Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Executive Decision

I've written before about the difference between restoration and renovation. Trading Up is intended to be vacation rental property so there is supposed to be less question about the type of work this go-round. I want a coastal house; clean white walls, natural fiber rugs, decorative seashells.

Something like this...

Budget and intent has been set to tile the entire space with something like these...

Then, while the cheap laminate was coming up, I discovered this...

In the past 2 weeks I have learned this is called terrazzo, which is I-ta-lian for 'town'. Terrazzo consists of marble, quartz, or glass chips embedded in cement, then ground and polished to a bright shine. Terrazzo was originally invented by Venetian construction workers as a low cost flooring material using marble chips from upscale jobs (thank you Wikipedia). When I learned goat's milk was originally used as the sealant, I was committed to restoring this floor...all 563 square feet of it.
Then came the great flood of 2013 and 563 square feet became 763 square feet, but by the time the waters rose for the SECOND time, I was committed.

Everything happens for a reason. Not bad shit, but all bad shit that turns out to be good definitely happens for a reason. The floods, and subsequent home owner's insurance claims, are making the restoration possible, because what I have also learned in the past 2 weeks is that restoring terrazzo is quite expensive. Apparently, either all the Venetian terrazzo layers are now working in IT or it is terribly out of style. I'm leaning toward the former because I LOVE THIS SHIT!

This Monday, the modern-day Venetians begin their "resurrection" of the floor. Coincidence that this Monday is the day after Easter? I think not.

Oh yeah---because I don't want to forget what a great idea living and working in the reno was, for the next week this is my office...

Great Plan

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Demo Daze

It has been said things must get worse before they can get better. That expression had to have been started by someone doing demolition. 

There has been a lot of demo around here over the past two weeks. Not so much reconstruction, but a lot of demo. Since I am living in this house, I planned on leaving at least one room demo-free, a kind of sanctuary where I could retreat for temporary sanity. Yeah, that's all gone now. Leave no room unscathed!

These are not Before and After shots, let's just call them Before and During:

Roof Awning and Iron Scrollwork BEFORE and DURING (and some hedge trim)

Guest Bath BEFORE and DURING

The Hallway Hole that Refuses to Repair Itself!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Today was the first day I felt like crying over this project. A month in and the washer is still not hooked up, the toilet in the master is still "mysteriously" overflowing, the floors are a wreck, and the big giant hole in the hall wall is still a big giant hole in the hall wall.

Thanks to Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Madel for the infamous line to compliment this moment...and make me smile:

"Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!"

-Form the 1992 film 'A League of Their Own' 


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What Had Happened Was...

It was a typical Tuesday living and working in the reno. Coffee was brewing, I was up and dressed for a 0930 yoga, and the HVAC subcontractors had arrived and were starting to knock holes in the walls. Grey skies with a light rain, cool air and noisy seabirds, I had just begun to think what a perfect Florida morning.

Heading back into the master suite to grab a jacket I could see the bedroom floor was wet. I heard the toilet running and instantly knew it had flooded the bathroom. As I lunged toward the bath my flip-flop sank into the carpet that was now sponge.

Little Moist

There was 3-inches of standing water in the bathroom and the carpet was soaked 12-feet in every direction, including the closet. Everything on the floor was quickly becoming saturated.

I screamed for the subcontractors, already blaring rock music and power saws, to provide back up. They helped move all the furniture into the living room and phoned a friend for water remediation.

ChemDry to the Rescue

It's a safe assumption that something is going to be really expensive when people work all day and no one charges you.

Nothing was salvageable. All the carpet, padding, baseboards and doors were removed and trashed. On the bright side, I discovered the terrazzo extends into the bedroom and is in great shape! Another silver lining, the HVAC guys rock. Here's a few more shots of the Great Flood of 2013...and it's only March people!

Amateur Clean Up Duty

Uncovering the Terrazzo

Pile #1

Professional Clean Up

My Living Room and Office


Saturday, March 9, 2013


My good friends know I do not camp. They know I love the great outdoors. They will attest I am the first to partake in any adventure in nature from the most mundane hike or canoe trip to nighttime cave diving or midday bouldering into the nearest hornet's nest, but I do not camp. Frankly, I don't even agree with the use of the word as a verb describing a recreational activity, but that's a different topic. I pay my bills, I get to live indoors, end of story.

So it is understandable I am less than fond of those first few days and nights living in a renovation project. Now that I work from home, escaping to the office isn't even a option. Stuff doesn't work, there's noise, and fumes, and dust; you refuse to unpack for the simple reason of the dust and the fumes; it's just a lot like camping. I realize most people don't camp in the middle of a construction zone, but waking up cold and sore, with questionable working facilities, is just all too close to camping for me.

Short Punch List (with unhappy face rating):

carport--structural :-|:-|:-|
HVAC--replace :-|:-|:-|
washing machine--electrical :-|
toilets--minor :-|
floors--reno :-|:-|
master bath--gut :-|:-|
guest bath--reno :-|
windows--replace :-|:-|:-|
blinds--shortening :-|:-|

Just like a second child, Trading Up is not receiving the attention and time behind the camera and his older sibling, but here are some pictures of the first few days.

Before: Old Laminate (and 12-yr old Spanish wine)

Laminate Removed and Tarrazzo Exposed
Before: Facing Front Door (old laminate)
Current Office Space (laminate removed)

Before: Kitchen sans Fridge (and a good cleaning)