House Update – Part One

I figured I should compile all the things in the house that need to be fixed instead of doing my usual Instagram Stories (twotwentyone) since a lot of the people who follow me on Facebook aren’t actively on IG. So that’s what we’re doing today.

The Porch Saga Continues

The porch, stairs, and private walkway are all being jack hammered out TODAY by Company B. (If you’re new here, this will be the second time the porch has been removed– the third porch on our three month old house. You can read more here.) Then the mason will have to come back and fix the brick. After that, they’ll re-pour the porch, steps, and walkway. And then finally, CROSSYOURFINGERSFINALLY, the porch, stairs, and walkway will finally be finished. I’ll probably do a Porch Saga Part Two post to wrap up all of that.

UPDATE: The porch demo has been postponed to October 26th due to the rain we’ve been experiencing.

Not necessarily porch related, but I always get questions on the front porch rugs. I need to get a bigger rug for on top because the size looks wonky.

But here’s the plaid rug (mine is 4×5) and here’s the Home Sweet Home doormat.

The Master Bathroom Shower

I’ve never cried so many ugly tears over a damn shower in my life. The master shower really deserves its own series like the front porch.

The tile in our master shower has been addressed a total of 3 times, post-initial install. Before we took possession of the house, all the tile surrounding the three windows was removed and replaced. And even though some of the tiles were clearly jacked up, they grouted over them anyway. So we had a guy came out to “fix” the tiles. I grew leery when I saw that he drove a paint company van. Like was he moonlighting as a shower tiler? Or did he moonlight as a painter? Anyway, he did a bad job of “fixing” the tile. So then a different guy came out at the end of August to “fix” the painter/tiler guy’s work. That didn’t go well either. Because why would it?

We finally told our builder, that Company A had had three attempts to fix it and make it right, and we operate by a three strikes, you’re out rule. So the other day the builder sent out a representative from Company B. I took the rep into the bathroom and said, “I’m going to let you take it all in. Tell me what you notice, and then I’ll tell you our concerns.”

He immediately noticed the bottom of our shower. The floor of the shower is bowing when you step on it near the drain. There are cracks in the grout around the drain. There’s a chipped floor tile. I’m assuming it occurred during one of the “fixes” when someone dropped a tool. And then there’s the tile, grout, and caulking issues on the walls and around the windows. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Note: This is the current state of the shower. I figured it’s kind of pointless to show past photos. Also, keep in mind we’ve used this shower for a total of 3 months, and we’re not aggressive showerers.

They cut the shower head hole too large and attempted to patch it. You can still see the patch job when the shower head cover is against the tile.

In conclusion, Company B is gutting the entire shower and doing a full replacement later this month. I’m assuming it will take at least 3 days (one day for each: demo, tile, grout). I’ve already spent 2.5 days stuck here while fix #2 and #3 were executed. While annoying, I guess I’m thankful I work from home so I don’t have to take time off of work to be here.

The Upstairs Bathroom Vanity Countertops

When I selected our bathroom vanity countertops, I went with Arctic White quartz because I wanted something simple. I remember when I made my selection that the design consultant said they’d been having issues with customers using harsh cleaners on these specific tops, resulting in damage. She suggested we only clean with soap and water. I said that’d be fine.

Fast forward to our final walk through and I noticed scratches on every bathroom vanity top. My guess is one of the trades scratched them up while working on the house. It happened with our kitchen countertop, which had to be replaced pre-move-in because it appeared that someone smoked the edge of the top with a tool, causing it to chip. So the entire 11 foot top had to be replaced.

Tip: During your final walk-through, make sure you touch EVERYTHING. You’ll look slightly deranged, but that’s how I noticed the chip.

The project manager said they’d get the countertop people out to buff out the bathroom top scratches before we moved in. Well, it didn’t work. The scratches were still visible, especially this lovely lightning bolt-shaped scratch on my bathroom vanity.

On August 23rd, the countertop guy came back out and attempted to buff out the scratches again. And as you can guess, it didn’t work. (The photo above was taken after the second buffing.) When I inspected the tops and told the project manager and countertop guy that the scratches were still visible, they said it’s normal to have scratches on the tops before move in. Excuse me? And that we’re most likely going to scratch them up anyway, so basically we should just live with it. Par-pardon me?

