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Meet Clark 2.0

10 May

(aka “Clark: Week 12”, aka “Clark’s Big Reveal”, aka “OMG Did I Just Do That?”)

If you’re new to my weekly progress posts, Clark is my first ever flip house (named for the street that he’s on). Check out my previous posts here.

Twelve weeks ago, I introduced you to this misfit of a house.  He wasn’t quite an eyesore, but he had been neglected for years and foreclosed on and just needed to be shown some love.

clark before

Twelve weeks later, Clark has been given a new life and is ready for a new family to love him.

clark ext complete

It’s just beginning to really sink in to me- I flipped a house in 3 months.  I flipped a house.  In 3 months. ME?!

But my own disbelief in my abilities isn’t why you’re here.  You want to see the big reveal!!!!!

Photo shoot day (yesterday) was dreary and gray here in Massachusetts and I wasn’t about to make you wait any longer, so the lighting in the pics was a bit challenging.  You’ve been warned.

But, without further adieu…..

Come on it, take off your shoes, and enjoy the tour!

w12 ext 1

First room on the tour is the living room.  The formerly burnt orange living room.

Clark before living2

I bid farewell to the burnt yuk color and welcomed a creamy color called Canvas.

w12 living room

And I opened up the wall between the living room and kitchen.  It makes the space feel enormous (which is paramount in a house under 1000 sf)!

clark before living1

The textured ceiling is still there in a crisp new white.  I swear the room is a cream color, not green.  It’s the only room without an overhead light, so it’s suffering from the dreary day outside.  (someone also needs to take some photography classes- hint: it’s this girl)

w12 living room 1

Once upon a time there was a closet in the living room, but it was sacrificed for a good cause: the kitchen.  Speaking of which….

front door before

Oh hai kitchen.

w12 living room opening

Remember what it looked like when we bought it?  Not enough room for modern appliances and cabinets that were about 25 years past their usable life.

Clark before kitchen1

How do you like dem apples??  Now that’s a kitchen!

kitchen after

How about another?

w12 kitchen 1

And another.  If this kitchen doesn’t sell this house, I don’t know what will!

w12 kitchen 2

I guess there are a few other rooms in this house too if you ever decide to leave the kitchen (and really, who would blame you if you didn’t).

w12 hallway

The three bedrooms didn’t get any drastic changes- paint (trim, ceilings, walls), new light fixtures, and a good carpet cleaning

Bedroom #1- The artist formerly known as the red room.

Clark before redbed1

The murder red was thankfully covered up with a new color, Cloud.

bedroom 1 after

Bedroom #2 didn’t undergo such a drastic color transformation.  It went from very badly painted gray…

Clark before graybed1

…to a lighter, neatly painted gray (also Cloud)

bedroom 2 after

The master bedroom (or at least the room I deemed as the master because it was marginally the largest room with the largest closet) started as another burnt something color.  Here’s a good tip for picking colors- if you find it in a diaper, it’s probably not a good color for a wall.  Rule to live by.

Clark before master1

Now it’s always summer in here.  Literally.  That’s the name of the new color, Summer.  It’s a nice soft, buttery yellow to distinguish it from the other 2 bedrooms.

master after 1

master after 2

But aside from the kitchen, there’s one other room that I spent a lot of time and effort in.

The bathroom!

The former owners (prior to the foreclosure) tried to put lipstick on a pig and had the gall to advertise this as an updated bathroom.  I’m sorry, if you have a cracked plastic shower surround and moldy linoleum, an updated bathroom it is not.  I don’t care if you put a new pedestal sink in it or not, it was still disgusting.  The picture really didn’t show it in all it’s gory glory, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Clark before bathroom1

Remove the disgusting and add a boat-load of charm and that’s what we see today.

w12 bathroom 2

Are those some sexy floors or what??

w12 bathroom 1

Only the pedestal sink and the tub remain from the original room.

w12 bathroom 3

I have a few very minor things left on my to do list, although most won’t be noticeable to potential buyers… which is good because…  this guy is officially LISTED!!!  And he’s going to charm the pants off of any potential buyers!

The listing went live on Monday (I know some of you peaked already), but we aren’t doing any showings until the open house Saturday.  So if you’re in the market for a 110% move-in-ready house in Worcester with more charisma than you can handle, come on by!

