Mudroom Reveal

I never thought I would be writing this, but our mudroom is complete. I repeat, the mudroom is complete. I gave David a strict deadline, and he got it done. Ok, two days later than the deadline, but baby steps right? It looks beautiful and I love it, but I do think it would have been worth a few thousand dollars to have hired it out so that it would have been done months ago. Oh well.

He basically built everything from scratch and it’s so nice knowing there is a place for muddy and wet shoes and coats now.  I also feel confident that we will have a designated place for keys, especially for David’s since he is always losing his.

The cabinets were a great addition since we have so much random stuff in the garage that would go better in here. The sink will be great to rinse off after playing outside.

Now that the functional stuff is done, we get to decorate! The wall behind the sink needs something, as does the blank wall between the bench and the cabinets. I am thinking a mirror will make the room look bigger, but I have to play with different ideas.

Next up, the planning center! Yep, David had a deadline for that too, and it’s complete as well!

Patio and Retaining Wall Reveal

I finally have a completed project to share with you all! We all know how long it takes for David to do complete something, so it’s been so nice having a finished patio to enjoy.  It took the guys about 5-6 days between demo day and building it out and we couldn’t be happier with the final result.  The only thing that we aren’t the most happy with is the retaining wall.  That is completely our fault though.  It’s 15 feet and it just looks really small against the giant patio. I think we assumed it would go all the way to the dog run, but we figured that we could always add onto it if it really bothers us, or we can build in the BBQ like we planned between the dog run and the retaining wall.  I know that the dog run looks really ugly and out of place next to this gorgeous patio, but once we paint the exterior of the house, we will paint this as well.Since the patio has been finished, the boys have loved playing on it.  They bring out their trucks and cars, play soccer, basketball and t-ball.  It’s been so fun to see how happy they are outside and finally enjoying their safe space. I can’t wait to get our outdoor table and chairs out here so that we can have dinner outside this late spring/ summer. I also am looking forward to do the landscaping, it’s looking a little bleh out there.

Patio Progress and Retaining Wall Day 2

Happy Monday! The boys are back in school, and we are back to our routines. It’s crazy to think that they are done with school in a month.  This year went by so fast, it’s scary.

Anyway, our old retaining wall was really long, but it was falling apart and totally unsafe for the kids to play on or even near. Originally, David and I thought we would do a wall the same size as our old one, but I think there was a miscommunication with the contractor because he planned on a 15ft wall. In his original plan he included a BBQ as well, so maybe the wall was 15ft but that didn’t include the BBQ.  We decided against the BBQ because it was way over our budget, and so much more needs to be done with this house.  If we feel like we want one in the future, we have the space to easily add one in.

We wanted a smooth look for the wall with stones that went well with the patio and I think it is looking great.  It needs a topper for a little bench look, but it’s so close to being done!One of the guys working on the patio suggested that we did some kind of border for our window wells. It makes them look a little less ugly, and it also makes them stand out more so that hopefully the kids don’t run over them. I am glad that this was suggested because I never would have thought to do this and it really looks good. Not much left to do and so excited to enjoy it this spring and summer!

Patio Progress Day 1

Finally I am pleased with a company David chose to work with.  These guys work quick! They got so much done their second day and we couldn’t be happier with how it is looking.

I love the stone we picked, even if it doesn’t look the best with our home’s current exterior paint color.

I also love the pattern we went with when it came to lying the stones out. It feels modern yet still traditional in a way.Our old patio was huge, and we thought there was no need for a patio that large, so we shrunk it just a little. The pile of dirt by the tree is where the old patio went to. We thought we would just plant more grass there once the patio was finished.Next up, building the retaining wall! Have a great weekend!

Patio Demo

A couple of weekends ago, I caught David staring out of our kitchen window with that look he always gets when he has an idea for a project. I creepily watched him for a little and then finally asked him “what????” He of course responded with “nothing” as he usually does, and proceeds to say “well, just trying to figure out what to do with this patio”.

I heard him out, and not sure why I was so surprised to hear that he wanted to tackle this himself. I mean it’s not like he’s in the middle of our mudroom and pantry/planning center- he told me it would be finished in January. It’s also not like we have a punch list of 283748474894 things and a nursery to get started (yes, I’m pregnant again and never announced it). Ahhh!!

I respectfully kept listening, but then told him maybe it was a good idea to get some bids from local companies. We had two guys come over a day later and somebody else the following week.

