Monday, 19 March 2012

It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighbourhood

Since we’ve taken a couple of days off from the project and spent a lovely, restful weekend in the mountains (a non-ski trip can be better than a ski trip, apparently), I have no new photos of the renovation.  So this seems like an appropriate moment to offer a shout-out to great neighbours.  We’ve been very fortunate to meet the neighbours in the adjacent houses and across the alley, as well as a sprinkling of neighbours across the street and down the alley:  Richard and Rochelle, Linda, Lorraine, Dennis, Deb and Didi (?), Zeb (?), Craig and Ursulla. Forgive me if I’ve mangled your names.

A couple of neighbours have come for regular construction review visits about once a week and came for the pre-demolition party back in early February.  Of course, they always come to the back door, as neighbours do as opposed to ‘guests’.  Note to self:  install another door chime with a different tone for the front and back door so you don’t have to run from door to door like a slightly manic dog defending its territory.    The neighbours across the alley have been kind enough to allow us to peruse their extensively renovated house in our grubby construction clothes late one night and shared photos of their massive renovation.  Gives me hope that one day, we too shall be finished and will only have a photo album to remind us of the blood, sweat and tears of this project.

A couple of weeks ago, these neighbours brought the previous owner’s daughter over for a tour as I mentioned in a previous blog.   Although she was old enough never to have lived in her parent’s rebuilt home, she remembered many intriguing details.  I never would have guessed that the red shag carpet was a nod to their Polish heritage.  Our changes were given the ‘thumbs-up’ – we’ll have to have her over once we’re done.  As well, since the neighbours across the alley have been in their house longer than this house has existed, they watched it being constructed and have insights into its history.   Dennis was also kind enough to fill in as impromptu handyman for the previous owner.  So far, my only complaint with him is that the beam that was supposed to exist over the now-demolished wall, wasn’t there.  You owe me a drink, Dennis.  Yes, Scotch will do nicely, thank you.

And as for the expression ‘good fences make good neighbours’….well, in our case it may be ‘window coverings’.  Just sayin’.  Our days of cooking in the nude may be over.  (I’m kidding, Mom! Really.)
 Howdy neighbour!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Are we there yet? (Day Whatever)

I confess to losing track of how many days it’s been since we started this modest project (Thirty-nine, apparently).  We’re still doing minor bits of demolition, now that plumbing lines are being capped and we’re finding areas which are easier to rebuild correctly rather than try to bodge together the gypsumboard over wonky existing construction. 
The electrician started last week, as we needed to clear out the wiring in the wall between the kitchen and dining/living space.  The plumber arrived yesterday and capped off a few critical lines.  Bruce and Jean took on the ‘big beam’ project last Friday, and it made a huge difference to the house.  Once the plywood subfloor over the former dining room platform goes down, there will no longer be a bottleneck from the front to back of the house and we’ll have a living/kitchen space of 15’-6” x 45’.   The scale of this house is something I’m still wrapping my brain around, particularly when it comes to the budget.  (There’s that cash register sound effect again….can you hear it?)
We’ve used up our first batch of construction supplies and need to get more – fortunately we can haul quite a few 8’ long studs in the Durango.  It’s a little more challenging in the SAAB, but the hatchback helps.  Once we’re ready for the drywall, we’ll see if delivery or renting the Home Despot trailer that was used for the 16’ long beam is more economical.  A  coworker, who shall be dubbed Sausage Boy on this blog to preserve his anonymity, offered us the use of a cube van on weekends – awesome!  Meat products delivered to the office bi-weekly and help with the renovation! What more can you ask for?  Sorting out all these logistics takes a surprising amount of time and energy, but bacon scented lumber helps. 

New window:
The current Crisis du Jour is needing to select all the plumbing fixtures to allow the new water and drain lines to be installed.  Plus, we need three new glazed doors for the bonus room, as well as for the clinic entry and new access to the Fitness Room.  Each opening has certain dimensional limitations so finding the right fit with salvaged and secondhand materials is very hit and miss.  Plus, I’m hoping that these doors have a somewhat similar appearance so the finished product doesn’t look too much like a ‘Junkyard Wars’ masterpiece. ( I miss that show and have had to transfer my affections to Mythbusters.  However, like replacing ‘Two Fat Ladies’ with Nigella, there’s still a certain je ne sais quoi missing.  Oh yes, topic. ) And we need to finalize all our kitchen appliances to allow the cabinetry to be confirmed and ordered from overseas…

Jean and I should be able to wrap up most of the miscellaneous framing jobs this week.  Then, once our heroic volunteer  Mr. Bruce returns, we’ll tackle the monumental task of building out the south wall from 4” to 6” studs, redoing the insulation and vapour barrier on it,  and frame the new rough opening for the bigger dining room window.  Oh yes, and there’s a new fireplace in there somewhere as well.  Yup, not daunting at all.  I wonder if there’s anything else that needs to be demolished?  La la la lalalalalala…..