Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2010-The UGLY truth

OK Friends--I am doing this one with a blindfold on! Or maybe just goggles fogged up. I don't want to write any more negative things. I don't even want to think about them! Nor do I want them to continue being a spot of disgrace--I just want to finish them.
It has been a long long slow process.
Part of it is I have NEVER done this sort of work. I work in an office! I'm good with the keyboard & I'm great at researching!  We don't get this kind of practice. Now learning from the internets... I know what to do... but won't know if I did anything wrong until I finish and that is the point of no return. I will never look back or FIX it. Ok ok--I might try and fix it but I don't want to do it wrong in the first place.

Here it is!!!


This is what I look at on my way to the shower... one quick glance is all I allow myself. Start my day out with disgust and angst. No wonder I want to block it out.
It has seen some progress since this picture

When we moved in I bought new handles! And made a vow to replace the handles before the week was out.
I was so excited! I picked 6 styles and put them up and let my friends vote during the painting party. They all liked this one:

Awesome! Pretty clean and new handles! I can do this! I was ready to put them on... right after I get the cupboards clean.

But they didn't listen. Or maybe they didn't like the new handles?
I make this extra large so you gag too get my point

And this stuck to my arm while painting the wall behind it. *shudder at the memory*
Seriously. Press board, grease, dust, steam + 32 years?
Please go clean the tops of your cupboards now!

So here I am:
Priming with disposable brushes using an oil based Kilz tinted Lavender which is supposed to be a shade of light brown.

This one is for Darth Karen

And my littler(with no head) below likes helping which makes it go faster.
I am supremely grateful for help at this stage, because..... it sucks.
She is just the right height to get the underside of the cupboards.

Wonder what she is doing this weekend?
Meanwhile in the garage (on my awesome work bench made out of a broken ladder) we test paint colors.
The one on the right was my favorite 2 months ago, but someone(Hmmhph Travis?) thought it might be too dark. So I tried some lighter colors... and NOPE. It was perfect all along
(Edit: this picture is missing and I cannot find it. Sorry!)

And if it wasn't enough work already, we decided to get fancy!

Middle is the winner. Sweet Molasses w/ Sweet Georgia brown pin stripes

And back to the garage, Travis fixed the drawers that were falling apart so now I can go back to the cleaning, sanding(by hand this time) and priming of the 7 drawers.
I don't have alot of time or motivation during the week to suit up and waste a paint brush a day so I have been putting it off til the weekends. But some how those fill up with unplanned plans and I get only a few hours in. I did start this in November...In the background are the cupboard doors waiting for the fronts to be primed.

And now we are back where I started. Picking a new handle.

I will post pics later if I have trouble deciding.

So I can have the hinges cleaned and painted to match!

And here I am today:
All one color at least! Now I have to do it all again =/

I thought the pantry was a debacle! I just did not know the meaning of debacle yet.

It just goes on and on my friends... hence my delay in writing this blog. I can look back and laugh once I finish, but since I am still in the middle? It's quite the sore spot for me.

Truly the beams should be on this Ugly list since Travis has worked so long and hard on them...
But you know what?  I am writing this blog :)
And besides, his beams have already become pretty, where I am not quite there yet in the kitchen.

2. Carpet cleaner who needs anger management

I never followed up on the story with the carpet cleaner. He cleaned all our carpets back in March 2010.

Seemed to do a pretty good job on the living room. The pic on the right was a beloved spot by the previous owners little dog. Once they dried some spots are still there, but it feels more sanitary at least.

Here I explain what happened to our stairs.
The man who cleaned our carpets was incompetent.  (Travis approves this word.) He put down "extra water" because the stairs were "extra dirty" but neglected to get up all the extra water. When we found the damage we called him to come see/fix/help/etc but he did not show up.. so we called him back again and he yelled and hung up. Next we wrote him a very nice email and he responded back with a rant, all in lower case, no spaces or punctuation, besides !!!! every other sentence.
Here we realized how unstable this guy was.
We could go after him with small claims court. But he also knows where we live... So we went back and forth on the decision for a while and ultimately decided to NOT go after him in court, but to hit him where it counts. Reviews. ONLINE.
Now yes, I did originally find him thru Craigslistwebpage and somehow I ran across one (old or false ad) that mentioned he was licensed bonded and insured which made me feel confident hiring him.. Now when you do this, you should probably check to make sure they STILL are at the time you hire them. I knew nothing about this at the time. I had a budget and $200 for all my carpets was a fantastic price.
So I made a weekly goal to check his advertisements on several sites and make sure there was a review(nicely written) that mentioned he was NOT licensed, bonded or insured without going in to much detail. Remember, he probably still knows who I am and where I live.
He removed his ads from those sites. The nerve!
Upon googling him for this blog--it seems he has changed his number too. I was going to post his link and name and number just for hits when ever someone searches for him... but with the statistic programs recently--I think he would know... and... you guessed it! He still knows where we live.

