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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

House Renovation Mystery

Here’s a who-dunnit for you, except that ain’t nobody “done it”, and that’s part of the problem.  We need our houses renovated after several years of kids, dogs, termites, and general rot.  The question is:  who, what, when, where, why, and how?

1.  Who?  How to find a contractor, or even better, a handyman, who can handle a job or two, generally without a lot of input or supervision from us?  It would be beneficial if we were off-site, since our dogs don’t take kindly to a lot of strangers, or a lot of banging.  We don’t want workers carrying 2x4s with snarling Scottish Terriers hanging off of their legs.

2.  What?  You name it, and our houses need it.  From molding that’s been munched by termites-now-gone, to tiles and carpeting destroyed when said pest control company had to drill and insert their lethal potion into crawl spaces, to pillars rotting from the inside-out, to block-and-stucco walls around the property’s perimeter starting to separate….  Kitchen tile that’s been broken by coolers dropped by over-enthusiastic children carrying far too much, wooden flooring that needs to be refinished without sanding it all into thin air, a wrought iron outside back stairway that’s holding on by a thread, and kitchen cabinets that probably all need to be ripped out….  It might be easier to say, “What do we NOT need?”

3.  When?  The sooner, the better.  But we have this birthday, and that holiday, and a few more birthdays, and a bat mitzvah, and travel, and homeschool, and dogs.  When would we be able to clear out of this house or that?  We normally spend half a week in each place.  It’s not like we can simply stay in one location for a month or two.  Given the reality of most construction jobs, even the simplest, make that what to do and where to go for a year or two.

4.  Where?  Both places, our main house in the north, and our dacha in the south.  Both would be average-sized homes requiring different renovations—whether paint, flooring, fencing, structural and cosmetic repairs.  Can you say major face-lift?

5.  Why?  Take a look at our kids and our dogs, and you have your answer.

6.  How?  Exactly the question.  The time, the cost, the logistics.  Maybe a little at a time?  It might be a good idea to take a big, long vacation, and hope that it’s all finished when we get back.  No, on second thought, we tried that before, only to return to workmen practically living in our house, or all of the water and heat turned off in the house, or almost nothing accomplished in the house since we were not there to supervise.

I think I’m getting a headache just thinking about it….  How would you solve this mystery?  (And no, selling and starting over is not an option, lol.)



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6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar hoonew says:

    Wow! I have no experience with this- but if it were me- one house at a time!

  2. avatar Linda says:

    It sounds like your going to be busy for some time…
    I’ll vote for one house at the time as well. Just pick one house and one thing, then again, if there’s more then just facelift needed, it might be simply easiest and cheapest to do the whole house at the same time. That way you don’t have to rip things up several times.

    My friends just renovated the husbands old family house, knocking down walls, moving kitchens, building more bathrooms, and that’s just the top level, they still have downstairs to do (the main living areas is upstairs) it took a year, and now they said they are taking a year off building and next year will start with the rest.
    Then again the husband did a lot himself, and working full-time at work, then going to the build after that… My friend didn’t see him a lot during the year, oh and did I tell you they have 2 children, ones just turned 2, the other one’s turning 4 in a few Months…

    • avatar admin says:

      That’s what I’m thinking, Linda. One house, one area at a time. That way we can start or stop whenever necessary. Except flooring, which is major and we’re considering just ripping up the whole main living areas in the dacha (living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, various alcoves and hallways). No bedrooms or baths, and I guess we’d need to move furnishings there while they do the main floors. When we were younger and had more energy and less responsibilities, we did a lot of work ourselves on various homes. Those days may be gone forever, lol, except for painting if need be. Thanks for the ideas!

  3. avatar Linda says:

    We’re going to buy my dads house sometime in the next 10 years, and there’s a lot of renovating going to happen… All the walls, floors ceilings, the cellars going to be converted partly as a office/music room for my husband, one part’s going to be converted in to a photo studio for me, it’s going to be a nightmare.
    At the same time it feels nice to plan everything again, we managed to build our own house, so we’ll manage to renovate this one as well… Now we just need to know when we’re going to buy it…

    • avatar admin says:

      That’s wonderful that you have plans to look forward to, Linda. Maybe if you can transition after a few months, you can get some of the work done while the house is empty. That would really help! It’s where to move all of the too-much-stuff (along with bodies of children and dogs) that’s stumping me….

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