Great Pairings

Great Pairings

“From the joining of two unexpected, seemingly opposite mates, great pairings can happen. How about Sonny and Cher, bacon cupcakes or Labradoodles?

Well the home design world is adding another great, albeit unexpected pairing to the list: historic home shells with über-modern interiors.” – Jason Buch,  Express-News


I was interviewed this week to take part in a story that came out today called “Great Pairings”in the Express-News about local home remodelers specializing in pairing historic homes with modern interiors and features.  As it turns out they were actually interviewing a realtor and another remodeler in the Historic King William area of town and they told him about what I’ve been doing for Mahncke Park and along the Broadway Corridor so they searched me out.

I was pretty excited to see who’s photos they used for the front page, especially when the meat of the story is really about another guy blending Contemporary architecture. As you can see our 1900 Arts & Crafts Bungalow built by H.C. Thorman dubbed Hat Trick House from last summer got the money shot. What made this house so special is the time we put in to carefully preserve the historic exterior of the home while gutting the entire interior, adding square footage, re-configuring the floor plan and offering a finish out to meet today’s most discriminating buyer.

While the article is promoting “uber-modern” interiors, we stayed somewhat true to the time period of this home with the renovation and material choices. This house got a lot of white ceramic tile w/subway pattern, White Shaker style cabinetry with seeded glass fronts and even a Farmhouse sink to keep the historic feel. While new materials like granite and stainless were still present, the kitchen didn’t look out of place after we were done. 

Maybe Jason is trying to stir up his audience by using the terms historic and modern together because everyone hates seeing historic homes altered but at some point nobody wants to live in an antique either. If you want to see for yourself, here is the Contemporary Ikea kitchen in the other historic house referenced in the article. To check out the whole renovation video of my project with before and after shots, click here.

The Finish Line, Hat Trick Sold 340K!

Yesterday was a great day for us – we closed on the Hat Trick House and bought another one all in one day. We ended up getting $340k for Hat Trick from an ALL CASH buyer, which equates to $176 per square foot. We established this high price per square foot previously with the Craftsman Bungalow project. Knowing what we could then get for Hat Trick is what made us decide to add the additional square footage. If you can build for $70/s.f. and sell for $175/s.f. it makes sense to add the square footage if it’s the right area to do it in. Some people thought we were blowing it by not just sneaking in a second bathroom but we had the big picture vision and knew what we could do with this house. As you can imagine, being in a transitional area and setting a new high sales price $65k above anything comparable before (and in a slow market) has all the local realtors talking. The highest sale for a redone historic house was $275k while there have been some new construction homes that have sold for up to $310k.

 Lender appraisals have been conservative lately with the changes from HVCC and with this house pushing a new price level for the neighborhood it was great to find this buyer. Another nice thing was that the buyer didn’t come with a realtor so we double ended it (didn’t have to pay any commissions); essentially he also got a better price on the house. After the closing we then went straight over to a seller’s house we have been negotiating with and got another house in Mahncke Park under contract. We are closing on it next Friday. It’s another historic arts and crafts bungalow that we’ll be totally renovating and hopefully get to use our own sales comp again. There are a lot of sketchy rehabs out there not selling; this goes to show that if you buy them right and do good work that you can still make money flipping houses in any market.

Hat Trick House Sold In 5 Days!

Hat Trick House Sold In 5 Days!

We Sold The House In 5 Days and with Multiple Offers! Yahoo! Last weekend we had an Open House California style. We ran the big photo ad in the newspaper, passed out invites to the neighbors, had signs & balloons on the major intersections and hot dogs for the guests.

To all my Realtor fans, THIS is how you get 100 people through your house on a Saturday. It was really quite rewarding to hear all the feedback from the guests admiring the design and craftsmanship. On Sunday we accepted a great offer from the buyer and not 15 minutes later we had an agent call saying he had a back up offer.


The buyer had his home inspection on Wednesday and for the first time ever we saw an inspection report that couldn’t list one single thing wrong with the house! All the inspector could say to the buyer was “this one was done right, you better buy this house.”

In all my years we’ve never seen this happen. These home inspectors will pick any small detail just to make the buyer feel like he earned his fee. They’ll usually even list questionable things just to protect themselves. I think I’ll frame this report as it’s a testament to our workmanship and attention to detail.

Additionally, this week we passed finals on our mechanical and building permits so we are just waiting for the power company to move the line from our temporary pole and drop it to the new meter loop. We are set to close in mid July and are currently searching and writing offers on the quest for the next project.

Game On

Game On

The Hat Trick House is finally done and officially on the market and in MLS. We’ve had a swarm of buyers throughout the rehab and 3 great offers before it was even finished. We went 9% over budget but luckily our estimated sales price is surprisingly up 25% due to market conditions! Our list price is $359,000, this will be the highest sale in our area and set a new high comp if it sells for that price. My wife and I staged the house and it’s all ready for an advertised open house this Saturday. We already had one showing today, one scheduled for tomorrow morning and an agent that sold another one of our properties (The Abandonded House) just called and her “picky” client found it today on and wants to see it. The agent from our first showing today said the master bedroom closet alone would sell the house. Really? Can’t wait to see how this weekend turns out and get all the feedback. According to the Brookings Institution San Antonio was ranked THE strongest metropolitan area for economic performance in the wake of a recession for the whole nation for Q1 09. Top 5 cities mentioned in the report are San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Austin, Houston and Dallas.

The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown

We are in the home stretch and shooting for next weekend to be completely done with the Hat Trick House. Woot Woot! As you can see we’ve made great progress this week again completing all the landscaping while the floors were getting done inside.



We used 7 pallets of sod, 4 yards of river rock, 2 truck loads of topsoil, $600 in plants and a yard of black mulch after lining the beds out with the metal edging. All that’s left outside is to paint the front door.


The hardwood floor refinishing is done now as well so we will install appliances tomorrow and get started on the shoe mouldings on the baseboards. The floors came out nice and dark, as we planned. In fact when they first started applying the dark walnut stain it wasn’t dark enough for my liking so I had the guys mix in some black pigment. They look dark and rich now and go well with my interior colors and oil rubbed bronze fixtures.


We’ve had numerous visitors this week and early inquiries from sign calls. Additionally the neighbor directly beside us put their house on the market Friday so everyone who pulls up to see their house of course sees our “coming soon” sign and walks over to take a gander. Although theirs is in a lower price range and not updated it has enabled us to get some traffic even though we are not in MLS yet. Everyone that’s seen our house has been blown away, one well-respected local realtor predicted that we’ll get $335k. Stay tuned.