Skip to content

Five Things I Hate About Our New House

No, I’m not feeling particularly grumpy. Quite the opposite. We are settling in and making good progress on unpacking. We’ll close the deal soon and actually I’m pretty happy about the way things have worked out. But I thought I’d just go ahead and get these five points out of the way.

  1. The stairs are too steep. The transition between upstairs and downstairs is pretty harrowing. Especially going down I’m sometimes seized by a fear of plunging headlong forward to die of a broken neck. I’m starting to get used to it, though.
  2. The floor is spongy. This is an old house that’s been pretty thoroughly renovated. The wood floors have clearly seen better days. The effort to restore them was valiant bordering on heroic. I noticed the waviness during our initial inspections and have learned to cope with that; it’s somewhat akin to walking around slightly tipsy at which I’m fairly well-practiced. But now I’m discovering there are certain spots that give a little when I step on them. I wonder if this can be remedied somehow.
  3. There’s not enough storage space. There are plenty of closets, six I think, though I’m not getting up to count them just now. That’s awesome. But our old house had about 500 square feet of storage space in the form of a large “utility room” where we had our laundry facilities. We stuck all manner of crap down there. I kept my tools and our bikes there as well as odd bits of junk picked off the street, fodder for future art projects that somehow never came to fruition. At the new house, not so much. I don’t know where we’ll keep our bikes. I guess we’ll have to build a shed or something.
  4. The bathtubs are too small. Seriously. This may sound trivial but it’s not. I’m 6’4″ and subject to mild fits of claustrophobia when I can’t extend my legs fully. When we flew out to Houston a couple weeks ago and the pilot announced that we’d be stuck on the runway for a bit, I had a brief surge of panic and it was mostly related to the thought that I won’t be able to unbend my knees. When we were hunting for our first house in 2002 one of the items on our list was “big claw foot tub,” and it was a selling point on the house we eventually bought, and one of the the things I loved about living there. (Of course we did find that tub was laden with lead.) Our new house has three full baths, amazingly enough, but even more astonishing is the fact that they are all too small for me. These are new tubs, whereas the claw foot I loved so much was very old. I thought people were getting bigger as time went on. (Though obviously this rule of thumb does not apply across the board.) So what gives with the shrinking of the American tub?
  5. Location. This is a double-edged sword. In many ways I love this location. It’s near a fun venue that has live music every night, there are some little shops and restaurants — not too fancy but very nice. The street is lined with those archetypal live oaks. And most of all there seems to be a preponderance of owner-occupied homes. Still plenty of rentals around, but we aren’t the sole homeowners on the block like we were before. So that’s all good. And yet… and yet… I have come to think of the intersection of Jeff Davis and Canal as the very center of New Orleans, geographically speaking. It’s halfway between the river and the lake, halfway between the Industrial Canal and the Jefferson Parish line. I kinda wanted to stay near that area, and of course Bayou St. John and the Lafitte Corridor. Now we’re just a little bit removed from all that, on the other side of Carrollton and the other side of Canal. The shortest route from home to work is now through the dreaded Toni Morrison Interchange (named, by the way, for the politician, not the author) rather than the Jeff Davis bike path — augh, that hurts my soul. If you’ve ever tried riding your bike through the Toni Morrison Interchange you’ll understand exactly what I mean. I am now close enough to walk to work in record time via the “highly unpleasant pedestrian path that leads through this concrete knot,” as it’s described in Letters from New Orleans. So our new location is perhaps an improvement, but it’s not an unqualified one.

OK, enough moaning and whining already. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Published inOur House


  1. Dar Dar

    Examining the good and bad in every new set of circumstances is healthy and probably sane. I hear you about the Toni Mo- I think it is an awful place and needs to be redone. Maybe after Lafitte Greenway, we can get you to focus on this one?

    and storage. god how we love that in New Orleans. We have to pick up pickins off the street regularly I believe. We’re like the gleaners in the French movie of the same name…


  2. Lee Lee

    I know what you mean about those tubs B, what is the deal with those anyway? Have you seen what they call a bathtub in Europe? It sometimes looks like an egg shaped basin instead of something to soak and relax in. You could build a shed, or buy one which in some circumstances is cheaper.

  3. I think the tub thingy is simply due to the prevalence of showers and the pressure for us to be taking showers and using less water rather than soaking in luxurious baths and using a lot of water in that process.

    Personally, I think the water usage is probably about equal depending on the length of one’s shower, and, even though I’m five-two, I’d love to have a tub where I could stretch my whole body out, not just my legs. I see my six-year-old whole-body frolicking in the tub and I get a tad envious.

  4. Sometimes if you have a minor warp in a floor, you can soak the floor wet and then put cinderblocks or something really heavy and flat over the warped area and leave it for three or four days.

    Our new place was certified green construction – not sure what that really means, but it does mean our tub’s not huge. We also have low-flow toilets that may cause you some grief, given the discussion in your last podcast.

  5. Buy transparent 3M grip tape for the steps. I’ve used it on the last 3 houses I’ve lived in, plus my in-laws’ place. It has probably saved the dog’s life, and many peoples’ butts & backs.

  6. To fix sponginess, you must open up the ceiling below, then strap together the good wood and the bad. This can be done in several ways. My preferred method is plywood, half inch or thicker, covering all the exposed wood.

  7. […] most every afternoon. The proximity to Bayou St. John was nice, and I could go on, but I aired my complaints. I figured it would take a year before the sharpness of these pangs would ease. Now that it’s […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *