Bad home improvements, or, what were they thinking?

This is a corner of my kitchen. The faux brick along the wall going out of frame to the left is ok, I can live with that. But look at the space to the right of the stove, between the stove below and the microwave mounted above.

WTF? It looks like a poorly outlined map of Nebraska, drawn by a dyslexic. And it DOESN’T look like it was put there with the intent to finish the rest of the wall, maybe by an owner who died too soon or had to sell out on an emergency basis. It looks finished, sad to say. This stuff comes out from the wall behind it about half an inch or so. There is mortar on the wall and then these fake 1/4-bricks are pressed into the mortar.

My friends who know about home improvement stuff tell me that scraping it off will destroy the drywall underneath it. A couple have suggested slathering spackle thickly over it, essentially building a new wall over it. But the wall goes on for about thirty feet, straight through to my living room., and where would I stop spackling?

There are many worse things I can imagine being wrong with my new home - I never even noticed it when I first looked at it until my building inspector pointed it out - not that there was anything structurally wrong with it, but he’d never seen anything like it and neither have I.

Anybody else have wierd home oddities to share?

Could it be to provide a camouflage surface for grease and such to spatter off onto?

Hey! it’s a thread about my entire house. Or atleast half of it.

The back half of my house was added on, and I guess you could say it was an improvement because it added more living space. But:

The walls are not insulated.

The floors were carpeted directly on top of the sub-flooring.

There’s an exterior door in the smallest bedroom that’s on the same wall as the kitchen exterior door.

There’s another bedroom that’s HUGE. The previous owners decided to put the washer/dryer hookups in this room instead of the one that’s too small for anything.

Until we rewired, no more than 3 appliances could run at the same time, in the back of the house.

After moving in, in July, it didn’t take us long to discover that the outflow pipe for the toilet wasn’t actually attached to any other pipes. :dubious: When the septic system had been disconnected, to put the house on sewage, only the front toilet was connected because the original foundation was between the back toilet and where it needed to be hooked up.

Transporter accident. Another dimension’s reality is overlaying ours. Contact Geordi, stat.

[QUOTE=Boyo JimAnybody else have wierd home oddities to share?[/QUOTE]

Yeah, how about that couch that’s in the previous slide? :smiley:

The most obnoxious thing about our house was that some previous owner just painted EVERYTHING white. The walls, trim, ceilings and doors were all white. Fine, I guess he’s just not that creative.

But, it was a white-wash. There are these old light fixtures in there, and they painted over brass with white paint. Everything except the bulbs. They painted over the door-knob plates, and the lock-plates white. They painted the bannister white. EVERYTHING was white.

Now, you might think it was a coverup, but we were renting the place before we bought so the previous home-owners (who were planning on returning) apparently didn’t care that everything in the house was white. It was just how they had the house. I don’t think they were the painters.

Also, the bathrooms had original cast-iron tubs, and porceline tile floors and walls in them. Very nice looking. They glued a rubber floor over the tile and put in a “bathfitter” tub. It was pretty bad. It destroyed the tile.

Well, it wouldn’t look quite so weird if it went all the way to the ceiling. I can see why they did it – otherwise you’d have a lot of grease on the wall.

Replacing the dry wall wouldn’t be that big a deal, but you might have to take down the cabinets and microwave which would be a pain.

When I moved into my place, the kitchen was dark. Not run-of-the-mill dark, but dark. Dark pine cabinets. Dark red psuedo-brick linoleum on the floor. * One * hanging lamp and a couple of fluorescents under the cabinets. One small window. And, the coup de grace, dark pine * paneling * on the ceiling to cover up the old crumbling plaster. It didn’t look bad, per se, but any photon that found it’s way in died of loneliness. I was in the house for less than a week before I realized something had to be done – the result was about three years of renovation and remodeling.

Of course, in my naitivite, I thought it would be a few month's project.  Had I but known what it entailed, I probably would never have bought the house.

My husband and I just bought a house. One of the bedrooms was done in a pink/purple faux, which I guess could’ve looked acceptable. . .except for the fact that it was poorly done. You could see the three different layers of paint at the top, and the people who painted it got it all over the woodwork. One of the other bedrooms was done in a stenciled Noah’s Ark theme with part of the room done in blue/white stripes, which I guess is kind-of cool, but it’s just not my thing; it was hell to paint over that.

