Sunday, September 23, 2012

In one little week....

A week has passed and so much has changed in our little house! I'm not even sure where to begin. I'm currently sitting on the couch in our apartment, drinking hot chocolate and watching Over the Rainbow, and trying really, really hard to remember everything that's happened over the past few days. My shoulders are sore, my forearms are sore, my legs are sore, and my clothes are completely covered in wood splinters, sawdust and caulking goo.

After school on Tuesday I picked up TJ and we went to take a little tour of the house. It rained pretty much every day this week so the house was packed with carpenters, plumbers, seam fillers and floor sanders all working away.

Left: view from the back corner. Right: view from the corner where the corner cabinet used to be!

The kitchen had been completely gyprocked and the seam filling was starting. What a huge change from the previous weekend when it had knocked out plaster! We also finalized our kitchen design and put in the order for our cabinets, so we're starting to get really excited about this space. I can't wait to see it with the cupboards in!

There was a big surprise waiting for us in the living room:

Our wall of wonder

Our wall was gone! When we were taking off the wallpaper in this room, we noticed a section above the fireplace that bulged out quite far. I thought maybe it was just because of the flue behind, there didn't seem to be too many cracks around it or any sign of a leak. Anyway, our seam filler decided it would just look a whole lot better to tear out the plaster and put up gyprock. You can see the section I'm talking about in the picture above where the boards are ripped up a little bit. I was really surprised to see the plaster knocked off but really happy that at least it was cleaned up before we got there. I'm so sick of plaster dust!!! Remember our shiny living room floor? This is what plaster dust does:

Dusty, dusty floor....

Oh well. We've decided to sand it down and refinish it anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter now!

Speaking of floors, our floor sander also surprised us and showed up to get to work. We had been planning on painting the floor boards upstairs, but after taking a trip to Annie's Table Culinary Studio and generously being allowed to enter into her private home as well, we decided we'd sand them down and stain them. Here's what it looks like after the first run (click to see larger photos):

Left: a closeup of the floor boards sanded down. Right top to bottom: the middle sized bedroom, the hallway, the small bedroom and the master bedroom, all sanded!

I'm definitely in love with the floors! They're going to look amazing when they're all finished. Shane's crew also patched a few holes:

You can't even tell that there used to holes here!

Our upstairs bathroom has also been gyprocked and the seam filling has started. We put the bathtub in place and the pipes have been hooked up. It's really not a bad little bathroom! It seemed like it was going to be really small at first, but moving the wall back to fit the tub has made a big difference. Before, the wall was right before the slanted ceiling and that ceiling was in the other bedroom.

Left: the left side of the bathroom where the vanity and toilet will go. Right top: the view into the bathroom from the door. Right bottom: the bathtub!

We're planning on putting white subway tile around the tub, and then a little vanity with a belly sink will go in beside the toilet. 

There wasn't a whole lot for us to do over the week, aside from running around looking for floor tile for the bathroom. All of our work took place on the weekend.

The first thing we did was destroy all of Shane's hard work. His guys had been in to lay down a sub floor in the kitchen, and they also took up the floor in the dining room to check what was underneath. It was the same deal as in the kitchen - hardwood around the outside, but softwood in the middle. This time though, the softwood was cut in the same size as the hardwood. They had to make a decision whether or not to cover it up with a subfloor and I was in school and unavailable, so they decided to go with the subfloor. Luckily they only screwed and glued down one section, so we were able to check it out ourselves on Friday night. It didn't look too bad, so we decided we'd take it up and see what it would look like with the floor sanded and stained.

Left: dining room floor with subfloor screwed and glued down. Top right to bottom: dad lifting the subfloor, a giant pile of giant staples, and the floor when all was said and done.

TJ may have regretted it once the subfloor was up and saw the 300 3 inch staples that he had to pull out of the floor. It took about four hours, but he got it done. If worst comes to worst and the floor stains in two shades that look completely horrible, then our plan is to put a rug over the whole thing until it can be fixed - genius, right?

We decided to keep the subfloor in the kitchen...

Kitchen subfloor!

There had also been a sneak plumbing attack that caught us unaware. When we showed up on Friday evening, we couldn't help but notice that our downstairs bathroom fixtures were now on our back deck. The radiators from the kitchen and dining room had also been removed so the floors could go down. It wasn't until Saturday morning that we found out when the pipes were cut, all the water drained into the basement because the electric and water were both turned off (including the sump pump). If you click to enlarge the following photos, you can see dad standing in a puddle in the basement. The good news is that we now have an extractor fan in the downstairs bathroom.

