A contractor once told me an interesting story about a house he'd built for a man in Connecticut. Winter was already setting in when he'd gotten the place weather-tight, so as soon as he finished the fireplace, he built a fire in it to keep the house warm. When the owner found out, he demanded that the contractor tear out the bricks inside the fireplace and replace them because they'd gotten sooty. He told the contractor that he was paying for a brand-new fireplace, and he was damned well going to get one. This brought me back to a paradox I've pondered from time to time. When some people build, they become obsessed with getting everything absolutely perfect. It's not uncommon for owners to have brand-new materials ripped out again because they've picked up a tiny scratch or a li...
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