Now I like to compare this situation to a brand new car. If I buy a brand new car and the dealer rolls up to hand me the keys and the car has a bunch of scratches on it, I’m surely not going to hop in my new car and drive off into the sunset. Hell to no. I’m going to say, “I want a different new car, sans scratches. Kthanks.”

I was clearly upset, some would use the terminology ‘hot’, after that exchange with the old project manager and countertop guy. So I decided to email the design consultant because I feel like she and I are friendly and she listens to me. I won’t share my entire email, which was polite, but, I included this line: “If I knew these white quartz countertops were delicate flowers and would be scratched from the get-go, I never would’ve chosen them.”

Fast forward a week or so and I get a call from the design consultant, who did some digging. She was calling to inform me that:

Our bathroom countertops are not quartz, they’re Tuscan MARBLE.

Something I never in a million years would’ve agreed to put in our house. Because marble is a delicate flower.

Everyone at the builder was under the impression that the arctic white tops were quartz, from everyone in the design center to everyone in purchasing. And I believe the design consultant when she says that.

So, now all 4 countertops in the 3 upstairs bathrooms (master, Owen’s, guest) are being torn out and replaced with quartz. But I’m sure some damage will be done to the drywall in the process so we’ll also have to have drywall and paint back out as well.

The Millwork

The millwork needs to be addressed in multiple places throughout the house, mostly in regards to the window casings.

The edges of many of the windowsills weren’t sanded. Instead, they just painted over the rough spots. Because why take the time to run a sander over it?

There’s also a lot of paint chips that were also painted over.

During our final walk through, I asked our old project manager if what you see below, which is what multiple casings look like in the house, could be addressed. And I was told this was the best it was going to get.

The Staircase Newel Posts & Balusters

One day I was looking over at our staircase newel post and noticed the that sheen of the stain looked off. The top of the newel post appears to be coated in glossy stain, while the rest is done in a matte finish. Well, besides the random section of glossy stain. Furthermore, the railing is done in the glossy stain, while the balusters are stained with a matte finish.

So our new project manager said that they’ll need to be sanded and replaced.

The Stairway Wall

One morning I was walking through the house and was caught off guard by the sight of this wall. You can really only see how badly it looks at a certain time of day when the light hits it just right, which is why it took me a while to notice it. So this wall will need to be redone. And in case you didn’t know, drywall dust is a SOB, so I’m really looking forward to this fix.

FYI, the wall isn’t supposed to be appear to be textured. All our walls are supposed to be flat.


We’re having a new toilet installed in the downstairs half bathroom because the current toilet always seems to get clogged. Our project manager looked at it and said the toilet was most likely over-glazed during production. I was so afraid people were going to overflow the toilet at Owen’s birthday party that I put a framed sign next to the toilet that read, “This toilet is delicate. Please don’t overwhelm it.”

The project manger is stopping by today to check out a dip I noticed in the flooring between the kitchen and Owen’s playroom.

And in case you’re wondering, no, we most definitely are not paying, monetarily, for the all of fixes on the house.

In Conclusion

I’d by lying if I said all of this didn’t bother me. Trust me, I’ve sworn like a trucker-pirate hybrid. I’ve cried. A lot. Because I automatically cry when I start to feel upset or really pissed off. I’ve felt overwhelmed. Depressed. To top it off, I’ve been dealing with it all while pregnant. Meaning I haven’t felt the best, and most unfortunately, I haven’t been able to drink.

There have been times that I’ve wanted to give up and just live with things, but then I remind myself that it’s not acceptable. I wouldn’t accept a scratched and dinged new car, why would I accept a scratched and dinged new house?

I think the worst part of all is that we were so excited to build this house. We worked our butts off to get out of $125,000 of debt, save, and fix up our old house so we could sell it for a decent profit in order for us to be able to afford this house. I drove to the house and checked on the progress of it almost every evening during construction. I spent hours upon hours going over the layout, lighting placement, and design choices. And all this, pardon my French, sh*t has sucked all the joy out us when it comes to the house. I should be looking forward to designing rooms. But I just don’t feel like it. Because the house feels unfinished, unsettled. And it really sucks.

