Saturday, August 29, 2009

What a week!

We have gotten a lot done this week, and I am ready to go back to work!! I have a new found respect for construction people and general laborors.....I could never do what they do! There are very few parts of my body that are not hurting, but the job has been very rewarding so far. We only have a little left to do in order to prepare for the contractors to come and build our addition....shouldn't be a problem getting done in time, so we are taking a family day tomorrow before back to work Monday. I am looking forward to it, and so are my hands!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 that a word?

Okay, so I had intended on writing an entry each day of our super duper renovating 'vacation', but to be quite honest, I have been too tired and my hands hurt too much to type! Now, after 4 full days in, my hands have adjusted, and all is well again! Okay, here is the update. The entire house, upstairs and downstairs is almost completely a shell. There is still a little to do upstairs, then we are done with the tearing down business....thank goodness. We have decided on a contractor (Daniel) so we are just waiting for him to commit to his price and stuff in writing, then the permit to come in and we are off to the races with the addition. In the meantime we need to get the roof off the entire house. My Dad is coming tomorrow to help us with that (thanks Papa). P.S. don't tell Liv that her Papa is coming....I just dropped her off today to spend a couple days with Grama and Grampa, but if she knew Papa was coming and she wasn't here she would not be happy with us! But, we know that Papa wouldn't be much help if Liv were here!!! Anyways, it will be nice to see him, and get some help. Our friend Max has helped us with the demo for the past few days, and taken Liv out to the park to play (which is a great help). Her daughter Jess has also been awsome to help with Liv when we need her....Thanks Jess!!

Now, the glitch.....
as we tore down the ceiling in the living room we realized it has a tremendous bow to it that must be fixed. From what we can gather, that is a big process including walls and roof being off for a little are putting off moving into this dream until next month. This gives us some more time to get more done without having to live amongst the rubble. Not something we had planned for, but hey, Ben had a temper tantrum, threw the ladder, I held it in a bit and was in a bad mood for a few hours, but we are over it now! What can you do! Just keep on wreckin!!

Okay, so here is what I have learned in the past 4 days
1. The masks with the little filter contraption on the front are well worth their money in gold.
2. You can use the space between your breasts to hold a can of red bull if you need both your hands to climb up the stairs covered in debris.
3. If you look at yourself, and your partner after a day of working in dust, you get a fairly good idea of what they are going to look like when they are 100......then you can make decisions from there!
4. Giant Tiger has a vast array of clothing suited just for doing dirty renovation work.
5. Life is a little brighter when you wipe off your glasses
6. If you wake up and your hands are stuck in the position of holding a wrecking bar, it is going to be a difficult morning.
7. Eye glasses are not, and should not be used as, safety glasses.
8. Ceramic tiles are very tough, you can beat them with a hammer and they don't break. Now, drop a butter knife the right way and you ruin your floor....just sayin.
9. There is not vermiculite or asbestos in our attic, so instead of it costing $6000 to have it removed, we will get it out for the low low price of $2000!
10. Six nails in the bottom of your shoe is less than eight....what a great day!
11. Home improvement holds Liv's interest for about 5 minutes at a long as she doesn't get too dusty!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As I mentioned, we are in the demo phase of our reno. Here are a couple pics of what we are looking at every night when we get off work! Pretty huh? Smashing actually (literally!) We start our vacation in two days, so we are hoping to do some serious work during that week....because we have to start living in this house next weekend!! The plan is to have all the main walls stripped, and new studs in between the original ones, the ceilings tore down on the main floor, the fence up, and the roof off the existing kitchen/dining room ready for the contractor to start building. Oh yeah, and one other little thing.....the permit! On top of that, all the supplies bought and delivered for the contractor. Now, as for the contractor.....Ben has been interviewing potential contractors all week (5 in total). One has given us a really good quote (yes we will get it in writing before doing anything) and he can start right away. He says it will only take them four days! That sounds great, but lets see if anyone can beat it!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What I learned today!

Okay, so we spend a good part of today in demolition mode. Ben posted a picture of the wall torn apart, that is what we are doing....tearing the main floor, outside walls apart to the bones. We have to put 2x4's between the existing studs to support the new addition. Here is what that involves.....first you break through 14 layers of paint and wall paper to the plaster. You then break away the plaster bit by bit (breaking to take shards out of your eyes, hair, and bra) to reveal the lath (I think that is what it is called). This is a bunch of little strips of wood nailed to every stud the full length of the room. In between these carefully placed pieces of wood is more plaster. So, you have to pull each one off, with the plaster in between (again, breaking to remove plaster from body parts where plaster should not be). Once that is done you would think there would be light....nope, there is a kinda paper stuff nailed to 2" thick barn boards. The barn boards cover the entire length of the wall as well, creating in essence, another wall entirely. So, you carefully yank and pull on these enormous, heavy pieces of wood to finally get to the studs and the wall on the outside of the house! At this point we have all the plaster and lath removed (thank god) and we are working on the barn boards. The entire first floor is full of wood, plaster and newspapers (insulation in some places). I am going to call to have a waste bin dropped off tomorrow.

