On “No Demo Reno,” designer Jennifer Todryk knows that many homeowners put off renovations because they’re expensive. But she has solutions to keep budgets in check—and even make money purging old stuff!
In the episode “Work Hard Play Hard,” Todryk meets Latasha Sims, whose daughter Simone is leaving for college in a year. So the two want to make their last months together special, which would help if their Dallas, TX, home felt a bit more comfortable and functional.
“Their house is kind of lacking style,” Todryk says. “They said that they don’t see themselves in their design and there’s no cohesive look whatsoever.”
Todryk says she can completely make over the Sims’ cramped kitchen and personality-free family room in seven weeks for $75,000.
Meanwhile, the Hogan family, which includes eight-year-old twin boys, needs their playroom reorganized so it’s not a mess all the time and meets both son’s needs. They’re giving Todryk two to three weeks and $8,000 to 9,000 to accomplish this.
Here’s how Todryk pulls off both renovations, with plenty of smart advice on how to save (and make) money yourself.
Purge popcorn ceilings
Everyone knows that bumpy popcorn ceilings should be banished.
“They’re adding years to my life!” says Latasha.
But to do it right, it’s a little more complicated than climbing up on a ladder and having at it with a water spray bottle and a scraper. That white crumbly stuff often has asbestos in it, which is dangerous—and it makes a huge mess.
The first step, according to Todryk, is covering the floors. In this case, however, they’re replacing all the floors. So they work on the ceiling before they put the new floors in and it’s no big deal.
The second part is suiting up. Todryk wears white plastic disposable coveralls with a hood to cover her head, a protective vest, goggles and gloves. It looks ridiculous, but it works.
The hard part is the actual removal.
“When removing popcorn ceilings, you need a paint rig—essentially a paint sprayer—but we’ve put water in it,” she says. “You’re spraying up on the ceiling, you’re letting it moisten so it detaches itself from the drywall, and then you simply scrape it off.”
It may sound complicated, but it only cost $10,000 to finally get rid of the dated ceilings on the entire first floor.
Stage your furniture before selling it
“Latasha and Simone did not have good things to say about the couch, because it eats up the entire space. I feel like I can get them a better couch,” says Todryk. “And because of that, I posted the couch for sale and it looks like we’re going to be able to sell it.”
Todryk is always all about reselling furniture, cabinets, and appliances to save her clients cash, but in this episode, she gives us a clever idea for getting the most money possible for used items.
She doesn’t just photograph the sofa as is—she stages it. She moves it into the Sims’ gorgeous teal-colored office, where almost any furniture would look elegant. Once the pics are posted online, the couch sells in no time.
“I love selling items because I love getting my clients more money in their budget that they’re not expecting.” she says.
Matching brass is more complicated than you think
“There’s, like, 89 shades of brass,” says Todryk as she tries to match the pulls, knobs and fixtures in the kitchen. “Unless you’re getting true, un-lacquered brass, if it’s not made by the same company, you get a different sheen across the board.”
The problem is, the company that makes the pulls she likes does not make knobs. As she holds up the rose-gold pulls she’s selected, the knobs from another manufacturer look yellow next to them, and the antique brass knobs “just look dirty,” she says.
“Brass is amazing until it sucks,” she mutters.
In the end she likes the pulls better anyway, so ends up going with all pulls, no knobs.
Luxury vinyl plank flooring is a no-brainer to save money
“Light hardwoods are really on trend,” says Todryk as she shops for flooring to replace the grouted tile in the Sims’ kitchen and adjacent family room. “They lighten up the space, they make it look bigger, look brighter. When the light hits it, it just reflects that sunlight.”
But if it looks like hardwood, it doesn’t necessarily have to be hardwood she notes as she selects luxury vinyl planks.
“I love it so much because you get this really light, white oak floor,” Tydryk says. “But you get the water resistance and the other really good qualities that LVP has.”
Make sure kids have enough storage
“I think the biggest thing with kids’ spaces is they have to have easy organization,” says Todryk when discussing the playroom project with the Hogans. “Whenever you say, ‘OK, go clean up your room,’ they know what to do, they know where to put it, they can keep up with it.”
She also admits, “I’m speaking from experience—if it’s too much, they cry.”
As they examine the playroom, Todryk tells the Hogans, “I think the biggest issue is that you lack storage space. Like how do they clean up and pick up if they don’t really have anywhere to put the stuff? We need to get some shelves in here. That way the boys can pick up.”
She has a massive storage cabinet built with bins and shelving space, so the boys can just dump all their toys in and be done.
How do these no-demo renovations end up?
At the Hogans’ house, both parents and kids are elated. Who wouldn’t be when the playroom includes a climbing wall, a swinging rope, a basketball net, a table for crafts and homework, and that dazzling storage cabinet? In fact, the dad is so thrilled he wants to re-locate his home office there!
Over at the Sims’ home, the mother-daughter duo is so pleased they tear up.
“This is a huge opportunity and I struggled with whether we wanted to do this or not,” Latasha admits. “I struggle with big decisions, with spending lots of money. But this is worth it. You know, you work hard, you play hard, and now it’s time to play.”