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Small Changes Add up to Big Change at the Flip House

I love a good “before” and “after,” don’t you? Well, my apologies because today is all about the “during.”

When we started the makeover on our new flip house, “Hattie,” I was a little disappointed because she just wasn’t very ugly to begin with. I mean, I really love to get into a horrible rundown mess of a house and bring it back from the brink of city condemnation. Let’s rip out some walls. Let’s carry out the grossness with shovels. Let’s back up a dump truck into the driveway and fill it with terrible old cabinets and tiles and (gasp!) sludgy toilets!

(I know, I’m a little bit of a weirdo.)

But Hattie was neat and clean, and just a little dowdy and frumpy. Truly not terrible. Oh well, even in the best of situations, I can find a flaw, so we dug in and started redesigning.

(You can check out all the before pictures in the first post about Hattie.)

As soon as we pulled out the cabinets and flooring, I realized how short sighted I’d been. Even though she wasn’t awful to start with, we could make her a lot prettier and more functional. In this house, it comes down to the little details. While I love to open up walls and make big changes, this house just called for some redefining of a few spaces, and updating all the little pieces that make a house a home.

Progress at Flip House Hattie

We started by ripping out almost all the flooring on the first floor. This was particularly painful because most of it had just been updated to sell the house. Tearing up perfectly good carpet hurts my heart, but it had to be done. The floor plan will feel much more open with one type of flooring running throughout the whole area, rather than tile here, carpet here, and wood there. It already looks better with no flooring at all!

Kitchen During

Then we ripped out all the kitchen cabinets and appliances. We’re planning on extending the kitchen by getting rid of the peninsula and adding cabinets on the other side of the eat-in area.

The walkway between the kitchen and dining room was restricted by this tiny doorway, so we opened it up as far as we could to let more light through and make it feel less cramped as you walk between the rooms.

Kitchen Before

We decided to paint the staircase white. It wasn’t in the budget to replace it with something more modern, and we thought it sort of stuck out like a sore thumb.

Stairs During

This just proves my theory – when in doubt, paint it white!

Stairs Before

Also, we covered over a weird little storage area under the left side of the stairs. We didn’t think it was very useful, and it just looked distracting and made you wonder what we keep under those stairs.

As all this is happening, we are also painting all the trim and doors white. The whole space looks much more open and bright without all that dark wood trim breaking up the view.

Next time, hopefully I’ll have more progress to show you with the kitchen and bathrooms. (Hint: shiplap!)But in the meantime, I better get back to work!



Monday 22nd of February 2021

Do you have a post on the coffee bar in one of your remodels?


Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Hi Roxanne, no I don't have a post on that yet. The short version is it consists of a kitchen base cabinet (off the shelf at Lowe's), a butcher block counter top (also Lowe's), and two shelves hung above a tiled backsplash. Hope that helps in the meantime!

Carole West,

Saturday 28th of April 2018

Love those improvements - you definitely have a eye for fixing up these houses to bring them current and more useful..


Monday 7th of May 2018

Thank you Carole! It's so much fun!

Jeri Walker (@JeriWB)

Wednesday 25th of April 2018

Looking good! I'd have covered up the weird storage space under the stairs too.


Monday 7th of May 2018

Thanks Jeri! My 10 year old is heartbroken that we got rid of her hiding spot!

Anita C. Lee

Tuesday 24th of April 2018

Wow, that looks so much better already. Can't wait to see the next step.


Monday 7th of May 2018

Thanks! Just getting rid of the dated pieces made a big difference. Now for the slow work of putting everything back together...


Creating a color-filled life. Conquering my little world one DIY project at a time. With lots of coffee and chocolate. Albuquerque NM. Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Facebook