Foyer Reveal

Hi friends! Today I’m going to share the before and after pictures of what we did to transform the foyer/entryway of our most recent flip house. 

Before I start with that, let me tell you some exciting stuff! This house went under contract 18 hours after we listed it for sale! Do you hear me?!?! 18 hours!!! We could hardly believe it either. We accepted the first offer we had in writing, although we had been told we had another coming in that day and had 4 or 5 more showings (I can’t remember exactly) scheduled for that day and the next. Our closing date is in a week, so we’re prayerful that everything goes smoothly. Closing dates always make us nervous, and I don’t think that will ever change no matter how many homes we renovate and sell. 

Exactly a week after we close on this home, we close on the purchase of our next. We already have demo day on the calendar for that project and can’t wait to get knee deep into renovations on it. 

I have some exciting plans for the kitchen and baths for that house and it’s at this beginning point in the design process of a new project that I get so excited I can hardly contain myself. The very beginning of designing and shopping ranks at a similar high point as the end reveal of a project. Creating a vision and seeing that vision come to a reality are the BEST parts of this journey, in my eyes. Nathan would probably argue that demo day and payday are his favorite parts. šŸ˜‚ We make a pretty great team!

We’ve also got some big things going on at home that I’m sure I’ll be blogging about soon. We’ve been working on the project of converting our guest room into a nursery for our little boy that is due in July. That room is almost done, so be looking for a post about that soon. We are also a few weeks away from totally destroying and redesigning our master bathroom. That room is BIG, but SO very outdated. My guess would be that it is original to how it was built in 1978. A renovation for that bathroom is long overdue, so we have finally decided to tackle that project and hopefully have it completed before the new baby gets here. 

I know you’re probably all thinking that we are totally crazy and cram way too much stuff into our schedules. But, truth is, we genuinely enjoy being busy. This stuff is fun to us, and the reward is great in so many ways. I think that we would be bored if we weren’t juggling several projects at a time. 

Alright…back to the foyer reveal. We nicknamed this room “the closet full of doors” because that is what it looked like when we bought it. This is the space that you walked into right when you came in the front door, and it was ugly! Upon entering, you were faced with the decision to choose one of 6 doorways (yes, SIX!) that led to other areas of the house. It was a really dark and closed off room to literally everything. So, of course we had to change that. I always try to design a home with this little thing in mind. I want to be able to take no more than two steps into the home from the main doorway and be able to see the majority of the main living spaces. To me, within two steps a buyer will either fall in love, or move on. 

Let’s start with some before pictures.

This first picture is the view you had from standing on the front porch.

And here’s a close up of the closet at the end of the foyer.

Here are a couple pictures from some of our incredible demo day crew taking care of our “too many doors” problem.


Men love to destroy stuff… and I love coming by at the end of demo day and hearing their stories. We are so blessed to have a great group of friends and family who are always up for lending a hand on these work days (of course we pay them, but still…). 

This room ended up having only one door way exiting off from it, and that one led to the master suite. The closet at the back of the foyer I turned into a built in hall tree/mud room area. When I designed it, I imagined book bags, shoes, purses and lunch boxes finding a home here in the mornings and then again in the evenings. It turned out incredible, just like I imagined in my mind. The seat on the top of the bench is butcher block that matches the kitchen countertops. And the background of the built in is bead board, which matches the background of the shelves in the living room. All of these little intentional design elements keep the house looking cohesive and the design looking purposeful and thought out. 

We replaced the light fixture with a very inviting new one and continued the hardwoods from the rest of the house in this space. The walls were painted in Sherwin Williams Requisite Gray, and the trim was painted Sherwin Williams Alabaster. The finished product is one that I was immensely pleased with! 

This next picture shows how much more large and open the home feels now that this room isn’t just a corridor of doorways. It’s such a pretty space now!


Well, friends…that’s all for today! Thanks for stopping by and reading. Stay tuned for all of the other posts coming soon that I mentioned earlier. I’m thinking the next post may be about our baby’s nursery. That room is already making me so happy, and it’s not even totally finished.

XOXO,

Megan

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Kitchen and Dining Reveal

Ya’ll I’m SUPER excited to share this post!! We have been working nearly non stop to get this project completed. It’s not done yet, but we finally have our first set of before and after pictures. 

