Saturday, July 31, 2010

Don't pop that cork just yet...

I have decided that water/plumbing issues have to be one of the worst things you have to deal with as a home owner.  One of my current neighbors in our soon-to-be former subdivision is dealing with mold and sewer problems.  We too have found a sewer issue.  The new plumbers (who I am still happy with, by the way) did a top to bottom inspection of the home after we called them out for the second opinion.  It seems we are up to four "issues" in the dream home that we have to wrestle with in order to make the problems go away. 

First and foremost are the pipes for the claw foot tub and the master vanity sinks.  The leaks are fixed which is a big plus.  However, now that the holes are gone from the leaks, the venting has proved that it cannot handle the job it has been set up to do.  The plumbers need to completely fix the pipes to better accommodate the venting between those three things: sink, sink and tub.

The second issue is the main sewer line.  It seems one of the previous owners (heaven only knows which one) "fixed" the sewer line with some PVC piping on top of the original cast iron pipe.  It has a slow leak around the seal which will cause a bigger problem down the road once we are in the house and using the toilets.

Then there is the downstairs bathroom.  Personally, I would like to take this one out and start over.  I don't like how close the toilet is to the sink and the shower was never enclosed.  The venting for this bathroom runs along the outside of the house but is not above the roof line.  So if any gases are vented improperly through the current venting system, the gas is going to go right back into the downstairs bedroom.  Not an immediate problem since our bedroom and our daughter's bedroom are upstairs but none the less, the issue has been spotted.

Last but not least, there isn't a trip wire to the hot water heater.  Since it is in the basement, this isn't as much of a big deal either but the plumber said if you are getting a permit from the city to do all this you might as well add it to the ol' to do list.

Hmmmm....well.  Decisions, decisions.  What to do first?  Obviously the master sink/tub issue has to be done so the dry wall can be repaired in the downstairs office.  Our warranty company is taking a look at the second opinion paperwork.  Hopefully they'll entertain covering some of it.  Fingers and toes crossed and on our knees praying about that one. 

If we can get this squared away this upcoming week, we could possibly start considering the actual move! GASP! Do I dare think or say that? It has been a month and a day since we closed.  Hopefully resolution is just around the corner.

Pictures of our lovely ceiling and exposed pipes:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

History Through Photography

These pictures didn't come out as well as I hoped.  Even without a flash the gloss on the story boards shines through.  I believe this is the renovation that was done in 2006. Better them than me!  A lot of hard work went into restoring the home as you can see here:

This is the front of the house:

And this is the kitchen:

This is the sun porch which is located upstairs in the master bedroom:

This is interesting...the top picture is actually one of the downstairs bedrooms which is the room where the leak is in the ceiling but beneath is a photograph of the restored dining room:

And finally, the back of the home restored with a new deck that we absolutely adore:

ALWAYS Get a Second Opinion

ESPECIALLY when it comes to things like plumbing and electricity.  This will be our new motto going forward.  It certainly pays off to get a second opinion.  Guess who has fixed pipes? And guess who has pipes that ARE up to code??? If you guessed me, then you are tonight's winner!

My husband reminded me our daughter goes to school with a sweet, little girl whose parents own a plumbing company.  I emailed them Friday and they sent out one of their plumbers Saturday morning.  He stayed with us for several hours.  He showed me every nook and cranny of pipes in the house, especially the tiny leak that was causing the big problem in our ceiling.  Apparently the adhesive that was used to put the renovated plumbing in the master bath was done poorly and after wear and tear, a leak was caused.  Right in the elbow of the pipe was a little spray of water that reminded me of a sprinkler in the yard.  Absolutely amazing.  I waited to tell the plumber all the news that the previous plumber told us because I didn't want to influence his inspection.  When it was over, I spilled the beans and watched him totally hit the roof.  He said sometimes, the businesses that work for warranty companies will say and/or do just about anything.  I thought it was funny when he said he really would like to have the opportunity to have charming chit chat with the guy who almost put me into cardiac arrest. 

Hopefully by the end of tomorrow, the plumbing issues will be resolved and we can move on to something putting color on the walls and throwing up some new sheet rock in the ceiling!

Friday, July 23, 2010


It didn't take too long for us to have our first major hiccup in the dream home.  The HVAC thing was a pain but since that started before we closed, I don't feel like we have ownership of that problem.  The water dripping from the ceiling however is all ours.  A friend came over to see the house the week of July 4th and as we entered the office, a big, fat, drip of water plopped down on our heads.  Lovely.  I called the warranty company to report the problem and to get a plumber out to see what in the world was going on.  While we waited days for that to happen, we've had to turn the water off at the main just to be on the safe side regarding other possible plumbing problems.

