From Renee on June 29th, 2009 in CalFinder News
In their endless tours through many a home, where most of us “let it all hang out,” contractors get a glimpse of every kind of personality out there, some of them more unusual than others. I get the privilege of talking to contractors every day, and the following are just 8 of their stories. Not necessarily “remodeling nightmares” – more like brief episodes from the Twilight Zone, only in this case, reality is stranger than fiction.
- The Bed-Watchers. They come in every shape and size, but they’ve all got a couple of things in common: they live in their pajamas and they are attached to their beds for no particular reason. One contractor was installing new windows in a bedroom and the lady of the house never left the room all day, let alone the safety of the bedcovers. She didn’t do anything, actually (not even sleep), except watch the work for hours on end and get up to go to the bathroom. Another contractor was working on a master bath while the homeowners watched TV in matching bathrobes, bringing every meal to bed for the duration of the job, caring not for noise nor company.
- Showing Off the Toys. The contractor in this case was working on a flooring installation, where nothing in particular stood out … until the end of the job, when the homeowner asked him to retrieve a box from the closet. The box contained handcuffs, chains, explicit videos, and other “paraphernalia.” At this point, the homeowner asked for more upgrades to the home, including a bedroom swing. I guess this contractor passed the test for comfort level?
- Kitchen Emergency Zone. Contractors are typically conscientious about keeping their job sites neat, but they don’t always get the same courtesy. One contractor, who admitted to living in a perpetual mess himself, was amazed at the conditions he once worked in. He said the house was so cluttered he could not see the rooms. He worked in a kitchen that looked like an emergency zone, with meals eaten and forgotten beneath more meals eaten and forgotten.
- Fetch, Kitty! Sometimes, the only one left at home to greet a contractor during the day is the household pet. One pet in particular wanted lots of attention, and her favorite activity was fetching. You’d assume it was the dog, perhaps a golden retriever or border collie. But it was a cat, a petite one at that. According to the contractor, she was a calico, and she left her little rattling toy mouse at his feet all day until he threw it for her, at which point she’d fetch it and start the game all over again.
- Secret Room … for Beanie Babies. Secret rooms are more common than you might think. You don’t necessarily need to build a whole new room, but conceal an existing room with a custom bookcase or other secret door. Reasons for a secret room include hiding unsightly closets, concealing valuables, or even creating a panic room for security purposes. One contractor built a custom bookshelf for a client’s secret treasure trough – of beanie babies!
- The Haunted Victorian. It sounds lame, but if you think about it, a crowded house in the middle of the day should be far from scary. One contractor who was not superstitious coming into the project had thought nothing of the age of the Victorian home he was retrofitting, save for all the upgrades it needed. Word was that several deaths had occurred within the home’s walls over the years. After this contractor experienced tools moving from one room to another, even while working alone, he blamed it on his memory, but when one perfectly functioning door got stuck, only to open suddenly as he burst into the room, he got an official case of the creeps.
- Mood Rooms. Let’s lighten things up again, with a colorful example of style from a Bay Area contractor’s experience. This painter was instructed to endow each room a different color, but we’re not talking tropical chic or even bold in a contemporary sort of way. We’re talking bright pink here, aqua blue there, florescent yellow there, and the list went on. Each room featured its own unique trim in equally bright, random, and unmatching colors. The homeowner mentioned needing a “mood lift.”
- Singing Moosehead. Ever see those stuffed toys dressed in Mariachi Hats that sing “Feliz Navidad” with the press of a button? This home had one of those … sort of. In true taxidermy style, the faux moosehead was hung just above the threshold. It sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” for every passerby, so this contractor grew to hate the song with a passion by the end of the project.