Alas, HGTV’s hit show “Flip or Flop” is off the air for good—and the final episode reveals why.
In “Spanish Lessons,” Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa have bought a four-bedroom, three-bathroom, Spanish-style home in North Tustin for $900,000. They spend $200,000 on the renovation and, in the end, the Orange County house looks beautiful. However, Haack seems unsatisfied.
“I’m tired of constantly having to sell Tarek on my ideas,” she says. “I get it. It’s usually about money. It’s more gratifying for me to design for someone who’s personally investing in their home than it is to do these flips.”
So Haack hits El Moussa with the news that she wants to leave the flipping business.
“It’s been an amazing run, and there’s been ups and downs,” Haack says. “But it’s mostly been fun.”
At first, El Moussa seems to be caught off guard.
“I’m pretty surprised at Christina’s decision to leave the flipping business,” he admits. “I do wish her the best of luck. You know, sometimes in life, change can be good for everybody.”
Read on for details on their final flip, as well as one last batch of renovation lessons these former spouses will impart together.
Invest in a front door that sets a tone
When El Moussa and Haack first see the house, they have serious doubts.
“It looks like a haunted Spanish Mediterranean,” Haack says.
Still, the home doesn’t need much work on the exterior. Haack and El Moussa simply paint the home white and the green window frames black for a more modern look. Then, to add more style, Haack persuades El Moussa to add ornate wood front doors for $2,000.
“It’ll change the look of the entire house,” she says.
After some negotiations, El Moussa agrees to the pricey upgrade, which gives this home unique curb appeal.
“That front door makes all the difference,” Haack says when the project is done. “That really sets the tone for the whole Spanish vibe.”
Spanish tile makes a stylish statement
This home is large—nearly 2,800 square feet—so when El Moussa and Haack explore the kitchen, they’re surprised by its tiny footprint.
“This is the smallest kitchen ever,” El Moussa says.
They remove a wall to open up the space, then set about finding the perfect Spanish-inspired tiles. Haack goes bold with a rustic blue and white backsplash tile to play off the new dark wood cabinetry.
“It’s a little riskier, but I think it makes total sense in here,” Haack says of the design choice. “And then we can carry the Spanish, rustic look throughout the rest of the house.”
When Haack sees the finished kitchen, she’s happy with the design.
“It looks very Spanish but also very contemporary,” she says.
This is proof there’s more than one way to do a Spanish-style home. Haack’s version offers a bold, contemporary look that homeowners will surely want to re-create.
Preserve arches wherever possible
While these flippers remove a wall to open up the kitchen, they are sure to preserve the arched doorways, which look very Spanish. Still, one archway in the kitchen raises an issue with the new design.
While these flippers would like to install the backsplash tile all the way up the kitchen wall, they realize the arch might make the tile’s straight lines look strange. These flippers decide to break up the tile with some open shelves.
“If we don’t do shelves, it’s going to be awkward ’cause of that arch,” Haack says.
Contractor Jeff Lawrence also suggests staggering two open shelves so that they follow the slope of the arch.
In the end, his suggestion looks great. The tile adds personality to the room, and the shelves help the tile work with the arch rather than clashing with the rounded shape.
Use stucco on a fireplace for a clean look
While this house already has a Spanish design, Haack notices that the ornate fireplace doesn’t fit in with the home.
“We currently have this very Mediterranean-looking fireplace, and we’re doing the more Spanish theme, so I don’t think any of this can stay,” she says.
She suggests building the fireplace out and up, creating a triangular shape with new framing and smooth stucco.
Lawrence says the change would cost $4,000 to $5,000, so Haack has to convince El Moussa it’s worth the investment. Haack gets her way, and the fireplace looks grand.
Make sure your home’s style stays consistent
When El Moussa and Haack buy this house, the main bathroom was already under construction. It will need more work before anyone could comfortably use the space.
While Haack first suggests using white cabinets, she surprises El Moussa by selecting wood-tone cabinetry instead, matching the kitchen.
“I know we talked about doing white, but I made an executive decision to match the rest of the house, go with a rustic look,” Haack says.
Then Haack suggests painting the wall behind the vanity blue, to bring out the blue in the new Spanish-inspired floor tile.
When the house is finished, the bathroom looks lovely and carries the Spanish theme that’s in the rest of the house.
Simplify dated designs
While El Moussa and Haack have the budget to replace many of this home’s dated features, he doesn’t want to spend $5,000 to replace the wrought-iron railing on the balcony. But Haack knows the dated railing doesn’t match the rest of the house.
“Can we at least remove these grapes and leaves and do some sort of more Spanish geometric pattern?” Haack asks Lawrence.
The contractor agrees to switch out the iron leaves with a simpler pattern for about $1,000. In the end, this compromise is a big win: The new style better suits the home, and it doesn’t cost a fortune.
Is their last house a flip or flop?
After buying the home for $900,000, sinking $200,000 into the renovation, and then setting aside money for closing costs and commissions, this Spanish-style beauty has a break-even price of $1,160,000.
El Moussa suggests listing it at $1,499,900. They end up selling the home for $1,730,000. That amounts to a whopping $570,000 profit—the most yet!
It seems 10 years of “Flip or Flop” have served El Moussa and Haack well. All of which makes it a shame that their flipping partnership is finally done—but at least they’ve gone out with a bang.