Yesterday we spent all day over at our flip house and finished the kitchen and dining room. And I must say, it is my absolute favorite house we have done to date. The entire house is such a huge transformation that it almost doesn’t even look like the same place! I’ll start here with before pictures and then give the details before sharing the afters.



I know in another blog post I had given some ideas that I had about the kitchen. I had mentioned quartz counters and a tin backsplash. Well, I changed my mind on both of those things. 

We almost went with a gray quartz called “concrete”. We had gone and picked it out, had the company come to the house to do laser measurements, etc. We had budgeted $50/sq foot for countertops, which was exactly what the price of these were. However when I met with the guy for a price, they had added hundreds of dollars of fees for extra stuff besides the price of the counters. He also said they were 3-4 weeks out from being able to come out and install them. We didn’t like the added costs or the long timeline so we decided to go a different direction. 

I really didn’t want to put granite countertops in this house. I don’t exactly know why, I just wasn’t feeling it for this kitchen. Granite usually has a lot of pattern and swirls and I just didn’t think that would fit well in this space. So, we explored the idea of butcher block countertops and ultimately chose this option. We picked a butcher block countertop made from walnut and purchased from Lumber Liquidators. After three coats of food grade mineral oil, the results are stunning! We are super pleased. 

These countertops add to the sense of rustic vintage that this kitchen has, but that feeling is balanced out by the modern colors of the cabinets, light fixtures, stainless appliances and sink. I chose to go with a white subway tile for the backsplash, but rather than go with the normal 3″x 6″ tile, I picked the 4″x 8″ tile to make it a little less busy. The grout color is “charcoal” and it really makes the backsplash tile pop. 

We decided to keep the original cabinets, which is something we haven’t done before. They were in good shape, just ugly, so we painted them and replaced the hardware and that made a huge difference. I actually like the fact that they are the original cabinetry, something about that brings a sense of history and a vintage feel to the space. I chose to do white upper cabinets (exact color is Sherwin Williams Alabaster) and navy blue lower cabinets (color is Sherwin Williams Sea Serpent). This color combination had a lot of people questioning my decision making skills, but I could see the end picture and they just couldn’t see it yet. In the end everyone who had hesitated the color choices before told me that they loved it now. Oh, almost forgot…the wall color in the  dining room (as well as the majority of the rest of the house) is Sherwin Williams Requisite Gray. It’s a perfect gray color that has some depth to it. I’m kinda getting bored of plain light grays. I don’t know why. I feel like everyone in design went gray crazy and I’m just getting tired of it now. But this color we used is warm enough and could even be considered a “greige” or in other words, a beige gray.

The kitchen also had a peninsula and a decorative beam above the peninsula that made it feel really small, so we took all of that out and the space feels twice as big now. The kitchen originally didn’t have a spot for a dishwasher, so we created space for that and made it look like an original piece of the cabinetry by casing it in and having countertop extended over the top. You’d never known it wasn’t originally in this kitchen.   

Of course all of the lighting is new, as well as the sink and faucet. Those are usually a must in my opinion. I guess if you had an awesome light fixture that you could reuse that would be fine, but we’ve never had a house with anything nice enough to reuse. We always budget brand new lighting and faucets for the entire house into the initial budget for a flip project.  These small changes make a world of difference in the aesthetics of a home. 

And lastly, the flooring in the kitchen matches the rest of the house. I decided on a 5.25″ wide engineered hardwood called “hickory heritage” and the color is perfect. Not too dark, not too light and distressed just a wee bit.

Without further ado, here are the after pictures.




Well, what do you guys think?? I would love to hear your input!

XOXO,

Megan

I kinda hate the term “Flipper”

If you’ve been reading my blog posts at all for the past couple years, then it’s no secret that my husband and I “flip” houses. So, why do I hate that term? I’m not for sure that there’s even an actual definition for the term “flip house”, but in the day and age of HGTV everybody has an idea of what it is.

It may be different in various places around the country, but around our area flippers are notorious for certain things. Cutting out anything nice wherever possible to save a penny, painting the walls in the boring builder grade beige color, using basic builder grade light fixtures, tub inserts, cheap laminate or vinyl flooring, etc etc etc are a few of the things that typically come to mind.

While searching for granite for the kitchen of our last flip project the owner of the granite yard said, “Oh this is a flip house? Let me show you the granite most flippers use. It’s the cheapest we have here.” It was the most hideous granite they had. I would have never used it in any of our homes. But hearing those words spoke volumes that didn’t even need an explanation. By purchasing that granite, those flippers could advertise “granite counters in kitchen” in their real estate listing. Most other “flippers” would tell us we were crazy for purchasing granite that cost more than the basic quartz selections cost. But you know why we did that? Its not all about money to us.