I’m like a proud parent with this house.  I didn’t realize how attached I’ve grown.  I guess when you spend 40 hours a week pouring your soul into a space, you’re bound to form a bond.

me clark

I just hope he finds a good family who will love him, and care for him, and feed him, and take him for walks…… did I take it too far?  I think I’m getting punchy at this point.  I need a vacation.

So, what do you think??

Mirror Mirror

24 Apr

Clark‘s pieces are all coming into place- He’ll probably be at 95% at this week’s update Friday, and I anticipate ONE HUNDRED PERCENT by next week’s update.(!!!!)

Last week, I mentioned the medicine cabinet was a bit of a headache.

med cabinet 1

I had hopes of putting a new, more modern styled medicine cabinet in, however my plans were foiled by the hole in the wall.  The hole was a very non-standard size and I realized it was impossible to find a new recessed cabinet the same size.  I toyed with the idea of just covering it with a flat mirror, but this is the only storage in the bathroom.

med cabinet hole

I bought a medicine cabinet, but soon realized that to open up the hole further would be a HUGE undertaking.  poo.  Unless I wanted to totally open the wall (hint: I didn’t), my only option was to revamp the existing medicine cabinet.

She needed some love, but wasn’t beyond help.  The worst problem was the mirrors themselves.  The mirror finish on the back was peeling and scraping off at all the edges.  Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a deteriorating mirror?  Let’s just say, you’ll have to take my word for it.  The rest of the cabinet needed some cleaning and serious de-rust-ification (technical term, I promise) to make it like new.

med cabinet 2

med cabinet 3

After a quick Google search, I found a glass store 5 min from the house that would be able to replace the mirrors and transfer the sliding hardware to the new mirrors for $100 (less than a new medicine cabinet= win).  The silver frame wasn’t irreparable, but I thought it might look like a clash of styles in this bathroom, so you can probably guess what I did.

med cabinet 4

Both the inside and frame got primed, then sprayed a nice, clean semi-glosss white.

I already had both cans of spray paint, so the only cost for this project was the new mirrors.

med cabinet 5

The glass shelves inside were also in good shape and only needed a whipe-down.  I also attempted to preserve a little bit of this cabinet’s history by taping off the sticker/logo before painting so it would still be visible.  This is clearly the original medicine cabinet to the house (which was built in 1957), and I’m a sucker for stuff like that.

med cabinet 7

Even though I was intent on replacing it, I’m very pleased with the end result of Clark’s medicine cabinet.

med cabinet 6

Now that the bathroom is almost all back together, you’ll have to wait until the final reveals to see the full space.  (spoiler alert: it’s awesome)

You Light up My Office

1 Apr

Happy Monday!  and for once I actually mean it!  I’m so happy that spring is finally making an appearance here in Mass!!!!  As I always say, I’m solar powered, so the long drawn-out winter just drains my energy, momentum, and motivation.  It felt so good to get outside yesterday and go for a run (and NOT freeze my patootie off).

first spring

I’m also excited about something I got done inside.  Slowly but surely, I’ve been replacing all the boring and/or hideous light fixtures in each room of my house.  I’ve previously replaced the lights in the living room, dining room, entry way, front porch, and Hubby’s office.  The bedroom light is a bit of a larger project since that room still has a plaster ceiling and cast iron electrical box (!).  I’ll tackle that sometime with Handy Dad’s help, so I focused on my office instead.

The old light was just a snooze.  literally (just ask Charlie)

old office light 1

The only think I had done to this light before was switch around the shade with one I had removed from Hubby’s office.

old office light 2

There used to be flowers on the one in here… not really my cup o tea.  Beyond the shade, the fixture itself is old, dingy, completely painted on, and doing nothing to hide the cracks right next to it.  The shade fix just made it bearable for a few months longer, but for the past six months I’ve been giving this IKEA light googly eyes.


At only $29.99 I’m not sure why I kept resisting the purchase, but at one of my recent IKEA trips for Clark the flip house, I finally broke down.

It fits perfectly in my office!  The light is less glaring because the shade really softens it, AND it hides all the ceiling blemishes.

new office light 1

I love the subtle texture of the shade too.  Even Hubby (who normally goes along with my changes just to make me happy) was impressed with the low-cost upgrade.

new office light 2

That’s one more thing checked off my office to-do list, but there’s still more.  I’d say this room is 75% complete.  The most obvious, of course is that my desk is missing.  My beautiful secretary desk that I’m refinishing got put on hold with the flip.  I’ll finish you soon, I promise!

I hope you’re enjoying the advent of spring weather as much as I am!  Happy April 1st!

