One of the interesting parts of our job is finding the homes, and we find them in many different ways. For this home it was really fun. We saw an ad for an estate sale. We went to the sale and found some really great vintage items for staging our flips, and as a bonus we discovered that the house was going to be listed!
This house is located in Ontario, just one block off Euclid Avenue. Euclid is an historic street that goes north and south, and through the cities of Ontario and Upland it is a divided roadway with a beautiful green space up the middle. In the late 1890’s Ontario’s famed mule car hauled passengers up and down Euclid Avenue. Mules would haul the car to the top of the street and then ride back down to downtown, as the car was powered by gravity. We love to imagine the city in those days, with mules carrying people up the street and then getting a ride down!
This cute little bungalow was built in 1923. It is a 1200 square foot, 2 bedroom and 1 bath home that we bought for $275,000. As cute as it was the house needed some help. It was a mishmash of different styles, from Spanish to Craftsman to Art Deco to Mid-Century.
The kitchen tile led us to some design inspiration for the home. The tile was yellow with black borders, and was Art Deco inspired. The original glass doorknobs were still on all the doors, and the backplates were definitely deco. Art Deco style was very prevalent in the 1920s when this house was built. It was a time when the decorative arts were celebrated, and that is how it got its name.
The one floor plan change that we made was in the kitchen. A room had been added on to the back of the kitchen and the kitchen window opening was still over the sink. We decided to take down this wall, making an open kitchen/great room. By doing this we were able to do a large kitchen island, something we have been wanting to do in one of our flips but never had the space. This was exciting!
Tina thought it would be fun to look for a vintage piece to incorporate into the island. That led to a trip to Treasures N Junk, a large antique store in Ontario, and we found the perfect piece. It is a buffet with definite deco design elements. When the buffet was placed in the kitchen Jessie discovered that it was taller than the cabinets that would make up the rest of the island. Tina was adamant that the buffet not be cut down to the cabinet height, so as not to lose any of the design elements. Jessie said he would raise the cabinets instead. The black quartz countertop was beveled along the edge in a scallop pattern to match the buffet, and the result was breathtaking. The color scheme we used for the kitchen was similar to the original colors. We did black lower cabinets, and a butter yellow on the uppers and island. This turned out to be a kitchen and great room that was tailor made for gatherings of family and friends.
In the living room we had the original fireplace, with tile that was green and yellow. The tile definitely had a Craftsman feel. We wanted to keep the tile, so had to search for a paint color that went well with it. Jessie and Tina painted a green on one side of the fireplace and a gray on the other side, to see which looked best. Tina liked the gray because it gave a more Art Deco feel, where the green felt more Craftsman. So gray it was!
In the living and dining room we were able to use the two ceiling lights we had purchased at the estate sale. We were so excited to remove the lights that had been hung in the 60s and replace them with the original lights from the home. It is these small things that make our home renovations so special.
Since there was only one bathroom in this home we wanted it to be special. On the shower walls we installed white subway tile, with a colorful niche of blue and green tile in a chevron pattern, mimicking the skyscrapers of the 1920s. On the floor we did a black hexagon tile and Jessie popped out some of the black tiles and inserted white ones. This floor design was very popular in the Art Deco era. In fact the women’s lounge at Radio City Music Hall has the exact same floor along with beautiful aqua pedestal sinks from the era. We sure wish we could have found one of those sinks for this home!
Moving on to the exterior, it was very obvious that we needed to change the paint color. However, there was something charming about the coral paint on the siding. We wanted to keep some remnant of this color, but in a smaller amount. We decided on a beige paint for the body and a charcoal trim (although the first trim color was too brown and we decided to repaint it). We used a pretty coral on the front door. Tina came up with a great geometric design for the railing. We did a matching gate across the driveway, and painted both in the charcoal with small touches of coral. That pop of color coordinated with our new flowering landscape of bougainvillea, iceberg roses and azaleas. This slightly tired, drab bungalow ended up being happy and bright – just like it’s future homeowners!
This house was built in 1952 and is in the town of Covina, a suburb of Los Angeles. Covina is 22 miles east of L.A., and became a postwar boomtown in the 1950s. World War II veterans had the GI bill and were able to buy homes. They came home from the war to their loved ones, got married and had children. The baby boom led to a housing boom!
