Journalist, Author & Detroit-Home Renovator

Construction Begins…Finally!


We’re off!

There’s actual progress on the house. Progress that you can actually see! Yesterday the demo started on the interior, with the old lathe and plaster coming down.

So we finally have new project photos! I could only get some quick snaps of the first floor, however, because my contractor really didn’t want me in the house without boots and a hard hat (as opposed to my kicky summer sandals). He was afraid I’d step on a nail or break my ankle.



pileofsticksIhallway have to admit, if Matilda was in this condition when we first saw her, I would have walked away. I know it’s all part of the process, but this messy, crazy phase is a bit overwhelming. It’s like you are walking into a house that seems to be falling in on itself — even though it’s really just shedding its skin. And really, all it takes is some big dumpsters and a lot of cleaning, so it shouldn’t be that frightening. But man, it’s a sight.

It was a bit weird showing up at the house today just as the team was getting off work. I said hello and realized I’ve spent my lifetime on the “contractor” rather than “homeowner” side of the conversation. I wanted to say, “No, I’m one of you. I get it. You don’t have to treat me with kid gloves,” to the guys jumping into the back of a truck to go home for the day. But, of course, to them I just looked like Boss Lady. The same as so many women have looked to me.

When I would help my ex-husband with his contracting business in Denver, you’d be surprised how poorly some homeowners treated me. I was just the lowly help, not even entitled to customary courtesy they reserved for the contractor. A woman once ordered me to mop her floors because my ex had tracked in dirt on his way to clean up her backed up sewer. I was just there bringing him lunch on my way back to work!

But I digress.

It’s been a trip down memory lane with all of the piles of debris everywhere. When I did this same project in Denver, my ex and I did the demo ourselves with some gracious help from friends and family. It is dirty, nasty, time-consuming work. And, in fact, I learned that I’m allergic to plaster dust. So having this demo done for me at Matilda feels like the greatest luxury in the world.

I guess that’s why I want the guys to know how much Karl and I appreciate them.

2 Responses to “Construction Begins…Finally!”

  1. Dad

    If you want to show your appreciation to the help you can always have a Bar-Be -Que at the end. I don’t know how many times at the end of a good job we would have one. I didn’t always have money for a bonus. I also know countless times your mom would show up with payroll checks on Friday and with the goodness of her heart would bring a hot home cooked meal for the crew


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