Renovation In Progress

By Kate Riley May 9, 2016

Hello and welcome to another week! Today’s post is a quick progress report on the renovation happening in the Las Vegas flip house. The demo is well under way, I realize these aren’t the most exciting pictures but to me I love to see the progress. This is a corner of the kitchen space before we removed the 35 year old cabinets two weeks ago.

 kitchen before demo

Now the space is hardly recognizable since everything is gone except the old flooring. I’m reconfiguring the cabinet plan in this space and I have a lot of really great design ideas I’ll be working into this remodel. I’ll have more to share on that this summer.

 kitchen demo

With this home we’ve retextured the walls to give them a smooth finish like we did with the last one. Fresh and flat, the new texture makes the walls of this 35+ year old home feel brand new on the inside and is a great selling point. We have a great drywall guy who we love to work with.

Here’s a shot of the den before we had all the popcorn ceilings removed and the walls retextured. We will be painting next and before the new flooring goes in. The bedrooms will all get new fixtures or ceiling fans and we’re also replacing the 35+ year old windows with more energy efficient ones.

 den popcorn

Instead of tile like we did in the last house, we’re installing luxury vinyl plank flooring this time. I love the tile we used in the first house but I want to try out a different product in this home, one that will look great, take a beating, and look like hardwood. There’s a pool in the backyard and with it often comes wet feet. :) I love the fact that this product is 100% waterproof so it can be used in the kitchen too!

I love the look of consistent flooring throughout a home especially in community spaces so I’ll be using this throughout. I’m looking specifically at an Armstrong product in medium brown and slightly gray tones. I’ve narrowed it down to a favorite, the installation starts in a few weeks so I’ll have more to report on that in June.

 armstrong luxury vinyl plank


Here is the existing fireplace. It’s not bad, it’s just so blah to me so I’m thinking first to get rid of the hearth that projects into the room. I much prefer to have the mantel go straight down to the floor. And of course the fireplace surround needs new tile and a new mantel.

 liv room fireplace

I have several different ideas for this fireplace, but since it’s a flip I’m not going to use a tile that’s too busy. As much as I love the cement tile we used on this fireplace makeover, something more subtle is better in this circumstance since I need to appeal to a wide market of buyers. I’ll share more ideas soon once I narrow them down.

One final home improvement project completed earlier this year on the first house was adding an epoxy floor coating to the garage floor. Matt did it himself over the course of two days and the floor looks so good and feels so clean you could eat off of it! We didn’t add the “decorative” speckles that come with the kit since they’re not my jam, but I do love the look and feel of the smooth and clean epoxied garage floor. It changes the look and feel of the floor the garage so much now it feels like a bonus room where kids can play games, etc. Love this product!

 garage epoxy kit

We are always trying to stay conscious of budget as we are with any renovation. I found this handy graphic which identifies the best renovations for resale. New windows, great flooring, new kitchens and bathrooms, nice landscaping …. we’re definitely focused on those key improvements!

 best renovations for resale



The real fun begins when all the new cabinets and pretty finishes get installed. More updates to come this summer!



  1. Thanks for sharing the progress, Kate! Great info graphics, I’ll make sure to save for our future flip. Have you decided on kitchen cabinet colors, or style? Can’t wait to see more progress photos :)

  2. I wanted to give you a heads-up on that epoxy floor coating. I did it in my own garage–not sure if it’s the same product but it is probably similar. It looks great and keeps the dust down. I wanted you to be aware that these epoxy floors get very slippery when wet. It’s a big issue if you’re in a rainy or snowy area. The speckles help to give the finish a little texture, making them less slippery. You should be fine in the desert climate, but I thought you should know.

    • Ditto, but we live in the desert. We actually added a fine grit to our top gloss coat to help out even more.

  3. Major flashback! I grew up with those exact same cabinets, including that extra cabinet in the back of the peninsula. HA!

    • Ha Missy that’s funny! I’ve seen those cabinets and countertops in a lot of homes built in the early 80s it was “the look” !

