I am totally happy today cuz the façade is all finished and it looks really good! The workers had been here all week busily spraying, cleaning, mixing and applying the stucco to our house. I can’t believe what a difference it has made. The exterior walls look brand new and I believe it has “wow’d” our neighbors. The reason I say that is cuz it’s my neighbors who get to view the new look. While they get to benefit from the aesthetically pleasing wall, Dude and I get to benefit from the protection that our walls will now have. Hopefully, this work will do exactly what we intended for it to do which is to stop the mold and mildew from coming through the porous walls. The supervisor said to double the effort we need to find paint that will let the walls breathe.
Throughout the work I was not able to really take any photos cuz most of the work has been in our neighbor’s yard and also, the work has been significantly messier than the work that was done on the roof.
The workers had to power wash the walls with some special chemical and this created large pools of water and mud everywhere. Also, the mixing of the façade mix was a pretty messy job. It was so bad on Thursday that Dude and I got trapped in the house with cement, water and dirt all pooling in front of our garage and entry way.
One big hang up occurred on Friday morning when Dude went out to survey the work and found that the bottom section of our house on one of our neighbor’s side wasn’t done and the workers had already started to clean up like they were finished.
When the guys showed up, Dude and I hopped up on the wall with the lead worker and talked to him about this. Do you know what he said??! He said that my neighbor didn’t want that part done cuz they wanted to put their plants there! Dude and I were like, “WHAT”!! I’m sorry but this is MY house and it’s MY wall. What the heck are you listening to my neighbors for??!! Are they paying you for the work?! That would be a NO! Are they in charge of this project?! That would be a NO! Are they the ones who are affected by leaky walls?! That would be a NO!
Dude and I were absolutely astounded that our workers would be listening to the neighbor and letting the neighbor tell them what to do. Is there no stopping stupidity in the world! On top of the fact that the workers never even came to us to tell us this. They would have just said okay to the neighbors like they were the boss and went on their merry way! What the heck!
So while all of us were on the scaffolding and wall, I had a little chat with my neighbors and told them that this part had to be done. The reason was that we had mold and mildew in the house do to the porous wall and the humidity and it was bad for your health to be living with that (duh!). We absolutely needed this wall to be done and sealed. After I explained the situation to her, then she was okay with it and our workers were able to proceed. The other thing that was so stupid about this on their part was that the area of wall we were talking about was so ugly and badly maintained and they were getting a new, freshly stucco’d and better looking wall for FREE! Good grief people, how stupid could someone be!
Well, with that almost major fiasco taken care of, Dude and I were of to work.
When we returned that evening, we found pretty much all the tools, machinery and trash out of our yard. Dude went to survey the neighbor’s yard and the work had been done. Apparently there weren’t any more problems with them so that was good.
On Saturday morning I went out to check the work and see how everything looked. When we had arrived home the night before it was already dark so I preferred to wait until the sun came up to see what the house looked like and to take some photos.
Without further ado, here are the before and after photos (and some mid-way with the scaffolding up).
Before pics of ugly wall
Here are the during work pictures
The final product pics-ta da!!
I really like the color and we had told the supervisor that we wanted only a slight texture to the walls. I am really pleased with the way it turned out. Unfortunately Dude doesn’t really like the color that much! He says it wasn’t exactly what he had in mind. I love it, though. I think it’s subtle and clean. I don’t particularly care for the really drab color of houses I see here or the really dark and crazy colors that some people have come up with. I wanted something that was a traditional Provencal color and I think it worked out fine. Besides, only my opinion matters in this anyway, I can’t believe Dude still doesn’t know that!
Later that morning, Dude found a big problem. Remember back when we were drilling holes in the house for the rod and cle to be put in to hold the house together due to the large crack that we had? That story is here, just in case you told yourself ‘No”. Well, the cle is located on the garden side and all ready to go, but the other side of the house, where the threaded rod stuck out for the second cle, is gone. Yup-apparently the workers cut the end off of the threaded rod to stucco the house and they filled in the hole. Now we have nowhere to hang the other cle to tie the house together! They didn’t even ask about what that rather large 30mm threaded rod was! They just went and put their 2 Centimes in and cut it. Now Dude has to figure out what to do. We need to have a cle on both sides to hold in and tighten the structure of the house. Guess what?! In order to fix it, we have to cut a large round hole in our new stucco! More stupidity goin’ on here!
Dude has been working since yesterday trying to figure out how to do this without doing a lot of damage to all the work that has already been done. You know, there’s always something that happens that just burns you up. Even if the rest of the things going on are good!
Day number 3 out at the house was day number 1 for moving all the rest of the furniture (that we were keeping) down from the third story and out of the kitchen and putting it in the living room. The living room/terrace is the one room in the house that needs minimal work. By that, I mean, a good cleaning and paint. Since it is not in need of too much repair we will most likely get to it after we move in. So for now, it is a storage room.
So Dude and I set out to move this ridiculously heavy antique furniture. We were quickly bummed out, though. We realized that most of it had been infested with wood worm. These little guys aren’t gonna to bother us humans, but in doing some quick research, we found that they are devastating to wood furniture and they are especially partial to antiques. Now we had to decide what to do. I desperately wanted to keep the stuff since it was super nice, but we needed to isolate it and treat it.
We began by inspecting each piece and if there were troubling signs we took the piece down to the apartment which Dude now refers to it as “the isolation room”. If the furniture looked fine, then we put it out onto the terrace. Inspecting the pieces, taking them apart (ie..drawers, doors and marble tops) so they wouldn’t be so dang heavy and then moving them, took the majority of the day. You definitely don’t realized how much work moving furniture is until you are only 2 people doing it. We could have busted that out in about 2 hours had we had a gang of movers with us!
Once all the pieces were moved and /or isolated, Dude set out to rip out the carpet on the third story and I set out to take of the wallpaper in the kitchen.
Of course, we found more problems. Dude found out that the bozos that put the carpet in decided that they were gonna use all the glue that the world had to offer and glue every bit of it to the concrete floors. It was a disaster. The glue was everywhere and in thick layers. They had actually put it down with a trowel! Good grief, these people want this carpet to last until Buck Rodgers came into town!
Meanwhile, I was having the same issue with the wallpaper in the kitchen. I think the same bozos were hired to put it up because they glued it to the walls without prepping them! This meant that I could only peel off the top layer and it left the bottom layer still stuck to the walls.
Going back to Dude, he was upstairs just frustrated because of the amount of work it was going to take to get the glue up. In his frustration he was cussin’ up a storm and throwing the really gross (not taken care of for 40 years) carpet out the third story window. As you can tell by now, we like pitching stuff out the window. Great stress relief, in case you want to try it!
He then comes down stairs and sees that not only will we have to scrape glue of the floors, but do the same thing to the walls. We were looking at DAYS worth of work.
Unfortunately, we also found out that these glue-happy guys had carpeted the master bedroom on the second floor, too, and they had wall papered the hallway and all the way down the stairs to the main floor. Dang I hate glue!
Because the bugged furniture moving had taken so much time, and the issues with the carpet and wallpaper, it had gotten late and we needed to pack it in for the night.
Tomorrow we would have to tackle how we were gonna get all the gunk off. When getting home we had to figure out what product to buy in GALLONS to get rid of our nasty wood worms.
Welcome to renovations in Provence. I think I should have read Peter Maylee a few more times. Like I said, stupid Americans…..
If you want to see more photos of Day 1 remodel, they appear on Flickr in the set named “Moving and Renovation of the New House”. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Recent Pictures.