Our House

I May Have Found My People

Last Updated on September 1, 2016 by Kristi Linauer

I’m sorry it’s been so slow in the blog this week! But behind the scenes, it’s actually been a very exciting week here at the house, and if things go as planned, I should start having more frequent updates for y’all in the coming weeks.

I’ve already shared that we finally got our attic insulated with spray foam insulation after living here almost three years (!!) without insulation. But in that post, I told you that I had other good news of progress to share, so here it is…

It looks like things are about to really get going on the breakfast room. Do y’all remember what this room looked like when we moved in? Let me refresh your memory…

Here was the view towards the back of the room…

Den 08 - resized

Those two windows look out into the back yard. Those are the windows that will be removed, and this back area will be walled off with a large door, and will serve as a pantry. The door on the left, which goes into the sunroom, will also be closed off.

And then here was the view going the other direction…

Den 04 - resized

Those windows are being replaced with new windows to match the ones I now have in the dining room. Remember when I had that wall between the breakfast room and the kitchen (on the right side in the picture above)?

Now that wall is gone, and that’s where my peninsula sits. This is the view from the kitchen towards the back of the breakfast room and the area that will soon be the pantry.

kitchen after - peninsula 4

And here’s the view from the kitchen towards the front windows (the windows that are being replaced with new ones) in the breakfast room.

kitchen after - peninsula 2

I can’t believe I’ve never taken updated pictures of the kitchen with the new opening from the kitchen to the dining room! Or if I did, I can’t find them. But that painting that my mom did for me is no longer there, and there’s a cased opening in that wall now that let’s in a lot of amazing sunlight from the front room (dining room) windows. I really need to get some updated pictures!


That was just a reminder of what I had to work with . It doesn’t look like that now. That breakfast room actually looks worse now, if that can be believed. I’ll try to get some updated pictures today to share at the beginning of next week, but things are about to start happening in this room.

Remember the floor leveling guy who stood me up? Not the one with pneumonia (he was great, but his company doesn’t do the work I needed done), but the one whose contact info I was waiting to get from the one with pneumonia. Anyway, I called him, he came out and looked at the floor, and said he was going to have to bring someone else (I think it was his uncle) to look at the floor the next day. Then he never showed.

Well, he and his uncle (I think) showed up out of the blue at my house on Monday. They both looked at the floor, and then decided it was a job for a concrete person, so they were going to have their concrete guys come look at it.

I didn’t expect anything, to be quite honest. I just went about my business, planning how I was going to level my floor all by myself. But the next day (this past Tuesday), the concrete guys actually called, scheduled a time, and came by that very afternoon! I was impressed with that!

Not only did they come by, offer great information, listen closely to exactly what it was that I wanted, but they scheduled a time to do the work. They’re supposed to be here tomorrow morning between 7:30 and 8:00 to get started!!

Tomorrow morning!!! I’ll have a level, non-cracked breakfast room floor by the end of the day tomorrow!!

Now don’t misunderstand. A level floor doesn’t mean a finished floor. I’ll still have to add the plywood on top of the newly leveled concrete, and then install the hardwood floor on top of the plywood. But it’s the concrete that has had me concerned and feeling a bit over my head. I know I could do it myself if I had to, but I’m perfectly happy to have someone else do it for me.

So they came on Tuesday, at the same time the insulation guys were here. When they left, I mentioned to the insulation guys what I was having done, and what still needed to be done in that room, and asked them if they knew anyone reliable who could do any of the work I still needed done (e.g., drywall, installing windows, etc.). One of them gave me a name and number, so I called and they came that evening!!

I was really impressed with them. There were two men, a father and son team, and only the son spoke English. My experience in the past has been that when pairs or teams of workers show up, and only one speaks English, then the non-English-speaking person kind of stays over to the side, quiet, not really participating much at all, like they’re more the labor person, and the English-speaking person is the decision maker.

Well, that wasn’t the case with these two at all. They were both very involved in the discussion of the project, the possible issues (like that awkward sloping ceiling), the different options, etc. And while I couldn’t understand him, the father seemed incredibly knowledgeable, which makes sense, of course. His son probably learned everything he knows about construction from his father. But the point is they both seemed very knowledgable, and they seemed to work really well together as a team, and I was equally impressed with both of them. As they would be talking with each other, I kept finding myself thinking, “I think I found my people!!

