cincinnati

Saturday Six: A Rant About They, A Challenge and Sharp Objects

ONE - what were they thinking

This has been bothering me for quite some time so here goes a little rant…. you know how you get your hands on a house (or just go into one) and think, “WTF were they thinking?” I can hear it in my head on repeat. You see an ugly kitchen or electric rigged a certain way, a cheap bathroom fix or an odd layout and say, “What were they thinking?” It’s like a mantra in the land of real estate. Well, I guess after a decade plus of hearing myself and other people constantly complain about things “they did”, I’m over it. When I hear those words now it is like nails on a chalkboard. Maybe I’m just sick of hearing complaining, which is ironic since I’m sitting here complaining to you about complaining. But, after being on Instagram for so long now and having a lot of content for people to pick apart, I’ve learned that most of the time, the things that people usually have a problem with is something they don’t even understand in the first place. There is always a reason behind why I did something and i realize now “they” probably did, too. I assure you they did something you don’t approve of because of a host of reasons. The top reasons I can think of are money, time, 18 other decisions made this one happen, “because I like it like that” and it was their home after all AND/OR “F it I don’t give an F anymore”. If you’ve renovated your home before you know there are 1.8 billion decisions, all of which affect each other…and your pocket book….and your sanity. And toward the end you just think please let this be over. And my guess is when it was “over” it wasn’t actually finished as intended. Was it? If you stay at The Shack, one of my Airbnbs, you will see a shade on a door that isn’t long enough to cover the entire window bc it was the last thing and I was at the - DAMN YOU SHADE! F YOU! I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE AND I HAVE TO MOVE ON - stage. I said it. It’s not perfect. I “should” fix it. I won’t. Bc F it.

Ok maybe I will some day when I simmer down.

TWO - faux fiddle

Now that that is out of the way. Here’s a fake tree I bought for The Shack to fill a naked corner. It has good reviews. Let’s see if I like it in person. I tried a real fiddle leaf in The Comfy Cactus and it ended up a mostly naked twig until I rescued it and brought it home. So, a fake one it is for now. Maybe. We’ll see.

Side note: fiddle leafs are not hard to care for despite what you’ve heard! I have one in my house where it can get some sun but not too much. Just right. When I have some water I’m going to throw out, like the rest of my glass of drinking water or half a water bottle, I just throw it in there. It’s grown about 2’ in two years. The one I rescued from The Comfy Cactus, same thing. I put it in my bathroom by a small window. When we are brushing our teeth, about once a week I fill up two glasses of water and pitch it in. It’s gone from twig with about 2 leaves on it to about 7 now! I honestly thought it was a goner.

THREE - mythical perfect schedules

Update on the Cincinnati condo I’ll be listing on Airbnb: sofas were being delivered on Wednesday but they called at 7am to deliver and no one could meet them. Womp womp. So, now they are rescheduled for Saturday. This pushes back cleaning and photos and obviously the listing timeline. Such is real estate stuffs. If anyone can figure out how to have anything involving homes go as planned and scheduled….please share with me this phenomenon. I’ll be your best friend.

Here’s the little devil we’re waiting on…

FOUR - all the good stuff

Pin of the week! This bathroom is like nothing I’ve seen.

Join me on Pinterest bc I pin weird, beautiful, awesome things. Because I want ALL the ideas. Naturally.

by Beth Dotolo and Carolina V. Gentry

by Beth Dotolo and Carolina V. Gentry

FIVE - knives that cut

I got these knives for the Cincy loft and they are SUPER inexpensive! Only $20! They are pretty good lookin. Plus they cut, so that’s good.

SIX - january announcment

I know this is early, but consider allowing some room in your January resolutions/new year new you schedule. I’ll be doing a 31 day challenge involving houses and making them feel and look good without gutting them. If you have done my challenges in the past, then you know I throw shit at you hardcore like. Obviously you are welcome to do as you please. But, I won’t be letting up on the info spewage. Be prepared. A friend told me I was an idiot for not charging for it. I just feel like free is good right now.

If you don’t want to miss the challenge and its daily….challenges, be sure you are subscribed!

Click here to see past Saturday Six posts.

Saturday Six: Remember Your Flip, Girly AF, Elimination

Six random thoughts on a Saturday…

ONE - remember

Back in Phoenix! It was a whirlwind of chaos, design and shopping in Cincinnati this week! I literally cut most people and projects out of my life the entire week and just straight worked. Some of my friends and family didn’t even know I was in town. I feel bad about that but then again I seriously went non-stop and had very little room to breathe even! I don’t think I’ve ever been that focused. I even forgot about my own flip! Someone asked me about how it was going and I was like, “Ummmm, hmmm I don’t know!” Whoops.

