Archive | Flipping RSS feed for this section

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??


Clark: Week 11

3 May

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.

The end is near!!!  This is veryveryvery exciting!  Our realtor is coming over today to take pictures for the listing which will go live on MONDAY!!!  w00t!  Even with the listing live Monday, we won’t be doing any showings until the open house the following Saturday (our agents strategy to drum up interest and build antici…wait for it….pation).  So that means that I have next week to do all my finishing touches- and there are a lot.

Since I’m not doing my big reveal here until I finish a few last things & don’t want to post almost finished room pics, you just get teaser shots today.  So much finish work happened this week- this is the most exciting part for me!

With the amazing weather this week, I was more than happy to spend some time outside adding curb appeal.  The house painting is complete and I started adding a few accessories.  Yup, I went with a yellow door.  On a slate gray house it looks A.MAZ.ING. (in my humble opinion)

w11 front door

The previously untouched front garden:

w11 garden before

got a bush-ectomy, weeding, and a bunch of mulch

w11 front garden

and speaking of mulch, it now lines the 2 banks on either side of the driveway.  Lots and lots of mulch.  30 bags in the front yard!

w11 mulch

The backyard just got a lot of cleanup and throwing away trash that was piled.  Not a huge transformation, so no pics, sorry.  I figured I’d spare you the “look, I raked and trimed weeds” pic.

Back inside, the hard wood floors are ALL DONE.  Phew.

w11 done floors

The previously ignored bedrooms finally got attention.

This is all that’s left of the blood-red bedroom.  so sad.

w11 bye red

All three bedrooms got new light fixtures more appropriate for the size of the rooms (the old ones were severely undersized).  I actually reused the light that was originally in the kitchen (since it wasn’t bad, just not right for the kitchen) and bought 2 others to match which worked perfectly!

w11 bedrooms

The bedroom carpets also got shampooed.  We borrowed my parent’s carpet cleaner, but it needed a new belt before it could be used.

w11 steamer

Nothing really happened in the kitchen except cleaning, but I’ll post a gratuitous kitchen shot just because it’s a damn pretty kitchen.

w11 kitchen

Clark’s ready for his photoshoot, just not his close-ups just yet.  To get him ready for the Open House and showings, I still have to:

  • fill LOTS of nail holes in the floor and trim
  • finish the hard wood transitions at the front and side doors
  • get the kitchen sink and dishwasher hooked up (they look pretty, but don’t work yet)
  • have the electrician come look at a 3way switch that isn’t working
  • paint a few more closets and doors
  • install the shower knobs
  • clean up the basement and paint 1 last wall
  • dispose of the remaining brush from the back yard
  • clean
  • clean
  • clean

And since I never have enough on my plate, guess what time it is!

pinterest spring

This season’s challenge is hosted by these lovely ladies: Sherry @ Young House Love (who just bought a new house!!), Katie @ Bower Power Blog, Emily @ Sparkle Meets Pop, and Renee at RedBirdBlue.  (Check out my past season’s challenge projects HERE.)

Since I’m already working on a little project for a very special little boy’s first birthday this weekend, I totally have a plan to incorporate the challenge.

Ah, so many exciting things happening!


Clark: Week 10

26 Apr

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.

Excuse me, how did week 10 happen?? Big things are happening, just not as quick as I want (of course). We were originally scrambling to get the house listed for Monday (then put the finishing touches on that week before the open house), but we’re further away than we had hoped and it’s not worth killing ourselves over. One more week won’t bust our budget, but it will give me a few moments to breathe between paint touch-ups, landscaping, and finishing touches.

It’s become standard out at Clark for each week to start with some unexpected challenges. This week, it was the deck. again.

deck before

I know I mentioned the deterioration that I discovered last week, but it got worse when my contractors came to fix it. The more they took apart, the more wood rot they found. Naturally this also quadrupled the cost I was anticipating spending on the deck.

deck rot before

Lucky for me (and Clark), I picked some good contractors and they repaired/rebuilt this guy in just a day. One day people! And under budget to boot!

deck accomplished

Now I can give a huge sigh of relief that I don’t have to worry about this little porch anymore. If this is the worst surprise expense on this flip, I’m considering it a win!

As the porch was happening on one side of the house, other things were happening on the other sides. House painting!! and it’s almost done! The painters are hopefully finishing up by the end of the week and Clark will no longer look like an ugly step-sister. It’s so amazing what some paint can do!

clark paint

Back on the inside, I’ve been busy. Very busy. But since the end is near, I’m not going to show you all the full room transformations until they’re all done, just little snippets. I have to tease you a little, right?