We have a serious passion for what we do. It’s not just about the paycheck on closing day. Renovating these homes and bringing them back to life brings us more satisfaction than just how much our profit is at the end of the project. When I start designing a flip house I pick a personality for it. Like, what kind of voice would this house have if it could talk? What kind of mood do I want to portray through this design? Each home is different. In reality, very few things are alike in any of them. Making these decisions gives me little butterflies of excitement. And seeing it all come together in the end? I can’t even describe how exciting that is.

We don’t flip houses as quickly as some people do. Why? Because we add character and personality in things that will make us absolutely no return on our investment. I don’t know of any other flippers (well besides Tarek and Christina) that would sink money and time into something that literally increases the value of the house by zero dollars, but simply makes the home more attractive and custom. We just spent $355.00 on 3 sets of custom order shutters because we had to have the perfect ones in the perfect color for this home and the basic ones just didn’t evoke the same feeling. The basic ones at Lowe’s would have only cost $126.00 for the same 3 sets. Will we make that two hundred dollar price difference back when we sale the house? Nope. Does it matter to us? Nope. Why? Because we want people to know that if they ever purchase a home from us, they are getting a home that has had as much love poured into it by us as if we lived in it ourselves. The amount of time I spend designing these homes is worth thousands of dollars in design fees had they simply hired Hartman Interiors, and they’re getting that totally included.

We have a dream of eventually having such a positive name in our community that people are actually waiting for us to finish a home so they can potentially purchase it for themselves. That will never happen if we do things the way that most “flippers” do. It’s certainly not that we think we are any better than other house flippers, we’re just different. We simply choose to pour a little more of our heart and soul into these projects, even against the advice of others. We want buyers and potentially clients one day, to know that when Hartman Homes finishes a house it will be unlike any other in the neighborhood.

So, we’ll continue using the term “flipper” because that let’s people have a general idea of what we do, but now you know that what we do is actually so much more than that.

Final (current) Flip Update

I just realized that it has been nearly two months since my last blog post. Wow! Totally didn’t realize it had been that long. I feel like I should give a general update on our flipping journey.

Our most recent flip house went on the market in early August. That was a rollercoaster from start to finish. We received an offer right at two weeks later. Huge happy face here!!!! Then the next morning we found out that the buyers got cold feet and changed their mind. Huge sad face now!! Total roller coaster of emotions. That very same afternoon we found out that an agent at another showing reported that the appliances were gone. What?!?! Yep. Someone came into our unoccupied flip house during the wee hours of the morning and took the washer, dryer, and oven. Approximately $2,300 worth of appliances walked right out the door. Well, you can imagine that the roller coaster of emotions were still going strong…from elated, to disappointed, to furious all in less than 24 hours. 

Once the initial shock wore off we came to the understanding that this may not be the first time this happens to us with our plans to continue on this real estate flipping journey. Vacant real estate is a prime target for dishonest people, and if this is a game we are going to play then that is a risk we are willing to take. Odd enough, only appliances were taken. The main living spaces were totally furnished with furniture, decor, dishes, etc and none of it was touched! Well, except the towels in one of the bathrooms. Those were taken, presumably to keep from scratching the thief’s new appliances while removing them from the house. The following week we replaced the stove, but decided to not replace the washer and dryer since it was just money coming out of our pockets. Of course we checked with our homeowner’s insurance to see if it was covered…and nope. Not at all. Sure we were paying for super great, expensive vacant property insurance, but alas robbery is not covered at all. Fire, vandalism, acts of terrorism, the list of covered items goes on and on, but robbery…not covered. 

The biggest twist to the robbery part of this story is that the detective working on the case found our appliances! Of course it was a couple weeks after we had replaced the stove. But the officers just happened to be at a home for another reason and there they were, all three of the stolen appliances. There are details I can’t share on here, but a couple weeks later we got them all back! Wow. Totally a God thing. Thank the Lord! We all know that in this day and age, if something is stolen the chance of getting them back is slim to none…so it was a huge surprise!

Almost four weeks after listing the house we received another great offer. We immediately accepted aaannnnddd….we closed on it today!!! Yippeee! 