You know what I mean? My people! The ones I can count on and trust. The ones that I can call for a wide range of jobs, from framing to drywall and loads of things in between. The ones who actually know what they’re doing, and will always have a good solution to any problem that arises. The ones that charge a reasonable price and don’t see the word “SUCKER” on my forehead just because they’re dealing with a woman. The ones I can develop a long-lasting work relationship with that will see me through the completion of this fixer upper. My people!

Oh, how I want them to be my people. I have a really good feeling about them, and I’m so tired of being let down by subcontractors. But these men have already set themselves apart from the others because before they left, the son said that he would get me an estimate the next afternoon. And you know what? He actually did it!

He actually called me the following afternoon, just like he said he would do. He asked a couple more question, and had me text him a couple of pictures of things that he had overlooked. And within 15 minutes, he called me back with an estimate and discussed other various options with me that might affect the final price.

My people!! I’m so hopeful.

Anyway, I have lots to do today to get the breakfast room floor ready for concrete tomorrow. Things are getting exciting!

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 9:46 am

    That is wonderful, Kristi! I know your frustration……last year we contacted several contractors about replacing our deck. Same story as you, lots of promises and no shows. Finally a friend said he neighbor was a carpenter. He gave the contractor our number and he was at our house thirty minutes later. I didn’t expect much, but he was great! Wonderful ideas and a great work ethic. I mentioned some other work we were thinking of…….and, he ended up doing our kitchen, powder room and master bath! Those other contractors really missed out!

    Good luck!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Yeah! Happy for you 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Barbara H.
    August 19, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Oh, this is wonderful news. I hope all goes well and you truly have found your people! That will relieve a lot of stress in your life – perhaps a lot of it hiding in the background wearing you down even though you may not be aware of it. Fingers crossed!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 9:55 am

    That’s great news! I found “my people” a a few months ago and I’ll tell you, it makes all he difference in the world to be able to trust the subs!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Yay for forward movement. Finding reliable help is so darned difficult. Just as you were giving up, they just fell in your lap. Go figure. Good news all around 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a few weeks now. What brought me in was the finished pictures of your kitchen! The little lamps on the cabinets are so ME! 🙂 The little lamps brought me in, and I thought, I’m gonna like this blog and I do.

    I’m glad you found your people – it’s so important to have people you can trust and count on. Having been in the kitchen and bath cabinet business with my parents, I’ve seen and heard lots of horror stories similar to yours.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with the breakfast room. What I wouldn’t give to have a pantry! Oh, and I love your bathroom reno too! 🙂 Karen

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:06 am


    It’s so good to have peeps to count on… for good advice and reliable help…glad to see your faith in contractors restored!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon C
    August 19, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Awesome news and so happy that you’ve found ‘your people’. Let the breakfast room begin!!!!! So exciting for you!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Kristi, I might be as excited as you are to see that you are looking to get all this done .
    Now you have time to do your thing with the design of the pantry and the breakfast room.
    will you tell us what you decided about room layout again .
    happy for you.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I am so excited for you. Now you can work on other designing parts of the room.
    What are your final decisions for the breakfast room layout and the doorway of pantry?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristine Brown
    August 19, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Yeah!!! Woo hoo – sounds so exciting! Happy for you!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Wow. Awesome. God is Good 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Your blog today was a real upper and to think, just a few days ago, you were feeling so down and out! All this is going to get you back on track and back to the Kristi you had lost for a bit. So happy for you on all levels.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:36 am

    SO happy for you! I have been fortunate, found “a guy” who does everything except plumbing and electrical…and he knows “guys” who do those. He’s meticulous, won’t cover up an issue if he finds it which is a huge plus IMO. I provide a cooler full of ice and bottled water, they can put their lunch in my fridge and eat it in the kitchen. Yes, they can use the bathroom. All the guys have remarked that they put me at the head of the list because I treat them well. Just a suggestion.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Yeah! Glad things are moving forward for you with talented people you can count on.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Janet L.
    August 19, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Sooo happy that things are looking up!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 10:54 am

    I have so much enjoyed all of the things you have done to your house, but find myself most excited that you have found your people. I’m still looking, but I know they’re out there.
    Looking forward to seeing the progress.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I thought WE were your people!!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 19, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Y’all are my different sort of people. Y’all are my cheerleaders and pep talkers and insightful info peeps. 😀