Shortly after the original contractor hired by the warranty company cancelled on me two hours before our appointment window opened, my realtor and I had two separate come-to-Jesus phone calls with my account manager at the warranty company.  After much gnashing of teeth, a new contractor was located and they came out later that day.  Upstairs and downstairs, my contractor is a busy bee trying to figure out from where this leak is originating.  He finally figures out it is coming from the master bathroom upstairs but the pipes are coming through the floor up there and the ceiling on the first floor.

It is never a good thing when a contractor comes to you and says, "Ma'am, I've got some bad news," but I dont' think I was prepared for the extent of this one.  According to the plumber, the person who renovated the home did a bit of a short cut job on the plumbing and the pipes are not up to code.  According to plumb-man, the pipes should be 2" and we have 1 1/2" pipes.  Ohhhhkay.  Now what?  He comes up with a solution of taking out the dry wall ceiling in the office since it is water stained all over the place and will need to be repaired then fix the pipes that way. I can agree with that as it does make sense vs. tearing out the vanity and flooring in the upstairs master bathroom. 

While he is writing up the report so he can submit it to the warranty company, my husband stops by the house and gets the rundown of our water woes.  The contractor is from the same company who fixed the HVAC.  Since we have yet to find the location of the filters, dear hubby decides to ask our plumber if he might know where they are located.  Off the two go on a scavenger hunt for the home of the filters.  Alas, he cannot find them either BUT he has discovered that all the pipes in the basement are also not up to code. Huh? To say my blood is boiling at this point would be a complete understatement but I do my best to keep my cool.  In my mind I am trying to figure out how the house passes not one but two inspections and no one had mentioned code-less pipes.

The nice gent writes up his report and states since it is late on Friday, the warranty company will more than likely not review it until Monday.  We are advised to keep the water off at the main and hang tight. 

Late Monday afternoon, I have still not heard from my warranty account representative.  Since I am at work, I shoot her a quick email around 4 pm asking for an update.  This is when I have the joy of receiving her out-of-office notifier letting me know that she is on vacation the entire week.  Boy that sure would have been great to know especially since I spoke to her twice on the Friday before. 

Enter account representative #2 on Tuesday morning.  She is extremely nice and very apologetic and promises to start working on our account.  By lunch time, I am given the bad news that the pipe issue is not covered by the warranty because it was unknown and pre-existing.  I am then told that for a small fee I can be upgraded to a "premium" policy that will cover future code issues.  Of course I jump on that because Lord only knows what we are going to find as the months move along.  Somehow I am also able to get this claim grandfathered in since representative #1 never told me I didn't have a premium account or that it was an option.  Sweet!

Not so fast....

This week has been a roller coaster of "it is covered" or "it is not covered" in regards to the plumbing.  Since the plumbing company now knows of the code issues in the basement and even though that isn't part of the leaky ceiling, they can't fix the leaky ceiling unless the do the entire job or it could jeopardize their license.  That being said since it requires replumbing the entire house, the warranty company will not grandfather it.  AYE! 

Frustrated to no end, we have opted to have another plumber coming to give us a second opinion.  Stay tuned...

Monday, July 19, 2010

A History Lesson

Left behind in the basement of our new home are multiple story boards that the "flipper" had made up in 2006/2007.  The renovations that were done in 2006 were unreal and I will have to figure out a way to share them with you.  For now, I will post the story behind 1910 Dream Street. As we start to dig into the history of the home, we have found that there is a slight dispute on the age of the home.  The records from when the home was on the Tour of Homes in 2007 say it is c.1905 but according to our agent, the tax records state c.1910.  I foresee some research in my near future!

In 1901, widowed Mrs. Elizabeth Cottingham Patterson returned to the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harrison M. Cottingham on the same street as the current home is located.  Three months later, she purchased a lot on this street and constructed a marvelous new home of cypress. Originally, this property was part of the Archibald Howell plantation, and was cut from the portion he sold to Laura Brumby in 1882.

As the United States involvement in World War I escalated, Mrs. Patterson became involved as the founder of the Marietta Chapter of the American Red Cross. Desiring a greater role in the conflict, she sold her home in 1916 to E.D.C. Hames and prepared to travel to France.  "Lady Pat" as she became known to hundreds of soldiers whom she and her staff entertained and provided with coffee and doughnuts on a daily basis, remained in France until the end of the war.   Upon her return to New York, "Lady Pat" was presented a government citation for her outstanding work.  "Lady Pat" was remarried to Charles Walter Dupre and resided on Habersham Road until her death.