And I was really looking forward to creating and sharing my home building series, but I’ve been so disenchanted that I just want to say “DON’T BUILD A HOUSE! IT’S NOT WORTH IT!” I’m hoping I come around though. Because I really want to share the things I learned. I’m just not in the mood right now, and hopefully you can understand that.

In conclusion, we’re very hopeful, come November all of this is will be behind us because the trades will come in and get things done right so we can all move on. And we have a lot of faith that our new project manager will be able to effectively coordinate and manage everything.

I also wanted to say thank you again to everyone who’s been supportive and written comments and sent messages and emails. While I know I haven’t had time to reply to all of them, please know that I’ve read them, and I really appreciate it.

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  1. Wow! I’m proud of you for not burning down the builders headquarters because after reading all that, at times I felt like that was the only logical thing to do ? Your home is beautiful but I agree about not settling and forgetting about the issues. In the end, I bet you’ll be so happy with how persistent you were. Maybe get yourself a massage instead of a drink – you deserve it 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us (it’s a nice distraction from the news)!

    1. Haha! That would a sight. Yeah, I think we’ll be happy once it’s all said and done– correctly. And I totally agree about the massage.

  2. Brittany Merth says:

    As you know, we used the same builder, but we bought a spec home. Even on a spec home they did a better job with the bathroom tile, but it is NOT a top-notch job. The grout lines are so messy, and the tile cuts and grout lines around the window in the second bathroom are AWFUL. I hope they fix everything for you guys.

    1. Well I’m glad we’re not the only ones. It just sucks when you pay money for a product and have normal expectations and things are vastly under-delivered.

  3. Rachel Steck says:

    I feel your pain, I would be pee-eye-double-essed over all of this. A string of obscenities would constantly flow from my mouth. I’m so sorry this has taken the fun out of having a new home but I hope things will be resolved quickly and correctly without anymore trouble. Please keep us all posted. My husband and I are planning to build in a few years so I will take note from your experiences and know that to watch for. Hang in there! #fixitJesus

    1. LOL I instantly thought of Phaedra Parks with the #fixitJesus. I’ll definitely keep everyone posted because many are clearly enthralled with my house sagas. Hah!

  4. Emily Dudley says:

    Wow. I’m so so sorry you have had to go through this, especially while pregnant!!!! I think I’d be too angry to even write about it like you did but you are a strong a** woman and thank you for not settling! You will get it all fixed and behind you soon!

    1. Aw, thank you! I mostly want to share our story so others aren’t pressured or bullied into settling for things in their new builds, or even when they have contracted work done to their homes.

  5. Wow what a mess! I’m sorry you have had to deal with all this because you’re right, building and moving into a new house should be super exciting and amazing once it’s done! Some of the mistakes you have in your new build look like issues we see in our 25+ year old house! That should not be the case with a brand new house. Good for you for seeing that everything is fixed completely and not being satisfied with subpar work. I can be a bit timid about things, always wanting to say “Oh it’s fine” but I need to take notes from you – you are so right in standing up for yourself and demanding a properly finished house! Good luck with everything! 🙂

  6. Kirstie M says:

    Chelsea, Im sorry youre going through this! I work for a top notch remodeling company and none of these things would fly with us-people would get fired over this shoddy work, and how in the world did you end up with MARBLE?! That is super shady, that was not an accident and honestly it doesnt look like marble…maybe cultured marble? I’d do some investigating and see who tried to scam you!
    One of the most frustrating things for us as a remodeling company is that when people have a bad experience, they dont stand up for themselves or share the bad experience so that others can learn from it! Blast that bad builder (did I miss where you posted the builders name?)! Tell everyone your bad experience so the builder loses business, and they are forced to up their standards. This is unacceptable in a remodel or a new home!

    I hope this gets resolved for you quickly. It’s a beautiful home!

  7. I feel your pain! Often the biggest part of a project (oh, I don’t know…building a house?) is the easiest part. It’s all the nitty-gritty finishing details that wear you down. It would be fun to just focus on designing each room (what better place to funnel the maternal nesting?), but instead you get to focus on less fun stuff. You will do a fabulous job though. I congratulate you on your persistence! It takes a lot of energy to keep pushing for the outcome you should be able to expect. Go Chelsea!