All that, though, pales in comparison to one house we considered buying. it was originally just a standard early-70s bilevel, but the owners had decided at one point to add a family room on to the back of the house. The house proper was painted/sided in pale yellow. The addition was bright barn red. The inside looked nice, but the outside looked like a glorified shed. Glad we didn’t buy that one, in retrospect. . .

It looks to me like they ran out of beer.

Regarding your posted issue, I’d tear out the faux brick, fill in the area with either a layer of 1/4" (yes that’s quarter inch) drywall, and blend to the existing wall plane. Then, I’d install a sheet of stainless over the drywall, because cleaning up from cooking spatter will be much easier that way, and you can hide the transition.

As far as misguided home improvements go, I’ve seen stuff that would curl your hair. My first house was a party house-the kids tore it up, but otherwise everything was original, as opposed to the other houses I looked at that day, all of which had something badly done that had to be demoed. Now I get calls from new buyers who need the semi-skilled rehab work made right, and it’s more expensive than a fresh start, because the crappola has gotta go. But hey-it’s job security for me. :smiley:

I bought my first house three years ago, and we are in Southern California, so the pickings were mighty slim.

The front of the house has brick facing of a thickness that limits the swing of the front door to about 80 degrees. Got a big package? Go around back.

There was a fist-sized hole in a closet door that had been covered with several strips of masking tape, then painted over.

The back and side yards were entirely covered by concrete about eight inches thick. We had the concrete in the back yard taken up, but you try growing grass on soil that’s been under concrete for 20 years. The neighbor told us that a previous owner had gotten sick of trying to get his lazy kids to mow the lawn. so he paved it over. He was even going to do the front yard, but the city wouldn’t let him.

An addition was put on, but the electrical system was never upgraded. All the lights dim whenever you turn on the clothes dryer. Plus, there are some “three-hole” plugs, but the ground terminal isn’t connected to any ground wire, because there is no ground wire in the system.

Cheap pocket doors were installed at some point. Pocket doors are a great idea - you get a loud, shitty door that, if it comes off the track or gets jammed, you have to tear out the wall to fix it. Plus, there is no place for internal framing in the wall the pocket door recedes into, so the wall has no stiffness. I replaced the molding around a pocket door and it was like beating a bass drum when I tried to drive the nails.

Those were some of the things that were done. I don’t even want to get in to what wasn’t done, but I will. The drywall is so old and full of patches it looks like a relief map of Central Asia. The front entry had no screen door and a big hole where the deadbolt was supposed to go. The floor has random missing floorboards (but hey, they’re under the carpet so you can’t see them). One bathroom had cracked tile over the tub/shower and the wall was so wet it was on the verge of collapse. The block wall in front was so weak I demolished it by pushing it over with my hands. The garage smells like the Sasquatch’s armpits, even after having been washed down with a power washer. I could go on.

Boyo Jim, I was in a similar situation with that fake brick stuff between our kitchen counter top and cabinets. Finally when we had had enough of it I wacked it off the wall with my wonderbar. It tore up the drywall paper quite a bit but the drywall itself was still sound. I troweled a layer of drywall joint compound over the drywall and let it dry. After smoothing it off with sandpaper I covered it all with ceramic tile. I did the tiling the day the Tennessee Titans lost the Super Bowl (to the Rams?) several years ago and it has held up just fine.

Looks to me like they ran out of bricks ! :stuck_out_tongue:

Those are some nice prints you show in the other photos. I also liked the rug, and the wood floors.

But … how about that light fixture in the foyer? :eek:

Hell, when my family moved into our current house we found:

-paint over wallpaper
-carpeting in the dining room NAILED into the floor (and not with carpeting nails or tacks, either)
-the hot and cold water in the kitchen was reversed
-no doors on any of the upstairs bedrooms
-and the ceiling fan in the living room was hooked up to an electrical cord. No lightswitch to turn it on-you had to PLUG the damned thing in. A ceiling fan. When we eventually had it taken out, my dad found out that little tube they had that ran from the ceiling to the floor, was made of WOOD. Great way to start a fire, asshat.

That is the best explanation I’ve seen, in fact the first as well. Everyone, myself included, merely said, “huh?”"

