Phew! It’s hot here again in the northeast. Hope y’all have air-conditioning.
This is a post that I think you’re going to love about a house flip done right.
However, I promise that we are going to continue with the architecture of our homes as we discussed how to get classical architectural proportions perfectly, every time.
And, next we’ll go inside, to look at interior trim, windows, fireplace, etc. I’ve been working on this post ever since Sunday.
Therefore, I am giving an extra amount of time, because it’s an important topic. And, I want to get it right. Or, as right as possible. The reason being, as a lot of things, there’s a lot wrong out there. I mean, a lotta, lotta wrong!
It drives me nuts.
As many of you probably know, many website owners farm out their blogs. They hire young writers (well, maybe they’re writers) who are not professional designers and have not had any training in the field. I am presuming that these “writers” research other blog posts and articles on the internet about the topic.
The result is that there is often a lot of faulty information out there that gets regurgitated from article to article. This blog post hi-lights this issue in a report that appeared in a very well-respected publication.
So, I want this to be decorating advice that you can feel confident will give you a beautiful result.
Well, God came to my rescue with an email today from an old long-distance consult client from five years ago. And, perfect. I’d love to discuss their house flip done right. In addition, it’s connected to much of what we’ve been talking about.
However, the focus here is on the presentation of the home. There is so much written about this topic of home staging for selling purposes; and, conveyed, ahem… on TV that I do not agree with.
I disagree that a home should be stripped neked of any personality, OR personal effects such as family photos and taste-specific decor.
The reason for this is that I believe that a home that appears to be well-loved is far more appealing than a sterile, depersonalized box.
Of course, one wouldn’t want to plaster family photos in every room. And, the decor should be in good taste. To me, that means that it’s in keeping with the style of the home, the area and should feel fresh and inviting.
No, I mean INVITING.
Like, “please buy our home. You know you want to! Because if you do, you’ll be happy just like we are living here.”
Still, it only takes ONE buyer to buy a house.
And, the proof here in this Louisville, Kentucky 1921 charmer is how quickly it sold. From the day the house was listed May 14th 2018 to its closing date, July 3, 2018 was only a matter of SEVEN weeks. That means, that they must’ve had an accepted offer within days of it going on the market.
But, even better is the profit that was made. I have estimated that the profit after all expenses including realtor fees was approximately $85,000.00 and in only 18 months!
Wow! Impressive!!! That is how you do a house flip!
What’s extra cool about this house flip is that the owners Patti and Chris, now, in their 60s went through the same exercise only a few years ago.
In fact, I loved what they did so much, that I did a post about it in September 2016. Since the majority of you reading didn’t see that post, please check it out. Oh, they sold that place super quickly as well and also made a hefty five-figure profit.
The proof is in the puddin’.
And, after you take a gander at their previous digs, please check out Patti and Chris’ daughter, Jessica’s gorgeous home they built four years ago. Jess was one of my last clients before I stopped taking new jobs. Ironically, I had never worked long-distance like this before. Well, it was one of my favorite jobs. Lovely parents, children and grand children.
That brings me to my next point because I’ve gotten some flack for this.
Yes, Patti and Chris are grandparents. But, “Granny Decor” is not about age. You could be 25 and decorate in “granny-style.”
Sure. It is so named because let’s face it, there ARE some grannies who decorate this way. But, definitely not everyone over the age of 55.
As in their previous home, Patti and Chris did a gorgeous job of updating this classic stucco pre-war home. At this moment in time, I don’t have many before images.
I found three of the exterior off of the internet. But, at least you’ll see a dramatic improvement in the landscaping and curb appeal of the home.
But, hang on, I just spoke to Patti. Hooray! I have the before pics now.
Laurel, are you going to show us the house flip?
No. I’m too busy. I have to go and pick the fluff out of my navel.
See ya later. Stay cool. Ba bye.
Geeezzz! Of course, I’m going to show you the house flip!
Besides, I know you guys. You scrolled ahead by the time you read the words “house flip.” lol
No worries. I would’ve scrolled ahead after reading the words, “Hi Everyone.” :]
In addition, kind Patti gave me a ton of information, including that they had an ACCEPTED offer in only THREE days of it going on the market. Now, that’s how you do a house flip!
Let’s first take a look at the home as it looked some time before 2015.
The home is known in this neighborhood called the Highlands as “The Dream House.” The reason, being that the original owner had this built as her dream house. And, nearly 100 years ago. Neither Patti, who’s a realtor or I could come up with a classification for this home which as she explained is full of quirks.
However, it’s not terrible either.
