One question we often get is whether or not it’s hard to leave a “flip” house that we’ve lived in as a family. It’s a good question and I can see why people would be curious. Generally, my answer is the non-committal “yes and no!” On the one hand, we keep the memories from each house and in a weird way it’s helped me separate my memories from kid to kid. Each of our babies came home from the hospital to a new house; Lohman to our first flip, the Dubuque St. house, Avery to Church St. and Jameson to our Oakland house (and I guess you could add Belle the dog to our current house!). We love to take on new projects, it’s what we do. It’s exciting to look at a house and figure out how to make it not just a home, but our home. So on the other hand, leaving a home we’ve flipped and lived in feels like a natural extension of the rhythm of how we live our lives.
All that to say, living in a flip has its own unique challenges. With the exception of Dubuque St., we’ve completed major kitchen renovations in each place while living there. We had to get creative when it came to washing dishes without a kitchen sink and sometimes without water on the entire first level. Let’s just say that our bathtub and bathroom sinks got a little extra use those weeks! I remember even taking a laundry basket of dishes to my parent’s house to use the dishwasher when I needed a little extra help. We ate lots of meals from the crockpot and ate out when we needed to. Oddly enough, it was easier than I thought it might be to not have a stove. Hmm… maybe our meals aren’t that different without a kitchen than with one!
It can be messy living in a flip, especially when major renovations are taking place. We’ve learned to put cardboard down so we can walk through unfinished spaces. We wear shoes and put up plastic “walls” to keep spaces off limits for the kids. But it can also be a source of entertainment. Our youngest son Jameson especially loves having people in his house to talk to and watch as he shows off his super-hero moves. It’s not unusual to find him with his plastic tool kit in hand wanting to “help” with a project.
Here’s one thing that we’ve discovered living in a flip: we do things the same in our own home as we do in the houses we flip for other people. We use the same workers, the same products and put the same amount of time and care into the decisions we make. The folks we hire do great work with or without us present, which is a strong testament to the people we choose to work with. If anything we worry less about our own house because the decisions we make only have to please us. When designing and choosing for an unknown buyer it can be tricky to toe the line between conventional and artistic taste.
Our current home is the fourth house we’ve lived in while renovating. With each home the scale of our renovations has grown larger. Our first home, Dubuque Street, we completed minor renovations, such as installing hardwood floors, painting, upgrading the scary basement bathroom and landscaping. (Mind you, this was before we sold-it-all, went to Spain and came back with the vision for starting our own business.)
Next we moved to Church St, a beautiful home built in the late 1800’s.
We removed layers upon layers upon layers of wallpaper in a majority of the rooms, did a compete remodel of the kitchen and bathroom (that house had only 1 bathroom on the main level and I was pregnant with Avery at the time. Talk about memories!), we refinished the hardwood floors, created a cozy back patio and, like always, painted and landscaped.
More photos of Church St. are on our website.
On Oakland St., we opened up the kitchen and dining room during a complete remodel, added a bathroom on the first floor and remodeled the upstairs bathroom, refinished the floors, put in new windows, lighting and landscaping.
More photos of our Oakland house are on our website.
Our current home is in a rare moment of quiet – well, as far as renovations are concerned. With three kids our house is rarely ever quiet. As you likely expect, we’ve remodeled the kitchen and dining room, as well as 3 of the 4 bathrooms. We tore out the old, dated trim on the first floor, replaced it and began the process of adding crown molding to several of the first floor rooms. We’ve painted anything that stands still and updated the lighting.