DIY, Meet PIY.

Sometimes, you don’t want to do it yourself. And when it came to installing a second twelve-foot sliding glass door in our living room, we went with PIY, instead of DIY.

Here's the backyard before we moved in. Note the lack of toys, and also the lack of toys.

Our two main reasons were:

  1. Cutting a large hole in your house is inconvenient, and we wanted it done quickly.
  2. Cutting a large hole in your house is risky, and we wanted it done correctly.

My dad, of course, insists he could’ve done it, despite being in his late 60s. I’m sure he’d have done a reasonably good job, and for a lot cheaper than what we spent, but it would’ve taken six weeks and we would’ve had no legal recourse if, say, he totally bolloxed the job. So we went through all the steps of hiring a contractor: called around, had a few appointments, collected bids.

The Wall.

A few things: some contractors just don’t call back. I don’t know if it’s because the job was too small, or they weren’t interested, or were too busy, but being in the client service industry myself, I was surprised by how many people just didn’t bother with us. Of the three who provided bids, the first was an efficient man with a family business who talked fast and provided us the lowest bid. He also called back for updates a few times, corrected his bid when we asked for it, and kept in close contact.

Then some guy cut a hole in it.



The second bidder was a proper Irish gent, six feet tall, handsome in a gray-haired, fisherman’s sweater kind of way, and wore a proper tweed cap. To be honest, we were both rooting for him: David because he liked the cap and me because I wouldn’t have minded hearing the accent around the house for a week. But his bid was the highest.

The third contractor was nice, and very thorough–took pictures, more notes than the other two combined. He was also, in David’s words, “an uncontrollable farter.” I left the room to answer a phone call, and the moment I was out, apparently he lost control of his sphincter and peppered conversation with, “Oh, excuse me. Sorry about that. Excuse me.”

And then they made the hole REALLY big.



After wiping the tears of ¬†hysterical laughter from my eyes, we agreed he probably wouldn’t work out. And he neglected to call back with a bid, anyway, so we¬†went with Ricciuti Construction, the first bidder.

All in all, we were very pleased with the work they did. They had a crew of three men–they did demolition and installed the door all in one day, and thankfully, the weather cooperated. The next two days were detail work: trimming the door, building a step, wiring up light fixtures and a new outdoor outlet.

Thar be windows in that wall!

Of course, any time you’re paying a lot of money and doing something drastic, there’s an undercurrent of anxiety: what if I really, really hate it? But we don’t. We love it. The heretofore unused corner of our patio has immediately moved into an extension of our living room. We’re planning how to beautify that side of the yard because it’s now a part of our view. And the sunshine in our living room has quadrupled, literally overnight.



We can’t wait until winter, when we’ll really be able to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor: the sun rises on that side of the house, so our living room will become a truly cozy sunroom.

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3 Responses to DIY, Meet PIY.

  1. I’m so excited for that project! I laughed my ass off with that third contractor. Anyway, good luck with that project. :-)

  2. Sarah Blunt says:

    When I also planned to renovate my house, I had experienced knowing different kinds of contractors. It’s all about the pay they are interested with. I’m sorry to say this but it is based on my experience.

  3. Pingback: Prototyping the Kitchen, Part II | Rocket City Digs

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