Here’s the last and final picture we took of the home last Saturday when we did our final work day there. We removed the staging items, mowed, vacuumed, etc. and then left the keys and garage door openers on the counter for the new owners. 

A little piece of my heart is always sad when closing day comes. Of course, the investor side of my heart is excited for payday, but the designer side of my heart is just a wee bit sad to see all of my hard work go to someone else. But it’s a weird feeling because I’m also totally pumped that someone else loves it enough to make it their own. It’s a bittersweet, but mostly sweet day. I know that last paragraph was way confusing…I’m such a woman. 

We’ve been on the intense hunt for another home to start working on. We’ve looked at a bunch, made an offer that wasn’t accepted on one, and have been scouring through foreclosures to the point that I’m exhausted. This is certainly my least favorite part of this journey. I’m ready to have one in our possession so that the creativity and designing can start…that is the BEST part! 

Hopefully I’ll have a new house to share pictures of, along with my plans for it very soon. We’re just praying the Lord gives us wisdom as we continue our search and that He opens doors on this journey as He sees fit. 

Thanks for reading!

XOXO,

Megan

Dining Room Facelift

I’ve been sharing a lot about our flip house lately and not very much about our house. Truth is, we spend most of our time at our flips. But, our current one is finished and I’ve been doing a little “sprucing up” at our own house. 

Our dining room has always been one of my favorite rooms in our house. It was built with good bones, per se. There’s an exposed brick wall and two archways leading into this room. One wall has a huge door leading onto our deck. The character in this room is one of the biggest reasons I was so drawn to this house the day we looked at it. But of course there were still improvements to be made. We’ve been slowly making improvements since we moved in over two years ago. Here are some pictures taken the day before we moved in.   

 
  This was taken the day we moved in…  
And this is just a week or so later when I added some fall decor.

 Certainly a good space, but it needed some special touches. Our first project was to paint some horizontal stripes on the wall leading out to the deck.  This picture was taken during the progress. 

 The next change we made in here was replacing the chandelier. The fixture wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t my favorite. I found a replacement that I think fits the space so well. I think it’s technically a light for over an island, but I love the way it looks over the table when looking through the arches. Another huge bonus…I scored it at a yard sale for $4. Yep…$4.00!  This is not a great picture, and I apologize.
 The addition of the rugs came next. I previously had the jute and cowhide rugs in the living room, but replaced them with a larger wool rug that fits the size of the living room better. When I moved these rugs into the dining room I knew it was a perfect fit! Right after that, we added our open, industrial shelving to the brick wall. I have loved having a place to display some of my prettier kitchen/dining items. 

The next change was our new sliding glass door. The previous sliding door that led out to the deck didn’t do much “sliding”. It was old and worn out. It took much effort to open and close it, and the locking mechanism was broken. So basically we lived here with an unlocked door for 2 years. Good thing we live in a good area. šŸ˜‰The new decor items in the pictures below were just added in the past couple weeks and is what inspired this post. 

  Isn’t that Farmer’s Market sign incredible? I ordered it from Painted Fox Home, and although it took 2 months to arrive, I was very pleased!  
    
That wreath is made from an old Webster’s dictionary. I saw it at a little local boutique and fell in love. 

That window was one of many windows that was found in a building on my grandparents property years ago. I cleaned it up and used it just like it was found. So, the paint distressing is all natural!

 Thanks for stopping by and checking out our little dining room facelift! 
XOXO,

Megan

Flip House Update: Kitchen and Dining

Yesterday afternoon I met with the marketing agent for our realtor to work on the video for our upcoming open house on August 7. They also wanted to film a feature on Hartman Interiors. How exciting is that?! I was a little nervous, but everything went fine. They videoed me while I talked about different features of the flip house and the design ideas that inspired the rooms. I also talked about some of the pieces that are for sale at the flip. I haven’t seen the video yet, so fingers crossed that I don’t look like a weirdo. šŸ˜‰

Today I finished writing prices on the tags, stamping them with my business stamp, and tying them on to all the pieces at the house. It’s starting to look like a showroom at a department store with every piece in the house labeled with a price/description. I actually already sold two pieces (a table and a lamp) and will have to replace them before the open house.  As a little side note…to my lifelong friend who stopped by while I was working on that today…thanks for stopping! It made my day to hear all the positive things you had to say. You’re so sweet!

