• A look at the very chic completed living room at the Moroccan House. Photo: HGTV

‘Bargain Block’ Recap: Vintage Circus and Moroccan Oasis

By |2022-07-21T17:04:27-04:00July 21st, 2022|Michigan, News|

Well, it’s another week and Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas take on another two terrific transformations — two and a half, actually, but we’ll get to that in a minute. 

First up for the flippers with heart, it was back to the French-inspired vintage circus home. The couple had originally bought the home intending to keep it as a rental property to bring steady income into their business. But when it became too big a project to remake the home as a duplex, the couple decided to keep it a one-family home and put it back on the market. 

“I’m a little apprehensive about turning a house into a circus,” Thomas, always the voice of reason, admits to his partner.

“I’m not bringing in monkeys,” Bynum sasses back with his usual flair.

After the couple goes about installing a new support beam in the basement, which thankfully fixed the sagging floors on the main floor, the two go about bringing Bynum’s vision to life. This time, that vision is “super bold and dramatic with a French-inspired vintage circus and a classy carnival feel throughout.” Bynum will create an interior highlighted by striped patterns, bold lighting and a Parisian décor. “The big top will have never looked so good,” Bynum remarks.

One of their most expensive projects to date, they need to keep their reno budget down. Like down-to-the-ground down. Bynum uses a mortar finish on the bathroom title that he promises will look like expensive limestone when it dries. He also hand paints floor tile in both the bathroom and kitchen.

Bynum dubs this week’s second project the Moroccan house. A three-bedroom, one bath, 1,500-square-foot Colonial home on a nice block and in far better shape than their usual projects, the work quickly ensues. This time, Bynum plans to take this house to “Casablanca, with bold, warm colors or orange and teal, rich textures and fabrics and wood accents throughout.” Throw in some intricate mosaic tilework and furniture with dark wood beams and traditional Moroccan accents, and there you have it.

The Colonial home was listed for $60,000 but multiple offers caused them to have to pay $75,000 for it. To make any kind of profit, they’d need to sell it for $150-160K, more than they’ve ever asked for a house before. Thomas begs Bynum to not design something polarizing, noting that they need to make a quick sale. 

The couple, as usual, continue their charming banter in this episode. 

“Keith is always throwing caution to the wind, leaping before looking,” Thomas says.

“And Evan is the one always looking to make sure the parachute is in the backpack before jumping out of the plane,” Bynum quips. 

In the end, Bynum’s grand design comes together as usual. The Moroccan house is actually more toned down than one might imagine, even though it includes a carousel horse and vintage carnival lights as décor. Potential buyers will never detect the fact that the couple used leftover tile found in their Grand River Avenue warehouse and searched there as well for other materials they could repurpose to save money. Unable to afford real wood, Bynum paints the wall to give the appearance of wainscotting and paints a couple cabinets in the kitchen with a Moroccan design.

“Is it for everybody?” Bynum hypothetically asks when he is finished. “Absolutely not. But the right buyer is going to walk in this house and fall in love.”

As usual, that’s pretty much what happened and once again the couple is 2 for 2. In addition to the houses, they also start work on designing their real estate partner Shea Whitfield’s nursery. She must be expecting soon because her baby bump is getting big. Bynum and Thomas beg Whitfield not to peak, and you’ll have to tune in next week to see the finished project.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.