Industry changed after the war to peace-time production, and war-time materials were used in building homes. Using materials like steel led to clean, simple design with an industrial look and a cool history. This industrial design was very evident in this home, from the metal windows to the streamline modern curve on the kitchen cabinets.
Our house was the only one on the block that still had the original metal windows, and we wanted to keep them. They had a crank opening, which didn’t work when we first saw the house. However, it turned out there was a lot of paint on the windows. Once that was removed the crank opening worked perfectly! The large picture window in the living room was a beautiful feature and we were so fortunate to have it.
The home’s other original features were high ceilings and hardwood floors. The floors had been covered with carpet for many years and were in beautiful condition. Even though the home was only 1130 square feet it felt larger due to the high ceilings.
The house had three bedrooms and only one bathroom. We were lucky to have a large laundry room that backed up to one of the bedrooms. We decided to make the laundry room smaller and use that extra space and the bedroom closet to add a master bath to the bedroom. Also we closed off a door that led to this bedroom from the kitchen, and voila! We had a true master suite!
The kitchen was full of possibilities for design. It had a great corner sink. The curved cabinets were a cool industrial design from the 30s, 40s and 50s. We really wanted to keep them. Unfortunately, when Jessie was removing the old countertop the lower cabinets were damaged. The plan was changed a little bit, and we kept the uppers but had to replace the lowers. We found a cabinet company that had just gotten a new cabinet in with a metallic laminate finish. The metallic look fit in perfectly with our industrial design. Tina decided on a black tile floor with a white tile border. On the upper pantry cupboard we had steel doors fabricated with clear door panels. And on a lower cabinet we saved a piece of the curved end and were able to cover it with a piece of the metallic laminate. This was really fun! The black quartz countertop and teal backsplash finished off the exact look we wanted.
The hall bath had a great sink that we restored and reused. The original bathroom tile had a dark green border and we used this color as inspiration for the renovated bathroom. We used dark gray tile on the shower/tub wall with a stripe of dark green. It was very dramatic and we loved it!
For the master bath walk-in shower we used the same design, but with a lighter gray tile and lime green stripe. We have to say, these bathrooms are among our favorites!
We decided to use the wood from the old garage door to make a reclaimed wood wall in the living room. It looked so good, and we loved keeping another original piece of the home.
On the exterior we had quite a bit of work to do. We discovered after painting that the old stucco was causing the new paint to peel off. This meant we had to spend an additional $5000 to re-stucco the entire house. We also did a new concrete driveway and a new roof. With all of these repairs – and a paint scheme of white with gray accents and black trim, new window box, the original steel windows, and plants that included grasses and sage – we achieved the result of a home with the retro industrial charm that we had imagined!
We were so excited to be back in Redlands! We bought another beautiful Victorian Home. This time it was a Queen Anne Cottage, built in 1899. It is 1860 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.
Redlands is a lovely college town full of historic homes. It reminds us very much of Claremont, where we live. We have grown quite attached to Redlands. The city was founded in the 1880s when people came to Redlands because of cheap land and a warm climate.
Queen Annes were known for their gabled roofs, ship lap siding, stained glass windows, and wrap around porches. This home had all of that, including a grand entrance with built-in bookcases and bench. The entrance also had a wooden pocket door that led into the grand dining room. We are crazy about pocket doors!
The home was magnificent but a little tired and worn. The natural wood built-ins and moldings needed a good cleaning, the hardwood floors needed to be refinished, the kitchen and baths needed a total renovation. The ceiling was covered in acoustic tiles that were probably added in the 1960s. We removed them and discovered many cracks in the plaster. The most efficient fix for this was to dry wall over the ceiling.
The kitchen had an original butler’s pantry. This is where Victorian homeowners would keep all of their special china and silver, and in fact the butler would sometimes sleep in the pantry to guard all of the valuables. This butler’s pantry had a built-in with shelves and an original butcher block countertop. As much as we loved the pantry it made more sense to take down the wall into the kitchen. This opened up the kitchen, made it so much larger, and we were still able to keep the built-in.
