The House with the Blue Door

On June 1, I got a new house on a whim. It has a giant deck out back, a gorgeous master bedroom retreat upstairs with 30-foot high ceilings of natural wood. The whole house is flooded with LA sunshine. The back house used to be an artist studio, and is large enough to be renovated into a two bedroom guest house.

My little audio booth (still needs more sides and a top) in my master bedroom

It was a miracle to even win a bidding war for the place BUUUUUUTTTT it needed new plumbing, electrical, roofing, floors, central HVAC installed, a total kitchen renovation, a new master bath, a complete exterior paint, lots of interior paint jobs and deck staining, termite fumigation with a three-day tenting, and window coverings for its many, many windows.

All of this needed to happen inside of one month, because my former home, the townhouse on Maytime Lane, sold in one day. So I wouldn’t have had a place to live unless the contractors moved fast.

The master bath demolition

Rutilio, who used to just be my electrician back when we lived in the last place, also turned out to be a plumber. Then it turned out he could be a general contractor, too. So he somehow enlisted a team of people to solve the plumbing, electrical, assorted issues plus other dudes to demolish and retile my master bath and install central AC from scratch. 

Then, my friends with renovations under their belt introduced me to Jairo the cabinet maker, who built kitchen cabinets inside of a week, and Jorge the counter stone cutter, who was able to cut stone and install inside three days. Rafael my painter came in and worked for a couple weeks straight with his son Ronaldo. They were sometimes managed by my partner Rob because I was away in Seattle for some of this chaos. Rob tried to speak Spanish with Rafael since he’s pretty proud of his Espanol skills but then while I was out of town, Rafael texted me going, “Hey you know he can just use English with me, right?” BURN.

In the frenzy of getting everything done in a month, Rutilio and I ultimately ended up going through the rollercoaster of an intimate relationship — I actually wound up writing him a text one time saying, “Sorry I yelled,” and he got exasperated with me after my uncertainty about how I wanted my shower doors ended up costing him extra money to the glass guy. 

But, we made it! Friend Justin came in from Austin for moving weekend to caulk tubs and bolt children’s furniture to the wall and help me move, while Hot Rob brought us food and put together my new furniture. Our family’s longtime helper Yani was the clutch nucleus of the whole operation, making sure everything was packed, and unpacked, and even now she knows where every random thing is (today I needed very particular lightbulbs, for instance, and she remembered the ones we brought back from Korea). It was a gallant team effort. I’m so grateful for every single contribution, every human, who put their sweat into making this place liveable by the moment we moved in, like we were on some episode of an HGTV show, but with a dysfunctional band of misfits.

Justin at work on the deck

Rob on moving day

The glass guy as the master bath was near finishing

Isa and Luna’s wall

Jairo’s cabinets and Mario’s floors

By the time I sent off Justin at the airport, after a weekend of nonstop fixing and installing things for me, he said, “I want to say it was a fun time,” and then got out of the car. We did it, though! We did it!

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