I know this sounds paranoid but I really am not. Just this guy seemed angry and unstable and did not seem worth the effort to get our money back.

Moral to this story?
1. Do not hire anyone named Rob to clean your carpets. I don't care if it is an amazing deal. Pick the next guy.
2. Carpet on shallow stairs is dumb anyway.
3. The lowest price is NOT always the best price.

I should have sent him packing after reading this from his website:
High Powered Truck-Mounted "Quality" Steam Cleaning!
And then he showed up in this old van and advertised in my driveway

I have nothing against advertising in my driveway and I full intended on posting my own review on this blog...
until the stairs mildewed and he yelled at us.

#3 And the things we thought were important before moving in and have yet to get to and then realized how dumb we really are thinking they were the "important things"
(Also see original to do list at bottom of this link)

*Mismatched lighting all thru out

*Mismatched 1978 flooring
Master Bath



Main Bath


This is the best of them--but I still hate it.

Old carpet vs Older Carpet

*Replacing the ugly window

This was Enemy #1 on our list---ha!

So if that is not enough for you to cry along with me, I NOW can get back to updating regularly. I have lots to catch you all up on!

PS: I have had a lot of trouble during the editing of this blog and uploading of pictures--probably due to the extraordinary amount of time it took me, so blogger is telling me "post was not saved due to form errors, etc etc"  So if it seems something is missing---It probably IS! I doubt I will fix it in less than 24hrs. Sorry!


  1. I think every homeowner finds a bad contractor/service person some where along the line. I think you made the right choices with him.
    You are doing great on the cabinets. It will be worth it! All the handles look nice. I like to also make sure I like how they feel. For instance, with handles like yours, I want them to be solid and smooth in the back. Not only do they feel more solid each time to you grab one--and you will grab these A LOT, but if they aren't hollowed out in the back, there is no place for grim to collect--and your hands will be grimy at times in the kitchen. Just what I look for!
    So sorry about the bad floor coverings. :-p Our main floor has 3 different coverings. Two of them look terrible next to each other. Some day....
    Take care.

  2. Wow! That is some ugly linoleum!

  3. So, I sit down with my bowl of cornflakes this morning and proceed to leisurely look at my favorite blogs and ended up dropping my spoon in amazement. Oh, wow, Darth April, you did it--- you posted your glamour shot too! (I am so jealous, your mask is way cooler than mine and you look so cute in yours!)

    Then I read on about all the work you have been doing and I was just amazed. I've been sympathizing and living vicariously through your story because we have to remodel this house of ours which was built in 1978 (by us as newlywed 20 year olds, so I can't blame anyone for atrocious taste in flooring but me, the one in your master bathroom is in our house, too lol) so I can really relate to what you're going through.

    Do you ever watch 'This Old House'? We are always glued to the TV when it is on and they make it look SO easy, don't they? The homeowners can put in some 'sweat equity' if they want to and they are always praised so much when they do..."Oh, wow, look, Norm, the Mrs. pulled that big rusty nail out all by herself!" And the projects take about three days (of air-time) and then the house looks like a million bucks (and cost more than twice that when they're done)and the Tool-belted Crusaders are off to the next wreck of a house to work magic. Ah, if it was only that easy. (How many carpenters, plumbers, painters, electricians, insulators and drywall guys are REALLY involved, I wonder? And they usually get new landscaping at the same time...sigh!)

    Reality bites. Living in a house with a torn-up kitchen has to be just about the worst thing of all, I don't know how you could do it without your basement living quarters. Living in the basement is no fun, either, I can only imagine. Then having Rob the Carpet Guy (memo to self, never hire carpet guy named Rob) come and ruin the carpeting would have made me see red, too! I completely understand your reluctance to take him to court as there are so many unstable people out there and as you said, he knows where you live, which is creepy. Oh, what a mess he made of your steps; I think they look fantastic painted.

    The kitchen is going to be beautiful, I love the hardware choices and the new paint. You two have so much to be proud of on this journey. I don't know how long you've been married, but in my experience so far, remodeling a house while living in it is one of the Top Ten Most Stressful Things a Married Couple Can Do Together and you seem to be holding up to the strain very, very well. You guys are my idols!

  4. I feel your pain! Kitchen renos suck! Stay with'll get there

  5. You guys have put so much work into your house. It will be so rewarding when it's finished. Our house is over 40 years old and there's still some original bathroom cabinets in it not to mention the doors and baseboards which all need changing. We had some similar linoleum when we moved in.
    We need our carpets cleaned and I'll be sure to avoid anyone named Rob when I start looking.

  6. You are doing such an amazing job on your place... it certainly makes me feel lazy... and I have garden envy. And I really should work on some stuff around here eventually, it just seems like there is always something else that feels more important. Not really the case but I like to pretend to avoid the work.


I always appreciate input, advice, ideas and telling me I'm doing it wrong. So chime in!