Advice · Home Improvement

House Remodel: A Year Later

The ‘kitchen’ before

It’s been over a year since we had our house remodeled, so I’ve had a long time to live with my decisions.  I’ve come up with a list of the top 5 remodeling decisions I regret.  Before you think that I’m some ungrateful b*tch, I assure you I’m not.  The goal of this piece is to help you if you’re in the beginning decision stages of your own remodel.  Please, please learn from my mistakes.

1.)  The floor.  Oh my goodness, what a wrong decision I made in this regard.  I miss my old tile so much because it didn’t show anything.  Was the floor clean?  Dirty?  Who knew?  I swept it about every second or third day but only because it felt dirty, not because it looked unclean.  I washed the old floor once per week.  My new floor is a tile wood look-alike.  It’s dark but not black, more like a cafe au lait rather than an espresso, and it shows ever single crumb, dust particle, skin flake, nose hair, dog hair, and so much more.  It has to be swept twice per day in order for it to look somewhat nice.  Twice!  Per!  Day!

I have bought more products to help me make the care of this floor much easier but nothing works for long.  I have a floor steamer, a special bucket and mop, a Dyson Animal, a Swiffer (doesn’t work at all because of the grout lines), a broom (sends all the dust and dog hair into the air), and sometimes I just plain ole get-down-on-my-knees with a sponge.

I finally gave up recently and shelled out the big bucks for a Neato (here’s the review); it is run once per day which means I have to listen to it every single day for an hour and a half.  Why don’t I just run the regular vacuum?  Because Nick hates the noise of the Dyson Animal.  Ugh.

The floor shows so many footprints from its matte finish that the only time it looks clean is when I’ve just washed it and then for ten minutes after.  When I have a party or people over for my book club, I wash the floor as close to the start time as possible which means that I’m sweaty and the house sometimes still smells like wet dog when guests get here.

2.)  The upstairs portion of the remodel was only added after we realized that it would look so bad if we left it the way it was with a completely new downstairs.  The woods of the vanities and flooring would have been vastly different from the rest of the house, so we opted to remodel the upstairs at the same time.  The upstairs was an afterthought even though I like the way it looks, but one thing I regret is the shower and tub choice.  Instead of removing the tub and making the whole back wall a huge shower, we kept the tub and the shower; they’re made from fiberglass.

We did get a frameless glass enclosure to update the area but that was all that was scheduled until the contractor installed the new vanity and Quartz top.  The new countertop made the fiberglass look very yellow.  The contractor suggested we have someone come and spray the fiberglass to make it whiter.  I agreed thinking that the final product could be cleaned and handled just like what I already had.  Wrong!  I now have to clean the shower and the tub using only Fantastik.  No more Comet or anything else abrasive otherwise the paint will come off.  Never again.  Next time I will get a real tile or stone product.

Even though my husband thinks that taking out the shower and tub is a wonderful idea, he doesn’t want to do it because of the mess it would create again.  We both don’t want to live through all that mess again.

3.)  Think the only other person in history who had to clean with a toothbrush was Cinderella?  Nope (points at self).  The faucets in my master bath are so detailed and have so many nooks and crannies that I have to use a toothbrush to clean them.  And because we have dual master sinks (gotta have those if you’re married), I get to clean two faucets with a toothbrush!  To be fair, my side is always much worse than my husband’s because I wash my face every night.

4.)  At some point, we made the choice to not remodel the downstairs bathroom.  Not doing something was also a mistake.  We did the basics like the flooring, installing new baseboards, and painting but then did very little else to ‘save money.’  How dumb are we?  The rest of the house is remodeled and we opted to save money on a tiny 1 3/4 bath. Shaking my head even as I write this.  While the whole rest of the house was gutted, the downstairs bathroom (the only downstairs bathroom) remains its ugly self.  I hate it every time I go in there.

5.)  What I’m about to say is going to REALLY make me sound like a brat but here goes.  The next time I do a remodel or buy a new house, I’m only going to buy my appliances from Sears or Lowe’s.  Never again will I buy high end appliances.  I have had the appliance repair person at my house two times each for the refrigerator and the dishwasher, and four times for the stove, and the stove still has an issue.  We’ll need the guy to come out again.  On a recent trip to the Salmon River Retreat in Oregon, we used the dishwasher in the cabin and it worked so much better than our high end dishwasher.  It took less time and did a better job.  Sure, it was louder but it did what it was supposed to do–clean the dishes.

Hopefully you learned a thing or two from my mistakes.  I’ll make a bullet list of what to think about while you’re selecting products for your remodel.

1.)  Think about how often you like to clean and also think about who contributes to the messes.  We have a dark ‘wood’ floor and light dogs.  Doh!  And how many ‘special tools’ (toothbrush) do you want to drag about with you when you clean?  Make sure that whatever you’re cleaning can handle the strong stuff, too, if you use strong stuff.  Since I can’t use anything other than Fantastik in my shower, I have to clean it more often because I can’t let it go and scrub the heck out of it another time.

2.)  Save money in ways that won’t come back and bite you in the butt post remodel.  Trust me, once you’re done remodeling, you’re not going to want to do anything more for a very long time.  If you want a new shower, you’d better find the money to do it now.  If you want a new powder room, do it now!

3.)  Buy the best appliances you can but be sure to check out their ratings online first.  We went by beauty and didn’t consult any Consumer Reports or even did a minor search on Google first.  Doh again!

All in all, I’m happy with the outcome of my remodel, but I wish I had this advice before the contractor ever step foot in my house.



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