Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Feeling Radiant

Our neighbours find the radiator transport team quite hilarious. It's true, I'm sure they are if it doesn't involve your own home. It was yet another major milestone to receive the radiators back in October after their sandblasting and re-painting. But bringing these huge and heavy pieces of cast iron back into the house was no easy task. After much swearing in French, and several dents in our lovely new flooring, they did finally make it in.

Today, the plumbing company was able to hook them up to our gas heating system (also used to heat the water for our radiant floors in the basement).

It's probably worth a reminder of the before picture...

And now we have lovely working radiators, no peeling paint, all in one lovely consistent shade of silver:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

From White to Black

While the old white outside railings of our house were getting de-rusted, primed and painted a traditional shiny black (courtesy of student painters), the ground floor and inside of our home was undergoing a transformation, getting plastered professionally. (Reading that last phrase back to myself makes for a very suitable double entendre for getting though this ongoing project!) Our plastering man, Guy, made up for all out little foibles from when we installed the drywall. He did an amazing job, so we used him again for the in-law reno.

Once the plastering was complete, I started helping out with some of the painting, but Marc surged ahead and ended up almost single handedly painting the place over the course of several evenings after work, while I got stuck at the office. We've gone completely white for now. I completely lack inspiration for color and am just so happy to have a clean house with real walls. I have got to apply for one of those design shows like Color Confidential or the like... Need design help!

The finishing touch came with selecting the door and window trims. Marc got to use his favorite cutting saw to make perfect 45° cuts. And then I finally got a go at the painting with semi-gloss white trims. You'd think after all this I'd have taken a ton of pics. But, no! The end of 2011 barely allowed for any breathing room outside of work work. So you'll just have to wait for photos...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Flooring: Done - 2

We're finally there! It took both child and retired labour, but everyone seemed to enjoy the results. It's all done except for 2 planks (the transition between the 2 rooms). I'm sure we'll even get the detail of them finished one day...

It was a big day of work:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In the Corner

While we've been working on the parent-in-law reno, this has allowed us to finally move the unsightly black sewage pipe from the middle of the kitchen ceiling to the corner. One tiny step closer to finishing our kitchen!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Turn Up the Heat

We really wanted to have a see-through gas fireplace that separates the living room from the dining room, also making a wall for the staircase on one side. It adds a heating source in the centre of the house, plus it will look AMAZING! But just because I'd like it there, I'm discovering the logistics are not quite as simple as that. The chimney is over 15 feet away, the first fireplace company I tried (and most well known in the area) doesn't have a model that can be exhausted to a chimney over 10 feet away, flueless fireplaces appear to be illegal in Quebec, but I couldn't find a flueless model that I liked so that was a non-starter.

We started looking at alternative locations for the fireplace, but searching the web came to the rescue! I had had 2 Napolean gas fireplaces installed at a previous home, and I found they had exactly what I was looking for. Plus the full instruction guide was online, which seemed to suggest it was a real possibility that it might work. Foyer Lambert came to estimate the work and feasibility of the job, with positive results.

Marc and his dad got to work building the frame:


Do you feel the heat?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flooring - Started!

I am sooo happy to start removing the huge pile of wood that has been serving as a non-functional kitchen island for several weeks (which has got the wood nice and acclimatized to it's environment - inconvenient but necessary).

We finally settled on wax paper to go underneath the flooring. And found that we could rent a bamboo floor nailer from Home Depot. Interestingly, I've found they're darn near impossible to purchase (at least, not in the same somewhat affordable price range as all other floor nailers). And they're very particular, you need to get exactly the right size and gauge or you'll get horrible results. The one we've rented (Paslode) works really well.

Monday, July 4, 2011

When I'm Cleanin' Winders

Another major milestone today, towards completing our nicely insulated house envelope. New windows for all 3 floors in front! But it almost didn't happen...

I had to stand my ground at the city of Montreal's Plateau permit office. Marc had sent in very detailed plans for our new windows to get them approved ahead of time. Our quartier office responded in the affirmative to the design, so we placed the order and were in waiting mode for them to built. In the meantime, I went to the office to pay for (yet another) permit per the plans. It was supposed to be a no brainer, only it turns out that I spoke to someone different (and more knowledgable apparently) about the city bylaws for windows. We're gone for a design that has a 1:4 proportion ratio, but this is not allowed. Maximum is 1:3 ratio. Thank **** for my iPhone, as I was able to call Marc and show the approval email that the city had sent him with our precise plans. Technology is fabulous. Otherwise, this would have been a wasted morning off work.

