The house story, part 2

I wrote this post a year ago. I think I was still suffering from Renovation PTSD and decided not to publish it. But things are better now so you get to enjoy the story.

I don’t remember where I left off. Somewhere between, “yay, we bought a house” and “why the heck did we buy this money pit?”

We closed escrow and did some first round updates. You know, the usual things that overzealous pregnant women decide are needs and not just wants. We removed all the carpet and laminate flooring – all 1700+ square feet of 30 year old rental flooring. Plus about 6 trillion nails. We removed and replaced all the baseboards and door casing. We replaced the light switches and cover plates. We replaced most of the overhead light fixtures. We removed 2 walls to open up the entry and living rooms.

ABC_5766 ABC_5765We installed lovely acacia floors throughout. We removed the dropped ceiling in the hallway and added can lights. Also, please understand that every time I say we, I really mean he. As in Sean. Sean did all this stuff. That man deserves a medal, and probably a new wife.  We also got the interior painted. We were so close to moving in. So close. And then, we found this.unnamed5-3MOLD. Black mold. Behind our dishwasher in the kitchen that we were not planning on remodeling for years.

During escrow, we paid for a mold inspection for this exact spot. In fact, the mold inspector looked under that sink right there and noticed mold growing on the wall. He said it WAS NO BIG DEAL. Just spray some bleach on it and call it a day.

We called the same mold inspection company back out without telling this inspector that someone from his company had just been there a month before. This guy said it was SO BAD that I shouldn’t even be in the house because I was pregnant. He said there was no way to just clean it off and that the whole area would have to be professionally remediated. There was no way we could save the cabinets because the mold had grown into the wood and into the drywall and insulation.

So there we were. One week from closing escrow on our condo and our new house was unfit to live in. The only option was to pay $4000 to have our kitchen removed. Obviously we used a different mold remediation company. Obviously. Also, we had to move in with my in-laws. 4 weeks before Christmas.

I cried, you guys. Sean cried. It was awful. I can’t actually explain the level of stress that consumed us. We had no home, no more money (since I spent it all on floors and paint and fixtures) and very little joy. It was the beginning of a really awful year. I won’t even get into it because I can’t adequately describe the depths of despair caused by this project. It wasn’t as simple as just getting a new kitchen. You have to have money to buy a whole new kitchen. Like $30,000 worth of money.

After about 3 weeks of living with Sean’s parents, we decided it was best for everyone to move into our “house.” I use that term loosely. The kitchen had been completely removed, as had all the drywall and insulation. It was studs and that black paper separating us from the backyard. I remember sitting in our living room on New Years Day and we could see our breath in the house. I think I cried then too.

We lived with no walls for 3 months. No oven or cabinets for 4 months. No sink or counters or kitchen/dining room floors for 5 months. And in the midst of all that we had a baby. Never has a hospital stay been so relaxing, you guys.

But I want to end on a happy note. We have a kitchen now. Well, 3/4 of a kitchen. We have a sink and running water and a working stove and every day I’m so thankful. We’ve learned a lot through this process. First, HGTV is bullshit. 6 weeks to renovate an entire house? A new quartz countertop for $1800? LIES! Second, I’m good at many things, but project management is not one of those things. Third, the next house we buy will be brand new. Hopefully that will be soon, because the minute this kitchen is done, we’re moving.


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