Following the Hames ownership, the home became the property of the Brumby Chair Company president, Thomas M. Brumby, from 1921 until it was purchased from his estate by James. R. Black in 1926.  In 1932, it was sold to J.R. Miller and remained the residence of the Kingsley Miller family for nearly 60 years when the upstairs was rented to tenants as a charming and spacious apartment.

Tim Raasch and Michael Motes purchased the home from the Miller family in March 1992 and did remodeling to the house.  In July 2006, Christopher Crawford purchased the home and began five months of extensive renovations to bring the property into the 21st century.

Now it is time for my family to add to the history of this wonderful home...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Big Chill Arrives

FINALLY! We have air conditioning on the second floor of our home. The task only took a month to complete but I got a text from my husband yesterday evening before I left work stating that the HVAC fan was running and the temperature was finally dropping upstairs. We’ve had ceiling fans running on the second floor since we took ownership of the house and thankfully it has kept it in the mid 80s up there. However, one day last week it was in the 90s while I was visiting the home. The compressor was blown out and the parts that were ordered were lost, then tracked down, and then the repair guys were backed up due to the heat wave that is beating down on the south.  But now that the AC is running on both floors, hopefully we can accomplish more cleaning tasks which will allow us to move in some of our things. I guess that means we really need to start packing up our things so we can actually get them from one home to the other!

For now, progress is slow due to working during the week. This past weekend we had a wedding that took up our Saturday and we decided to do some cleaning in the home we are trying to sell rather than play in the new house on Sunday. We did stop by Sunday evening to see if the AC was working (ha) and to check out a paint wheel in a few of the rooms. I am getting very excited about buying some paint samples this weekend and throwing some color on the walls. We are trying to pick historic colors for the house true to the time period for all the rooms except for our daughter’s room. She has picked lavender and pink for her room and I can’t wait to get started in there for her!  Friday can't get here soon enough to start working again! I am ready to move in!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pictures: before and after

Here are a few shots of the inside of the home as well as some before and after pictures.  Not sure what we'll be up to this weekend.  We have a wedding on Saturday so Sunday is looking like our best option for getting some work done.  The upstairs air conditioning unit is still out which means unfortunately the painting we want to do up there will be postponed again.  This afternoon it was 92 degrees on the second floor WITH the ceiling fans all running.  Woohooo! According to the customer service rep. the infamous part has finally been tracked and found.  Now it is just a matter of getting a technician to install the compressor.  It has been almost 100 degrees this week in the good ol' south, so everyone with a home warranty as been calling about their HVAC it seems.  Hopefully it will be cooler up there soon!  Until then, we can start boxing up things in our current home.

Door bell before and after polish:

I still need to get a toothbrush with some polish on this.  Who knew it would be copper!?!

Ceiling fan blades and light covers:

Take a look at the flooring in front of my dear husband and then that to the sides and behind him where he had cleaned.  Amazing.
This is just a picture of my favorite light fixture in the house - the dining room chandelier.

Here is a shot of the stove before it was scrubbed down! Never forget to clean the sides of your appliances!

And finally, here are some shots from the deck.  I wish I had gotten a true "before" picture of this but I didn't have my camera before we started tackling the leaves. 

From this picture, you can see how the limbs are leaning on the roof of the house.  We have managed to cut several of these off but have many more to go.

I hope you have enjoyed the first few signs of progress at the house.  More updates soon!  Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cleanliness is next to godliness….

A long holiday weekend has come to a close and alas, I had to return to work today. I haven’t been able to blog like I wanted due to some unforeseen circumstances but I’ll try to give you a quick update.

Since the city held its major Independence Day celebration on July 3rd, we had the 4th and 5th to really sink our time and efforts into cleaning the house. The place has not been occupied in a year (as best as I can tell) and it has the dust and cob webs to prove it! After stocking up on cleaning supplies at Lowe’s, my husband and I were ready to give it a go!

Sunday was spent with mopping/scrubbing the hardwood floors starting at the back of the house and moving forward. Hubby did that while I started wiping down the granite counter tops in the kitchen as well as cabinets with wood cleaner. All the cabinets needed to be vacuumed out as did behind the stove. We sprayed and scrubbed down the sides of the stove (amazing what gets stuck on the forgotten sides of an appliance). Spent light bulbs were replaced while light fixtures received a strong wipe down followed by a soaking in the sink. Even the ceiling fans on the porch received some TLC. We managed to get as far as the front living room before calling it a day.

