Category: design

True Story: I Flip Houses

woman house flipperTell us a bit about yourself!
Hi! My name is Lindsay Bjerke. I was raised in the small town of Waseca, MN on a five-generation family farm and made my way to St. Paul for school and work. I have a degree in Interior Design and am a licensed realtor for a small independent brokerage.

I’m 32-years-old, happily married and in love with my one-year-old pup, Gordon. For fun, the husband and I travel, play tennis, mountain bike and tinker in the yard.

For those of us who don’t know, what does it mean to ‘flip’ a house?
Flipping is purchasing a home at a discount that is in need of updating/repairs with the intent to remodel/rehab/repair into a respectable home and then re-sell (ideally for a profit).

How did you get into house flipping?
I’ve always been a wannabe hybrid of Designer-Realtor-Contractor. I’m equally interested in business as I am design and DIY projects, so I love that this career allows all of those qualities to shine.

You contracted out some of the work on your house but you did a lot of it yourself. What did you DIY and where did you learn your DIY skills?
Yes – I like to get dirty (and save money)! I did all of the demo, sheetrock hanging, taping/mudding, tiling, cleaning and refinishing of woodwork, sanding and refinishing of wood floors, painting (interior and exterior), trimming, landscaping, and (of course) all of the designing, shopping, budgeting, scheduling and managing of vendors.

What I didn’t know from past experience I learned by reading books, taking classes at a local home improvement store and watching a lot of YouTube videos. I also had a couple handymen to call on to assist when needed and give me some “on the job training.”

If you take your time and do the necessary preparations before starting the work, there is so much you can do yourself and do well!

dining room remodel

kitchen remodelIn your opinion, what changes make the biggest impact? What are some things that just about anyone can DIY and what should be left to the experts?
In terms of small cost-high-reward, the power of a clean house and a fresh coat of paint is HUGE! I’ve walked into houses that make you want to run home and shower, but after a thorough cleaning and fresh paint you might just want to move in!

If you are interested in this type of work and are attentive to details, much of the demolition and painting should not be a problem. With a little research, most people can tackle basic tiling, landscaping, floor refinishing and hanging sheetrock.

I don’t touch plumbing and electrical. It is always smart (and usually required) to pull permits. This will be asked of you when you complete a seller’s disclosure statement and a savvy buyer will look into whether proper permits were pulled and completed prior to buying.
When you’re looking for a flip house, what qualities are you looking for?
Above all I need to be proud of the work I do when the day is done, so I look for a house that makes my soul happy – one I would be proud to have my name on. Making money is number one priority, but if I know I won’t be excited about the end result, I’ll pass.
Besides location, the layout/functionality of the home is key. I look for homes that have an existing fabulous layout or a way to easily achieve a fabulous layout with a few (relatively) minor changes. Kitchens sell houses, so a nice kitchen layout is essential.

Properties should have good bones without a lot of remodeling needed. I look for poor kitchens and baths since those give a good return on investment. You don’t want to spend all of your budget updating plumbing, electrical, etc. (these items are expected to be in working/updated condition and go largely unnoticed).

Ideally the home would have (or could have) three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a dining area (to open up the home to the largest pool of buyers).

The home has to have at least one “wow moment” when everything is said and done. Something to remember the home by. Something that keeps people in the house and dreaming of living in it.

kitchen remodelbasement remodelDo you ever get a bit misty-eyed when a house sells after you’ve put so much work into it?
I get pretty attached so that moment of first putting it on the market is bittersweet. But it doesn’t take long for that feeling to wear off. Once the house is sitting empty sucking money, trust me, you’ll be counting the days to closing!

How much can someone expect to make on a typical flip?
I think a general industry standard is to shoot for a 20% profit on your investment.I get much more detailed before writing an offer, but one simple formula I use for calculating a reasonable purchase price for a rehab is as follows:
Highest Reasonable Offer = 70% (Most Likely Resale Price – Total Rehab Cost.) The 70% takes into account the costs of purchasing, holding and reselling the property as well as preserving a margin for a reasonable profit.

What tools/resources/websites really helped you with this process?
As an interior designer, I designed and managed remodels for many years before I decided to take on an independent flipping project. I had many contacts to draw from in the home remodeling industry.

I have read many books and taken rehab classes to prepare myself for the business side of the industry.
Being a licensed Realtor, I can easily assess property values with my access to MLS data. If you don’t have access to this resource, you want a good agent on your team to help you determine an accurate resale price so you don’t overpay on the buy side.

What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in flipping their first house?
Do your research, know your market and what buyers are looking for in that market.

Find a house with a good layout and good bones.

Get bids and add at least 10% for unforeseen add-ons and 30% to proposed schedule/timeline because something unexpected will happen and there will be delays.

