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The ‘Buy It or Build It’ Brothers Reveal What Should Always Come First in a Kitchen


On “Buy It or Build It,” twin brothers Calvin and Chris LaMont offer clients the option to either build their dream home from the ground up or buy an existing home and renovate. And the latest episode proves that even couples with high-end tastes might decide the latter makes more sense, especially when they’re in a rush!

In “A Home in One,” the LaMont brothers meet Texas newlyweds Cara and Ryan Crooms, who have been house hunting while living with Cara’s family for the past six months. It’s high time for them to find a nest of their own.

“They have a huge budget, $700,000,” says Chris.

Yet Calvin notes “in the areas they’re looking at, $700,000 might not go as far.”

Their wish list is not without its luxuries. They want at least three bedrooms in 2,700 to 3,000 square feet of space. In addition, they want a chef’s kitchen with a wine fridge, a walk-in closet, plus a yard with a swimming pool and a place to play golf.

Chris, the “buy it” brother, shows them a 1970s-era home in a posh north Dallas location, close to country clubs. It’s listed for $600,000 and would require $100,000 to renovate.

Dallas home 'before'
Dallas home before renovations


Then Calvin, the “build it” brother, shows them a wide-open lot in the Richardson area of northeast Dallas, which they could purchase for $250,000 and then build their dream house on it for $450,000. He reminds them that the second it’s finished, it will increase in value by $50,000 to $75,000.

Empty lot in Richardson, TX
Empty lot in the Richardson area of Dallas


Just when you think Calvin is finally going to win the day with the Crooms choosing to build a house, the couple decide instead they’re going for Chris’ northeast Dallas renovation project, due to the relatively quick turnaround time and the preferable neighborhood.

“I am so happy that we chose to buy and renovate,” says Cara. “Because it was so quick, and honestly, I don’t think we could have waited for a new build.”

So at this point, Chris and Calvin unite to design the perfect home for the Crooms. As they work, you might find that some of their renovation tips could help make your own home a better place, too.

Ditch patchwork flooring

Great room with uniform flooring throughout
Great room with uniform flooring throughout


Ryan, upon entering this 1970s home, announces, “I see one, two, three, four floors from where we’re standing.” He’s looking at the great room, where tile meets linoleum meets wood meets carpet.

“We’re going to get rid of all these mismatched floors and install beautiful hardwood throughout,” Chris reassures the couple.

They end up with engineered wood because it’s much more affordable at $6 per square foot. Plus it looks just like hardwood and is quicker to install.

In a kitchen renovation, pick the range first

Fancy 48-inch range
Fancy 48-inch range


Ryan loves to cook, so the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house, and Chris finds a way to make it perfect for him.

“Finding the range for the kitchen first is very important, because if I go with the 36-inch range or 48-inch, that really dictates the rest of my cabinets and kitchen,” Chris says.

But big, fancy ranges don’t come cheap. Ryan finds a 48-inch high-end range for $11,999. It has two ovens, six burners, and a griddle, and Chris finds a way to miraculously work it into the budget, as well as the kitchen space.

“Now we know that the range is 48 inches, it’s time to find the rest of our appliances,” he says, noting the substantial wine fridge on Ryan and Cara’s wish list.

Thoughtful little features can accommodate special needs

Pot filler over the range
Pot filler over the range


“Ryan lost his right arm, so we need to do some things to make their lives fun and easier,” says Calvin. “It’s simple, like putting the toilet paper holder on the left side, a pot filler over the range.”

He also finds a faucet for the kitchen that has a motion sensor and turns on with the wave of a hand. Such features don’t cost much and can make life easier for any of us, special needs or not—who doesn’t want that around the house?

Turn a bedroom into a massive walk-in closet

Giant walk-in closet
Giant walk-in closet


This house has four bedrooms and the Crooms require only three, so why not turn the spare bedroom adjacent to the primary bedroom into a lavish walk-in closet?

Between them, Ryan and Cara have over 200 pairs of shoes, so the LaMonts include plenty of room for shoe storage, as well as lots of hanging space.

And they don’t leave out the most important thing that every closet, large or small, desperately needs: a full-length mirror.

“But the best part of it,” proclaims Calvin, “no more clothes on that floor!”

The couple are so thrilled with it that Cara says to Ryan, “You can live in the rest of the house, and I’ll just live in the closet.”

Don’t skip checking the sewer line

Checking the sewer line via the roof
Checking the sewer line via the roof


Next, Calvin and a contractor crawl onto the roof to check the sewer line that runs up there from inside the house. Surprise—sometimes you can best access pipes for sinks and toilets from the roof!

Checking the pipes with special imaging equipment, they find a strategic clog that looks ominous.

“That’s not toilet paper,” exclaims Calvin.

Upon closer inspection, they find it’s a giant towel that’s obstructing one of the pipes.

“Someone stuck a very large towel in the toilet,” says Calvin. “Don’t know how it got in there, but it’s got to come out.”

It’s a great reminder that renovating a house isn’t always about the stuff you can easily see.

All in all, the LaMont brothers go above and beyond, even adding a putting green in back by the pool.

The couple are thrilled once they see the results.

“We’re going to have a lot of good parties here,” Ryan says. Cheers to that!

Dallas home, after renovation
Dallas home, after renovation


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