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        August 19, 2016 at 9:23 pm

        You inspire me to get back to DIY.
        I have been dragging feet on projects. Not feelingin the mood to yours sounds exciting . And is a jump start for me. THANKS

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Exciting! So glad you have found people to do they “mundane” and physically exhausting for you. I’m sure the rest of your followers will agree…..we are anxious to see what you come up with in the breakfast room! It’s all coming together!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I’m so glad you’ve found someone you can count on! I’m a widow and over the years I’ve assembled “My Team”. Life is so much easier when we can count on good people to help us.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I’m so happy for you! I had a moment kind of like that on Monday. We’ve had a big oak tree down in the back field for a few months and I’ve been avoiding doing anything about it because I hate dealing with tradespeople and I’m just not a good wheeler and dealer, so I tend to get sucky prices and frustrated with the process. I also hate phone calls–would rather do most stuff online and tradespeople usually suck at using technology for their businesses.

    Anyway, on a whim (after my wife had Nagged me for months), I sent out a bunch of emails to some companies who had nice informative websites and either published email addresses or contact forms. I’m a web developer and I find it annoying when people put up a nice website, market it as a way to contact them, then don’t ever read their email. But I was willing to see who responded and follow-up with phone calls as needed. I even contacted one guy by Facebook because his primary web page was his Facebook page.

    Don’t you know the FB guy called me at 8am the following morning (the only one). Turns out he’s not an online guy, but his phone pinged him (FB Messenger) and he called back right away. He ended-up coming out that morning, gave me what sounds like a really good price, was flexible with me about what I wanted done, AND as we were chatting, I found out he had one of those big cedar swing set play sets (worth about $1500 new) that he was trying to give away. His kids had outgrown it. One of the trees took out my daughter’s swing set and I was going to build her one from scratch.

    So I’m getting a bunch of tree work done for a decent price, a free play structure worth at least $1000, and I now have my own “Tree Guy” (oddly enough, that’s the name of his business) that I can call the next time I need tree work and recommend to others. And, I know I can reach him online if I’m too busy to make phone calls.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rebecca B
    August 19, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Kristi, I’m sure you are the last woman that any male contractor/carpenter would take for a sucker. After talking to you for 10 minutes I bet they had figured out that you have quite a bit of carpentry knowledge. Glad you found your guys!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mrs Mike
    August 19, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Yay, I’m so happy for you!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon H
    August 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Wow! Hahaha, I actually found myself getting almost as excited as you are! That’s crazy awesome and I’m tickled pink for you. And dare I say how gorgeous that kitchen is? I love that green finish and the subway tiles….so sophisticated yet not pretentious. Nice picture too. I can hardly wait to see the progress begin!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sheri Hepworth
    August 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Given that you have quite a large line of faithful followers, giving out the names of these men after the jobs are done could mean their business goes through the roof!! I’m excited for you.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Kristie, I am so happy for you to find reliable contractors, I know how hard that can be. Like the septic installer, that said it was all approved and installed, and he hadn’t even installed the system not even the tank. He just scruffed up the surface and made it look like he did the work.

    I also adore your calico kitty, she reminds me of our kitty we grew up with.

    Wishing you all the best,

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Cyndi J
    August 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I’m so happy for you! (Kind of made me misty.) The first guy (the one with pneumonia) said concrete was going to be a problem over the cracked concrete. I’m curious as to how this time the concrete will work. Seems like if it’s done right (rebar or metal mesh), it should work (but what do I know!).

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 19, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      The first guy did warn about any new layers of concrete cracking, and the new concrete guys did as well. And they all said that using the new layer of concrete as the subfloor for my hardwood floor wouldn’t be a good idea since it could crack and shift a bit.

      But through this whole process of talking to one person after another, it was determined that using a new layer of concrete simply to level the floor would be fine, and much simpler and definitely much sturdier (on the final floor) than the original idea of building a grid of 1″ lumber as a base for the plywood and hardwood floor.