Large photo: Bathroom with no fixtures. Top right to bottom: extractor fan in bathroom ceiling, kitchen without the radiator, dining room without the radiator, dad in puddle.

Once we (sort of) fixed the basement flood, we decided to get down to business and start the painting. This part was so exciting, I never thought we'd actually get to this point. However, first dad decided that there were no pictures of me on the blog, so we did a little photoshoot:

Top left: first, I clean. As usual. Top right: All the paint in the closet, reading for priming! Bottom left: the first pour. Bottom right: The first brushstroke! I actually put it in the wrong place, but we covered it up later.
Dad took over and did the rolling...and then the master bedroom was all primed!
We primed all three bedrooms on Saturday, then the hallway on Sunday. I also did a little freehand on the piece of plywood where our bathroom balcony door was cut out. Oh right....we cut out a door.

Looks good....we should keep it.

Shane taught me how to fill in all the cracks in the molding with caulking...thank goodness, because there's a lot of cracks. It took me the entire day today to fill in part of the master bedroom and the door. Maybe that's just because I do a really good job though...

We took a little break in our "breakroom"....which is actually just the sunroom where there's a bunch of furniture. The picture of my dad makes me laugh so hard...he looks like a little kid. We stuck TJ all the way down at the end of the room by himself. He looked sad.

Left: Dad...who really likes chicken. Top right: the breakroom! Bottom right: TJ all on his own.

Once the break was over, we decided to test a paint colour on the living room. TJ was not impressed at first. I'm maintaining hope that he'll come around. The paint looks pretty bright in the picture, but it darkened up a bit after a while.

Victoria and Grumplestiltskin paint the living room.

After this, we called it quits for the weekend. Tomorrow, the seam filler will continue, the electricians will hopefully install the new panel in the basement, I'll be picking up tile for the bathroom, and we should be receiving our first electric bill (the only time I'll ever be excited about this). The seam filling should be finished by the end of the week and I think the floor sander might be coming back on Wednesday to do another run. New windows should be coming in another week or so, and the kitchen is due to arrive in mid-October. We also have to choose countertops and hardware before the end of next week. Things are starting to pick up and it's actually starting to look like we have a house instead of a building long as you don't look too closely. And you also have to squint your eyes a bit. But a house nonetheless!

Thanks for following the blog, I've been getting lots of really nice (and funny) comments!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Paint Colour Problems

As it turns out, I have no talent at picking paint colours. I can only seem to pick out variations of the same shade of blue/green. The house is going to look like a piece of seaglass. I think where I'm going wrong is that I'm trying to think of the entire house at once instead of focusing on one room at a time, so tonight I'm trying to just focus on the kitchen.

We don't have a lot of wall space in the kitchen. What we do have is going to be covered by cabinets and wainscotting, so any wall space where you can actually see paint is going to be either really small, or really high. I originally leaned towards yellow. I don't know if I've spent a lot of time in yellow kitchens or what, but I was having a hard time imagining anything else in a kitchen besides yellow. I did see a really nice red kitchen once, but I don't think a red kitchen would fit in with the rest of the colour scheme of the house, which I've been describing as "vintage birdsnest" in my mind. Don't tell TJ. Actually, I think he reads the blog. Whoops. Um, surprise! My plan is to paint our house in vintage birdsnest colours! Think blues and greens and beiges...

Anyway, tonight I actually moved away from yellows and started to go towards sage green. Our cabinets are all white and we're looking at a darker countertop with dark hardware. We'd been thinking of a sort of sandstone dusted tile, but I think our minds may have been switched to more of a grey stone look. We're going by the following pictures for inspiration.

I love the white subway tile in this one:

Most of those pictures have wooden floors (which our floor guy is still convinced we could have), but this last one is more like what we're thinking of. Our cabinets will have the same look as the ones in the picture above as well.

And this picture, just to show how we're going to blend the cabinets into the giant kitchen window: with an arch! How brilliant.

We don't have any glass doors on the cabinets, but we will have two open areas to display some pottery/store cookbooks. We've also bought a really neat sink that we're hoping will help create somewhat of a farmhouse/vintage feel:

We haven't bought the faucet yet, but we're trying to find one similar to the one in the picture that we like. The sink is really deep, which I love, and it will look fantastic set against a darker countertop.

