I’ve never used the same general contractor twice. That says something right there. So every time I do a renovation, I have to start from scratch. The usual reason I don’t repeat contractors comes down to communication. I say things that don’t happen. They do things without asking that aren’t on the blueprints. They ignore installation instructions so an item won’t install properly (so I get the right part and do it myself over the weekend only to be met with wide-eyed stares). They try to install a shower drain a foot off the ground (literally) because they don’t have the right drain – which I source and have FedEx-ed.  They cut an active water line that floods the place and send me a Jimmy John’s sandwich as a “sorry.” And once they just ghosted for a month and I had to sue to recoup my deposit.

Those who read this column know that clarity isn’t typically one of my faults nor is suffering fools.

So given my track record, how do I find a contractor?

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One of four NOT Chihuly chandeliers for sale

Once you’ve checked out the Elite Auctions preview of 11322 E. Ricks Circle on Sept. 14, join me from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Claridge (3510 Turtle Creek Blvd., Units 18 A and B) for your chance to tour my Penthouse Plunge before demolition as I revive and return two Turtle Creek penthouses to their glory, and one to the market. 

Renovate: Reuse and Recycle

Every renovation has items from the existing home that no longer work with the new design. For my Athena renovation, I donated appliances, built-in cabinetry, lighting, doors and frames plus bathroom fixtures. The Claridge penthouses are no different. In and amongst the wine and nibbles, you’ll see what doesn’t fit with my plans and so is being donated, bartered, and frankly, for sale to anyone interested.

Respectful renovation isn’t the HGTV spectacle of sledgehammer-wielding destruction. It’s about taking a few minutes and finding a new home for eminently usable items that just aren’t “you.”

For example, kitchen and bathroom cabinets would be welcomed by housing charities. Ditto doors, windows, faucets, etc. You’re doing good and getting a tax write-off.

So far, in the “for sale” bin are four NOT-Chihuly chandeliers – one in each entry and two in the office (and my future bedroom). The clear/white one seen above is in the B-unit entry.

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Blueprint of remodeled Claridge 18-A-unit

I’d sketched enough plans to feel comfortable taking the Penthouse Plunge remodel of a double-penthouse at the Claridge on Turtle Creek. To review,  I’ll be restoring the combined 5,311-square-foot unit back into two infinitely more livable spaces. But my work isn’t good enough for building permits. That’s the subject of this column – getting to permit phase.

Before you begin a major renovation, you need to know what you’re doing – and not just in your head. So you’ll need blueprints prepared by a professional, and not just to get errant thoughts on paper.  First of all, major renovations – especially those in multi-family complexes – will need building permits. The governing HOA will want to know that the work is being inspected by professionals and that plans meet code requirements. With few exceptions, HOAs are not comprised of people in the construction trades.

The second reason for blueprints is to get accurate quotes from tradespeople and contractors. It will also help spec out what things you’ll need to buy – toilets, drawer pulls, tile, etc.

But how do you find the right resources to draw up your plans?  That’s where it gets interesting.

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I’m the soon-to-be the owner of a 5,311-square-foot penthouse on Turtle Creek that I don’t want and can’t afford. Now what?

As I hinted in my first Penthouse Plunge column, the plan is to separate the condo back into two units as it was originally designed. I foresee three phases.

Phase one will include all demolition and the construction of any new walls – including putting up the wall to separate the A and B units (physically as well as legally). The floors will also be repaired and refinished.

After all that dusty stuff is done, I will move into the serviceable B side while the rest of the A Unit is renovated and sold. After the A unit sale, I’ll recast my mortgage to something less breathtaking. From there, I’ll slow-poke the B unit renovation as funds become available. A small mortgage is better than an immediately fancy home – at least to me.

Follow the renovation as it unfolds (later this week you’ll read about how I found an architect). All the workers and suppliers know that, for good or bad, all will be laid bare in these pages. There will be no fake “Oh no!” cliffhangers before the commercial break – only real “Oh no!” and “Yippie!” moments here. And parties, of course …

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Back in March, I wrote a column about a mystery buyer wanting a partner-in-renovation to separate a double penthouse listing at The Claridge on Turtle Creek. Unit 18 A/B had been on the market for four years with three agents during which it had over $1 million in price reductions. That mystery buyer was me. I’d hoped to find someone interested in separating the units with each of us going our own renovation way – to no avail.

A few were interested in carving up the 5,311-square-foot unit, but they wanted so much space that it made the remaining B-unit unsalable – one wanting to leave me an oversized studio with only a half bath.

So I noodled and penciled for weeks and weeks trying to get someone to see the investment potential. I spoke with a banker to seek an investor or flipper. No dice.  So I noodled and penciled some more. In the end, a deal was struck with the help of all parties, including the seller’s agent, Sharon Quist from Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate. We all found a way for me to buy the whole freaking thing. According to Quist, “I’ve never done a deal like this in 40 years.”

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People are making the move from expansive homes with huge backyards to luxurious condos for many reasons. Part of it could be that apartments are inherently more low maintenance, but another reason is that it’s a liberating change of pace to be in walking distance of raved-about restaurants, amazing shopping, and lush nature parks and trails. The world is wide open and the best city experiences are always at your fingertips. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, you definitely need to take a look at this beautiful unit in the Claridge Condominiums of prestigious Turtle Creek.

 

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Condo

Regardless of the configuration, this is the gorgeous view.

Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.

The following was adapted from a series of emails about how to possibly divide a double unit in the Claridge into two units. With help from the current Realtor, could we help this prospective condo buyer out? Read and see.

Dear Jonny: I saw your column last week about Claridge unit 5D and hoped maybe you can help me.  I’m sure you’re aware of the Claridge’s double-unit 18A/B penthouse that’s been for sale since 2015. The years have seen several price reductions, knocking more than a million off its original $2.65 million. It might finally be within my grasp – kinda. Like you, I am a renovator and feel the price now takes a needed renovation into account. But here’s the thing, at 5,311 square feet, it’s too big for me. Also, the floorplan of the two combined units doesn’t work. It creates a very long space that originally had five bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half bathrooms – as you know, Claridge units have full his/hers master bathrooms.

The current real estate agent is Sharon Quist with Dave Perry-Miller whom I think you know. According to Sharon, the current owner wants to sell the unit whole and not re-divide it. Here’s my dilemma and request – could you look at the floor plan and create options for dividing the unit?  I saw your reimagining of the 3525 Turtle Creek unit and the one at the Gold Crest and thought maybe if agents and buyers saw the options, it might bring another buyer and myself together on a real estate-style “blind date”.

  • Goldilocks

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Capturing “unit as view” enables buyers to mentally place unit.

[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.]

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Claridge straddling Turtle Creek at Lemmon Avenue. In 2016, CandysDirt.com hosted a four-unit simultaneous open house that reintroduced us all to homes in the same building with different stories to tell. I called those units “Rahab,” “Remodel,” “Refresh,” and  “Rejoice,” which reflected how move-in ready they were (based on my personal tastes).

My “Remodel” was unit 5D, which was listed at the time for $1.474 million. It’s now back on the market with Allie Beth Allman agent Sue Krider for $1.189 million. While snoozing usually equates to losing, this time it’ll snag any buyer $285,000 off the original price. The home remains 3,049 square feet with two bedrooms and three-and-one-half bathrooms. The floorplan (below) shows this was originally a three-bedroom that’s been converted to include two home offices — perfect for all you DINKs out there (Double Income No Kids).

Why am I revisiting this property?  The photos.

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