      So the purpose of the concrete is simply to level, but not to act as a subfloor. The plywood that goes on top will be the actual subfloor for the hardwood flooring, and will act as a “buffer” between the hardwood floor and the concrete. That way the plywood can minimize or eliminate any effect that the slightly cracking and/or shifting concrete may have on the hardwood floor.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Cyndi J
        August 20, 2016 at 3:27 pm

        Thanks for the explanation. It’s kind of like “it takes a village.” (I mean that in a good way.) One idea feeds off of another idea and builds from there. Sounds good. My late father (he died on Feb. 28 this year) was an architect and builder overseas (Guam and Palau) for 50 years. The past 7 years he was here in Florida and his knowledge was very underappreciated and went to waste. But he did some amazing projects for me (wall-stub pantry in the kitchen, cat door to the porch through 9″ of concrete and stucco). The last project was painting and organizing the garage. He probably would have had some ideas for you, too.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    David Cosma
    August 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    The kitchen certainly looks nicely done, but I’ve evidently lived long enough to recall the Hunter Green phase. I didn’t care for it then, and don’t like any of those darker green shades today. But we all have our preferences. That’s what keeps Sherwin Williams in the black. 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Whoo hoo! That is very exciting! I think it’s super sweet that Matt wants some of this done so that you guys can spend more QT together in the kitchen. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary Anne Looby
    August 19, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Bout time you hired out the grunt work and saved the finishing work for yourself. You, as a single person can handle the nice, fun and look what I did stuff. You show someone a concrete floor and say “look what I did” they will say wow, gee that is something (boring). Your readers want to read about your talents. See the way you do woodworking etc. None of us are going to be pouring concrete floors, and why should you kill yourself doing that stuff? It is so worth it to hire out the tug and lug stuff and keep the creative stuff for yourself. Good Job!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Cyndi J
      August 20, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      I’m not going to be pouring a concrete floor but I do find all of this construction stuff very interesting–more interesting than the fluff stuff on other blogs. So even though Kristi isn’t going to pouring concrete herself, I hope she does an in-depth blog post about it. I’ll read it. I like adding to my knowledge base even if I have no need (that I know off at the time) of the skill.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        mary anne Looby
        August 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm

        I expect Kristi will tell us how it was all done and probably have pics etc. I also appreciate the construction stuff, but isn’t a wall of bookcases, kitchen cabinets, building a pantry all part of the construction? I certainly don’t consider this fluff stuff. Since I do not subscribe to other blogs I don’t really know what you are referring to.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marianne in Mo.
    August 19, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    So, so glad that things are looking up for you, and that you may have found your “people”! They are a rare breed!
    I guess that when they do the concrete they will take into consideration what it going on top of it. I know you want a smooth transition from room to room for Matt.
    I do remember seeing that tiled wall gone in one of your posts. I know for sure I saw it midway thru you taking it down, before trim went on.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Marianne in Mo.
      August 19, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      September 9, 2015 post has the wall in transition, but not finished.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Marianne in Mo.
        August 19, 2016 at 3:34 pm

        Sorry! Sept. 10, 2015! Then Oct. 9, 2015 shows casing and floor patch.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 19, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Yes, I told them that I can’t have any kind of threshold or height difference in the floor, and we discussed the exact flooring and subfloor I’d be using.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 5:57 pm


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    So happy for you!! I went through the frustration of unreliable contractors when I was framing our fireplace surround. When I finally found ‘my guy’, it was just glorious! Things that were so difficult with the previous guy, suddenly seemed so easy. He listened, he explained, he took me seriously and didn’t overlook me simply because I was female. My only worry is that the reliable guy (who is just starting out) will get too busy!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 19, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I’m hoping you are right and they are your kind of contractors. Not only will you have someone dependable to call on, when you need, while finishing your house, but if you build a good relationship with them, you have someone dependable to recommend to others. If ever you decide to go back to working with clients, a list of reliable people who do good work, will be invaluable.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 20, 2016 at 3:27 am

    Great news! Now things will progress the way you expected. And a terrific feeling knowing that the tradies will work along with you. Looking forward to following the progress.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 22, 2016 at 8:33 am

    The first thing that strikes me about that room is how dark it is and without those rear windows it will be even darker. Have you ever considered sun tunnels or Solatubes? I can attest that one little tube adds a LOT of light.
    I am so happy for you that you found your peeps and are on your way. Sometimes everything just falls into place. Can’t wait to see your progress.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 23, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Doing a happy dance for finding “your people!” I absolutely know what you mean. It still shocks me how difficult it is to find people who are good communicators in addition to being knowledgeable and talented. My experience has been that so many people and companies out there for hire are one or the other! Anyway….thanks for keeping us all informed of your updates and allowing us along on your house journey! Much love and back to that happy dance….