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The House Projects Continue

October 29th, 2014

We last wrote on here almost 2 years ago in a not quite finished house; everything was piled up in the living room and had to be shoved out of the way, I mean tidied up, for Christmas (which was a resounding success). The major renos were almost finished and the house was livable and by all accounts comfortable.

But we didn’t leave it that way! We just got too busy to write about it; well lets rephrase that to we didn’t carve out enough time in our busy schedules, but I’m sure we’re all guilty of that.

The projects didn’t stop! What have we done since?

  • We started re-finishing the basement.
  • Painting every room and floors.
  • Adding a garage door.
  • Finishing the Kitchen
  • Replacing the windows (current major project).
  • Constant de-cluttering.

There are a dozen smaller projects in there that were completed or ongoing in some way. We’ll write about them all (well most of them at least) and we’ll break up the gross over-simplification of the basement project into smaller ones since it’s not all being done at once.

Yes, this site is back up and running stay tuned.

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We’ve moved in – house isn’t ready

December 13th, 2012

Based on the silence over in these parts you’d think that we fell off the planet and we did – we moved into the house, the unfinished house. Our move in date came and without any recourse we needed to get all of our stuff into the house.

So we did and we have been dealing with it ever since, mostly because we haven’t had much choice, but at the same time our little one has thought of this as one big adventure.

The reno’s continue to progress, in the meantime here are some pics from move in day.

Trying to reach something

The ‘Pile’

What Happened to the floor?

The Kitchen on Move in Day

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7 days to go, we are not ready

November 21st, 2012










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This’ll be the day the wall dies!

November 13th, 2012

It’s been nearly a week but Matt finally let me into the house again! In the meantime the electricians have been re-wiring and Glenn’s been tiling. We finally got the building permit in to take the dining room wall out post architect drawings so Matt and I went over to the house Saturday morning to do just that.

Plan A was Matt demos the wall and I get to do the cleanup of the resulting mess. Lucky me. I decided, having never destroyed a wall before, that I wanted to give it a try. Matt looked at me a little dubiously but eventually handed me the goggles and crowbar. Enter shit eating grin ;p

My first attempt was rather feeble I admit, but a couple good swings later I had a made a good sized hole in the wall. Awesome! Then, having decided that I had my turn, I graciously gave the crowbar back to Matt. Ok, ok, I figured I’d better quit while I was ahead because chances of me seriously injuring myself were rather high.

Matt, now being an expert in demo, took out the rest of the wall in 10 minutes flat. Watching him, as I waited for the inevitable clean up part, a little tune popped into my head. Think of the melody to “American Pie”….

“And they were singing…
Bye, bye Mr Nasty Ass wall,
Drove my crowbar into drywall
And the drywall was gone.
Good ‘ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day the wall dies….
This’ll be the day the wall dies!”

And then I started singing it. And singing it, and singing it some more. While originally Matt thought it was pretty funny, he’d had enough when I was still humming it under my breath in the car on the way to the cottage hours later. Not too long after that he was sort of humming it too. Don’t you hate it when songs get stuck in your head?



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Of Wires and Roofs!

November 12th, 2012

So in Tara’s last post she told you about how she managed to knock out power to most of the house while trying to run the space heater. Yes it’s important to keep the house somewhat warm while there is no heat (its not quite cold enough for the pipes to start freezing but our contractors might!). There’s another issue with the the lack of power, our contractors (mostly Glenn) need to have power to run their tools which is pretty key!

So after blowing the power to most of the house it merited some investigation and I have to say the results of said investigation were not good to say the least. Having a single device like a heater knock out power isn’t normal and mildly worrying and when the electricians came in the next day we found out that most of the wiring through the house was frayed and a fire hazard. The only thing running through my mind when hearing this was ‘Oh shit, this is going to be expensive’ and it was at $5,500 for something we thought was ok.

This really didn’t need to happen, the budget was tight already!

Now you would think this is the end of our problems, alas that would be wishful thinking!  The decrepit (as Tara puts it) garage attached to the house had an aging roof and we knew this when we bought the place. It’s a flat roof that had water pooling on it when it rained and while this isn’t an immediate need for concern what was happening with that water was.

The water on the roof was leaking slowly into the house and it was coming through into the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a little bit but with new walls and cabinets going up right where the drip was it could cause problems like mould.

I could almost hear the bank account crying in pain about yet another unexpected cost!

Another $4,100 later there’s a new roof on the garage (at least there will be no more water in the house).

At the end of it in the matter of a couple days we’ve managed to spend almost $10,000 in unexpected costs. That’s what happens when you get an older house and start opening things up. If this keeps up the house will become a money-pit.

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There goes the Power!