The kitchen backsplash got installed and grouted. And I discovered how tiring leaning over a countertop for several hours can be. Totally worth it though. The best compliment I’ve heard about this kitchen is from Hubby- he said he’s jealous that this kitchen isn’t in our house (as in the house we live in, although Clark is technically our house too).

w10 backsplash

The living room got a second coat on the ceiling, 2 coats on the walls, and an almost complete wood floor. Almost because I ran out of usable wood and need to go buy a few more boxes.

w10 living room

Last week, Hubby left this gift on the floor, so I had to make sure to document it before I covered it with the new wood floor.

floor face

I finally got started on the bedrooms too. Bedroom #1 has a painted ceiling, closet, trim & walls. The radiator still needs to get painted and the carpet needs a good cleaning.

w10 painted room

Bedroom #2, the “master”, got painted trim, ceiling and the start of the walls.

w10 painted master

We also got a lot of help this week. My parents and Hubby’s mom kindly chipped in some of their painting skills (THANKS!!). None of them would win the award of “cutest helper,” though (sorry Dad). That award goes to my nephew Eli.

eli paint

He knew exactly what to do with that brush. He was wiping it on the wall and then fake dipping it into paint. The kid’s very smart for a 1 year old. Cutest. Nephew. Ever.

And if you ever wondered what to get a flipper for her birthday, tools are always a good bet (or if you’re married to me, jewelry or something pretty for our house…. just sayin…). My mother-in-law knew just what I needed (to remove an old lock box that no one knew the origin of).

bday gift

Now I just have a lot of finishing to do. A lot. Paint touch ups, clean ups, recycling boxes, minor landscaping, final plumbing and electrical fixes… you get the idea.

The end is in sight and I’m so excited!!

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)

Clark: Week 9

19 Apr

It’s just craziness in the Boston area today and this week.  Hubby’s currently home from work until the city gets out of lockdown.  I really hope this gets resolved quickly and no more innocent people get hurt.

boston map etsy

Monday was not a great day out at Clark- every time I turned around, I discovered an issue that added to my costs.  Obviously, my bad day was swiftly put into perspective when I heard about the Marathon.  I’m really speechless about the whole thing, so I’m just going to go on with today’s update.  #bostonstrong

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.

The kitchen is one step closer to being done- we have granite countertops!

w9 countertops

The first issue I ran into Monday was actually the sink.  It’s a fine sink- just not the sink I thought I was getting.  It was included with the countertops, but I was expecting more of a standard rectangular single-bowl sink.  Since it wasn’t what I expected, I needed a single hole faucet offset and could not use the faucet that I had previously ordered.  (insert sad trombone here) I was assured by the granite company owner that this is the most popular sink style in granite countertops currently, but it’s new to me.  I’m over it now though- the kitchen looks nice, the countertops are gorgeous, the new faucet looks great.  Once I get the dishwasher and sink plumbed they’ll be good to go.

w9 kitchen

I’m hoping to get started on the tile backsplash today- it’s one of the few larger tasks still on my To Do list.

The opening between the living room and kitchen got a finished ledge.  The ledge is a new piece I purchased, but I reused the trim from another area in the house.  (This pic should help orient a bit- the door on the right is the front door into the living room)

w9 kitchen opening1

The living room also finally got a bit of attention this week.  The trim and ceiling got painted and the wall paint got started.  It’ll be a nice creamy color called Canvas.

w9 kitchen opening

The ceiling went from dingy to crisp white, although it still needs a second coat.

w9 ceiling paint

I actually love this ceiling.  It’s the only textured ceiling in the house and it’s in perfect condition.  I love the character it adds without being overwhelming.

w9 lr ceiling

The other HUGE thing this week is the bathroom!  The paneling and trim is up and painted, a new low-flow dual flush toilet is installed, the sink is partially reinstalled, the door has been trimmed down to accommodate the new tile floor, and there is a new ceiling vent fan.  Phew, that was a lot of work!

w9 bathroom

I was hoping to be able to open up the recess for the medicine cabinet to install a slightly larger one, but that was another speedbump this week.  I’ll be reusing/revamping the existing medicine cabinet instead (I’ll be showing how in a separate post)

w9 bathroom paneling

Moving outside, I haven’t done any landscaping YET but it’ll mainly be cleanup and a lot of mulch.  I may decide to steal this guy for my own house.  (Is it stealing if you take it from one house you own to another?)

