10.31.2012

Ohhhh Those Floors

Before we left for the Renovation roadtrip Chris and I packed everything in the house into 3 rooms, patched floors, busted holes in the wall, tore down ridiculous closets and completed many other things on our 40 item to do list on our way to getting our floors refinished while we were gone.

We went with a company that gave us a great price and had 4.5 stars out of 35 reviews on Yelp. A few of you commented that you were surprised that we were able to relinquish control and let someone else work on our floors. After all, we poured our blood, sweat (and of course) tears into refinishing them ourselves in the front room and the TV room, and I have to admit that we did a good job (after it looked like crap the first time in the front room).

So when we left for the trip we were excited and nervous. Excited that we didn't have to do the work of refinishing ourselves (because holy crap it's a lot of work) and nervous that it would look like shit. Well, we came home on Sunday (and if you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you knew our immediate reaction): our floors look like shit.

Now, sometimes I have a tendency to overreact, but when Chris was more pissed off than me, I knew this was bullshit. Generally speaking the stain is uneven and the house is just FILTHY (despite them insisting that they mask everything off and then clean), but then there are all of these fun, ridiculously terrible examples of their horrible job littered all over the house

There is stain on our walls


Stain on our lightswitches





Stain all over baseboards AND doors






Oh, and they got stain footprints on our white marble bathroom tile





I wouldn't be so mad about the stain everywhere else (well, except the bathroom floor because that's bullshit), except the actual floors look really bad too, so it just gets stacked on top of each other.

There are footprints in the stain in kitchen (VERY hard to photograph, but I tried)



There is a crazy line between the kitchen and the hallway


There are terrible putty patches in the art room that they did a terrible job filling in (not even with the floor) and they apparently didn't feel like staining



Then there are putty holes ALL OVER the house from patching nail holes that they also apparently didn't feel like staining over (some people may say that some putty has trouble taking stain, but we had absolutely no problems at all with this when we did the floors and a professional should not either)





I could show pictures of the putty nail holes forever, they are ALL OVER the art room and the office specifically. And because are floors are mocha, that blonde color of the putty stands out A LOT and our floors look like they're polka-dotted.

There are little strips in the wood that aren't stained also. These are really narrow, but they clearly didn't spread it out to cover everything and again, when you have dark stain and then completely miss a strip, it really stands out (like a zebra pattern in real life almost)





Then they poly'd in a woodchip


And there are drops of poly on the finished floors that Chris and I did


The last kicker is that our floors just feel like shit. They're really rough, almost as if they didn't clean off all the dust before they put the poly down.

So, naturally, Chris and I were not mailing their payment to them. Instead I called about 10 minutes after we got home and complained that the bosses needed to come see the crappy ass job their employees did. Chris was going down to LA for the weekend in the morning, so we had them come on Monday after work and I retreated to my parent's house for the weekend.

Monday the boss came. I was ready with all my pictures in case he didn't think it was a bad job. If that was going to be the case, Chris and I were going to refuse payment and then file a complaint. There was no way we were going to pay for the job that they did.

Upon walking into the kitchen we showed him the footprints, the stain on the baseboards, the putty holes, the strips of wood they just completely missed and had him feel how rough it is. He sighed and asked, "Can I redo it?" We said yes, but continued to point out all the errors. We made sure he understood that we were not okay with this level of work at all and asked that he be the one to do the work because clearly the idiots who did it before had no idea what the hell was going on. We showed him the floors in the rooms that we did to let him know what we were going to be expecting when round 2 was done. I was a little hesitant to let them get a second chance for fear that they just fuck it up again, but he was insistent that he wanted to do it again and fix it all. So we agreed.

While it's good that it will (hopefully) get fixed. It's kind of a bitch and a thorn in our side. We've had to live in the disarray since Sunday night. All of our belongings are still packed up in the front room. And our fridge still has no food because the fridge is sitting in the TV room. Needless to say, we've been eating out a lot. The plan will be for them to work Thursday-Monday and hopefully then it will be fixed and look acceptable. Otherwise, I'll be even more pissed.

Now, here is my questions for you folks: how much would you pay? Our original bill was for $2,250 and both Chris and I feel like we shouldn't pay the full amount because of the headache and inconvenience. Are we being unreasonable? How much would you pay?