Out with the old...

In with the sparkly new windows!

And in case you don't understand the George Formby title of this blog post... Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Return to Dust

After much umm-ing and err-ing as to how we were going to be able to remove the last bit of stucco from this house, while not damaging the chimney, Marc's dad came to the rescue with what must be the world's smallest pneumatic drill. It gently but efficiently chipped away at the old plaster.

You can't see it here, but I was holding the shop vac to try and catch as much plaster dust as possible while Marc chipped away. It was a rather unpleasant reminder of the major demolition dirt we'd experienced last year. Fortunately this didn't take too long. I can't believe we put it off for so long!

We're hoping to make use of the chimney when we get a gas fireplace installed. I like the exposure of the old brick, but we'll likely have to figure out how to clean it up a bit more, maybe add a bit of varnish to get a handle on the last bit of dust. Not sure at the mo.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

From Plastic Sheeting to Tiles

Now that we have a fully functioning bathroom on the ground floor, it's time to get back to the family bathroom in the basement. This was our first usable bathroom, complete with plastic sheeting over the durock walls of the shower. I was almost starting to think that bright blue was going to remain our bathroom colour of choice. But I'm back to the neutral colours for the permanent finishes, opting for colour in the accessories.

We selected a small white tile for the main walls and I crazily thought it was a great idea to cover every square inch of wall with tile. While I love the look, it took forever to install and grout. Plus even though we're using laser levels to keep us straight, there's no getting away from the fact that a 100 year old house, is not. So we've got a small area above the door that we just couldn't figure out how to get the tiles to meet up perfectly. You live and learn!

Watch the blue disappear...

Or jump right to the finished look:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Joyeuses Pâques!

It's been a beautiful day to work outside in the back garden today. We've been doing a bit of clean up and preparation for the siding to be added back to the house. I was also power washing and putting some old patio stones in place to help keep it clean. The most exciting thing (from Marc's perspective!) is that the clean up allowed us to get the BBQ back from the neighbours. They've been kindly storing it for us for the past year! I expect they thought it was only going to be for 1 month when they took in on...

Our tenants will be happy too because we finally put the clothes lines back. Just in time for the good weather to roll on!

You may have noticed the pink "End Cancer" graphic on the top left of the page. I'm going to be walking 60km (in 2 days) in August. If you enjoy the posts on this blog, or even if you don't, I'd really appreciate any donation you can afford. Please read more about the sponsored walk and why I'm doing it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Trois Generations + radiators, floor and bathroom

Happy Easter! We've had Good Friday off work "work" (that pays the bills) so that we can work on the house for a full 3 days. Actually the work started on Thursday night with a trip to a couple of the big reno stores. (The guy in the door department recognized us. Not entirely surprising since we go there every hour of the day and any day of the week.) I'd also booked an 8.30pm appointment with the bloke we found for the radiator refurb. Marc wondered if we were walking into some dodgy setup since we were going to a warehouse in a less than desirable neighbourhood at night! However, our man turned up right on time and showed us some examples of radiators he had done, the Release Coatings facilities (including the sand blasting room) and the vast array of colours to choose from. We need to save a bit of money somewhere, so we're sticking with a silver-ish colour that's already in stock. This company doesn't typically do radiators, but there's no way we can afford the specialists. Maybe it'll bite us, but I think it's worth trying. They actually do the overflow from the specialist company, Shafters, so that gives some confidence. Looking forward to see the result.

Did I mention that we've found the bamboo flooring for the rez-de-chausse? It was an end of line special at Rona. So I hope my calculations for square footage are correct… It's helpful that they can hang on to it for a while since we're not quite ready for the floor. It's being delivered at the end of May. In preparation for this, yesterday was a big day for removing the old parquet (it looks nice in the photo, but believe me, it would take insane amounts of refinishing to bring it back to life). We removed it from everywhere except we still have the office space and a bedroom left to do.

The fireplace is proving a bit of a problem. We'd like to have something that provides real heat and is a see-thru gas fireplace between the living room and dining room. But it seems we're just a little bit too far from the chimney for a direct-vent gas fireplace. No decision here just yet...

