Contractor shreds connections, brain repairs them.
Last week we renovated the doors and trims of our most popular CAJ House Worcester Street furnished apartments: 8W and 9W.
Anticipating there could be parallel and unforeseen collateral damages, I made a point to inform our contractors to stay away from the ethernet cable that connect our lower floor guests (apartment 1W and 2W) to the internet via a hard wired access point in downstair hallway. I showed them the sketch I enclose above. This shows how cables carrying our internet connection in hall where doors to apartments 8 and 9 are, run around door trims, down stairs under carpet to lower access point (we have two access points hard-wired two floors above the router and two floors below so that there our wifi is seamless throughout 45 Worcester Street).
When contractors finished work (which was excellent, by the way), I inspected and found all trim elegantly installed, doors crisp, I also checked and internet wifi was working fine… upstairs…
Unfortunately two days later I received calls from our lower floor guests about spotty internet access. I tested our access points: above apartment 8 and 9 all seemed to work. Downstairs, near apartments 1 and 2 there was intermittent service: every five minutes to ten minutes, the connection would drop for a few seconds… If you ever use Skype, you know how annoying that can be: intermittency of a few seconds is long enough to interrupt your phone call. Very frustrating.
I re-examined all our visible wires, router, access points and could not figure out what the problem was.
Until my brain made a curious connection.
As part of my testing, I was loading youtube videos and assessing how long the wifi interruptions were. After the nth wifi hiccup, I noticed the lower level access point started blinking (meaning disconnecting) at the same time one of our guests walked up the steps upstairs near apartments 8 and 9. Coincidence? I had to investigate this further… I asked Javier who works with me to walk up and down the step and each time he did, the wifi access point would blink a disconnect signal… BINGO my brain’s random or precise connections had directed me to the problem!
This is what I was able to determine: our ethernet wire to our downstairs access point, passes under the second step to the landing of apartment 8W and 9W (see drawing above). I checked the section of ethernet cable wire which was invisible to me until then (it was stapled under the carpet runner covering the stair step to the landing in front of apartments 8 and 9). I found the wires plastic casing was shredded and all connections were literally hanging by a thread… each time a weight such as a foot flexed the wood to which the ethernet cable was stapled the cable would stretch enough to disconnect… from there it was an easy fix: we removed all the old wire and installed new ethernet cable from router to access point. My contractors must have pulled the wire while removing the old trims around the doors and never noticed that the stretching was enough to rip the cable casing and pull a few copper connections loose. After two days of inconclusive searching, a wonderful random brain connection between a guest climbing stairs, a blinking light made my guests and me very happy.
Door and Trim Renovations
We replaced doors and trims on our two most popular apartments. Apartments 8W and 9W at our Worcester Street location. The new trims are more modern and do not have that old lumpy paint look that makes victorian renovations so charming but so ugly when looked close up. We are happy.
Can you spot the differences?
Pillows, Flowers and plant decorations are what makes an already beautiful interior warm and welcoming. Yulia at CAJ House loves decorating our furnished apartments, here are the results in apartment 4T.
This is what the overview looks like:
One of the nicest aspects of owning a guest house is the freedom to decorate and surprise – delight our guests.
Last week Yulia spent a few hours with silk flowers and real branches and here are the results of her work.
Tell us what you think.
Relocation planning to avoid the blues
Like many of our guests you are in between homes. You sold your home, found a new one, hired a contractor and are now chomping at the bit to get into your new home. In between you come to us looking for an interim place to live. The initial request for a stay with us is typically one month: it is apparent that this is what most contractor estimate it will take to redo your fabulous kitchen or bath or both. The one month ends up morphing into two and sometimes three months. This comes as a shock to you… By the time you, our guest, request an extension on your stay, we usually booked the apartment you are staying in and you end up traumatized again having to move out or within CAJ House: an added inconvenience within a larger one. As a practicing contractor for 28 years, I understand why this happens. Contractors rely on sub-contractors and material suppliers to complete their work. A typical kitchen will require at least 12 different subcontractors and material suppliers. Add up the cabinet makers, granite counter makers, plumber, electrician, appliance suppliers, tile suppliers, etc and you can see that a time slip on one delivery lets say the counter, will delay the plumber and electrician. One day delivery slip becomes one week if that plumber cannot install that sink in that new counter. To avoid having to move within your move to CAJ House, my advice is always add one third to half to a contractor time estimate. If you do this in advance of your stay with us, you will avoid one more anxiety: having to move out of your temporary housing while out of your final home. If it turns out you hired the best contractor in the world and he/she finishes her job on time, I will buy you a Prosecco bottle and if you do not need the extra stay, you can relax and enjoy a drink on us.
Cafe’ at CAJ House
Though we offer self serviced furnished apartments, we strive to find ways to make guests feel cozy and welcome and comfortable. We want CAJ House at 677 Tremont Street to feel more than just a week or month long apartment stay; we want our apartments to feel like a second home. To add a little romanticism, we would like to make our place feel like a second home in a corner of Rome or Florence… A cappuccino and a croissant and a talk with your neighbor or the barista sounds to me like just the right ingredients to make our guests feel our love and and a great way to start the day. A cafe located on our commercial first floor sounds like a great addition to me.
Our present tenant, Sarni Cleaners is leaving December 1 and I would like to find a cafe partner to launch this concept.
What do you think?
Do you know anyone who would be interested in running such a place?
CAJ House is a sponsor of Sparrow Park Concert Series
Just want all of you to know about an exciting activity happening just feet away from our Tremont Street CAJ House location.
It is the Sparrow Park wednesday evening concerts on the park!
Please join us there!
The Wait Is Over.
After one month of patient work, we have completed our newest gem. Granite counters, stainless steel appliances, swivel TV viewable anywhere in the room, pocket door to bath, tiled bath with custom counters, fabric headboard coordinated with drape holders, brilliant wall paint and gleaming hardwood floors… every corner of the apartment was redone. Let us know what you think.
We completely renovated apartment 5W.
We redesigned bathroom to increase size by 20%, we installed a pocket door to make access to and from bathroom easier. We replaced old tub and walls with new porcelain tub and tile walls and floors, new countertop sink and counter.
In Kitchen we installed a new granite counter, new cabinets, changed the configuration from open counter to closed though see through… (check photos to see what I mean).
While we are applying the finishing touches to our newest addition, I wanted to offer you a preview. Do you like it?
Apartment 5 at our Worcester Street guest house is getting a makeover: renovations are scheduled for completion on March 25th. I will post more photos after we are done comparing the old short term rental with new one. Among the changes: enlarged bathroom, completely redesigned kitchen, new granite counters, new appliances, refinished hardwood floors. I hope you agree with my choices.
Our kitchens may be small, but they are well equipped! Here is an article from Whole Foods Markets explaining how to maximize use of small spaces and kitchens: The Tiny But Mighty Kitchen | Whole Foods Market.
Taylor Street, Boston South End. This building is only a few blocks from our CAJ House. This is supposed to be one of the oldest houses in the South End, owner said he was “renovating” on building permit…
A walk down Tremont Street near CAJ House
I wanted you, my guest, to get a feel for the surrounding location of our furnished apartments. I took my camera down the street and shot this photo of Tremont Street on a recent January day. I was lucky: no cars were parked that day. Look how lively the storefronts feel even on a overcast day!