Just wrapped up what could be my last flip for a long while (more on that in a minute) and thanks to the recent ice storm, I’ve got a little extra time on my hands so I thought I would knock out a quick before and after post for this poor neglected blog. To keep it “quick”, I vow to go heavy on the pictures (why you’re really here) and light on the written word. But before I give you your first picture let me tell you the short story of how I came to adopt this old town gem.
Back in late September of 2020 when I was nearing the end of my Briersprings project, I got a call from a gentleman telling me he had recently purchased the house across the street from his own home at an auction. He said the house had been neglected for years (I’m talking previous owner lived here with NO utilities kind of neglected) and had become unsafe and an eyesore for the neighborhood. He purchased the home so he could make sure the home would be well taken care of in the future. By the time he called me he had shown the house to several investors who all came to the same conclusion- “the value is in the land not the house- the house should be torn down.” This evaluation did not sit well with this neighbor because he purchased this home NOT with the intention of making a quick buck but rather with the goal of salvaging what he felt was a historic landmark to his neighborhood. Lucky for me, another neighbor suggested he reach out to Storybook Homes.
Honestly, I was not in a position to purchase another project when he called- I had just started the Caldwell project and it looked like I might be taking on a huge client project- beaglefork (I know I still owe you after pictures of that one). But when I pulled up and saw those clerestory windows in that front room it was all over for me- I was in love.
I mean, I already felt like the luckiest flipper in the world getting to work on one of the only true mid-century style homes in Conway (Caldwell) and here was another one staring back at me. How had I never seen this house before?!?! Now, I tell ya, the inside was a different story – very little charm and without a doubt in need of a complete to the studs gut, but honestly it was refreshing knowing what I was getting myself into versus finding out during the renovation. I ran home that day and did some quick math factoring in a) what I thought it would take to do an all-in all-out renovation, b) what I thought I might be able to sell it for – taking into consideration the loss of 300-400 sq feet converting the enclosed garage back into a functioning 2 car garage, and c) factoring in the fact it would be months before I would be able to start the project. I came up with a number and presented the magic number to Mr. Neighbor and after some very agreeable closing terms, 2016 Cross was mine!
I knew this house was a treasure and a gift from the beginning and I wanted to do this neighbor and the neighborhood proud with the renovation but during the months from purchase to when I actually had the time to devote to start the renovation, the housing market changed dramatically. Prices of homes skyrocketed which is awesome if you are a seller but if you are on the buying end it’s a little different. I had been used to purchasing fixer-upper homes for $30 to $60 a square foot and still having a hard time staying within a renovation budget that would allow for a small profit and now those same fixer-uppers are selling for over $100 a sq foot and cost of renovation labor and material are also going up so I know these prices will take me out of the game. So knowing this Cross Street project might be my last flip for a very long time I have intentionally tried to savor it. I’m talking like the last bite of your once-a-year birthday cake kind of savor. If I had an idea, I tried to incorporate it, while at the same time practicing enough restraint that the house did not look like a Pinterest page explosion (there is a fine line I tell ya). Knowing that I would be able to take advantage of the upside of this housing market I also splurged on a ton of extras like all the custom cabinetry beyond the typical kitchen and bathrooms, the upgraded tile, the hardwood flooring throughout, the extra plumbing fixtures like the sink in the butler’s pantry and double shower heads in the master shower, etc., etc., etc. If this was going to be my last flip I wanted to go out with a bang!
It’s almost picture time, just give me one more written paragraph – just enough space to tell you about the story. Although I have not taken the time to write out the full story, I will tell you that the house was designed with a barefoot bohemian gypsy in mind. To be honest, I was influenced by the abandoned story I had started at the Caldwell mid-century home before owner Brad came on board and influenced that story to go a little more tiki funky (no regrets BTW). My goal with this home was to lean more to a laid-back desert pallet with soft cacti greens and terracotta accents. I wanted the home to feel currated like a well-traveled gypsy but in a chill bohemian kind of way. So if you’re curious about what that looks like…. let’s get to the pictures!
As is tradition let’s start with the outside.
Here is the view that first captured my heart. Notice the wood planks between the rocks and the enclosed garage on the left.
Oh, and I wanted to highlight the rock patio that was existing off the right of the house.
So here is how those goals played out:
All the rock you see in the landscaping and inside the home was found on the property.
