Our first condo

RENOVATIONS

Sometimes the owners are distraught after losing their property. However, when we won that first bid, it wasn’t the owner who showed any emotion, in fact we never saw anyone or heard any complaint, but it quickly became evident that the renter of that condo was resentful about losing his home. Apparently he was a trim carpenter.

For those of you who don’t know, a trim carpenter is often revered as the most skilled craftsman in the building trades. He or she cuts and installs all the trim work around floors, doors, ceilings, and walls. Without trim all you have are rectangle and squares. No decoration — no cracks concealed. This takes meticulous and exacting work in which the slightest error in measurement, angle or cut can be costly.

I bring up his job/skill because of the condition in which he left the condo. In a word,

Excellent.

No broken furniture, no mounds of dirty clothes. It was clean. Empty.

Of course, this means that he took everything he owned. EVERYTHING!

Including all the trim . . . and the flooring.

He must have bought the material and laid the floors himself, for, when we got to the condo, there was only concrete beneath our feet. He also must have made and installed all the trim, because, after examining what little he left behind, I could tell that it was all custom-made. From the imprints left in the corners where the walls met the ceilings, it was evident that the crown molding was very wide and expensive. Those rooms were probably beautiful at one time. I heard that he was a nice guy; from the care with which he removed all trim and flooring, I believe them.

But it did create a dilemma.

Should we try to restore the custom-made door and window trim? How about the crown mold and solid, high quality doors (some were missing)? And should we re-lay the floors with the highest quality material? Now that we’ve been flipping for a while, this decision might be obvious, but at that time I saw myself as a trim man of sorts, and, actually being a teacher, I had the whole summer to fix it all up. I followed the example I had from the few pieces he left behind and custom=made all of the new trim I installed. I bought the wider crown mold and installed it throughout the entire condo. It took me all summer and then some. Since the trim was all custom, any time I misses a measurement or angle, it cost dearly in both time and money.

The big question may be, Did I do a good job?

Let’s just say that most trim-men would have found the completed product acceptable. Not the process, the time, nor the cost.

Would I trim out an entire residence now? No. That was an act of egotism, not good business.

MY Conclusion: Don’t do what someone else can do cheaper, better and faster. That’s just plain ol’ good advice.

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