Journal of a Remodelee, Part 9 of 11
Originally appeared in Hills Publications, June 23, 2006 and ANG Newspapers, June 17, 2006
Don and his wife, Sonia, approach the end of their major home remodel.
As soon as he arrived, we told Cesar, the painter, that we hate the shiny paint in the family room and hall. He quickly offered to repaint it in flat. To his credit, as it had been his idea to paint it in gloss, he would not allow us to pay for the extra paint.
By the end of the day, he completed the inside areas that were not still under construction. We are happy with the paint job.
Two crews were here today. Our contractor’s guys worked on the hall bath and other small projects, and the floor guys repaired some areas and installed new oak strips where we had moved walls. The floor prep was completed today, with excellent workmanship, one day sooner than projected.
It was inevitable. A number of the freshly painted walls already have “bong-os” from the men hitting them with materials and tools. This is despite the fact that we asked both crews to be careful as they entered the house this morning.
Although we are simply swapping a new toilet for the old, our contractor warned us that we might have a problem with the City of Oakland inspectors. The required distance from the center of the toilet to each side is 15 inches and we have always had 14. We discussed it with the inspector when he came today for the drywall.
He called the city plumbing division and was told there would not be a problem. He noted this on our inspection sign-off form. Before he left, the inspector said, “Your architect should have picked it up.” Yes, we thought, as well as all the other items he missed.
Some time ago, we ordered fifteen glass shelves to replace the wood ones that came with the glass-fronted cabinets. They arrived today.
The crew finished sheet rocking the hall bath. In spite of my constant reminders not to do so, their pounding forced nail heads to pop out of the adjoining, freshly painted, master bedroom wall. My daily meditations are helping me remain calm.
Sonia called the glass man because none of the glass shelves fit over the metal shelf clips. He picked them up, promising to trim them down and get them back to us in a few days.
Sonia and I are really tired of take out food, frozen dinners and eating out. Although we were going to wait to start cooking in the kitchen until the inside work, with its dirt and dust, was completed, Sonia refused to wait another day to use her new range/oven.
We had also put this off because all her cooking gear is buried in boxes somewhere in our garage and the challenge of hunting for them is too gruesome for me to contemplate. Fortunately, Sonia just bought a wok that is accessible.
In looking for a place to store the wok, Sonia discovered that one of the drawer glides is damaged. Not a big deal, because we are sure, Suzanne, our kitchen designer, will replace it. This, however, is just one more in an endless list of things for us to do.
Happy ending to the day: Sonia made a delicious pepper lamb and jasmine rice dinner with caramelized bananas for dessert. As I blurted out to Sonia over 28 years ago, after one of her sensational meals (and before I had proposed to her), “I married a restaurant.”
Even though I call it “Sonia’s kitchen,” I will be a big beneficiary of our new facilities. Paraphrasing Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley character on Saturday Night Live, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, I deserve it.”
The crew did mudding and taping of the hall bath and repaired the nail protrusions through the master bedroom wall.
In preparation for the start of tiling, Sonia discussed the patterns for the hall bath with Sam, the foreman. Although it will be similar to the master bath, the configuration of the room is different and we want to make sure Sam’s tiler knows what to do.
Towards the end of the day, I looked in to assess the hall bath tiling that was in progress. I stood in front of the new tub and felt something was wrong, but could not put my finger on it. Sonia had done a super job in suggesting an interesting tile arrangement.
For several minutes, I stared at the brick pattern that was working its way up the walls above the tub. Finally, I saw the problem. The position of four tiles on the lowest row had been reversed and did not maintain the brick pattern.
Once I pointed this out, the tile man immediately went about correcting the alignment. As Sam had done before, he thanked me for discovering the problem now, when they can easily move tiles before the mastic sets. Watching closely has, once again, averted another mishap.
Although Sonia had done a sketch for him, the tile guy did not follow the pattern for the new tub surround and, instead, did his own design. As soon as we saw it, we told Sam we did not like it. He congenially agreed to correct it. Only problem is we have run out of 12 x 12 tiles and bull noses. More will have to be ordered.
After numerous delays, the now adjusted glass shelves for the kitchen cabinets were delivered. Five of the 15 still did not fit. Once again, we had them picked up to be trimmed further.
Only after everyone had left did we discover a new, large dent in the stainless steel door of the refrigerator – one more thing to deal with.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 1 – It begins; we know there will be the inevitable surprises, but optimistically hope previous experiences will help renovations go smoothly.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 2 – Holding our breaths that some irreversible glitch does not take place while we are out earning a living.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 3 – An eliminated window is mistakenly left in the plans while miscalculations in light fixture placement increases costs.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 4 – Even with a great construction crew, once again we learn you can’t count on them to think of everything.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 5 – Mislabeling of tile grout almost results disaster.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 6 – We are reminded how important it is for at least one of us to stay close at hand to answer questions as they arise.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 7 – Back from a holiday break, we experience more surprises and a frustrating accident.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 8 – Surprises and scheduling conflicts can’t detract from enjoying our new kitchen.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 9 – It is all coming together…almost.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 10 – City inspections and the finish line.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 11 – Eight months’ worth of do’s and don’ts.