Sunday, November 27, 2011

reasons to NOT hire a contractor

After years of hiring people in corporate America, the most important lesson I have learned is you are really looking for a reason to NOT hire a job candidate. These reasons you would not hire someone for a job at Yahoo Answers holds true  for contractors as well. After vetting the two contractors for the basics via the interview questions and comparing the two bids, both checked out as relatively good choices. I was torn. I decided, at this point, I liked Contractor #1 the best, just on gut instinct, and would begin checking his references first. I asked to see a home in progress. He had me stop by a large property in North Orange County, a 6,000 square foot house where his company had redone four bathrooms and built an ultra glamorous walk-in, 2-story closet. I was wowed and easily could look beyond the shabby chic d├ęcor to the meticulous workmanship. 

Shabby Chic Bathroom
Shabby Chic Bathroom

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

should a mid-century modern fireplace have a mantle?

Our mid-century modern (not) fireplace mantle has been a pet peeve with the architect almost from day one.

mid-century modern mantle

Sunday, November 6, 2011

using a fireplace insert to heat a mid-century modern living room

We have heating problems in our house. Big problems. And it is rapidly heading into winter. Later in this post, I'll explain how we solve the heating issue with a fireplace insert. But bear with me for now.

Our house is a flat roofed mid-century modern and all the heater ducting was laid into the concrete foundation. The ducting is galvanized metal and has rotted out down to the dirt underneath. When we turn on the heater every winter, sand blows through the house. I called a heating company, Empire Plumbing & Heating and described the situation.They said it was serious and sent out the owner of the company who put a scope down the ducts. Quote from their extensive report that includes an estimate for $14K to repair, "When we video observed the ducting we observed broken portions of ducting in every single run. We also witnessed several breaks in the ducting from what appears to be defect from new construction in the 1950's." Other problems include water building up in the pan below the heater, "The ducting runs leaving the plenum were draining water back into the plenum and the appearance of water fall like calcium deposits can be seen."

reference checking contractor #2

I went to a live site for Contractor #2. It was bustling with activity and involved the addition of a second story on a really large home in Irvine. The site was spic and span and the job was impressive. The homeowner is in the asbestos removal business and strongly recommended Contractor #2. Having a personal tour from the homeowner of a live job site really gave me the feel for Contractor #2 and made me trust him. Contractor #2 was around the site, but stayed away from the homeowner and me. The homeowner said the job was on budget, and was being completed in less time than quoted. The only problem happened due to an unusual rain storm, and the contractor did everything he could to mitigate this issue. The family of five lived in the house during the project and said they were very comfortable with the contractor. The tile in the bathrooms was beautiful and absolutely perfect. Our job is ALL tile so this is important. This reference check made me really appreciate Contractor #2. He became my favorite.