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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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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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Demo Day 5 – Oil Tank Removed

October 21st, 2012

When you think about heating a house, yes occasionally people think about these things, there are a few things that come to mind (at least for me).  First off it comes to how the place is heated (where is the heat coming from) the next is its not just about heating.The typical methods are Radiators or Central Heating. Radiators are good for people with allergies, but central air means you can also have AC!

Not very exciting in the grand scheme of things but in our case it’s pretty important. Our new house has radiators and we’re ripping it out and installing a full HVAC (central heating) system, mostly so we can have AC in the summer. The problem is that when you have radiators they are typically fed by a boiler heating system and run on water and take up a large amount of space in the basement.  The radiators themselves take up a couple square feet of space in nearly every room as well.  If you want to maximize space, definitely not the best option.

Our house is about 50 years old and has a 50 year old boiler – which needs to be removed along with the rads to make space for HVAC.

Day 5 was the day that this boiler was to be removed along with the oil tank that fuels it. To give you a bit of perspective the boiler is solid cast iron and the tank holds about 900 litres of oil. Also made of iron. That shit is heavy. And in this particular case, completely covered in rust!

The two guys that were contracted came in and started to remove it  – fast forward  about 5 hours later and its gone!  In pieces to be sure, but gone nonetheless.  Left a bit of a mess though.

Post demolition of boiler and tank there was a bit of a oil spill on the basement floor.  Who knew but Tide totally cleans that crap up.  Awesome!

Additionally had to call a plumber in to take care of the the galvanized piping in the upstairs bathroom. The guy came in and was totally professional and quick about it. This let me get back to destroying… i mean demo’ing the bathroom. Almost done.

The day was long and lots of progress was made, here are a few pictures:

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Demo Day 4 – The Plumbing Problem

October 18th, 2012

The fourth day was the the first day of the demo where we both went back to work, you know the day jobs that are needed to help pay for everything. Did that stop me from Demoing? Nope! I was so far behind with getting the house ready for the contractors to begin work that when the work day ended it was time to run to Home Depot and then back to the house.

If you remember back to Day 1 of the demo we stopped work in the bathroom stopped because we had a vanity that had no shut off valves, which meant I couldn’t take it out. That is the whole purpose behind day 4 – remove that vanity. I was able to get everything I needed and got down to it… off goes the main water.

Unfortunately after about an hour into the demo a few problems were becoming apparent; I was able to get the vanity off but it looked like there was something weird about the pipes coming out of the wall.

The first thought I had was: what the hell is this? Well after a few texts and pictures There were galvanized pipes that were coming out of the wall and the reality is that a Plumber needed to take it out.

Definitely not good!

Now to top this off the main water shut off valve to the city was dripping – again not good!

Day 4 was thwarted by plumbing and now a plumber needs to come in.


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Demo Day 2 and 3 – Kitchen Gut

October 16th, 2012

Matt attacked the bathroom on day 1, but had to stop due to the lack of water shut off valves and car to go to the store (I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it at some point). So, the bathroom had to be left for another day since the car was still in the shop. Time to go to plan B and gut the kitchen.

Yellow cabinets and nasty countertop meet sledge hammer, crowbar plus sawsall. I was up a ladder finishing up cleaning the crown moulding in the living/dining room by hand when Matt let loose with the sledge hammer. There was some enthusiasm in that swing let me tell you (he was still pissed about the car) and the BANG was sooo loud I jumped and nearly fell off the ladder.

Six hours and a lot of debris later, no more kitchen. Wow, it’s looking way better already! Now I can really envision the new design in this space. It’s going to be pretty awesome when it’s all put back together…

Here are some pics:


Starting Kitchen Photo
Starting Kitchen


Matt Destroying the Kitchen
Matt Destroying the Kitchen

No Cabinets
No Cabinets

Demo'd Kitchen
Demo’d Kitchen


Kitchen Drawing
Future Kitchen Drawing

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