Part II: The Flip House by Amanda Forrest
Celebrity designer Amanda Forrest embarked on a journey to flip a house, a charming little bungalow located in Cambridge, Ontario. In a two-part series, the design expert shares her story of the highs and lows of house flipping and ultimately how she set the stage for the new owners.
Continued…Five weeks into this project I sat down and prepared a calendar that would outline the work that had been completed and what was still left to tackle. I think mostly as a way to try and convince myself it would be done within my eight-week deadline but also as a way to serve as a motivational speech of sorts to rally the trades around my cause.
It was a strong lesson in multitasking as I managed ordering countertops for the unfinished kitchen and brochures for the impending real estate open house all in the same breath.
At this point, there is progress to be seen. The house itself feels brighter, the giant hole in the basement to fix the main plumbing line has been filled in and I am well on my way to something pretty.
At this stage the painting in most rooms has been complete and carpenters are beginning to set up saws for the baseboard, crown and all of the trim to go in. This is an exciting phase because every day is bringing a new layer of drama or interest to the house.
As if bringing an old beauty back to life.
In trying to decide on a material for these finishes, I first opted for MDF as I really felt that a painted finish would be easiest to blend with the other interior paint colours.
The challenge was that the MDF has a much newer feel to it than the original wood previously installed.
The solution was to use oak on the main floor of the house. This would give me the feeling of original wood grain and better blend with the other heritage woods I was keeping on the main floor.
I experimented with various cut pieces of moulding on site until I had a look that felt proportionate to the style of the house.
After surveying the room, the fireplace was the main interruption I had in running a nice straight line around the living room. Deciding on where to install the crown and baseboard came more naturally as I was somewhat following the original placement in the house, but the chair rail detail required a little more thought.
I knew I wanted something that would add an extra design dimension to the main floor without being too busy. The goal was to add visual interest in a way that would complement the original structure and add beauty regardless of what type of furnishings were placed in the space by the new owner.
My thought was to use the fireplace as a height marker for the chair rail so that I would have a clean uninterrupted line all the way around the living room. Given that I was installing the chair rail on the high side of what was typical, I felt perhaps I needed to investigate my options for mouldings to use as the typical chair rail may look out of place at this higher placement.
Off to investigate various pieces of moulding, I ventured back with samples from the box store. One particular one really seemed to look interesting. It was a piece of wood meant to go over a doorway, the architrave.
In its new role as a piece of chair rail, it felt substantial, clean lined and the perfect proportion for that heritage look I was trying to achieve.
I decided that the long pieces of moulding should be painted before installation. This would make for less paint edging once installed. In trying to decide to spray or brush the paint on, I opted for spraying some, for instance, the baseboard and casing in the basement, as this space had a more updated feel to it.
But on the main floor, I felt hand brushing would be best in order to retain a heritage feel. I rented a sprayer from a local store and simply laid the baseboard, crown and casing down on the cardboard over the garage floor.
Within a few hours all was beautifully sprayed or hand painted and ready for installation. This was really an easy two person job. We marked around the room with pencil and then simply followed our marking as if having a stencil.
As the moulding went up, the room began to come to life. It looked much richer instantly. Once we finished the main floor install, it was on to the basement.
This new found space had a bit of a different feel.
Although the colors where retained from upstairs, it was beginning to take on a youthful look, something new and fresh that was a welcome addition to the once dismal pit I called a basement.
The space has good light from one large window—the three windows would be hidden behind storage doors. I tried multiple ways to address the floor plan while keeping the windows open to view, but could not attain the open media room I wanted without enclosing the windows in to the two adjoining storage rooms and the new bathroom.
Ah! The joys of a renovation!
The end solution was to use doors with a frosted glass to them. This allowed me to have the natural light flow through the doors and brighten the basement while still camouflaging the bathroom and storage hidden behind.
By the time the doors where framed in I was extremely excited for the doors to make their entrance. They would be the jewel that would help finish off this basement space— one step closer to the end of this renovation, actually eight days shy of completion date to be exact.
Although under stress I was anxious for the beautiful solid doors to arrive. Sadly, my excitement turned to disbelief when I received a call that the flat bed carrying the doors had been hit on the highway sending my entire shipment crashing to the ground.
Thank goodness no one was injured. The doors where collected and delivered in pieces to the house. My heart sank. Some were salvageable but some were destroyed. Really I had no choice but to think fast on my feet.
The delivery team and I worked to put together the pieces we could but had to find an alternate solution for the doors that were damaged. The solution was to use slab doors as a base and then apply panel moulding to the doors to match the profile of the other glass doors.
This was a huge success.
The storage doors coordinated nicely with the glass ones and the entire space felt cohesive despite the drama associated with getting them in place.
With the house painted, counters in, floors installed there was only accessorizing to do, just one day to open house and it was all hands on deck!
One fun challenge I had was deciding on how to properly display the art that was left in the house by its artist owner. I had planned a charity event to raise awareness of the artist’s history in the community and was looking for a cheerful inexpensive way to display the original drawings during the open house.
I looked for a rail system but wanted something more decorative. The solution was to paint some beautiful solid wood Ikons and install them as a small platform to rest the paintings. This created a pretty effect on the walls; an architectural back drop that tied in the heritage element from the chair rail upstairs perfectly.
The paintings were easily accessible to art enthusiasts, functional and beautiful! (Click here for a step-by-step DIY tutorial on how to make a shelf for artwork or photos with Metrie Ikons.)
So, in the end I made the open house deadline (barely!). It was a surreal moment to have all of the agents and buyers come through with such positive commentary. The icing on the cake was that the property sold in one day for a couple thousand over asking price.
Would I do it again? I will need a rest from this one for sure, but I see more ‘flips’ in my future.
Click here to watch Amanda’s first house flip on The Marilyn Denis Show.
The Metrie Pretty Simple Collection was used in this
charming little bungalow to update the home and keep its heritage feel.
Amanda Forrest creates custom home interiors for clients who value
a space that will stand the test of time and capture the homeowner’s essence.
Amanda has been a featured Prop Stylist for Benjamin Moore Paints,
Spa Life magazine and others. She is a Design Expert for the Marilyn Denis Show
airing daily on CTV and a regular style personality on The Loop.ca
Related Posts: Part I: The Flip House by Amanda Forrest