Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Words Worth

The late John Horlivy was a teacher who was married to my friend Jean for a time. He and Jean moved to Milwaukee, so I didn't have a chance to get to know him very well, and I didn't hear much of him after the divorce.

The other day I learned of John's death on October 17th through an email that directed me to a memorial website where there was a link to John's blog, called Words Worth. It turns out that John loved words, especially the ones he found "curious, odd or puzzling", and he shared what he learned about them on his blog.

Visiting the memorial website and reading the blog made me wish that I had known him.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Staging Diary: Highland Lake

There's a lovely Victorian house at Highland Lake in Flat Rock that will be listed next Spring, and this is the first in a series of posts about the work that is being done to get the house ready for market.

Sterling Property Services entered the picture when I was asked to do a staging consultation, and one of my first recommendations was to get a seller's home inspection to determine if there were any condition issues that needed to be addressed. Dale Hansen of Advantage Inspection did the inspection, and fortunately he found no serious problems. (His report will make an excellent marketing tool.)

However, Dale noted that some of the exterior trim does need to be repaired or replaced. I suggested that the whole exterior be repainted as the dark red siding has faded significantly, and the wrong things (like downspouts, banding boards and the lattic below the porch) have been painted in the white trim color, causing the exterior to look "choppy" instead of harmonious. In addition, the front door and porch colors aren't flattering to the red, so it's time for a new color plan. With repairs and fresh paint in dynamic colors, this Victorian lady is going to be fabulous.

Roger was chosen to do the repairs to the trim, and all the painting and other cosmetic work, inside and outside. So far he's pressure-washed the house and started caulking cracks in the siding and trim. Using a combination of epoxy wood patch and a wood consolidant, he's also begun repairing the trim, and so far he doesn't think it will be necessary to replace any boards. Exterior painting will proceed as the weather permits, and when it's rainy like today, he'll be working on interior projects. They're a whole other story, and the details follow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Water World - Day 38

Here we are on day 38 or so of our water damage event. The house is torn apart and a lot of our stuff is in cartons, especially things from the kitchen, family room, living room and dining room. There's damage downstairs too, but thankfully most areas are intact, including my office.

Once we have approval of the major repair estimates by our insurance adjuster, a preliminary check will be issued, payable to us and our lender. We can't keep the money and use it to pay for the repairs. That's too easy. The check must be sent to the lender's property claims department in California so they can set up an account and give us bits of money now and then as repairs progress. They will be inspecting every step of the way, and must approve the result before the final amount is released.

When we have the first payment, I can schedule the work which will begin with ripping out the kitchen down to the walls (cabinets, island, appliances, countertops, sink, etc.) so the floor can be ripped up, the kitchen tented off and the subfloor treated for mold. All the baseboards on the main level that Roger painstakingly refinished last winter will have to removed with tweezers, labeled and stored. With luck the pieces will come out intact so they can be re-installed. Then the new floor can go in. After that, the kitchen cabinets can be reinstalled, assuming they don't have hidden damage, as well as the appliances and sink, then a new countertop will go in. (The old Corian one will be destroyed when it's removed.)

There's a lot more to it than I've told you, and I don't know if I'm eager to start or dreading the mitigation and repair process. Luckily for him, Roger gets to be at work most of the time when things are happening. Just don't ask how our three cats are taking all this. As for me, the experience has refreshed my empathy for all our clients who have to put up with temporary inconveniences when we're there working, especially when we're doing interior painting projects that take time.

Roger and I are making the best of our situation because we're well aware of being luckier than people in Haiti or New Orleans who lost everything. At least we have insurance and we can stay in our home.