The Parade of Contractors Begins

The first week of home ownership was full of appointments with so many contractors. As I mentioned when I talked about our inspection, there was something wrong with almost every system in the house, from plumbing to HVAC to electricity. There were plenty of problems outside, too.

So while I would have loved to write about picking paint colors and going shopping for rugs, it was far more important to start chipping away at the issues found by our amazing home inspector, Robert Foster of Trebor Home Inspections.

Some of the not-so-exciting things we did:

1. Changed all the locks - This wasn't in the inspection report, but re-keying the locks was a quick first task. The first locksmith I called, who has rave reviews online, never even returned my call. After a day, I called Browns Lock and Safe, who set an appointment right away. The locksmith who came over got three doors re-keyed in under an hour. Awesome.

2. Fixed outdated (and dangerous) parts of the electrical system - Our inspector found several safety issues with the electrical system at the house. There was a wire that was disconnected from something under the sink, but never cut off properly. I don't know the right language to use there, but basically, there was a wire under there with just some electrical tape on the end. There was also some exposed wire behind the panel in the fuse box.

One of the more time consuming projects: none of the outlets in the kitchen and baths were GFCI outlets. Those are the outlets that have the "test" and "reset" buttons on them. Those reduce the chance of shock and our inspector said they are required around water these days.

Since we had electricians coming, we decided to throw in a few more projects, like switching out a light fixture and adding a whole-house surge suppressor. I read come conflicting reviews of whole-house surge suppressors, but Marc thought it was a good idea to add one since we've been having pretty serious storms each summer.

Electricians must be really busy right now. The one a colleague recommended didn't return my phone call and the company I used when I lived in the condo was making appointments two weeks out when I called them. Since this was a safety thing, I decided to get some recommendations from friends and then cross reference the names with Angie's List. We wound up calling Sentry Electric (which also runs a Mr. Electric franchise). It took them three hours to do all the projects I had! The wound up giving me a discount because I have an Angie's List membership. I'm happy I spent $10 on that now!

3.  Smoke detectors - There were only two smoke detectors in the house when we got in and they both had dead batteries in them. That's clearly a really, really bad thing.

4. Water heater issues - The water heater in the utility room needs to sit in a pan (not a big deal) and is lacking a device that regulates the pressure coming out of it. Our inspector told us that this is why almost all of our shower heads and tub fixtures aren't attached to the wall anymore. You can wiggle almost every pipe and handle that's coming out of the wall in a shower or tub in the house. This isn't a safety issue and it's not urgent, but we had a plumber in to measure for the pan and give us an estimate on the regulator.

5. Roof and gutters - Aside from the electrical issues, this is probably the item that disturbs me the most. The roof on the house was installed in a sloppy way. There are parts of it where the "starter course" wasn't done properly. That's the area underneath where the shingles hang over the edge of the building. On top of that, our seller reconfigured the gutters, eliminating downspouts, which was causing erosion all around the property. Every time it rains, I freak out about this.

 Doesn't this seem like a really, really bad idea?

We actually haven't gotten the roof or gutter guys in yet, but that work should start soon.

During the parade of contractors, I started playing around with my paint fan decks, just for fun. A friend suggested I try Benjamin Moore's ColorViewer to test out some colors. I uploaded a photo and started working.

I promptly gave up. I love a fun, digital tool but I had a really hard time getting the ColorViewer to work. I'm going to wind up just buying sample paint jars like I always have in the past.

I originally thought a gray color would look good with the pink quartz counters, but I'm thinking a taupe color is probably going to work much better.

More on that next time...


  1. @Joanna W That is insane! We rigged a fix for now, but it'll be so nice to have it fixed!

  2. @preppyboy1957 Where in New England? I loved there for 10 years. Everyone I knew had downspouts, though I did see a few rain chains here and there. Those are really cool. :)

  3. Your down spouts are quite common in New England. The gutter spills onto a large flat rock in the garden to prevent erosion and no clogged or frozen down spouts

  4. Wow! Those "downspouts" are incredible! When we moved into our house, this was thr first thing we addressed. The previous owners cut the downspouts off at the bottom so that water was dumping directly on the foundation rather than shooting it away. There were holes so big from the water that I could put my whole leg down in it! What are people thinking!?

  5. Another "no" vote for the online color tool - as mentioned previously, it doesn't seem to help at all with lighting. Thank goodness for paint samples! Another technique I tried, when I had trouble finding a brown-ish paint color to go with our pink (!) bathroom tile was wallpaper books! After 4-5 paint samples and no success, I checked the books out and used them to test colors against the tile. It worked - I eventually found a taupe paper that coordinated well and had paint mixed to match!

  6. @Dana @ Style Forth I hope hoping to use it to see potential cabinet and wall colors against each other, but you're need to see it all in your light to make a decision.

  7. If anyone has, please comment and tell us the secret!

  8. @H-lady I'm both sorry and relieved that someone else might have had trouble with it.

  9. @Aileen Bartels They are crazy! We are really looking forward to getting that project started (and to use our rain barrels!).

  10. I was floored, especially with the locksmith. Don't most people who call locksmiths have a time sensitive problem?

    I would totally DIY dimmers!

  11. Those gutters would drive me biserk also. And the online color tool is a little silly for them to have in the first place. It's impossible to tell what the color is going to look like under natural daylight versus artificial. The color will never look that flat when it's actually on the wall.

  12. I have never gotten those "paint your own photo" things to work!

  13. Ditto for BM colorviewer. What a disappoinment!

  14. That's an unusual situation with the downspouts! We need an electrician too, so I'm sorry to hear it's hard to find one.

  15. even 10 years ago when we finished a basement room, found it was hard to get contractors to call back. you would think if busy they would call and don't kill future business. odd i think.

    i was thinking of doing a few dimmers at the new house. maybe DIY?


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