hack jobs · renovations

The Hack Job, AKA, Our House

The more we delve into this house, the more we can see the years of neglect it’s gone through, the lack of care and attention to detail. According to our neighbour, contractor after shady contractor has been hired to fix things as mandated by the city. At one time, he says, the front door was plastered in notices from the city about the state of disrepair the house was falling into.

And yet, the whole thing is just a little rough around the edges. I’m not saying that we bought the house version of a lemon: the opposite actually. Our renos that have involved demolition of what is existing have gone surprisingly well. There have been very few of those unexpected problems that people so often find beneath the surface of the house, very few problems that have added hours or days onto our renovation timeline.

But, there have been other things, things we’re not quite so sure how to deal with, things that just don’t look right.

Case number 1: The Basement Bathroom

I won’t bother talking about the upstairs bathroom. It was much worse. But the basement has its own special challenges, more difficult to deal with because they’re not so bad to warrant a complete gutting.

Like the toilet, for example.

Here, we have a toilet that does not fit in the space. The rough in allowed them to put in this toilet, but didn’t allow them to put the lid on properly. Instead of taking it back to wherever they got it, they just balanced it on top and said “Meh. Oh well. Who cares.”
So, now we have to buy a new toilet.
And then, there’s this:
Can you see it? I know, nice light, huh? I picked it out myself. But look a little further, a little past that. Yup. That’s grout. Smeared all over the tile and dried solid. I’m not sure how we’re going to deal with this yet. It’s likely going to mean a lot of painstaking scraping and wiping and scrubbing. And, in the end, we’ll likely paint the tile in order to hide the terrible yellow grout lines. Problem solved!
Case number 2: The Stairs
I don’t have a complaint with the stairs moulded out of concrete. Actually, once I get a new coat of paint on them, they’ll look quite nice. It’s when you get to the bottom of the stairs that you can see the terrible work that was put into the house.
They’re almost wobbly, but certainly crooked and poorly built. I’m certain that one of these days, they’re going to crack as someone scurries up the stairs and the creation of a new set will become absolutely imperative. 
Case number 3: The Front Porch
The front porch is a nice wide thing, perfect for sitting on and watching the neighbourhood pass. Not that we plan on doing it that much. But there’s a few things wrong with it. Like the tile they decided lay instead of deck boards or something that isn’t so slippery when wet.
And then, there’s the way they poured the porch: they left an ugly, jagged overhang. What are you supposed to do with this?
And, of course, there’s the exhaust that they decided to send out the front of the house: a nice, shiny, brand new exhaust pipe sticks out from one of the windows in the basement just beneath the porch. What were they thinking?
We’ve been fortunate with the bones of this house, so in many ways, we’re grateful that these hack jobs are all on the surface and can, thankfully, be low priority. But someday, I’d like all these things fixed.
And my most important goal? To not leave any hack jobs behind when we sell the place — whenever that may be.
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