To celebrate Halloween, we have a special blog today! Instead of our usual tips and advice, we’ve concocted a little short story to get you in the mood for the spooky season. While these accidents happened to real people, we have changed their names here to protect their privacy. We hope you enjoy this exaggerated version of events and take them into account when starting your own projects.
House of Horrors
Closing on their new house was one of the happiest days of the Smiths’ lives. They had gotten the freshly renovated home for a steal, and it was almost everything they had dreamed. From the spacious kitchen to the small granny flat in the backyard, it fit their needs to a T. Of course, not everything was perfect. There were heavy scuffs on the floors, an off putting chartreuse yellow paint job in the living room, and outdated light fixtures courtesy of the 80s. However, it was nothing a little elbow grease couldn’t fix, and certainly not enough to deter the couple.
Before they were even unpacked they started on their grand plan. Excited ideas were thrown back and forth over a takeout dinner eaten at the coffee table that evening. Mary would finally have room for her painting studio if they converted the unit in the backyard into her art room. Kyle would have the space to take on more orders for his catering company, along with the storage for new equipment. The possibilities for the house were almost overwhelming. However, nothing could have really prepared them for the coming weeks.
The Disappearing ADU
All seemed to be going well until about a week after their move-in. The letter was innocuous, except for the bright red IMPORTANT stamped across it and the return address to city hall. When Mary pulled it out of the mailbox she thought it might be one of those scam letters. It wasn’t. Her eyes skimmed down the page, a sense of dread growing steadily in her chest. As she walked back into the house she read it over twice more, hoping there might be a mistake.
She found Kyle hanging up winter coats in the closet and handed it to him wordlessly. The same progression of emotions crossed his face as he read the letter before passing it back, heading for their office to rifle through the paperwork that came with the house. After an hour of desperate searching, they both sat on the bed, completely dispirited.
The permits for the ADU weren’t there, and likely never had been. It hadn’t occurred to either of them to ask, the extra unit just seemed like an extension of the house and they had trusted the seller. After several calls to the real estate office though, it seemed as though they would never get answers on the subject.
Several emails back and forth with the city later, it was decided that the bulk of the fines would be waived if the structure was removed. The result was almost instantaneous. The unit outside was stripped down, thrown into a dumpster, and hauled away in what seemed like a matter of moments.
All that was left of the workspace was a patch of bare earth in the otherwise pristine yard.
The Cabinet Catastrophe
When the last cabinet finally closed, Kyle let out a small sigh of relief. After almost a full day of work, he had finally unpacked the last of the kitchen boxes. He took a moment to stand back, hands on his hips as he admired the neat stacks of dishes through the glass-paneled doors. It would be nice to eat off of real plates instead of the paper disposable ones they had been using since their move in.
That night they ate their first real meal in the new house. Setbacks aside, they were making good progress with the updates and that was worth celebrating. It felt like a new start, and it was one that they were both eager to take.
In the dead of night, a crash shook the house, rattling the windows and causing both of the Smiths to jolt out of bed. In the dead silence that followed, Mary felt a heavy dread settle in the pit of her stomach as Kyle inched for the door and peeked into the hall. They tiptoed to the staircase, vainly trying to remain silent on the creaky wood. Nothing seemed out of place as they eased down the hall. The living room was the same mess it had been for the past few days, and the entryway was still a pile of shoes and coats. It wasn’t until they got to the kitchen that the realization sunk in.
Vivid ceramic shards littered the floor, mixing with the sharp fragments of glass and splintered particleboard. On the countertops sat the bulk of the cabinets, their broken doors barely hanging on by the hinges. As if for comedic effect, a lone mug slowly slid off of the shelf, smashing into pieces as it hit the tile.
A brief glance at where the cabinets once hung revealed gaping holes where the added weight from the dishware had ripped them clear out of the walls. The exposed screws were anchorless, and a brief examination confirmed that they had all missed any wood beams that could have offered additional support.
With a wearied sigh, Kyle started down the hall for the broom closet. Sleep would have to wait a bit longer.
The Bathroom Surprise
The master bathroom had become the house’s saving grace. The double sinks, skylight, and clawfoot bathtub gave it an elegant feel. It was also the only room in the house they had been completely sold on from the beginning. The setup had been a breeze, and the medicine cabinet seemed to be holding up as it should.
After years of apartment living with small cramped bathtubs, the clawfoot was a dream come true for Mary. She finally had the room to utilize the backlog of bath bombs from various Christmas and birthday gift boxes. It was fun to watch the tub fill up and the bath bomb fizz and spin around, and she felt a little bit of her deeply buried excitement return.
Once she was in the water, Mary could feel all her worries melting away. The lavender-scented steam rose up from the purple water, helping ease the stress from her shoulders. She was so absorbed in having her moment that she didn’t notice the tilting tub until a loud crack and sudden shift jolted her back to reality.
The following ten minutes were a chaotic mess of wet towels, frantic mopping, and misdialed numbers. It was all they could do to keep the water from seeping into the bedroom carpeting. When the handyman finally showed up, the true extent of the damage came to the surface. Not only had one of the claws broken, but the flooring underneath the bathtub was also severely damaged. The linoleum in the bathroom was covering an old and moldering wooden floor that had most definitely seen better days.
Given the state of the bathroom, their handyman wanted to take a quick look at the pipes underneath the house. If something was out of order with the tub and flooring, it was likely that there were more hidden damages. Completely defeated by this point, the Smiths nodded silently and moved to the living room to await the verdict.
It took longer than expected for the handyman to come back, and the look on his face made Mary’s stomach knot up. Evidently, the pipes had never been laid for the bathtub. The water from the tub drained directly onto the dirt beneath the house, which would need to be fixed immediately.
The headache behind Mary’s eyes grew as the two men talked about quotes and pricing. It was going to be a very long afternoon.
Many of the mishaps in it are based on true stories, but the names of the characters were modified to protect privacy . Whenever you’re considering any sizable changes to the house, make sure to do plenty of research. If it’s something outside of your skillset, consider using BEYREP to match with a reputable contractor to collaborate with you and manage your project with peace of mind.