This week’s Flip or Flop Fort Worth proves that a house can appear to be in great shape, only to find that something pricey lurks behind a wall or under the floor.
But before we start our recap of FOFFW, we have some reader mail to answer.
Kathleen writes, “Where can I find the kitchen backsplash tile for Flip or Flop Ft Worth, Burton Hills project. Thank you!”
You’re looking for the Art Grille Matte ceramic tile, which can be found at Floor and Decor. It’s a great finish because you could go darker with the cabinetry or lighter (as Ashley did) and it will look great.
Jennifer wrote to ask us about something that caught her eye in the premiere episode of Fixer Upper’s fifth season.
“Where can I get the wallpaper used in the kitchen? I’m obsessed!!!” she asks.
It took me a while to track it down, and I have good and bad news: The good news is that Joanna said she designed it herself (found that on her blog). The bad news is I don’t see it for sale yet – but I would wager that this is a good place to keep a lookout.
Ashley and Andy Williams begin the episode driving through Benbrook to check out a potential flip. They feel the suburb is attractive because “a lot of young families are moving in,” but they also have a bit of money to spend on a nice home.
The house was built in 1965 and is an estate sale, which means everything in the home comes in the purchase.
First impressions, the two find the exterior and grounds are promising. The home is set back on the lot and is heavily treed.
“It’s in awesome shape,” Ashley says, pointing out the lush, green grass in the front yard.
“Any time you got green grass on a flip — in the Texas heat — that’s great,” Andy agrees.
There’s an awkward entry that is part atrium, and has two doors — but only one is an entry point.
“We’ll need to fix that,” Ashley says after they determine the door with the doorbell is likely the true front door.
The living room is large, but it’s also dark and dated. It’s also full of random stuff.
“Everything goes if we take it,” Andy tells Ashley.
“This is not a bad room,” Ashley says.
The living room leads to a family room — which is huge.
“Now I”m starting to feel like I got an investment opportunity on my hands,” Andy says, obviously pleased with the size and layout of the room.
Ashley is excited about the size, too, but wants to define the space’s uses clearly since it is the kitchen, family room, and dining area. She’d also like to widen some doorways to bring some light in.
The two find a whole set of encyclopedias in a set of bookshelves.
“Before the internet, this was the internet,” Andy explains to Ashley.
“You’re only four years older than me,” Ashley side-eyes her husband.
The galley kitchen is a decent size, but Ashley would like to drop a wall to help open it up to the family room — and you know, remove the carpet. Because kitchens and carpet go together like a Smart car and a bean supper.
The laundry room is huge, too. A check of the garage reveals there’s an older model sedan that apparently will come with the house.
The hall bath is “dated and claustrophobic,” Ashley says.
Both bedrooms are a good size, and the master isn’t huge, but it is serviceable.
“It’s a really tiny master bath,” Ashley said, adding that they’d steal space from a closet on the other side of the wall to make the master bath a little bigger.
A big backyard finishes the tour of the home, and the two talk about their offer, ultimately deciding to offer $120,000. “We can be in and out in three weeks,” Andy said. You know this means something is going to happen, right?
They end up taking a counteroffer of $130,000, and get cracking on demo.
Almost immediately, Blake the contractor finds an issue. The washer drain is apparently not working, and the previous owners tried to get around it by putting the drain hose into a PVC pipe that drains into the yard.
“That can’t be permitted,” Andy says, and Blake agrees. He offers Andy two options – cut into the driveway and re-route the line, which will cost thousands; or have plumbers come out at $500 an hour to investigate all the lines and see if further repairs are needed. Andy opts for the latter.
When Ashley drops by, Andy gets her to check out the car that was left in the garage. The car actually drives, but Ashley is still not impressed with the freebie car.
But the next day, workers are jackhammering the floor. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure it’s never good news when they are jackhammering inside your house.
Blake says they’re chasing bad pipe. They’re having to replace all the pipe because the original cast iron pipe is shot. It will cost about $8,000, and will push back the timeline for the reno by five to seven days.
Meanwhile, Ashley says she’s going to paint the trim on the outside of the house. While talking to Blake about the trim colors, they discover the wrought iron porch supports wiggle like a baby tooth. The good news is that Blake says he can replace it for a couple of hundred bucks.
Next comes finishes! I love finishes! Finish time is the best! And now that the floor is put back together, they can move forward with the reno.
But speaking of finishes, Ashley tells Andy that she would like a little more money for her part of the renovation — she wants to do a statement piece in the family room.
“I need a little money,” Ashley says.
“She wants to tap into my contingency,” Andy says, wryly, and agrees that if he doesn’t have any more construction surprises, he can probably accommodate her request.
They’re also giving the fireplace a facelift, removing the upper half of the rock and adding a more substantial mantle.
Ashley reveals to Andy what she wanted the money for — wallpaper in the family room as a focal point. She’s picked a bold graphic in a light, airy color scheme, and jokes that it matches Andy’s shirt.
And with that, “we are 98.2 percent done,” Andy.says. Staging day follows.
“It’s the best day of any flip,” Ashley said, adding that the finishes and staging furniture were picked to “bring in life and light.”
Perhaps the biggest cheap fix in this flip was the exterior. The change was monumental, but was a culmination of several low-cost fixes — like taking out the shrubs and changing out the trim colors.
I can’t get over what a huge change some paint, trimming the trees up a bit, and changing the shrubs out for low-lying plants did for the curb appeal.
After touring the house one more time, the two talk numbers. Their all in cost was $177,000, and comps for the neighborhood are between $220,000 and $225,000. They opt to list the home for $223,000. Four weeks after the open house, they sold the house for $215,000.
So what did you think of this week’s episode? What about that wallpaper? Are you brave enough for it? Sound off in the comments!
Bethany Erickson is the education, consumer affairs, and public policy columnist for CandysDirt.com. She also has opinions about TV shows, lima beans, orders that are appropriate for the drive-through, driving to Kansas, rats, Grey Gardens, apartments, and wine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.