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  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    456
    I'm sorry it's not starting off well for you. Truthfully, it's so much easier to spend someone else's money and blow out someone else's budget so maybe you'd be better off letting her go. Or at the very most, let her design the place, but put yourselves in charge of everything else.

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  3. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    822
    Delqc! Oh man!! I'm so sorry you've been having such a stressful time w/ your designer! She is way out of line for getting multiple estimates and then having the gall to tell the contractor to just charge you for it!
    Good for you for keeping a cool head and telling her things were "on hold". I'm with you, I would have to have someone else have the big talk becaue I'd end up screaming in her face!
    Ah well...keep us posted on how things go! Good Luck!

  4. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    NSW, Australia
    Posts
    583
    Don't cry delqc! Go and sit down and have a cup of tea! There are a lot of positive points in your post. Just keep concentrating on them!

    Amongst all the infuriating crap that seems to have happened, this is what I picked out:

    * You and the Special Boy are supporting one another and presenting a unified front
    * You have a plan to get what you want out of the situation
    * You and the boy have identified your individual strengths and weaknesses and are working together to solve the problems in a productive way
    * You have enough self-control and self-awareness to work out how you feel and are doing helpful things to feel better (ranting at us) rather than destructive things (ranting at her)
    * Your designer has given you some great plans for the house

    and lastly,

    * You haven't let the problems become too big or too expensive because you've kept an eye on the situation

    See! Lots of good points! Don't worry, you'll get there (it might just be a bit frustrating in the meantime!).

    Best of luck!

  5. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    719
    Thanks guys for the support - it really is very stressful. We're borrowing money to pay for this as it is and we really don't want to make any dumb financial decisions (who does?!?!)

    Special thanks to pudding - yes, those are all very positive things that I super appreciate. It certainly doesn't hurt to be reminded of them!

    THe "united front" is helping A LOT. Last night as we were going to bed, exhausted from having packed up 2 bedrooms and a kitchen, the Boy was all snuggled it to me and said, "I'm SO glad we agree on everything about the house." Me too. I don't think I could handle conflict with him, too! Everything else you said was smack-on, too. Thanks. ::blush::.

    In any case, we stayed there with friends over the weekend and took a lot of decisions. We have decided the "scope" of what we can afford now - no new kitchen or bathroom (makes me VERY sad) BUT replaced insulated and properly drywalled ceilings (wired as per the Final Plan), a new, safer staircase and completed master bedroom, removal of the old Franklin woodstove downstairs (super inefficient), removal of the old fireplace upstairs (ineffecient and drafty and VERY unattractive) and installment of a double-sided fireplace that will shared between the master bedroom and the living room. And, later in the summer after we have saved some more, some foundation work (excavation and installing better drainage around the house), replacement of our water pump, and some work on the septic system which we need more than new cabinets.

    I'm glad we finally have a plan that we can afford. As to our designer, well, we've managed to explain to her why we were so frustrated. She's upset that we have essentially cut her out of the deal, and at one point in a weak moment accused me of having "control issues" (well of course I have control issues!!! It's MY house and MY money!!!) but has now come to see that we did not get what we expected from her services. We've managed to house it as a "miscommunication" - i.e. what we requested and espected was contextrualized by our own non-knowledge of "design norms," and what she did was what might have felt appropriate for a designer, but was not what we actually wanted and was not in line with our expectations. Labelling it as a "miss-communication" seems to have taken the edge off of it, and we haven't belaboured the point that part of the proicess of hiring an "expert" is that "expert" has to guide you about the process and ensure that mandates and expectations are clearly aligned - that would just be cruel.

    In any case, the guys are at our place right now with sledge hammers and the like - which is terrifying!

    Thanks for listening. It really DOES help. :)

  6. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    456
    How's it going?

  7. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    719
    Well ... you asked! (and it was very sweet of you to do so)

    I'm going to let the pictures tell the story (this will be a huge post)

    Ok, here is our little chalet that needs so much efffing work:



    See the little door on the bottom? If you went in there a week ago, this is what you would have seen:



    Lots of drywall waiting to be used, and the basework of our new staircase!

    From the top of that staircase, looking into the top floor of our little chalet, you would have seen this:



    From the window side it looks like this (the outline of the red paint on the floor is where the master bedroom used to be, to give you an idea):



    And if you look up, it looks like this:



    That wall will eventually have a really big window looking out into the forest on the back, but we couldn't afford the window yet.

    This new staircase is where our master bedroom used to be. Now, our master bedroom will be through that door on the right.

    To give you an idea of where we started from, the old master bedroom which is no more looked like this:



    And the guest bedroom (now the 'new master') looked like this (I love that you can see the birches through the window in this photo - that will be the view from the staircase window)



    Awful old wood panneling, dropped ceilings with styrofoam tiles, and VILE light fixtures. Now the ceilings will all be properly drywalled, finished ceilings, properly insulated, and the walls will be properly drywalled as well.

    So, that's where we are. Our contractor is taking next week off, and the week after that he should finish. At that point, the new staircase, living room (with new fireplace) master bedroom, and utility room downstairs will all be complete. After that we will take a break for 6 months and save some more money - and then, redo the kithen and bathroom upstairs, and install hardwood flooring throughout.

    Oh yeah, here was the old staircase. Our coats in the photo kind of give you an idea of how narrow and steep it is. Can you imagine walking up that with a load of laundry?!?! The new one is much better!



    Phew!

  8. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    456
    Wow! That's a cute chalet. I love birch trees and wish there were more around our lot. And I'm paranoid of falling down stairs so my first project would have been to make them bigger, too. Will you have enough of it completed to enjoy it this summer?

  9. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    822
    That really IS a sweet cottage! I'm glad you were able to get through to the designer w/o too much of a problem! Your plans sound great for the time being. I hope you'll share more pictures with us when the work is done. Then you can take a well deserved break from the stress of the remodel and plan out the next phase for when you're ready to forge ahead!

  10. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    719
    sjkmaurice - the upstairs should be quite comfortable in the next month or so - when we get the dust cleaned away! It won't be the fancy kitchen and bathroom of our dreams (yet) but it will be functional. The birches are really, really beautiful

    sewlittletime - thanks! We do quite like it - the windows in the front are amazing, and the acre of forest behind us is also. The plans we got from our designer at the end were really great, and I think worth the money, but yeah, I'm glad we've cut her out of the process for now. Still, her ideas were excellent, and I'm really glad we had them.

    Next phases will be:

    1) some foundation repairs, and putting in better drainage around the house. It's on a hill, and water tends to gather around the back, which is slowly causing cracks to form in the foundation. That's a problem that needs to be fixed right away!

    2) New kitchen, new bathroom. need I say more? We hope to do this next fall, in the off season between the bike season and the ski season (so like october and november).

    3) New windows upstairs (at least, new-to-us windows upstairs. We may buy used ones).

    And then, maybe the downstairs and the patio the year after ....

    There is no shortage of work to do!!!


 
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