Fitz family seizes opportunity to flip home
By Matthew Roy
The term “flipping a house” sounds daunting just by the name. While the owners are not actually flipping the physical structure, they do sometimes turn everything within the home upside down in their journey to make an undesirable property into a hot-ticket item on the housing market. Jansen Fitz and her family took on that task when she decided to buy and remodel a house located at 306 Hardy Street in Amite. The end result is a stunning transformation.
Fitz owns and operates All Faith Designs, LLC. The house on Hardy Street is her first foray into the flip house market, but she is well acquainted with the rigors of designing and building a home.
After finishing the construction of her own home, Fitz found that she preferred remodeling rather than new construction.
“I’ve always liked designs, antiques, and construction. About three years ago, I built our own house back in Pine Grove from the ground up,” Fitz said. “I had 22 subcontractors under me, and I had to teach myself everything.”
She described the process as “a long, hard road.” However, the experience allowed her to learn many things about herself.
“I found that I really liked the remodel idea better because I like the character of old houses rather than new construction,” Fitz said.
She decided that she wanted to look into buying a house to remodel and resell it.
“For about a year, we looked and looked and saw several houses,” said Fitz. “Every time we walked into one, it had serious foundation issues or just really crazy things that I just wasn’t ready to deal with.”
After an extended search, the right opportunity finally presented itself in the form of the house on Hardy Street. However, her belief that she had found the right house was not shared by everyone.
“When we came to this house, I for sure knew it was the right one, but everyone else, including family, friends and my husband were like, ‘I don’t see what you’re seeing,’’’ Fitz said.
There were thick bushes that surrounded and shrouded much of the house. Fitz stated that her husband, Cragg Fitz from Sportsman Channel’s show Trained Assassins, said he couldn’t see past the bushes and the grass growing on the roof. Despite the doubts, she started the process of buying the house.
“It was a lot of faith and prayer to get to this point,” she said. “We prayed and prayed on it, and literally, we set a number that we knew we could afford and if they went with that number, then it was meant to be. It was our sign. God was leading us in this direction, and that’s exactly what happened.”
From the moment of purchase to now, the process of turning the house from a fixer-upper into a stunner took 13-weeks.
“My goal was 12 weeks, and I made in 13, so I was proud of that,” said Fitz. “We had a lot of rain and water issues during that time, so that kind of pushed us back a bit.”
The project began March 5, 2017, and Fitz held an open house for the public on June 11.
“It was very successful. We feel like we’ve done really well,” said Fitz. “It’s a new house; it’s been re-roofed, it’s been re-plumbed, it’s been rewired. It’s not your generic remodel where you go in just to make it cosmetically appealing. It’s a totally new house.”
To see images of the house before the remodel, most would not recognize it, except for the address. Gone are the bushes that hid the front of the building. In their place is a quaint and welcoming front porch. Gone is the grass growing on the roof, replaced with new shingles and a window facade over the front entrance. The interior of the house received extensive work as well.
Fitz related that the house received new floor joists, new insulation, and new flooring. She said she did half of the work herself, performing most of the demolition, as well as painting both the exterior and interior and Cragg helped design and build doors.
When a guest walks through the door, the house exudes a rustic charm with hardwood floors and antique decorations. The metal awnings that were once on the windows outside are now within the house, downsized, stripped to the metal, repainted and repurposed as ballasts. In the kitchen, the walls are lined with shiplap boards. Fitz stated that the boards used to create this were actually within the sheetrock of the walls that were removed. Each board required 15 minutes to carefully remove and maintain their structural integrity. Also, the original sink was restored to like-new condition. In reusing items that were already part of the house, Fitz has kept the character of the house built in the 1940s while breathing new life into it.
While there are many repurposed and reused features of the house, there are new and original additions as well. The vent hood in the kitchen was custom made by a contractor from Lutcher, who Fitz said also created the linen closet doors, fabricating them from shutters.
Fitz and her family wanted to thank the people who aided them in turning this house around.
“Special thanks to: Richard Cox, our number one do-it-all guy; my super talented cousin Bonner Fitzgerald; Jordan Wall with JWall Creations; Adrien Delbasty for custom woodwork; Richards Refinishing; Mike Sumrall of Mike’s Catfish; Johnny King with King’s A/C; Leremy Fitzgerald and Joey Piazza with electric and to all of our supportive friends and family who have helped juggle our kids and brought us food and drinks and have been there to help whenever needed. We couldn’t have done it without any of these amazing people!”
Fitz would also like to thank Felipe’s Flooring, Hannaman Flooring, as well as Mayor Buddy Bel and the Town of Amite City for being so supportive and helpful throughout the project.
With the work on the Hardy Street house done, it now awaits a new family to purchase it, furnish it and make it their new home. For Fitz and her family, they will move on to another project and work to transform another house that could become a beautiful home.
If you would like to see more before and after images of the house, visit Jansen Fitz’s Facebook page.