So, no, it probably wasn't the best idea to visit the new condo at night, especially now that it's empty, and especially without our agent along to say everything would be all right. God, it looked terrible — dark, shabby, and harshly lit wherever there was any light. Its light fixtures range from vile ceiling fan to ugly glass box containing a single bulb.
At least we were able to determine that the floors don't need to be refinished, just cleaned and made shinier. But there is nothing to be done about the bathrooms except to pay people to take sledgehammers to everything and redo them. Someday.
The whole place is also badly painted. Someone decided to put a shiny finish on the walls and a flat one on the trim, instead of the other way around. Given that the paint-picker flunked Finishes 101, the colors are predictably scary, too, despite being "neutral."
We took photos but they are so awful as to be hilarious. I hesitate to post them in case you all start urging me not to buy the place. I don't need your encouragement! Maybe I'll post some pictures in a few months, after we attempt a few "Before and After" improvements.
We went back yesterday (with agent) to get an estimate from a painting contractor. We were relieved that it looked better in daylight but, oh, the colors. The "dining room," as we call it, is my favorite room, but it is one of the worst colors I've ever seen. It's trying to be gray but it's pinkish purple, reminiscent of unhealthy lungs (not that I've seen many, I'm convinced). The rest of the rooms are either cool, dingy white or bleak taupe.
I've made my share of color mistakes, from thinking I liked peach walls when I meant apricot to trying a tricky dragging technique on pale blue-green living room walls that made me feel I was living in an empty swimming pool. Whatever I try this time may not be ideal, but will look better than anything there now.
The rooms will have matte, soft color, the lights will be replaced, the kitchen will get some (dramatic, I hope) updates, and the bathrooms will eventually be transformed into bright, elegant spaces that we would willingly spend time in. (Right now, they are cramped and plasticky, and their fans are so loud that I feel like I'm in the world's only crappy private plane.) While all this is in slow progress, we'll hang the art, shelve the books, and carefully accumulate more rugs and furniture since we're almost doubling our space. (Plus there's a roof deck.)
Because we are moving.
And you're coming along for the ride, if you're up for it.
Although I still feel pretty rotten most of the time and have plenty of misgivings, I am trusting that my original instincts about the place were correct and that it will turn out all right. And I am pretty adaptable, believe it or not. Put me anywhere half decent for two or three nights, and I feel at home to the point where I can barely remember where I live. We often joke about it when we're traveling. "Home? Where's that? I've lived here all my life." I unpack all my stuff, rearrange the hotel furniture, hide all the decor I don't like, and generally make the place mine. I'd do well to remember this while I'm feeling so rotten about leaving here.
But all of this is assuming the new building doesn't blow up. Every time we've gone inside, we've smelled gas. The dozen or so people who live there apparently don't smell it, just us... and our agent, the seller's agent, our home inspector, and yesterday's contractor. We've been in and out about four times now, and it's hit us every time we're through the front doors. The contractor remarked on it as soon as he went in yesterday, We'd brought it up during and after the home inspection and assumed the trustees would look into it but they didn't. Today we wrote again, and asked them to call the gas company or fire department ASAP. It could be that there's a leak in the ancient boiler, or the main line into the house. I don't think anyone has gas appliances.
I hope they get to work on it; gas leaks cause catastrophic explosions and should never be ignored (For the record, I believe the trustees are experienced and conscientious about managing the building; they are just accustomed to the smell or have no sense of smell, I guess.)
But I don't particularly want to close on Wednesday until we know.