November 6th, 2012

Managed to get into the house in between Matt demo and Glenn reconstruction to wipe down the upstairs hallway and bedrooms to keep the house destinkification process moving along.  Started in the upstairs hallway on the weekend to make sure I wouldn’t be in anyone’s way once things got going again on Monday.  Thankfully the hallway wasn’t too badly nicotine stained, just majorly cobwebby.  Did the upstairs bedrooms next hoping it wouldn’t be too bad like the hallway.  Well, it was kinda somewhere in between.

Started with the master bedroom.  Getting my mop ready to TSP the ceiling, I actually took a good look at the ceiling for the first time.  Interestingly enough it looked like someone spilled a cup of coffee upwards all over it.  Lovely.  As I moved around the room I found more random brown splatters in various places and all over the inside of the bedroom door.  Gross.  I soo don’t want to know what that was!

Monday came and the temperature went down.  With no heating in the house anymore and the temperature dropping it was starting to get COLD.  Left a space heater on overnight in the dining room but figured I’d give it a break when I got there in the morning.  Made it through the second bedroom with my trusty old mop and TSP, chatting with Glenn who was working on the bathroom.  Paused a few times to help move the tub in, and move it back out, and back in, getting it all ready to install.  All was going well and then I moved back downstairs to get out of the way and give the living room a round 2.  It was soo dirty to start with that although it was already cleaned once a couple of weeks ago now, it was in definite need of round 2 and possibly 3.

Once I got back downstairs I decided I was way too cold and it was time to turn the space heater on again.  Take 2… 3?  OK, while the heater was working all night it apparently didn’t want to work anymore!  On the off chance that it was the plug rather than the heater that wasn’t working I decided to move it over to a plug in the living room.  Turned it on…  Heard Glenn shouting down from upstairs…

What?!  Apparently all power went out upstairs.  The outlet that Glenn was using for his power tools was now suddenly not working.  I went back to the heater, gave it a dirty look, and turned it off.  Something suspicious here…

Spent the next 10 minutes searching with Glenn for the outlet tester thing that tells if you an outlet is live or not.  Had to put my Matt thinking cap on to determine where he might of left it, strenuous task I know, but I figured it out.  It was lying down in the basement where Matt and Paul were demoing, never made it back to the toolbox where it belongs.  Figures.

So, Glenn went around and checked all the outlets…  Apparently I blew every fuse in the place because I was cold.  There was one working outlet in the dining room, and one working light upstairs.  Fantastic.  What a pain.  That is so not normal.

Texted Matt.  Think we’re going to need an electrician in here stat….  Doo de doo…  What?  No, I didn’t do anything…  Guess that’s enough damage for one day ;p

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The Demo Continues – The Basement

November 2nd, 2012

So now that we’re at the point where we are starting to rebuild things there are still things that need to be destroyed… I mean demo’d. The biggest of these is actually one that’s pretty big, the basement.

What we needed to do now that the oil tank and boiler are gone is to demo the oddly placed bedroom in the basement. The big question that you might ask is why would you demo a finished basement?  A basement apartment no less?!

Well we can start with the fact that whoever put this basement together was either on drugs or drunk.  The bathroom had a window that was half boarded up to accommodate a shower.  Which was one of those insert thingys just placed above the drain by the way.  Then there was the stove next to the electrical panel.  And did I mention the wires for live outlets that were running along the floor.  Think a flooded basement with live wires – nooo, that’s not a risk for electrocution at all?!.

The next reason that we needed to demo the basement is because we need to put in a couple posts to hold up the new wall for the kitchen (or lack thereof as we’re taking one out). Did I forget to mention that we also need to put in the furnace and new washer dryer?

OK so the net result is most of the basement needed to come out and that is what Paul and I came in to do and it came apart fairly easily… well the walls did at least.

The ceiling is another story – there were 4 different kinds of ceilings in the place:
Tonge and groove ¾ inch plywood (very heavy)
Drywall with thin plywood on it (this is two because they covered the finished ceiling with plywood)
and spots without ceilings.

Ok my question is, why would you put plywood on top of a finished ceiling? Really?? Its not that hard to tear down and put it back up properly.  Seriously.

The good news is most of this crap is now done thanks to the help Paul provided!  It looks much better already.

OK kind of ready to start putting things back into the basement (only the kitchenette and bathroom left to remove).

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Next Steps – The Bathroom

October 31st, 2012

Now that the kitchen and bathroom are down to the studs, time to start putting stuff back together! Well the kitchen plans are already all set to go, so it’s the bathroom we really need to figure out stat. Small bathroom, old house with some ‘character’, time to get creative… Well many magazine pages later, I had most of an idea on what I wanted the end result to look like. First up, tile.

