Monday, July 19, 2010

All Quiet On the Eastern Front

The construction holiday has commenced! It actually started last Thursday for our project. So much for the final push... instead we have another thin layer of concrete ready to hold the cutting machine on the return to our money pit. Meanwhile, Marc and I will be taking the time for a little vacation with the kids, home to the UK (and a short visit to Paris). Stay tuned!

Monday, July 12, 2010


I had a little stress this weekend when I discovered Marc had been given a newspaper article from next door entitled "Before you renovate or build, consider the neighbours". Marc tells me it was given to him in good humour, but still... It was written by Marc's favourite TV show host, Mike Holmes. We gave it a good read, but I think we have being doing a fair job of relationship management (well to be honest, Marc's the one doing this really. I just give my two words of polite French and hope that our doggie wagging his tail will melt everyone's hearts).

As for progress, the earth was removed from the front basement windows on Friday (before some seriously heavy torrential rain). And today the holes were cut ready for expanding the window size (and before yet more torrential rain, thunder and lightening).

Thursday, July 8, 2010


It's been a couple of busy days. Yesterday I was accosted by the neighbour on my way home. He was actually very nice about it, but very persistent; the neighbourhood needs to know, worst case scenario, when will the big trucks and digging end... It just so happens that Marc had received a call from JF earlier in the day saying the workmen had reached 8'3" in one area. That's 3 inches less than we had requested, but we're getting to the point where every inch is huge piles of dosh. Given that we have to use 6" for finishing the floor (including radiant heat), we'll actually end up with 7'9" ceiling height (rather than the 8 foot we were aiming at - remember we are trying to create a very un-basement-like feel in the basement). But having now been into the construction zone basement to feel the height, this is one compromise we can live with.

Coming back to our neighbour's question (very valid, I've been wanting this digging phase to end too!), JF is pushing the guys hard to finish in time for the construction 2 week holiday (Monday 19 July - Friday 30 July). That's actually only 6 digging days from now, unless they start working weekends (highly unlikely). However, I think the main thing people want to know is, when can they have a break from the noise and the early morning wake-up call, even if it's only for a week. So construction holiday time it is!

Lisa (our architect) also came back to the house yesterday for new measurements, since all the concrete walls are in place and we will need more precise locations for the roughed in plumbing. We'll need to start making bathroom decisions soon as it will affect the plumbing locations. Fortunately, we had visited several "plomberies" this past weekend to start our search for the perfect bathroom at the perfect price.

Today, I was again accosted by the neighbour just as I got home. But this time, it was to find out if we are happy with our contractor. It seems that a neighbour a few doors down is very interested in undertaking the same crazy scheme as us, and wants to know if we would recommend Excavation Beloeil. Well, despite the length of time this is taking, I'm pretty happy, but until we get a bit further, I'm reserve final judgment, but so far, so good.

Marc also had a chat with JF this morning on a couple of other matters. First, the other compromise we have to make, putting in a sewage pump. We had really wanted to dig a trench in front of the house to get to the main sewer, and just use good old-fashioned gravity to get rid of our basement waste. However, pros and cons weighed in, and it seems that the pump will have to do.

Secondly, we've also been looking into interior finished concrete floors, since this could be a great way to keep with the modern industrial design look, while keeping costs down, ceiling height at the max and getting the most from our radiant floor. JF is able to do this for us as part of the current price (although it won't be any fancy colour - we'll just have to add rugs if we need any). It will also mean we don't have to make any decisions on flooring for a while and we can happily keep it as is. It just means we have to wait 28 days for the floor to cure...

By the way, I made some yummy home made salsa tonight with fresh Quebec tomatoes and coriander. Perfect for a stinky hot day.