Thread Number: 72995  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Tasteful Flippers' Latest Project -- MCM
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Post# 964277   10/25/2017 at 14:42 (269 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I've been following this couple's projects ( since they did a nice flip of a little '20s bungalow next door to a friend of mine a couple of years ago.   They have a good eye for maintaining architectural integrity while making sensible updates and additions, sparing no expense on the details, so the results are a blend of restoration and renovation.  The reality is, that's what sells, and they can't afford to have their homes sitting on the market for too long.


Their latest project, a low slung 1955 custom home built by a doctor, just hit the market.  My friend and I attended a private open house party last Friday night.  I was already smitten when I first toured the house during demo work back in March, but now the place is just stunning.  I'm in love with the tri-fold glass doors that open from the living room and kitchen onto the center patio.  If I could sell my place for what they're asking, I'd jump on it.  If there is any weak spot, it's the lack of cabinet space in the kitchen, but I could adapt.  In this wildly inflated local real estate market, they'll have no problem getting asking price.  It's in a very desirable part of town.


In one of her blog posts on the project's progress, Diane, the interior designer half of this couple, mentioned paint options she was considering for the natural wood wall-covering applied in a sort of giant parquet checkerboard pattern in what appeared to be a study or library.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one who disagreed with her plans, but I think the thinly veiled challenge I issued in a comment I posted may have swayed her, as I suggested leaving the wood unpainted would be a true demonstration of expertise in design.   As you'll see in the pictures, should you decide to view them, the natural wood survived.


The only major drawback with this place is that, in the shot directly below, what you see is what you get.  There is no garage.  There is space for a little pre-fab shed in a corner of the back yard, though, which could provide storage and a work bench.  There's a small storage area off the carport, behind the stone facade.  That stone application is an addition that Lance, the construction half of the team, fought for, and I think it was a brilliant idea.  As was the integrated Tesla charger in the carport, which will certainly appeal to those who are simply selling some of their stock options to create instant home-buying cash.





Post# 964282 , Reply# 1   10/25/2017 at 15:06 (269 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I will have to say they did a very nice job with that house.

Post# 964284 , Reply# 2   10/25/2017 at 15:17 (269 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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I agree, that is one very attractive home. Our first very inexpensive 950 sq ft house in Cupertino (then $103,000 in 1988, now 1.8 million...honestly) had floor-to-ceiling windows that faced the street. Friends said we were living in a fishbowl. 


I do like that stacked-stone they've used. It's very popular here as a veneer both inside and outside. I'd love to add it to the front of my house but I'm sure the HOA would forbid it. Their favorite reply is NO.

Post# 964294 , Reply# 3   10/25/2017 at 16:27 (269 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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This statement on the Spruce & Pine web site captures Lance and Diane's approach:


We weren't looking for a project of this scale. But Lance said, "I just have three things to say: Mid-Century Modern, circular driveway, Birch trees". He had me at Mid-Century but I let him keep talking anyway.

This house was custom-built in 1955 by a couple, both doctors, with no children. The original details in this house are exceptional. And we are grateful that, although other people have occupied this house, the original design has never been altered.

Many builders and developers looked at this 15,000 sq. ft. lot to scrape the house and even subdivide. In a way, we feel like we have saved this treasure. And we intend to bring it back to its original grandeur, and then some.

I pulled this "before" shot from the web site (there are lots more).  This is one case where architectural value and aesthetics triumphed over developer and builder greed.


By the way, one of the birch trees fell over just after they bought the house.  They were apparently diseased and likely parched after years of drought, so they had to be removed.  I can't say I miss them.


Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 9.06.00 AM.png

Post# 964301 , Reply# 4   10/25/2017 at 17:46 (269 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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That is really a beautiful home, thanks for sharing the info and photos. It’s out of our reach, but I do appreciate the design and floorplan. Those floor to ceiling windows are just the cherry on the sundae.

My family lived in an L shaped Ranch style home in El Sobrante, Calif. from 58’-62’. The home was on an acre on top of a hill and was custom built in 1947. It was on a slab fountation with radiant heating and cork tiles on much of the floors. There were floor to ceiling windows, but of course in wooden frames, in the living room and dining room, both sides in the living room. These rooms faced the used brick patio with the ubiquitous built in barbeque. And there wasn’t a single whole brick on the entire floor of the patio. It was done by a young sailor who was a client of my father. My dad did his divorce and Harvey laid the patio. One of the designs in the patio floor was a Thunderbird, not the car, the bird, LOL.
I would imagine the reno of the home in the post is very much like what our old home might look like today if its been recently renovated. Thanks for sharing this Ralph, it is beautiful today, and brought back happy memories of my childhood

Post# 964307 , Reply# 5   10/25/2017 at 19:21 (269 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Good call on the natural wood in the study. That should never be touched. Lovely vaulted wood ceiling, also. It makes the house warm and inviting.

