Monday, November 17, 2014

Unexpected Upgrades

So, I revealed the final renovation over a month ago.  We've mostly been distracted by other stuff, like the spouso running another marathon, work getting busy, weddings and other stuff, and we've not been working much on the house. It was a much-needed break from renovations after a long summer of constant construction, but we are finally getting back to work, and putting our house back together. We knew when the renovation was done, we would be left with a bunch of half-done projects that needed to be finished, but we didn't expect other parts of the house that weren't getting renovated to need work. As the workers moved through the house, there were four unfortunate side effects that had to be addressed.

1. Shower Faucet
We didn't have a particularly nice one to start with, but as the renovation continued, our shower faucet got worse and worse. By replacing the galvanized pipes in the basement, our contractors dislodged some gunk, that then moved through the pipes until it got stuck elsewhere. As gunk slowly collected in our shower faucet, it completely blocked the cold water, and also blocked most of the holes in the shower head. The result was all of the water pressure building up, and shooting out super hot water from the few remaining holes that were open - sort of like being angrily spat on by a dragon. We tried removing the shower head, shaking bits loose and soaking overnight- but nothing really worked. So, first up, we grabbed a replacement head and switched out our shower faucet for a more peaceful showering experience. It was really quick to just twist off the old one, and twist on the new one.
new shower faucet- much nicer than the old one

2. Kitchen Faucet
Similarly, the gunk got stuck in the kitchen faucet, minimizing the water pressure to a mere dribble, and completely cutting off the hot water. Then "someone" decided to fix it, completely cutting off all water through the faucet and leaving us to rely on the hand sprayer thing. So, the kitchen faucet got replaced. Nice side effect of this one is that the old kitchen faucet handles were installed unconventionally, so you had to push them back to turn on the water, instead of pulling the normal way. The change-up totally threw me off so that I could never remember which way was right, and often failed to turn on any faucets at all. The new one is better. Installation was slightly more difficult, just because getting sink faucets and handles off is tricky, but it was done in about an hour.

the old one with backwards handles that didn't work

new kitchen faucet that turns on the normal way

3. Toilet Lid
If you have ever visited our house, you will no doubt remember our toilet lid, which is a lovely mother of pearl piece of art. Tragically, after hundreds of workers came through our house, the lid eventually broke off (I'm actually shocked since they mostly didn't seem to lower the lid or seat). While we like old houses because they have character, this is one of those places where less character is better. So now we have just a plain, normal white one.

old faux-mother-of-pearl lid breaks off...

...and gets replaced by a nice boring white one.

4. Vent Hood & Microwave
During our whirlwind shopping trip to buy new appliances for the basement (which seems like forever ago), we ordered a new microwave/vent hood for the basement. We realized that it would make more sense in the long run to instead move our microwave downstairs, buy a temporary cheapie for ourselves upstairs, and then replace it with a nice vent hood when we redo our kitchen (we can't buy the nice one now because we would need to reconfigure the cabinets). So we canceled the microwave we had ordered, and the contractors moved ours downstairs. Unfortunately, we forgot to get the new cheapies for ourselves. So, we lasted for a while without either a hood or a microwave, and finally broke down and got a cheapie hood vent and installed it and plopped a new microwave on the counter. Unfortunately, the new hood is much smaller than the old microwave/hood, so it exposes a pretty ugly eyesore, and the microwave takes up the last little bit of counter space we had-- but neither of these are permanent.

new tiny microwave takes up the last of our counter space

new white hood is much smaller than the old one