I almost forgot — the 27th story on our renovation appeared in today’s paper, with a cool picture of yours truly working on the staircase. It’s nice to have a picture of me actually working for a change instead of just standing in front of someone else’s work with a cheesy grin.
RENOVATION ON A CRASH COURSE WITH ENDYMION
By Stephanie Bruno, contributing writer
NOTE: In the weeks since we last visited Bart Everson and Christy Paxson, work has proceeded on the renovation of their downstairs living area. But some projects have gone more smoothly than others.
Year-end is Bart Everson’s self-imposed deadline for completing the renovation of his Katrina-damaged home. For one thing, he and wife Christy Paxson are expecting their first child in March, and Everson figures he’ll have plenty of other preparations to tackle in the eight weeks preceding the event.
“There is another reason, too,” Everson said. “If the project isn’t finished by year end, that would put our Endymion party in serious jeopardy.”
The couple’s Mid-City home is just two blocks off of Canal Street, and Everson says they envision a party to welcome the parade back to its traditional route.
“The plan is for the basement to be finished and to have a band, everything,” Everson said. “But with just 20 days to go before the end of the year, it seems highly unlikely we’ll be finished with the renovation by then.”
Not that progress hasn’t occurred. Mike Kaplan, Everson’s contractor, has completed most major items on the project, though Everson says small ones remain. Everson has painted the ceilings of all downstairs rooms and most of the walls. The bath has a new sink and toilet. Sunday-morning trips to the coin-operated laundry have ended now that a new washer and dryer have been installed. And the rear room has been outfitted with cabinets, a granite counter top and a bar sink.
But there have been a few hitches en route to completion.
Soon after Everson’s Technicolor shower tile was installed and the plumbing fixtures hooked up to the water supply, he discovered that the shower didn’t drain because its floor was improperly graded.
“There is also the issue of the liner,” he said. “Everyone I have talked to says a liner is essential before the tile is installed, so that moisture seeping through the grout doesn’t come in contact with termite-vulnerable areas. (The tile installer) didn’t put one in the first time.”
Everson used his word-of-mouth network to seek out someone who could redo the job, and believes he has found the right man.
“I have a line on an excellent tile installer, and he is called the Weasel,” Everson said, though he confessed he has no idea how or why the man got the name. “It’s possible that he is simply called Weasel, but I like the way ‘the Weasel’ sounds.”
Everson and the Weasel have not yet established a date for work to begin. “He was smart,” Everson said. “He said, ‘Give me a call when the tile is in.’ It’s been on order for weeks, but I just talked to the people at Floor de Lis and it should be in this week.”
While Everson awaits the arrival of the Weasel and the tile, he has his hands full — literally.
“We decided to stain, rather than paint, the woodwork downstairs, so I have been sanding and using steel wool to prepare all of the wood, brushing on the stain, then applying the varnish,” he said. “I took off Thanksgiving week and now I am taking off Wednesdays from work to get it done.”
The job is monumental. In addition to the baseboards, window trim and sashes, there is the staircase that leads up to the couple’s main living area. Everson says he had hoped he would have to apply just one coat of varnish to the stair treads, but has found out differently.
“I posed the question on my blog about whether multiple coats of varnish were necessary or if just one would do,” he said. “Unfortunately, there seems to be universal consensus that three coats are mandatory. Between coats, you have to sand or use steel wool, then rub it all down with a tack cloth to pick up grit and dust. Then you apply the next coat.”
While Everson continues his painstaking work on the staining project, Kaplan is due to return to address some of the unusual wiring issues that Everson has discovered over the past weeks. For example, he realized not long ago that the electric starter for his grill was working erratically — sometimes it performed fine, other times not at all.
“I experimented and I finally figured out what had happened,” he said. “The outlet where I plug in the starter on the rear deck was somehow wired to connect to the security lights at the front of the house. Those are on a motion detector, and so they come on only every now and then. So when I want to use the electric starter to light the grill, I have to run to the front of the house, wave my arms around in front of the security lights until they come on, then run to the back of the house to plug in the starter. I get a good five minutes of power that way.”
Stephanie Bruno can be reached at email@example.com.