When our condo was selected to be on HGTV’s (Home and Garden Televison) ‘Beachfront Bargain Hunt’ it was an opportunity my husband and I could not pass up. Being on the show meant thousands of people would be able to see our condo that was on the market at the time. The only problem was the tv shoot was in only 3 days and our 200sq ft. balcony was still an unfinished mess of concrete and broken-up tiles. Here is how we managed to turn a interior design disaster into a real estate gem with some great tips from our local Home Depot that didn’t break our bank.
My husband, our 3 year old son, Isaac, and I headed to our local Home Depot and talked with the associates in the paint department. They have tons training knowledge to help you complete almost any home improvement job. We ended up using a simple and inexpensive technique called concrete paint. A good concrete paint has special properties that treats your concrete making it weatherproof and reduces cracking. With outdoor paints you can also choose almost any color to add to the paint. So customizing just the right color quick and easy. To apply, just as you would paint a wall in your house, use a primer first and then the concrete stain, the only difference is your painting the the floor. It is a stylish and inexpensive alternative to linoleum or tile, for a basement or outdoor deck or patio. When choosing our paints we took into consideration the price and looked for the most inexpensive. Most products carried by large stores are all very good quality, so check the less expensive items and you will save big. We found a paint made by a lesser known company but with similar quality as the name brand labels, for only $19.99 a gallon. We added a primer that was on sale for $9.99. Large paint rollers and box of heavy duty trash bags completed our shopping list and we headed home to paint.
The only problem with painting outdoors in Miami is the weather. Usually, November weather in Miami is very nice, not too hot or humid and not too much rain. On the day of painting this was not the case. Huge rolling black storm clouds pushed by near hurricane force winds confronted us as we began the task of clearing off the patio bright and early at 7am. Now picture de-cluttering the balcony of plants, outdoor furniture, toys and bicycles as palm fronds sway manically back and forth while the rain begins to fall. Not fun. Finally with the balcony cleared off but the weather getting worse, we were forced wait for the storm to pass before we could begin to paint. Unfortunately, the storm raged on for a solid 8 hours. This was the point that you would call the ‘breakdown’ for me. If you have ever done any kind of home do it yourself project there comes a time where your nerves fray as you struggle to see how you are going to be able to complete your project with your sanity intact. I was freaking out because we had HGTV coming to the condo in 13 hours with cameras, lights, crew, and a potential buyer. We had to get the balcony finished. But breaking down the large task into smaller jobs really helped. Instead of looking at the big picture of the finished product of our newly painted patio. I focused on one smaller job at a time, for example organizing all painting tools and clean-up items and having them easily accessible.
All we could do was get down to work, so we turned the radio up and got down to it. The first coat of primer went down using rollers with long handles, all the while we were obsessively checking the rumbling sky to see if the rain would start up again, luckily the clouds were clearing. The primer was dry in 2 hours and the first coat of the terra cotta colored concrete paint went down. It was gorgeous.The color of our exterior walls went so well with the new paint. It was a perfect accent color to tie it all together and bring the patio back to life. With second coat drying, we ordered pizza for dinner, did bath time with a very tired Isaac, and made it an early night. We had a very busy day ahead of us. The film crew would be at our door at 10 am and the prospective buyers at noon. We would have time to replace all the patio furniture and our small collection of plants in the morning then do fast once over for the rest of the condo as it was already deep cleaned the day we got the call 3 days prior from HGTV, thankfully one less thing to do.
The first check on the balcony in the morning was a giant relief, the rain had held off and the floor looked amazing. We set to putting all of our furnishings and decor back onto the patio. Once we were finished we headed back into the house to do a fast all over clean for the interior. The Beds were made, counters wiped down, floors swept and wet mopped, and the windows re-cleaned. The stress one feels when other people are coming to your home for the first time is great, but adding television cameras for a national audience, to say I was stressed was an understatement. But as ten o’clock approached our place was gleaming and I was so proud. With some inspiration, organization, and effort we had transformed our broken up patio into an outdoor haven. The crew arrived soon after that and we left the producers and our realtor in charge.
The shoot went great and our newly redone balcony floor was the star of the show. I was so proud that we had completed a interior design redo at a bargain price that looked so fabulous. Our condo didn’t sell that day but the feeling of accomplishment meant more to me than any sale could. Now I know I can do a ‘DIY’ (do it yourself) at a fraction of the cost with a ultra-luxe result while adding value to our property.