  8. I really feel your pain Chelsea! We didn’t build a house, but we did buy a fixer-upper and we have had the same trouble with our contractor! We have actually had to go back and finish the issues on our own. I wish we had built and that way I could actually tell the builder to fix it! Hang in there! Once everything is fixed you will feel better. (it is a beautiful house that you have!)

  9. I am so sorry that you are having to deal with all of this. Keep at each of these contractors because everything you pointed out is just plain horrible workmanship and not professional at all.

  10. OMG! Sending a huge hug your way! Not that I’m from the States, but I agree with the remodeller that commented, that you should post the name of the builder. Our builders in Ontario overall are no better. And, you would think that with nothing but their reputation to rely on they would be striving for perfection in every job. Give ’em hell! Then you will be ready to nest and show us all your wonderful Christmas decorating!

  11. Oh, girl, I’m so sorry! You have had a hell of a time! The squeaky wheel usually gets the grease but I think you have
    been royally screwed! Your community needs to know the name of this inept company so future disasters could be avoided. Hang in there – try to breathe and think about the baby and not the house!! Prayers!!!!

  12. Unbelievable. I am so sorry that you have had to endure this mess, this should be a fun exciting time for you guys. Random question do you know if these different trades are union or non-union?

    1. Unfortunately, Indiana is a right-to-work state so I don’t believe most of the trades are union. I also have a good feeling most of the tradesmen didn’t attend any formal training in regards to their craft.

      1. We have noticed builders hire the cheapest workers they can so they have more profit. What the builder doesn’t realize in the end it costs them more in the end if a customer is not satisfied. We feel so sorry for you folks of what you are going through it just is not right.

  13. Ugh! I feel your pain. We moved in to our new home one month ago and are going through the same things. Sometimes I feel silly complaining about minor scratches or poor paint jobs, but then I think about how much we paid for this house and how there is no other circumstance where I would accept damaged BRAND NEW goods! It makes me so mad that the companies think they can get away with it because people will just live with it. I’m so ready to just live here and not have to keep taking time off to meet with every plumber, electrician, painter, sander, and tiler!

    Just think though, soon this will be behind us and we’ll have gorgeous new, perfect homes in which to grow old and gray!

  14. Your home is beautiful!! We moved into an old farmhouse two years ago and our progress is going so much slower than planned!

  15. I’ve been following your blog for a short amount of time, and this is my first comment!

    My husband and I are in the process of building our first home (the hole was finally dug yesterday).
    Fun fact, our house number will be 221(two-twenty-one)!!

    I wanted to give you some support and say hang in there! I would most definitely be on top of them for not doing things 100%! That shower is GORGEOUS and you should expect that the work done in it would be worth your money. All the issues you’re having I would notice and it would drive me crazy!

    I know (from others advice) to make sure you are present all throughout the build in order to catch mistakes & shoddy work. But reading your recent posts have made me realize that if something isn’t right after move-in, to speak up!

    Hoping your home is up to par here soon 🙂

  16. Jessica Fox says:

    I so hope they get all the issues resolved for you soon. I too would be so excited to build a new house and totally understand your feeling about the quality of work. Know that not all builders have such poor integrity when it comes to the quality of their work. I hope that you eventually are feeling up to sharing the process with us. Sending positive wishes your way!

  17. Alison S. says:

    I’ve been following along since the beginning Chelsea! That “textured” wall is seriously the worst drywall job ever. Insanity!!! That alone would piss everyone off. Sadly not a lot of people take the CARE and time to do something right – even when it’s their only job. Hopefully the trades who did these piss poor jobs get a reality check. Good luck. It will get better!!

  18. OMG!! Reading this, my PTSD from 24 years ago reared it’s ugly head. We built a home LONG DISTANCE. I flew out a couple of times, but there were so many things once we moved in. I was still getting it fixed 10 mos later. This was in New Mexico and the men in construction were sexist patronizing pigs. Anyway, I digress. We’ve only ever built once and since then, we bought existing homes. We moved here 20 years ago when my husband retired from the Air Force. “Here” being Provo, Utah. I told him then that my next move would be to the City Cemetery, and I meant it.

