The Imperial Beach remodel is almost done as we near the 4-week mark, we are shooting for staging and pictures next Friday so we can get it on the market for sale. Spring selling season has officially begun in San Diego, once we get past the Super Bowl there are usually buyers out in full force so our timing is great with this one.
I am playing off the Mid Century Modern theme here a little while still keeping the inside somewhat safe. You can see the awning style windows for the bathrooms and all my horizontal redwood fence and accents which have yet to be stained darker Mahogany. I went with White on the exterior paint color with dark grey for the big overhangs. We still will bring in an accent color for the frosted glass front door and new sod in a few days to complete the curb appeal. Everyone has been stopping and giving us compliments on the horizontal wood.
I flipped my normal inside colors this time. All the walls are White and trims (doors, casings, baseboards) are Grey including cabinetry. Black hardware completes the slick look. The appliances are even Black Stainless Steel. It’s going to look very cool and different. I went with the off white quartz countertops leaving a 12″ overhang and a zero radius under mount single bowl stainless sink. Yet to be installed is the big 4X16 White Ceramic Subway Backsplash with grey grout and the 2 Modern Pendants lights.
The bathroom tile jobs are underway. All New Hall bath features reclaimed porcelain wood-look back wall and crispy 4″ X 10″ White Ceramic Subway sides. In the master bathroom we changed the tub to a shower and keeping it clean with 12 X 24 Carrera look tiles on the back wall and floors, with huge 6″ X 18″ White Ceramic Subway sides. I didn’t spring for real Carrera Marble because its expensive and requires a lot of upkeep, plus its very slippery for the floor. Like most new style of tile now this is also porcelain. Stay tuned to see this completed project next weekend and let me know if there is a house in your neighborhood we can flip!
We are still making progress on the Modern Bungalow trying to wrap this house up, but with the holidays its been hard to keep up the pace. Since my last update inside we got the central air conditioning installed, hot water heater, red oak stair treads and risers, and all the electrical trim and fixtures. The fire sprinkler guy came back and trimmed out too, installing all the sprinkler heads and bell box. There’s nothing left inside except for the tile setting while I wait for another week for the cabinets to arrive and get installed. The countertop fabricator is on standby to come right in after the cabinets, then its only hardwood floor refinishing and carpet in the 2 bedrooms. Garage door is also on order. I could have had it wrapped inside by now if I would have ordered cabinets before the drywall went up.
The new tile contractor I hired is done now with mud floating all the walls and getting into tile setting with his wife. This is the second husband and wife team we’ve had on this job, my exterior painters’ wife also was a painter. These ladies know what they are doing too, they are not just sweeping up! Instead of Hardi backer we opted for the mud float method where you do moisture barrier paper, metal lathe and then float out the walls with spec mix. The City comes and inspects paper and lath before you can start floating the walls. It gives a perfectly flat and plumb surface but definitely more work, he spent 4 days floating the walls when I could have put up backerboard in a few hours. The tile I went with in the master is a modern 12 x 24 light grey designer porcelain and I stacked it square to give a more clean minimalist and contemporary look. In the hall bath I went with the 3×6 ceramic but also opted not do do a subway pattern so it will be more of a clean look with a period material, working well with our home design. Both bathrooms got great niches in the wall for soap and shampoo bottles.
I thought by now I would have been done with the house but things always drag out at then end, time is on my side with Christmas and New Years coming up now so we’ll move in after the holidays.
The San Diego real estate market is still very hot. No signs of slowing even through the typically slow Fall season. With only a little over 2 months inventory it is a sellers market again and we are seeing bidding wars and multiple offers in all price tiers. I don’t see things changing through 2013 because interest rates will stay low and there’s no more huge waves of foreclosures coming as all the adjustable loans have reset already. Banks will continue to trickle out a few REO’s here and there, but even short sale volume is dropping fast. House flippers in San Diego will have a tough time competing with large, well funded buy and hold groups investing for appreciation. Some flippers are moving up the price range and flipping million dollar homes where there is less competition. There’s a lot of investor and first time buyer activity and prices are being affected by it, October was up 13% from last year and in some areas have reached 2005 peak home price levels again.
Finally some fun stuff is going in the house. To stay in the Mid Century Modern theme I did mosaic in the master shower, but an updated spin on what was there originally. Glass mosaic tile is really hot right now for MCM house design and there are fun new retro patterns available if you search. After looking around at my local tile stores nothing really fit the bill because I wanted this new trendy, spacey-looking random pattern. You definitely wont see these materials in any other rehabs locally. I found this glass mosaic in LA for $5.99/sf so I drove up and bought everything this week. I’m using another new product for grout on the glass called Star Glass, its actually recycled crushed glass in a urethane base. It’s a flexible, non-cement, non-porous grout and wont ever fade or stain. It’s real expensive and was primarily reserved for commercial applications until recently discovered by interior designers. Its translucent and reflective and seems to disappear when applied to glass tiles instead of contrasting heavily like even a normal white grout would do. Using glass tile like this is great, what I don’t like anymore is seeing when just a glass mosaic 4″ strip is used as a shower or tub surround accent liner. Look at some of my older bathroom remodels if you don’t know what I’m referring to!
