Our 8th Flip – The “Before” Pics

Peeps!  We started demo on our 8th flip today!  Color me excited.

I know I’m probably jinxing us, but I feel like this one is going to fly by really fast.  The plumber and electrician came by today to bid the job, and if all goes well they’ll be in there doing their thing in the next week or so.  Hopefully?!?!?!

But let’s see what we’re starting out with, shall we?

This is a two-story home, our first ever, which I’m super excited about.  I don’t know why I find that so exciting, but I do.  Maybe after remodeling 8 one-story ranches (7 flips + our house) I just need a bit of a change!  :)  Anyhoo, here’s our two-story beauty:


As part of the negotiations we got a new roof before closing, which made us very happy and didn’t cost the homeowner a dime since her insurance covered it.  A win for everyone!

The house has a bit of an English tudor thing going on, mixed with lots of ranchiness – I think we’re going to downplay the tudor-style (even though I love me some tudors) by painting all the trimwork the same color.  Hopefully it will make the house look more cohesive and less choppy.


Did you spy the ivy on the house?  Let’s zoom in a bit.  My eagle-eyed mother wondered whether it was trimmed in the shape of a dog . . . and why yes, I do believe it is.  There are no words.


While it may appear that the house has a two-car garage, in this case appearances are deceiving.  The garage stall on the right-hand side has been converted to living space (which we think would be great as an office or playroom).  We briefly considered converting the space back into a garage, but for some reason the furnace was moved at some point and placed at the front of the former garage – moving that sucker would cost a pretty penny, and we’d lose living space.  So it stays as is!


When you open the front door, you see the staircase that leads to the 3 upstairs bedrooms, and the formal living room on the right.


The formal living room is a great size and has a fireplace and a pretty bay window.  We hoped for hardwoods under the snazzy blue carpet, but no such luck.


You can see the doorway below that leads to the den, etc.


Here’s that bay window I was bragging on – it lets in so much light!  Oh, and it really highlights the popcorn ceilings…don’t worry, those aren’t staying.  The dining room is through the bookcases on the left.


And looking back from the dining room, you can see the entryway, staircase and formal living room.


The dining room is functional, but petite.  It does have tons of windows, which I really love.  And I’m thinking of maybe painting a dark color above the wainscoting?  I don’t know, I’m feeling like breaking the trend of sticking to one paint color throughout – one paint family, yes, but maybe branching out a bit?


This little doorway leads into the kitchen.


Here’s that little doorway again.  Please excuse the stuff lying around, a few of these photos were taken during the inspection.


While it absolutely pains me, we are not going to be completely re-imagining this kitchen.  I know, what’s going on?!?!?!?!  But truth be told, the cabinets are really, really great and it would be silly to get rid of them.  And I tried every conceivable switcheroo with the layout but with the space we have to work with there just isn’t a better layout (if only fridges weren’t so darn deep!!).


So while I can dream of a more functional layout where the water heater isn’t in the kitchen, everything is staying where it is.  And do you know what?  I bet it will turn out just great.  Or, at least I hope it will.


Oh, but these upper cabinets over the peninsula are getting the boot.  That just ain’t gonna fly.  We’re also going to lower the bar so that it’s a continuous counter top with the lower counter.


Right off the kitchen is the double den, which has yet another fireplace!  How fancy are we?  And you can see how removing the upper cabinets above the peninsula will open up the kitchen (although we will still have a vent hood to contend with).


Have you ever seen so much brown in your life?  Probably not.  Oh, we’re keeping the brick floors.  Aren’t they cool?  And I think their deep chocolate color will tie in well with the hardwood floors we’ll be adding everywhere else.


Here’s a view of the back den, which is a converted patio with a vaulted ceiling.  The windows out onto the backyard are amazing and I’m in love with them.  If this were my own home and budget weren’t an issue, I’d also add a bank of windows on the left-hand wall (that’s perpendicular to the window wall) to take in an even bigger view of the backyard.


If you head back into the front den, there’s a little doorway that leads to a hallway – there are 3 closets, a powder room and an office/playroom (the converted garage space) off the hallway.


Here’s the little powder room.  I think the old-fashioned sink is kind of charming, so we’re keeping it.


And here’s the converted garage space – that door on the left leads to the remaining garage stall.


Pardon the stuff, these photos were also taken during the inspection.  You can see on the right-hand side a big opening to the laundry area – there’s also a door from the hallway that leads to this space that we’ll be closing off (there’s better access from the office).


Another view.  Just soak in all that blue carpet.


So the laundry space is a little weird since it’s under the stairs, but it’s going to be a vast improvement over what was originally there.  You see, the washing machine is currently in one closet and the dryer is in another closet, on opposite sides of the hallway.  A little weird, no?


Now we’re heading back to the front door and up the stairs to the second story!


At the top of the stairs you can either go left to two bedrooms, straight into the guest bathroom, or right to the master bedroom.


Let’s head left.  This is the front bedroom, located over the garage.  It’s super quirky with all the angles, but I think it would make a really sweet kid’s room.


Here’s the second bedroom, on the opposite side of the hall (it looks out over the backyard).  It’s long and narrow but has plenty of space for a kiddo or guest.


Those two bedrooms share this bathroom – it has all the necessary elements but isn’t going to impress anyone in its current state.


We’ll be centering the sink on that recessed wall, which will make vanity shopping so much easier!


At the other end of the hallway is a short flight of stairs to the master bedroom.  That’s a linen closet through that short doorway on the right.


Oh, I wish this picture came out better – you can just see a hint of the gold glitter that’s embedded in the popcorn ceiling.  It’s epic.  But there are 4 lovely windows overlooking the backyard, so I can’t complain about that!