I've got my old housemate from our swanky Vancouver pad visiting for the Grand Prix in late June, followed by another good Vancouver friend in July. I'm really looking forward to them coming, so it's good that we've been ramping back up the speed of our renos. Marcs' parents and kids were with us yesterday and most of today; it was all hands on deck. It struck a chord with me this morning when the 3 boys (Marc, Marc's son and Marc's dad) all had a family trip to Home Depot this morning. It was a 2-hour bonding moment for them, so cute… in a manly way.

Marc, Marc Junior and Marc Senior

We also did the bathroom floor grout yesterday evening, which allowed us to put the toilet back in place, put the glass of the shower in place and do the silicone today (Marc used his Fugenboy silicone finisher to get a pretty slick line). This is the closest to a finished room that we have in the whole house! All that's left is having the untiled wall and ceiling, plastered and painted. The rest is done! However, it's a bit disappointing that we had to reduce the height of the shower head to allow room for the glass support bar. Plus, I noticed that the bar is brushed metal as opposed to the bright chrome everywhere else in the bathroom :( Marc's going to try finding an alternative solution for the glass support, so maybe we can find something chrome at the same time… then it'll be parfait!

Bathroom evolution

The final piece of movement going on is the entrance hall. I use "hall" in a very loose way, it was always more of a squeeze-in, hence we wanted to make it more spacious and hall-like. The original plan was to extend and straighten out the right hand wall, remove and replace the old plaster and mortar with a tempered floor-to-ceiling frosted glass wall. While this may sound simple enough, we're trying to do these renos ourselves… Once Marc's dad had stripped the entrance to the bare bones, a subsequent inspection of the supporting wall (that's split by the entrance and let's not forget the two overhead balconies above), led to an unfortunate enlightenment; the few inches and light we'd gain from moving to a straight glass wall were going to cause MAJOR hassles (a.k.a. dollar signs). However, we weren't prepared to completely change our plans. So we are simply extending an existing wall and the bit that got extended will be frosted glass. It's funny, because after the new plan got re-framed, it was like it was always like this. Which suggests, it's a good decision.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tiling and chipping

Don't ever buy a shower base with curves when you're tiling the floor! Actually, Marc has done an amazing job cutting the floor tile to fit around the base. I stuck with making the simple straight cuts! We went with Cera Gres for the tile (a mix of white metro and pure mosaic in a natural earthy colour)

Photos to follow...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Slowing Down

While there was a made rush before Christmas, we've slowed down the renos at the moment. This is due to Marc starting a new contract, me falling on ice and screwing up my arm (fortunately it's my left one) and finally a limited cash flow while we wait for the bank to catch up with us. Despite this, we had a couple of family weekends which allowed us to complete the installation of pot lights, rebar and plastic sheeting on the ceiling. We then paid professionals to inject cellulose insulation and install all the ceiling gyprock. I'm soooo glad we decided to get help for this part. We'd originally planned on using Roxul Safe 'n' Sound throughout the ceiling, but the positioning of our joists made this super tricky. (we are using some Roxul though - for the bit in the kitchen where the plumbing will all be re-routed in the summer and some areas of the basement).

But before the ceiling could be installed, the huge pile of gyprock that had been covered in a foot or so of snow in the back garden needed to come inside. Huge thanks to Marc's brother for aiding us with this. It may not sound that hard, but navigating 50ish double sheets of extra thick ceiling gyprock takes A LOT of effort. So I got the video camera out to do my bit!

So I'm thinking you'd like to see some pics...

All the plastic and rebar is ready for the cellulose injection

The insulation is complete and the ceiling gyprock is just getting started

Marc proud of his handyman pot light installation

The other very noticeable improvement is that the cornice in front of our house has been completed. Love it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Catching Up

It's amazing how much can change in the 6 weeks since we last posted. We lived with Marc's parents for about a month of that. But it was such a long commute (don't get me started on Montreal traffic...) with extremely early mornings and late nights, I'm just glad we survived it!

The next few blog posts will be postdated to try and give a sense of the timing of the highs and lows over the past few weeks.

And here's a few pics to show some of the progress over this Xmas/New Year holiday period.

Marc's brother is helping out with the drywall. He also helped put rebar on the walls (which gives Marc the willies coz he got a major cut on his finger handling the stuff) and ceilings, along with plastic sheeting in preparation for the insulation to be pumped there.

In the kitchen, we added all the cupboard doors, plus installed the drawers, so now everything is unpacked and in its place.

That last cupboard on the right is actually planned to be at 90° to make a bar area, but I'm quite liking the openness of the kitchen as is, so we'll see.

Marc finishing off the waterproof drywall and concrete