A home: Her canvas

Linda Durant, a Clovis resident, stands in front of her home Monday afternoon. Durant finds cheap homes and fixes them to make a small profit on a re-sell. The process is called “flipping” a home. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

The view from her window is a barren field. This hour, it holds an empty beer bottle and a plastic shopping bag. To the right and left, worn-down homes make this one shine.

Once it, too, was a drab concrete building. Until Linda Durant made it her canvas.
The doors of the duplex she painted mustard. The concrete she covered with burrow (the name a paint store chose for a sandy brown). For the trim, she chose a cerulean blue.

The property next door, which she hopes to acquire, she coated mandarin orange, painting brown triangles along the edges of a boarded window.

A self-described gypsy, Durant has planted the whimsy of Santa Fe in the heart of downtown Clovis.

“I am into old, old buildings. I try to bring them back, bring life to them. It doesn’t matter where it is, in what neighborhood it is in, what style of architecture it is, the house just speaks to me,” she said.

For the 54-year-old Clovis resident, transforming homes is a hobby and a way to make extra money.

“If (a home) has good bones, there is a profit to be made,” she said.

In the past 20 years, Durant has renovated nine homes in Clovis, and a few elsewhere, she said.

“Clovis has a lot of diamonds in the rough,” said Durant, a Jacksonville, Fla., native.
“If you have a good eye for color, you can bring life back to anything,” she said. “Clovis has buildings that are screaming for attention.”

On weekends, she is often found gardening in the front yard of the downtown duplex, where she had added shrubbery, an American flag, pottery and an old bicycle. Eventually, she would like to open an antiques shop on the property.

Buying rundown properties, remodeling them and selling them for a profit — or flipping — has increased in popularity over the past few years, according to Holly Duffield, a Realtor with Southwest Real Estate of Clovis.

Duffield said numerous investors do so in Clovis. Entire television shows explore the industry.

“If you buy at a good time, you can make a lot of money,” Duffield said.

Durant invests years into her renovations, setting her apart from some investors. Once she spots a home with potential, she carts all of her possessions with her and moves in until the home is finished.

“For me,” she said, “(each home) is just like a new canvas.”

Her children moved from home to home with her.

“It could get hectic at times,” said her daughter, Emily, 20, for whom decorating has also become a pastime. “But it was also fun.”

Said Durant, “A home should not be a place you go into, just a shelter. It should make you feel good.”