TWO - missing

I got this light for the Cincy Airbnb, but it never was really seen since it will be going in the sofa area and the sofas have been MIA. It’s really cute and not a bad price for a floor lamp!

THREE - inappropriate

Sometimes I want to have my own podcast so I can ask people questions that are not normal for every day conversation. Is that weird?

FOUR - pinned

I really am stuck now in this contemporary vibe. Never loved it before working on the Cincy loft. Now I want to Art Deco everything. I’m sure my Comfy Cactus Airbnb will receive the deco treatment bc it tends to take on my design whims for some reason.

Side note: I’d also like to do a girly AF Airbnb. Like with pink marble or granite counters. So there’s that.

FIVE - mine

Dudes. World Market is having a 40% furniture deal! It ends Sunday 11/25! I’ve been eyeing this chair in particular. Might be time to pull the trigger!

SIX - eliminate

I often think, “What can I get rid of?” I mean I do like a good purge, but also when designing. I get sick of the routine of the same things over and over. I mean I like lighting. Like, a lot. But, sometimes when I feel like I’m in a sort of rut, I just get rid of something and change it up. Like pendant lights. It was ingrained in me that one must have pendant lights over an island or peninsula. But, sometimes the idea of something hanging in front of all of the other fun, beautiful things I had planned was not sitting well. So, I just got rid of them. At first it felt naughty and wrong but now it’s like BYE. I like it. I feel so rebellious. I’M SUCH A REBEL WITH MY NO PENDANT LIGHT KITCHENS! :)

What you might have missed this week…

  1. November book club was announced! See all book club months here.

  2. The Comfy Cactus Phoenix/Arcadia Airbnb has last minute availability Nov 12-16, then nothing else until the weekend before Christmas and the beginning of January.

  3. The Shack Phoenix/Biltmore Airbnb has last minute availability Nov 12-14 and Nov 18-22, then nothing else until December 13-20. We also have New Year’s open!

  4. Look for the Cincinnati Airbnb listing to go live in the next week to 10 days!

Flippinwendy on the Skyler Irvine Show

I put them off for months. I was so nervous about being on a podcast, buuuuuttttt, the fact is I LOVE podcasts. I was so busy with clients and houses that I kept delaying. Not only was I busy, I was freaking out about what I would say and if I would sound like an idiot. Luckily, I finally gave in once things had slowed down and I think it turned out pretty well. The Skyler Irvine guys report that it's their most downloaded episode to date!

In this episode we talked about how I got started in house flipping and eventually started designing for friends, family and now perfect strangers. We also talk about the power of Instagram and how I gained 43,000 followers in just 9 months. If you've ever wanted to know a little more about flipping houses, check it out. There's the link below for listening in. If you'd rather watch than listen, the Youtube video is below as well. I'm also including some links to things I mention at the bottom of this post.

Listen

Watch


Show Notes:


If you watched or listened, I'd love to hear what you thought of the episode. Let me know if there's anything I didn't discuss that you'd like to know more about. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day!

Wendy

Kitchen Before & After: How Take Advantage Of Your Contractor

When you have 2 months of waiting on a permit and demo that takes three quarters of a century, you have lots of time. Time to think. Time to rethink. Time to question your thinking. Time to stalk Pinterest and find all the coolest ideas that you now MUST implement or your brain will die a slow death. There was one inspiring kitchen that started it all, though. This one from House and Home Magazine's October 2015 issue. I took a photo of the page and sent it to my contractor, hence the photo quality sucki-ness. 

Then, I took advantage of my contractor. I lean on the talents of the people working on the project. If they have special skills, I use them. I use them for all they are worth. Wah-ah-ah-ah. It is helpful if you already know the contractor for hire. My contractor Joe Wood of All Around Joe is a sucker for carpentry projects. I told him my idea of chunky wood shelves and he was instantly hooked. He was especially excited because he would then be "forced" to buy a planer he had been eyeing. A win-win for all. 

NOTE: If you can, work with someone who is excited...to WORK! This should be an art project for the both of you. If they grumble and spout off reasons why it won't work (other than for safety or financial reasons), you probably aren't a good fit. For example, I had mosaic floors in a bathroom design once. The contractor complained that they wouldn't work. I looked at him like he had 3 heads. If they could lay mosaic floors 100 years ago, they can certainly do that now. This was simply a case of not wanting to do the work. Moving on....

So, off to Building Value I went to pick up some old wood. I found what was probably 100 year old floor joists. I know because I ripped the same things out of this very house and had them pitched. There just wasn't room to move! People wanted it out of the way. 

GET OFF MY BACK! 

You can't store everything. I'm not Nicole Curtis. I don't have a garage X3. I lived in a condo. You can't win everything. Anyway, found the wood. Brought it to Joe. He did his magic. 

