The Saint House

Years ago, back in 2005, Mike and I were newlyweds.  Pistol and I had just moved up to Santa Fe from Albuquerque and I had closed my design business.  I was looking for a way to make a living in a new town.  The housing market was hot – flipping houses seemed like a good fit.  Mike had years of construction under his belt and I was a scrappy DIYer with a background in building theater sets and welding.  Mike was going to school at the time so I took the helm relying on him to help me on the weekends.

After shopping the Santa Fe fixer-uppers it was clear that this market was out of my budget.  I drove down to Albuquerque which hadn’t quite caught on to the housing bubble yet.  We found a great fixer-upper on Saint street.  It had everything you could want in a house to flip; good bones, only cosmetic damage and the eye watering stench of years of cat pee.  The best part was that it had a bomb shelter-who doesn’t want their own bomb shelter??  It had potential.  It was in a good neighborhood on a street where people kept their lawns mowed and trash in the containers.  The layout of the house was decent, it just needed was a  make-over.  We spent the next few months ripping out the old cat pee carpets, re-tiling everywhere, painting, landscaping and generally fixing the place up.

Saint house

Saint house

While we were working on the house I got to know the neighbors and get a little history on the house.  It had been fixed up and flipped a few years before (very cheaply, I might add) and gone into foreclosure.  The neighbors across the street (now in their early 90’s) had bought their home new from the developer in the mid-fifties.  The woman once told me how upset she was when she found out her neighbor was putting in a bomb shelter.  She exclaimed, ‘If that siren goes off they should be thinking about picking up their kids from school not running down into that dang shelter!’  I grew up a few miles from this neighborhood in homes that were built about the same time.  The siren she was referring to was located at my high school.  You could hear it for miles when it went off for its monthly test.  It was really loud.

Saint house

Before I laid the floor tile I pulled up four layers of linoleum. Mike did the stained glass panels in the cabinet doors.

The experience of running this project was magical for me.  Although Mike helped a ton,  it was up to me to figure out how to get this house turned into a home.  I pulled up layers of  linoleum in the kitchen.  I could see the decades pass with each layer I pulled.  We went crazy with the color, texture and materials. When it came time to choose an exterior house color I went with a pale pink.  It looked white during the day with the sun beating down and a warm, slight pink in the morning and evening.  The biker neighbor down the street would come by and chuckle at my pink house.  He said it was all good though ’cause I was making the house nice again.

Saint house

This is still one of my favorite color combinations- cobalt blue with white trim.

My Realtor would come by to check on the progress.  She had buyers lining up.  I loved her!  She was so sweet, honest and would push me when necessary.  I had gone over budget and chanced it by setting the price higher than anything else that had sold for in the neighborhood.  The house sold within a couple days of going on the market.  It was so exhilarating!  The couple that bought the house fell in love with it at first sight.  Every time I saw them she was dressed in bright colors- I found the right owner for my pink house!  In the end we only made a few thousand dollars profit.  For me it was a great experience.  I pushed myself past my comfort zone construction wise and making $5k over 4 months didn’t bother me.  It spurred me on to bigger projects where I knew I could do better.  Little did I know… (Stay tuned for more)

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