Monday, April 9, 2012

Woody Wood Pecker-- Pay Now, or Pay Later!

The creation of our master bath was the outcome of a series of mistakes and I wouldn't have it any other way.  The first mistake was the fumigator broke down at the mill where my 100 year old reclaimed wood from Kentucky needed to be treated for wood pests, just in case. 

The delay at the mill meant the kitchen flooring was going to be installed after the cabinets.  Then I realized something. I was going to have extra reclaimed wood because I was now putting plywood under my cabinets instead of flooring. I ran the calculations and realized I had exactly enough to use the flooring as wainscoting in the master bath.  Why not?
I called the flooring guy and told him to straight cut the extra wood planks so I could put it on the wall instead of the floor.  It turns out I had exactly enough for both.  Really. Exactly enough.  Good thing it's reclaimed because it doesn't have to be perfect. At the end the installer was putting bits and pieces here and there to complete the puzzle.  That section is underneath the sofa.

My contractor's guys installed the reclaimed wood in the bath when I was not on site.  When I came that Friday night to take a look I saw they had done exactly what I asked them to do.  And it wasn't right. It was too woody.  It was woody wood pecker!

I took the line of the marble backsplash to carry the top of the wood and it was off.  I stared at it, realized the annoying truth, and called Steve.  Steve, who barely had an opinion about my design decisions, came to check it out and agreed that it was ugly and gave me the green light to do my thing.  I spent the entire weekend ripping it off, re-cutting it, and putting it back on. Too bad they used liquid nails.  I wasn't expecting I'd be taking off part of the wall off too!

The painter was at the house that weekend as well and helped me remove part of the toilet which I didn't realize was hard to do and was necessary to get the wood off. Thank goodness he was there because I might be staring at some awkward reclaimed wainscot had he not been.

Things always seem so simple in my head, but reality rarely matches. I wasn't finished by Monday and when my contractor, William, saw what I had done, he felt bad and offered to finish it for me. I declined. I felt bad that I made the mistake of not thinking about the height of the wood and didn't want him to pay for my mistake. Also, I knew there'd be other mistakes we'd have to un-do that I couldn't fix myself. Tiling being the main one. I think there were three tile installation re-dos alone.  I was running out of lives with my contractor. Eventually, I was going to break him in my constant pursuit of the perfect house.

In the end, the pain and frustration I went through spending an entire weekend un-doing and re-doing my bathroom wainscot pales in comparison to the irriation I would still be facing looking at some awkwardly placed paneling.  I always tell my clients that remodeling is like childbirth. You go through a lot of pain, but when it's over, it's over and you're happy...and most importantly, you forget what you went through.

Here's how it all turned out... I'm so glad I "paid now" and not later.

Miller Pelaez master bathroom after remodel
This Old House Magazine.  Photo by James Carriere
P.S.  Notice how the electrical outlet disappeared in the marble backsplash above?  It's amazing how "they" make photographs picture perfect for magazines.  I just noticed that little edit.

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