By Melissa Locker
July 02, 2018
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"It was an absolute mess, but that's exactly what made the house unique," recalls Martha Jordan* about the first time she and her husband saw the home they bought in Chapel Hill's historic Gimghoul neighborhood. "The overgrown, unkempt garden gave it a certain mystique," she says. This initial visit would have put off most buyers, but the Jordans were totally sold onthe idea of turning this 1930s Colonial Revival into a permanent home for themselves (both Durham, North Carolina, natives) and their three children. It would take work—nearly two years—but there was a spirit in this worn-out house that just felt right to them. To amp up the home's 2018 functionality, they turned to architect Rodney Ward, who created a well-disguised 700-square-foot addition and tweaked the layout to make it feel more expansive. When it came to the interior, the Jordans called upon an old friend, Jessica Stambaugh, who had just started a Brooklyn-based design firm with Danielle Walish. "We allowed the family's personality to drive the overall decoration of the house, but we came up with subtle ways to bring in the home's original 1930s character," says Stambaugh. As the collaboration between the designers and the couple continued over daily FaceTime calls and back-and-forth visits, the older house took on a fresh and comfortably modern look. "If you can't find me, I'm likely sitting in the living room reading a magazine, writing out bills, or hiding from the children when they come down the stairs," says Jordan. All of those site visits to Chapel Hill also convinced Stambaugh to uproot and move to Nashville. "This project was my introduction to the South. The pace of everyday life and sense of hospitality really appealed to me," she says.Get the Look: Sherwin-Williams Creamy (SW 7012) and Farrow & Ball Off-Black (57)*The names of the homeowners have been changed to respect their desire for anonymity.
Ngoc Minh Ngo; Styling: Ed Gallagher

If you're trying to sell your home for the maximum amount of money, try painting your front door black. A new study from real estate site, Zillow, shows that it can help a home sell for more than $6,000 over its expected sales prices.

For their 2018 Paint Color Analysis, researchers at Zillow looked at more than 135,000 photos of homes sold around the country. They wanted to know if buyers were willing to spend more on homes with certain paint colors, when compared to similar homes with white walls. The results are in and homes with black or charcoal gray front doors sell for $6,271 more than expected, the highest sales premium of all the room and color combinations analyzed.

If you come from a long line of red front door people, there's no need to break with tradition, because there are two other color combinations that can help your home sell for more. First, periwinkle blue bathrooms can sell for as much as a $6,000 premium. While so-called tuxedo kitchens, or kitchens where the upper and lower cabinets are painted in two different colors like white cabinets with navy or black kitchen island, can ratchet up a sales price for a $1,547 premium.

WATCH: Paint Your House This Color and It Could Sell For Almost $5,000 More

If you're painting before selling, also consider adding a splash of color to your otherwise neutral home. "While cool, neutral wall colors like tan and light blue are still popular, we're seeing a notable shift in home design where pops of color – particularly in darker hues of blue and gray to even black -- are becoming increasingly popular," says Kerrie Kelly, a Zillow home design expert. "Contrasting colors, especially in kitchens and home exteriors add interest and dimension to a room that plays very well in listing photos and videos."

If you only have time to undertake one project before putting your home on the market, though, painting the front door will you give you the most bang for your buck. "For a seller, painting a front door is one the least expensive home prep projects, but also one that can have a powerful impact on a home's sale price," says Kelly.

Now that your color palate is picked out, all that's left to do is figure out how to spend your extra $6,000.