A hood can be almost anything. All you have to do is build a box and throw an insert into it. So, in this project the box was just framed and drywalled. I didn't want a big shiny silver thing stealing the show. I wanted to mimic the chimney bump out in the living room but not draw much attention to the hood itself. From there, Joe attached our salvaged wood floating shelves on either side and trimmed out the "hood box" with some of the salvaged wood. 

In order to balance the room out, and get the coffee bar I was dreaming of (bc Pinterest and Joanna Gaines), he ripped a few more boards to span the fridge/pantry area on the neighboring wall. I didn't want to do another backsplash tile and introduce another pattern and material, so I opted for chalkboard paint. Only problem was I didn't want the chalkboard paint to just end at the top in an awkward line. So, Joe came up with the fab idea to trim out the entire coffee bar with more of the salvaged wood.

Teamwork.

BOOM. 

I personally drew the coffee bar sign. I'm no Picasso but I think it looks decent.

PRO TIP (from a pro not me): dip your chalk in water before you start writing. It makes the chalk line nice and bright.

What I love (but also hate) is designing on the fly. In some cases it's really frustrating and stressful to have some things up in the air. I'd love to say that every idea is perfectly thought out, scheduled and implemented, but it's not. I usually have a pretty good idea of what the design will be. But, inevitably I end up tweaking the idea until it is something new, original and even better than I envisioned. This is also something great about Joe and his team. They are flexible. They want it to look great. They are proud of their work. I like them. Hire people like Joe.

I think it turned out pretty well. 

A Disaster Turned Miracle: The House Nobody Wanted

Things have been a little spicy here in the 'Nati over the last year. No houses. NO HOUSES. Very little inventory means houses are selling for a premium, before list even! Desperation! I had to get my hands on one or some. Your patience wears thin. Until that is, you search one day on your pretty little MLS. You never do that. You leave that for the wholesalers. But, you're desperate. You search the street you've been stalking for far too long and there it is. The most beautiful and crappiest row house you've ever seen. Listed at the rock bottom price of $60-ish,000. 

WHAT IS WRONG WRONG WITH PEOPLE? 

Why was this not pending already? One of Cincinnati's finest Realtors, Aaron Binik-Thomas took me to see it. Isn't she so ugly she's pretty? (The house. Not Aaron)

The only reason I went to see this house was because it was on this street. The houses on the opposite side of the street all have three story views of the City of Cincinnati while the houses on this side are shunned. Forgotten. Kicked to the curb. The other side of the street sells for $200,000-$800,000 (for real tho, it's those views) while this side wishes it had a life. The only reason I continued to think about this house after I left was #rooftopdeck. I get weird when opportunities present themselves that can only mean awesomeness or complete disaster. The house was a hot mess. That's how I like 'em. However, it had somewhere between 3 and 13 floor plan issues. A crapshoot. Literally 3 minutes into the showing I told my agent we were out. 

That night I lay awake thinking about the house and how cool a rooftop deck would've been to build. While we wouldn't fetch $800,000, certainly a rooftop deck would bring the value up drastically. But, how could I make this work!? The kitchen was in the back of the house and separated by the staircase. I'm not moving stairs. I'm just not. (I don't know why.) To access the third bedroom you had to walk through the second. Lame. There was only one tiny bathroom in the house. Two would be better.

But how!?

This house sucked.

First Floor

First Floor

 And then...

my brain turned on.

The next day I texted Aaron and told him, "I've got it!" and let's go see the house again. I know he thought I was nuts. That's ok. I'm used to that sort of reaction to my whims. We had to see it again because I barely glanced at the place the first time around. I hated it that much. I needed to make sure my plan would work. 

Low and behold, the puzzle pieces went into place. The old kitchen would move to the dining room, something I had wanted to do in another house of mine. Glad I stored that idea away in the ole memory bank. The old kitchen would become a bedroom. The walk through bedroom would become a hallway to the master bedroom, the master bath, the master closet, a laundry closet and....

access to the rooftop deck. BOOM.

Subtract two and carry the five and we had ourselves a winner. 

First Floor: 

First Floor

Second Floor:

Second Floor

Second Floor

It was too good to be true. It all worked.

Then construction happened and good became awful, timelines became horrendous, people were fired, spiral stairs ended toward walls and so on. A year went by. Such is the rehabbing life. Fortunately, everything turned out wonderfully in the end and I didn't want to hand over the keys. I just wanted the rooftop all to myself. 

Some advice to anyone wanting to pursue disasters turned miracles like this: study this floor plan well. Walk through houses with broken floor plans and think it through. Draw it out. Practice with the app MagicPlan, which I use for my floor plans. Even if you have no intention of buying the house. Even if the house is your mom's sister's cousin's former roommate's. Practice! Then, bust out these ideas when you find that diamond in the rough that nobody can figure out but you. 

See more photos of this house here.