Playing dress-up: When a little goes a long way

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This four-bedroom, four-bath brick home is a beautiful property in a perfect location. It's also just the place for a fantasy update. Photo: Christian Hommel This four-bedroom, four-bath brick home is a beautiful property in a perfect location. It's also just the place for a fantasy update. Photo: Christian Hommel

James and Rob Robertson of Robertson Renovation think this four-bedroom, four-bath brick home is a beautiful property in a perfect location that’s convenient to everything. It’s also just the place for a fantasy update, because some upgrades and small changes could turn a nice home into a great one.

1760 Lambs Rd. $499,9000, MLS #517875

Interior finishes: The Robertsons would start with the kitchen, which they say is very functional, but needs to be updated. They’d remove the cabinet doors and change the hardware, including hinges, knobs, and pulls. They also suggest sanding and painting the doors and boxes white or a lighter color, which would open up the kitchen and give it a much brighter feel while also updating it. This should be done to the ceiling and the surrounding walls, too. In addition, they’d remove the ceiling fan and add recessed lights. Painting the exposed beams, built-in cabinets, and trim in the great room would bring it up to date. If you wanted to add a touch of depth to the beams, you could install crown molding to the inside. In the basement, remove the carpet and replace it with tile, and paint all the paneling and install recessed lighting. Budget: $3,800-19,500

Site work: The Robertsons suggest regrading the driveway and adding crushed stone, and creating a guest parking area with a new front walk. The front yard should also be regraded to provide positive drainage away from all sides of the house. They’d also add new landscaped planting beds to coordinate with the new guest parking and entry walk, upgrade the driveway, and rework all the downspout drains to be sure they are open and drain to daylight. Budget: $10,000-15,000

Exterior work: The exterior of the house could greatly benefit from a back deck and patio, the Robertsons said, because the yard is close to level, so it would make a terrific place to spend time with family and friends. The home’s mortar and cracked bricks should be patched and repaired, and the rotten gable end vents need to be replaced, as does some of the cornice. The Robertsons also suggest that the existing two-story porch be removed and replaced with a single-story, hipped porch roof with columns, which would make for a more attractive farmhouse look. After you’ve removed the existing porch, rework the front roof pitch and rafters, and install a new architectural shingle roof with new flashing for the entire house. Remove the old and worn pressure-treated deck and replace it with landscaping. If it’s in the budget, paint the existing brick and install new shutters with proper hinges and shutter dogs. Budget: $16,300-56,300

Insulation, air sealing, and moisture control: Replace all the existing single pane sash windows with new insulated glass “sash packs.” The Robertsons would also clean out the crawl space, and install poly on the dirt floor and insulation on the interior walls to create a sealed and conditioned crawl space. They’d add blown cellulose insulation to attics to provide R-38 minimum, and caulk and spray foam all voids and cracks. Budget: $15,000-20,000

Mechanical systems HVAC: Remove existing baseboard electric heat and install a new single zone-ducted heat pump system in the basement to supply the first floor and basement and a second zone in the attic to supply the second floor. Electrical: Add new light fixtures in most locations and additional lighting and receptacle circuits as needed. The Robertsons said an examination of the quality of the existing service is essential, and this may reveal additional work. Plumbing: All bathrooms need to be totally replaced, and the new bathroom layout and configuration will depend on the owner’s needs. Budget: $50,000-60,000

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