Thursday, March 31, 2011
Oh yes. That's what it is.
Perhaps the source of the niggle of negativity was the dream I had last night in which we walked into our house for the first time as homeowners and found the previous owners still there, painting the walls bright red and scrubbing the bathroom to spotless. Sure, they were friendly and Greek -- probably my subconscious latching on to the demographic of the neighbourhood -- but I certainly didn't want them there and I definitely didn't want my walls red, no matter if it's my favourite colour or not.
I don't think the trepidation came from the dream though.
I think it came from the same sense of place inside me that caused me to break down on my drive to the old farm house two weeks before my family moved when I was 18. It's the same thing that caused me to snap a picture of my student house as we packed it up and moved me out, a house I was so glad to leave.
According to OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook, (edited by Kenda Creasy Dean) rural teenagers have a stronger connection to geography, to place, than their urban counterparts. I'm not a teenager anymore -- I'm a few years gone from being a teenager, actually -- but I have a feeling that sense of place has travelled with me into adulthood. That twinge I am feeling today has been a twinge for the place we will be leaving behind, the cute little apartment on the 30th floor of a condo building in the Big City, our first home together. It was small, but we made it cozy and filled it with family. And, I'll admit, there was something comforting about living so close to other families, like we were nestled on all sides, held safe by other people living their day-to-day lives, just like we were. The building was like a cocoon.
The things I will miss? The concierge: the petite Asian girl who loved to see Mocha and cheerfully chirped, "Have a good walk!" every time she saw us leaving the building with our bouncing cockapoo on a leash. The elevator, where Mocha made her best friends. All of Mocha's best friends -- Harlow, Goldie, Jake, Bailey, Moinecka, Luna. I'll miss the dishwasher (until we get our own) and the washer and dryer (until we get our own). I'll even miss our mailbox, the only broken one among a wall of mailboxes.
I know a lot of this is because I'm a little nervous about what exactly we've gotten ourselves into. I don't have the Husband's confidence nor his experience. I could see nothing but excitement in his expression this morning. Hopefully tonight, as we pop the cork on our $13 bottle of sparkling wine (we very briefly considered the $65 bottle of real live Champagne...), the excitement will overshadow the trepidation. I'm counting on it.
-- The Wife
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I left exhausted. Who would have thought a few signatures can drain you so much?
Tomorrow, we pick up the keys. We'll drive right to the house, let Mocha free in the backyard and pop a cork on a bottle of champagne. In just over 24 hours, we will officially be homeowners.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Either way, next to the bathroom, our kitchen is the room we spend the most time thinking about. It's certainly the room I spend the most time thinking about since I love to cook and can't wait to finally have my dream kitchen. But, we have an Issue. A big Issue.
See, we love dark kitchen cabinets. Like these:
I found a dark kitchen warm, inviting, like a great big comforting hug. (Ok, that metaphor might be stretching it a bit... but you get the idea.)
But, we also love dark floors. Like these:
We can't have both. We know we can't have both. To much dark in one kitchen will make for a really dark kitchen. But can I be satisfied picking just one of these two elements?
Because we have to make a decision pretty soon, we are leaning toward the dark floors. We want the kitchen to flow with the rest of the house, for the floor to be seamless from the living room to the open concept kitchen. And we know we want dark floors in the living room.
I guess all we can do is hope that what we pick will be something we can love to live with over the next few years until we do it again. And maybe next time, we can choose the opposite.
Monday, March 28, 2011
You're going to be living in a construction zone for three years, they say. Maybe longer.
Our response? Let us prove you wrong.
At least, I hope that's what we'll do. I would love to blow them away with how quickly we perform some solid, quality work. I want to shock them when I bring in pictures of the completed and cleaned up demo, the new walls going up, the tiles and hardwood in place, the bathroom fixtures in, the kitchen ready to go and the basement apartment shiny and beautiful, all before April 31st. But, despite our bravado and confidence, we both know that's unlikely to happen. I know I'll be moving in to a half finished house.
But what, exactly can I live with? And what can't I live without?
I can live with a dusty house. If we have to, we'll make sure the dust doesn't travel too much into the basement and set up a temporary home down there. I can live with that. I can probably live without a kitchen as long as we have a table for chopping veggies and a barbeque for cooking meat. At least for a while. I can live without a living room, without a coffee table, without a TV.
But I can't live without a computer. Or the Internet. Or my blog. I can't live without a shower and a toilet and at least one sink. I can't live without at least a subfloor. I can't live without some kind of counter or table level surface. I can't live without a working fridge.