On tile day we figured we might as well get the tile for the bathroom and the kitchen all at the same time. Didn’t seem like a big deal. In a small bathroom space I like a lot of white (theoretically will make the room look bigger) and for the kitchen we just needed to find some flooring that would go well with the new countertop we picked out and with the old hardwood in the living/dining room. HOURS later, we finally had some picks. Yes, it took hours in the tile store to make a decision. Sometimes too much selection is a bad thing rather than a good one. Ended up with white subway tile for the shower surround, white hexagonal tile (vintage kinda look) for the bathroom floor, and this kind of tan ‘pinstripe’ tile for the kitchen floor. Still need accent tile but that can totally wait. Just picking these basic guys was exhausting, forget about the fancy accent tile!

Next was the bathroom basics – must have tub and toilet. For my part, not too fussy about those just so long as they look normal. What I mean is, I have actually seen brown swirly gold toilets (for example) and I definitely don’t want any of those! Home Depot in and out, check check!

The big stumper for the bathroom was the vanity. Small bathrooms work best with a pedestal sink or wall mounted sink space wise. Only problem with those is no counter space! I speak from experience, we tried both in our current bathroom over the last few years. I searched multiple stores, in person and online, but was not seeing anything that would work. Everything was either too big or just ugly! Then I decided to get creative… Found an antique wash stand, basically a counter-top with a single drawer and legs, that had nice lines and would allow for some kind of counter-top without the bulk of a full vanity. Excellent! Now just need to get a piece of tempered glass or something cut to fit the top and a vessel sink…

Lights. You would think picking lighting should be pretty basic. Ummmm….. Well if you’re like me and have a love of cool and funky light fixtures it can be a bit of a process. I definitely spent hours looking at light fixtures before finally deciding on some simple ones. Already have some fancy fixtures picked out for other parts of the house so better keep it simple here. Ended up with a basic fan/light combo for the ceiling and a couple of wall sconces to frame the mirror over the sink.

All right, bathroom done! Oh, guess I need some faucets and shower heads etc…. I think I’ll let Matt pick those out. I’m spent!



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Demo – Quiet Days – Finishing demo’ing the bathroom

October 25th, 2012

The past few days have been a bit on the quiet side as you can clearly tell from the lack of posts! The day the radiators were removed we also had our general contractor Glenn from White House Restorations in helping finalize the demo and prepare for the reconstruction to begin (some demo and more quotes for things like windows and eaves).

So while things have been quiet work has been progressing albeit slowly there were a few things that were interesting and worthy of commenting about.

First off the guys that came in to help remove the radiators did make an interesting discovery, they found a styrofoam cup full of bullets, yes I said bullets! I know there are so many questions about this but the one that comes to mind is Huh? Check out the picture! Oh, and the rad in the living room was so big and heavy that they backed their truck right up the first two front steps so they could wrangle it straight out the door and into the truck. Yes, they practically backed up onto the little porch landing thing outside the front door because the rad was too heavy to carry those few extra steps. Glad to see those dusty dirty things go!


The next interesting item isn’t really a good thing. The last item to be removed from the old bathroom was the old tub. I asked my friend Paul to help me because I figured we would need to cut the tub out and haul it downstairs. I started the cutting and didn’t have a good angle. I gave the tub a bit of a yank thinking I could expose more pipe.

It came completely out with no effort! I didn’t even need Paul (except to help haul).

No joke, it was totally not attached to the floor or the drain pipe. This explains all of the water damage around the bathtub! Remember that picture of the front hall showing the paint peeling off the ceiling?!

Now that we’re ready to keep moving Glenn is coming back in and starting all of the work.


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Catching up

October 24th, 2012

So we went from bathroom removal, to kitchen gut, to back to bathroom then radiators due to various unforeseen circumstances. Between all the madness and mayhem, forgot to share a couple of funny stories.

Back to the kitchen gut. As Matt was finishing up the last few reluctant kitchen demo bits, I happened to be out at Winners with my mom and little one, entertaining the bean with an outing while daddy was busy getting dirty. Midst trying on new winter jackets (I totally need one reno budget notwithstanding) my cell phone starts to ring. It’s Matt of course with the latest reno news.

What is that news you ask? Well, guess what Matt found behind the kitchen walls when he finally got down to the studs… Money.

Wohoo! Was my first reaction… Did we find some kind of crazy paranoid person jackpot in the walls?! Nope. Still cool but not that exciting – Matt found a $1, $5, $10 and a $50 bill from the 70’s. No jackpot but still cool, kinda like the 1944 newspapers we found stuffed in the walls and under the floor of our current house. Totally going in a frame later as a keepsake!

Cue back to bean running around the store like a maniac and had to cut off Matt’s story until later. Sort of like when Matt called my cell again from the new house as the contractors were removing the rads post oil tank removal…

Again, I’m on bean entertainment duty while Matt is working at the new house. This time I get a call about “Guess what’s behind the rad in the spare bedroom?!” No money this time, I wish! Just a cupful of bullets. Yes, I tell you true, bullets. We’re keeping those at the moment but not sure what we’re going to do with them…

Back to Matt to tell you the rest.



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