Still, I don’t think that Ben Pentreath would approve of this portico. I’ve been reading his book of what to do and NOT do. And, it is really excellent. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy.
ugh. Nothing is worse than an addition on an old home that is positively screaming
I’M AN ADDITION. I DON’T BELONG HERE. IT WAS A MISTAKE. AND, THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. SEE IF I CARE!
Before Chris and Patti got a hold of this place in 2016 for their house flip, another realtor purchased this house and did the bulk of the updates. Most of them, I think, are very good. Some are excellent.
But, unfortunately, the photos are quite poor. Understatement. And, that’s a problem, too. Maybe there are some better ones somewhere else, but still. Zillow has them up. Good ol’ Zillow. haha
Now, let’s do a comparison to see the changes with house flip one and house flip two by Patti and Chris.
Already, so much better. The previous owner fixed that sad dormer by having it raised up. Although, not classically accurate, I think it’s the best solution, for this situation.
I’m liking what she did with the porch and changing the garage door was a good move. This way, it blends in better with the rest of the house.
She also changed the roof which I’m liking a whole lot better as it’s lighter.
Please, do not put the date and time on your real estate images. ugh.
Can you imagine Sotheby’s Realty having the date/time on their images? Seriously.
What’s worse than a photo with a date/time on it? A photo taken in the evening or at night with the date/time on it. That is… unless it’s a professional photograph and there’s some special reason, like the cool contemporary house in Las Vegas with the incredible view of the Las Vegas strip.
I don’t know why that low curved stone wall is there. Anyone? Oh, wait. I know. It’s like a speed bump to keep the kids from running out into the street. Instead, they’ll break their shins. That should slow them down a bit. Wish we had had one of those back in the day. Very useful, I think.
Speaking of, the “boy,” now 29 is going to be here for a visit any minute! So, so happy!!!
A little overgrown and/or messy. I’m not a gardener. But, this isn’t something I would use to advertise a house for sale. I love how it’s covering everything BUT the neighbor’s satellite dish. haha.
This looks quite nice, however.
Okay, now it’s time to see what Patti and Chris did to the exterior of the house and property to get it ready for their house flip.
Can you believe it? The power of plants! Patti said that Chris did a real number on the landscaping. I’ll say. Just gorgeous!
And, I bet in a few years it’ll be even better. But, case in point. First impressions are everything.
Patti says that it’s now the nicest home in the neighborhood. I have no doubt of that!
Love the green outdoor curtains. They add a lot of class and curb appeal.
Loving the front door area now.
The rear facade is much improved with the addition of new sash windows with divided lights. Thank you very much! So bad to not have windows coordinating. Patti also told me that this part of the house was poorly insulated. But, they fixed that too.
Lovely landscaping off of the rear deck.
An aerial shot of the house and surrounding area. That’s really great to show prospective buyers the entire area. Very smart.
In addition, it looks like these exterior shots were taken at the height of spring-time.
Excellent. In fact, if you are planning or are even thinking of planning on putting your home on the market some time in the near future, this is the best time to take those exterior images. We had the presence of mind to do so, the spring before we put our home on the market and the realtor was so happy to have those pics to use for the listing.
Okay, time to go inside. Isn’t this fun? That was always my favorite part of being an interior designer.
But, like the exterior, we will begin with the previous iteration. Please note that these are the photos that Patti and Chris probably saw and obviously, it didn’t hinder their decision to purchase.
There’s a lesson in that too. In other words, don’t sweat it too much. But still… I don’t think that the previous owner did nearly as well, financially. However, I’m not sure of that, either.
No offense. I’m not the world’s best house keeper. But, why is there an empty box?
Wait. No… Is that the trash that needs to be taken out? Please forgive me. Just reporting what I see.
Night time, fuzzy, dark, date, trash. No!
It’s not terrible, but does look a little tired, IMO. I would’ve changed the pillows, new lamps and gotten a seagrass rug, perhaps. But again, it’s not terrible; as well, the date does match the sofa. That’s a nice touch. :/
However, this is the home that Chris and Patti bought and then fixed up.
In addition, some fresh, white cotton duck slipcovers on all of the furniture would’ve helped to lighten the space and given it a more unified and classier look.
I know. The railing.
Okay, it’s time to see what Patti and Chris did to make this home flip sing!
The contemporary sectional in a pale covering looks fresh and family-friendly.
I told Patti, I had a couple of things to point out and she’s cool with that.
This is only in the interest of making things even better. I think that Patti is extremely talented. Plus, she has not had any training.
I would put the art about 5″-6″ higher up on the wall. And since the ceiling is so high, it would be wonderful if there were nine of these prints.