10.30.2012

Renovation Roadtrip: DIY Diva

After we hung out with Katy and Brandon we headed over to Kit's (of DIY Diva fame) to work on her awesome house and the amazing land she calls home. Which of course came with more of Chris attempting to convince me to move to Michigan. And now he had Kit, Katy and Brandon all on his side too. DAMNIT! I have to admit, their houses really couldn't do anything to convince me that this wasn't a perfectly awesome idea. Wouldn't you enjoy this view Kit has when she's working at her computer?


Unfortunately, I'm 27 going on 4 and the thought of leaving my parents makes me turn into a crying mess. Chris (and Kit, Katy and Brandon) will have to work on me a bit longer.

But ANYWAY, Kit is the best kind of crazy you can imagine. And I say crazy with a deep amount of respect. If you have ever read her blog you know that she gets more done in about 17 minutes than any of us can imagine doing in a month. She has about 13 projects going at once (or maybe 31, sometimes I'm dyslexic) and she does it all with the best attitude. It's quite amazing actually.

When we got to her house on Thursday night I will freely admit that I was absolutely intimidated. She's a bad ass chick and I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to keep up with her. Maybe not even 1/2 as much. But you know what, she has such an awesome attitude and wants you to have fun that it's impossible to not want to work hard with her around. So that's just what we did.

We unloaded a ginormous table saw from the back of her car after being awake for about 20 minutes


When that task was complete we moved on to her future master bathroom. She's got a crazy outdated whirlpool jacuzzi tub that is the biggest space hog (and not very pretty to look at), so naturally we wanted to destroy it





It all went pretty swinmingly until we reached this point. And then we realized, ummm, how the FUCK do we get this thing outta here?


Let me tell you, that was no easy task. The tub wasn't necessarily that heavy, it was just HUGE and crazy weird to try to grab onto. Naturally, we pretty much rolled it out of the room and into the hallway, and that's when things got a liiiittle difficult


I wish I had set up a video camera to document how we spent the next 45 minutes attempting to get the bath tub from the top of her stairs, down the stairs, past a 90 degree landing and out of her house. It was hilariously comical (and I literally laughed out loud reading Kit's post about it). There was lots of grunting, lots of "Nope, that doesn't work," lots of rotating, LOTS of lifting, and a ton of laughter. It really was ridiculous


Once we finally got the tub down to that landing (after realizing it was not in fact an equilateral triangle so it needed to be rotated in another direction --> those math classes finally came in handy!), we hit just a smidge of a hiccup. The tub sat on that landing with us twisting, rotating and lifting for about 15 minutes. And then, in a moment as if our baby was under a car, the three of us lifted that damn tub over the top of the newel post (a full on 3+ feet in the air) and somehow managed to carry it over the top of the post and down the stairs. Miraculously without anyone falling backwards down the stairs. And then we were all very happy


Yes, we carried that tub down the stairs.

But the fun did not stop there. We finally got the tub out of the house...


...and Chris had this brilliant idea


Which resulted in this

video

It was definitely one of our prouder moments.

With the tub out of the house, we stopped for lunch, then moved on to project #2 (after Chris showed Kit how to cap and solder her pipes, another tool for her arsenal): installing a wood trim ceiling above her stairway on the second floor


While Chris and Kit installed, I cut the boards down to size and prepped things


We had a good working system down that enabled us to be really efficient and we were able to knock out about 1/3 of the ceiling in maybe 90 minutes or so. Of course, by the time we were stopping for dinner we were getting right to the juicy part: navigating around the light and the curved part of her ceiling


It was a day full of lots of hard work, but it was also amazingly fun. Kit seriously has such a good attitude. I have so many pictures of her just smiling along as we're working. It's impossible to not have a good time when you're around her. And the fact that she knows a ton, can built a bunch of stuff and is just plain fun to be around is icing on the cake. Plus, she'll make you a really tasty breakfast sandwich as a reward for your hard work


Thanks for all the fun Kit!

Read about all the nice things Kit said about us here and here and even here.
You can read all the fun things we wrote about her at Tinkernation here.
And you can read about how to cap and solder pipes at Bobvila.com here.

Tomorrow I'll take a little break from the roadtrip to give you an update on our damn floors.