  4. I would love more info on the garage floor! We are in the process of a garage storage re-do, and a new floor would be awesome. I’m just worried about the prep of a well-used garage floor with paint splotches and some oil marks.

    • We had a little of that too K from previous owners and our own remodeling efforts that took place in the garage (there was this incident of a spilled paint can…). The kit anticipates that it will be used on both new and older garage floors and it explains the application process in detail. Thankfully the epoxy covered all the stains that were there before. :)

  5. I love that you share the before photos and explain the process of choosing the materials you use for your projects. I’m especially looking forward to your posts regarding the flooring. We are debating what to do to our home and the vinyl appeals to me since we have a pup and live in similar comment. You have such great taste this will be another great project to follow.

  6. What different coverings have you used on staircase steps? Looking for ideas! Thanks.

    • I’ll echo the question Michelle asked above about flooring choices for stairs. I’d like to use vinyl plank flooring throughout a townhouse (currently a mix of carpet, tile and vinyl sheet goods) but I haven’t found great options for stairs. I keep thinking someone will come up with something. Any ideas?

      • Hi Sheila and Michelle. Stairs are tricky! There’s always carpet but that can get dingy quickly I’ve learned that in various homes we’ve remodeled. My most favorite for stairs is wood treads, and you can get the color close to the color of the floor below (if hardwood) although there is no rule that the wood tones need to match. Also you can add a runner to make it softer. In my California home we have wood treads, I love them without a runner. Only trick is they can be a little slippery in socks so I trained my kids young (now they’re 10 and 12) to hold on to the rail. You can do tile with end caps for stairs, that looks nice in Southwestern homes or Mediterranean style homes. I’ve seen people use inexpensive laminate on stairs and then add an end cap to it, it’s not the greatest look since there’s a small rise at the end of each step where the cap is. The new vinyl plank products have stairnose trim, I’m going to see if they offer a seamless transition on stair treads which would be ideal.

        • Thanks for your reply, Kate! If you learn of a good stair transition for the vinyl plank flooring, do post about it. I could go with a very low, tight berber-type carpet in a light gray/brown that’s similar to the vinyl plank but a single flooring throughout would be so nice.

  7. Kate, this is so exciting to me and I look forward to all your posts. I hope all goes smoothly. Your blog is still my favorite.


  8. I have that epoxy on my garage floor and so does my next door neighbor. Both of ours have bubbled up. When it snows and the floor gets wet is when it bubbles. Not happy at all.

    • Oh no Mrs. D, that’s terrible! Thank you for sharing! Thankfully there is no snow in the dessert (at least in this neighborhood, it’s very rare) but I’ll pay attention to what happens when temperatures drop in winter.

  9. I’ve used vinyl plank tile flooring in my laundry/mudroom. It’s the bomb! Love it and haven’t any problems whatsoever. I chose a different brand, though. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

    • Awesome Laine, so great to read about your use in your laundry room!

  10. We chose the luxury vinyl plank flooring in our new home and we really do like it. My husband is in a wheelchair and we have two kids and two dogs, so the floors really take a beating and it has held up beautifully. We have found that it does scratch, but scratches are easily hidden with a MinWax stain pen. We’ve also found that it does ripple in some spots with expansion and contraction, but you really have to look for it. In a perfect world, I would still prefer real hardwood, but we have been really happy with the vinyl overall.

  11. Please show a view of the house from the street. It would be helpful for overall perspective. Thank you.

  12. I need to totally redo my 40 year old beat up garage. The floor has holes and oil and paint,etc, and we are trying to decide on a flooring option. What happens on the edging of the epoxy at the garage door. How do you get a nice edge over the concrete that extends outside??

    • Hi Gray, we simply ended the epoxy at the end of the garage floor where it met the driveway and where there is a seam between the two and where the garage door comes down, we didn’t take it beyond that point.

  13. Kate, great inspiration today on several fronts. Love what you are doing for homes for real people in the desert Southwest/West areas of the country. Every thing you do is beautifully inviting and livable and, although your color palette is generally fresh and white and mine is cream, every idea is transferable.