Hey, I picked out that couch. I have to admit, though, I did it kind of backwards. Most people pick their artwork to go with their furniture. I’m picking my furniture to go with the artwork. I’m turning my place into my owe little gallery, and I have more stuff ordered. The pieve of art on top eill be on a wall opposite he couch, The chair in the middle will be all the color of the orange swatch sitting on the middle cushion, and the bottom item will be my living room rug.

When I run out, I’ll start stripping off the brick.

Unfortunately, I have no personal skills at this, so I’ll have to hire someone like you to do it. I could do the demolition part, but not the repair work to follow.

I’m relieved to hear that the drywall might not be damaged enough to need replacement, though I suppose there’s no way to know for sure until I tear off the bricks. Since I never, ever cook, I’m not worried anout grease on the wall. I’m thinking about replacing the stove with a small fountain. :slight_smile: My friends tell me it will destroy the resale value, but I plan to live here till I have a stroke or die outright.

I think you mean this. Which I replaced with this.

Boyo Jim, you have some damn good taste in art. :slight_smile:

Do you mind if I ask where you got that large piece in your hallway and where you ordered the pieces you linked to in this thread? I’d like to check out what they have available.


Here’s an album of my collection to date… actually “pre-date”, because I haven’t even installed it all yet.

I got all the prints at a single store, called “Picture This and More” over several years. It is by far the best art store I’ve ever seen, and it’s right here in Madison. I understand there’s another store under the same ownership somewhere in Florida. That’s 3 on the kiving room wall, two more in the bedroom, and one in the hallway.

This is original “tapestry art” by a woman named Smadar Livne, whose studio is in Owings Mills, MD. It is not actually a tapestry because the production method is different, but I don’t understand the technical details. She recently opened a 2nd gallery in Highland Park, IL. Her website is here. I bought this piece three years ago at Madison’s “Art Fair on the Square”.

This last piece is another original piece I just bought Saturday at a local store called the Comfort Shoppe. It’s acryllic paint on wood, and it hasn’t even been delivered yet. I took the (rather poor) picture in the store. I don’t even know who the artist is.

This is a Milikin carpet design called “Caliente”. There are several design elements that don’t show clearly in the picture. This other rug is an Andy Warhol knockoff that I found online from a company called Sphinx This I just ordered yesterday, and I’ll get it in the next couple of weeks.

Thank you very much for the excellent information, Boyo Jim. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have.

I like all the art you have very much. I would have a hard time picking out a favorite, but the piece you bought last Saturday is stunning.

I think it’s great that you are furnishing your house around your art. It bespeaks an appreciation of and reverence for art that is quite exceptional. It speaks very highly of you, IMO, that you would choose to furnish your home in that way.

(I like your couch, by the way.) :slight_smile:

Many regards,

We had that gawd-awful Z-Brick on the lower half of our kitchen when we bought this place. We did remove a few, but there was a good bit of damage to the drywall. Not that big a deal for us since we decided to replace the drywall completely since we were moving a doorway and adding some wiring. But our brick was on two otherwise bare walls. On the non-bricked surfaces, we had Contac paper! Yellow and orange with mushrooms. Stunning.

How about things that look fine now, but you know you’ll regret in 10-15 years?

My sister has been painting over every wood surface in this house, including cabinets, moldings, pieces of furniture, a giant wine rack in our kitchen, etc. I’ve asked her repeatedly “This looks great now, but what about 10 years from now when you want to see all the beautiful wood underneath?”

To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than finished wood grain. Painting over this stuff is definitely something we’re going to regret.
I saw some odd stuff when I was in school in Virginia. One house my friends rented was just plain weird - the owner had put an addition on the back of the house and left the bathroom window in, such that you’d be sitting on the crapper and folks in the back room would see you squatting there on the throne. We used to make fun of that house because all the floors and ceilings were sagging - we used to joke that there wasn’t a single right angle in the whole house.

I lived in another house that was built in 1790 and was probably spectacular in its day, but completely trashed after a few decades’ worth of student renters. A living room on the ground floor had been converted into a bedroom by simply nailing 4x8 sheets of plywood over the large entryway and carving a small door in the plywood. Lots of improvised walls in that place. There were a bunch of terrific-looking moldings, mantles, wainscoting and beautiful trim pieces buried under decades of paint. I always thought it would be a great place to film a commercial for that “Peel-Away” stuff. I guess it never occurred to the owner to maybe strip some of this stuff instead of throwing a coat of paint on it every year.

No, no, I mean this. I think I have the matching bulbous table lamp. :wink: