Archives For Design

I left my previous job, and began flipping houses in Portland, Oregon in 2010. Having a love for architecture, renovation, and real estate in general, was necessary. It can never just be about the money, or it won’t last. That being said, it wasn’t until my first house sold, on the first day on the market, for the full asking price, that I was convinced I made the best decision. Here are the four things you’ll want to get right.

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First, work with a Realtor who really knows the local market that you’re looking in. Hire a savvy agent who demonstrates they’re in the know of what’s happening in the neighborhood, what houses are selling for in terrible condition, but also the ones in great shape. Your Realtor should also know what houses people are flocking to right now. When I first began, I got my real estate license at the same time and I searched the MLS database for local houses that sold within the first seven days on the market. I wanted to discover some common characteristics. One of those was that in 2010 in Portland, Oregon, about two thirds of houses had white kitchen cabinets. Interesting. When it came time for my first flip, guess what color cabinets I chose? J Find a Realtor who gets it.

Second, come up with a great investment and profit plan, or just use mine. When figuring out how much money I should pay for a fixer house, I use this formula: 0.75(ARV) – Cost of Repairs. What that means is take 75% of the “after repair value” or how much the house will sell for fixed up, then subtract the estimated cost of repairs. That is the most I should be paying for the house. For example, if my savvy Realtor shows me comparable houses that have sold for $300,000 fully fixed up, and the fixer house I’m looking at needs about $30,000 worth of work, then the most I should be paying for it is: 0.75($300,000) – $30,000 = $195,000. After all of the agent, interest, and listing fees, this would leave about a 15% profit on the sales price, or about $45,000 in this example.

Third, hire a great crew. On that first house I flipped, my husband, father in-law, step-dad, and even friends had a hand or two in helping make it profitable. Let’s be honest, when you flip your first house, it can be a bit unnerving. For that first one, I am all about having a little sweat-equity in there to ensure you don’t spend too much money. But I always recommend hiring licensed professionals for the big stuff. And after you gain some confidence from successfully flipping your first house, for the next ones, hire it all out. When I’m looking for new people to work with, I first ask for personal referrals from friends and family. If your best friend has a great heating and cooling person they have been working with for 20 years, start there. If no referrals are coming your way, go to a trusted source online where consumers rate their experience with contractors. Either way, I recommend having at least three people come out to the house to talk with you about the scope of the project, and give you an estimate. It’s also a great time to set up expectations with these potential contractors to make sure you and your project are a good fit for them. Ask them for references, and call those references! One of the things I always ask is: What was the best part about working with this contractor, and if you had to pick something, what could they have done better? Don’t let them off the hook. Have them tell you something.

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And lastly, create a project calendar and tight timeline. The calendar should include all the work happening at the house, and how many days each project will take. I let the contractors know they will be working with others each day they’re there. There is no reason you can’t have a water heater replaced in the basement, at the same time kitchen cabinets are being installed, and the exterior of the house painted. Most of the projects I take on, ranging from $25,000-$150,000 remodels take about 4-6 weeks. The three main reasons for tight timelines are: 1. Buy and sell the house in virtually the same market. The housing market can change quickly. I want to make sure that ARV I calculated before buying the house hasn’t changed by the time I sell it. 2. There’s a great energy generated when there’s so much work happening at once, especially with a great crew. Momentum builds, and with each week that passes, the house transforms. That’s great for morale. 3. The less time you own that house, the lower your expenses are. Most of us don’t have $200,000 in the bank to buy a house for cash, so we pay a lot of interest, fees, taxes, and bills the longer we own the house. Lower those by being efficient and having a tight timeline.

I have been flipping houses since 2010, and have done well on each one. Does luck play a role? Maybe, but having tested guidelines certainly helps. For me, there really aren’t any secrets. If there are flipping secrets out there, I don’t know them. I’ve learned these four things will get you moving in a successful direction.

Bobby Curtis is a serial renovator and principal broker with Living Room Realty in Portland, Oregon.