Our new refrigerator arrived on the 5th.  I absolutely love it.  Thankfully, it fits perfectly in the space.  Two massive dudes brought it in and installed it.  Whew!  Now that it is hooked up and making ice, it is ready for some groceries!

On Monday we decided to tackle some of the outside chores. First we took a blower to the deck which ended up being a fruitless exercise after getting deeper into our work. In the back yard there is a massive magnolia tree which is beautiful but a nuisance when it comes to dropping leaves. I am not sure when the yard was last raked but it feels like you are walking on a mattress of leaves rather than solid ground. Not sure when we’ll try to bag those up but it is on the to do list. We cut a ton of branches off the magnolia tree and they are now occupying the cleaned off deck surface. We’ll haul them off later when we have renewed energy.  More need to come down but we had to start where the canopy had grown over the roof (and was resting on it) as well as the deck.

The blower also came in handy on first floor roof. Remember those leaves I mentioned? Not only do they cover the back yard but they were also layered on the roof. It was kinda fun blowing leaves everywhere but I seriously do not want to spend all my time on the roof getting rid of leaves. We’re borrowing my brother-in-law’s saw this weekend that has a 15 ft. extension pole. That will hopefully do the trick.

We also decided to work on the gutters which were full to the brim with rotten leaves/dirt/debris and little plants growing in them. We managed to get most of the first floor gutters scraped and washed out. This weekend we are going to try to get the second floor gutters done and invest in some type of much needed gutter guards.

The lawn guy is supposed to come today (please!) to cut the front and back yard which is unreal. Once he does that then my husband can come back through and treat the weeds. Thankfully we own a lawn maintenance company! Tons of mosquito spray will be put down as well.  Again, remember those leaves?  Magnolia leaves tend to trap water and create an instant breeding ground for blood suckers.  I forgot to mention we bought some bottles of outdoor/woodsy cutter to coat our exposed skin in from top to toe.  Those critters are thirsty (and I have the bites to prove it!).

I did take some before and after pictures and I will try to post them soon. You won’t believe your eyes!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!!!!

I think the July 4th celebration has to be one of my favorite holidays next to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I love the parades, the fireworks and the general happiness people seem to have on this day.  Even though we haven't moved in, we did give the new home a touch of Independence Day color to celebrate!

This year, our city celebrated on July 3rd for some reason.  It was actually nice to have the day full of parade walking, BBQ eating and fireworks watching on Saturday and then have today as a true day of relaxation.  We have decided we are absolutely going to love having the Independence Day celebration at our new home.  We had a relaxing dinner on the porch under the whirring of the ceiling fans and then a few minutes before the city fireworks started, we walked the length of five homes to hit the clearing to have a front row seat to the beautiful presentation.  The best part?  The quick walk back to the house and not having to sit in all the exiting traffic! Hey y'all, I think we have started a new tradition!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Something new...

We weren't able to visit the new home Thursday due to my work travel and pure exhaustion so we stopped by for a bit this evening.  We measured the space for a refrigerator as we are lacking one and also put up some patriotic bunting over the front steps to the porch (pictures soon!).  We are still trying to assess our to do list and what we should try to tackle first.  There is so much cleaning and yard work to do.  We decided we would use the July 4th weekend to scope out a fridge since the sales seem to be really good.  Who knew we would find one on our first stop! The new kitchen has stainless steel appliances so we had to find a refrigerator with that color scheme.  I had been eying the ever popular french door models.  As we were cruising through Lowe's late this evening, we decided to take a peek at what they had in stock.  A very awesome sales associate pointed us in the direction of a model that has been discontinued for the newer version so we got it on clearance plus and additional 20% since it is a Whirlpool.  It also qualified for 12 months no payments/no interest so that should make it super easy to pay for over the next year.  It might even qualify for an energy tax credit if that deal is still around.  It will be delivered for free on Monday.  YAY!  Hopefully it will fit in nicely with the rest of the appliances we have inherited.

This is our new fridge!

Saturday should be an exciting day.  We are walking in the Independence Day parade with a friend who is running for state court judge, then it is off to tackle some projects at the house. We hope to see some of the fireworks from the front yard later in the evening or at least by a very short walk past the tree line.  I can't wait.