Now on to the “update” part of this blog post. Let’s reminisce with a couple before pictures… 

   
Eeekkk…not attractive. I definitely had my work cut out for me in this room. White, white, white, and black. Bad combo in this situation. 

I deliberated for a very short amount of time on whether to keep the existing cabinets. The final result was a big NO. The layout just didn’t work. Having that mini peninsula coming right out to the fridge made the space seem very small. I decided to rearrange the layout of the kitchen, so on demo day this place was demolished down to the walls. The cabinets, lighting, countertops, appliances, sink and flooring were all torn out and eventually replaced. The new layout makes the kitchen flow much better now. 

My vision for this space was this: “farmhouse meets classic meets modern”.  I tend to be drawn towards the industrial, farmhouse look when decorating my own house.  So of course I wanted to incorporate some of that feeling, but I also wanted the space to be timeless and classic enough to appeal to the majority of potential homebuyers. 

I decided on solid oak cabinetry, but left a couple open spaces so that we could do open shelving in those spots. My granite choice is called White Cloud and it is the perfect blend of white, gray, and black. For the backsplash I did a white subway tile with a light gray grout color. The gray, “wood like” tile flooring is the same flooring that is in both bathrooms and the laundry/mudroom. The light fixtures I picked for this space are a stainless color and match the new sink and faucet. We also furnished new, stainless appliances (excluding a refrigerator).

 The chandelier in the dining room is my favorite one in the whole house. It is stunning! Believe it or not, that fixture is a Craigslist find! The dining room table is also a Craigslist find and is over 100 years old. I had originally planned on painting the table white, but when I learned the history of it I knew I couldn’t dare paint it. I did, however, reupholster the seats because they were in rough condition. To be so old, the table is in immaculate shape. As an antique lover myself…it’s dreamy!

And now, after all that talking…šŸ˜ here are the after pictures.  

    
    
    
   
As always, thanks for reading this update!! I enjoy sharing parts of our flipping journey here on my blog and it’s always nice to hear your feedback.  I’ll be sharing the address and link to the open house flyer next week, so if anyone would like to come, see it in person, and shop from the furniture/decor feel free!! 

XOXO, 

Megan 

Whitewashing Brick: A How To Guide (and a little update on my first interior design job)

About two weeks ago I posted a blog titled “Hartman Interiors” in which I shared that I had my first interior design job. Since its been a little while I figured I’d share what’s going on with that. 

After spending approximately eight hours of in-store shopping, about five hours of online shopping, about five hours of refinishing furniture, and seven hours of painting…this room is ALMOST ready to be put back together.  Next Monday the floors are being refinished and after that we will have our final “staging” day. I can seriously hardly wait. I’m for real. I’ve been having dreams at night with ideas for this space. 

It’s proving to be a challenge for sure, but nothing impossible. You see, the space is long and narrow with two focal points (a large entertainment center and a fireplace). In designing a space it’s usually a good idea to only have one focal point in a room, whether that be the bed of a bedroom, or a fireplace in a den, etc. But this room has two, and it’s a narrow space. So trying to brainstorm how to arrange furniture to have it face both focal points, still be functional, and look good all at the same time has had my mind spinning. 

This week I tackled painting, whitewashing the brick fireplace, and replacing the existing ceiling fan with an updated, prettier, and brighter one. A big thanks to my mama and husband for helping me out with all that this week!

So here’s the “how to whitewash brick” portion of this post. I really don’t have any progress pictures just some before/after shots, but it’s actually super easy so here it goes. 

  1. Pick your paint color and purchase it. I went with a tinted white for this project.
  2. Mix your paint half and half with water in a separate container.
  3. Use a paintbrush to paint the runny watered down paint onto the brick about three bricks wide and two rows tall.
  4. Use a rag of some sort (I used old tshirts that I took from my husband’s stash in the basement) and rub the excess paint off until you reach the desired level of coverage.
  5. Repeat over and over and over. Seriously, it takes forever. And your arms will be shaky when your done. BUT, it is worth it. 

I’m usually an advocate of not doing anything to brick. I like it to be all natural and let its character shine through, but if your brick is plain and dreary then this will definitely make it look fresh and much brighter.

Here’s how it turned out.

Before 

 

After

  
I can’t wait to share the finished product of this room. Wish me luck as I put together all the finishing touches next week. I’ll be sharing a post with all the details as soon as it’s finished, so stay posted. 

XOXO,

Megan