Our Home Saga:
Restoration

The disaster caused by the water-line break provided us a unique opportunity to make some changes to the house at the owner's expense. Specifically, we could now choose new paint and new floorcoverings. The catch, though, was that Theresa and I didn't own the house yet, so we had to work through third parties selected by the owner, and we needed the real estate agent's blessing even to enter the house. If you've ever redecorated a home, imagine doing it from half an hour away, through third parties who don't report to you, with only occasional access to the property. It was an utter nightmare. And to make matters worse, the owner was touchy about any changes to the basic plan of "put it back like it was", so I had to work around her peccadillios too.

Meanwhile, large portions of the lawn had died off completely. As it turns out, someone had disconnected the sprinkler system, so the lawn wasn't being watered. As we came into the heat of summer, the exposed grass had been scorched. Moreover, the lawn guy hadn't bothered to mow, so the weeds were a foot tall in places. I demanded that the owner repair the sprinkler system and maintain the lawn properly going forward, but there wasn't much else to be done about the situation in a practical sense. The owner wasn't about to pay for resodding with everything else going on.

I spent the better part of July managing the interior repairs. We got the ceilings and walls rebuilt without much trouble, and over the course of a couple weeks (with limited access to the house, remember), Theresa and I managed to settle on a shade of white for the interior walls. We also chose wallpaper for the dining room and kitchen (better than the original stuff, anyway). That just left the floors and the kitchen cabinets.

The lower cabinets had absorbed a lot of water in the disaster, and the renovation company found mold growing behind a few of them, so they recommended that all of the cabinets be replaced, both upper and lower. Needless to say, this was going to be expensive, and I couldn't help but think that I'd rather spend that money elsewhere -- specifically, on hardwood floors downstairs. After all, the upper cabinets, some of the lower ones, and all of the cabinet doors were in great shape. The problem was that the seller's restoration company didn't have anyone available who was willing to repair the existing cabinets, regardless of price. (Liability concerns, maybe?)

So... Theresa and I decided to delay the cabinet and flooring repairs until after closing. That way, we could take control of the job directly and try to find alternate contractors to do the work our way. This introduced a number of logistical problems, since we had to accept that certain things just weren't going to be done before closing, and probably not even before our move...


2003 Robert M. Freeland II. All rights reserved.
Changes last made on: Wed, Oct 8, 2003