Time to brush off the old blog and get back to it! She said to the echoing cavern of ‘you never did this enough to have readers the first time around.’ Ahem.
Let’s see. Last post was in 2014, not long after I got married and moved into our fixer-upper house, poised to embark on an exciting journey of blogging my renovation. It was going to be a fun way to build my portfolio and chronicle the process and essentially write an endless version of those ‘15 things you never knew about me’ emails that I spent an embarrassingly long time doing when the internet was young. HAR HAR.
Turns out? Renovation is just as insane for a designer as it is for her newbie clients, because she’s trying to make sure she fits it in before and after work because her boss is a legit nice guy and she doesn’t want to sneakily get paid for working on her own house, as that is poor form and possibly a fireable offense. And shall we add a wrinkle to the whole shebang? The original contractor I had chosen just sort of melted into the ether the very day that demo was due to start. Up in smoke.
Oh, and I was pregnant. WRINKLES ABOUNDED.
I didn’t want to use one of the contractors from work, because I was concerned that if something went sideways with my project it would get very awkward trying to ignore it for a client. What if the guy ran out of money, or screwed me over? Or I was a total flake in some horribly embarrassing way that I would strongly prefer to hide from my colleagues? I hold it together pretty well professionally, but that means I just lose my keys at home a LOT. Do not look behind the curtain, if you please. No, what I wanted was my own GC, and if he was good, maybe he’d end up working with my office down the road.
So I used Sweeten, which is basically a matchmaker service for renovation professionals and homeowners. Not like Tinder (um… do people still use Tinder? I bet I just outed myself as not having been on a date in a decade. Not that Tinder existed yet then, but I digress). They have a roster of vetted contractors, designers, etc., and you put in your needs and your budget and then they suggest a list of 5 or so people in your price range who are able to meet your timeline. You check their portfolios and decide who you want to contact, and Sweeten gets y’all together for bids and keeps the thing basically on the rails by checking in every now and then. I was super happy with it (and this is all quite unsolicited, since they don’t even know I have a website). Especially when the proverbial ether got involved.
I had picked a contractor after having a few GCs walk through the house, all of whom begged me to update the wiring “so I can sleep at night. PLEASE.” Apparently our fuse box was the model that put its manufacturer out of business because it had a habit of exploding in a fireball? Fun. Anyway, this guy seemed great, and we had a verbal agreement, and a date for demo. I found out I was pregnant right around this time, and I was happy that the house was projected to be finished 2 or 3 months before the baby was - a comfortable cushion for setting up before I was too huge to move. Well-planned. HAR HAR HAR.
I started asking for a written contract and the official cost, so I could send a deposit check. What I got was a lot of friendly chatting about how busy the office was and how he could never get the paperwork out on time. Ok, cool, but… I’m trying to hand you a large check? I asked for weeks, beginning to wonder why this, of all things, was a hold-up. I think I even sent over a boiler-plate AIA contract and asked him just to write in the cost and sign his name. Nada. He started avoiding my calls. Ominous background music began to play. The week that demo was supposed to begin, I still had no contract and no actual price, and now no phone contact. He called Sweeten to ask them to ask me to stop calling so often, because apparently we were 6th grade girls. I told them all I wanted was a goddamn price so I could give him a check, and I had been quite clear that my goal was to hand him money so he could start hitting things with hammers. Wow, I still have a lot of feelings about this, huh?
Long story short, Sweeten fixed it. Ok, no, I already told it the long way, and this is the exact point where it got short: Sweeten recognized that whether or not there were actually something terrible happening with this dude’s company, I’d never trust him, and it was best to cut ties and find a new GC. Of course, now I was up against a hard deadline of baby-town, and hormonal and pissed off. How fun for them! They were wonderful, and within hours had three new GCs lined up for me who could start right away, one of whom was just fantastic right off the bat.
Interwebs, should you want a contractor in Brooklyn, I do suggest Evros Kavakis. He saved my bacon, he made my house pretty, his foreman Carlos is an angel in a baseball cap and very very good at his job, and they did the damn thing on time and on budget. Well, except for the $10K surprise awaiting us in the ceiling, but that was hardly their fault. A bitchfest for another time.
I guess I’m blogging again?