And, maybe the pillows could be an inch or two larger. For more about throw pillows, click here.
I adore this view. I told Patti that it would be cool if there were bi-fold doors to cover the TV. She liked that idea, as well. I love the home-y touches here.
Normally, I’d face the chairs into the room. Of course, I understand why they are facing the fireplace. :]
As for the fireplace, itself. It’s clear that it’s too big. But, that’s the original gas fireplace and mantel, Patti says. I would love to see a large rectangular mirror. However, the way it is staged is fine.
Painting everything one color is a great way to minimize the fact that the fireplace is too large. There should be at least six inches of breathing room between the mantel and doors.
By the way, the paint color is Benjamin Moore Ivory White 925. And yes, one of the 144 colors in my paint collection.
Love this shot.
Let’s move onto the dining room as it was before the Patti and Chris’ home flip.
This isn’t terrible, except that it is. And, it’s ALL because of the horrendous photography. It’s turning what is probably a lovely dining room into something scary. I guess this drives the point home. No night time photos, please!
Let’s look at Patti and Chris’ home flip dining room.
Oh, how I love this refreshing, teal-blue! I was sure it was one of the Laurel Home Paint Collection colors. It is close to Newburg Green. And, just a little bit more blue than Jack Pine.
Patti says that the wall color is Glidden Superstition.
Love the black contemporary light fixture. I think it’s perfect. Not sure what’s going on with the table top. Maybe if Patti sees this, she’ll explain. It looks like it’s a new top, but not sure what it’s made out of.
I really love this area and the black painted hand-rail is very chic. It is okay to do it differently than the other railings as long as the two aren’t very close together.
Time to go to the kitchen before Patti and Chris’ home flip.
Uh oh… I don’t know what happened. The floor here was stained dark, but not in the other rooms. That should be avoided. If doing a hardwood floor, usually, it’s the same color everywhere. However, this kitchen is pretty separate from the other living areas, so it’s probably okay.
But, aside from the shockingly poor photography, it’s pretty underwhelming, isn’t it? And, it really is better to take photos without the lights on. Or, if on, very dim.
This lighting is way too bright and is not helping matters at all.
And now, for my favorite part of this house flip. And, that’s because it looks terrific and also looks like they did way more than they actually did.
Wow! Don’t you love this! All they did is paint the cabinets, Benjamin Moore Ivory White 925. (One of the Laurel Home beautiful shades of white paint), then they added new hardware and the island. And, then some new furniture and lighting.
But, it looks like a completely different kitchen! That’s the power of well-lit and non-fuzzy photography– plus freshly painted white cabinetry.
This is a good post for fixing up a kitchen without gutting the entire thing.
I really can’t believe that this is the same kitchen. Patti says that she had the banquette made and it is ten feet long!
There are now four bedrooms and an extra bath and a half from the original home. And, in addition there’s a new mother-in-law or rental apartment with a separate entrance on the lower level.
What Patti and Chris did with this exceptional home flip is turn an awkward, quasi-traditional but tired and dated home into a young, new-trad family home.
And, that’s exactly who purchased this home; a young family.
Superb job, Patti and Chris and once again, thank you for sharing your lovely work with me and others.
By the way, Patti says that they have one more home they are currently working on that is late 19th century. Oh, I hope she sends those images my way, one day.
Stay cool guys!
Please check out the newly updated hot sales and also the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. They’ve just added hundreds of new items to the sale. I’ve added a couple of things to the widgets which you can find here.
Love your every post! I’ve been reading nothing else for months,
Wasn’t Nancy Keyes the other beautiful black banister you featured?
I think so. But, I think there have been a few.
Oh Laurel, I just love your posts! You are so knowledgeable and informative and your honest humor really cracks me up!
Thanks so much Ann!
Amazing post! I’m wondering why you prefer not taking any clients at all? No offense, just wondering;) No construction, no ordering etc, just something fun. Why not? I’m asking because I want to go into decorating. But… I don’t want to work already hahaha
I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. Being an interior designer is 10% fun and 90% aggravation.
Always. At least that’s how it was for me.
I did it for 20 years working for myself and four years working for others.
But doing what I’m doing is not easy either, only in a different way.
I can’t do both. I tried and couldn’t sustain it. So, I had to make a choice. It was easy.
I think it’s beautiful and I LOVE its quirkiness! So many homes built today are in subdivisions with 4 home options. I love the older homes & neighborhoods. The quirkiness gives them character.
