Tarek El Moussa makes risky real estate deals every day on Flip or Flop, the HGTV show he hosts with ex-wife Christina. So when he spotted this four-bedroom Costa Mesa, Calif., home, he tells PEOPLE, he had know qualms about buying it “within hours.” He paid a reported $2.28 million for the home in March. The price, he later said, was conveniently under his budget.
“I walked in, and it had the absolute coolest bachelor-pad-meets-family-house vibes,” says El Moussa, 36, who shares custody of daughter Taylor, 7, and son Brayden, 2, with Christina, from whom he split in 2016.
He was excited to decorate from scratch. “I had nothing. When I left, I left. So I got to design and build most of the furniture,” he says.
In his master suite, a custom 8 ft.-by-8 ft. canopy bed takes center stage. “No comment,” he jokes when asked about the inspiration for creating the massive piece, before admitting, “I just wanted a big bed. My kids are always with me, so a huge bed is perfect for them. We all lay in bed and play, and there’s so much room. It’s just nice to have that.”
The kids also got a say in their bedroom designs: Taylor’s space features pink walls and a mermaid theme, and truck-obsessed Brayden has a car theme, including a racecar bed.
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The backyard pool and big driveway were also a big sell for the little ones. “[The driveway] is gated, so my kids play basketball and soccer. They rollerblade. They have their scooters. That’s why it’s a great house for me as a dad,” he says. Adding, “On the bachelor side, it’s really cool and hip and modern. It has the jacuzzi. It’s great for entertaining. It’s just beautiful.”
After decking out the place top to bottom, the real estate pro says he plans to stay put for a while. “The house is actually perfect. It’s just me and my kids and my live-in nanny. I don’t see why I’d need to move.”
He admits, however, after just two weeks in the new house, there may be some awkwardness with his neighbors: “Honestly, Christina lives like two blocks from me. So that should be interesting.”