So what are peoples thoughts? Green kitchen? Yellow kitchen? Please don't suggest blue/green seaglass kitchen, I've already talked myself out of that! Blue/green seaglass has been reserved for every other room in the house, sorry!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Early Saturday

Even with the combination of school, the house renovations and a nasty allergy/cold fusion making me feel completely exhausted, I'm still up at 7am on a Saturday. Something's wrong with this picture. I'm blaming it on the stuffy nose not letting me sleep. Anyway, this means I have some time to update the blog while I'm waiting for TJ to wake up so we can go to the house.

Last weekend we went to see how the workers were coming along with the electric and seam filling. The electricians had moved downstairs and were working in the living room and hallway, and the seam filler had finished a 3rd coat of the master bedroom, and had also done one or two coats on the two smaller bedrooms and the upstairs hallway. Our new wall between the closet in the master bedroom was also looking more like a wall and less like a piece of gyprock!

It turns out our ceilings weren't in the best of shape throughout the house and it would just be easier to put gyprock on them, so dad met us there and the three of us put up a ceiling in the middle bedroom. This was my first experience doing any type of carpentry, besides the shelf that I "made" in grade 9 shop class. And by made, I mean volunteered it for my shop teacher to demonstrate on during the various stages until it had magically been completed without me having to use any of the machines.

We started by putting TJ in the attic so he could do something that involved nailing through the attic floor to mark the strapping (I'm still not 100% on what strapping is) which would show us where to screw up the gyprock. Once that was done, I got to help mark the ceiling with the fun chalk line.

Then dad and TJ took over, although I got to help hold up the gyprock with a 2x4 nailed to another 2x4. I'm sure there's a technical name for this.

I had visions of doing the ceilings in the two bedrooms and the hallway, but as it turns out, we are very slow at gyprocking, so we took the entire day to do one bedroom. Shane came to help the next day and helped speed things up.

It rained during a few days over the next week, so Shane brought some of his guys over to finish the rest of the ceilings downstairs, as well as rip out a wall in the kitchen and tear up the floor to see if the hardwood really did run through the whole kitchen like our floor guy thought it did.

It did not.

So we're back to tile.

The rest of the kitchen doesn't look any better, but I promise that's a good thing. 

The ceilings look a LOT better though - new ceilings in the dining room, living room/den, and the hallway (which none of the following pictures really show all that well...)

And more layers of seam filling, which is starting to make the house actually look like somewhere we want to live and not like a chewed up squirrel den:

Although the bathroom still looks a little scary now that the walls have been ripped out in preparation of more gyprock...

Yes, one day this will be the room where we get clean. One day.....

with all this stuff!

So today we're heading up to the house to put gyprock on the kitchen and the bathroom. I'm not entirely sure what my job is going to be, but it should be interesting. We started to clean up the walkway and the jungle garden a little bit, so maybe I can keep working on that. On a side note, if anyone knows anything about how to fix a jungle garden, please get in touch. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In a few words...

The last week has been a little overwhelming with the start of school and the continuing house renovations, as well as dealing with colds and physiotherapy, so the blog has been put on the back burner. We made it there last weekend, and spent Saturday and Sunday putting up new ceilings in the upstairs hallway and 2 smaller bedrooms. The electricians have moved to the main floor and should be done in a few days. Thank goodness for updated electrical wiring, even if it does mean I have to get rid of my fun 1920's style light switches! Our seam filler has also moved down to the main level, which is pretty exciting to see. There's a lot of cracks in this old house and he's doing a fantastic job. I'm becoming more and more confident that the house won't fall in on us while we sleep at night.

Shane and his crew put new ceilings in the living room, den, downstairs hallway, kitchen and dining room, and also ripped out the plaster and old insulation (what little there was....) in the kitchen. It's been restuffed with fluffier, bright pink insulation and sheetrock is going up as well. They also ripped up the kitchen floor. We had seen a small glimpse of hardwood and were pretty hopeful that it would continue through the whole kitchen. Sadly, there was a big piece of softwood right in the middle, so our hardwood kitchen floor is out of the picture. Tile it is! On the topic of floors though, our floor guy is ready to start the sanding of the upstairs, living room/den, hallway and sunporch. The plumber is also due back to put in the bathtub.

We're turning corners, then taking a few steps back, then turning more corners. There's good days and bad days, surprises and SURPRISES (hello, leak in reading room!), but everything is really starting to come together. Our goal is to get the house to a stage where we can at least move in, and then continue doing little projects here and there. My personal goal is to survive until October 26, at which point my teaching contract is up and I will be able to put a little more focus into the house. Apologies for no pictures in this update, my enthusiasm/energy levels are running low! Hopefully a good old fashioned lie in on the weekend will re-energize me - early mornings are becoming more difficult every school year!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Morning Blogging

My plans of catching up and staying ahead of the blogging game have failed miserably, and I'm only at the second day of the school. The kids haven't even arrived yet! It's Wednesday morning and I'm up early to give a short update before heading back in for a full day of PD before putting the final touches on my room and crossing my fingers that everything goes smoothly when the kids show up tomorrow.