Love the interior finishing and the landscaping. However, I prefer the original front dormer. It seems more in scale with the house and the angle of the roof. Here in the Midwest, there’s even “historical” architectural precedent for such a small dormer on a cottage – sometimes there’s even just an eyebrow window.
That’s a good point. I don’t mind the new dormer. Yes, it’s a little large, but I feel that the original looks strangely small.
I’m also thinking that it needed to be that high in order for the space to be considered legal living space and not just attic space. I’m not sure the exact figure, but there’s a minimum full-clearance square footage required for the space to be considered living space. That of course, makes a difference when it comes to resale. But, that change was done by the previous owners, not Patti and Chris.
Most real estate photographers use that wide-angle lens that distorts room dimensions. It makes the rooms look weird and unattractive. And when you see the house in person, the dimensions are totally different.
I know and don’t understand it, either.
Wonderful changes overall, all the heart eyes for the dining room color. As a gardener I can’t help but love plants and more plants. The new front steps are a great improvement, but as a person with knee and foot issues I am always curious about how the lack of railings affects people with mobility issues. I can not go down steps comfortably without something to hang on to – and I’m not really limited in my mobility relatively speaking. How on earth would someone with more limitations navigate that entrance?
That’s a very good question. My guess is that they might need to come in through the garage? Or, else arrive with someone to hang onto. Or, the owners could help them come in.
That kitchen looks amazing. They did a great job. I’m curious about the table too. I’m wondering if it’s paint or maybe epoxy.
If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s a solid surface material like Corian or Quartz. But, not sure.
Thank you for another great post. I appreciate the passion you have for helping all of us who are not trained designers learn more. You have a gift for instructing and entertaining.
Thanks so much Les!
What a great looking house!! My 2 cents as a home stager…Don’t ever (EVER!)use a Realtor that doesn’t have a professional photographer to take the photos! The online photos are critical to selling a house today. They say that 98% of people start their search online and will not visit a home with bad photos. You only have 2-3 seconds before they swipe left so the photos have to grab their interest immediately.
And of course, if you use a professional home stager…the photos will look even better 😉
It’s so true! But, one of my other real estate photo pet peeves is a lot of distortion in photos and thankfully, none of these photos have that either. I mean, who are we kidding? In fact, I would be miffed if the house looked considerably different in person! The idea is to get people excited to SEE the house in person. The eye cannot take in an entire room with one vantage point, so why should a camera be able to do that?
Ironically, the photographer our realtor hired did use an insane amount of distortion. He also used a technique so that you can see clearly out the window. In addition, the resolution could’ve been sharper. However, it didn’t hurt anything because our place showed very nicely and there was no competition in our price range.
This post proves that good photography really SELLS the product.
I am gobsmacked with how much work went into the new landscaping…this is a jaw-dropping number of new and large plants and trees. It will require a lot of maintenance in the future, but it does look great now. My hat is off to this couple, especially if they did the landscaping themselves. Wow, just….wow.
I don’t know Chris’ background, but it appears that he has a lot of experience with this sort of thing.
Laurel – As with many well done renovation/staging efforts, the photos look fabulous. But for some of us looking for a new “home”, walking in a door and having a sense that personality of the place has been erased sets off staginess alarms. I point to the white sofa. How did these become de rigueur? For folks with kids, this is a room that cannot be used or which bears the expense of frequent upholstery cleaning. Yet this is what we are encouraged to want and shamed if we do not “oooh!” over. Are white sofas merely an expression of the hope for unlimited resources? — a “Look! I’m so rich I can buy a new white sofa when the wine glass tips” aspiration?
You do a lovely job of helping folks discover the looks they love. But it saddens me that popular design culture is based on shaming people for not conforming to the staged look — that such charming home features as natural wood trim or cabinetry and distinctive historical features must compulsively be neutralized by paint and whitey-ness so as not to shock a TV-zombified buying segment. God help us. –Ro
Okay, a few things. I adore white! It’s my favorite color. And, it is quite appropriate for this large airy front room. The other rooms do have more color on the walls, but I didn’t show everything because the best is already a little long.
The other thing is that I raised to grimy little boys and had white walls AND white upholstery. Actually, the cat is who wrecked everything. But, that has nothing to do with the color. Looking at the sectional, it might very well be a crypton fabric. That stuff is amazing and very easy to keep clean. There is a post here where they spilled red wine and other known stain makers. Not a problem at all.
However, you don’t have to have white furniture. I’ve done numerous sectionals in various shades of beige, sage green and dark blue. All of them looked great in their rooms.