If the numbers don’t work, move on. It’s so easy to become emotionally attached and want to help a sad house shine once again, but at the end of the day you need to make money.

Please don’t do your research by binge watching HGTV. Most of those shows are so unrealistic, but don’t get me started…!

Thanks so much for sharing, Lindsay! I know I fantasize about flipping a house. Have any of you guys done this? Do you have any questions for her? 

Yes Spaces: Ben’s Airy Southern Loft

After a bit of a sabbatical, we’re back with house tours of real homes (aka: furniture that doesn’t cost $2,000) belonging to real people (aka: not celebrities). We’re starting with my friend Ben’s loft; when I stopped by on my road trip I fell all over myself asking him to photograph it for us!

southern loftInternet homes: blog // instagram
Length of time in home: 6 Months
I share my home with: I’m 99% sure I share it with a ghost from when the building was a tobacco factory

BP_11loft kitchen ideas

What are the three things you love most about your space?
1. The history of the building
2. The abundance of light
3. The fact that I find it inviting to myself

What’s the least awesome, must-work-around aspect of your space?
The complete lack of storage and the electric stove top that I am convinced is the work of the Devil.

BP_14shelfieTell us the story behind one of your favorite pieces in your space!
When I relocated to Winston-Salem I came with absolutely no furniture for my living room knowing that a nearby city (High Point, NC) is the Furniture Capital of the World. I now had access to some of the most beautifully made furniture in the world (and at a discount!). Taking my time to find these pieces was like a treasure hunt that actually paid off.

What are some of the DIYs you’ve tried here?
Though I came with no furniture, I did come with lots of tchotchkes and personal items that I have accumulated over time. I worked with a great friend who has an eye for pairing the unique items I brought with me and the new pieces I’ve acquired since landing here.

BP_10BP_19What’s the strangest place you’ve found stuff for your home?
I wouldn’t call it strange. But one of my favorite pieces in my home are two cuts of wood that a friend of mine in Minnesota had originally intended to use for cutting boards. I like knowing that I have a bit of the Northwoods with me here in the South.

What are your top five sources for design inspiration?
1. My first inspiration is always the space itself. I’ve always been very dedicated to filling a space with pieces that reflect a time when it was built. Here I’ve used more industrial shelving, maps from ages ago, and pieces that are dated but still relevant.

2. Oddly enough I spend most of my free time putzing in the kitchen. So often I am inspired by what is trending in the culinary world.

3. Keeping myself open to see what other people see. There are many pieces in my apartment that I would never had incorporated but because I was forced to step back and look at the total picture by others these same items have become “must haves”.

4. I still troll magazines at the book store. Bon Appetite, Living, and Garden & Gun are some of my current periodical haunts.

5. Online I am obsessed with Orlando Soria at His Instagram game is strong.

Thanks so much for sharing, Ben! If you guys have any loft-decorating questions for Ben, he’d be happy to answer ’em!

10 Room Divider Ideas For That Giant Room

Looking for room divider ideas to create a dining space where you don't have one? Or turn the master bedroom into two sleeping spaces for kids? Click through for 10 cheap, easy, innovative ways to separate giant spaces! >>
This guest post comes from our DIY/design contributor Thalita of The Learner Observer! Thalita writes about easy, cheap ways we can all make our small, rental spaces even cuter. Follow along with her on Twitter or Instagram!

Hey, Yes & Yes-ers! I’m back this month to share some simple solutions to your decorating woes! Usually, we talk about not having enough space and having too-small rooms, but what happens if you happen to have one big huge space and you don’t know what to do with it? Some bachelor apartments are literally just one giant room with absolutely no division between any of the spaces you may want to create, so I’m about to give you some solutions for that!

Room divider idea #1: Use curtains

Curtains can act as walls in between your rooms when you want the separation, but can keep the space nice and open when you don’t! It’s sort of the best of both worlds, really!

multiple room divider

Using curtains also allows you to hide a messy room. Majorly necessary when you have surprise or last-minute guests! It also lets you have privacy when that just does not seem possible!

bedroom curtain divider

And if all you need is a visual divider, but not necessarily the opaque look of a “wall,” you can go for a sheer curtain to just give a hint of softness to the space.


Room divider idea #2: Use bookshelves

Shelving can be a great way to create a room divider without having to build anything, or drill any holes, which makes this a perfect option for renters!

shelf room divider

If you make sure to use something that allows you to see the other side of the room (ie. a backless shelf), you can reap the benefits of storage from both sides of the room!

bookshelf room divider

You can also choose how much or how little you see through the shelving based on whether you use boxes, books, or just decorative items.

shelf divider

The other great thing about this option is that you can use this for any space – a bedroom, living room, kitchen, office, dining room…you get my point!

living room shelf divider

And if you like a looser, more boho look then add some plants into the mix and keep things a little lower to give just a hint of space separation without the height of a full bookshelf.

plant and shelves room divider

Room divider idea #3: Use an actual divider!

