A savvy American woman’s DIY skills are so good she has managed to add £157,000 to the value of the “rotting” house she bought for £250,000.
Carla Morrone, 37, from Minneapolis, moved to Savannah in 2018 to dive into the world of house flipping by renovating houses and reselling them at a profit.
In May 2020, Morrone bought her fifth home, a late 1800s Victorian duplex – a detached home with two flats.
This one has two bedrooms and one bathroom downstairs, while the upstairs property has three bedrooms and a bathroom.
But Morrone says one of the kitchens was “a dump” prior to the makeover. She was horrified to find the upstairs bathroom had water damage and rotted joists, describing it as a “worst case” scenario.
The DIY champ started by removing the floorboards and ripping out the tiles on the walls, where she found a secret window that had been covered up.
She then retiled the floor and installed plasterboards on the walls, as well as adding a new bathtub, a mirror with lights and a new paintjob for the walls, at a cost of £8,000.
The property flipper kept the original vanity sink in one of the bathrooms, which saved her thousands.
She told media agency Jam Press: “The bathroom was the biggest project and definitely a ‘worst case’ scenario. We had to replace everything down to the joists.”
Morrone sees old homes as “living things” that deserve care and attention.
For the downstairs bathroom, she replaced the old sink with a wall-mounted marble one.
She also ripped out the wooden flooring, retiled the floor and replaced the toilet and sink.
To finish the room, Morrone also fitted a glass shower door and repainted the walls, while adding new wall tiles on the bottom half of the walls and adding a mirror.
She also added modern lighting and decorations such as flowers, photo frames and shelves, at a total cost of £6,000.
The home renovation queen then knocked down a wall between the kitchen and the living room, creating a lot more space and brightness.
She said: “My kitchen was a dump – the house had been neglected for decades. I drew inspiration from European cafes – lots of texture and neutrals.”
While Morrone did most of the work in the kitchen herself, she hired professionals for some of the bigger jobs, such as a tiler to level the floors, an electrician and a plumber. The total bill for the room was £9,900.
A carpenter made custom shelves above the cabinets, but Morrone ended up painting and tiling everything, saving herself hundreds of pounds.
She spent around £28,300 on the DY work, which took six months.
Morrone had one piece of advice for anyone thinking of following in her footsteps.
She said: “I took recommendations from friends for almost everyone that I worked with and had a general contractor stop in after each of those steps were completed.
“If you are worried about being ripped off or diving into a project you know little about, this is a great system.”