    I’m especially excited about your plan for the luxury vinyl plank flooring. You were the inspiration for my choosing the wood-look porcelain tile “someday” but when I went back to my wonderful flooring “consultant” about a problem with chipping/flecking of the tile (in my dream color as well as my budget), he explained that he had been concerned about the same problem. He explained the company has their tile manufactured in China and he is rethinking his recommendations. And so far, I haven’t found my exact color and in a price bracket I can afford. What excited me, however, what that he mentioned the luxury vinyl plank (which he frankly admitted he didn’t recommend a year or two ago). He explained and I’ve read how far they have come with digital photography and when he pointed to the sample racks, my eye spotted a 2×3 block that looked so much like wood, I couldn’t believe. Nice guy that he is, he allowed me to take it home overnight and move it around and I’m sold. I’ll be so excited to see how your home turns out because, although our colors will be different, I get to see exactly how the floors look in a real home and more than just one room vignette (that’s what was so great about your pics of the wood-look porcelain tile in the Las Vegas home).

    The epoxy garage floor you will love – we did it in our previous home and I hope eventually to do it in my home now. It’s amazing how different it makes you feel. (Our previous home was a desert Southwest Del Webb home with a 2 car/golf cart garage. When I put the home up for sale, I mopped and cleaned the floors myself – took some time but easy work. My realtor said that the view from the front door of the large screened patio would sell anyone walking in the front door but that the garage would sell the guy instantaneously and it did. Smart move..

    • Thank you so much for sharing Sandy! You’re so right, Matt agrees with your realtor (he is one too) that a clean garage totally sells the guy! I’m excited to work with the vinyl plank flooring product, they really have come SO far in the last few years and have the look of wood but with the ease of maintenance of vinyl – really cool product! And waterproof !

  14. Ugh. A festival of tile. Goodbye 80’s! Can’t wait to see it.

  15. I am happy to hear that the epoxy works in hot climates. We just moved to Florida and some here have said it will bubble from the heat of the tires. I am interested to know if your readers from hot climes have experienced this.

  16. We recently had our kitchen remodeled and put luxury vinyl plank flooring in our dining room, kitchen, laundry room and front foyer. We get so many compliments on it. It’s two months in and we love it thus far.

  17. Garage epoxy easiest & best diy we ever did. Great bang for your buck & so easy to clean.

  18. I love following the progress of all your new projects! I think garages are always neglected and I like the epoxy paint. My husband and I own a 4000 sf commercial building and we put down the commercial version of the paint. The floor prep was insane (it had a combination of tile and glued down carpet) but we saved $10,000! The professional quote we received was $13,000.

    I notice on your kitchen demo picture, the bulkhead is still there. My daughter is selling her house built in the 80’s and is replacing the cabinets. Should she go through the extra expense to remove the bulkhead and take the cabinets to the ceiling? She lives in a hot market and I’m wondering how much difference it will make in the end.

    • Hi Monica, if I was keeping the house I would remove the bulkhead. Since this is a flip I’m going to leave it, it’s an additional architectural change that doesn’t make financial sense for us right now.

  19. Eeek! Can you share the floor color sooner? Or your top 3 if you don’t want to give it away. :-) I am choosing floors for our basement this weekend from the Vivero series!

  20. I’m interested to see how the vinyl plank flooring works out. I’m interested in it for my half bath and adjacent laundry room remodel. The hallway outside both is oak so I’m thinking of the tile-looking version. I need something indestructible.

  21. Hi, I just wanted to comment on the chart of what Renos have the best resale value you posted. I was surprised to see none of the projects return more than the cost of doing them! So, for strictly investment purposes as a property flipper it almost seems a waste of money to improve the property?
    I realize if you are if you doing the Reno for yourself and plan to live in the property for awhile than it is worth it for your own comfort. Also I would imagine the property would sell faster when improved but from a strictly financial view is it worth the time and effort? Sorry to sound so negative and I do see you have great talent and do amazing work.

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