When we first looked at our house, it was clear that the window in one of the upstairs bathrooms would need some work. Even through the storm window we could see the water damage, the rusted metal, the paint so bubbled and deformed that the latch couldn't catch, the rotted sill. The window is original to the 1929 restoration, as are most in the house. We didn't want to lose it. We want to restore it.
A month or so back, we had a representative of the Super-Duper Historical Restoration company out to assess the damage and give an repair estimate. The guy was very affable, very professional, very competent. He knew about previous work that had been done on the house, about the great attic collapse before our time, in which the ceiling had been so rotted out that the whole thing had fallen in. His company had done the repair work on that, and a good job it had been too. Indeed, the wallpaper is so fresh and clean upstairs that one feels the very air of 1910 stirring as you look at it. And a week or so later, the company sent us an estimate, neatly laid out on letterhead with clean graphics: $4700.
I don't even mind laying out that figure for the collective eyeballing of the internet, because it was so stratospheric that we were beyond being conflicted after we finished gasping for air. $4700? It is to laugh. Even after we asked for a reformatted estimate which assumed that we ourselves would do the refinishing work -- hey, I can strip paint with the best of them, but removing a window from the second story is a bit beyond my capabilities -- the ludicrous figure budged, but not enough.
Fortunately, about this time we were given the phone number of a guy the next street over, who has done restoration work in the neighborhood for years. He came over and chatted with Darwin about the house, the area, the work he's done around. I've seen his jobs in various homes. He knows the lathe, the plaster, the fixtures, the styles, and the local contractors. He bills hourly, and his estimate was thousands of dollars lower than than the Super-Duper guys.
Along with the window work, we're getting lights installed in the showers so we don't have to bathe in the murky shadows.
Maybe we'll have him put outlets in the library so we don't have to run the computer off extension cords. Three-prong outlets! The mind boggles.
After the window, the paint. The bathroom is tiled green, with a border of yellow tiles the same color as the wall (see under the tub, above). The walls are painted the same yellow as the tiles, which can be a bit... overpowering, not to mention dated. I love choosing paint colors, so much so that I'm paralyzed with indecision. The strong yellow afflicts me with an excess of choler, which may explain my irritability at bathing three splashing children at once.
(These photos were taken before we moved in and in no way reflect the cleanliness and clutter level of our lives.)