In the new show “Buy it or Build it”, Chris and Calvin La Mont helping families decide whether to design their dream home from scratch or renovate a home to their liking. This issue, however, can get tricky if their clients have a growing family that might need After room at the end of the street.
In the episode “One Happy Family Home”, the LaMont brothers meet Dominique and Darrian Campbell, who have a baby girl and have outgrown their current residence. They want Chris and Calvin to help them find a place with more space – around 3,000 square feet with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an extra room in case they have more kids. So the pressure is on to come up with something great, especially since the Campbells are both lawyers.
“They’re both lawyers, so if we make a mistake, we pay the price,” Calvin told Chris.
They have $550,000 to spend, all inclusive. As usual, the LaMont brothers show the couple an empty lot to build on, as well as a house they can buy and renovate. Read on to find out which route they choose and learn some great tips on buying, building and renovating a home.
One-story houses are safer
First, Calvin shows the Campbells an empty lot where he can build them their dream house complete with all the custom bells and whistles. The problem? Based on the size of the land, he can only do this by building a two-story house.
It’s a deal breaker for Dominique, who was a college basketball player and had a knee injury that makes stairs difficult. They also don’t want to worry about babies on the stairs.
So they opted for Chris’s idea of buying a one-story, four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,875-square-foot home built in 1977. It’s located in a North Dallas neighborhood called Bent Tree, which is close to schools and family. .
The list price is $426,000 and Chris says he can remodel it to their liking for $100,000, bringing their total cost to $526,000. This would leave $24,000 in their bank account.
The honey-colored floors blend
Chris and designer Lindsey Walker shop for flooring, tile, countertops and cabinetry. They choose honey-colored manufactured wood planks for the living room because, as Walker explains, they want the flooring to blend in rather than stand out and absorb all the attention.
“It’s very neutral,” Calvin says as he handles a solid sample. He notes that the manufactured wood is very durable and the warm honey tone goes with everything.
Even better, “they’ll get the look of real hardwood for the price of engineered hardwood,” he observes.
White kitchens are on the way out
Dominique steps in to influence the design of the kitchen. She winces when she sees the white cabinet options.
“A lot of kitchens these days are white, and I didn’t want to do that,” she says. “I wanted to do something mid-century modern.”
The LaMont brothers agree that all-white kitchens are on the way out. So they get more of the style that Dominique wants with natural wood and tiles with a touch of olive for the backsplash.
“I’m super excited about it,” she said.
A French drain prevents flooding
A heavy rain halts work outside the house, but the LaMont brothers are glad it’s falling, as it shows them that about a foot of water is pooling on the concrete slab patio.
“This isn’t the pool you planned to put here, is it?” Chris asks the contractor Michael rhetorically.
“We’re going to have to install a French drain here,” says Michael. A French drain is a buried pipe that naturally evacuates water, in this case towards the alley.
It will cost around $1000, but it is the cheapest and easiest option. It also works perfectly, because they find out later when it rains even more.
Replace old slides with new concertina doors
Screen doors and old-fashioned “sliding glass” doors may be mid-century, but they don’t let much light into a room, and the bad ones look dated.
“That whole wall of windows and doors in the living room? Say goodbye to them,” Chris said. “We are installing this amazing 16ft accordion door system, and I can’t wait to see it installed.”
Once they’re installed, it’s easy to see that they let in a lot more light, do a better job of connecting the inside and the outside, and look a lot more modern and luxurious.
Reuse tempered glass
During renovations, the LaMont brothers find a piece of old tempered glass, which shatters into pieces instead of shards. So Calvin has the good idea to break it up and use it in the redesigned fireplace.
To do this safely, Calvin and Darrian place the old glass from the shower door on a sheet in the driveway, wrap the sheet around it, and then hit it with a hammer. They then dance over the pieces to make them even smaller. Sounds fun!
“They look like diamonds,” says Darrian.
Ultimately, the Campbells are thrilled with their new home and the house as a whole.
“It’s better than I could have ever imagined,” says Darrian. “This house will be perfect for our current family and our future family.”