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Jasmine Roth of ‘Help! I Wrecked My House’ Returns—and Reveals the Worst Renovation Mistake You Can Make

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The Jasmine Roth show “Help! I Wrecked My House” is back for Season 3, rescuing homeowners from home improvements that have gone off the rails.

In the premiere episode, “Midcentury Mishap,” Steve Pittman of Fullerton, CA, recounts how he’d called in a contractor to help him renovate the home he inherited from his grandparents. Instead, the workers ended up raiding the liquor cabinet and leaving behind little more than empty bottles and a big mess.

“I’d been renovating this house for almost a year by myself. I took on way too much,” he says. “Then work started picking up, and I thought hiring a contractor would just make it easier, but it ended up backfiring on me.”

The midcentury house in Fullerton, CA
The midcentury house in Fullerton, CA

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Pittman has already spent $85,000 on the project, and it isn’t even half-finished.

“At times I thought it might be easier to unload it,” he admits. “I had to move back in with my parents because this house is unlivable. I just didn’t want to let go. It’s consumed my life pretty much, and I need a lot of help.”

In comes Roth, swinging her mighty sledgehammer.

“This is going to be a challenge,” she says. “He is in over his head, the project is stalled, and he spent way more money than he expected.”

Pittman has a budget of $160,000 to finish the project, and Roth thinks she can do it in seven weeks. As she struggles to right all the wrongs that have been done to the house, she shares plenty of useful tips on how to renovate without ruining your house or your budget. Take a look!

Be sure to vet your contractors

Jasmin Roth and contractor Scott Cross examine the mistakes made by the first contractor
Jasmine Roth and contractor Scott Cross examine the mistakes made by the first contractor.

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Pittman says that at times he’d stop by the house unannounced, and the workers would be sitting around playing with their phones, and even barbecuing and drinking beer in the backyard!

“I couldn’t trust my contractor,” he says.

“If you don’t trust your contractor, I don’t trust your contractor,” says Roth as she makes plans to bring in her own general contractor, the trusty and talented Scott Cross.

Pittman now knows that he’d made what is perhaps the worst mistake a homeowner can make: not checking his contractor’s license, referrals, and reviews. If he had, he might not have been so hasty to hire the guy. But you can’t help but cut him some slack; he was exhausted and frustrated.

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Watch: ‘Renovation Impossible’ Star Reveals How To Get Out of a Renovation Rut

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Always pull permits

Faulty wiring
Faulty wiring

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The previous contractor did a lot of plumbing and electricity work, and sealed it up behind drywall before any permits were granted or inspections done. He didn’t pull any permits—not one!

“The challenge is going to be to determine if everything was done right,”  says Roth. “He had somebody come in; he has no idea if it was done correctly. I have a lot of work I need to do to this place to make it safe before the inspector comes out.”

Upon her own inspection, Roth finds that they “did a really nice job on the drywall, which is almost unfortunate.”

“Yeah, because we’re going to have to tear a lot of it out,” adds Cross.

After cutting through the drywall, they find that electrical wiring, plumbing, and the gas lines all need work. They have it done by professionals at considerable expense, then sit on pins and needles as they wait for the inspector’s report to come in.

They let out a huge sigh of relief when the inspector declares they’ve done everything up to code. Permits granted!

“Now that the inspection is behind us, we’re able to move forward on this project,” says Roth.

Don’t get rid of everything

Reclaimed lattice screen
Reclaimed lattice screen

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Pittman was of a mind to toss everything in the house that had been there since 1961, when his grandparents moved in. But Roth goes through a pile of furniture and finds a period screen that she wants to use as an integral part of her design for the house.

“This is a treasure, and it’s part of your family story, and I know you want to continue that,” she says, holding up the lattice. She refinishes it and uses it on the pony wall between the kitchen and entryway, providing some separation between spaces while preserving some of this home’s history.

Work with what you have

Ugly chartreuse fireplace
Ugly chartreuse fireplace

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There’s a big, clunky double-sided brick fireplace between the dining and living rooms.

“Don’t tear it down,” she tells Cross, who is a little surprised by that. “This fireplace is the thing I’m most excited about. The original look is that raw block, and I feel like it’s so midcentury that I think that’s going to be the look.”

She has the ugly chartreuse brick sandblasted and redoes the hearth on both sides in order to  “bring it back to its former glory.”

Refinished fireplace
Refinished fireplace

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Every entryway needs a table

Custom entryway table and bench
Custom entryway table and bench

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There’s no official entry hall in the house—the front door opens right into the room, which is common in midcentury designs. There is, however, a nearby pony wall by the staircase leading down to the basement, and Roth decides to make it more functional with some custom cabinetry.

“I’m going to hang a shelf and bench off of this wall, so that when people come in, they can lean on it, they can hang out around it,” she says. It will also be a great place to put mail and keys.

She has her favorite carpenter create a bench with an attached shelf and drawers. It even has a charging station.

“You’ve got an actual proper entry now,” she tells Pittman as he admires it.

The final result

Roth uses every penny of the allotted $160,000 to make up for the bad contractor and bring the home into the 21st century without destroying its 20th-century charm. The kitchen, dining room, and living room are far beyond anything Pittman ever could have imagined.

He’s not an effusive guy, but there’s no mistaking his emotion as he looks around and sees what Roth has wrought.

“I love it,” he says. “It’s a lot to take in. I told myself I could do it on my own, but obviously I couldn’t do it. Jasmine delivered for me. The house looks amazing … and it’s a lot less stress in my life right now.”

The post Jasmine Roth of ‘Help! I Wrecked My House’ Returns—and Reveals the Worst Renovation Mistake You Can Make appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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