After receiving three bids, we went with a guy who brought us samples and created a 3D layout of what the patio would look like.

We wanted it to look pretty, but we also didn’t want to spend too much since we most likely won’t live in this house forever. We figured, if we decide to stay, we can add on things like a fire pit, outdoor kitchen, etc.

They arrived at the house by 8am on a Wednesday morning and the entire patio was demoed before 4. Ya, that would have taken David weeks, if not months. The men working on the yard were super respectful and even cleaned up the best they could by the end of the day. It was definitely a good start to the project!

Planning Center

After a long hiatus, I am back! Battling an awful cough and sinus infection while being pregnant isn’t fun.  Of course, it is also about to be Passover and Spring Break which means baking and kids will occupy my time! I do have a little house update though…

One thing that I miss about out Compass Pointe house is the planning center.  It was so nice to have a designated area for the computer and all of our mail and other junk while the “office” was being used as a playroom.  Our situation is a little similar here.  We turned our dining room into the office, but that is our temporary playroom.  When I say temporary I mean, it will be our playroom until we move from this house.

Anyway, now that we have a giant pantry, we can go ahead with building the planning center.  We thought it would be a great quiet area for the kids to do homework, but most importantly, hide junk in a organzed way of course.

We purchased the same cabinets that we used in the mudroom and David installed them in a layout that would allow two people to do homework at the same time.  There is plenty of room and it’s already looking great.  We also went with the same counter as the laundry room and mudroom and I can’t believe how quickly David got that done.

As soon as the planning center is 100% complete, we can clear out the mudroom and finish , that or maybe vice versa.

I am really hoping that the mudroom and the planning center is done before May.  We have a nursery to design and I don’t need the stress of doing it last-minute!

Back Door

This house has a lot of doors leading to outside.  We have a door from the garage to the backyard, one from the mud room to the backyard, a slider from the kitchen to the backyard, and of course the front door. Every door needs to be replaced, and the slider and front door have recently been replaced.  Since we rarely use the door in the garage, we decided to replace the door from the mudroom to the backyard.  The door was so old, had the worst insulation, and was rotting. David replaced it and put in new insulation and it already looks 80% better.  We still don’t have the handle installed, and it’s not painted yet, but I am relieved that it fit and wasn’t too hard to install.Now if only the rest of this mud room could get finished…

Front Door

Our old front door might not have been ugly, but it wasn’t our taste, and it definitely wasn’t the look we were going for in this house.  Home Depot was having a little sale, so we decided to pull the trigger and replace the door. The installers told us that it would be a 5-6 hour process and we had to be home 100% of the time, oh, and they don’t do weekends.  This is pretty much impossible for any household I assume.  I had to take the boys to school and pick them up, and even though that wouldn’t take long, I still wasn’t allowed to leave the house.  David had to work from home that day to make the door installation doable.  It ended up taking less than 6 hours to install, and I couldn’t be happier with how it looks.  The door isn’t painted yet because we wanted to wait until we know what color we are painting the house, but the primer (white) actually works with our current house color, so we will leave it for now.

Review Backlash

This is the last time you’ll hear me complaining about our contractor. I promise!

You all saw my Yelp review I posted about last week. Well, I also posted that to BBB and a few other sites that The Basement Men and The Creative Approach are on. I decided that I was going to write a shorter review on FB, directing readers to the Yelp review.

Steve, our contractor and owner of the companies decided to write back with nothing but lies. I was actually in so much shock that I retaliated quickly. Normally I wouldn’t react publicly. I would let them get the last word because I would have zero need to defend myself for something I know I’m right about. This time however, I couldn’t help myself.

My response was probably irrational and immature but it had to be said. It’s one thing for Steve to defend himself and his company but to flat-out lie about me and David- nope, I won’t have any of that!

Here is how all of the drama went down. If you don’t like drama I highly suggest exiting out of this post ASAP

https://m.facebook.com/The-Creative-Approach-Builders-The-Basement-Men-The-Concrete-Man-108344832553947/

Our Final Review

I’ll be honest, I am not one to write reviews unless it is asked of me to write one, I’ve had an exceptional experience, or an awful one. I really don’t even write reviews on awful experiences because it’s not worth my time or I quickly forget about it within a couple of days. After our experience with this contractor, I couldn’t help myself. I wrote a long and horrendous (but honest) review of our experience with him/ his company.

