Our House Flip Project

Many couples dream of going on "baby-moons" during their pregnancy, but we decided to do a little something different. We spent most of my pregnancy sketching, gathering light fixtures, ordering tiles, updating spreadsheets, studying properties on Redfin, and talking to contractors. For us, working on a house flip was another version of a "baby-moon." It was a huge accomplishment for both me and Afroz right before we both became busy with parenthood.

A few years back, Afroz and his family bought a foreclosed house in the suburbs. They rented it out for a while after doing a little work here and there. Afroz and I always daydreamed about renovating the house. We had so many ideas, but it was difficult for us to do anything, because we lived in the city at the time and I was busy with school. Once we moved to the suburbs, we decided to devote some time and money to finally fix up the house. We knew it was going to be tough with my pregnancy and Afroz being at work most of the day. We had to get the house sold before my delivery, which meant we didn't have much time to shop around for everything we needed, so we stuck to finding the most reasonably priced retailers near us. Thankfully, we found a wonderful contractor to turn our renderings and sketches into a reality.

We made sure to create a budget and also logged all of our purchases on a spreadsheet. Being organized was extremely important for this project. Otherwise, we would go over budget immediately. We also had to remind ourselves that the goal for this house wasn't for it look 100% perfect; nor was it to remodel it according to our taste completely. The goal was to remodel it according to what sells and to make a decent profit.

This house had a weird layout. It was a single-family house with two bedrooms and what seemed to be two poorly designed kitchens. One was large and had outdated cabinets along a wall filled with wood panels. The other one was very small and seemed completely out of place. We decided to get rid of the smaller kitchen and transform the larger one. We immediately knew that the new kitchen would be the heart of the house. 


We went with simple white shaker cabinets for the kitchen, along with silver hardware. We combined it with subway tiles and a white/gray quartz countertop. The size of the kitchen was perfect for an island and we topped it off with silver pendant lights above, along with recessed lights.

Floor Tiles: Floor and Decor
Subway Tiles: Floor and Decor
Cabinets and Countertop: Total Kitchen and Bath
Hardware: Home Depot
Light Fixtures: Home Depot


The space we decided to call the dining room was essentially a family room for the previous owners. Since there was no dining area in the house, we thought its proximity to the kitchen made it a perfect space for a spacious eating area. The dining room was also covered in that hideous wood paneling. We decided to clean it up and add new light fixtures. Instead of spending money on brand new hardwood flooring, we decided to install unfinished flooring in the dining room. Then we had the existing flooring sanded and stained in the rest of the house, so everything matched perfectly.

Living Room

The living room had a fireplace and flooring that really needed some work. The newly stained hardwood flooring created a seamless transition between the dining and living room. We also added recessed lighting, which allowed the room to look more spacious and bright.

New Bedroom

Since there were two kitchens, we felt like the smaller one needed to go. It looked more like a bedroom or a den to us. We had the cabinets removed, added a small closet, and painted it a light gray tone to match the rest of the walls in the house. 

Existing Bedrooms

The existing bedrooms just needed some patching on the walls and a fresh coat of paint. The floors were sanded and refinished. We also changed the bedroom doors and closet doors, which really allowed the rooms to look brighter.


We didn't devote a huge budget for the bathroom. We expanded an existing linen closet, painted the walls, and cleaned up the fixtures that were already there. In hindsight, we wish we gave the bathroom a better makeover, but hey, we learned our lesson.


Thankfully, we sold the house around the time of my delivery. We were so nervous, but in the end, we were able to stay within our budget and were able to get the property sold. It took a lot of time and effort, but it was a great experience. Afroz and I were able to learn so much before we buy our own house one day inshaAllah!

All photos of the updated property were taken by Redfin. If you're looking to buy or sell your home, we definitely recommend Redfin. Our agent did an amazing job and Redfin's services were very professional and helpful. This isn't a sponsored post; we just really loved working with them!

Ray Eames.

I just learned that today is International Women's Day. I honestly don't keep up with these days and find out about them through Twitter. The Museum of Contemporary Art posted a Tweet earlier today that got me thinking:

Share a woman artist with us for #SheInspiresMe on #InternationalWomensDay—we'll retweet select responses! — MCA Chicago (@mcachicago) March 8, 2016

I started thinking about which woman artist inspires me. I have been so interested in textile design nowadays, so I began to recall the images I had filed in my head during my research. Then, I had an ah-ha! moment. I quickly found one of my favorite images of her on Google and Tweeted back:

@mcachicago#SheInspiresMe#InternationalWomensDay Ray Eames has always been a huge inspiration. pic.twitter.com/MIFN6tbwy8
— Fariha (@farihawajid) March 8, 2016

Ray Eames was an influential textile, furniture, and architectural designer. Ray and her husband, Charles, designed iconic furniture pieces, such as the famous lounge chair and ottoman. They made a huge breakthrough in the design world during the 1940's with their mass produced molded plywood furniture. Ray Eames was a talented risk taker who worked hard with her partner to create beautiful objects and images that have transformed the design industry. Just a few weeks ago, I sat with my brother and sister-in-law, a graphic designer and industrial designer, to look through a book that had all of the Eames' sketches, photos, notes, etc. We obsessed over every image in the book. Both Charles and Ray had amazing minds that worked in unique ways. 

Charles and Ray Eames (Source)

They also created beautiful paintings and fascinating films. I remember seeing one of their films, Powers of Ten, during my first year in architecture school. My mind was blown. View it here:

So for International Women's Day, I'm thinking of Ray Eames and I hope I can create beautiful products and take risks just as she did. For more information about Charles and Ray, visit the Eames Office website. Also, let me know which woman artist inspires you in the comments below!