The anatomy of an HGTV house-flipping show generally looks the same throughout every 30-minute episode: The host buys a house, they design the changes, there is demolition and reconstruction, and then they sell it at an open house for a profit.
The producers add an extra ingredient of drama to make the show interesting, which usually happens during the course of demolition. This is known as the “flip or flop” moment, when the investment turns from profitable to a disaster. It’s coupled with close-ups of the host’s contorted face and ensuing dark and dramatic music.
The good news is that on these shows, the investment always works out for the good, and the flip is a success.
You might remember the “flip for Africa” column
that I wrote back in July, in which my family was flipping a house for a charitable cause. I also shared then that my wife, son and mother-in-law spent almost two weeks in Africa partnering with teachers at two schools to help execute curriculum. This spurred on my desire to use my God-given talents to help with the cause.
Well, the home is finished, and just like a house-flipping episode, every aspect of the show has played out thus far. The home we bought from an original owner had fantastic “bones,” which made it easier to implement a new, modern design scheme. The major demolition was done to flooring, windows, walls and taking off acres of wallpaper.
The best part of the project was watching my children swing a sledgehammer.
The reconstruction went as planned, and we moved through August with dust flying everywhere. The almost 50-year-old wallpaper and carpet made way for new fresh colors and hot new flooring. My team member Mary Walsh selected the lighting package, and Shannon Antipov Designs
brought in the exquisite design staging, pro bono.
Everything was all set for launch when the proverbial camera zoomed in. What appeared to be a house-flip without the drama changed in an instant. Instead of the drama happening during the demolition, it was saved for the very end, during the final touches of the project. The workers were all set to paint the beautiful columned rotunda over the front door, when they found soft wood and rot.
This was the made-for-TV moment at which they explained to my team that the roof and all of the substructure would need to come off. There was no choice but to redo the roof and make it like new.
The flop moment actually wasn’t so bad after all. The workers got the roof and decking off, and exposed the joist so they could do the repairs to add the new roof. The end result is that the front of the house looks much better, and it is fresh.
We’re moving to the next phase in the anatomy of a house HGTV house-flip, and with a little luck, there is always a happy ending.
My Flip for Africa: 9 Hamill Lane in Clarendon Hills
- Upcoming Open Houses:
- Saturday, 10/13 at 12-2pm
- Sunday, 10/14 at 1-3pm