Tuesday, January 26, 2016

THE MOVING CHAPTERS (Chapter 14: A floor dilemma solved!)

Choosing flooring for our new home was super hard. Flooring is obviously a big investment and something we wouldn't be changing any time in the foreseeable future. We wanted to make sure we made the best decision possible for our families needs but my husband and I had contrasting views.

We had a design dilemma.

We knew we wanted to get rid of the old orange carpet from our kitchen but we didn't know what we wanted to replace it with. 

I am a no-mess-live-life-all-the-time-and-wear-heels-in-the-house kind of girl. Truth be told, I don't like wasting a nice day sparkling flooring either. So, we knew we wanted a resistant floor, one that wouldn't show dirt and dust immediately and one that would stand up to our three children and years ahead of wear and tear.

We agreed hardwood throughout the whole space would be ideal but then were totally stumped on what type, name brand and color to purchase.

Guys, there is sooooo much selection out there!

For weeks our conversations always came back to flooring selection. We just couldnt find the perfect floor that made both of us happy and at the right price point.

Originally I was trying desperately to sway my husband towards pine flooring with a white washed finish. 

I have always adored the look that comes along with a casual floor. In the back of my mind though, I knew that our three kids, our dog and our all around dirt-loving-family wouldn't maintain a clean white floor. So, I ignored the white washed idea but still fought hard for the pine floors I've always loved.

But with contrasting views it was proving difficult to get two stubborn partners to agree on anything.

My husband loved the idea of a much more tailored floor and leaned towards a classic dark hardwood. 

I like white, he likes dark. 

Ironic, right?

Someone should tell Alanis Morissette that this is ironic, dont you think? 

In this situation compromising was needed - big time.

Eventually we settled on a color in the middle.

I know if you have been in this situation or similar you are imaginary high fiving us right now.

Compromise is what I believe makes a marriage strong. OR, what makes each of you think you're always getting half of your own way -- all of the time. ;)

Ultimately we decided on a flooring color that wasn't light and wasn't dark. It was the perfect in between tone.

As a complete bonus, the tone of the floor would mask the color of our dog's fur. 

She sheds. 

We don't like sweeping. 

So, it only made sense to get something that would disguise the hair balls and dust bunnies that will inevitably build up and the children will eventually refer to as their other pets.

Hubby made a great point that the way we treat flooring and the rough and tumble life style we our crazy kids  lead, means we were probably better off choosing a very strong wood floor that would stand up to winters -- while enjoying indoor hockey. 

So we ended up choosing a solid maple hardwood because of its durability and wear ability.

Lowes had a no tax event the week we needed to purchase our flooring (DIY TIP: Every 6 weeks or so Lowes has a store wide no tax event which means one can save %15 on anything in the store. If you can hold off from purchasing something until an event like that than you can save bundles. They just so happened to also have an event where if you spend $100 you get $25 back in gift cards, so we utilized that special as well. In the end we made a million trips to every Lowes within driving distance but we saved TONS. You can too, see store for details. ;)

PS: This is not an affiliated post. We just love Lowes since you know, the employees know us by name now and we see them more than our friends at this point in our renovation.

Here is the floor we chose up close and personal from Lowes website.

We chose this "Buckskin" color of hardwood because it was a medium warm brown and because we loved the touch of warm grey the floors have.

We had a lot of demo left to do before floors could be installed so we decided that I would do the demo during the day and my hubby would start installing the floors in the evening.

I got right to work ripping up this orange carpet that had seen better days.

It was installed over a large part of the kitchen floor and covered our stairs and into our hallway that lead to our bedrooms. It took a lot of muscle to remove since it was tacked down, nailed down and glued down. 

Hmmmmmm...I wonder if 1950 construction crews feared earthquakes?

Then I started removing the linoleum flooring in the kitchen. Since it was installed in one giant piece and glued down with the stickiest glue of all time, I cut it into pieces with an exacto knife and rolled up smaller manageable pieces.

