Stephanie Hayes: Stories of a COVID-19 Pandemic Home Renovation | Housing & lifestyle

Here is an annoying moment in the coronavirus milieu. Many of us who were stuck in our homes for unnatural stretches looked up and said, Ew. Ah! This house is Ew!

The next step was to open up Realtor.com and then realize that the real estate market had turned into an HP Lovecraft monster that feeds on innocent children. The next step was “putting the place in order”.

We decided to refinance and renovate our 1950 ranch house which is full of “character”, another way of saying “is that mold?”

Over the past year we have been fortunate to be able to fix things that were badly needed, such as: B. re-piping the whole house. This is the most boring use of money. No host has ever said: “Take your wine and I’ll show you my new sink tailpiece.”

After an almost electric fire and 87 uses of the sentence “Just check in!” With COVID-19 tired receptionists we came to the big dad: two pink bathrooms. I don’t have to explain “pink bathroom” do I?

For emphasis I want to add that one of the walls literally fell off.

Years of remodeling television prepared me. That would be a fun project! We’d appear in jewel-colored sweaters and clutch our mouths. We could cry and say, “This will mean so much to (fictional family member with dramatic redemption story).”

Many months later, we saw hard truths:

There is no telegenic host.

Even if you have hired workers, you are on your own. Design decisions, budget, learning what a “Schluter” is – you will find out.

Every day when I bought grout at Floor & Decor, I prayed for a property brother. Just ONE owner brother. He showed up in low-slung jeans and a flannel that was too small and said things like, “You want the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that we only found Fettuccine Alfredo in the wall and Fettuccine Alfredo wasn’t up to the code. The good news is I think we can offset the cost by cutting three potted plants from the Big Reveal. Why don’t you go back to the hotel? “

There is no hotel.

Wisdom is lived life, isn’t it? Our preparations for the main bathroom demolition consisted of moving the bed out of the way and doing a dance like Michigan J. Frog. At this point the contractor mentioned the word “uninhabitable”.

On TV, people move out and live with mysterious benefactors. Who can just move out in the real world? In the real world, you drape plastic limply around your belongings and sleep on the couch or on a brew with an ottoman and a phalanx of throw pillows. Then you wake up when the crew walks in and plays the greatest hits from Journey.

And there isn’t a big reveal.

After delivery delays, rescheduled inspections and exploratory swearwords, you might think the completion would be electrifying. But I don’t even know if I still like the bathrooms. Objectively speaking, they’re beautiful. But I’ve looked at them too often now, like staring straight into the sun.

When Chip and Joanna Gaines take someone into a room, I imagine an ecstasy of subway tiles and ironic antique bicycles. Maybe after the crew leaves, homeowners hold a magnifying glass at where the Schlueter hits the drywall and say, “Are our foundations crooked?” But these minutes of bliss must be worth it.

In conclusion, when renovating a home, my advice is to go on TV. Everything is better there.

– Stephanie Hayes is a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times in Florida. Follow her on Twitter: @StephHayes and Instagram: @StephHayes. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are their own.

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