We went up to the house last night - I hadn't done much work lately, although TJ has been there organizing the shed and cleaning up. It's getting to the point where I feel like there's not a whole lot I can do besides clean up after everything. The seam filler started yesterday. I thought the walls looked like they were in pretty good shape - aside from a few massive cracks, everything else looked good.

Apparently I don't know a whole lot about walls.

I'm sure it's not as bad as it looks.

Upon closer inspection, someone else had been there recently:

I forgot to take a picture, but Thomas had helped put up a new ceiling and a new wall section in the master bedroom - I'll get some pictures tonight.

After looking around upstairs and realizing I had no idea what I could or could not clean up (tools everywhere....pieces of wood and gyprock inability to distinguish between what is useful and what is junk made this task impossible) we decided to finish taking the paneling off of the kitchen walls. There was a layer of plastic tile and then a layer of wainscotting, then a layer of nailed on boards, then a layer of my favourite - horse hair plaster.  No wonder I'm sneezing constantly. Between the cat hair and horse hair, it's a miracle I'm alive. I also made a stop at the pharmacy to pick up some allergy pills. Anyway, I toughed it out and the panels are now completely off in the kitchen, ready for gyprock and someday, cupboards!

When I said toughed it out, I was serious. Look at that face. Look at those crowbars! 

After the kitchen, TJ finished stripping the wallpaper from the small bedroom and I started on the back hallway, taking wallpaper off of the CEILING. No idea why it was necessary to wallpaper the ceiling at one point....please let there be no surprises, please no surprises....this has become my mantra every time we take off another layer of house...

Today after school I'm off to look at bathroom fixtures, then most likely it's going to be wallpaper time again. Hopefully the wallpaper gods will smile down once more and the ceiling paper will come off just as easily as the rest....

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labour Day Weekend

No rest for us, we keep working through the Labour Day Weekend! It's hard to keep track of all the work that's being done at the moment. The entire family has been pitching in and little (and big!) jobs are being done all over the house.

Thomas came over to the island and quickly demonstrated the proper stances for one who is renovating:

First: the lean
Second: the "check for stability" (aka: shake things and see if they fall apart)
Third: the pants slip

Mum also showed up in proper house attire. Her cat allergy is even worse than mine and necessary precautions must be made:

Dad showed up and continued his kitchen renovation. All of the cupboards are out and the end result looks pretty good (click to see bigger pictures):

The cupboards are all ripped out now, and the walls are ready for gyprock. We found a few different layers, including wainscotting (both painted and varnished wood), plastic tile, this funny cherry print border, and of course, more hardwood! It's in pretty rough shape and needs a good sanding and varnishing, but we will most likely be covering it up for now. Maybe some day down the road!

The porch sink finally came out as well. Whoever put it in must have been the same person who put in the carpet tacks and glued the floor in the master bedroom, because it did not want to come out.

This was a 3 person job being to stand around and watch, of course.

Shane also came and finished ripping up the bathroom floor:

All of the new plumbing lines have been put in place...instead of lead pipes, we now have plastic. They look very clean. Shane, Thomas, dad and TJ then put down new insulation and a new bathroom floor in preparation of the plumber coming back to install the bathtub and new fixtures...which we do not have just yet. Oops. Better get that sorted out.

Shane has a knack for finding things that have been hidden in houses, his most recent being an old bone. It turned out to be real, but not creepy because it had been donated to science and was just part of a lab skeleton or something. Anyway, this is what he found in our house under the bathroom floorboards:

White Horse Distilleres Scotch. I did a little searching online and found out that if this bottle had of been full, it would be worth a little money! Sadly, whoever hid it there was a lush and the entire thing had been drained. It most likely would have been made around the 1920s or 1930s as it has a screw top, which wasn't put into production until 1924. Anyway, kind of a funny thing to find!

As of today, the new bathroom floor is down, the outer part of the bathroom walls have been gyprocked, and the ceiling in the master bedroom has been gyprocked as well. Things are starting to look a little bit better. Hopefully this week the electricians will be able to finish up and the seam filling will start. I'm really looking forward to having the seam filling completed as then we can really start to clean the house from top to bottom!