The master bedroom, on the other hand, ain’t so lovely.  It’s tiny, has awkward angles and the world’s tiniest window (above the tub, on the left).


We’re changing the swing of the door so that it swings out into the bedroom instead of into the bathroom – we need some more space in there!


Lovely, right?  Don’t worry, the whole thing will be gutted!  And the toilet will no longer the first thing you see when you walk in.  :)


Now we’re heading to the backyard.  It is, hands down, my favorite part of the entire house.  Compared to most of the yards in the area it is huge.  I love it so, so much.


I think the view of the back of the house is really pretty, too.  And there are great trees!


Here’s a little patio area right off the back door.


And a shed!  Think of the fun things you could do/store in a shed!


What do you guys think?!?!

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  1. Peggy says:

    It’ll be fun to see what y’all do with this one. I’m sure it will be an inspiration just like the others!
    Is there room for a pocket door from the MBR to master bath? And a counter depth fridge made a huge difference in my tiny galley kitchen; maybe you could consider that.

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Great suggestions!! I thought about a pocket door to the master bath, but so far I’m nixing that idea both for budget reasons and because the last two times I”ve used them they’ve been kind of squirrely – but it’s still a possibility! And sadly, even with a counter-depth fridge, there still isn’t room to change the layout! Sigh. Counter-depth fridges are what we always do so I thought for sure it would work here, but alas. :(

  2. Mary R says:

    Shallow depth refrigerator!

  3. Kelly McK says:

    What great potential- I am so excited to watch you guys work your magic on this flip!!

  4. Alexis says:

    Wow – I can’t wait to see what you do with this! Your renos are so inspiring!

  5. Katelyn says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you do and really excited to see a two story house for variety. This home reminds me of homes for sale in the Pittsburgh suburb Fox Chapel. It’s an area with a great school district but almost any home under $400k is very dated…and some even over that price are quite dated. Anyhow, best of luck with the Flip!

  6. Mike Thompson says:

    Great potential indeed. I eagerly look forward to the updates, Liz. This one definitely has its challenges. Have you decided in what style/approach you’ll be taking? Modern? Traditional? Transitional? Those trees look awfully close to the house. Have you given thought to removing them or thinning them out?

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Hi Mike! I think this one will be kind of bright and transitional – we’ll see. :) As for the trees, the pictures may be deceiving because they’re not posing any problems, thank goodness! :)

  7. ShannonU says:

    This one is really exciting and I can’t wait to see the results. You’re smart to keep the cabinets and those dark brick floors. Those are 2 major expenses and I know they’ll look just great after everything else is in.
    We had to keep our same kitchen layout in our house for similar reasons, but it turned out lovely and so will yours. I’m jealous of your glittery popcorn! Our 1978 popcorn was sans-glitter. Hmmph. :)

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      That’s really too bad, you missed out big-time on the glitter popcorn! It really makes the whole master bedroom special. ;)

  8. Can’t wait to see what you do with this one! Looks like it’s got great potential. Wonderful post!

  9. Oh this is going to be fantastic once you work your magic on it.

  10. Sarah says:

    So excited to see what you will do! I love that backyard. So big, and those trees!

  11. luba sydor says:

    Liz –

    Congratulations on all your success with the Flips! Your photos are really inspiring.
    Quick question on flooring:

    1) In general, is you had to install new flooring into a flip, what type would you recommend? Real hardwood, engineered, laminate? Any specific suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks so much.

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Hi Luba! The “right” flooring will really depend on a lot of variables, but primarily what’s typical for homes in that area. For us, the buyers in the particular neighborhood we flip houses in really want wood floors (preferably solid hardwood), so that’s what we try to do. I hope that helps! :)

  12. Cassandra says:

    Hi, Liz.
    You mentioned you may paint the entire house one color. Do you know yet what color you’re going to go with?

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Hi! It will likely be a deep gray, and just on the siding/beams/trim parts, not the brick. We’ll have to test out various colors and probably won’t do that until close to the end of the project – but I’ll keep you posted!

  13. Lucinda says:

    Can’t wait to see how this one turns out. Is it in the same neighborhood as the others? What do you usually do with your old fixtures. I have a friend that’s interested in the chandelier.

    See you soon,

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Hi Lucinda! Yep, we were able to stay in the neighborhood! We’re getting spoiled by not having to go too far. :) As for the fixtures, the demo guys claimed all of these – so sorry!

  14. Katrina says:

    Liz, i don’t like it I LOVE!! I can so see all its pretty happening very soon! Bummer, there were no hardwoods under the carpet….and even though the current kitchen layout along with the water heater creates problems, I can so see looking amazing because those cabinets are in great shape!

  15. Janis says:

    Liz, I love the brick floors! I have fond memories of a brick-floored den at my best friend’s house and btw, they are GREAT for playing jacks with either a ping-pong or golf ball (circa 1957). Maybe you can work that into your listing sheet :) Can’t wait for progress photos showing your magic.

  16. Chris says:

    I cannot wait to see how this home remodeling project turns out. As an owner of a home renovations company, I understand your love of flipping homes. Though I don’t own the homes I renovate, I still feel rewarded and accomplished after a job is done. Good luck!

  17. Linda Z says:

    Wow, this is exciting!! I always look at the before pics and try to think what I would do, and I get completely overwhelmed! You are just fantastic at being able to conceptualize a vision and see it through. I can’t wait to see what this will come out like!!

  18. I don’t know why but second story ceiling angles have always been fascinating to me. Maybe because some of my cousins had ceilings like that as I was growing up. Have fun with your new project, kind of like a new blank canvas.

  19. Megan Schlebuach says:

    Hi there,
    I am so happy to have found your blog. We have just bought a really run down house (we in South Africa, Durban), and your stories really inspire us.