Monday, April 02, 2007

A Breather

I spent a few days in Omaha, NE last week for work. It was a much needed break from The House. I have a lot of house work facing me now that Spring is here, and it was nice to get away and go into denial for a few days before it all hits.

Granted, Omaha is nobody's dream destination in March.....and it rained the entire time I was there.......and I had to work. Still. It was nice.

During my free time, I spent some time roaming through Old Town in the rain and discovered an antique mall and a store called Red Square that carried cool amber jewelry (I like jewelry). After that, I returned to my hotel and vegged out in front of the tv and watched an entire marathon of "Miami Ink" (I have a strange affinity to that show). Proof positive that I can never have cable tv in my house.

I also caught two episodes of "Flip That House" which I have heard about but never seen. I was prepared to hate it with all my being. One episode was a guy in Vegas that bought a 70's style ranch. He and his dad did a pretty good job of renovating the place, although they made the strange decision to outfit the entire house in dark, stamped concrete floors. Maybe this is a Vegas thing, maybe this is a guy thing. I'm pretty sure no woman was involved in that decision ;-)

The second episode was about a guy that bought a very pretty 1920's Spanish style home in CA somewhere. This guy made me crazy. He hired a contractor to do all the work. He kept telling the guy he wanted an "Italian Villa." He was all proud of these antique French sconces he put in the living room. Someone needed to hand this guy a map of Europe. Um, it was a Spanish style house. Pet peeve of mine....know what kind of house you have.

Anyway, I have to admit I didn't hate the show as much as I thought I would. Although I'm sure it would lose it's charm if I watched it more than once in a year. I also was a tiny bit alarmed when I caught myself thinking.....it might be kind of fun to flip a house.

4 comments:

Greg said...

Ugh! I have a friend who fancies himself as a House Flipper. I walked in to one of his remuddles and bit my lip the entire time. He knows I work on my house a lot and every time I see him he begs me to come over and see his "latest project".

It's funny how I'm always too busy.

StuccoHouse said...

Greg - I used to feel the same way. But, the house down the block that was flipped kind of softened my stance on the topic. It was a fundamentally cute little bungalow that fell onto really hard times - the owner eventually died in it. Eew. By all accounts the place was in really bad condition inside. A flipper bought it that clearly knew what a bungalow is supposed to be. I waited for the windows, cebinets, etc. to be ripped out, but it never happened. Even I have to admit the place looks really good now. It sold pretty quick to a good new neighbor. That house has kind of changed the tone of of the block.

The nightmare side of the story is the bungalow a few blocks down that was bought by a flipper who trashed the original storms and yanked out the original hardwood cabinets and replaced them with IKEA. Ugh. Then wondered why it wouldn't sell for more $.

I've kind of come to the conclusion that the people that would be least likely to want to flip would make the best flippers (and least likely to appear on some flipping tv show). Think of it....you would know what style house you had....what was appropriate to update & what could be saved....you would know the resources to top quality materials.

Greg said...

If only that were true with this guy. He's clueless.

The one I toured was an otherwise charming little post war home. It was maybe 1100 sq feet. Nothing fancy, but it did have oak floors throughout, a built-in ironing board in the hallway, arched top entry ways in to main rooms, and the coolest feature was a the front window. It was the largest plate glass window on a house I think I’ve ever seen. It extended the entire front of this little house and dominated the architecture. Normally, this is not my style, but it was what it was. The window was ostentatious for the period.

My “friend” removed the window so he could cut a bedroom in to the front living/dining room. He cut two large holes in the oak floors to make it easier for his ample frame to get under the house. H removed the built-in ironing board so he could add the smallest bathroom known to man in between two bedrooms. He also put down the crapiest carpet he could find over the oak floors. He did cut the holes and needed to cover those. He also removed one of the arched entry ways when he added the bedroom and added a plain rectangular entry just to the right of it.

He butchered the place. He took a charming and comfortable 2 bedroom, 1 bath home and turned it in to a plain and cramped 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. If he wanted to improve the home he could have added a master bedroom suite on to the back. That would have been the proper way to make it a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. He just wants to flip it for more money.

StuccoHouse said...

Yea, that kind of stuff just makes me sad. I can't stand it when people buy a small house but really want a big house....or buy and old house but really want a new one....and immediately set out to change everything. I always wonder if they actually sell for more $ or if buyers just see it as crap.

I'm more forgiving if the house is in bad shape and the flipping involves repairing this. I'm thinking if it is cosmetic....this is where you could make the $ anyway. Its amazing to me how many people won't buy a house because they don't like something like the wallpaper.

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