decorating · home repairs · rennovations

Joy and drama

Our condo is in an old building in a historic district.  I’ve lived in historic buildings my entire life, and I can’t imagine things being any other way.  I love the sense of history and the old neighborhoods.  Our building was built as a private home for an architect in the 1890s, and the two side wings (where we live) were added in 1920.  It’s in remarkably good shape, despite some shady remodeling by some previous owners.  So before I start complaining, let me show you some things that I love about our home.

The windows in the hallway

These and the cute little arched front door are pretty much what sold me on the place.  Well, that and the fireplace and balcony.


But… I mentioned the questionable taste of some of the previous owners, right?  Well, they rennovated the kitchen.  I almost wish they hadn’t, because what they left behind is pretty bad.

You see what’s going on here, right?  White laminate countertop, which is coming apart, combined with off white laminate cabinets (also peeling.) Plus a white sink.  Dear god I hate that white sink.  It never looks clean to me.  Plus the cabinet doors are hung all wonky, as you can see, and are contributing to the peeling of the drawer fronts.  And then there’s the window…

Apparently what happened is that there used to be an airconditioner in this window (don’t ask me why,) and it leaked all down the wall over a very long period of time.  The plaster will come off in your hand if you touch it, so I try not to.  You can also still see some of the heinous blue paint that used to be covering everything in here – yeah, I know, bad paint job here, but my goal was just to cover up the damage and hope it holds as long as we live here.

In spite of all this, including the ancient appliances, I do love the kitchen (check out my happy green walls!)  I keep planning to refinish the cabinet fronts, but the thought of all that sanding terrifies me, so I decided to just replace the knobs for now.  The old knobs looked like this

And now, through the magic of 10 minutes with a screwdriver, they look like this:

Check out the ring of grime I need to scrub at some more.  And my favorite part – here you can see that they didn’t install white counters with off white cabinets – the cabinets used to be white!  Mystery solved!

*sigh* I seriously don’t know what to do here.  I just don’t have the space to do the cabinets, but I’m really tired of them the way they are.  I guess I should get used to doing work – we’ve been here 6 months, so we won’t be selling for a couple years, but when we do we will buy a house that’s much more of a fixer-upper than this one was.  We need more space, but I adore this area too much to move somewhere cheaper.

I’m not complaining though – I really do *heart* this place, and I’m so glad that we live here.  All of its flaws give it character, and give me a challenge.  So the ceiling fan in the guest room shocks you if you try to change the bulbs.  So there isn’t any closet space.  So the bathtub has peeling paint and needs refinishing – so what?  I would hate to live in a new home – I’ve always had work to do, and I kind of enjoy it.  Don’t tell anyone… but it’s possible that I’m kind of handy.

3 thoughts on “Joy and drama

  1. HEre’s the deal – aren’t MOST older houses cute when not close-up? Yours is… yours is cute close up, too. But you can see all the details that make it a HOME… not just a house ina magazine.

  2. Hiring A Bathroom Remodeling Contractor
    Busy, busy, busy, that is how you have to describe the people of the new millennium. People seem to have less time for things around the house. The work week never seems to be over, people are tired and just want to spend time with their family. The average work week has increased from 38 to 44 hours. Traffic and distance makes commuting to work last much longer. There is actually less time for yourself and your family. When it comes to remodeling a room in the house, it just seems like too much time and effort. So when the bathroom needs to be remodeled, who do people call?

    The first choice for busy people is to call bathroom remodeling contractors. There are a lot of contractors and it can be confusing at first. The people have to choose one and that is sometimes the hardest part of all of the remodeling. There is the Yellow Pages but if you call all the contractors in the yellow pages you are likely to get many messages saying the number is disconnected. What about flyers at your door? Bad Idea, These guys are usually people laid off from some other kind of work not necessarily contracting work. What about TV ads? These people are usually reliable but costly. They charge anywhere from half again to twice what a smaller reputable firm would charge. So what is the best way to find a contractor? The best way to choose bathroom remodeling contractor is to ask family and friends if they have had work done and how they liked their contractor. The price he gives you will probably not be the lowest price you can get. A person that is in a lasting business can not afford to give work away long before going under. Going under means owing a lot of people a lot of money. Going for the lowest price often can mean you are shopping for trouble.

    Word of mouth means more than almost anything. People can also go to most home warehouse centers and ask for a list of recommended contractors. This gives people a good place to start but do yourself a favor and ask friends and co-workers first.

    Next, call all of the contractors on the list and show them what needs to be done. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for references if the contractor in not a referral. Check with some of the references and find out what they liked and didn’t like. Bathroom remodeling contractors get work by their previous work. If they aren’t good, they won’t have very much work to do.

    Paying Bathroom Remodeling Contractors

    Once the people have decided on the right contractor and the right price, the terms of payment will soon surface. In most cases, people don’t want to pay the contractor before the work is started. If payment is made before any work has started, the incentive to finish the project will have been lost.

    They may ask for a portion up front for materials and the amount is something that the people and the contractor will have to talk about. We have found that a minimal down payment is all that is needed. Just a few hundred dollars or less. Then 30% when we start and 30% after all the rough in work is done then another 30% when the drywall is completed leaving 10% for the final. That way everyone is even money wise most the way along. There are special circumstances such as plans and permits the city wants up front. Special purchases such as special order tubs and tile that needs to be paid up front. Keep in mind that there is a 3 day rescission law. That means the job is officially under way at 3 business days. If you cancel the job after this time you still owe the contractor. Talking about these things opens the doors for more questions. Talking to bathroom remodeling contractors is a good thing. If the people see something that they don’t like, the contractor will appreciate being told immediately. This saves materials and time.

    Time is money and most people have a budget that they are following. When the work is finished, the final payment will be expected. Remember that the contractor needs the money and if the work was performed in a satisfactory matter, then people should pay the difference right away.

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