No matter how much they smile and try to get along on “Flip or Flop,” it’s painfully clear that behind the scenes, Tarek and Christina El Moussa are in absolute hell. They’re dying to get divorced and go their separate ways, but they’re contractually bound to continue filming together until the season finale of their HGTV show. It’s like watching two beautiful beta fish tear each other apart in a too-tiny fishbowl, with Tarek’s tirades causing Christina to erupt in tears that must be dried, and makeup reapplied, before the camera starts rolling, again. Talk about a rough day at work!
But now we know why Christina’s willing to put up with so much grief: According to “In Touch,” she wants her own spinoff design show, with a “younger, sexier, better-looking costar.” (Ouch!)
But can Christina hold her own? In the latest episode, “Addition and Subtraction,” she certainly seems to be asserting herself while Tarek digs in his heels—perhaps in an attempt to prove that he’s invaluable? In the process, though, they both end up pushing each other to take bigger gambles than ever.
Here are three risks they take, and what they say about Christina’s prospects of going it alone.
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Risk No. 1: Buying a house filled with junk—and funk
Christina and Tarek tour a 1,000-square-foot house in Garden Grove, CA, that is dark, full of disgusting junk, and smells awful. It also has an unpermitted sunporch in the back that will have to be demolished.
“In my opinion, it’s a no-go,” says Christina.
Yet Tarek disagrees. “The backyard is huge, and I think there’s a lot of potential,” he insists.
At least he gets it for a bargain. After some haggling, he cuts the $375,000 asking price to $325,000, which the seller accepts.
Risk No. 2: Running up the renovation bill
Jake, the contractor, says it’s going to take $65,000 to $70,000 just to fix up the existing house—because in addition to a new, open kitchen and new finishes on just about every square inch, the home needs to be completely rewired and the entire HVAC system needs to be replaced. That’s more than the El Moussas usually spend!
Christina goes a step farther and suggests adding a master bedroom with a walk-in closet and full master bath, for an additional $40,000 to $45,0000.
At first, Tarek’s jaw drops. His estranged wife has clearly lost her marbles! And yet, with some digging, he sees that the comps for four-bedroom houses in the area are in the mid-$500,000 range. That certainly sounds promising, so he goes all in.
Risk No. 3: Painting the kitchen cabinets bright blue
Next, Christina throws Tarek (and the rest of us) for a huge loop by insisting they paint the kitchen cabinets blue. Huh? Everyone knows that Christina never uses anything other than 50 shades of gray and white in her decor, and Tarek looks apoplectic when he sees Christina’s color samples.
“Are you setting me up?” he asks. “Is this joke? We are not, under any circumstances, doing blue cabinets!”
“We are,” insists Christina. “We’re going to do two-tone white and blue cabinets, and I guarantee you’re going to love it.”
“This is single-handedly the worst idea you’ve ever come up with,” Tarek grumbles as he reluctantly caves in. Again. What’s going on here?
How does it end?
In the end, it seems that when Christina and Tarek egg each other on to take big risks, it pays off. On this project, they spend $120,000 on the remodel, which is far higher than they usually go, but it increases the size of the home to 1,400 square feet, with four bedrooms and two baths. When they add that amount, plus an additional $20,000 for closing costs to the original $325,000 they spent to buy the house, they need to sell it for $465,000 to break even. They both readily agree on an ambitious asking price of $569,900.
And sure enough, they get it. With additional staging costs thrown in, the couple net just over $100,000 on the project. Huge risks, huge reward!
So how does this bode for Christina’s odds of being able to hold her own on a new show? Well, she certainly gets props for her bold blue cabinets and master bedroom addition. However, Tarek gets points for being able to see past the home’s grimy exterior and negotiating down the price.
This ragingly successful flip, in other words, wouldn’t have happened without them both. Who knows? Maybe they both deserve their own spinoffs. Stay tuned.