Meeting with contractor, or, now the fun part begins

We met with our contractor yesterday afternoon to talk about how it is going to all go down. We won’t really have a full timeline until we actually get into the house and clear out the mess but our mini timeline is:

1. Get permit to do work on the house – 2-3 weeks depending on how quickly the expediter (person who deals with the city to get the permits) moves.

2. Demolish innards (walls etc.), clear out trash, exterminate – 3-4 days. My contractor jokingly said if we were having a bad day, to call him up and he would let us kick in a wall or two. I can’t say I won’t take him up on that.

And that’s really as far as we can go until the contractor takes a look at the electric and plumbing before we get any real concrete (or even imaginary) timelines. We go through our ideas on what we want the layout to look like in the basement and first floor and talk about sound-proofing the studio and putting in a laundry room.

We tell him we do have to start paying the mortgage on October 1 and he says he will do his best to work it out so we can move into the top floor unit as soon as possible while the bottom two floors are being worked on. This way, we can move into a fully equipped apartment and show potential tenants what the place is going to look like if they end up moving in. Double whammy.

Also, we tell him, we plan to go a little nuts on the first floor. We tell him about the marble toilet we’ve been eying (until we find out the price tag is $3,500, or the cost of 10 toilets) and he laughs out loud and at the same time tells us he totally gets it. We want the crazy crown molding and the old light fixtures and chandeliers, we want our friends to build our kitchen cabinets and paint a mural on the exterior side wall.

So now the fun begins.

He tells us about websites to look at for flooring and what to look for (handscraped wood floors for that old world, handmade look, wood-like laminate for the basement (which looks JUST LIKE wood!), do we want it dark or light, how is it going to coordinate with cabinets etc.).

Home Depot is a good go-to for just walking around and picking out tiles we like for the kitchen back splash, kitchen cabinet options, flooring, really anything.

Then he comes up with his best idea yet. If we really want our house to pop, we should consider focusing on getting really cool doors – you know, the kinds with crazy panels, glass door knobs, skeleton keys.

Yes! Cool doors!

We part ways with some homework assignments and I end up spending my Saturday evening and night looking up flooring, like, zebra bamboo floors!

and crazy doors! (what if every door had stained glass in it, if ever so subtle?)

(or not so subtle!)

After meeting up with some friends at Bushwick Kitchen today (their hollandaise sauce is the best I’ve ever had, I have no idea what they do or what other people don’t do, but wow), we walk past the house again. Strangely, the 24-hour laundromat is, well, closed. We note a large pile of trash bags up against the fence leading to our backyard.

In front of the house for a few minutes, I notice how run down the siding is and how many windows are boarded up. The chimney on the side of the house seems to lose more bricks every time we walk by and I’ve lost track of the new graffiti and old graffiti on the side wall. The pest control sign is swinging in the wind. There is a faint smell coming from the house that you may not notice if you don’t already know the smell.

This is going to be a transformation of epic proportions.


2 thoughts on “Meeting with contractor, or, now the fun part begins

  1. Hi, I started going through your blog after reading the NYTimes article and am learning tons about the whole buying a house process. I am totally inspired by your blog. Do you mind if I ask you a question? Do you bring your contractor to the house viewing (before buying the place) so that you know how much it costs in terms of renovation? thanks!

    • Thanks, I’m glad the blog didn’t scare you away from buying a house, like it did most of my friends 🙂 Because I took out a renovation loan from the bank, I was actually required to have a contractor take a look at the house and provide a detailed estimate on what he thought the renovations would cost. Then the bank had to approve both the renovation costs and the contractor for me to get the loan. It was definitely a lot of paperwork and back and forth, but as a total novice at this, I really appreciated all the checks and balances.

      Let me know if you have any other questions! After going through this whole thing, all I want to do is demystify the process as much as possible!

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