Posts Tagged ‘renovation’

Here’s my attempt to put this all in perspective. Last I left off we were trying to close our building permit but got asked by the city to install our HRV system, here are 2 posts that link back to the topic, 1 and 2.

Now for the HRV system, we had to install this system in conjunction with our radiant heating system since we have no air flow/ circulation throughout our house. I know very little about explaining the specifics of an HRV so in general here it is on Wikipedia.

So over the course of 2 days we were up and running. Day 1 aluminum vent installation.

aluminum duct work in basement

Yes, the underside of our basement looks like ‘Frankenstein’ but we’ll deal with that another time…. bottom of the list!

Day 2, the system got installed and working, yeah! I was excited until I arrived home from work and realized that the unit itself was huge. Cancel my plans for that corner of the basement! The installers were nice enough to install a heater (the small metal square on the right side of the picture below), apparently this air flow system can make the air really cold, especially in the winter.

HRV unit

The pic before they added 2, 6″ tubes to vent to the outside. They attach to the circles you see at the side of the unit.

To accommodate the exhaust and intake vents leading to the outside, Sam ended up having to knock out some rock facing on the exterior of the house, if you remember the crazy rock cutting post then you will understand our frustration. One step forward 2 steps back, we will have to do cosmetic surgery on the exterior rock facing when the weather gets better!

So, our installation of the HRV is completed 🙂 We then had the city inspector come back to sign off, only to be told that the city now want us to insulate the entire basement before they will close our build permit! F#$%^, I am soooooo pissed off that I am pretty sure you can see flames shooting out from my head! So, were are we now…. well NO VACATION and 1600 sq. ft. of basement to frame and insulate! I can no longer write anymore of this post for fear that the cursing will begin and never end!


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We are on the move and I think it is safe to say I see the light emerging at the end of what has been a very long (endless, really) tunnel.

Sam and my dad installed our new hood vent so we were able to finish painting the kitchen (this link is where we left off), hooray! I should probably add that the vent has been sitting in the basement for about a year! I can’t even refer you to where I bought it from because, its been so long I don’t even remember. All I can say is I bought it on line at a steel of a deal $450 with shipping included and it came from the west coast, British Columbia.

Hood vent over the stove

Excuse the mess on the counters!

We also painted the east wall in the kitchen. I’m now currently on the hunt for artwork for our kitchen walls! I never thought I would see the day…. I finally get to decorate 🙂

Kitchen east wall painted grey

After the kitchen we proceed to work on the next room in line… the living room! Remember those stair posts we picked up at the antique store back in the summer, you can check it out here. And if you want to see the original pics you can click here.


This is a top view looking down with the old temporary banister removed.

Stairs with back wall in place

We opted to create a half wall at the back of the stairs to separate the office area.

As you know I hate plastering drywall, but I’ve found a way to make it look decent, lots of thin coats over many days!

Top railing of stairs

Just the painting and staining left to do.

Sam did an amazing job considering the posts were not new when we got them, I love it! Even better, the kids can now walk down the stairs!


The top rail and the threads on the stairs will be stained dark walnut to match the floors… in the summer when we can open the windows!

Oh and we finally got our posts in the basement welded, we called in the professionals.

Welding post plates

We are exhausted but feeling good about the progress, more on the living room in the next post….

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We’ve been busy scraping 100 years of paint, I am glad to report we have finally finished the last of the scraping inside the house. What this actually means is no more scraping upside down 🙂 Our front door is finally finished. Click here to see where we started. Next up the in progress pics.

Note the metal strip on the floor. It’s hiding a half an inch gap that used to drive me crazy… funny how the small accomplishments provide relief!

And here is the final pic. So much cleaner and brighter. Just the base boards left to finish and I might actually be closer to decorating this front hall.

In addition to the front door I felt the need to get sewing. I finally completed my bench project; the goal to make it prettier and more comfortable . I love this bench, I picked it up on craigslist for $20, it was the perfect fit for our kitchen table. It’s rustic, sturdy and at 6ft seats alot of guests.

I stained the bench to match our table, then cut foam the length of the bench to make a cushion. I then sewed a case for the foam. For the case I cut 2 similar pieces of fabric the size of the foam leaving 1/2″ for seam allowance. I then took cord and wrapped it in bias tape to create piping (or you can buy piping ready made). I then sewed it all together and put a flap at the back instead of a zipper to save on time. Straps and some velcro hold the cushion in place.

Here is a pic of the bench stained.

And completed.

This project took me far longer than it should have, I wonder why?

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I love an early start to the weekend. As always necessity has dictated what part of the reno took priority this week! We have finally stripped and painted one of the windows. It’s been a week of preping and stripping paint, in an effort to install our airconditioner! Yes, summer is here and in full force, we’ve had 2 heat advisorys already and officially it is the first day of summer. We’ve had the fans going but AC would make us all a bit less irritable! One down only 7 to go… LOL, if I don’t laugh I think I might cry. 

