Blog ADU HGTV, A Cup of Coffee, and a House Flipping Venture

HGTV, A Cup of Coffee, and a House Flipping Venture

By Bobby Curtis, October 22, 2022

In 2016, Ian Curtis, asked if I’d meet him for a cup of coffee. While we share the same last name, it turns out the only relation we have is through real estate and our interest in restoring 100 year old houses. We met at Case Study on Alberta St in NE Portland to talk about house flipping. Ian had just gotten his real estate license. He shared with me he wanted to buy and restore houses. I had been house flipping in Portland for about five years by then, so I certainly had some experience to share. And tips.

I’ve always been open to talking with people about my real estate ventures. But also what has had them go well and the pitfalls along the way. By the time I met Ian, I had had many cups of coffee with many people who had even a twinkle in their eye when watching their favorite house flipping show on HGTV. And I love that, actually.  That’s usually where dreams begin in this line of work. Whether or not people go on to actually do the work and restore houses, doesn’t really matter. It’s exciting imagining, and then taking a few steps to see if its right for you.

I don’t remember everything Ian and I talked about that day, but I remember him asking thoughtful questions. I saw him as a serious, very professional, and talented, young guy. And I think I recognized an old soul, which really made me like him from the beginning. Also not bad qualities to have in this line of work.

N Cecelia Kitchen Renovation

From then, Ian and his business partner, Matt Clark, went on to flip a house. I remember that first one well. It was an old farm house in North Portland on N Cecelia St. It was such a thoughtful renovation, a ton of work, and people loved the traditional farmhouse remodel style they created. When we listed it for sale, it sold within the first three days.

Now, several years later, Ian and Matt have a dynamic real estate development business, Milk & Honey Restoration.  They take on complex home renovations, new construction and rentals. While I wish I could take some credit for it, they’ve really gone beyond what I’ve done. Though I do appreciate they still ask my opinion from time to time. 😀 They have their own ideas, style, and team. And I’ve been inspired not just of the work they’ve done, but the integrity they have in their work.

Their most recent remodel is at 2606 SE 16th Ave, Portland, an old Foursquare home with large garage they converted to a second living space. I asked Ian some questions about the house, and here’s what he shared


What was the inspiration for the remodel and design you chose?

Sometimes a renovation project feels like a blank slate where the original design and style is ambiguous or has been convoluted over time. Other times, such as this one, a house has such marvelous original style that staying true to that design feels like the best thing you can do for the home. Working with Pip Stevens, our local interior designer, we restored the many original archways, replicated original trimwork, and made design decisions that stayed true to the original architectural style of the home while bringing in fresh ideas and modern upgrades.

SE 16th Living Room Renovation

What was the most unexpected thing that popped up if anything?

One of the unexpectedly pleasant things that happened was, after opening up the walls, discovering how well built and well kept-up the home was. Some of the best “bones” we have seen in a home of this age. Probably the most unpleasant (though maybe not so unexpected) thing that happened was the delay in manufacturing times.  The pandemic supply chain issues are still affecting all sorts of products and it is hard to keep track of what products will have delays. For the last project, garage doors were extremely delayed. For this project, our windows took at least two months longer than usual to get back from the manufacturer, causing a pretty big delay in the project.

Did this turn out how you expected, or did you make any big changes along the way?

When we started the project we hadn’t decided how to finish the garage. The extra large garage with a kitchen sink and upstairs loft was once apparently used by one of the early owners, an Italian vegetable farmer or merchant, to wash his vegetables before selling them at a market. After some due diligence and deliberation we decided the best use of the space was to create a 1 bedroom / 1 bathroom legal ADU while retaining a single car garage space. The ADU can be used as a short or long term rental. The close-in, desirable location surely lends itself to, or however the next owner sees fit.

Ian and Matt provide an exceptional level of detail in their work. When you walk through this house, you want to sit down and stay for a while.  But it doesn’t just look pretty. When you discover the new guts of the house: energy efficient casement windows, roof, extensive electrical, plumbing and efficient heating and cooling updates, you want to move right in.

I had the opportunity to share this house and and before and after photos of the house on KATU’s Afternoon Live.  To see the short interview and photos, check it out here 

Bobby Curtis on Afternoon Live with Kara Mack, House Flipping & Portland Real Estate

For those with that twinkle in their eye after watching their favorite HGTV show, check out my house flipping tips.  Now let’s get some coffee.

Bobby Curtis

Principal Broker | OR


Meet Bobby Curtis.  Buying agent. Listing agent.  Renovator.

A down-to-earth Midwesterner, Bobby graduated from the University of Michigan, and headed to Portland in 2004. He began a career in the pharmaceutical industry focusing on sales, marketing, and consulting.  In those five years, he was even lucky enough to roam around Europe for short assignment in Switzerland. When he came back to Portland he took some time to discover what he was really interested in. Homes. More specifically, architecture, restoration, and entrepreneurship. After getting his real estate license in 2011, he purchased his first house in Portland to restore, redesign, then sell. Bobby rolled up his sleeves and started in on what would become his real career interest – transforming distressed houses into stand out homes by discovering the beauty of each unique property. Since that time Bobby has bought and restored several houses each year in Portland, both large and small, with great success.  Armed with extensive first-hand knowledge of restoration, Bobby offers his clients an exceptional eye to pinpoint property potential and value.  Whether you are searching for a complete fixer property, or a shining, buttoned-up stunner, he is skilled and enjoys guiding clients through the process of finding the perfect place. If you are selling your home or investment property, Bobby showcases his clients homes like he was selling his own. That kind of attention to detail will present all of the property’s best features.  It's because he has bought and sold properties of his own each year, that he better understands what it’s like to be in his clients shoes, and to navigate through the current real estate market. As an experienced broker and professional, Bobby is able to negotiate the best price and terms for his clients. If you’re looking to get a sneak peak of Bobby in action, you can watch him on an episode of First Time Flippers on the DIY Network, where he helped his mom flip her first house. Or you can catch him on KATU’s Afternoon Live daytime talk show once a month, discussing Portland Real Estate and House Restoration. Check it out here Contact Bobby at: 503-502-3066 Licensed Contractor #215071
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