clark daffodil

One of the other issues that I ran into Monday was the side porch.  I knew it needed a few repairs, but as I checked it out after getting pressure washed and sanded by the painters, it needed more repairs that I had anticipated.  Luckily my contractor is coming to the rescue and is going to be repairing it this weekend before the house gets painted (and also luckily for a very reasonable cost).

broken deck

In my last post, you saw my instagram shot of the driveway in progress.  I don’t think I ever showed you how terrible the before driveway actually was.  The bump-up in the center was probably as high as a foot- my car bottomed out every time I went into the garage.  This needed to happen for resale purposes- it’s the first thing that people will see when they come to the house.

w9 driveway before

Ahhhhhhhh.  A nice, level driveway with no bumps or cracks.

w9 driveway

This week I also:

  • trimmed down several closet doors for extra clearance over the new wood floors
  • squared up the side screen door so that it closes properly
  • finished installing floor trim in the kitchen
  • got new mirrors cut for the old medicine cabinet
  • organized a lot of the mess- now there’s a reuse pile, a donate pile, recycle pile, etc.

Our plan is to list Clark a week from Monday (insert panic here) and I have a LOT of work to do before then!  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and the house will get painted early next week and we can get new gutters installed.  I need to be a painting fiend so I can crank out the painting of the 3 bedrooms (including ceilings, trim and walls).  I can’t wait to take completed pictures and share the total before and after with you.  I’m a sucker for before and after comparisons and Clark’s transformation has been huge.  With that said, I’m off to tile and paint!

Boston map image via SparrowMercantile on etsy

Clark: Week 8

12 Apr

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.

Ak, week 8 already??  Our goal is to get this guy listed by the end of the month! That means I only have about 2 more weeks to get everything done… Craziness!!  I see lots of overtime in my future.

This week didn’t start off on a high note- slamming your finger in the car door first thing Monday morning isn’t the best start.  Luckily my finger escaped (once I unlocked the door) with just some scrapes and bruises- nothing too serious… and thankfully, the week improved from there.  Handy Dad helped me unclog the plumbing vent stack, which will finally allow the pedestal sink to drain properly and not clog!  I won’t go over the entire ‘scientific’ process with you, but it involved Handy Dad on the roof with a really big stick from the yard tied to a rope (Oh how I WISH I had gotten a picture of this!).  It may have been unconventional, but it worked!

The biggest (literally) thing that happened this week was a new roof!!

w8 roof3

w8 roof2

The roof wasn’t in horrible condition, but it did need repair.  After talking to several people, I bit the bullet and decided to put in a whole new roof.  New roof = selling feature!

w8 roof1

As you can probably also see, he got a exfoliated a bit more too.  The house painter finished pressure washing and scraping.

Back inside, little things are starting to make a difference.

w3 kitchen lights

For the first time since owning this house, there is a light above the sink (or where the sink will be).  I still love this ReStore figure- $5 plus spray paint and a chain!!  I do have to change out some lightbulbs, though.  I’ve been working with the bulbs that were left with the house, but I think every light is a different color variation.  Not kosher to this OCD designer.

I also cut, routed the edges, and painted the wood piece for the kitchen ledge.  I needs another quick coat on top, then I need to actually install it permanently.

w8 kitchen ledge

Painting is finally complete in the kitchen and hallway!  It’s such a breath of fresh air- something looks complete!

w8 kitchen hall

Satisfaction is a completely checked off To-Do list.  It may be just for the hallway, but I’ll take it!

w8 hall checklist

I had it in the schedule that the bathroom would be near complete with working plumbing fixtures again.  The schedule lied.  Either that or I’m slow and was a little too optimistic when setting my schedule.

But if we look from the hall, we can pretend it’s done.

w8 hall bathroom

Just don’t look further in- reality rears it ugly head and you can tell the bathroom still isn’t there yet. I started installing the beadboard, but I have to finalize the sink plumbing before I cover that up.  Do you notice the other new item in here?  New sconces!  The school-house style plays off the other lights I’ve installed in the house and helps add a bit of character back in.

w8 bathroom1

I had to replace some really bad “previous owner DIY solutions” for the pedestal sink.  I need to put the sink in place and cut the pipe coming out of the wall to the correct size before I do the final install of that, but I plan to get it up and running today.

w8 bathroom plumbing

Speaking of plumbing, I’ve apparently turned into a toilet hoarder (I guess it’s just a branch off my chair hoarder habits).  The previous toilet (in the back) had a scallop on the top that I just didn’t think would work with the style I was going for.  Luckily toilets are cheap and for under $100 I got this clean new eco-friendly dual flush guy.  Let’s get him in already!

