Brick, Brack, Broke

I had been socking away savings and inching toward choosing a mason contractor to do the brickwork when one morning I walked out to go to work and noticed what you see here.

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The bricks had started falling out of the wall.

Now, I bought this house knowing that it needed major brickwork. Got a few thousand knocked off the price as a result of hiring an excellent house inspector and standing my ground with the previous owners during negotiation time. So actually getting it done should have been a relief, right? Ha.

Severe foreshadowing should have resulted from the contractor who drove up to give an estimate in his Mercedes convertible, which he left double-parked in front of my house while he was here. His estimate was way too low to actually include fixing anything.

Then there was the company from the burbs, which would prbly have done a tip-top job but would have cost me a year’s salary. So we went with a guy whose estimate was at the high end of the middle and who sounded like he really knew what was going on.

Below is the view out my kitchen window while the work was going on. My kitchen is on the second floor. I was not used to seeing guys outside my window while making coffee.

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I have a lot to say about the whole contractor experience. But in the interest of having a relaxed evening and maybe finishing these pages this year, I’m not going to get into it now. Comment if you want to hear more.

This job included tuckpointing of all the show brick. Which called for scaffolding all over the place. Which was annoying when it stayed there for months on end, even though it was supposed to be gone and the job done. But this did allow me to strip and refinish the old painted wood moldings around the windows. Much more lovely than the aluminum stuff that was slapped up to make the place more white and easy. White and easy is just not my style.

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And as you can prbly tell, scraping the old paint off of here was not too easy. Not only old and multi-layered but leaded and quite stubborn. The wood underneath was just beautiful, though. I almost wished I could just stain and varnish it like inside woodwork.

By the way, what’s weird about the last photo is that all the yellow detail brick is removed. The common building brick is ringing the window frame.

After the tuckpointing, lots of red mortar stains were left on the sidewalk. Mr. X doesn’t mind, though.

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And I ended up with dark-violet moldings, which I love, but the Mexican woman who walked by said it was the color of death. She preferred the fuschia-colored primer that was up for a few weeks before I painted. And I thought that primer color would drive down the property values. Go figger.

[Edited in 2007 to point out we made a horrible mistake in leaving the primer up for weeks. Primer needs to be painted over within a few days—not weeks. We now need to touch up the window trim every year because we didn’t read directions thoroughly and research this aspect of the project—augh!]

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Beforish (the damaged walls were being hidden by those massive poodley bushes)
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Afterish
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Hate the brown door.

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