If you happen to be handy or know someone who is, then you get to build a divider however you want! Even something as simple as a lattice-like wall will give you privacy and separation without being an actual wall!

wooden room divider

You can also repurpose old doors into rolling dividers which can be left open or closed depending on the level of privacy needed!

bifold door room divider

And there you have it, lovelies! If you’ve sectioned off a big room, tell us how you did it in the comments!

P.S. How to replace your apartment’s terribly light fixtures + Storage solutions for tiny bedrooms!

How To Add Character To A Boring Apartment

Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!

Wouldn’t it be lovely if that boring, beige, cookie-cutter apartment had a bit more character? Felt a bit more like home? Today, Thalita is going to show us how to fill any space with character!

Boring, cookie-cutter apartment are something so many people struggle with. I happen to live in a small suburban area, and it feels like there are new builds going up almost daily! Many of my friends are in apartment buildings that are just blank walls and zero personality. How can we fix that?

5 ways to add character to a boring apartment

DIY your way to custom

We don’t see much custom design in newly built homes so you kind of have to do it yourself! A great way to add custom character to your home is to build shelving that fits your home and your home only!
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!
You can even go as far as to make them really unique. The whole thing with adding character to a home is giving it special touches that every other home just like yours won’t have.
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!

Make the walls memorable

Paint is great, but anyone can have plain paint on their walls! Go for bold or unique patterns.
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!
Don’t forget about removable wallpaper. You get the best of both worlds: amazing colour and pattern and it can be changed at any time!
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!

Tape is your friend

We’ve talked about washi tape before, and we’re going to talk about it again because washi tape is kind of a renter’s dream come true! Look… you can fake wall mouldings with it!
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!
You can also spruce up your boring, flat doors with some colour and a fun pattern and your landlord will have no idea what was once there if you ever decide to leave!
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!

Don’t forget the bathroom

It’s easy to overlook the bathroom, but adding a bit of charm and character in a room that you spend some time in is a good investment! Go for a patterned contact paper on the windows for a little whimsy, like this:
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!
And don’t forget the hardware. This is a great tip for the kitchen, too. Changing out knobs and adding hooks and unique pieces will completely change your builder grade, boring cabinets!
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!
And lastly, the mirror! It’s the pièce de résistance of any bathroom – or at least it has the potential to be. Give your bathroom a regal feel just by swapping out the mirror. And hey, you might even get a sweet deal at a flea market for one similar to these:
Want to add character to a boring apartment? Make your space feel like 'home'? Click through for design tips that will make any space feel cozy and homey!
It’s pretty simple, right? A few steps and you’re well on your way to having a home filled with character and whimsical touches to make the place really fee unique and like it’s your own.
How have you added character to your space? Tell me in the comments!

How To Fake An Entryway When You Absolutely Don’t Have One

Want to fake an entryway? Make a small space look a little special? Click through for clever ways to make your space more inviting and create an entryway where one doesn't exist!

This guest post come from our DIY/design contributor Thalita of The Learner Observer. Thalita writes about easy, cheap ways we can all make our small, rental spaces even cuter. Follow along with her on Twitter or Instagram!

Hello again! I’m back this month to share something near and dear to my heart – creating an entryway when you have none to speak of. Yes, my friends, I share your pain.
I happen to have a makeshift hallway as an “entry” and if more than one person is standing in it, we have a major traffic jam. So let’s see what some of your best solutions might be if you suffer from this major first world problem!

How to fake an entry way

Paint it on
Yes, I am serious. If you have such a small space that furniture isn’t even an option, get real creating and paint some on your walls. Of course, add in some real elements with it (like the hooks and shelving here).
painted entry 1
And if the modern look isn’t your thing, go more traditional with a painted console table – though there are bigger pieces of furniture here, you can see the potential for a smaller space.
painted entry 2

Benches are your friend

It’s true. You can sit on them, you can put things on them, and some of them even look damn good in the process!
bench entry

Opt for thin ones if you have a narrow hallway space like mine, or go for something deeper but narrower if you only have a small corner of space to work with.

small bench
For Pete’s sake, don’t forget to make use of the space under your BFF – the bench, of course. Use baskets, boot trays, or just throw your stuff under it. Either way, use the space!
white entry hall
Hooked on phonics hooks!
The last image is also a great example of this. Line up some inexpensive hooks and make yourself a mini mudroom of sorts. And the image below also uses benches extremely well. Hooks and benches are kind of a killer combo for an entryway.
IKEA entryway

Your guests will thank you and you won’t have to awkwardly hang people’s coats on the stair banister anymore.

