From the time we closed on the two houses, we had 18 days to move out and prepare the house we were going to. Needless to say it was not enough time. I wanted 2 months, but the buyers of our house wanted to get work done and be in before the holidays. So we had to move quickly.
My goal was to get the wood floors refinished and the house painted before I moved in. It didn’t get done. The house we bought is a two family house in Neponsit/Belle Harbor, NY, a block from the beach. My son and his family are upstairs and we are downstairs. We are beach lovers and my husband always wanted to live here. I fought the move due to the lack of good public transportation here but it is a nice area. It is a Jewish block, there are pleasant neighbors and I am around the corner from the Sephardic synagogue and two houses from the rabbi.
The day we moved, the upstairs was mostly painted and the floors done but the wood floors downstairs were wet and it wasn’t painted. We had to put our furniture in the garage and basement and sleep on a mattress on the floor (upstairs) for a week. We found out that the kitchen upstairs was not usable and had to be replaced. More on that later.
We are in the house more than two weeks and the floors downstairs still are not completely finished. Nor is the painting done. But at least I have the bed in my room and the clothes we need. No other furniture. I got a semblance of a minimal kitchen up and running. Simple pots, glass dishes and strong encouragement to use paper plates as much as possible.
I have a lot of boxes and they are everywhere! In the basement, in the garage, piled from floor to ceiling – everywhere. Furniture? In the garage. And very little can be unpacked because we have people working in the house six days a week. My wonderful painter will be here for weeks. The electrician has been working full time for two weeks already changing every plug, light switch and fixture. He has weeks of work to go. The plumber came and fixed leaky pipes and moved plumbing.
The house has two kitchens from 1940 – original to the house. When we bought the house, we did not realize how ancient they were or how poorly designed. Corner cabinets have no lazysusans, making the corners difficult to access without climbing into them. The upper cabinets do not even allow enough space for my coffeemaker. The drawers get stuck. The dishwasher is at a right angle with the sink, so when you open the door, it blocks the sink and you have to reach over to put the dishes in. The refrigerator door doesn’t open all the way because there is a cabinet in the way. That’s the downstairs kitchen. In the upstairs kitchen, the sink is not under the window, it’s to the left of the window. Whose bright idea was that? The plumbing doesn’t work at all. Cabinets are off hinges and it is not worth retrieving. We simply cannot live with the kitchens. Even my housekeeper shivers at the kitchens.
So they have to go. The worse of the two kitchens (upstairs) was gutted. The electrician is working on the lines and lighting. New insulation and walls are being put in. The cabinets were ordered and delivered as well as the floor, counter, appliances and backsplash. I hope the kitchen will be installed and finished in 2-3 weeks. Once the kitchen is in, we will work on the second kitchen.
In the meantime, the exterior needs work – windows, siding, doors, fencing and a deck – to say nothing of removing dead shrubs. I spend my life on the phone with contractors. The exterior contractors still hasn’t shown up. I had to beg a landscaper to look at the property but finally found someone to remove the dead shrubs and give me a landscape design.
Oh and then we found out the central air only works in half the house and we need a new unit. $$$$$$$$. The dollars are adding up. Amex Platinum is my friend and the points will go toward a vacation!
We are regulars at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ikea, Costco, and Bed Bath and Beyond. ANYONE HAVE ONE OF THOSE 20 % OFF COUPONS THEY SEND IN THE MAIL? I have learned that Free Shipping is my best friend. If I can buy it online to avoid the schlepping and have it shipped for free, I do it.
If it sounds like the former homeowners did nothing – they didn’t. Every neighbor has told us that. Still we bought the house because it met our needs and the floor plan was right. We knew we had to fix this house just not how much. I don’t mind fixing a house. I do mind living with the disruption. If I sound like this was one long whine – it is. It is much simpler to do work in a house when you are not living in it.