LONG CIRCLE Part 3 (House flip)

Colors swatches, wallpaper and paint samples for redecorating house flip

Hi! I'm back with more stories on the Long Circle house remodel. Honestly, as I've been writing these articles there is so much to say and it's difficult to cover it all in four short articles about a flip house. Every day was a total adventure, some good, and some not so good. Schedules are very tight on a project like this so if one thing goes wrong, or someone doesn't show up, everything and everyone else is behind...and sometimes quite angry! As I mentioned, this house went relatively smoothly but it was a huge amount of work! I'm working on an e-book dedicated to the specific process of remodeling a house and the things to keep in mind and anticipate as you muddle through your project. Whether you're just remodeling a small area of your home, or gutting an entire house to flip, I hope you'll stay tuned for my step-by-step guide that will come out sometime this summer. In the meantime, if you have any stories or before and after photos you'd like to share with me, please get in touch using the contact form on this site or comment below. I might like to share some of your ideas or photos in my upcoming articles!

Looking for a missing box of supplies that accidentally got thrown away

Looking for a missing box of supplies that accidentally got thrown away


About two weeks into the Long Circle remodel, we had everything gutted and work had begun on the basement. The basement finish was relatively easy since the systems were in place, there was some electrical work that had been done already, and there was nothing much to tear out. In other words, it was a blank slate. There was good light (natural window light) in the basement already, with two egress windows. This is really important and a consideration when I purchase a home. To be a "legal" bedroom and counted as such for re-sale, the bedroom has to have a window big enough for someone to escape if there was a fire. I've had to dig out egress windows plenty of times and it's not cheap or easy to do. Sometimes it's not even possible unless patios or other landscaping can be torn up to allow for digging these out. So we framed in a bedroom in the basement making this a five bedroom home which would be more desirable in the family neighborhood in which this house was located. 

The laundry area was already located in the basement so with some quick framing, sheetrock and tile, this became a much easier and cleaner place to do laundry. All new lighting and outlets were added and after the sheetrock and trim was done in the basement, all that was left was the paint and carpet. I had a separate crew working on the basement so they could work while the upstairs crew stayed out of their way. 

While this work was going on, I was busy running around getting things at the store like lighting, plumbing fixtures, landscaping supplies, paint, etc. and choosing cabinets and countertops. I always try to order the cabinets as soon as I possibly can since most of the kitchen work depends on the cabinets being installed, so that countertops can be templated (measured with placement of cut-outs for sinks, stoves, etc.). It's all a process with a definite plan for each and every day to make sure the project doesn't get stalled. When I'm flipping a house I pretty much work for 12-16 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. There's always something to do! 

The cabinets I put in this house were actually really nice, painted cabinets from Home Depot. I had several coupons which allowed me to combine them with a special offer on the cabinets and save a lot of money on a great choice that anyone would be proud to have in their home. Since I had these coupons I also made one BIG trip to Home Depot within the first couple weeks to buy anything and everything I thought might be needed for this remodel.

I spent the better part of a day thoroughly going through the house and counting doors that I would need and door knobs--how many closet knobs, bathroom knobs and entry knobs? Would the doors need to swing right or left? What about the hinges? Each room would need a new light fixture or fan, window treatments, etc. The bathrooms would need cabinets, countertops, hardware, toilets, sinks, cabinet pulls, tile, mirrors, toilet paper holders, shower doors, and on and on. I'd also need the kitchen appliances and would order all of those as well. I carefully crafted a list of literally several hundred items and spent the next day...about seven hours...shopping in Home Depot. I had shopping carts of small items and a list of the large items that they would pull from the stock room and deliver to me. It would allow me to have the majority of what I'd need on hand so that if the electrician showed up and needed a light fixture or the plumber needed to measure the cabinet for the bathroom, everything was right there in the garage and this would eliminate some trips to the store. Having said that, there were still days where we needed something right away that wasn't on hand and I'd have to run around town trying to find it. There was one day I remember that I went to Lowes twice, Home depot six times, a plumbing supply distributor and a lighting store all in the course of a (LONG) day. 

In between running errands, I tried to be at the house as much as possible. There are numerous times during the day when a contractor has a question and if I'm not on hand to make the decision right away they might either leave (not good) or make the decision for me (also sometimes not good). I would often come back to the house to find unexpected problems, like the backed up drain one day. The tile guys had dropped grout into the drain and once it dried and hardened it was blocking the drain. Having already paid them, I had no choice but to call in the plumber who was thankfully able to dig out the grout and get the drain working again. My plumber is awesome and gave me a break on the cost of the repair since he knew I was about to lose my mind that day! Needless to say, I never used those tile guys again!!

I would do little projects throughout the day, one of which was the cabinet I painted in the family room. It was an old bar and instead of tearing it out I thought it would be a good place for a family to use for extra storage. I de-glossed the cabinet--not as strong as using a stripper but great for taking the shine off so new paint will adhere to the cabinet. I then painted the cabinet black. I had a remnant of granite from another job that my granite company cut and polished, then I added handles, and the cabinet looked amazing!

After significant sheetrock was repaired on walls from the wallpaper removal, and on the ceilings from popcorn removal, they were skimmed and ready for paint. All the trim, including the existing hand rails and door frames were painted white which made a HUGE difference in the updating of the home. All of the ceilings were painted white and most of the walls were a consistent light grey which worked beautifully with the white trim, grey cabinets, marble tops and dark hardwood floors. 

Things really fell into place with this house and once the cabinets arrived and were installed it was just a matter of waiting on the countertops and tile backsplash in the kitchen. Plumbing and electrical had been roughed in so when the kitchen was put back together things happened pretty quick and the day of finally listing the house to sell was quickly approaching. Would I make the deadline I set for myself to get the house on the market? Stay tuned for Part 4 and find out! 

Find all the parts of my Long Circle house flip story here. You might also enjoy my other posts, A Passion for Remodeling and House Flipping {before it was Trendy} which describe how I got the bug for remodeling and house-flipping.