And I can't live in a construction zone without getting out of it sometimes. This is where the Husband and I probably differ. He would be perfectly content to never escape except for work, to come home every day and eat dry cereal for dinner and immediately get to work. Me, on the other hand? I don't eat cereal for dinner. And the dust will start to drive me crazy. I'm going to need my times away, coffee with friends, long walks with Mocha, dawdling on the way home from the subway.
Yes, I can live in a construction zone. But I can't live in one forever.
-- The Wife
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Our new house is a 550 square foot bungalow on a 25 square foot by 150 square foot lot. There are two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a mudroom out back. The basement is finished with a roughed-in kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. As soon as we get into the house, I promise you'll see plenty of pictures.
And this is exactly what needs to be done. A list:
- Finish the roughed-in kitchen in the basement. This will involve a few trips to Ikea and Home Hardware. I'll scrub first, then paint, then install the kitchen. And yes, when I say 'I', I mean 'I'. The Husband's focus will be upstairs on all the work that needs to be done up there.
- Take down the bathroom walls, rip out the fixtures, demo the kitchen and rip up all the tile. That will be quite a job. Once the floor joints are revealed, we may need to do some work to reinforce and fix any that are in rough shape. At this point, we might also insulate with sound proofing.
- Do some plumping and perhaps some electrical to move the bathroom from the middle of the house to the edge of the house. This step will depend a lot on what's behind the walls. If we can't do it, we can't do it.
- Rebuild the bathroom completely so that it's awesome.
- Rip up all the hardwood flooring and put down new flooring. Preferrably a beautiful dark hardwood with a strong grain.
- Install the kitchen include the gas stove and granite countertops.
- Fall down in exhaustion.
And what if we fail?
As long as we don't fail on point #1, we won't end up homeless come May 1st. We'll be ok, though we might be covered in a thin film of drywall dust forever.
- the Husband
By the end of that weekend I hope to have everything demoed and removed from the house. We're not sure where all the garbage is going to go right now but that's a minor detail. We'll try to get a big garbage bin as soon as we can. The next week we'll bringing in a plumber to look at the water pressure. As it stands the house currently has a pressure problem. I was told that this can be fixed with some type of pressurizing tank. An electrician will also be coming in to look at the electrical and see if we will be able to hookup some power for two washing machines. I will also be looking at removing two walls.
The 2nd weekend we will be fixing any of the electrical and plumbing issue that will come up with relocating both the kitchen and bathroom. I feel this may take longer then I think and so I'll be working on this for the following week along with fixing any floor joist and subflooring issues.
The 3rd weekend I will hope all plumming and electrical will be done and we'll be able to move onto insulation, drywall, mudding and tiling in the bathroom. that coming week we feel we'll be able to work on the flooring for the rest of the house and the trim.
The 4th weekend we'll be finishing all the bathroom items. Paint, toilet, vanity, faucets and lighting. That week if we get everything done as planned, I hope to get the kitchen cabinets, countertop and sink in place. Who knows what unplanned things will come up though.
So it is going to be a busy month of work with the help of some friends and family I think it will get done and we'll enjoy the process of changing a house to a home.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The Wife and I just bought a house not too long ago and we are in the planning stages of the renovations.
Very firmly in the planning stages. We can hardly talk about anything else. We've thrown around so many ideas our heads are starting to spin.
We're not sure how to design/layout a house that we haven't even moved into yet. but as far as I'm concerned we are getting there. I've been having a hard time trying to figure out how to lay out the bathroom.
Or layout anything, for that matter. The house has such a simple layout, but since it's 50 years old, we're eying each and every wall and wondering if we can just get rid of it. My hands are itching to pick up a sledgehammer. And yes, the bathroom seems to cause us the most issues.
The current size we have to work with is 65" x 80" and the door is on the short side. There is a 19" floor radiator and a large window that I've been fighting with. I've also been fighting whether or not to have a tub. I can make it work with a tub it just leave a 24" vanity and part of the window is in the tub. The only real reason I want a tub in the bathroom is for resale value: when we sell in a few years, we hope people would not be put off by no tub. If we remove the tub there is far more room to play with and I'll be able to get the bathroom in a way I like it.
Especially for pretty things! And storage things. Like a proper place to put our many towels. And cleaning supplies. Etc. Etc.
I was thinking something like what is below.
(image from here)
What I really like about this bathroom is the shower. There is no step into it and the floor is seamless throughout. I also like the look of the glass enclosure.
I guess we are going to see what the outcome will be when we go to do the plumbing and we finally have to decide.
Did I mention that I refuse to move into a house that does not have a working bathroom? Fortunately, the one downstairs doesn't need much work...