This wasn't a bad remodel exactly. My customer was happy, I made a little money and the whole thing got done on time. It was a bit different, though.
Customers were about as nice as they could be. They are family people, raised 5 kids in a California standard tract house, circa 1967. Big house - 2800 s.f or thereabouts. Big kids too, the boys played football, the girls could have if they wanted to. Theirs was the sort of house where all of the kids would gather, and gather they did.
Mr. and Mrs. spent all their time raising their kids until one day their last kid moved out. To quote the Mrs. "We looked around one morning Steve, and realized that this house looks like heck! We never really noticed it before".
Yeah, it did. Not a dirty house, but just completely worn out. Carpet worn through to the slab, missing stair treads (they had stepped over them for years), holes in the walls, bathrooms hammered. Everything was original, including the paint. The house had come with a bonus room that the Mr. had chopped in to a couple of bedrooms and never got around to taping the drywall. The furniture was all original too - lots of avocado, rust and gold Herculon.
The Mrs. then proceeded to present me with the Mr's "Honey-do" list from the last 20 years or so. Everything from fix the gate to replace the screens. It ran to literally 10 pages, and included a few nice things (whitewashed display cases in the family room, new entry tile, three new bathrooms) as well. What we ended up doing was building a brand new 1967 tract house inside that shell.
The Mrs. and I went shopping a couple of times before we started. The way to keep a remodel project under control is to have all of the specifications nailed down first. I had her select every single thing right down to the doorstops as she would not be around while we were doing the work. She said she could not bear to be there for it and they were taking off in their RV for 6 weeks. We were to move all of their furniture in to the garage while we worked.
The interior was to be soft pink with white and green accents. I steered her away from her inital choice of pink for the walls (I think it was called "Go-to-heck-Pink) and toward a white with a bit of a pink cast.
They left on Sunday. By Tuesday we had filled two dumpsters with that house, demolished the Mr.'s bonus room walls and built new ones. New doors, trim, cabinets, bathrooms, light fixtures, to follow, all exactly as selected. Nice entry floor, new stair railings and 100 little repairs. Upgraded the aluminum wiring and pressure washed the driveway. Colors looked good, very soft and nice against bright white trim and whitewashed cabinetry. All of the walls had been retextured and the place looked brand new. Awesome!
Perfect for my brochure! I wanted to take pictures of it, but did not get a chance to do so before the carpet came.....
Understand that I had never seen the carpet. It was selected by the Mrs. and installed by someone else in an effort to save my markup. It was pink. Not pink, PINK
, and if that weren't bad enough, it had a black fleck in it which made it look dirty. The pink carpet made those walls glow like they were radioactive. The two ladies I hired to do the final cleanup crossed themselves as they walked through the front door.
I decided to skip the pictures.
Still, says I, if you like pink it does not look so bad, and it did come in on time and on budget. Then of course, we moved the furniture back in.....
Yup, avocado, rust and gold furniture on bright pink carpet with glowing pink walls. Suffice to say it is not something you are likely to see in Metropolitan Home any time soon.
Mr. and Mrs.? Tickled to death. Wrote me a check on the spot. The Mrs. allowed as how she might have to get a new sofa, but I was there years later and she never did. They had however, replaced a couple of the avocado chairs.
The new ones? They're Chinese Mandarin red.
[ March 19, 2002: Message edited by: Steve Miller ]