Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's a wrap

Today was the perfect conclusion to a crazy month.  This morning I spent my time wrapping up the transition from one contractor to the next.  This meant notifying the town and its inspectors that we had terminated one relationship and were taking up another, and it meant making sure that we had the proper documents in place, including collecting Statements of Completed Work (which documents what someone did before they left the job).  The subs have been very cooperative, and hopefully it means that February, even with Groundhog's Day just days away (remember, over and over), will be another month of moving forward.

BUT, just as the crazy month was wrapping up, the 31st threw me one last jab.  Last weekend I cracked my iPhone screen.  I took it to AT&T knowing that I had insurance and was sure that it would be a simple repair.  They wanted $200 to fix the screen.  I am due for an upgrade in April, so I said, "FORGET IT", and figured I could live with in for another 2 months (though that night I had to put Neosporin on my ear because the glass shards had already left a mark).  When I came home complaining about it, my painter (a loyal sub) had told me about a place in Everett that could fix it in an hour for $80 (cash).  He gave me the number and told me to call ahead of time.

I knew that I would be headed to Everett today to meet a client at Cumar (stone fabricator,, so I figured that I could kill 2 birds with one stone while I was there.  As I was driving up Broadway, I was a little hesitant to to actually drop it off at the place called RED LIGHT COMMUNICATIONS.  I quickly logged off every app, installed a password, and shut down the phone.  When I told them that I would be back and asked for a receipt, they gave me a red Staples raffle ticket in exchange.  I was certain that it was a scam. 

Before I turned the phone in, I quickly glanced at its map of how to get from there to Cumar - it was less than a mile away with 3 turns.  I turned the wrong way immediately, and because I was now 3 minutes late, I pulled a U-turn.  I felt a bump and heard a hissing.  I had assumed that I hit the curb, but was almost thankful when I looked out the window and some guy was laughing, pointing at my car and shaking his head - when I rolled down my window to ask what he was laughing at, he said "girl, you just ran over a hubcap - hear that? that's you - get to the nearest gas station!"

And so, I ended up at Quik-Stop.  The nicest people.  Remember, I had no phone.  I was in Everett.  I was meeting a client.  I had to ask someone who was getting a car inspection to use their smartphone to look up Cumar's number to page my client to come pick me up.  She got lost.  They couldn't find my jack.  Or the tool to unlock the tire.  I left it in their hands to go back to Cumar to keep my appointment.

The client's husband took a cab to meet us a Cumar after flying in from a trip to Dubai flying through a very delayed flight through London fighting serious tailwinds on "their longest trip on record" across the pond.  When we got there, he was already feeling the lag.  We were looking for a 125" white slab that didn't look like Gorgonzola cheese (my client's description of the latest round of Carrera).  We found an incredible lot of White Rhino.   And though we had to move all six slabs to find that the last one was actually the perfect one, it really made the day worth every step to get there...

And, just another reason I love my job...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bold and bright

January has been a busy month.  I finally took a stand and fired the contractor.  I decided that it is better to stall the project to move forward in the right direction than to continue forward on the wrong path.  Separately, I have taken on a few new clients and am in love with their love of bold colors.  Preppy palettes are clearly visible all over Spring fashion, and my clients are paralleling them at home.  Here's one that makes me smile and reminds me that bright days are ahead :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Music made easy

When we moved into our house nearly 7 years ago, we did our first round of renovations.  We turned a formal living room into a more casual family room and put a flatscreen TV over the fireplace (yes, this was cutting edge at the time).  My electrician Steve had asked us about surround sound and if we wanted to add speakers in the ceiling while he was already up there adding recessed and picture lighting.  We realized that we weren't as cutting edge as we thought and opted out.

During this latest round of updates, we've had a change of heart and realized that we'd love to have music throughout the house, especially with XM, Pandora, and iTunes making good playlists available just by touching an icon on your phone.  One of my friends had a low-cost, super flexible system installed in her newly remodeled kitchen, and I was sold simply by how simple it was to operate.

Sonos - The Wireless HiFi System - is amazing.  You can connect to it from any ipod, ipad, itouch, android, MAC or PC; all you have to do is download the app to your device and sync it to the receiver.  Once you have control, you really are in control.  From your device you can control the station, the zone, and whether or not you want to take it to 11.  You can choose local radio stations, playlists from your music library, their version of XM, or even stream music from Pandora.  And, if you decide that you want to add on after the fact, you can buy another receiver (for about $350 on Amazon) and add more speakers to another zone.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Still here...

So I haven't put up a post since December 1st.  And though I did scrooge it and have a fabulously decorated Christmas in my 1/2 finished construction site of a house, I really didn't enjoy it.  In fact, I'm still not enjoying the renovation and finally understand the angst of what my clients go through in the process of giving up control and leaving their most personal possession in the hands of someone else.

I haven't written because I didn't want to own up to what was going wrong on my own personal project.  I didn't want to write because of how would it look from a marketing perspective if I couldn't keep my own project in check.  But, here I am, 4 months into it, and I am finally ready to scream and own up to making a bad choice in contractors.  For the first time on my own project, I decided to hire a GC instead of running the job myself; someone who would own the project, oversee the construction, organize the timeline, manage the subcontractors, and make a fee to do so.  It was my intention to actually BE the client and watch the work get done from the sidelines, trust the team, and let them run with it.  Alright, I admit, that that was an impossible sentence to write.  Even though I said it (and just now wrote it), we all know that I could never really give up the reigns, but I really, really tried my best not to be the boss...

I should have realized that it was going south when they took out the wrong window in my kitchen the very first week of the job.  It has been a series of bloopers just as bad ever since, and since then, I have had to patrol the project checking in on every aspect at the end of everyday.  And, everyday, after taking note of what has (or hasn't) happened, I take a deep breath and say it will get better.  It will be great.  I know it will be exactly as I had hoped.  It's just a hard journey that I didn't expect; one that has humbled me and made me appreciate the anxiety that my clients go through when they take on a project, inexperienced and without any clue of what really to expect.  Even knowing what to expect, knowing the right way that things need to be done, knowing the way you want it to look upon completion, IT IS HARD to be the client.

Here are a few pictures of where we are now.  I am anticipating another 4 months until we are ready for a rager in the backyard.  Now that I have fessed up, I will be posting more often.  After all, I have lots of other AMAZING projects in the works, including a Brookline townhouse, West Newton Victorian, new construction in Wellesley, a Tahoe mancave and a Marin family room.  My photographer is scheduled to take some naked before pics, so stay tuned !