And a copper find…

Coal scuttles; copper and brass with ceramic handles. I was immediately drawn to the shape. I saw something similar at an antique market last summer but they were in pretty bad condition. I’ve had them in my mind ever since. Not sure why but when I first saw them I though of my front porch, flower pots to be exact. I know the porch isn’t done yet but I found a pair on Craigslist and for the right price they were mine! I love the adged patina. I’ve been using one as a watering can and it actually works quite well, hummmm…. I might have to rethink the whole flower pot idea! Any suggestions?

Copper Brass Coal Scuttle

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So, my youngest is going through binki (pacifier) withdrawal at the moment, two days and counting. She bit off the top so we decided no time like the present to get rid of it, before she ends up swallowing it. We tried it once prior and caved to the inconsolable pleas of a 2 year old!  My big plan this week was to come home after work spend a bit of time with the kids, do the whole routine; dinner, bath, bed… and then have maybe an hour or so to do a bit of painting on the porch. Well, with the current situation naturally I dropped the big plan and have spent the time trying to console my child and convince her that going to bed with out binki is not the end of the world!

All this has made me think about DIYers, even those under going home renovations and the balancing act between life and renovations. Kids, family, friends, work, hobbies, church, celebrations, not to mention the on going things like, cooking, cleaning, laundry….

I remind my self where we’ve been and how far we’ve come! I remember when we got the house my son was about 4+ we involved him quite a bit; sitting for a pic in the bob cat was always a big hit. We got him his own tool box, complete with hammer, safety goggles and a hard hat! Family time was working on the house together, to this day my son remembers quite a bit and always laughs about it. When we moved into the house we had a newborn, #2. I’m certain the only way we made it through those first couple of months was with help from family, friends and the grace of God (or in Sam’s case Buddha). I remember all of us sleeping in one room and on one bed, the use of only one bathroom, and only a tub (no shower), no air conditioning…. I’m sure we all have endless stories, only laughable once their over! I would love for you to share. It’s kinda therapeutic for me knowing those stories are in the past.

Life keeps moving and I know we get through it all somehow because thankfully we are still here to share our stories. I would love to hear what you are doing to balance renos and life?

For now, if the porch takes longer to complete so be it, I’m a bit busy living LIFE 😉

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So this long weekend we went a little nuts on the reno front! In my opinion can’t waist a long weekend, means you can plan for more intense renos.

THE GARDEN… this project it so big that I don’t think it will ever finish! So even though it was scorching hot we had to get a bit done.

I planted the flowers from last weekend’s trip to a native plant sale that my sister brought me to. A note to check out your local websites, bulletin boards and community organizations to see what is offered locally, definitely worth the savings and good to help out the communities you live in. It was hosted by the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society. For a person who was going for the experience I walked away with a lot more than I intended to. I purchased Cherry bells, monkshood (which I am told is stunning… and by the way, my research after tells me it is also poisonous, think I will be giving that one to my sister!), blackberry, basil, echinacea and heirloom tomatoes. For a person who previously only had a balcony, I’m starting to like gardening…. but not ripping up grass or pulling out the weeds!

So, we ripped up the grass (which I had planted 2 years prior, had I know I would not have planted the dam grass seeds) and pulled weeds. We are now half way up the driveway and weed free! We’ve decided to try killing the grass with a tarp for the other half, our neighbour recommended it, hope it works.

garden bed


Laying down tarp

And continued to move the mountain of soil which has been piled in our back yard for three years. I’ve got the drive this year to finally get rid of it.

Dirt pile

Boy playing in the dirt My kids “sand box”

A finale to my gardening, my lilacs are doing well.



Next up… back to the darn PORCH

Finally finished shellacking the front porch… after over 200 sq ft. not sure I ever want to hear that word again! We got most of the detailing put in the treillage and finally started painting the roof. First time using the pain sprayer, we were really excited but then we realized we were painting a roof, doesn’t work out too well upside down! Oh well back to hand painting. Will be so glad when this project ends.

house with front porch

Also managed to get both garden hoses on reels and off the lawn, stake the maple tree, clean out and paint the trim on the shed (what a difference painted trim makes), finish Lauren’s bike and no long weekend is complete with out a BBQ! Yes, managed to get the much needed family time in! I’m ready to crash now.

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Renovation high

So, I’m on a bit of a renovation high or as we call it “get things done mode”. Not sure how long it will last but while I’ve got the drive might as well run with it! After all most of the time it’s hard to find the motivation to keep going when your looking at a project that is beyond long term, more like a life time project! Looking back to where we started and where we are today I must say seeing the progress does give me motivation to keep going. I like to think of it as one step closer to decorating (can’t wait to decorate). That and we promised ourselves one more summer of hard work and a vacation awaits us! I know it’s important to take a break and recharge but the calculated side of me refuses to go on an away vaca until I’m comfortable with the state of the house, I know it’s crazy talk! With the long weekend one day away lets see if the high lasts. Watch for the progress report in a couple of days!

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