Why It’s Worth Renovating Homes with Unconventional Pasts

published Aug 14, 2022
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Credit: Courtesy The Roku Channel

Unless a house is brand-new, it’s going to have a bit of a past. While this might be daunting for homebuyers and tempt them to simply tear down a house and start fresh (especially if the home has a gruesome history), this doesn’t have to be the case. Even houses with the most unsavory pasts can be worth renovating, according to “Murder House Flip” stars Mikel Welch and Sarah Listi.

In the second season of the Roku series, which premiered August 12, Welch and Listi help people who live in murder houses reclaim their spaces via renovation. In a recent interview with Apartment Therapy, Listi likened a home’s dark history to the trauma that most people have: it’s impossible to just ignore and build over.

“I think people see themselves reflected a lot in the homes, where we’re no longer just tearing it down, because you can’t get rid of like 20 years of your life,” Listi said. “If something really bad happened to you, you can’t erase it.” 

“I feel like there’s always that element of the possibility of healing and being able to take something bad and make it good again, and [take] something dark and make it bright,” Listi added. “And I think we all want to feel like we can recover from anything, and I think that’s the same here.”  

Welch and Listi also do a lot of community work with their renovations, calling in experts on the crimes and consulting with longtime neighbors. In one of the new episodes, Welch meets with a woman who was living nearby when one of the crimes took place to help get a better understanding of the space and its impact on the community.

“We’re trying to be respectful of the tragedies that happened in these homes, because somebody’s life was really taken,” Welch told AT. 

Listi feels that the very act of going through the work to do the healing can lead to an “introspective reflection” for homeowners and viewers alike.

“No matter what transpired to end in that tragic circumstance or series of circumstances, the reality is [that] it’s a small story of probably a home’s really long history,” Listi said. “And it doesn’t change that that story is now always going to be a part of that homeowners’.”

“Murder House Flip” is available to stream for free on The Roku Channel.