Tag Archives: electrician

What Would Bob Vila Do?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Contractor Steve issue and just what the heck we are going to do now without a general contractor.  The short answer?  Yeah, we don’t know yet.

I spent some time falling down the Google rabbit hole today when I typed “how to contract your own construction project” into the search bar.  The first nine results were variations on YouTube clips from “This Old House” with Bob Vila.

Bob Vila

Bob always makes it look so easy.  I watched a few clips for nostalgia’s sake and because also, BOB VILA.  I thought he might have some tips for contracting a 1,000 square foot commercial space.  Turns out, most of it was about upgrading Victorian homes while maintaining a level of enthusiasm that I reserve only for shopping (and wine).

Where else would a legit would-be contractor turn for help?  Amazon.  One quick search revealed this:

book cover

I sorta of make myself giggle at the mental image of dragging this book around with me to meet the sub-contractors and whatnot.  But seriously, if the space already exists and we just need to finish it…could it be possible to do it ourselves?  (And I know that the book is for contracting your home and not a commercial space, but I figure we are one up on it because our structure is already standing and thus I can just skip all the chapters about buying land, pouring foundation, and shingles).

We know we need a plumber, an electrician, and an HVAC person (the totally sufficient three-ton unit needs duct work).  Because we are going Industrial Chic, we don’t need any walls. We don’t even need a ceiling installed.  Some countertops would also be a good thing.

So here is what we are thinking.  I’m going to take our architect plans to the city and implore someone there to help me figure out how to get permits.  Then, we are going to ask a plumber or come meet us in the new space as soon as we have a key (and that looks to be on target for Friday).  We are going to get a cost estimate and discuss what really has to be done to meet code and the architects plans.  I also need to hear how it works and what to expect (how long the work takes, do we buy the sinks, etc and then they install them or do they buy them at some sort of special secret plumber’s warehouse?).  And then we are going to make a decision…

Amazon better ship my book, ASAP.

PS…are you a plumber, electrician, or HVAC person that loves pie, isn’t easily annoyed by a lot of questions, and has patience?  do you know someone that fits this description?  email me at rebecca@pjpies.com.



See this house?

This house is located at 16245 Princeton Street in Detroit, Michigan.  It is has 6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 2,306 square feet.  What does this house have to do with Peggy Jean’s Pies?  You can currently buy this house for SIXTEEN DOLLARS LESS THAN CONTRACTOR STEVE’S BID TO FINISH OUR SPACE.  (Shouting fully intended).

Detroit house:  $19,500
PJP V 2.0: $19,516 (not including the electrical bid because he didn’t have that back yet).


For those of you who like detail, here is the breakdown:

Finish, prime, and paint the walls: $3,800
Plumbing: $6,500
Build counter space $1,500
Handicap rails in bathroom: $500
100 Sq Ft of concrete countertop:  $1,000
Stain, seal and wax the floor: $2,500
HVAC: $2,419
Electrical: No bid response
Contractor Fee: $1,000
Permits: $300

The lack of electrical work in this figure scares me.  I bet after seeing that number, I might be able to buy TWO houses in Detroit.  This cost also doesn’t include any of the fixtures…so the sinks and the concrete and the paint…just add that cost in as well.

We have some negotiating room in our lease to cover “tenant improvement plans”, so in some cases, the Kroenke Group may pay a certain amount toward finishing out the space.  Is there room for $20,000?  No clue.  On the bright side, this is a space that has never been rented before and perhaps that provides some motivation to the owner.  On the down side, the owner owns thousands of retail spaces and a basketball team, so 1,000 square feet to some pie bakers?  May not really be on his radar.

Next steps:  find out what can negotiated and what can’t be negotiated.  Or look at relocation plans to Detroit.

PS…we went to the food handler class tonight and I’ll probably post about that tomorrow.  In the meantime, just know that there are some things in public service videos that you can’t unsee.

PPS…order your Thanksgiving pies online today so we focus on pies and don’t dwell on the whole “spend $16 less and get a whole house in Detroit” thing.  http://tinyurl.com/peggyjeanspies.


Spanx Us Happy

OOOHHHHHHEEEMMMMMGEEEEEE…Contractor Steve called this morning and he has the architect plans in hand!  This is some news indeed because a few weeks ago, we were worried that finding a suitable architect would require one of us to mortgage our house (http://peggyjeans.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-would-mike-brady-do.html).  Then in a turn of good fortune, we found the awesome James Van Hooser at TVP Architects in St. Louis and because he completely understood that we were looking for plans for a 1,000 square foot box with no walls, he agreed to do plans for us for about $1,000 and two pies…which is do-able without mortgaging a house or selling a kidney on eBay (http://peggyjeans.blogspot.com/2013/10/elaine-benes-excited.html)

A few weeks and a few phone calls with James later, I received a FedEx tracking notice in my email that indicated two sets of plans were on their way to Columbia.  Contractor Steve worked some mysterious contractor magic that results in meeting him this afternoon at our proposed location with a whole cast of characters…an electrician, a plumber, a concrete person, a painter, and who knows else.  I imagine I’ll need a playbill to keep everyone straight in this game.
So, we hope to have a conversation about how to accomplish what we envision for our space and how/when/if that can happen by November 20th.  My main goal is to share my thoughts without grown men falling to the floor laughing about the timeline involved.  The contractor’s main goal is get some sort of number estimate on cost.  I honestly have no idea if he is going to say $10,000 or $50,000, but let’s all have a collective Internet moment and hope that number is completely reasonable and won’t result in us standing with a donation bucket in front of Wal-Mart.
On the ever present, elephant-in-the-room, won’t-leave-us topic of Kickstarter, we need $1730 to meet our goal in the next five days.  That is about $346 a day.  We thought we were pretty clever on Monday by offering three full pies and a baby to anyone who donated $314, but it ended up tanking.  We didn’t sway anyone to the $314 and since this blog is all about transparency, we are telling you now, our grand plans of woo-ing you in was totally anti-climatic.  Changing directions yesterday, we offered up a drawing for a CreativeChics apron to those who made a Kickstarer pledge through midnight last night.  This seemed more popular and we had a number of awesome pledges yesterday.
So what today?  Well, hold on to your chair because we have something that NO PERSON COULD DENY.  We are offering a $25 gift card to the Spanx Store.  Yep, you read that correctly…Spanx.  Why? Because we freaking love them and everyone should have a chance to be smoothed out by comfortable layers of restrictive material.  If that isn’t your thing, Spanx also offers some AH-MAZ-ING tights that will literally transform your wardrobe.
Here’s the deal:  pledge to Kickstarter through midnight tonight and be entered to win the gift card.  We won’t name you on the Facebook page or the blog because some things need to remain a secret.
Disclaimer:  Spanx doesn’t know us, but that doesn’t stop us from loving them.  Anything that makes you feel more awesome in an outfit is our sort of thing.  If you’ve never tried Spanx, pledge a few bucks and see if you win…what’s to lose?