Sunday, February 19, 2012

Flipping for the Lake… not so common areas!

I will re-iterate that I have been kinda lazy of late. I have not moved forward on any projects lately. So many ideas but so little follow through. I do this to myself! I get bogged down by so many ideas that I get frozen and can't decide what to start on or which direction I will actually go with each project. Since I am in a "frozen" mode, I will revisit another one of my flip houses. My Flipping for the Lake project was my second reno project and the first on which I partnered with my Mom Gigi. We found a really great house with some serious untapped potential in a part of town known as Lake Highlands. This is a very popular area of town so we knew we had great resale potential on this one. I want to talk today about the common areas of this home - the two living areas, dining room and kitchen. Here are the before, during and after pics.
Kitchen Before
April 2008 026

Kitchen During
April 2008 052
Kitchen After
Kitchen to DR
As you can see this Kitchen had to be gutted. We are very purposeful when looking these flip houses over. If the craftsmanship is there we keep cabinets and such. This time it was not. These cabinets just felt shabby and not well put together. It was more particle board than solid wood so out they all had to go! We did go with custom solid-wood cabinetry that was made for the space. We also used a contractor on this house - our first time doing this. In the end we were very unhappy with this contractor. He was every bad cliché you hear about contractors! He and his sub-contractors would show up while we were at the house and get busy working while we were there and they would promptly leave soon after we would have to leave the house. We would return to the house the next day wondering why more work was not done... We got suspicious very quickly and decided to "leave" one day. We actually drove around the block and watched the house where they could not see us. Sounds psycho I know but there was a purpose. We caught them red handed leaving when they thought we were gone. We had paid them too much money to fire them at this point so either my mom or I was at the house as often as possible to make sure work was actually being done. It got better for while.... but we became fulltime babysitters of full grown men for months. We were happy with most of the products that ended up in the house... except the paint on the cabinets. It looked amateur to me but at this point we decided the house needed to go on the market as it was and I was wrong - most people loved the cabinet finish. We also had a tumbled marble backsplash installed with brown marble accent tiles. We went with stainless steel appliances and Tropical Brown Granite countertops. As you can see on the floor we went with an Espresso Finished Engineered Wood floor throughout most of the house. We had can lights and a new pendant light and chandelier installed as well.
Kitchen Nook Before
April 2008 024
April 2008 025

Kitchen Nook After
Kitchen Hutch
We decided to keep the original Hutch in the Breakfast Nook. We felt like it was really charming and was not as rickety as the kitchen cabinets. We painted it and the wainscoting in bright white as we usually do! The paint color we chose for the Kitchen was once again Sherwin Williams Restful.
Kitchen Pass-Through Before
April 2008 029

Kitchen Pass-through After
In every house we do, we try to open up the Kitchen in to the adjoining rooms to give the homes the open floor plan that all Buyers are looking for these days. As you can see from the before picture, there was originally another hutch in the Family Room next to the stone fireplace. On the kitchen side, there was a bank of cabinets. We took out the bank of cabinets and the hutch and opened up a pass-through. We added a bar height granite countertop here and gave it an overhang to accommodate barstools.
Family Room (other Hutch) Before
April 2008 028
Family Room (hutch no more) During
April 2008 053

Family Room (hutch no more) After
Family Room Before
April 2008 027

April 2008 030

Family Room After
Family Room

LR to Kitchen

Opening up the wall between the formal living area was key in this house. It was just over 1900 square feet and opening it up made it feel bigger and made it so much better for entertaining purposes. This new opening also flooded the family room with much needed light. This family room was originally so dark - as you can see in the before pic there was one very small window in this room! Opening the pass-through to the kitchen helped as well. We painted a really light tan color in here.... I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the color - Sorry. It's funny but the fireplace looks like new in the after pics and we did not do a darn thing to it. We did add some cool little shelves to each side though. We also had a new light fixture and wood floors added in here.
Formal Living/Dining Before
April 2008 022
April 2008 023

Formal Living/Dining After
Living Bay Window

In here, same wood floors and same paint as in Family Room. We also had all new Windows installed throughout the home - the old ones were in terrible condition. This room was a pretty easy reno - old nasty carpet and wallpaper out, and lovely new wood and texture in!
Let's go back to the discussion I started about bad contractors! There are so many good contractors out there - I know this for a fact. That being said, you can easily get burned. Do your homework with the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and friends and family recommendations. You should also ask for references and go see these homes and their homeowners in person! We did not do this! Lesson learned the hard way. As I said earlier, we had to go through most of this reno with our crooked contractors because we were idiots in hindsight and paid them over 50% of the cost of the total renovations - we thought this was the norm and it is NOT! We had to be sneaky and weasel the direct phone numbers out of their sub-contractors because no one was showing up to work and the contractors would pretend to call the subs when indeed they were not.... they were working really hard at pretending to work! It was infuriating. When we started staying at the house most days we got to really know these subs and we got to talking to them. This was not too hard because of course our lazy crooked contractors were never there for long - that would take too much actual work on their part. Some of the dirt we found out upon further investigation was that our crooked contractors were taking our money and not paying their subs. They would tell the subs that we were not paying them and tell the subs to put liens against our homes!!! Can you believe that!? I went and printed out all my cleared checks from my bank to our crooked contractors and showed it to the subs so they would finish the work that we had paid for. They were nice enough to do so and they had to take it upon themselves to get paid by the crooked contractors. We kicked the crooked contractors off of our property and told them to never show their face again.... luckily they did not! Hallelujah... we were scared they would! We ended up out of pocket more of our own money in the end, but there was a happy ending to this story. Luckily, we bought well on this one and we still sold it for a profit. We hired all the subs on our next projects to make up for whatever money they may not have gotten paid by the crooked contractors. Whew... that was a mouthful of a story. On the rest of our flips after this one we have acted as our own contractors and hired the subs directly. This has worked really well for us because we have gotten to know our guys really well - we are loyal to them and they are loyal to us. I have also learned so much in the process by working with these guys directly! Anyway, that story made me tired so I am going to sign off for now! I will post more about this flip.... but no more about the crooked contractors.
See You Soon.....

1 comment:

  1. Very great Interior I think you are a great Interior designer I am new to your blog thanks for sharing this great blog
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