    And don’t even get me started on realtors. . . in 24 years, we bought 4 homes (the other times we lived on base or rented). I visibly cringe when anyone mentions realtors, aka Lowlife Bottom Feeding Scum Suckers. Yes, I’m still bitter after all this time. Lucky for me, I won’t be moving again. We have some major reno to be done (kitchen) and I will dog the contractors. I’m retired now, with nothing but time. 🙂

  19. You have put up with a hell of a lot there!! I agree that it is not acceptable either. Houses are meant to feel like homes and trust me when I say that I know a good chunk of what you are feeling from first hand experience… Well done for sticking to your guns here and best of luck – even though you may not feel like you’re being inspiring right now, you are = ]

  20. I’m so sorry that you are going through this! I follow your instastories and thought that they were funny a first, until the poor workmanship continued on and on. Now I just feel stressed for you. We had an addition put on our house last year. It was the most stressful experience of my life. We had several issues with our contractor mainly due to how LONG the process took. We stuck with him though because we knew from past work that his finish work is meticulous and that’s just so hard to come by. I hope things are settled for you soon and you get the outcome that you deserve!

  21. Karen Simon Peterson says:

    I’m so sorry you are going through this unbelievable, incredible hassle. Sadly, there are many people out there who have never heard of taking pride in their workmanship. This is obviously costing your builder money. You’d think they would make sure the repairs are done right – that porch! I’m praying that they get it right this time so you can finally enjoy your beautiful house.

  22. What an awful time you have had! One suggestion since you are having to have the tile redone – make sure they seal the grout lines. Our builders did not seal ours and it gets moldy especially in warm weather. Hang in there! You will love it once it is all done.

  23. Oh my gosh, this isn’t terrible! I’m stressed out just reading about it! So sorry you’ve had such a bad experience.

    1. *is terrible. Most definitely. 🙂

  24. That is some sad situation to be in. We also bought a new house 2 years back from TOLL BROTHERS. They had quite a good reputation in the market so we thought they will build a good quality home for us. But they cheated through out the house putting very cheap items in the house (not talking about design items). They did a bad job of grading and landscaping in the back. They did not tell us that so we put a fence and some garden beds. So now the water is retaining in the middle of the back yard. When we called the VP of the house projects, he came out and informed us that we put the fence in a layout where it is restricting the water flow ( both Lowes and Home owners are not informed us) and now we are paying the price. Most of the people are asking around 7k to fix this issue. Good quality homes are GONE from the American market. People started cheating people 🙁

  25. carol plant says:

    i get stressed just reading about this mess never mind living through it – im sure you were so excited to move into your new home and now a lot of that joy and excitement has been taken away from you – i hope everything gets resolved soon for you especially with the holidays coming up – im sure you dont want to be dealing with this stuff then – i must congratulate you on your patience – you have way more patience than i do – i would have completely lost it on them by now – i truly hope you can enjoy your new home (and pregnacncy) soon – hang in there xo

  26. Vickie Stewart says:

    These problems all start with court systems which will not punish bad builders and put them out of business. And the municipal building inspectors should stop all of these practices cold, but most inspectors look the other way.

  27. Oh Chelsea I am not sure how I stopped getting your updates but somehow I did. Just reading your saga and it reminds me of EXACTLY, minus the prego part, of where I was at last year at this time!! We had the WORST project manager for our home. At one point he just looked at me and said well at least you have a structurally sound home. Grrr. I let off quite a few F bombs to my hubby over our build as did he. We too checked on our home daily and even lived only a few houses away from our build after we sold our home. We were told that was part of our issue that normal people do not check on things every day! Ha! Our new home was our dream home and it turned into nightmare. We still have things that are not how we feel they should be. Like you we feel things should be perfect just like a new car but they aren’t. Here we are a year later and a lot of the trim work needs all recaulking, the grout in our showers are already chipping away, and while doing DIY projects I am finding even more things I had not noticed during our final walk thru. I have just learned to laugh and roll my eyes. I fix most of what we find because well the subs did crappy work to begin with so I can not expect them to fix anything. They seriously had to redo a stop dish 5 times in our boys shower!! 5 times! Then while I was cleaning it recently I noticed that the pieces they used are not even the same color white. So anyways, I feel ya! Totally feel ya and sending good vibes your way girl!

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