coastal entry
Even if your space is teeny tiny like this one, hooks are probably my number 1 thing on the list of things you need in a small entryway. Or any entryway, really. So convenient!
small entry
Nifty shoe storage
I’m bringing back the word ‘nifty’. It’s happening. It’s so the next “fetch.” Show storage like this is really just dreamy. These definitely do double duty as storage and as a surface for catching your keys and sunglasses.
shoe cabinet entry
Yes, some of them attach right onto the wall, so you can make them any height you want. Bonus. Don’t forget to always include a mirror: they make almost any space appear larger and you can make sure your butt looks hot in those jeans. No, I have never ever done that…
corner entry

Think outside the box

Go a little crazy (as if painting your entryway on wasn’t crazy enough) and try some different things, like some old crates that you can change up whenever you want!

crate entry
And if you happen to have a larger space to work with, and maybe it’s just a little awkward, give yourself some storage by using a dresser – yes, a dresser – as a console table, and rethink the rectangular mirror and opt for something that doubles as artwork.
mirrored entry
Did you notice almost every single image I showed you had hooks? I’m telling you, once you put some up on your walls, you’ll never want to go back to throwing your coat on the first piece of furniture you see or going down the hall/into the next room to hang up your things!
I hope you found this useful, and maybe even a little entertaining? Have you created an entry way out of nothing? Share your tips in the comments!
Sources: 1. Modern painted entry // 2. Painted console table // 3. Entry with rustic bench // 4. Small entry with white bench // 5. Long entry with two benches // 6. Bench and hooks entryway // 7. Nautical hooks // 8. Small entry with white hooks // 9. Shoe storage #1 // 10. Shoe storage #2 // 11. Crates in entryway // 12. Dresser and mirrored entry

5 Innovative, Stylish Ways To Hide Your TV

Want to hide your tv without getting one of those huge, room-dominating cupboard things? Click through for tons of great ideas! //
Want to hide your tv without getting one of those huge, room-dominating cupboard things? Uh, don’t we all?! Luckily, Thalita is here to tell us how!

Hey Yes & Yes! I’m back this month to share something with you that I’ve personally struggled with for a loooong time: hiding your tv. As someone living in a small space, it’s easy for the TV to become the focus of the living room, and I have never been a huge fan of that. So let’s talk about what we can do to camouflage that bad boy!

hide your tv

Hide your tv by: tucking it into a gallery wall

Yes, it’s true – the gallery wall has many functions, including hiding imperfections, showing off artwork, and even adding life and texture to your walls – and now we can add disguising a TV as one of them, too!

The size of the artwork is important here because too small and your TV will still stick out like a sore thumb! You’ll want some balance, so choose larger pieces if you can, or even pieces that are the same size as the TV itself.

hide your tv

It also helps to use art with a dark or black background so that the TV really looks like it’s a part of the gallery rather than just an unwanted accessory!

hide your tv

Hide your tv by: using more black in your color palette

What do I mean with this? Well try using darker pieces of furniture around your TV to mask the big black box look and make it seem more intentional!
hide your tv

You can go one step further and paint your wall black to really hide it – more on that below!

Hide your tv by: surrounding it with bookshelves

Sure, built-ins are great, but don’t be misled by these photos – you can get a great look by using some regular ol’ IKEA bookshelves beside your TV!

hide your tv

You can even mix a gallery wall and bookshelf look!

And yes, you get bonus points if the shelves and your walls are the same colour – SO put together and chic!

hide your tv

Hide your tv by: camouflaging it

No, don’t go putting up camo around your TV! But, if you can, do paint a wall black or navy to really hide it! You might even have a hard time finding it!

hide your tv

Wallpaper can do the trick just as well, though – and we know that you can get some removable stuff now, so you have no excuse not to try it!

hide your tv

It’ll even work in your bedroom – plus black walls add some lovely moodiness to any room!

hide your tv

Gorgeous fireplaces don’t exactly hurt either, am I right?

hide your tv

Hide your tv by: mounting it low

This is another take on a gallery wall, but if you have the ceiling height, place your TV on a low shelf and build a tall gallery around it. Honestly, you’ll hardly even be able to see the TV anymore!

hide your tv

This works best for people with smaller TV’s, and again, you won’t want to use too many small frames. Balance is key!

hide your tv

How do you hide your TV? Share your tricks in the comments!

P.S. 4 things you’ll always find at thrift stores and awesome things to make with ’em + 5 clever tricks to make your apartment look great on a budget. 

Sources: Siniz Kim on Unsplash //  Gallery Wall 1 // Gallery Wall 2 // Gallery Wall 3 // Black Furniture // White Built-Ins // White Bookshelf // Blue Shelves // Navy Wall // Wallpaper Wall // Black Wall // Black Fireplace // Low TV 1 // Low TV 2 // Fireplace & Gallery Wall