 

 

Of course you are familiar with the basic process of making traditional wooden furniture: grow tree, cut down tree, use wood to build furniture. The problem with this method, according to furniture designer Gavin Munro, is that there is too much energy spent on the process, meaning it is not at all eco-friendly.

And herein lies the inspiration for the British designer’s Full Grown furniture company, whose process utilizes “specially designed plastic frames to mold young willow, oak, ash and sycamore trees into the shape of chairs, tables, frames, or lamps as they’re growing. Once they’ve matured, each tree has morphed into a fully functional furniture item made from a single piece of wood, no sawing or assembling necessary.”

This is all an attempt to get people to “rethink our relationship with trees and time,” and the creator likened the process to “a kind of organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source material.”

We love the idea behind the furniture, and we think it would be a beautiful addition to any home. See what you think of the results in the pictures below, and find out more on Full Grown’s website.

Source: Fast Company 

We LOVE this invention. Pon is a pushpin that holds up your artwork using the same tension functionality of a paperclip, without puncturing the paper. Its inventors call it “preventing picture puncture.” Its clever design allows you to display and preserve your favorite items and artwork, then switch them out when you’re ready.

Pon is currently available through their Kickstarter.

Source: Pon

 

When we came across these dreamy pictures on Better Living Through Design, they sent us on an instant and much-needed mental vacation.

We were transported to a far away place, and now we’re planning and scheming. Our thoughts are full of warm nights spent looking across a lake, of barbecues and bonfires and friends’ faces illuminated by firelight.

The Prism Steel Chiminea from Terrain makes us think of all these things, and we want it. Winter is long, we’ve got to fill the time somehow. So until the warmer weather arrives, we’ll be here dreaming.

Source: Terrain

We are currently coveting this chic little wall-mounted shelf, not only for its gorgeous and minimalist design, but for its hidden multiple uses.

In one mode the console has an angled edge meant to easily hold hangers, which makes it possible to feature beautiful garments alongside trinkets and art pieces. The shelf’s slim surface area encourages the owner to edit down the pieces displayed to only the very favorites from their personal collection, which is definitely a good thing when going for a less-is-more aesthetic.

The Cohabitation Console from Dot and Bo  comes in a choice of Walnut, White Oak, or Ash wood.

Source: Better Living Through Design

Modern or traditional? Designer or DIY? Wacky and whimsical, or subtle and minimal? Whatever your style, there’s a wreath to match. The New York Times recently went wreath shopping with Kevin Hertzog, a freelance set designer and prop stylist who once worked on Bergdorf Goodman’s famous holiday displays, so he knows a thing or two about wreaths. You’ll find a few of our favorites below. See any that would look good on your door?

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Source: The New York Times

2014 has been a big year for brass in home decor, though it’s by no means a new concept. Once a norm in houses around the world, at some point brass just fell out of favor. Some homeowners became so disdainful of it that they would go so far as to paint over brass light fixtures and nobs. But brass is back in a big way (although we are not talking about the ultra-shiny brass of the 80s), and the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. The brass of today is all about creating a warm and timeless look, but with a fresh modern twist.

Design*Sponge believes brass’ appeal may be due in part to the fact that it looks good at any level of wear. Brand new is beautiful, but many years in it develops a gorgeous surface patina of wear that many prefer to its original shine. We think it’s safe to say that the brass revival is more than a fad at this point.

In hopes of inspiring you to experiment with using brass in your own home, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite brass products and uses in decor below. See what you think! Would you install brass in your own home?

Oak and brass shelving system featured on Remodelista.

 

This Hexagon towel holder by Urban Outfitters.

 

A DIY dresser revamp with antique brass bamboo handles, feautured on the blog Natty By Design.

 

This modern yet classic bathroom featured on Domino.

 

This midcentury sconce by Schoolhouse Electric.

 

Sources: Design*SpongeRemodelistaUrban OutfittersNatty By DesignDominoSchoolhouse Electric.