Tina wanted to do a checkerboard pattern on the kitchen floor. This pattern was very popular in Victorian times, as they were mimicking the floors of castles and grand homes. Jessie thought doing a large (24×24) tile would look very dramatic and Tina agreed, but she wanted to do the tile in a subtle gray and white. Finishing off the kitchen we installed white shaker cabinets, open shelving with corbels that duplicated the ones on the built-in, a gray quartz countertop, and a beautiful marble backsplash. Marble and tile became very important to the Victorians. It was beautiful and very easy to keep clean, and they were obsessed with germs and cleanliness during that time.
The only other changes we made to the floor plan were adding a closet to the second bedroom and closing one wall of the Jack and Jill bathroom to make it a master bath. Once the wall was closed we had a true master suite. We used subway tile in the shower up to the 11 foot ceiling, ceramic tile on the floor, and quartz that resembled marble on the bench top in the shower.
We put a geometric hexagon tile on the tub wall in the hall bath, and white hexagon tile on the floor. Clean and fresh was the vibe in this home!
Our next dilemma was the cabinet doors on the dining room built-in hutch. One of the doors was missing and we wanted to reproduce it. Building it wasn’t the problem, staining it was. We couldn’t find a stain to match all of other wood in the house, and we certainly didn’t want to re-stain the entire house. But we got lucky! The guys found some of the original stain in the basement.
There was a little hiccup with the lighting. Tina found authentic Victorian lights, but when transporting the dining room light to the house one of the globes broke. Tina and little Max visited a local antique store and they were very fortunate to find a replacement!
Time to paint the outside! Tina took her inspiration from the Victorian Painted Ladies, the most famous of which are in San Francisco (the Full House home!). Painted Ladies have three or more colors, and for this home Tina chose teal, seafoam green, and white with accents of purple. The transformation was incredibly beautiful.
For the landscape we decided to use flowers that would have been at the home back in 1899. Lots of lavendar, roses, and hydrangeas. The result was just what we hoped for.
We are very proud to have lovingly restored another historic home in the beautiful city of Redlands. May the current and future homeowners enjoy living in it for another hundred years – and then some!
We were so fortunate to find this gem, a 1936 Spanish hacienda home in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach. This was a smaller home in a very expensive neighborhood. It had a large corner lot and great bones, but we had our work cut out for us.
In 1884 Jotham Bixby, owner of Rancho Los Cerritos, sold 4000 acres of his rancho to what would soon be called Long Beach. The city was incorporated in 1887.
Spanish homes of this era had clay roofs, archways, hardwood floors, and courtyards. Our home was no exception. It was in disrepair and very overgrown, but it wasn’t hard to see the beauty that was underneath.
The original floor plan needed very few revisions. The only changes we made were closing off a door leading from the living room to a bedroom, and taking out a small closet in the master bath to increase the size of the shower.
The entry to the home was through the courtyard. The living room was large and had a beautiful fireplace and the original large windows and wood moldings. The only thing we decided to add were wooden beams on the ceiling. We also wanted to leave the formal dining room as it was. The kitchen had a gorgeous coved ceiling and an adjoining breakfast nook. The breakfast nook had built in shelving and a door leading to the courtyard.
The kitchen was a total gut. We installed rough hewn wooden cabinets, black quartz countertop, farmhouse sink, and a blue clay tile backsplash with a random star pattern. The floors in this kitchen and courtyard just called out for Saltillo tile. This house would have had Saltillo tile when it was built, as it was a very common material due to it’s coolness and ease of care. However, when the tile was laid Tina thought it would be too dark after sealing and would blend with the cabinets too much, so Jessie decided that white washing the tile was the way to go. That was a small change but made all the difference.
The Saltillo was also laid in the courtyard, on the steps and the front porch – and was just what it needed!
Other original features of the home were the built-in telephone nook, the windows and the moldings.
The hall bath had the original vanity, tub and sink, all of which we restored. The original tile in the hall bath couldn’t be saved, but we wanted to honor the triangle pattern by using a similar pattern on the shower walls.