w8 toilets

I’ve also made attempt at getting back to organized.  I started sorting recycling in the basement.  My town has a recycling drop off center and will happily take my car-full of cardboard and styrofoam.  I like free, environmentally responsible disposal methods.

w8 recycle pile

And since I always try to keep it real and honest here:  Sometime the answer to “why is the furnace not working?” is as simple as an empty oil tank.  Go me.

w8 oil tank

This week, I also:

  • Got the new medicine cabinet and bathroom vent fan
  • Ordered the kitchen faucet
  • Installed a new handle, closer, and wind chain on the side door (I still need to try and knock it back level though)
  • Figured out new handles for the shower faucet (I think)
  • Started figuring out my landscaping plans

Next week is going to be HUGE for my dear Clark.  I WILL have the bathroom working again by Monday- I WILL.  Monday he’s getting sexy granite countertops and Tuesday, the horrendous lumpy driveway is being uprooted for a smooth new driveway.  Hello curb appeal!  Well, I guess the real curb appeal will happen once he gets painted- just waiting on a stretch of nice, cooperative weather.

If we want to get him listed in less than 3 weeks, I need to make every second count!

Let’s Talk Tile

10 Apr

I’m not sure I fully expressed to you how excited I am about the bathroom floor tile.  It’s admittedly not perfect, but hubba hubba.

tile closeup

So let’s talk process.  This was my first time tiling, so it was definitely a learning experience.

The tools I used were:

  • tile (naturally)
  • tile nippers (for cuts)
  • thinset mortar
  • a drill with a mixing bit
  • a bucket
  • notched trowel
  • margin trowel (smaller for getting into corners)
  • tile spacers
  • grout float
  • grout
  • sponge

After getting the sink and toilet out of the way, I laid out all the tile to dry-fit it.  This is the best way to figure out where you’ll need cuts and how the puzzle will all fit together.

tile dryfit

Looks almost like a finished product except nothing is secured into place.  I took this time to start making ALL my cuts.  Since my tiles are small and almost all my edges will be covered (by wainscoting at 3 walls and caulk at the tub), I used tile nippers.


You can probably see in the pic of the floor above, just how many little snips I had to do.  I lost count of how many little black tiles I snipped in half.  Let me tell you, though, these things are secretly dangerous.  Every tile you nip sends tiny shards everywhere.  Not only did I make quite a mess, but I ended up with what looked like paper cuts all over my hands.  I’m willing to bleed a little if it means pretty tile like this, though.  I did take a run to Lowes and have them cut (for free!)  the tile that I needed at the threshold since that would be much more exposed and visible.

Then, as Ted would say on What Not to Wear, I mixed up the magic.  After a bit of internet research, I found that thinset mortar should ideally be somewhere near the consistency of peanut butter or mayonnaise.

mortar mixing

Once you spread it out like below, you then go back over it with your notched trowel.

floor mortar

The first corner, so exciting! (see the notches from the trowel?)  My tile’s were mounted on 1 foot x 1 foot sheets, so I only needed to use spaces between the sheets.

first tiles

It went rather quickly once I got the hang of spreading the thinset.

tile half way

It did inevitably escape through several of my grout joints, but luckily there’s a simple solution for that.

escaping mortar

Once the thinset is dry, you can go back with a utility knife and scrape down any areas of thinset run-aways.  You don’t need to scrape it all away, just low enough to allow for gout over it.

When I got to the transition, however, I had an issue.  My tile installation had migrated just enough towards the doorway that the cuts I had gotten at Lowe’s no longer fit.  Luckily it’s only a few minutes away, so I quickly measured the cuts that I NOW needed and ran out to Lowe’s so I could get the last few cuts and install the pieces before the mortar I had mixed dried.

tile transition

After I got back and installed the last few tiles at the door, I noticed another issue.  See the 2 tile’s popping in the middle?

tile pop closeup

I removed the trouble-causing spacers, pressed down the 2 rogue tiles and hoped they would adhere into place.  Only one did.  When I came back to check on them the next day, the little black tile was free.  I scraped the thinset from below it and mixed up about a spoon-full of new thinset to reset the little guy.

missing tile

After giving him some time to dry, I removed all my spacers and got to grouting.

tile spacers

In my eagerness to grout, guess who forgot to take pictures?  This girl!  It’s not too visual of a process though.  Step 1: Spread mud all over your pretty new tile.  Step 2: Use sponge to clean it off.  Step 3: Let it dry.

Then you get a pretty finished floor like this one.

w7 bathroom floor