Friday, September 19, 2014

grooming the girls’ room

It took six months, a broken friendship, a worker who pissed and shat on our toilet floor, a total rip-out of a bad job done and many many weeks of mess. The arduous journey to the girls’ room is finally complete.

It was overdue. Jo the Organized One desperately needed her own space. The old room was a temporary solution of stand-alone pieces which had outlived its usefulness. Everytime they saw “Groom Your Room” on TV they sighed and looked at me with big hopeful eyes.

I remember long ago that I wanted to do up the girls’ room in time for their birthday in March. The removers came in February, and actually took away all the furniture.


The room was left filled with books and toys for six months (like above) as we had to get our act together, an act which was constantly disrupted by work and inertia (I really didn’t want to move all the girls’ stuff into my room) and the fact that the girls’ room was far from as simple as Day’s.

I thought long and hard: Each girl needed her own space. Each girl is very different from the other, best if they don’t share space. The room was small. We don’t have much floor space. But we did have high ceilings. I thought, beds on a platform, study space below. One side for each girl.

We called in the contractor, the guy who did our kitchen and who had become a friend of mine (he talked about how he broke up with his girlfriend to focus on his business, and asked if he had made the right decision, it was that sort of friendship). He said ours was a small job but he’d do it as a favour (the next time anyone does anything for me as a favour I’ll say No Thanks.).

It took months of to-ing and fro-ing. Finally the two carpenters came in early August.

Both Malaysians, Chap A, a strapping young hulk, and Chap B, a stringy lean fellow.

They said they’d take a week.

Strange week it was. After several days, Jo thought Chap B was very strange, he kept using our toilet every 30 minutes. He switched on the light every time, and never switched it off when he finished. Jo would switch it off for him. We found cigarette ash on our living room floor. Then KK realized that one of the chaps was spraying pee all over the toilet floor. And woe the day I discovered a wet brown meringue on the floor. I quietly wiped it up without rancour. I thought the guy might have had some disorder. I just wanted the guys to finish up and scoot so we could relieve the messes and get on with our lives.

But they couldn’t because when KK saw the completed works, he was livid.

Most times he’s like a stone, nothing gets to him. But once he heats up, he’s lava.


The wood laminates were already starting to pop out, the edges were rough and raw (the kids scraped themselves on it several times), the electricians spoilt some equipment, and worse the dimensions were wrong. The passage leading up to the girls’ bed was so narrow Chap A could barely squeeze through, and Jo literally slid down the steps – scraping herself down the raw edges – because each step was too narrow. I hated it too, it was a huge chunky gray monolith. (But I would have lived with it if I had to.)


Chap A and B, and their boss, came by to slug it out with KK (by this time I had retreated the ring, I’m never one for fights. KK gladly took over). They took another week, tried to save the steps. But nothing else was salvageable.

My friend by this time was gabbering about how he did the job as a favour, which turned up KK’s temperature even more because a job is a job. You don't use cheap carpenters just because our job is now too small for your growing business, even if its a favour.

We left it hanging. He stopped speaking to us, we stopped speaking to him.

KK got in another guy. Ripped the whole thing out. (yes another round of hammering and drilling and dust) And put up a new and improved version.

* Day's bed in the corner. He now thinks his own room sucks but the girls refuse to let him touch their beds.



* Wider, safer, smoother steps

Did we lose money? Not really. Put simply, my ‘friend’ charged us $10, we paid him $5 as a deposit, didn’t pay the rest, the second guy charged a total of $5. To remove the offensive carpentry and then do exactly the same thing. The 'favour' was an expensive one.

The girls are of course in love with the room. Everybody wants to live in the room now. Day is extremely jealous. And I tell him very seriously: You know, Day, you remember how we worked on your room? We put a lot of heart and soul into it, we had fun, and that’s what makes your room my favourite room in this house.

Truth. The girls’ room, I’m glad we didn’t lose money and I’m glad everyone loves it, but the journey wasn’t great.


Anonymous said...

New one looks so much better.

Pm_babe said...

Hi sorry to hear about your bad experience. I must say the new one looks both aesthetically better and practical. I like that the gave it a slanted base and also have a cutout panel to allow more light into the desk area. I'm on the lookout for a affordable and reliable contractor and hope you don't mind sharing the contacts with me via email. Thanks in advance!

Dee.. said...

why didn't you ask for recommendations over the blog? It is hard to find a good carpenter nowadays. I have a good one to recommend. Good on you for not using those ready made ones from the Norwegian company. Cos the book shelf bends after half a year!

Sher said...

we THOUGHT he was reliable, cos he did a v good job with the kitchen. now i know its bec he was starting up and very diligent and ON.
i would have liked to use the ready made ones but yeah, the bed we got for day is already all wonky.
thing is, furniture we got from there in the 80s is still holding very well.

Anonymous said...

Aiyoh another friend of mine is having contractor problems too. But the 2nd version is beautiful! I love that the design allows for floor space to sprawl on as well. I may copy this, hehe! ;P - June

Sher said...

yes it does give us a lot of floor space! although if u notice, there is no wardrobe space.... once i chuck in the wardrobe alongside the wall facing the beds, there goes my floor sprawl.