Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Liking the Leather

I did a crazy thing...or at least it may be a crazy thing when people start calling my condo the "brown wall" place. I faux painted the textured walls a deep, rich, leather-like brown. Will the leather look kill a sale or help my house have that designer touch...hmmm.

I had textured the dining wall because we had to rip out barn wood and it left huge holes and patches of glue. That was one of my first projects. When I finally got to the 1/2 bath, just off the dining room, the surface there couldn't be saved either so I started texturizing two of the walls there (and ceiling too) and planned on beadboard paneling for the other two sides.

I had a light chocolate brown that I had bought for Crystal on one of her drama runs (those "I must have this now!" tantrums that only mothers of teens will understand) and so I painted the textured wall in that. I found that it was too flat so I tried to dry brush a lighter color to highlight the texture and it was still too flat-ish.

Well, I just went for it and got out my left-over walnut gel stain and started rubbing the walls. I LOVE IT! The stain made little puddles in the crevices and gave the whole wall a sheen and texture where the stain overlaps.

It is very dark and I know that not everyone will love it so I am taking a chance. I even warned Jeff in the car on the way over "I know that you will probably not like it but I do so you must not say anything bad because it's really cool." But Jeff has never been a good liar (which is the reason I always beat him in poker) and so he didn't even have to say anything...I could see it in his not-so-poker face.

Of course, I'm planning on doing this technique in our house...Jeff better start practicing his lying skills!

Lessons learned:

Will someone please tell Denise that this is a flip and not her personal home? I probably should have just painted it white and left it that way...but my gamble may pay off by setting my condo apart from the crowd.

Always wear gloves when you are staining...duh! It took me 3 days and many bathtubs to remove the walnut from my crevices (not those crevices!)

What's that dripping sound?

You know how hard it is to come back from a vacation and go to work? Well, when you are still working on a remodel that was supposed to be done by Halloween (ahh...the visions of cute refreshments and fall leaves are still dancing in my head) and it's the dead of winter and there is 6" of snow on the ground...well, I find that nearly impossible!

Jeff and I have worked our way to the kitchen...the mother of all remodeling rooms because there is electricity, plumbing, trim, windows, etc. and doubly so because we are working on the half-bath at the same time.

Just about the time we start making progress the "gremlins" come out and start wreaking havoc. We'll be buzzing along and then it seems that all hell breaks loose and we have trip after trip to Home Depot.

We got new valves for the kitchen sink and for the 1/2 bath. Jeff was having trouble putting in the valve for the kitchen and I was downstairs turning the main off and on. Well, the valve was leaking so Jeff had me turn off the water.

As I'm coming up the stairs I distinctly heard a "drip, drip, drip" sound. I went to the sound of the water and heard it dripping through the laundry chute. I thought it was the sink downstairs that I had turned on to lower the house water pressure but when I got downstairs I heard it in the laundry room. Water was everywhere on the floor and dripping from the ceiling. I went upstairs and opened my new vanity cabinet and found a huge puddle of water.

We had removed the shredded handle of the valve to try and see if it could be replaced, the valve was still opened (by the gremlins of course) so when I turned on the water there was a literal cascade in the cabinet and it made it down the wall and under the cabinet itself. Bad gremlins! I wonder if a feng shui space clearing would get rid of gremlins?

I also had a bad case of the gremlins when I wired a hot white (not marked by the electrician who wired the place...must be part gremlin) to a neutral white and got a lovely "pop" sound right before the circuit "broke". Luckily it didn't blow the whole house like last time. Anyway...we have 3-way light in the dining area thanks to the Orem Library...again.

Lessons learned:

"Drip, drip, drip" is never a good sound when you are remodeling....NEVER! It either means paint, water or stain is ruining something.

MARK YOUR HOT WHITES! PLEASE! For the sake of all amature electricians who follow in your footsteps.

Gremlins eat money.

Dave Arrggghhh....Part Trois: Small Claims

Well I won in small claims court against Dave's Construction...of course I haven't seen any money from it but what do you expect from someone like that.

I came over-prepared with email printouts, pictures, receipts, etc. but the judge didn't want to see anything before it was mentioned so as not to prejudice the case. I was champing at the bit to tell the judge everything that happened but restrained myself to the billing least at the beginning.

Jeff says that Dave really couldn't get a word in edgewise because I dominated the proceedings. Nothing that I told the judge about Dave was even contested by Dave. The judge would stop every once-in-awhile and ask if what I was saying was accurate and he would say "yes" so it went pretty smoothly. Dave made Kim (his estimator) and a drywall guy show up to go with him...I hope they charged him for the time, and they didn't even get to speak (tee, hee) and the judge didn't call on Jeff either.

I did manage to sneek in that the quality of the workmanship wasn't good but that I wasn't contesting that at this time...that I was trying to be fair (we'll get back to that later) and that I just wanted to pay for what I got, not be tied to a bill that had radically changed throughout this whole process. Dave said "quality was never mentioned before" but the judge didn't take the bait.

Toward the end of the proceedings, after the judge started subtracting all of the stuff that Dave didn't do off the original bill, he turned to Dave and said "Do any of these changes sound off to you?" Dave boomed out loud and clear "God gave me the talent to build things but unfortunately he didn't make me a good businessman. I leave it up to your judgement, sir."

Well, doesn't that about sum it up? I've been trying to be fair with Dave and instead of looking at his numbers and seeing if he was wrong (and making two businessmen show up to court with him) he was just railroading me because he's not a "business man" and doesn't want to admit he was wrong...and I'm being kind and giving him the benefit of the doubt by assuming even that.

Well, I'm waiting to see if he's going to drag this out. He has about 15 more days of his 30 days to file an appeal and I'm afraid he's going to do it just to tick me off. If he does, I'm going to bring up the quality issues and go for the throat. When I'm done basting him, he'll not only owe the original amount, plus court costs, plus 6% interest...he'll have to give me back the money that I gave him for counter installation, the door he put in that won't open when the dryer is in, the labor of putting back the trim he should have reinstalled and anything else I can think of.....grrrr.

On his way out we heard Dave say "I guess we're working for free now" to his buddies. Well, if you consider $555 for 4 hours of work "free" I wonder what you charge people who aren't paying attention.

And so my lessons learned are:

Changes have to be in writing. Don't let the contractor do any work until you have a finalized estimation. Don't leave anything on the bill that says "may change if more work is involved" or any other open ended billing.

The judge told me that if I disagreed with the bill I should write on my check "Paid under Protest" in the comments section so that there was an understanding that I may file legal claim against him and he has no claim for a lien on my home.

I was very frustrated that Dave was acting as a contractor without my knowlege. If you can find out what will be subcontracted and what will be done by the contractor himself. If the contractor doesn't pay the subs you may end up with a lien even if you paid in full. Wise remodelers ask for lien releases from the subs so you're covered.

If you have to take someone to court DON'T BE NICE!!!! Let them ask for the extra consideration, don't just hand it to them. If I had just gone with the original bill and subtracted what he didn't do I would have had about $200 more than the judgement I was awarded. The judge even said "What's the $149 difference" and I just said "I gave him some for labor and extra drywall." Why didn't I make Dave justify that?

And finally...don't hire Dave's Construction or any service run by David Albers. In his own words he's "not a good businessman!"