We also used a triangle pattern tile in the master bath. Since the master bath was fairly small and dark, we doubled the size of the door by opening it up and hanging two barn doors. Making the opening larger made the bathroom feel larger and lighter.
Next we moved to the outside, and needed some inspiration for the paint colors. What better place to go than Rancho Los Cerritos! The Bixby family home still stands and is now a public museum owned by the city and dedicated to the history of the Rancho and the surrounding area. Tina and Jessie visited the Rancho with the boys and took inspiration from the colors. They decided to paint the home in similar colors, cream for the body with green for the trim.
Once the overgrown plants were removed it became clear what was needed to finish off this amazing home. We landscaped the front yard with decomposed granite, grass, bougainvillea, cacti and succulents. In the back yard we were hoping to save the in-ground spa. Jessie and Tina were distressed to discover that it had been filled with concrete and brick and couldn’t be saved. Instead it was concreted over and made into an inviting patio area.
This project was a labor of love. We couldn’t be happier with the results of the renovation and we know that the owners will be happy here for a very long time.
We really had our work cut out for us when webought this Victorian home in the beautiful college town of Redlands, California. For starters it was built in 1898, and we had never worked on a home of that advanced age. In addition, it was in very rough shape.The home had not been maintained over the years, there had been a fire in the attic, and it had a sagging kitchen floor, just for starters.
The house is 1800 square feet, but some of the rooms were small and disjointed. We decided to take the house down to the studs and create a floor plan that worked for today’s buyers. This meant opening the small parlor into the living room, making a more open space. We also created a real master suite upstairs, adding a bathroom and closet to the bedroom. The small upstairs hall bath was reconfigured to make it more usable. The final result was a 5 bedroom, 2 3/4 bath, amazing home.
One feature of the home that we really loved was the corner fireplace. This is very common in Victorian homes. There was no original mantle, so we decided to look for an antique mantle that would have been in the home originally. We were so fortunate to find the perfect mantle at Redlands Estate Sale and Consignments. The city of Redlands has so many great businesses, and we had fun discovering many of them during our time in the city. It was a challenge getting the antique mantle into the house. Luckily we had a large picture window on the front porch and it fit!
Tina’s other nods to the drama of Victorian design were the wallpaper that we installed in the living room, the green octagon tiles on the fireplace, the jewel tone backsplash in the kitchen, and the marble tile in the bathrooms. It is always her goal to stay true to the era of a home while making everything work for the modern lifestyle.
As mentioned above, when we took the walls down to the studs we discovered there had been a fire in the attic. The house had knob and tube wiring and there were many rats nests in the attic, which is an invitation for fire. Luckily the house was built of redwood, one of the hardest woods out there, so the fire only penetrated 1/4 inch in to the wood and didn’t cause the entire house to burn down. We were able to replace the burned wood, rewire the home, and continue our renovation.
The original hardwood floors were throughout the home, and we weren’t sure we could bring them back to life. But we worked our magic and the result was fabulous! Our first choice is always to restore the original hardwoods if possible.
What you didn’t see in the TV show was a visit from our friend the chimney sweep. We wanted to make sure the fireplace was safe for the new homeowner, so we had a fireplace inspector/chimney sweep come out to check it. Terry from A Quality Chimney Sweep came out to the house in his top hat and tails – just like in Mary Poppins! He cleaned and repaired the chimney and fireplace for us.
A Folk Victorian home gets it’s name from the fact that the homeowners over the years have added their own touches and embellishments to the exterior, trying to outdo their neighbors. This house was no exception. There was an intricate pattern in the fascia that was broken in places. We wanted to restore this, so Jessie used spray paint to duplicate the pattern before cutting out a new piece. It worked perfectly! Tina decided to use Gothic inspired paint colors for the exterior of the home, and to landscape with plants and flowers that you would have seen in the yard when the house was new.
A house that is 119 years old is bound to be full of surprises, and this house did not disappoint. When Jessie was on the bobcat in the backyard he discovered some old bottles, a pot, a coffeepot, a bell, a railroad tie, and a spoon. Tina cleaned these up and displayed them on the mantle. There also was an original chandelier that we were able to rewire, clean and put back in the home. The opportunity to restore items to their original place in our homes makes us so happy!