You Reek, Ah!


One would think after twenty years of being involved in every facet of the real estate industry, from design and renovation, to sales and redevelopment, I would be able to manage the execution of it all. And for the most part I do. Unfortunately, over the past week as the Spring Cleaning of my Button Factory loft exploded into a quasi full blown renovation, the trades stumbled over each other, projects faltered, and my own thoughtfully scripted renovation program collapsed. On top of it so did I. I flat out fainted, in a restaurant.

Whilst I was in New York for a week celebrating the arrival of Spring and Vince’s birthday, I had carefully choreographed the plumber, electrician, floor refinisher, painter and cleaner to finish their ‘Spring Cleaning’ jobs whilst the kitchen company completed the install of the cabinetry. It was an ambitious plan I’ll admit. And it almost went off without a hitch. The plumber changed the fixtures, the electrician added more outlets and lighting, the floor refinisher stripped and sealed the floors, the painter repainted the walls and the kitchen company sprayed the gables. Unfortunately, it all occurred at the expense of the cleaner finding the place devoid of other trades so she could actually tackle the task of getting rid of all the dirt, debris and dust. Alas, there was never the opportunity for her to clean it.

Bliss, for me, is returning from vacation to find an immaculate Home with crisp linens on a freshly made bed, a fluffy white bath sheet beside a sparkling soaking tub, and a pristine kitchen ready to make a pot of tea. Misery, for me, is returning to a full-blown renovation site thick with dust and a haze of fumes. Needless to say, it’s what I returned too. If you had been present, you would have seen a grown man cry.

What I didn’t process, in my dismay, was how the chemical fumes from all the trades made my Home a poisonous toxic soup. I lost my appetite, fell violently ill, and dropped a lot of weight. I spent parts of the week staying at friends whilst airing out my place and trying to regain my balance and sanity. I underestimated the state of shock my system was in, losing ten pounds within the week. Add one martini on Thursday and bang; you have a grown man fainting in a restaurant.

I’ll state what has become the obvious. Beware all the chemicals that accompany a renovation. Even when you subscribe to a ‘Go Green’ mandate your system is still being exposed to the unfamiliar, especially if you have a sensitive system or suffer for allergies. Stagger your trades so you’re not exacerbating the toxicity and provide ample time to air your place out. In my haste to get my place done I poisoned myself. Good Grief!

Stay tuned for more Rejuvenating The Button Factory about my unique urban home in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

~Steven and the urbaneer team

House And Home
Rejuvenating The Button Factory

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