Flip Tip: Trimming

20 Mar

In last weeks Clark update, I showed you the new trim on the basement and side doors.  Today I’ll show you HOW to add new trim to a door (or window, or anywhere) and and make it look like it’s been there forever.

First you need to remove the old or offensive molding.  I chose to replace the trim on these 2 doors, because they had obviously been replaced by the last owner and didn’t match all the other moldings in the house  (tip- match other molding when replacing a piece of trim- it’ll look seamless and original).  I was a little overeager and neglected to take a picture of this step, so just imagine an image here of me using a prybar to get the old moldings free.  Can you see it?  Great!

Now you have a blank slate.

trimless doors

The tools I used were:

  • a compressor
  • a brad nailer
  • a door trim kit
  • a miter saw (not pictured because he’s hanging out in the basement)
  • white wood filler
  • white paintable caulk

trim tools

If you don’t have a compressor and nail gun, you can certainly use finish nails and a hammer, but this girl likes power tools.  They’re fun.  and much quicker.  The trim kit was my other way of saving a little bit of time, but you can also buy trim by the foot at any home improvement store.

As you can see below, the trim kit was a bit larger than the door, so I still had to make a few cuts.  I trimmed a few inches off the bottom of the sides, and used my trusty miter saw to shorten the top piece to the desired length and keep the 45 degree angle.  I’ve been using my brother-in-law’s chop saw that can also be used for miters, but a hand saw and miter box work just as well.  (if you’ve been around this blog for a bit, you may remember my miter saw and a similar how-to when I did my dining room’s picture rail)

trim kit size

Use your nail gun to securely fasten your new trim into place.  Now, unless you’re a perfect measurer and builder, you’ll probably have a few small gaps.  No worries- that’s what wood filler and caulk are for!  Use wood filler (you can get this in white or whatever wood tone you’re using if you plan on staining) to fill the nail holes and the corner joints.

trim corner

Sand it smooth once it’s dry and no one’ll know.

filled door trim

The step a lot of people forget is the caulk.  Make sure you get PAINTABLE caulk, because otherwise you’re work will look terrible when you try to paint the trim or walls.  I again got a little overeager and forgot to take pics as I caulked the doorframe, but luckily I had some window molding to caulk where it had come loose (because the genius who build the old cabinets nailed them to the side of the window trims…. that’s not usually how it’s done…).

See, gap. (slightly blurry gap apparently, but you get the picture)

trim gap

With your paintable caulk, add a small bead right in the corner.  Please disregard my paint-covered hand.  I’m a very neat painter, but somehow my hands get covered.

trim caulk 1

Luckily, your caulk bead doesn’t have to be perfect because you’ll smooth it all out in the next step.

trim caulk2

I’ve found that my finger is the best tool for the job, but make sure you have a wet paper towel handy to wipe the excess of your finger.

trim caulk finger


trim caulk done

When you’re all done, no one will be able to tell the molding hasn’t been there since day 1.

door trims

The same steps can be used to replace almost any trim in a house.  I’ve never attempted crown molding, but I know that’s a whole other beast…. but this method can be used for base boards, chair rails, picture rails, etc.

Happy trimming!

Fast Fix: Drab to Fab

18 Dec

This side table before and after is WAY overdue.  It’s actually a project from this summer when I went to NYC to help my sister-in-law furnish her apartment, but I was so excited about outcome that I forgot to take an “after” shot and had to wait until I went back to visit last weekend (bad blogger!).

The cute little hand-me-down side table started out pretty ho-hum.

table before

It had a great shape and solid construction, so I knew it could be something special.  With a quart of “oops paint” from Home Depot for a whole $2 and spray paint I already had, this may be one of the most fabulous $2 make-overs you’ll ever see.

table painted

After 2 coats of our blue-gray “oops” paint, it was time to make it shine.  Literally.  The shelf was just held in with a few screws, so I removed it and taped off the legs using painters tape and plastic bags.

gold leg paint

Then I went spray-happy in an NYC alley way.  I’m a rebel like that.  I think gold spray paint is slowly becoming one of my favorite tools.  I might start spraying things just for fun.  You’ve been warned.  Don’t be surprised if you see a sprayed gold kitten or Hubby in the near future.

May I remind you that it only cost TWO DOLLARS!  The finished result makes me completely giddy.  I wish all my projects were this easy!

side table after

Ain’t she pretty?

Light My Fire

17 Dec

Cold weather has the same effect on me as it does molasses.  I keep on going, but my pace is significantly slower.  Unfortunately, that means that projects take longer which frustrates my urge to have everything done yesterday.

A week and a half ago, I showed you this collection of misfit thrift store candlesticks.

candlestick collection before

Today, they’re refreshed and are hanging out on the piano as a makeshift menorah.  A psuedo-menorah AND a Christmas tree??  Yup, we’re a mixed family.  Neither Hubby or I are religious, however we love honoring the traditions we were raised with.  Hubby knew that if he married me, I came with a Christmas tree.  non-negotiable.  Luckily, I’m apparently worth it.  yay!

candle collection after

Anyway… yes, I am well aware that Hanukkah ended last night, but I assure you I had these up before… even though they didn’t get lit.

closeup candles

Of the 9 candlesticks, 4 got cleaned/polished and 5 got spraypainted gold or silver.  I always loved collections of mismatched candlesticks unified in some way.  In fact, I dreamed of having them as my wedding centerpiece (sadly a venue with candle restrictions put the kibosh on that).

brass candlestick

I really love the 2 brass ones.  They polished up amazingly and will probably hang out in my non-holiday decor too.  (You can also play “find the photog” in that pic thanks to a shiny ornament)

I have a few things up my sleeve for this week including a long overdue furniture refresh how-to, so stay tuned!


Office 2.0

5 Dec

The saga is over- the home office has been Hubby-fied.  About a month ago I claimed our guest room/den as my new office and forfeited the existing home office to the Hubs, his video games, and his music composing.  As part of his birthday present, I bought him a second monitor to facilitate his music editing and restyled the room accordingly.

I’ll admit, I’m really pleased with the space, and excited to share with you, but I’m less than thrilled about the photo quality.  Daylight is elusive for the blogger with a 9to5 job and I’m far too impatient to wait for the weekend to photo it properly first.  A proper photo-shoot will follow soon, but until then, please don’t hold it against me.

Prior to this make-over, the room had been in a bit of disarray.

office mess before

4 chairs in this tiny space was 1 too many.  Once my parents closed on their house, we sent the big beige chair to go live with them.

Office mess 2

The saga of this room was really about the computer monitors.  A comedy of errors, but less funny.  The new monitor was intended to be a surprise installed before he got home on his b-day, however the delivery man had different plans.  He ruined my surprise by delivering it a mere 5 minutes before Hubby left for work.  FIVE MINUTES!!!  Aaaanyway, the first monitor that I ordered to match Hubby’s current discontinued monitor wasn’t wall mountable.  I didn’t even know they made monitors that you couldn’t mount these days.  What is this, the ice age??  So came the second monitor.  The same model, but wall mountable.  Too bad the screen quality looked like poo and had half the contrast ratio of its discontinued counterpart.  So I gave up on trying to match the existing and ordered a 3rd of Hubby’s choice.  With new articulating wall mounts, I reworked the gallery wall to be more Hubby-oriented.  He doesn’t need pics of my sister and me at her wedding in his room.  (Sorry sis!)

gallery 2.0

Gallery wall 2.0 includes all of Hubby’s Sox tickets from the past few years, an antique painting he bought in France, a watercolor by his grandmother, a ceramic carving he got in Cancun this summer, and still a few wedding pics (can’t let him forget all about me- with his new set-up, he could spend days in there).

gallery music magic

gallery 2.0 closeup

With my books and items moved to my new office, the built-in shelves got a make-over too.

office shelf style via a year of strategic serendipity

Styling included Transformers, video games, TTRPG books, and a rock n roll piggy bank among other things…  and, yes, an adult male inhabits this space.  (If you aren’t familiar with the term TTRPG, it’s probably better you not ask.)  What make’s this all somehow work, though, is it’s juxtaposition next to some more ‘refined’, ‘adult’ pieces: an antique chair and another of Hubby’s France art finds.

office seating via year of strategic serendipity

office shelves via a year of strategic serendipity

office vignette via a year of strategic serendipity

office hobes

Why, yes, those ARE Calvin and Hobbes books hanging out with the art book.  I knew Hubby would appreciate what the association implied (think about it).

The room isn’t 100% complete just yet.  Over the winter I’ll be refinishing a craigslist desk that’s been hanging out in our basement (check it out here) to replace the aging overscaled IKEA desk.

Hubby seems to be really happy that he has a room decorated for him, and I’m happy that I have a husband who lets me ‘style’ his Transformers.  Optimus Prime’s never looked so good, if you ask me.