The 23rd story about out renovation appears in today’s Times-Picayune.
MID-CITY REBUILD STUCK IN SUMMER DOLDRUMS
Saturday, August 18, 2007
By Stephanie Bruno
NOTE: For Bart Everson and Christy Paxson, progress on their house lags while they await the return of their carpenter. On the bright side, they have made headway identifying a tile setter — if not the tile — for their walk-in shower.
Bart Everson sat in the Bayou Coffee House on Jefferson Davis Parkway, holding a panini and talking about his renovation. He had just ridden his bicycle — his primary means of commuting — to the café from his office at Xavier University. Between bites, he confessed that little has happened at his Mid-City house in the past few weeks.
“Mike Kaplan’s crew came out about a month ago and installed the whole-house fan,” he said of his contractor. The fan is an amenity that Everson and his wife, Christy Paxson, like to use in the temperate months to cool their home, in lieu of air conditioning.
“It isn’t hooked up to electricity yet — that still needs to happen. And we wouldn’t be using it anyway, given the weather.” [Note: We wouldn’t use the fan for cooling the choose, but we would use it to keep the air moving around downstairs while painting and staining. — Ed. B] For several consecutive days, temperatures in the city had reached or broken the 100-degree mark and failed to drop below 80 degrees, requiring round-the-clock air conditioning.
Everson said he wants to see progress on the renovation of his basement living area and explained his predicament.
“Mike has had a lot to contend with, so I don’t fault him. He and his business partner both have had to travel a lot due to family illnesses out of town. And now Mike tells me he has had some health issues of his own that have set him back. All the same, he plans to be at the house this week, he told me, to try to wrap up the electrical work.”
Though Everson and Paxson can’t do anything about the wiring, they realized recently that it was time to resume their efforts to get their downstairs shower ready for the plumber to trim out.
“We have to get the shower tiled, and that was something my tile-setter friend from Montana was going to come to town to do for us late last year,” Everson said. The friend, Joe Nickell, is also co-host of Everson’s satellite television show.
By the time the shower was framed and lined and ready for Nickell, his first baby was on the way, so the project never got started.
Although Everson had done some shopping, he admits his wants were somewhat unconventional. “See, I was looking for some bright orange and bright blue tiles,” he said. “And I didn’t want them to be solid colors, I wanted them mottled. I also wanted them to be rather large so they wouldn’t take a lot of time to set, and ideally they would be porcelain.
“Of course, they would have to be suitable for a wet environment. Oh, and they needed to be reasonably priced. When I told Joe I couldn’t find what I was looking for, he told me that it was because what I wanted didn’t exist.”
Now wiser, Everson was ready to undertake the search again this week. The plan, he said, is to get the tile selected so that work on the shower can begin as soon as his alternative tile setter returns this weekend.
“I already have someone lined up,” he said. After asking for tile-setter references on a Mid-City e-mail forum, he got three references.
“I knew two out of the three, and so those are the two I called first. Both of them came out, but only one of them actually followed through with a price.”
Everson said he gave up trying to get a price from the second candidate after running into her socially on several occasions. “I flat out asked her, ‘Can you beat the price that the other guy gave me?’ and told her the price. When she said no, the decision was made.”
Everson then began calling the winning bidder to arrange a time to ink the deal. But several phone calls went unreturned, and Everson started to worry.
“I thought, ‘Here we go again.’ So I e-mailed his wife, and it turned out they were on a long trip to Honduras, their native country,” Everson said. “That means it’s time to pick out the tile and be ready when he comes back.”
Everson has accepted the fact that the blue-orange-mottled-porcelain-inexpensive tile he had his heart set on is not a possibility. But something else has caught his fancy.
“I just found out about this new type of grout that is really mildew- and mold-resistant,” he said. “And what intrigues me most is that it comes in a glow-in-the-dark form. I wonder how that would look in our shower?”
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Stephanie Bruno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.