Hi Laurel, as always, terrific and informative post! You didn’t mention it, but it appears that they changed the granite countertops in the kitchen. Or perhaps it’s just the lighting. I’d
love to repaint my kitchen cabinets and get new countertops, but I’m wondering whether my granite can be removed without damaging the cabinets. Perhaps some of your wonderful readers have experience with this.
Actually, the countertops are the same. Yes, it’s the lighting. But, I thought they were different too. About the question, I’m sorry, but would prefer to avoid asking questions of other readers. The reason being that the comments start to become a forum. And, since I have to moderate everything, it could get out of hand with people asking each other questions. Hope that you’ll understand. However, I’ve had clients who’ve changed their counters with no problem that I’m aware of. I recommend that you consult with a local professional, to see what’s possible.
This is a beautiful makeover of a home with lots of character and charm. Since we will be selling our dream home in a year two, this post is another reminder to me that when viewing homes for sale, to open your design eyes so you don’t miss the potential. My Art professor was always saying, “open our eyes and see.” Your blog posts are a constant reminder to really see our rooms so we can manifest their full potential. You have helped me tremendously with information you have conveyed in your post. I have read them all now and have reread and reread.
That makes my day to hear that you’re rereading posts! Thank you so much!
Your point on the photography is well taken. Most of us know an amateur photographer who would come over and snap some pics for us in exchange for a beautiful home-cooked meal!
Patti and Chris are super talented and obviously unafraid of a lot of hard work. They managed to retain all the charm and get rid of all the fussiness and outdated things. I think they did an amazing job, and I’m going to steal their idea to paint my banister black. It’s just the update my house needs, and I would never have thought of it if you hadn’t shown that photo. Thanks, Laurel!
There’s another black railing on here somewhere, but I’m not sure where. But, yes, I think it’s a great look.
What a darling little house, even with all its quirks. I love that it was someone’s dream home with so many beautiful little areas (that side porch! that curved railing over the quaint little living room!) And early 20th century..sigh.
I especially love what they did with that dining room–so fresh and inviting. And the kitchen redux makes me lean more and more towards painting my hickory cabinets somewhere down the line…Well, I love the house. Thanks for another educational and thoughtful post.
Thanks so much Connie!
I think they did a really nice job on the house, it’s totally adorable
Even though Ben may not approve.
Also I think One could tell if it had been done on the cheap, as the flippers on hgtv.
Cheapness tends to scream too.
ps I’m gonna guess you have a southern bff
cause you keep saying y’all, and now neked and proof is in the puddin…Sugar! 😉
I grew up in Evansville, IN which is on the other side of the Ohio River from Henderson, KY. In fact, Evansville is further south than Louisville, KY. The southern influence is very keen there. So, no, that language is all me. However, I did lose my southern Indiana twang. I used to go out for commercials and they told me I needed to lose it. So, I took diction lessons. It worked!
Ben’s disapproval would’ve been with the original home for there are some elements that he would advise against. However, I think that what has been done since then, has helped balance the home much better. Just wanted to make that clear.
Hello Laurel, There are a number of great things about this renovation, but I have a few concerns. One is the term “flipping”, which to me connotes a quick and cheap cosmetic job that possibly uses inferior materials and glosses over problems (such as a previous fire or serious leak) in the name of making a buck. For that reason if I were buying a house I would prefer one that had not been “flipped”.
The other problem is one of mysterious financial context. We do not know how much was paid for this house, or how much the renovations cost, either in dollar terms or percentage of value terms. This would help us put this into perspective to see if our own abodes could afford this type of spiffing up, or if it could be recouped in an increased sales price. An $80,000 reno means very little to a million dollar house, but a lot to a $125,000 one.
I suppose that there are house flippers who do it on the cheap and in an unethical way and those who do not. However, after working with them and their daughter feel quite strongly that these renovations are a labor of love. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be posting it! But, since the term house flipping is a part of the common vernacular, I felt it was a good search term. After-all, the goal is for folks to find the post in a google search. And, I don’t know any other way to say it.
I guess I didn’t see the need to list the numbers since that wasn’t the main focus of the post in my mind. But, it is a matter of public record that they purchased the house for $430,000 and sold it for $600,000. They put about 45k into it. I didn’t show everything they did. Then I figured about 40k-45k would’ve gone towards realtor fees and closing costs. That’s how I arrived at about 80k profit. However, they are realtors themselves, so they may not have had that much in realtor fees. Not sure how they worked that. There may have been a different selling agent. So, they might’ve made more than 80k.
All-in-all, what I think they did is a win-win all the way around.
Plus, I wanted to show the huge difference that good photography makes and how bad photos could be a hindrance.
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