Maybe I watch too much HGTV. Maybe it was growing up in a family of home builders and realtors. Or maybe it’s my passion for creating interesting living spaces. Whatever the reason, I love renovating and selling houses. Over the last ten years, I’ve renovated and sold seven houses in three states.
My biggest project was a historic adobe in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a six-figure renovation that turned into a seven-figure sale to a couple from Key West who weren’t even interested in a historic home until they toured mine.
When I bought the Canyon Road home, about the only thing going for it was its location on a historic street. The home was an utter disaster. Everything was original…and really old.
The “Old Adobe” had a number of eccentricities. For example, under the house was something called “pen tile.”
Curious, I asked what it was. Turns out it was handmade by artisans in the state penitentiary, hence the name pen tile. Who knew?
Another interesting fact: the home was built for two sisters so there were two bedrooms of equal size, each with a fireplace. Oddly, there was only one bathroom. That was definitely a “fixer upper” for me.
Eager to restore the old adobe to its splendor, I gutted and modernized the kitchen, added a den, replaced windows, added two bathrooms, replaced the 80-year-old furnace, built fencing, and re-did the parking area. Finally, I designed the interiors oin true Southwestern style.
It was beautiful.
Even better, it felt like a home again and not a hot mess.
Although I bought it as an investment, it was bittersweet leaving. I imagine the Florida folks are loving my Santa Fe adobe.
See more of the Old Adobe’s story here.
The fastest sale was a South Carolina bungalow that sold within minutes of my mentioning it to a broker.
Like the Santa Fe adobe, the bungalow was 80 years old. Fortunately, when I bought it, it had already been extensively remodeled and was very chic. I loved its fantastic kitchen.
There wasn’t much for me to do beyond adding my personal style imprint and enjoying the pool.
After this quick flip, I missed the pool, but the quick profit was a nice bonus.
The latest success story is another historic home in the Midwest. 902 Central is an iconic home in the blue collar town of Lafayette, Indiana. The limestone-clad home was built in 1941 for a gentleman who founded the local newspaper, was a member of the Indiana legislature and served as interim president of Purdue University. The home was unique with its pink Baccarat chandelier, secret passageway, walnut beams, moldings and doors throughout. It was also incredibly out of date.
My design juices went into overdrive. Over the next six months, the home was gutted and re-built from top to bottom. For example:
All of the windows and front door were replaced.
All of the flooring was replaced or refinished.
All four bathrooms were gutted and re-created.
The entire house was rewired to code. (Expensive work!)
The awkward kitchen, butler’s pantry, and dining room were combined into one open kitchen-gathering room. It is spectacular and a joy for entertaining and cooking!
The living room with its hand-carved stone fireplace was modernized with a beautiful built-in art wall, new lighting, refinished walnut beams, and newly lightened hardwood floors.
You can see the entire renovation story here.
When it was time to put 902 Central on the market, people warned it would take months to sell. After all, it took the previous owner three years to sell it.
A veteran real estate agent said to price it $100,000 less than I was planning. (I did not take her advice.)
Less than three weeks after planting the for sale sign in the yard, I had a cash offer for close to asking price.
So what next for my home renovation, design, marketing, and flipping career?
I’m thinking I should pitch a show idea to HGTV. I’m thinking Joanna Gaines ain’t got nothing on me.
Need some tips on home renovation, interior design, or art selection and display? Let’s connect! This is my passion and I’d love to share it with you.