Monday, March 30, 2009

House Colors

So when we went to Home Depot the other day to look at paint colors, we reached no consensus whatsoever for the exterior of our home.

Bob is adamant about not having a builder's neutral, and I told him I wanted to be able to say "we have the blue house on the right," or "we're the yellow house," etc. Yesterday, on our way out of town to the IMA, we took pictures of some house colors we liked. I took all these pictures, and you'll just have to prepare yourselves for the photographic excellence that follows:

I know. We have a huge range of colors, right? Wrong. Turns out I pretty much like the same colors, over and over. Should I bust out? Paint my house a bold color? Not like, hot pink or anything, but maybe a nice blue, or cheerful yellow?

The good news is, we're not to where we need to pick house colors yet. The roof color has been selected (it's a shade of gray), the new gutters will be white. The replacement siding for the hole in our exterior wall will come unpainted ... and then we need to paint. But we'll have the fireplace/chimney guys here all this week, and then two weeks after that, we'll have the roofing/siding/gutter guys here. So we have time.

But still: looking at these pictures makes me bored.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chimney. Or not.

Today, the chimney guys arrived to set up scaffolding at deconstruct the chimney. They got here around 8:30 and were gone by 12:30. The chimney is gone. Well, what was above the roof is gone.

After he was done, the main guy working this morning informed me that his boss really had wanted him to come later in the week, since we're expecting rain the next couple of days and we have a gaping hole in the roof, now... His boss, the owner of the company (and a man we really like), is on vacation this week, taking his daughter to see the ocean. He's not starting the rebuilding of the chimney until next week, when he's back in town.

Seriously, the guy told me to keep an eye on things and call him if we have water pouring into the attic. Yeah, I think I will.

He covered the hole with plastic and "secured the plastic" with bricks, but the chimney (or lack thereof) is at the base of the roof, so I'm assuming any water would just run under the plastic on its way down the roof. I'm not too pleased about this.

Here's the before picture:

I'm also a little nervous about having scaffolding outside the house for a week or two. God forbid, what if someone climbs it and falls? Would that be covered by the chimney company's insurance, or our homeowner's insurance? I need to stop thinking about this, or I'll freak out. I mentioned my concern to the chimney guy, and he offered to put some yellow caution tape on the scaffolding. Yeah, that'll keep them out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Roof Shingles, Paint Colors, Chimney Work

Yeehaw! We're about to see some forward progress (perhaps only because we're paying other people to do the work!).

Today, we signed and sent back the estimate for the chimney work that we're having done. The chimney needs to be rebuilt down to just below the roof-line; the firebox floor is not fire-ready (as in, it's just floor tile, not a fire-resistant fireblock), so it needs to be rebuilt; and the chimney itself needs a stainless steel liner, since the boiler and water heater vent into it, and that moisture causes damage to the masonry... When I saw the cost of the stainless steel liner, I immediately thought we'd just eliminate that part of the job -- until I rethought it and decided we've seen enough short-term fixes in this house and the last one. It's time to think about the long haul. That liner will significantly extend the life of the chimney. So anyway, they start next week! The scaffolding goes up, the chimney comes down, and then: a new, rebuilt chimney. We opted to go ahead and pay the extra to have the chimney replicated exactly (it requires special brick), since we have the original blueprints to the house and want to "honor the history"...

Tomorrow, our roofing/siding guy is coming over so we can pick shingle colors. (As a quick aside, he counseled Bob, "Let your wife pick the color!") Bob just called me from work to say, perhaps we should think about exterior paint colors before we wed ourselves to a shingle color? Since I was thinking the same thing, we agreed to go to Home Depot tonight after a quick dinner at Fazolis. I've been itching to go to Home Depot...

Anyway, once the chimney work is done, we'll start on the roof and siding, and I CAN'T WAIT. I really am tired of identifying our house as the one with 12 different paint colors on the outside, and plywood on the side of the house. Not to mention the fact that pieces of shingles seem to magically appear on the ground around the house all the time. That doesn't seem good.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

House Updates

To tell the truth, there haven't been that many house updates since we moved in in December. I am not discouraged, though.

Yesterday, I saw a high-school-aged boy coming up our front steps and automatically assumed who it was: let's call him Matt*. Matt's the boy who used to live here. He was stopping by for the pictures Bob had found while cleaning closets when we first moved in. I've mentioned it before, but I was amazed at how gracious this kid is! (I've communicated with him via Facebook once or twice, re: the pictures.) Caroline met him, and then Lily, the Great Dane lumbered down the stairs. She is usually annoyingly friendly/curious/protective when someone comes to the door, but she glanced at him and just headed on into the kitchen (the opposite direction of the front door). I told Bob that it seemed like she just knew he was a good guy.

*Not his real name.

Anyway, enough about Matt's goodness. He glanced around and mentioned that it looked pretty much the same ... yep, we've not done much yet! I asked him about the spot over the fireplace; there was clearly a huge frame over the fireplace. It had been painted around more than once, and I have been assuming it was a mirror. He said, yes, it was a mirror, and he thought his dad still had it and was planning to sell it. Under normal circumstances, I'd be annoyed, because the mirror looked like it had been built-in, so it should stay with the house! I know these things; I'm a realtor! But... this family lost their house to foreclosure, had a $14,000 federal tax lien on the house, which we discovered when we had title work done, and recently, I discovered the sheriff had delivered a court summons (rubber-banded to our front door) for Matt's dad, due to failure to pay according to a credit card settlement.

The reason I can't get over Matt's "goodness" is that it seems to me he could be really bitter about all this. I'm sure their life has changed a lot in the last year; they lost their house, they can't pay their bills, they're getting sued by a credit card company... and Matt's wondering if I've met the neighbors yet, because they're so nice! Seriously, I'm impressed. Anyway, I told him I'd check with Bob, but we might be interested in buying the mirror from his dad. He told me it came from a bar in Chicago. I'm liking the sound of this more and more... we could maybe help them out a little, and end up with a cool (huge) mirror with a neat history. I've also realized that the mirror was not original to the house, and there's no reason to have expected it to stay with the house. All that to say that I emailed Matt this morning and told him we'd like to at least see the mirror, or a picture of it.

Bob and I hung the porch swing this morning. We've brought it with us from our first house, and we love it dearly. Caroline and I sat in it this morning and watched cars go by.

This is depressing. I really thought I had at least a couple of things to mention in this list of things we've done to the house, but nope. Nothing. Maybe we can change that soon. I'm itching to spend some time at Home Depot soon, looking at paint colors.

Oops-- I've got a baby waking up.