Tag Archives: renovations

Time Flies

It does… time flies whether you’re having fun or not. Remember, we started our bathroom project in early February and here we are at the end of April, still no farther along than we were a month ago.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. We have learned a few things and made a few decisions. We learned that no matter who comes in to finish this job (contractors) they will have have to back track to a point where they feel secure in the current state of the bathroom and comfortable going forward from there. We also learned that the little tiny  bit of money we have left from our renovation budget is not enough to even pay a deposit for anyone. That is where the decisions have come in…

We are going to finish this bathroom ourselves. Yup. And I am betting we can do a much better job that our ex-asshat thieving contractor.

We decided not to rip out the surround and reset the tub, rebuild the surround etc … yet. Last weekend, we scraped away the grout that was cracking and crumbling and caulked with a lovely 100% silicone caulking. It seems to have done the job to prevent water from entering into the surround cavity. The water pools up on the lip of the tub and tumbles into the tub and down the drain. There is still the issue of the front, exterior lip leaking (remember the tub wasn’t leveled or supported) and water still runs out of the tub into the middle of the floor. But, it’s not as much and it seems to be possible to staunch the flow using a strategically placed wash cloth or sponge.

Next up: taking down the wall behind the vanity. We are going to leave the vanity cabinets where they are, poor plumbing and all. We will take down the lights, outlets and switches, and we will cut the wall level with the top edge of the vanity and take it all down. From here, we will red0 the wiring and then rebuild the wall, paint and reinstall (evenly, leveled and measured) the fixtures and lighting. At that point, we should be ready to deal with the company for the granite counter top installation.

After that, we will deal with sanding and repainting the walls, rebuilding the closet and then cleaning up the trim. And voila… basically finished. We will, someday in the future, have the surround and tub taken out and reset, rebuilt etc. But right now we haven’t the money or the expertise to do that, ourselves.

It certainly feel just like – starting over!


Standing on the threshold

When I look around at my house, a house that I tend to hate, I realize that there is work to be done in every single room. Every room on every floor, including the basement, needs attention – and this is even after all the work that has already been done. There are 9 rooms, 1 full bathroom, 1 half bathroom and 2 potential rooms in a long ago semi finished attic. That’s a total of 12 ½ rooms. Plus the basement. Plus the garage. (Though at the time we didn’t know that the basement and garage were well neglected.) In each of these rooms there are closets, windows, doors and floors that are all in desperate need of very dramatic attention. This is a lot of work and more so for first time homeowners.

As of this post, we’ve been living in the Lakedell House for 2 ½ years. We first spotted the house online, on a real estate web site when we were toying with the idea of moving from the West coast back to the East coast. As our decision to move solidified, we looked at the house and dismissed it more than once because it clearly needed a lot of work. We were certain we wanted a move-in ready house especially because only one of us had either the time or the proclivity for renovations but neither of us had both!

But something kept drawing us back to the Lakedell House. Time and again we would notice something new, something different that intrigued us.

“It has a gazebo!”

“Oh look at this part of the map. It’s about ½ mile from that house and it looks like a beach.”

‘There is easy access to the highway but not too close.”

“It’s walking distance to a good high school, for the child.”

“What exactly is this swath of green? A park? How big is this park? Oh, it has walking trails! And another beach! And a carosel!”

“Do you realize there is no outlet here? This means there is no through traffic, just people who live down here. It’s probably a quiet neighborhood.”

“How much yard is a half acre anyway? Wouldn’t we need a rider mower?”

Eventually the time came for one of us to make the 3000+ mile trek east to look at houses in person. My better? half decided to go look at houses and deal with the real estate agent. I stayed back to work on getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

I’m not sure exactly what happened but in the short time between the house viewing trip and, well, the next two weeks, we put an offer on the house. I felt positive enough because my hyper intelligent, thoughtful, detail oriented husband said that the house was solid. He assured me that the house needed only minor cosmetic repairs. Our offer was accepted and we started the process of paperwork and initials and signatures that would make the house ours.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of boxes and packing and movers and yard sales, then a 5-day, 3200 mile drive across the country with two stubborn adults, one 11-yr old child, a very active dog and an attention whore of a cat. We were driving, we couldn’t be drinking.

We pulled into the driveway of the Lakedell house in the early evening of a humid August night, as dusk was falling. It wasn’t as big as I had expected for a 2900-square foot house. It was a little shabbier than I though too, with warped, split shingles and peeling paint. We opened the door and were hit with the musty stench of a trillion mildew spores lodging firmly in our sinuses. I started sneezing immediately and at this point realized that the task ahead of us was immensely bigger than either I was lead to believe, anticipated and imagined.