I thought I’d comfortably be ensconced in my new (old) house by now, but alas I’m not. We’re still staying at a studio apartment a little over two miles away. Some days I drive back and forth three times to see how the renovation work is progressing. I shouldn’t be surprised because building projects rarely, if ever, go according to plan, but I prefer to be an optimist!
Even a pessimist, however, couldn’t have imagined some of the outrageous scenarios I’d have in store, like the one that involved a new wide-plank floor laid on the top level of the house. Unfinished oak was used because I wanted to have the floor finished with a specially formulated paint that’s made exclusively for floors. I consulted with a designer from the company, Farrow & Ball, and we chose a color called Skimming Stone. It’s a creamy white. I gave the head of the painting crew the cans of primer and paint, which were clearly marked on their tops with the words Primer for the top floor. Paint for the top floor. We even wrote the words in Spanish since the men weren’t all fluent in English.
When I went to the house to see how the floor looked, in its new Skimming Stone-colored dress, the paint looked a little gray to me. As I passed one of the bathrooms under construction, I noticed a half-empty gallon can of Pavilion Gray paint sitting on the floor, but the walls and ceiling hadn’t yet been painted in that color.
I immediately called the floor guy and said, “I think your men used paint on the floor that was meant for the bathroom ceiling and walls.”
“No, we didn’t,” he assured me with great confidence.
I wasn’t satisfied with his response, so I dipped a finger into a can of Skimming Stone and rubbed it on a section of the floor that hadn’t yet been painted, then I did the same with the Pavilion Gray. Sure enough, the painters used the wrong paint. They obviously hadn’t read the instructions, boldly posted on the lid, when they grabbed the can to paint.
“I’m afraid your guys DIDN’T use the right color!” I told the floor guy when I called him back. He actually didn’t believe me until he came to the house the next day and saw the two finger-smeared colors, side by side, on the floor. The Picassos returned a day or two later to re-sand the floors and repaint them with Skimming Stone. That exercise prevented anything else from being done on the top floor, including finishing the two bathrooms.
It’s said that “a man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.” I’d tweak that to read: “A woman who does her own renovation has a fool for a contractor.”
And so I remain in my temporary studio apartment!