold as-was.
  3. PLUS, a solid 16 showings the day after listing.
  4. Sold on the 3rd day on market!!!!

Before House Flip