January 11, 2013

Major Fixer Upper - Picking a Contractor and Surprises Under the Rug!

Our riverhouse need significant work.  SIGNIFICANT.

Lemme just say, I'm super excited.  Can't wait to start using it.   Can't wait.

It is sort of falling down and has holes in it.  It has an electrical panel that was recalled in the 70's because it blew up. It is on a hill in a forest.

There are drop ceilings that squirrels live in.

Some of the work we can do ourselves, but a good bit of it is WAY beyond our abilities.   Plus, I'm 400 weeks pregnant which makes it difficult for me to be involved in tearing down asbestos ceilings and stuff.

Anyway - we have a couple contractors we've met with.

Contractor 1: He came and bid on the project when we were doing inspections.  His bid helped us decide to buy the place.  He gave a lot of free time to the project, advice, and was overall really great to work with.   Found him in the yellow pages.  References say he's expensive but does truly the best in town.  Some people said you have to chase him down a bit or be firm with him on some things.  One reference of similar work, others are medium to large remodels.

Contractor 2: Refered to us by the septic guy that everyone said was great.  Good personality, good listener, great salesman.  References love him and say he does a great job - all references were for jobs that are similar to the one we're doing.  Mostly on-time and mostly under or on budget (or over by $2,000 or so).

Contractor 3: Referred by a family friend.  Not a great listener (I felt like he was ignoring me during walk through).  References love him, but only gave references for smaller jobs than what we're doing.  Bid was 100,000 over our budget (that we gave him).  That only includes the things we NEED done - and we don't even have a real idea of the structural work that needs to be done.

So far, we only have quotes in from Contractor 3.  Contractor 1 said he'd get us a quote by today and Contractor 2 says sometime next week hopefully.

We went up this weekend to meet with a chimeny sweep and inspector to see if we could use the fireplace without burning the place down.  Long story short on that one is that we don't know yet - he said the roof seemed really unstable and had to get a smaller person to do the inspection.  We should know in the next few days.

It was 32 degrees up there this weekend.


We prepared well though - brought a sleeping bag for the little guy, mittens, and triple layers (not that he would wear or use any of them).


We also brought his magnetic play sets (he calls them his maps), musical instruments, and a "classic" sesame street DVD.  He VERY rarely gets to watch TV, so we knew if we had to be distracted for awhile, we could trust him to stay put if we put a DVD on the computer.


It worked.

Though we did have MAJOR freakout tantrum when it was time to leave - which we have probably had three of in all of his 2.5 years.  Goes to show that TV is not good for our life.

He also ate an entire adult sized lunch once we left - so he was hungry and on big bird withdrawal.  Not a good combination.

While he was watching TV in a sunbeam, I was talking with the chimney sweep/doing nothing but being pregnant, and Bubbs was checking out under the nasty carpet in the living room.


You can see a little rectangle of dark wood there.  We were hoping that is what we'd find under the entire carpet (we had pulled up  a small area during inspections.

But, as things tend to go with this house, that was So not the case.

Telltale termite pellets  in a few boards (luckily, just a few small areas).

It appears that they painted yellow around a rug in the living room as well and didn't clean up liquid spills very quickly.

We also found some interesting linoleum tiles that had been carpeted over.
All of this "bad" floor news? This is actually good news for me.

I think if we had beautiful floors, the other partners would have wanted to refinish which to me means big buck PLUS the room would be ALL wood - floors, ceilings, and walls.  Now, we get to whitewash the floors - which will add SO much light to the room.

Aren't these pretty?

Source: via Mama on Pinterest

Other exciting news:

Our lemon tree is ROCKIN.

This pretty little flower was blooming away:
Pink gardenia maybe?

Plus, when you actually have chairs in a house, you can find out that the views are better than you thought.

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