In the hall bath above I went with a frosted 3×6 glass tile but set it in a stacked pattern which looks more modern than subway pattern. I ran it all the way up to my new vaulted ceiling lid for a more expansive feel in what is really a modest bathroom size. I also laid a 12×24 charcoal grey porcelain tile for both bathroom floors which is very popular in modern bathroom design right now. This grey will go with anything and basically just disappear when the bathrooms are done and all the chrome hardware goes in. I set the floors butt-joint also to look cleaner and eliminate grout lines. The glass mosaic in the master also has grey in it so it tied in perfectly. The floating vanities you’ll see go in soon are also high gloss grey.
We also got started installing the hardwood floors. I wanted to go with Bamboo for this house for its durable nature and the fact that’s its 100% renewable and considered a Green building product by LEED standards. Bamboo is harvested every 5-6 years while normal trees in a forest take 40-60 years to mature. This product is also of the newer version of Bamboos that has been stranded and carbonized. You don’t see the old cheap style bamboo pattern and there is no wear layer, its the same material all the way through. I bought it at Simple Floors for $3.15 s.f. and decided on paying a sub contractor another $2/sf to install it to speed up my project. This Bamboo requires glue down installation because its so hard that you will bend nails trying to nail it. The color I found is as close to my cedar ceilings as possible, and I laid it the long way to match the tongue and groove ceiling direction. The white walls are totally working now that I’ve obtained so much warmth and color from the surrounding natural materials.
All I have to say is go with your first instincts. I really wanted to do the backsplash in black ceramic 3″ x 6″ subway tile to match the absolute black granite countertops but white would have been a safer bet for resale. I came real close to chickening out and doing white, but am glad I took the chance and got to try something new in the kitchen. I’m really happy with how it came out and I got the look I was going for. I’m planning on switching out the plugs, switches and cover plates to black as well. For me, the white grout and the square profile on the granite slabs really makes it. Once I get the under cabinet lights in there going to be quite the neat reflection going on. I used the Domsjo Farmhouse apron sink from Ikea again, and as you regular blog followers know we’ve put them in all of our historic renovations. You cant beat the price at $299.
We shopped around this week for hardwood floor refinishers and ended up going with Geary Floors here in San Diego. They are charging $2.50/ s.f. for a pretty nice job. I found slightly less expensive prices but knew these guys do good work and its pretty important to me that we get a good job upstairs so I didn’t want to take any chances. You can see the 100-year-old Douglas Fir floors upstairs came out way better than I expected. I decided to not add any stain color and go “clear” with the refinishing job. The distressed look matches well with the house and adds a lot of character. This wood is the old 5″ wide long leaf style with standing grain. We are staining the stairs however to try and get them close to matching my hand scraped and distressed engineered wood floors downstairs. I’m officially now over budget, not bad considering the scope of work and the appliances are already paid for and standing by for delivery. Most of whats left now is outside which we plan on attacking this week. Stay tuned as we button her up and really add the missing small touches…
The upstairs bath now is mostly done at a cost of around $2200.00 for everything new from the studs out, all I have to do now is install the missing baseboards and then drop in the toilet. You can see my style is once again timeless, clean lines with a blend of retro and modern design. I’m really stoked on this vanity and sink this time, I tried something different and it really goes with this house. The tile is white Dal Tile K100 from Home Depot. It’s 6″ square on the bottom and changes to 3×6″ subway at the black liner. The floor tile is also Dal Tile ceramic hex dot and is my favorite for old house bathrooms, this is the only floor tile in the whole house, both bathrooms downstairs and the kitchen have wood floors which is another feature I’ve been doing to these old houses which looks cool. I know the white ceramic tub box below on the hardwood floors in the bathroom is a great look because I’ve been down this road on the last project.
With the upstairs bath tile job done we got started downstairs. My helper Steve is doing it all, I’m so stoked to have found someone and not having to do it myself and furthermore knowing that I’ve got a tile guy for the future. You can see I went back to the well with the river rock floor in the shower, its white rock with grey accents. The walls are 6″ white ceramic and will change to 3×6″ subway on top of the accent which I found of matching grey glass and white carerra marble, which I’ll cut into 4″ strips for the liner. I really hate to use any glass now because its become so trendy but I think just this small amount mixed with the other materials will give me just enough fun without looking like the house flippers who throw too much of the trendy stuff in and overkill the effect. The entire inside is painted now, I was lucky and bought all my paint over the Labor Day week and took advantage of the Home Depot rebate of $20 for each 5 gallon I bought. I used 20 galllons to spray all the trims 2 coats and another 22 gallons for the walls in the house so the rebate added up.