“Flip or Flop” stars Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead have been flipping houses together for a long time—but even so, they don’t always see eye to eye on how to renovate a house.
In the Season 10 episode “Stiff Competition,” El Moussa and Anstead buy a house in North Tustin, CA, for $820,000. It has great bones, but Anstead’s strange design ideas throw El Moussa off and slow things down. By the time they hit the market, it’s unclear if they’ll make a profit.
Read on to find out where this former husband and wife clash most when it comes to home design—and how they strike compromises that might help you find a solution if you’re ever torn between different styles (in your own head or with a significant other).
Don’t be afraid to make your front door a DIY project
El Moussa and Anstead want to give this house a midcentury look inside and out, so they need to pick a front door that will set the tone.
So they go shopping and find a black door with frosted glass and a great midcentury modern look. The only problem? It costs almost $1,000.
Luckily El Moussa comes up with a plan to get the same moody look without spending too much.
“Why don’t we just buy a door that’s raw wood with the glass and we just paint it?” El Moussa says.
So they buy the same door, unfinished, and have it painted black. This simple DIY project saves them $300.
In the end, the door becomes a defining feature for the home.
“We made a good choice,” Anstead says when she sees it.
Use different materials to add depth to a room
When El Moussa and Anstead first see this house, the main floor is dark and split in half by an awkward kitchen wall. So they break down the wall and paint everything white.
While the paint and wall removal give the space a big, bright, open look, El Moussa isn’t satisfied.
“I’m actually really concerned that everything’s just so white,” El Moussa says, looking at the large living space. “We have no depth. We have no detail. I feel like we spent so much money in the space, and it’s just completely washed out.”
Anstead comes to the rescue with large pendant lights above the kitchen island. These lights differ in both color and texture from anything else in the room, which would bring a new flavor to the space.
El Moussa loves the idea. When the space is finally finished and staged, it’s clear that Anstead’s lights were a good pick. They complement the room’s clean white look while giving the space a warm, earthy feel.
Don’t go wild with backsplash tile
So far, El Moussa and Anstead seem to be on the same page, but their agendas diverge greatly when it comes to one home feature in particular: tile.
When picking out a kitchen backsplash, Anstead surprises El Moussa with a pastel tile.
“Sometimes I don’t want to go with the same old tile that we’ve been doing over and over and over. It’s exciting to try something new,” Anstead says.
Unfortunately, El Moussa hates this risky choice. He says that the mix of pink, yellow, green, and blue simply won’t work.
So who wins? This time, Anstead relents, and they end up going with El Moussa’s choice of a blue chevron backsplash. It’s a safer look, but the color still pops.
Choose floor tiles that complement a room’s design
Anstead also goes off the beaten bath when picking tile for the bathroom floor: terrazzo.
“Keep in mind, this is a midcentury house,” Anstead says. “We have to do something different. We have to stand out.”
But El Moussa hates this look.
“It looks like carpet padding,” he says. He suggests a classic white tile floor, explaining that marketing to the masses is the best way to make money.
Yet this time, El Moussa caves to Anstead’s desire to take a risk with the terrazzo, installing it on the floor of each bathroom.
And when the renovation is done, El Moussa is pleasantly surprised.
“It goes with the look because it goes well with the cabinets,” El Moussa says. “So it works.”
Convert a bonus space into a great guest suite
This three-level house has an impressive bonus room on the bottom floor. The problem? El Moussa and Anstead don’t know what to do with this extra space. They consider adding a kitchen and turning it into a rental, but aren’t sure if buyers in this price range would see the value.
“When you’re dealing with a million-plus house, people aren’t renting out apartments,” El Moussa says.
So they ditch the kitchen idea—and, instead, turn this area into separate living quarters with a living room, bedroom, and bathroom.
“It would work for a few things: an older kid, like a family with a teenager, or it could be just a nice guest room,” Anstead says.
In the end, the suite makes the house feel bigger and the extra bedroom and bathroom increase the value of the home.
“Wow! Look how nice this space looks,” El Moussa says when he sees the finished product.
Is this house a flip or flop?
After buying the house for $820,000, El Moussa and Anstead spend $150,000 on the renovation. With $40,000 set aside for closing costs and commission, these flippers have a break-even price of $1,010,000.
Anstead and El Moussa work hard on this flip, and the house looks unique and fabulous. They decide to list it for $1,249,000.
After a month, they have yet to receive any offers on the house. El Moussa admits he’ll need to reduce the price by $25,000.
If the house sells at its new price of $1,224,000, this flipping duo will see a profit of $214,000. As long as they get near that amount, this should still qualify as a successful flip. Stay tuned.