September 10 , 2013

It’s an Old House, What Do You Expect?

One of the biggest challenges in renovating and old home is controlling costs. Because you can’t. You don’t know the extent of existing conditions until the walls come down and the work begins.

With clients, I spend a lot of time managing expectations. Some listen and some don’t. Projects get delayed. They cost more than expected. I told my husband all of things could happen, but we would solve the problems, even if we won’t know what they are until we find them. Part of it is trusting that you will find your way out. And because big numbers are involved and there are a lot of decisions, it can get stressful.

Some people warned me that this was too much for a new relationship. My sister was advised the same thing when she started law school, married with a small child.

On the first day of classes, her professor pronounces, “For those of you married or in a relationship, law school can be very difficult on a relationship.”

My sister raised her hand and replied, “I am married. Life is difficult on a relationship.”

And so it goes. We are actually enjoying being newlyweds and we are excited about all the change happening to the house. Problems? We got them.

One day I stopped by the house, and this lovely view welcomed me on the parents’ side.


The exterior wall on the parents’ kitchen had been demo’d. Wood rot!  And the stucco was in such bad shape it just kept coming down. But wait there’s more! The floor was rotted, and the floor joists that had earlier been repaired were in fact not attached to the foundation. Wonderful!

One day later it was quite a surprise to see even more stucco down. The contractors told me the whole section just kept unraveling. What a fun day for the contractors: Filthy with delays.



A day later, it was looking much better and the kitchen windows were installed.
Rear of house

But at $12-18 a square foot for new stucco, I have accepted that we will be living in a pink stucco house for one more year. That money had to come from somewhere….the color change can wait.

Posted at September 10, 2013, 3:43 pm in Products to Love Permalink | 2 Comments Tags: , , ,