David chipped out all the old mortar in the rock patio and put back new. Now the side patio serves as an extension of the living space- a great space to entertain a large group of people
You ready to go inside? That’s where the real changes occurred.
For those of us who geek out over floorplans… let me show you the before layout.
Here is the new layout that I was able to sketch in the comfort of my own home:
Inside the front door
Before, when you entered that front door you were greeted by a wall of mirrors, you could either 1) turn right into the living room 2) turn left down a narrow hall, or 3) go through the water-damaged foundation.
When you enter, you are standing on a firm foundation with a peek into the heart of the home- the kitchen. The pony wall gives a nice separation and helps hide any cooking mess that might be going on.
Before I take you on into the kitchen, let’s turn Right into the Living Room:
Here was how I found her….
Don’t you just love a feature wall?!? What this picture does not adequately show is how terrible the foundation was in this room. A tree limb had fallen on this portion of the house and had suffered quite a bit of water damage before it was patched up.
During the renovation, the subfloor was ripped up and new floor joists were added, the windows were opened back up, and the fireplace got a makeover.
Incendently, my view into my current naked living room situation…
That’s a sign of true love and support from my family that they would help me move all of our living room furniture over to stage for the upcoming open house.
Anyways… back to the tour. Let’s go on into the kitchen….
Before the current kitchen location was one of the 3 bedrooms.
Because the house is on a crawl space and I knew I was replacing all the plumbing lines anyway, I decided to move the kitchen across the hall into this space and open it up to the living room.
I wanted the backside of the fireplace to be a feature so I made it the backdrop of the range and vent hood. And speaking of vent hood…..I found this venthood that reminded me of a mid-century chiminea and I thought it would be perfect for the space. I had Nick’s painting team spray it up a high gloss creamy white to match the rest of the house- and it might just be one of my favorite features.
Check out that custom table. My dad came through again! Cushions for the custom bench coming soon! Although the kitchen has doubled in size from its former spot, she is still on the smaller side so I tried really hard to use every square inch thoughtfully. I even had Jeff Perry make me this pull put counter space, for extra prep or serving.
And to help with storage, I used part of the laundry room as a mud/butler’s pantry. Complete with a large pantry and space for an extra fridge or freezer. I also envision the small sink area as a great place to keep your coffee pot.
Speaking of laundry/mud/butler pantry space, that location use to be the home of the kitchen and guest bathroom. Let me show ya…
Here is a pic that shows the space opened up (kinda). This pic was taken in the garage showing where the new garage door leading into the laundry room would be. (just trust me)
Before we go into the master suite let me show you the old master suite:
Because I moved the master suite to the other side of the house and got rid of the guest bath, I created a hall to the former master suite so it could serve as the new guest bath.
So now let me take you to the new master suite. Remember that pic of the old kitchen? The area I was standing in to take the picture of the kitchen was like a dining/extra living area.
I’m not sure why I didn’t get a better picture of the space but from that room there was a door that lead out to the enclosed garage (seriously how do I not have a picture of this?) and at the back of the enclosed garage was this lean-to shed with doors that led out to the backyard.
During the renovation, I recaptured the garage so I lost livable square footage, so to help offset the loss I converted the lean-to shed into the new master bath/closet.
So past that sliding door would have been where you entered the old enclosed garage. But now..
it leads to a little dressing area/flex space as you pass through to the master bathroom:
And finally, look at that master closet. A nice walk-in closet is something you don’t take for granted in an old town home.
Well, there you have it! Did you feel the boho vibe?!? Whatcha think?!?! I know I say it every time… but I think this might be my new favorite. And I can say things like that and it not be totally prideful because I am personally responsible for so little of it. So as I sign off on this before and after blog let me leave you with a list of the true craftsman responsible for taking this home out of my head and into reality.
Captain of the dream team and guru of all things flooring: DAVID
Painter Extrodinair and longest member of the dream team- Nicks Painting
Cabinet Artist: Jeff Perry
Countertops: Countertop World
Trim: Precision Trim
Specialty Carpentry: Caleb
Roof and Gutters: AR Roofing Kompany
Deck and Fence: Jeff Hill
Specialty knobs and overall maker extrodinaire- TS Design Co.
Electician- JD Hall
Plumber: Robert Jones
Insulation: Mid State
Garage Door: Coney
Landscape: Thessing Lawn
And my friends at the pro desk of Lowes and Rideout.
If I left someone out, it was not intentional – no one made me cry this time!