Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Renovation Monsters

What a relief to finally have found and bought the perfect home. After a protracted search, many nightmarish experiences and one broken heart we finally found that elusive perfect property. Our new home was nestled away in a treed and hidden neighbourhood that we have driven passed unknowingly so many times before. However, I could not bask in a sense of relief and satisfaction for long. You see no home is perfect until you have put your personalized stamp on it. Having secured the property we now will have to renovate. I don’t know what is more stressful looking for a property or renovating it, but I am soon to find out.

After just over two months of intensive searching and viewing properties that could only be improved with a demolition ball finding “The One” seemed almost implausible. On Friday viewing the last property of the week we arrived unenthusiastic, tired and expecting to again be underwhelmed. The owner of the property was an elderly lady whose husband recently passed away. The house was a montage of a lifetime’s worth of memories as only an old lady can accumulate. On every wall there were pictures and mementos of past happy times, lost loved ones and historic moments in their lives. To us most of the nick-knacks seemed quite disposable but to her every item was priceless. Walking through her house felt like walking through her life history and it almost felt wrong and voyeuristic. Her two dogs, three birds and one cat was also quite engrossed with us and we were engulfed by an orchestra of excited animal noises.

Looking past the 1935 d├ęcor, hubby and I soon discovered that this home was a place we could and want to live. It had all the elements we were seeking and could not find before. The love the woman and her husband put into their home was evident in every room; everything was impeccable but clearly not our taste. Much like the old lady, the house was due for a face lift and some minor cosmetic changes. The 1970’s porno cabin style ceiling panels did not turn me on. Even worse was the fact that everything was pink, from the tiles to the walls. She and her husband spend the last 35 years building and finishing their dream home and here comes two gay guys who will practically tear it all down. For a brief moment this thought saddened me as she will have to say good bye to her home and entrust it to us hoping we will put the same kind of love into it as she and her late husband did.

Over the weekend we visited a few stores getting ideas and of course prices of everything we would want to change in the house. We visited several building and construction shops. In one such shop the ugly renovation monster reared its head. Husband and I had our first renovation argument over tiles. Being the drama queen I am I was absolutely livid for having one of my tile choices insensitively dismissed. At this point we have not even bought the property and neither has the actual work started and here we were already fighting. Both of us are quite stubborn people and with my French heritage and husband’s Italian bloodline our disagreements can be quite hilarious to witness. Nobody can throw a temper tantrum quite like a gay couple who can’t agree over what colour tile or what design of bathroom taps they are prepared to life with.

On Sunday, after having an engineer friend of ours inspect the property and advised us of what could and could not be done, we signed the contract and the purchase was set in motion. Monday morning as I awoke from a tranquil nights sleep the realization sunk in - we just bought a house and we are going to have to renovate! I took a deep breath and on exhaling I completely freaked out! Pale as a ghost a sea of concerns washed over me: What have we gotten ourselves into? Will we have enough money? Who is going to do all the work? We haven’t even sold our property yet! We will only have four weeks to have the renovations completed before the contractors’ annual leave in December! My brain felt like it was short circuiting as I had my little panic attack and hyperventilated.

Now in full panic mode I Googled every possible contracting company in and around our town and started making frantic phone calls. Before end of business I secured four companies to do site inspections and to provide us with quotes. I dread to think what to total will amount to and strongly suspect suffering another hyperventilation attack upon receiving the first few quotations. We probably will not be able to afford to do everything that is on our wish list but we sure will try to come close.

The first site inspection is scheduled for tomorrow and what seems to be a mammoth task officially will start with the screening of this first contractor. I truly feel sorry for who ever we award the contract to as they will be in for a though time. No one can nit-pick, complain and bitch about final finishes as we can. The words “I am paying for this and I want it perfect!” are words they will soon grow sick off. "What don't you understand about a BUDGET?!" most probably will be the next phrase they will come to hate. They better be miracle workers with great patience and exceptional workmanship or else all of us will have grey hair by the end. Worst case scenario - someone will disappear into a cement grave and become a permanent hidden fixture of the house!

Having survived house hunting hell and finally having found the proverbial needle in the gaystack, part of our relocation battle has been won. Now the war with the renovations and contractors starts. At the end of the day I am sure it will all be worth it if we survive it!

Till next time!

Two Gay Construction Guys


Michael Rivers said...

Best of luck on your new home. I'm sure it will be a great adventure!

Pierre said...

Thanks Michael, let's hope it's a fun adventure!

Joanne said...

You may or may not have thought of this but get the names of the contractors latest 3 jobs and even one that is still in progress, contact the people and view the work. Pricelss, I have renovated 7 times.

Jenn Thorson said...

Ah, I have a friend who's closing on her house next week, so I fully understand your tale of renovation, anticipation and fear. :)

At least, we can anticipate some amusing meltdowns restrained by your usual layer of self-awareness.

PS- Thanks very much for the Blogroll link-- I'm so glad you've been enjoying "Cabbages." :)

Pierre said...

@ Joanne , I didn't think of that - brilliant advice I will be sure to do that! I don't know how you coped with renovating 7 times, it would kill me.

@ Jenn Thorson, let's hope that there will be minimal drama but if there is you can rest assured I will blog about it. Regarding my blogroll link, it's a pleasure I really enjoy your blog.

F said...

It's great that you finally found your dream home.

My advice to you is to take your time and don't do everything at once. Sometimes when you're not thinking too much that's when the best ideas pop up. So have fun and good luck.

Pierre said...

Hi F, thanks for the advice. There are many things that we want to do, but have prioritised. With the contractor that we interviewed on site yesterday I feel we can achieve most of our goals and still stay in budget. It's going to be fun, and I can't wait to see the final result.

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