Christina Haack has renovated a lot of homes, but in the latest “Christina on the Coast,” she enters strangely familiar territory when she updates a house with the same layout as the one she once shared with ex-husband (and “Flip or Flop” co-star) Tarek El Moussa!
In the Season 4 episode “New Design in the Old Hood,” Haack heads back to her old neighborhood in Yorba Linda, CA, to help friends Jared and Marissa, whose leaky shower has led to water damage in their living room and kitchen. Since repairs have to happen anyway, it’s also the perfect time to add some updates.
With so much of the home ruined by water, their renovation budget of $200,000 will need to be used wisely, but Jared and Marissa are lucky: Since their house has the same floor plan as Haack’s old family home with El Moussa, she’s essentially already renovated this space once—and lived in it, too—so she knows its quirks and challenges all too well.
Here’s how Haack applies her past experiences to this new house, which contains lots of lessons that might inspire some changes to your own place.
Certain floors really date a home
One of the few things that survived the water is the travertine floors, but Haack explains that these floors should probably be replaced anyway. While these floors were popular 15 years ago, she says, they now severely date the space and would limit Jared and Marissa’s choices for design.
“They are very style-specific,” Haack says of the floors.
Haack replaces the old travertine with simple but elegant hardwood. This new flooring is much more modern, and it goes better with the white kitchen design Haack picks out.
Carry the counter up the backsplash
When it comes to the kitchen, Haack wants to give the space a simple but chic look, with white counters and white picket ceramic tile for the backsplash. However, when she stops by to check on the progress for the house, she sees that Jared and Marissa have changed the design, picking a new countertop with thicker veining and running it up the walls in place of Haack’s backsplash pick.
Watch: Christina Haack Is Ready to Flip Her Home, Turn Over a New Leaf
When Haack first sees the new look, she seems concerned.
“Personally, it’s not that I don’t like it,” Haack says. “It’s just, first of all, I wasn’t expecting it, so I’m kind of in shock. And I really think the pickets would have looked really beautiful and softened it a little bit.”
The marble up the wall gives the kitchen a more formal look than Jared and Marissa may have been expecting, but Haack says she’ll work on softening the space with staging. In the end, this marble slab backsplash still looks great, proving that no one style is best.
Don’t settle for an off-center fireplace
Haack explains that in her old house, she was always bothered by the off-center fireplace, saying there was no way to position a TV correctly and it always felt awkward.
“Something I always wanted to do was create more of a modern wall back here and do an elongated fireplace, put the TV above it, everything centered,” Haack says.
Jared and Marissa agree that this would improve the layout, so Haack’s team starts construction. She builds a long fireplace and makes room for an extra-large TV up top (Jared’s request).
In the end, this living room wall is much sleeker. While Haack may regret never changing her own fireplace, at least Jared and Marissa will get to benefit from her past mistakes.
Sliding doors are less expensive than accordion doors
Marissa and Jared tell Haack that they’d love to add accordion doors to their living room, making the space feel more connected with the backyard. However, Haack knows that the feature is probably too pricey for their budget.
“It’s a big job—the doors themself are really expensive,” Haack says. “The labor is expensive. It’s load-bearing, so you have to put the beam up—and that’s expensive.”
In the end, they decide against accordion doors but find a better solution: multislide doors. These aren’t your grandma’s old sliders!
Unlike accordion doors, these doors can be hidden completely once a pocket is installed in the wall, giving these homeowners the indoor-outdoor flow they desire at a lower cost.
Stone walls add a modern Mediterranean flair
Haack creates a stunning look for this home’s kitchen and living room, but she explains that with Jared and Marissa’s living space so updated, their powder room will look especially dated. She recommends making some changes.
Haack suggests redoing the walls with the same white stone she used to have in her old house.
She explains that it’ll be a good way to help this house transition from the Mediterranean style to a more modern look.
“It’s kind of a tie back to the original style of the house, but because of the color, and the shape and everything, it’s more contemporary,” Haack says.
When the bathroom is finished, Jared and Marissa love the look. The style is a fun mix of Mediterranean and contemporary, plus it’s a unique look for this powder room.