Thought you guys might appreciate a project room update since it's been awhile. The above photo is a reminder of some of what we've been seeing for quite some time now. I wish I had thought to take more photos of the process from the beginning but alas, I did not.
As a refresher, the room originally was smaller, with a lot of single pane windows - no two of which were the same size and the room was one step down. It had massive sliders, a lower ceiling and the oddest tile floor. It looked as if someone had broken terracotta tiles and created a mosaic with the shards. It was interesting but hard to clean.
From the first time we viewed the house, before we bought it, we knew that some day, that room would need a little attention. What we didn't know at that point, and apparently the inspector didn't discover either, is that the entire room was a DIY project, (probably not permitted) AND the foundation of it was not stable. We discovered that instability almost two years ago now when suddenly we were getting leaks around the windows whenever it rained. Then the ceiling began to leak too. There was no way around it, whether we wanted to spend the money or not, the room had to be fixed. Ceiling and walls had to come down and the foundation had to be fixed. Dang. Big job!
As one does, we reached out to a number of contractors. We met with them, got their estimates and then we did some research on them. We are no fools. The contractor we ultimately chose had actually won a Builder of the Year award the year before. Sounds pretty good eh? We thought so too. We reviewed and signed the contract, handed over a terrifying amount of money as the first payment and the work began.
What was supposed to have been a two month project somehow stretched out into six months. And they began showing up less and less. And then the day came when, after 3 of the 4 payments had been made, they no longer responded to texts, phone calls or letters. In desperation, we drove by their office and were shocked and dismayed to find a For Rent sign in the window. We had been abandoned. Dang. Now what do you do?
Once the next steps were sorted out, it seemed that we had two choices, try to find another contractor to pick up where these guys left off or do it ourselves. There is so much building going on in Florida since flood of new residents that finding another contractor was going to be tricky. And Expensive. Think about it, we've already paid for the work to be done. Now we will pay for it twice? And at the higher, post-pandemic rates too! That doesn't sit right. Okay, decision made, we will do this ourselves.
And in all actuality that meant that Tim would be doing 99.999999% of it. As you may or may not recall, all last year, I was out of commission. Absolutely useless. And then I started out this year with a stupid broken arm so I wasn't much more useful this year. Timing may not be everything, but it's a lot.
First things first, we got an inspector in to check things out and found out all the things the contractor did wrong. So the first order of business was correcting those things. Once those things were completed and the inspectors checked them off, one step at a time, we (Well, Tim) started getting things done. Nights, weekends and holidays were mostly devoted to either doing projects or learning how to do projects. Neither of us had every done any of the things necessary for this so there was a bit of a learning curve. Thank goodness for the internet. A person can learn almost anything online.
Well after all that, I am delighted to report that we have finally moved back in to the project room which is, once again, our family room! YAYAYAYAYAYAY! It 's not completely complete yet, but we couldn't wait any longer. After living in a construction zone for far too long, the house is beginning to look more like a real home and less like ishkabibble land! Wanna see?
For the past two years, the living room has been the repository for everything too big to put anywhere else. Finally it's a living room once again:
The guest room still needs a little work - most of the artwork is currently living in there while waiting to go back on various walls. But at least there is a bed once again:
The exterior is painted! Well it needs one more coat, but it's mostly painted. And let me tell you, finding a colour that matches the existing colour was a process! No paint chip in existence was close enough. Then one day Tim spied the plate cover of an outside outlet that the previous owners painted over when the house was painted. He removed that cover, took it to Sherwin Williams and they matched it exactly! Wow, that was genius!
And then, the room we've been missing desperately for nearly two years, the family room! Taadaa!
I'm sure you noticed the are still a few unfinished things, like the baseboards and other trim pieces. It's underway, just incomplete at the moment. And it obvious that there is still a wee bit of work to be done because if you turn to the right instead of the left when you walk in you will see:
Soon enough, that will be gone too.
Can we talk about those floors for a minute? We had never laid tile before so we had no idea what a pain in the arse that job is. Tim read up on it, got what he needed, borrowed a tile saw (thank you Paul) and finished putting the tile down. The contractors had done about 3/4 of it before they disappeared. But of course all of it had to be grouted. Have you ever grouted? We had not. In the video's it looked fairly simple. Work the grout in and then wipe the excess off. We decided that Tim would grout, I would wipe. I had my bucket and my sponges and I was ready to go. But hmmmm. In the video's the wiping seemed much simpler, easier, almost graceful. I was not so much wiping and scrubbing. And scrubbing. AND SCRUBBING! And in the end, after we were sure that the job was done, after everything dried, there was still some grout left on those dang tiles. RATZ.
But, we quickly figured out that by using a steamer and a plastic scraper, I could still remove it. That involves sitting on the floor, steaming and scraping, steaming and scraping and then vaccuming up what I scraped off and repeating over and over. Fine. I can do that :) It took about a week to go over the entire floor but I got it. Well I got most of it. EverytimeI think I got it all, the light hits the floor just the right way and I find another spot I need to work on. So it continues.
Also learned that grout stains. The way I found this out:
This pair of shorts is now a yard work and messy projects pair of shorts.
We are overjoyed to have our house back and in the very near future, when the trim is done, the pictures are back on the wall and perhaps we have blinds at the windows, we will be even happier.
It's been a long and rocky road that involved a lot of work, a lot of time (and money!) falling off a couple of ladders (Tim), throwing out a back (also Tim) so much Advil and ice packs (both of us). And I'm happy to report that, although everything I've ever read says that situations like ours are the cause of many destroyed marriages, in our case, there were no fights, no arguments, no angry words or cold silences. We just keep on keeping on.
Once the project room is finally really completely done, we will take a little break from projects before moving on to the next one. Yeah, we have a list.
Hope you had a great weekend! We are still celebrating having our house back! woohoo!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.