Renovations will never go as planned. Never.
Let me begin with, for the most part it's been smooth sailing. Like, really smooth sailing. One of the reason's we opted for a condo to renovate versus a house was to avoid the unforeseen issues that come with home renovation like mold or bad plumbing. That being said we still hit some snags.
About 3 weeks into the Coronavirus quarantine in Orlando my downstairs neighbor, let's call her Pam, called to tell me she was staying with her daughter and would be gone for a few weeks. I was thrilled about this because we were starting demolition in the middle of the quarantine so I was really happy to hear no one would be living below us temporarily since it was going to be noisy. I even left notes on all of the neighbors doors to let them know about, and apologize for, the inconvenient timing. Our timing was awesome and terrible at the same time. Awesome because we personally had more time to dedicate to the renovation due to quarantine, but terrible because everyone in the building is forced to be home during our noisy renovation.
Things were running so smoothly until I got a call from Pam weeks after our demo took place. She was back in her unit and noticed her cable line was down. When she called the cable company, they found that the line was dead. She wondered if our renovations could have interfered. Well sure enough, somewhere between knocking down a wall and rewiring, someone noticed a cable line that was running from the attic into the floor in our unit and decided it was a good idea to snip snip snip. Turns out, that was Pam's cable! Why her cable line was running through our unit to
begin with is a whole other problem but regardless we needed to fix it. It is not a simple fix when the wall in her unit where the cable lives is the same wall in our unit that we knocked out. To spare you ALL the details, it was about a week of back and forth with our contractor, the cable guy, and Pam before it got resolved. I felt awful! We are in the middle of stay at home orders and this poor woman couldn't watch her TV shows. I was on a mission to find a remedy until we could fix it permanently. I had an idea!
Our old Amazon Fire Stick- since her wifi works I can get her set up with that for now until we figure out how to re-run the cable line. Then we can download the Spectrum Cable app and stream her shows to her TV. By some miracle the Fire Stick wasn't in storage with the majority of our belongings...but the remote was. Womp. BUT you can download an app in place of the remote. I got this. I go over there and I am all ready to get this thing going when I find out that the Fire Stick is trying to auto connect with our old wifi network (from our old house) and without the remote it's nearly impossible to change the wifi connection. I did a lot of googling and tried every work around possible. Me trying to explain this to Pam was another whole thing. Okay I will need to buy a replacement remote. I tell Pam to hang tight while I go to Best Buy. I go online to place the order for curbside pickup since I can't go in the store (Coronavirus.) Realized I ordered a cover for the remote and not the actual remote. Who buys a cover for their Fire Stick Remote? Apparently, people do. Finally I buy the actual remote. Drive to Best Buy, Drive back to Pam's. Realize they are not compatible as my Fire Stick is not the newest version. Are. You. Serious. Bro? Meanwhile every time I go in and out of Pam's I take off my shoes, wash my hands, wear my mask, sanitize everything I touch, try not to leave her place a mess, try not to let her know this is driving me crazy, apologize for her lack of cable, tell her I'm still not sure when it will be fixed, and so on. Thank you baby Jesus that she is such a kind soul!
Okay back to the drawing board, I will just buy her a new Fire Stick, that is fool proof right?.... Fire Sticks are legit sold out everywhere. I guess everyone wants a Fire Stick during quarantine. BUT there is Hope. ROKU to the rescue! I guess people don't like Roku or Roku does a better job at restocking, either way I order the Roku. They only have it at the Best Buy that is further away. I Drive out there, return the Fire Stick remote that didn't work, buy the Roku. Thank god I am furloughed and have all of this time on my hands. I go back to Pam's and set it up and teach her how to use it. Luckily she's pretty good with this technology for her age- I was very proud of her! HOORAY she is good to go and she was super happy! About a week later I acted as my electrician's assistant and helped him run a new line under our Kitchen Floors and up a wall to our attic and then once we got the cable company out we got her up and running with cable too. Thank goodness! Cable drama over and out.
The Broken Things
I mentioned that our contractor allowed us to order a lot of our own materials which was awesome. It was significantly less expensive for us to do this. For example, to have a custom 30 inch vanity built for the guest bathroom and then to add a sink and counter top to it would have been somewhere between $200-300 for the bottom and top meaning it would at least cost $500. Even if it wasn't custom, most of the vanities under $300 didn't come with a built in top/sink or were too small, like 24 inches or less. I was able to buy a 30 inch vanity that came with a top and a sink for $199 (on sale) at Lowes. By no mean's is it the Mercedes of vanities but it will get the job done. If you're interested - here is what we went with. Ellenbee 30.5-in Gray Single Sink Bathroom Vanity with White Cultured Marble Top
We picked up the vanity and it sat in our garage for about two weeks. When the team went to install it, they found the top to be completely cracked! BUMMER. So they moved on to install the master vanity, which arrived healthy- thank goodness -and the toilets. Well, one of the toilets was broken too. So we have one bad toilet and one bad vanity. Shout out to our friends Matt and Garrett with pickup trucks who helped us trek these items to and from Lowes. Fortunately we were able to order replacements and return the broken pieces. Let's hope we have no more broken items as we keep going!
The Shower Nook
Who knew a shower nook could be so problematic? We discussed with our contractor doing a tall and narrow nook with shelves. We wanted this because it looked pretty and it was also practical since you know I have two shampoos, two conditioners and several face washes and body
washes in the shower at a time. Per Brenton's request I will try to limit my items for the new condo. Anyway, we were looking at something about 6 feet tall and one foot wide. As the team demoed the old shower and put in the new drywall, we discovered they had forgotten about our special nook (left photo.)
They were happy to adjust and fix it for us- wonderful- but when they opened up the wall to fix it, they realized the electric wires from the kitchen were in the way. Fortunately we were able to have our electrician move them around and the team was able to get the nook in the right place but it caused a big delay with the schedule since the tile team wasn't able to do anything when they showed up. Now that it's all done, it was worth the hassle and looks beautiful (right photo.) Sometimes the trouble is worth the wait!
There will always be issues. I think that's something you must mentally prepare for when renovating. There is no such thing as a renovation without surprises but all in all it's a learning experience!
Check your items as soon as they get delivered to ensure nothing is broken
Label all of your items so that your contractors knows what is to be installed where
Find inspiration photos to provide your contractor
Take photos during every step of the way. This helped us in the cable situation.