Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The End is Near?

Day 20 - surely, we must be nearing the end of the demolition process by now!  It seems every day we find something else to tear out.  As a method of procrastination, it's effective but sooner or later the rebuilding will have to start.

The plumber is scheduled to start work tomorrow as we're planning extensive renovations to the three existing bathrooms and have discovered a few other surprises.  The previous owner gets to pay for fixing some frozen pipes and we discovered some corroded copper drain lines in the suite kitchen. I don't think you're supposed to be able to pull entire trap assemblies out by hand, however manly you are. (Sorry Jean - couldn't resist!)
Last night, we started to tear out the first wall of cedar as we're opening up the end of the loft hallway to the bonus room.  Or, should I say 'rumpus room' to be correct (shout out to Aaron B. for pointing out my anachronistic reference on Facebook).  As with the new doorway from the clinic to the fitness room in the basement, we discovered it was already framed with a header so putting in a new door with sidelight should be easy.  Should be.  (I can already hear the Gods of Renovation Hell laughing at me.)

Demolition is also continuing in the main bath.  With the unusual interlocking floor levels, there's been a few surprises such as the ceiling structure of the basement bathroom extending under the main floor bathroom vanity.  What to do with the space above?  Art niche opening to the front hall?  Linen closet opening into the bathroom and powder room?  Vancouver sized bedroom?  What to do....what to do....?

Saturday, 18 February 2012


Another productive day of demolition today.  Ripped out the 'genuine naugahyde' wet bar, half the kitchen cabinets, the vinyl flooring (leaving the 1976 vintage one exposed), and the gypsumboard on the soon-to-be demolished wall between kitchen and dining room.  Now we finally have an idea of how wide open the main floor of the house will be.  Note to self:  buy window coverings.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tear Down the Wall!

Apologies to Pink's the next monumental project - the removal of the partition between the kitchen and dining room.  Now that the dining room podium is gone, we have a better idea of how this area was built.  And, as mentioned in the previous post, we have a strange plywood sandwich since the podium was evidently built first, then the remainder of the wall built on top of the plywood subfloor.  Strange.  I guess the raised dining room platform was an integral part of the design and never intended to be removed.

Unfortunately the promised beam doesn't appear to exist, but the trusses over the kitchen should be supported by the outside wall and the beam which runs down the center of the house.  Should.  Where's an engineer when I need one?  Ah well, a bit more exploratory demolition should confirm how the kitchen area trusses are supported.

Now to find some kitchen appliances so we can finalize the design. 
Happy Valentine's Day, mon cher!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Demolition Man (Week One and a Half)

We're in Day 10 of Renovation Hell.  Actually, it's been going well, but the usual scope creep (that's industry jargon for 'Damn the budget, let's tear everything down and buy lots of new shiny stuff!' has begun.  We've completed most of the demolition, with the exception of some of the superfluous cedar panelling and the iconic naugahyde wet bar.  On Friday, we went to our friendly neighbourhood swanky kitchen design shop and sketched out our plans for the new kitchen.  I wasn't planning on tackling that project, but it makes sense just to get it all done at once.

The dining room platform came out Saturday and not without a fight.  Despite our intentions to salvage the tongue and groove, 3/4" fir plywood, we just could not get it apart without shredding the subfloor.  So, Mr Sawz-all to the rescue.  Surprisingly, the platform was evidently built first, then the partition between the dining room and kitchen built over it, so we now have a layer of plywood sandwiched two feet up the remaining partition wall.  I'll need to post better photos of this, because it simply doesn't make sense from a constructibility point of view. 

The sauna is now also history, including a good 3" thickness of concrete topping which had to be smashed up and carried out, bucket by bucket.  Scraping off popcorn ceilings and glue-down carpet backing will continue for some time, however.  We couldn't have accomplished half of what we did this weekend without the help of Bruce H.  aka 'The Machine'.  Many thanks.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Demolition - end of Week 1.

A busy week at the house...we worked 6 out of 7 days, only taking a day off to celebrate a birthday.  I keep reminding myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint, so I don't need to get everything done thisveryinstantrightnowhurryup! 

So far, we've demolished:
- all floor coverings (carpet and underlay) except for the kitchen sheet flooring
- all baseboards
- all electrical faceplates and outlet covers
-  the ramp to the Family  Room
- the mirror tile around the wet bar
- started on the cedar around the living room columns
- the sauna benches, door and one wall of cedar panelling
- the linen closet in the main bath
- all closet fittings and doors
- scraped popcorn ceilings off the master bedroom and Family Room
- gwb cabinet in the loft hallway and at the base of the stairs
- the short curb and painted stickon floor tiles at the base of the stairs

We just tackled that last one at the end of the day yesterday, after we have already cleaned up and were ready to head home.  We've named the podium under the loft at the base of the stairs the 'Zen Garden' and have plans for a water feature, art niche and better lighting.  However, the floor level is the same as the main living/dining area and taking out the curb at the bottom of it has made a huge difference.  Score!
Now, we get to deal with the raised dining room platform, hack up a couple hundred pounds of iron handrail, scrape the rest of the popcorn ceilings and perhaps some exploratory demolition to confirm there's already a beam in place between the kitchen and dining room so the wall can come down.  Should be a fun weekend!

We might need a bigger boat, though.

Monday, 6 February 2012

And the fun begins....Demolition (Day 1 and 2)

After a fabulous 1976-themed pre-renovation party, Jean and the girls and I got down to work.  There will be a post dedicated to the party, but the photo above gives a hint of the fabulousness that ensued, complete with shag and afro wigs.

Saturday and Sunday saw all outlet and switch faceplates removed, baseboards and closet doors pried off, carpet and underlay rolled up and tossed outside and some old window coverings removed.  Once the dust settled, we now have a slightly fresher smelling house in Early Plywood style.

The subfloor seems to be in great condition (3/4" fir plywood - woot!) but needs to be screwed down as all the 30 year old nails have loosened.  The future clinic space is a pain to clean up since the rubber backing from the carpet has adhered to the concrete.  Ditto for the bonus room upstairs.

Despite not having the original construction drawings, everything was pretty well as expected as demolition proceeded.  Well, almost everything.  The future toilet location in the master ensuite needs to be tweaked since there's massing ducting running under the floor and a platform that the old double vanity was built over (that explains the lack of cupboards under the vanity) that has to stay as is.  So, a slight modification to the new WC compartment and a new art niche/water feature in the front hall and problem solved.  Other little quirks to the house include a 3" floor level difference from Family Room to Kitchen and a redundant 'stage' on one side of the bonus room, both of which should be able to be resolved so flooring can run continuously on one level. 

Next on the demolition checklist is the cabinet in the middle of the upstairs loft corridor and the redundant dining room platform complete with a 200lb one piece iron handrail.  Fun, fun, fun!