We had the gray stacked stone in our first family house which was circa late 1950s, for a chimney and planter box. I always liked that look.

Post# 964313 , Reply# 6   10/25/2017 at 20:48 (269 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Really Nice.

But just a dight too sterile for me.

Post# 964375 , Reply# 7   10/26/2017 at 09:01 (268 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        

$130,000 will only get you a modest house in Joshua Tree.

$245 per square foot in La Habra is below the California average.
Why did the California market inflate so high since 1975? I know the climate is optimal, but there are compromises with fires, quakes, and land slides in places.
Do people really make that much more money? How can anyone pay a million dollar mortgage in 30 years?
The Phoenix area average is about $145 per sq. ft., the same as many midwest locales.
The Minneapolis area has a higher price average than most other midwest locales though.

In Livonia Michigan, millenials are snapping up 1950's. 60's, and 70's houses of modest size with an average of 21 days on the market.

Post# 964386 , Reply# 8   10/26/2017 at 09:53 (268 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        
How did the real estate prices get so high

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in California?

In one word, GREED!

To answer your question Mike it was the fast and furious flipping of houses that began in earnest in the mid 70’s in the Bay Area at least. Back then interest rates on mortgages were anywhere from 15 to 20% and real estate prices were relatively low. People began swooping up properties, putting lipstick on a pig and flipping them 6 weeks of less later for massive profits. Sometimes they didn’t even put the lipstick on the pig and still resold at massive profits. This has been going on now in Calif. at least for over 40 years. This, combined with the overnight mind boggling wealth of the dot com industry and Silcon Valley workers has created the perfect storm to price the average Joe right out of the real estate market.

In 1987 we saw the handwritting on the wall and we purchased a 1 bedroom condo, new construction for $55,950.00 with $500.00 down and an FHA mortgage at 10.5%, just to get our foot in the door. Seven years latter we sold for $70,000 and with the profit bought our current home for $122,000. We’ve paid extra on our mortgages since the beginning and by doing so were able to own our home free and clear. If we tried do do this now we’d be SOL. Thank God we had the foresight, or we couldn’t afford to live here anymore.

Personally, I’m against flipping of houses just for the profit. In my mind anyone that works hard ought to at least be able to buy their own home if they want to, and not be artificially priced out of the market buy profiteers.

This post was last edited 10/26/2017 at 12:56
Post# 964401 , Reply# 9   10/26/2017 at 13:00 (268 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Eddie, you nailed it.  I remember the frenzy that started all of this back in the '70s.   Three homes across the street from my parents turned over a few times among the same buyers and sellers.  It was ridiculous.  They did very little to them.  The market did the rest.


Just last month a tiny flipped home a block down from me, 100 years old, 650 sf and on a tiny, no-backyard lot with single car (as in Smart Car) garage, sold for $860K, which IIRC was $90K above asking.   The interior was total IKEA.  No doubt city codes prevented a scrape and anything larger from being built on that postage stamp lot, or trust me, that's what would have happened.


This madness will have to stop at some point, but around here, with Google planning a giant 8M sf transit village about a mile away that will bring 20K employees into the area, real estate prices have already spiked further, even though there won't be a shovel in the ground for several years.


I'm going to cash in sometime soon, since Dave's mobility issues require a single story home with a wide open floor plan, and I want less upkeep than this 90 year old Tudor requires -- everywhere I turn I'm reminded of an overdue project.   In fact, I've discussed this with both Lance and Diane, who are taking a short break after completing the Weaver Drive house, and their realtor Darcey.   My house could be their next project.  We may end up in something smaller that won't be on as desirable a street, but as long as it's more modern and I can break even, I'll be OK with it.

Post# 964418 , Reply# 10   10/26/2017 at 17:18 (268 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
We thank heaven every day...

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that we live in the more sane "backwaters" of Vermont and Upstate Central NY, where teachers, nurses, and firefighters folks can actually afford to buy a home, and aren't surrounded by arrogant, entitled, self-satisfied yuppies. One has to feel sorry for young people, desperately trying to buy their first home in NYC, Boston, Silicon Valley, or Vancouver, only to have the rug pulled out from beneath them by Asian escapees or hedge-funds buying homes for cash, 27 yr old overpaid software "engineers", or securities analysts for Wall Street banks.

We actually distantly know one of the latter: an extended family-member-by-marriage, who was a lower echelon (!) analyst that retired from Morgan Stanley at 35, making 1.2Mil/yr, and moved from his Trump Tower co-op to a 10 acre B-n-B/estate on the waterfront in Treasure Beach Jamaica. It's that kind of ridiculous money being thrown around by lucrative businesses that is responsible for driving up prices.... after all, someone has to buy those overpriced houses from the flippers.

