Remodeling Horror Stories
I was talking with a few friends about remodeling disasters and how to deal with them. But before I even go into my remodeling horror stories, let's check out CanCan Broom's bathroom in her old place - sometimes there are just rooms or houses that are so way off that the word "remodel" doesn't even come close to what should be done to them. It's more like strip it all down and bulldoze and start all over again.. "We rented a house that was a great deal, but totally weird! It had fans mounted to the walls of the bathrooms, and came furnished with gross looking furniture. We were pretty limited with what we could do style-wise in the three years we lived there." CanCan, who writes the blog Mom Most Traveled, tried explaining to me why they moved to such a place in the first place. Now, saving money is understandable, but even CanCan doesn't live in the same house anymore, and that's more than understandable.
TIP: When you are buying or renting a house it's always good to know that it has good "bones" - and what I mean by that is that you can actually make it nice by remodeling and redecorating. For some houses - there just isn't hope, and you would be better off building an entirely new house, that's how much work some houses need.
Catherine Davis of 3 Kids and Us has another type of remodeling horror story that seems to keep coming back again and again... She says "I've never had an eye for picking paint colors for my walls. The first disaster started with a bathroom I thought would look fabulous in gold and midnight blue accented by moons and stars. I must have been color blind the day I picked the "gold" paint because we ended up with a bathroom covered in Dijon mustard yellow. That disaster was followed by the "midnight blue" bedroom that turned black and the color "sandy beige" turned pumpkin spice. I don't think I'll ever pick a paint chip again in my life."
Oh my. Don't we all know what picking the wrong paint feels and looks like? I once painted a dining room merlot red, using the exact paint color that I had seen in a decorating magazine, but it looked 5 shades darker in the room. And with the old stained glass windows, my dining room looked like it was from a Gothic castle. And no, that was not the look I was going after. We live and learn, right?
TIP: Always test the paint on a small portion of the wall and live with the color for a while to see how you like it. Also, remember that lighting matters so much - if the room is filled with sunlight, some colors might be too light. If there isn't much natural light, all colors will look several shades darker.
One of my worst remodeling experiences was in our house in Ohio. It was a hundred year old Victorian style home, and I wanted to wallpaper the living room. It was an open living room with lots of windows and didn't really have large wall space at all, so I swore to my husband that it was going to be a quick, half-day job. Well, stripping down wallpaper that had been on the walls maybe 50 years or so wasn't as easy as I had thought. We tried to strip it carefully but then I got a little impatient and pulled down the wallpaper with such force that half of the wall came down. Well, not the wall, but the middle of the wall, in a way that it had a hole through it and you could see from the living room in to the dining room. Plastering it again and again and filling it took much longer than the actual wallpapering.
TIP: Know what you are doing and use the tools and products that are meant for the job you are doing.
One more thing about the actual wallpaper in that dining room.. I bought two very expensive Ralph Lauren wallpapers, wide stripe on the bottom and sailboat blueprints on the top and a chair rail in the middle. Now, I love sailboats, and I still absolutely loved how it turned out. BUT - a few months after we had remodeled the entire house, we moved to Tennessee, and we figured out pretty quickly, not many people want to have sailboat blueprints on their walls and it took us forever to sell the house.
TIP: If you are remodeling your house and think you will live in it for a long time/forever, go and do the wacky stuff you want. But if you think you might be putting the house on the market in the next couple of years, you might want to reconsider and do something a little bit more mainstream which will better help you to sell the house.