by Sarah Grossbart | Thu., Jul. 26, 2018 5:00 PM
Tarek El Moussa knows a good buy when he spots one.
It's a skill that's been finally honed across eight seasons of Flip or Flop (the HGTV hit he still films with ex-wife Christina El Moussa) and countless more in real estate. So even though he wasn't on the hunt for a more permanent domicile (he was renting "a super nice place" in Newport Beach, Calif.), when he spied the "super modern" spread while driving through nearby Costa Mesa, he pounced.
"I saw the for sale sign and I just looked at it and fell in love with it. The outside was so amazing," he recalls. Stepping inside, he realized the interior was just as awe-inducing: "It had the best vibes of any house I walked into." Next thing you know, he says, he was in escrow. "It happened really, really fast."
Now that he's fixed it up with his decidedly masculine style—a departure from Flip or Flop where he lets design expert Christina lead the way—he's inviting E! News inside.
Built in 2015, the open plan layout was already on point, complete with cathedral ceilings and a 26-foot fireplace, and all the materials were new. "I wasn't planning on doing any work," says the business owner, in the process of opening his own yoga studio. But an ingrained habit is hard to break and soon he was replacing the floors, counters, cabinets and doors, adding wallpaper to his master suite and building a seven-foot chandelier to hang over the bed. "Hopefully it doesn't fall!" he jokes.
His kids' rooms got the works as well. Son Brayden, 2, sleeps in a car-shaped bed while daughter Taylor's mermaid-themed pink-and-teal room is outfitted with high ceilings and French doors that lead outdoors and the 7-year-old only needs to press one button on the wall to blast her favorite Taylor Swift tunes.
Her favorite feature of the house, though, is definitely the pool. Dad agrees. The entire outdoor space—with a California patio and fire pit—makes for prime entertaining. "I would definitely say this is the perfect bachelor pad slash dad pad," he tells E! News, adding, settling down into a space "is one hundred-thousand-million percent a new start."
It represents a new era in his relationship with Christina as well. With her new home just a few blocks away ("I'm like, 'Get out of my neighborhood!'" Tarek jokes), their co-parenting is on point.
"The great thing is we are so close we can see the kids more often," notes the single dad. "Taking them to school is not a half hour drive anymore, it's a five minute drive. And, I think having both houses in the same community will make the kids have a sense of community, a sense of home."