10.29.2012

Renovation Roadtrip: Turtle House

Since I was a terrible blogger while on the road and only gave updates while sitting in traffic, it's about time that I finally caught you up on all the fun we had with all of the amazing bloggers we were lucky enough to visit.

So let's get started. After we left Nikki and Marc's in Asheville we headed up to Michigan. It was nice because we had 2 days to get there before we were set to meet Katy and Brandon at Turtle House, so we got to mosey our way up north. After driving like maniacs for the past several days it was nice to take a leisurely cruise.

We were meaning to spend some time in Cinci cruising around, but by the time we found our hotel it was pretty north of the city so we didn't want to double back the next day. Instead, we headed up to Michigan and spent a good amount of time cruising around Ann Arbor. Chris and I really love visiting college towns and Ann Arbor was beautiful. For lunch we ate at the famed Zingerman's, and it didn't disappoint


It was sooooo good. It was also a little expensive, but the people who work there are so friendly and helpful and they let you try pretty much whatever you want, so I really didn't have a problem paying a little extra. After our food coma (a frequent occurrence on our trip as we ate at MANY wonderful places) we cruised around town until Katy and Brandon were done with their classes for the day (they're teachers at a nearby college) and then we met them, and Kit for dinner



(this was a impromptu library - a little basket set up on a pole in someone's yard - take a book and give a book. So cool!)

Dinner with Katy, Brandon and Kit was so much fun. Katy and Brandon's architect came as well as two additional friends. A fun time was had by all. It was amazing how comfortable I felt with all of them right off the bat. They were all so warm and inviting and dinner was filled with lots of laughter. I wish I had gotten pictures of the raucous bunch our table was.

We followed Katy and Brandon home that night and began working on their kitchen backsplash when we finally woke up the next morning (their house was soooo peaceful)


If you don't already know, Katy and Brandon discovered their house because they fell in love with the lot. While the lot is amazingly gorgeous (3 acres right on a river only 5 minutes from town), the house was not. But they were courageous enough to gut the entire thing and build something amazingly beautiful. It's just the right size - welcome and open common areas with cozy bedrooms. Their house is awesome to hang out in, and with an amazing view into the river from 3/4 of the windows in the house, it's impossible not to fall in love


Gorgeous, right?

Alas, we had to continue working.

One of the great things about their place is that it's about 98% complete because they were rockstars while getting it all rebuilt. There are just some finishing touches here and there so Chris and I were happy to help install the tile in their backsplash to call their kitchen done. And because it wasn't too big of a wall area, we were able to knock it out by lunchtime







It was great getting the project finished for them. Well, not completely finished because we didn't get to grout, but Katy texted me a photo 2 days later of her wonderfully beautiful grouted backsplash and it looked pretty fucking marvelous.

The rest of the day was spent visiting and exploring their property. Chris fell in love. Seriously. Ever since we left Michigan he's been bothering me that he wants us to move there. And not even like, "oh that would be so fun," and then that's it. No, it's full on, "look at this land, hmmm, what's the price of that land? How far away is this from the city? Where's the nearest airport?" And on and on. I'm not even kidding. I kept joking with Katy that several days after she thought we both left, Chris would emerge from the trees just behind their house and would knock on their door and say, "Hey, I'm still here!" and be ready to build a little fort in the trees to live. That man fell in love with that area.

And frankly, with this sweet ass view from your own dock, who wouldn't?


It was magical.

Katy and Brandon are two amazingly brave souls who saw the incredibly awesome potential to take a house that had been sitting vacant for many years and turned it into the most awesome casa. And to top it off they are incredibly sweet, welcoming, funny and smart. Chris and I had so much fun getting to talk and visit with them. We talked about movies, sports, houses, school, where we grew up, politics, the country, the city, you name it. Katy even taught us about salamanders and dive bombed a snake when we were walking around (Franca would have been excited)


Their Cletus the Fetus is going to have two awesome parents.

You can read Katy and Brandon's post on their blog about our visit here.
You can read our Tinkernation post about our visit here.
And you can ALSO read our "How to Install a Tile Backsplash" at Bobvila.com here.

We'll be back tomorrow to share with you our visit with Kit over at DIY Diva!