The Nightmare

One of my major goals with this blog is to document our renovations.

Before and afters. My design ideas. How my ideas translate into real life.

etc. etc. etc.

Unfortunately, that goal has been put on hold...against my will.

I've briefly mentioned our renovation nightmare.

Our family and some friends are familiar with the whole saga.

So here's the deal.

The dream started in July when we moved in. We met with our chosen contractor and started planning and designing the renovation of our kitchen, dining room, laundry room, and powder room.

A bigger undertaking than we initially planned right off the bat but we figured it made more sense this way while the hammers were flying and the dirt was everywhere.

We had worked with this contractor in the past for our kitchen counters in our old house and also for a remodel job in C's office. He did a wonderful job and we had no issues with timing, payment, or finished product. He was a little gruff but we really loved his work.

Demo day!!! Beginning of August.

The first red flag was that he (the contractor) sub-contracted the work to another construction business without telling us and without including that in the contract. We met and liked this crew but did not even realize that our contractor was not (ever) going to show up.

When we did realize this, weeks into the project, we also realized that the sub-contracted crew was doing a fabulous job.

So, we left it at that.

Work was going well. Walls were coming down. We were excited!

Looking from the kitchen into the dining room and then into the powder room

Next flag: the more than doubling, near tripling, of the original estimate a couple months into the reno.

Now, we were certainly realistic about this project.

This is an 1857 farmhouse that has had renovations along the way.

"Things" were going to surface as walls and floors and ceilings were exposed. Old electrical and old plumbing and old everything else. Old "things" usually cost more money.

But the contractor would not reveal the breakdown of the severe increase in cost.

"That's just what it's going to cost." "Oh, you're the expert now?"

He became angry with us. Going as far as personal insults and name calling.


Wha waaaa what?!?!?!?

C somehow talked the contractor down to just under double the original estimate versus triple.

Um, great?

Work continued and we were still relatively excited though dampened.

Looking from the dining room to the staircase. Living room doorways on either side.

Fast forward to October 2017. The original floors were refinished and things were looking great! The staircase above was exposed but we were still without a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Or a dining room but who needs that?


Nothing. Nada.

No one.


Everyone stopped showing.

Two days. Four days...A week. Two weeks.

Of course our contractor wasn't responding to our repeated calls and texts (his preferred method of communication). Sweet.

Our subcontractor finally got in touch with us and told us that he had stopped receiving materials as well as payment from the contractor. The contractor claimed he'd even canceled our cabinets because they "were taking too long" and hired someone else to build them...??? We were so confused. And understandably upset.

So, from October to now we've received every excuse and method of avoidance imaginable.

We don't blame our subcontractor as he certainly can't work for free or without materials. We actually sympathize with him as he has employees to pay and other jobs he had scheduled and needs to start.

The real kicker is.... drum roll for dummies please...

We paid the contractor several installments from July to October equalling 88% of the total.

Really dumb move on our part but we only realized the gravity of that mistake in hindsight. 20/20...

This is our first big renovation. We didn't know all the rules. And we were taken. In many ways.

So, here I sit in our partially finished living room (attached to the other rooms so the walls are unfinished on one side).

Typing and surprisingly not crying. I've given enough of my energy to this madness.

Very sad and unfortunate play of events but I'm positive it will still be wonderful and all that I dreamed in the end.

Aside from no kitchen for 7 months...I've been the most sad about not being able to really decorate our new home. I don't want to put up any wall decor as it remains packed away and I honestly can't remember all we have to work with! I want to start by putting my favorite pieces in the dining and living room...eventually...and go from there.

So it's now February and we've been forced to hire new contractors. We hired an Amish company to build our cabinets (third time's a charm right?) and they will have them built and installed mid-March. YAY! Why we didn't hire Amish cabinetmakers to begin with I'll never know.

The rest of the work we've hired out to another company to start up again next week and they hope to finish everything shortly after the cabinets are installed.

I will get to the before and afters and they'll be so worth it!

Looking forward to that day. Can. Not. Wait!


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