Welcome to my Lessons learned from remodeling journal. I thought it would be fun and instructive to share our remodeling journey week by week. I hope you can learn from what we do right- and more importantly from what we mess up.
Lesson Learned from Remodeling: Permits are no joke.
Yesterday I failed my first attempt to secure a building permit. Fortunately I only have to get one permit. Busy guy will get the rest. This is because the basement bedroom requires an additional vendor who wants $500 just for their part of the permit (plus Busy Guy still needing to permit the bedroom), while my cost for the entire room permit is $90. So taking this one on seemed like a no brainer. Yeah, not so much.
I went into the meeting fully prepared- or so I thought. I hired an architect from Pakistan on Fiverr who drew a complete to scale drawing of the project for $70. (Yes, I know that’s much more than $5, but he got it done in 24 hours and was worth every penny.) I took tons of photos and was nervous, but not too worried.
The funny thing is that my parts of the application sailed through- the weak link was the materials the sub-contractor sent. The reason for this is (pick one):
- The subcontractor sent information so general that it was impossible for the contractor to approve the permit.
- Over 100 permits in 2016 sailed through approval with exactly this information and only one failed- in my specific jurisdiction.
My guess is that the truth lies in the middle like it usually does. Bottom line: my faith in our project was tested and I lost two hours of my life I’m not getting back. In addition, the lack of a permit delays construction at least 10 days until the next available appointment.
Lessons learned from remodeling: Be Nice
To add insult to injury, I arrived home to a nastygram from the zoning commission regarding the pod in our driveway. Turns out you can only have a pod for 30 days unless there is active construction. Of course the zoning inspector sees no active construction nor can find any permits because my permit was just denied.
At this point I poured a very large glass of wine and broke into the Valentine’s chocolate. Properly fortified, I called the zoning inspector and pleaded for mercy. Fortunately, he sympathized with my situation and told me not to worry as long as I kept him informed. My faith was hanging on by a thread, but still hanging on.
Lessons learned from remodeling: ReStore to the rescue
This morning I just couldn’t face the packing and needed to do something fun. I’m a thrift store junkie when I travel but definitely don’t want to collect any more “stuff”. However, I found a way to get my fix: Habitat for Humanity’s Restore.
ReStore accepts donations from hotel remodels- most times I visit I see a LOT of stuff I recognize. If you want to furnish your home like a Courtyard Inn, complete with the gold framed abstract poster art, ReStore is your place.
However once you get to the back room you find a treasure trove of leftovers from home builds and remodels. Since we live in a pricey area I’m always hopeful about what I’ll find. Today I hit the jackpot.
If you watch HGTV you might know Flip or Flop, the show where (formerly) married couple Tarek and Christina remodel homes for resale. (I’m hoping these two crazy kids work it out.) Every episode Christina shows up with a piece of mosaic like the two pictured above and Tarek rolls his eyes at how much her extravagant backsplash will add to the budget. Spoiler alert: he always gives in.
My eyes lit up when I saw a box of six of the top tile and eleven of the one just above. Six and Eleven Square feet are the perfect amount for a primo shower box or backsplash. I priced them out quickly and found these exact tiles for $27-$30 for a single one foot square of tile.
I grabbed the tiles and put them in my cart then asked an employee how much they cost. He replied, “ten dollars”. 70% off? Sweet! Even if we only use one print I can definitely get $10/tile on Craigslist for the rest.
But wait, there’s more. I got to the register and saw the total bill: “$18.04”. If a different employee from the one who told me “$10 dollars” rang me up I would have double-checked the price. However, it was the same guy and we chatted all the way up to the register. Instead of $10/tile the price was $10/Box! I paid and went on my way…realizing I just bought $510 of tile for 96.5 percent off.
Update: I just got this tub, which is brand new, for 72% off. ReStore took the $2500 tub down to $700.
Any ReStore gems in your house? What do you think of my tiles- any ideas how we should use them? Please share in the comments.
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