He has three names for his company which is weird to me. He has The Basement Men, The Concrete Men, and The Creative Approach. We were writing checks out to The Basement Men even though our project wasn’t in the basement. Anyway, the contractor, Steve, didn’t want to see the final reveal of the bathroom, I lost my sh*t and decided I wasn’t going to sugar coat my review.

So, here it is. I copy pasted it from Yelp. Was I too harsh? Probably! But, hopefully Steve can take this and learn so that his company thrives.

Readers beware: this is long but honest
When we first met Steve, we liked the work he showed us in his notebook. He also gave us a really low quote which my husband thought was actually a fair quote for a small bathroom. We signed the contract and were excited to get this project started. The contract said we had to give a 50% deposit and a 50% completion check.
Things were going pretty smoothly, but Steve was annoying when it came to payments. We decided to remove some concrete and he said it was an extra 600 dollars. We agreed to the cost& he came over to collect a 50% deposit and the following day he came over to collect the rest. We thought it was odd that he needed 2payments for such a small bill or why he couldn’t have just added it on to the final invoice.
He then asked for more progress checks and we gave him them even though our contract said NOTHING about progress checks.
We started to notice that Steve ONLY came over when he wanted a check. He never checked on the project unless a check was involved. Our previous contractor was here every single day and was an active part of the remodel. So strange.
We went through a polar vortex which delayed our counters from being installed. Steve was on us about it but it wasn’t something that we could control.
The second the counters were installed we contacted Steve to let him know. He said that his workers would be over the next day. The following day we expected the guys to show up, and they didn’t show up in the morning. Steve called my husband and texted him asking if it was ok if he came over for a completion check. What???? The bathroom wasn’t completed or anywhere near it. My husband told him that he wasn’t comfortable with giving him a check until it was completed and Steve asked if we could write a post dated check instead. My husband said it depended on how much progress was made that day but he wasn’t sure he feels comfortable writing the check. Well, 12pm rolls around, no workers, they showed up at 1:15!! We didn’t care that they showed up so late, but we knew that the bathroom would be nowhere near completion to write a check for Steve. My husband texted Steve to inform him that he would not be writing a check that day. Steve did not like that answer. One of his workers came to find me and had Steve on the phone for me. Steve told me how rude my husband’s text message was to him and how it’s not ok for my husband to say he will write and check and then go back on his word. I reminded steve that our contract states a “completion” check and the bathroom isn’t completed, therefore he should not be getting a check. He proceeded to push me into writing a check and post date it, and he would not accept no for an answer. When I told him over and over that he won’t get a check until it’s completed since that’s what the contract said, he told me we were playing dirty and kept saying “so that’s how you want to play this game”. He mentioned that we delayed his project with the counters and he took a higher paying job than ours and now has to pull his men from that job to finish ours. So I told him to have his men finish today and we will hire somebody else to complete the job. He said he would pull his men from our job and reschedule in a couple of weeks when they finish their bigger job. Finally I cut him off and told him I had to deal with my two small children and hung up.
I was waiting and waiting for his men to leave, they never did. My husband got a lovely text that Steve was pulling his guys, and my husband didn’t respond. When he came back from work at 5:00 the workers were still there. So it was an empty threat. They didn’t leave until 6:30 and then my husband got yet ANOTHER text saying that the men made lots of progress, how about my husband gives him half of the completion check?? Are you serious??? Is this real?!?! My husband said nope, not until the job is complete.
The men showed up the next day (Thursday) , Friday, and were at the house from 8-6:40 on Saturday. They came back Monday as well. We heard that the workers got in trouble for installing our mirrors, painting our trim, and potentially sealing our tiles.
They finally finished Monday afternoon and Steve texted my husband about when he could come collect his check. He agreed on 5:15 and didn’t show up until almost 6. HE DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO SEE THE FINISHED PROJECT!! Can you believe that?! What contractor doesn’t want to see the work his men did on a job?!
This was the most disturbing, uncomfortable experience and I would never ever ever work with Steve again or recommend him to my worst enemy. The way he spoke to me was unacceptable and inappropriate and the harassment for a check made him come off desperate and shady. It’s a shame because his workers do a good job and some were pleasant to be around, but save yourself the hassle and do NOT use this company. We would have rather paid 3 times more than we did just for a more pleasant experience.