Here is what I learned today:

1. Even though you wear a mask, dirt still gets up your nose
2. Cleavage is a catch all when pulling plaster off walls
3. Just because the work gloves that are made for women are cute doesn't mean they are any damn good
4. Once you have blisters on every single finger, at every single joint, you should just keep going until the job is done. If you stop to wipe the sweat from dripping into your eye (again), you will not be able to make your hands wrap around that hammer again
5. It must have taken people 6 years to build a house 100 years ago, and plaster must have been cheap
6. With some good music, and a babysitter, you can get a lot done in a day with a hammer and a wrecking bar

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Too Much Crap in the Closet

We found this in our closet. And it works.

And the Reno's Start!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's raining contractors

Okay, so Ben has the plans ready to go to the township to apply for the building permit for the second floor addition....great! So now I am in charge of getting some contractors out to take a look and give us a quote. This is so much easier to do than you would think! I registered with (which took 5 minutes). What this site does is simple, genius really, contractors pay to have notices sent out to them when someone registers a "project" in their area....then....they call the people who need the job done! It is awsome, I had 10 contractors get in contact with me within 4 hrs of posting my "project". So now, I have to pick some and have them come out and look at the house, and our plans, and give us a free, no obligation quote! Now, I have to try and figure out how to get off the site so I don't have hundreds of contractors stalking me, wanting to give me a free, no obligation quote......
Oh yeah, almost forgot.....we have purchased the first of our project supplies. We went the other day and got all the materials and tools needed to build a fence around the entire perimeter of the property! It took FOREVER to load up all 175 boards, and 13 posts etc etc. What we did find out is that you just have to give the folks there at the Home Depot a ring a ding ding, and they will pick up all that crap for you, and deliver it to the door next day.......we are learning early....and I only lost a little skin off the top of one toe in the process.....not bad, not bad at all!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A little green (paint) goes a long way!

We spent most of today at the house, taking the packed boxes we have from our current place -- we are trying to get as much done in advance of actually moving in at the end of the month. I took a bunch of pictures inside and outside so everyone could see what we are up against here (maybe before offering to help!!) We are going to be living on the main floor only until the second floor is completely finished -- in an effort to keep the chaos away from where we are living and sleeping. The little room off the living room is going to be an office, but until we do the main floor renovations that space is going to be Liv's bedroom. We decided to paint that room to try and make it nice for her while we are living amongst the renos. So, off to the hardware store we go, so Liv can choose the colour she wants her new temp bedroom to be.....first she said Lavender would be good, nice for sleeping (her words -- so clever), then she thought a nice dark dark green might be good....she finally settled on a minty green colour! She helped and we got the room all painted up today! It was a fun project, and I think the space will do just fine for now.....she is quite pleased!
PS we choose a no VOC was reasonably priced, covered quite well, and omitted no odor! Nice (especially for a bedroom) I recommend it!

This is the living room and dining room space with the kitchen at the back. The stairs are on the right side there were the wall is torn apart! There is a massive hole in the floor between the hardwood and the carpet (which is disgusting by the way!) I am standing at the front door looking in when taking this picture.....can you imagine it??!

This is the staircase....will be nice....needs some love!

This is the tiny little upstairs....that is going to get bigger....the upstairs has been totally stripped ready to renovate, so that makes it a bit easier for us.

Side it!

Front it too!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Here We Go!

Hello world! I have started this blog to capture the progress we make on our enormous home renovation project! We take possession of the house on Monday August 10th, at which time we hope to begin the demo! My husband Ben and I have spend months preparing for this day....pricing out flooring, bathroom fixtures and the rest. Actually, Ben has spent so much time at Home Depot that the staff are starting to recognize him! We are starting with a second floor addition which will add a bedroom and bigger bathroom upstairs (nice). We are waiting on the building permit so keep your fingers crossed! After the addition is up (with the help of a contractor) we are going to be putting on a new roof and siding. The goal is to have this, plus a privacy fence up around the property before the snow falls! I will attach some pictures soon of the "before"! We have a 6 month deadline for the entire project, so wish us some luck, and please leave comments on my posts if you have any handy reno advice....we are going to need all the help we can get!