Post# 964518 , Reply# 11   10/27/2017 at 10:28 (267 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I totally agree,

an average person or family should be able to afford a home. Flipping is all the rage everywhere today. Even in dilapidated Detroit, where just a decade ago, houses were left vacant to rot because no one had a job to buy them, or were too old or run down to bother with.

Our kids bought a bank owned fixer upper with 5% down. We all helped them get it in move in shape. Refinshed the floors, painted, stripped wall paper, gutted the bath rooms and replaced everything. Not to flip, to live in.

Now the son isn't handy, and has no desire to be. he and his fiance' are renting for a year.when their student loans are paid off, I think they will buy, or move to Chicago, as of now. A CPA mastered and a software expert can do well most anywhere.
I did recommend they tome down their social lives and settle into more a of a saving routine. It's time, in their late twenties. Both contribute well to their 401k's already.

Post# 964584 , Reply# 12   10/27/2017 at 20:54 (267 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
Home prices in California

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Not all of California home prices are insane. It's a very large state and there are still many places you can obtain a reasonably priced house. The areas in the news do warrant criticism. Southern California has become very expensive. Anywhere along the coast is pricey. Where I grew up and lived most of my life, the SF Bay Area, it is totally insane. I see friends who have very high-paying jobs buying modest track homes built in the 50's & 60's for close to 2 million. The value is not there by any means. How these people plan to continue to pay for these places is beyond me, and the mortgage is just a portion of your payment. The true cost of a house is not the home's selling price. it's the cost of ownershipMany properties in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco Counties are being bought up by companies like Google and Apple as attractive housing for prospective associates. With these guys, money is no object. This is fuel for the fire.


I'm no big fan of flipping either. I have a very good, very long term friend that tried the "flipping thing" with inheritance money he received. This was at the time when mortgages were handed out like samples at Costco. He bought 5 homes in Phoenix on his very modest salary. Within a year he was underwater on all of them and financially shot. To this day he insists "I didn't do anything  wrong" which I suppose is true. But because he's such a good friend of over 40 years I wouldn't tell him "you are confusing "wrong" with "illegal". He tried a "get-rich-quick-scheme" and it back-fired. 


And just to add this...where I live (not Bay Area/Los Angeles prices) there seems to be many people who brag brag brag about how much their home is worth. I think it's sickening. I enjoy telling them "your home is worth nothing until you sell it. Until then it remains a liability, paid for or not". An equity loan or additional mortgage is a loan, not free money. 



This post was last edited 10/27/2017 at 22:09
Post# 964588 , Reply# 13   10/27/2017 at 21:18 (267 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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The internet was supposed to be the big equalizer that would allow people to work from anywhere. Instead, its had the opposite effect, as the best and brightest young techies all want to work in the same places, Silicon Valley, SF Bay Area, Austin, etc. Financially, it would make much more sense to work in Abilene or Akron or Kansas City, of course.

According to a CNBC personality, Procter & Gamble has had a hard time luring techies to Cincinnati; if they're going to work for a soap company, they'd much rather work for Clorox in Oakland.

Post# 964604 , Reply# 14   10/28/2017 at 00:49 (267 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Well, if they actually ever build the first leg of high speed rail -- and that's a huge if, real estate in Fresno will be next to skyrocket.  With a ride to San Jose taking only about an hour, people are going to snap up homes there like nobody's business.


I can't even imagine paying property taxes on a $ 2.5M home.  Out of the gate you're looking at 1.5% of the sale price, not to mention all of the other stuff that gets tacked on like parcel taxes approved by voters for parks, schools, etc.  I pretty much vote NO on all of that stuff anymore because the money is chronically mismanaged.


Fortunately, our property is still under Prop 13, and we're allowed to move once and keep our same assessment, as long what we buy costs the same or less than what we sold, and is located in a participating county (our own county is one of them). 

Post# 964613 , Reply# 15   10/28/2017 at 01:59 (267 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Very nice---but for 2mil I will pass-BUT Somewhere I heard that they were offering buyers 60 yr mortgages so the "average" Joe could buy the place.In my area a home of 2300Sq Ft would be under 200K.

Post# 964696 , Reply# 16   10/28/2017 at 14:34 (266 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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Post# 964709 , Reply# 17   10/28/2017 at 15:16 (266 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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I started to write "what is that Ralph talking about, an hour commute from Fresno to San Jose, about 150 + miles?" But then I realized you were talking about high-speed rail. Home prices in Fresno are currently increasing at about 7% yearly. Contrast that to my modest neighborhood which is increasing at about 30% to 35% a year. The resort/vacation atmosphere ( the airport is called a Resort-Port) helps as well as the wall-to-wall rainbow flags you find here. All those aging baby boomers like me view Palm Springs as a sort of Elephant's Graveyard for the Will & Grace set. They seem to arrive in herds. 


You could do that commute in an hour with one of these from the film "Rat Race"

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