Tarek El Moussa has come a long way! After a much publicized divorce from Christina Anstead, he has reinvented his life.
Although El Moussa still flips houses with Anstead, he has a new romantic partner: his fiancee, “Selling Sunset” star Heather Rae Young. He also has a new show of his own, “Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa,” where he shows novice house flippers the ropes. The hit show has been renewed for a second season, which will air starting in 2021.
El Moussa’s advice is usually rock-solid when it comes to buying, renovating, and selling homes. But even though this 38-year-old has been in the home renovation game for years, he doesn’t always get it right. Like with any good flipper, his biggest priority is the bottom line, which means that his design choices sometimes suffer. Plus, since he’s advising flipping newbies, he’s hamstrung by the fact that they don’t always listen to his recommendations and, worse, sometimes go against his advice.
Even so, you can learn plenty from El Moussa and his students’ mistakes—and their fixes—from the first season of his new show. Read on about “Flipping 101” flips gone wrong so you can avoid these snafus in your own renovation projects, too.
Dark bathroom tile
What was El Moussa thinking when he advised his flippers to install black tiles in this bathroom? It’s not entirely clear, since the black tiles suck all the light out of this large space. Even though some of the other finishes are white, they only serve to highlight just how dark the tiles are. What gives?
The fix: Maybe El Moussa was just experimenting, because he quickly reverted back to white subway tiles with an accent tile inlay in later renovations on the show. The resulting bathrooms were fresh, bright, and inviting, rather than looking like a dungeon.
An overly busy fireplace
For some reason, El Moussa loves to use geometric patterned tiles as accents in his designs, including this fireplace makeover. But while the tiles certainly added visual interest to the room, they also made the space look busy. Unfortunately, these tiles were just too out there for some buyers.
The fix: In another renovation, El Moussa still made the fireplace a focal point, but he used a warm, faux-wood tile and laid it in an interesting pattern instead. The result was more subtle and nuanced, while still adding drama to the room.
An ornate stair railing
El Moussa usually leans toward clean lines and modern finishes with his design aesthetic. But in one renovation, he picked an ornate and rather traditional-looking stair railing that missed the mark. With whimsical curlicues, this stair railing looks cheap and tacky rather than expensive and luxurious.
The fix: Maybe that mistake was a fluke, because El Moussa returned to his signature contemporary style in other renovations: crisp lines, high-end finishes, and clean and bright decor.
A dark kitchen backsplash
The dark blue backsplash tiles El Moussa used in this renovation made the kitchen look dated and dark, despite the contrasting high-end white cabinets and countertops. This kitchen was already small, and these busy blue tiles made it look even tinier. The bold color was a turnoff to some buyers.
The fix: El Moussa reversed course in a later renovation, installing a fun patterned tile backsplash in this kitchen. The bright white and gray tiles helped the kitchen remain light and airy while still feeling luxe and custom.
Bathtubs rather than showers
Sure, bathtubs can come in handy, especially for buyers with children. But in certain situations, like this renovation, they can make an already small bathroom feel even more cramped and outdated, despite having high-end flooring and shower tiles.
The fix: Luckily, El Moussa saw the error of his ways and skipped the tub in another renovation, installing a huge, gorgeous shower instead, which really impressed buyers. His decision to design the bathroom with only a shower—and no tub—really upped the “wow” factor in this bathroom and made a statement.
The right wallpaper definitely has a time and place—it can add texture and dimension to an otherwise boring space. But in this master bedroom, El Moussa’s dark, shiny wallpaper accent wall just looked gaudy and out of touch. Was this master bedroom intended to look like a throwback to a 1990s hotel room? Because that’s totally the vibe this wallpaper gave off. Yikes!
The fix: Fortunately, El Moussa didn’t stick with the standout wallpaper idea for long. In other renovations, he opted for classic, neutral paint colors, like this off-white living room. Ahhh, now that’s better.
Stark black and white decor
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with black and white. Or can you? El Moussa’s design choices made this kitchen look stark and sterile. There’s very little warmth, just sharp contrasting colors and harsh lines. The rigid kitchen doesn’t feel like a space where a buyer could actually unwind and relax.
The fix: But El Moussa learned from his past mistakes and opted to go with muted colors and warmer wood tones in another renovation. He used tans, browns, and even a pop of light yellow to help soften this master bedroom and make it feel totally inviting.
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