Piece after piece and the floor disappeared.

I moved used all of my body weight to slowly shove the old kitchen island out of the way and handed over the flooring project to my husband. 

He began by replacing the plywood flooring in some spots, filling in the area where the dividing wall had been and then he nailed down the whole floor again until everything was extremely secure.

 This floor once again is earthquake proof. ;)

Hubby dragged in all the boxes of hardwood a week or so before installation to acclimate the wood and then in the first night of install got a fair amount of the floor nailed down.

We purchased the installation tool (sometimes referred to as a "side-nailer gun" off of a seller on Kijiji who lived in a neighboring town. We saved money in every way with this flooring. ;)

After work the next day, the hubs got right to it again.

The kids made sure he was doing it right. ;)

We decided that we wanted to cover the flooring immediately with a protective barrier. At the time we were working on different areas of this space and we didn't want to damage the new floor. We simply taped down a roll of brown protective paper over everything and gained some momentary peace of mind.

Over the next couple evenings my handy hubby and the babies put down the floor. 

Though we were on a pretty tight time crunch, Ill never forget sitting back and taking in the way the kids handed him pieces of wood as they saw fit and that our little girl even decided against a walk to the park with her brothers so that she could stay and help Daddy.

This house has turned from being just a big renovation project into a house that love has actually built.

Little hands helped lay these floors and little feet will run across them and leave their marks throughout the years.

Yes. :)

This is a house that is slowly being built, but we have learned it takes time to pour love into every crack and crevice. 

Thank you for coming along on this renovation process with us. So far we have shared a lot of messy and ugly photos and a lot of boring information with you guys, but honestly, these posts are being made with my Mama brain in mind. 

I'm going to forget how far we have come at some point. 

I am going to forget how satisfying it felt to pull up that orange carpet and how crazy it was to rush from store to store collecting the last few boxes of the hardwood the store had in stock and I'm going to forget the times we ate dinner, utterly exhausted, in the middle of a sawdust covered plywood floor; but I never want to forget how much love has been put into this place.

These "before" posts are mostly for our little family to look back on with fondness, but I hope they inspire you too. I hope these messes gently remind you to run after your dreams and to trust in and grow your abilities.

Who would have thought that the first present we would unwrap in this house would be flooring wrapped up in brown packaging...

Brown paper packages wrapped up with love,
These are a few of my favorite things. ;)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Chapter 13 {Now a Great Room and NOW Let There be Light!}

When we bought our new house we started off with a separate kitchen and living room (and a semi separated dining room from the living room)...and then took it all down.

It felt great.

A great feeling for a great room.

Get it? Get it? Yeah I know, living on caffeine and ingesting food that's been cooked with micro waves for four months may in fact kill a few brain cells. 

Ive never wanted an oven and to cook meals MORE!

So without further commentary let's just get downright to the nitty gritty. The nitty gritty dirty pictures that is.

Here is what our main floor looked like all opened up and properly supported with a giant beam. 

(A big thanks to my husband, brother in law Rob, my father in law and our friend Al for getting it up there with all of their ginormous biceps) 

FINALLY, a humble wide open great room.

We took down the plaster walls  and the ceiling to re insulate really well.   A cozy idea for someone like myself who is known to freeze even in the summer. 

With the whole room wide open and basically a blank slate we started on figuring out how we would 
eventually dissect the room. A hard feat for anyone who has lived in an open concept home.

We decide that the area in front of the giant window would be where we would put our living room. The large wall at the far end is where we would out our television and where (eventually) we will build and DIY a fireplace.

The area in front of our formal entrance would be where we would put our dining table and where our family would enjoy meal times. 

So now that we had decided that, we needed to figure out how we wanted to install some recessed lighting.

We chose to space our pot lights in a uniform way and and off centered them on both sides of the room. We took into account the fact that the television and fireplace would take up a few feet on the far wall so we spaced our lights accordingly. We also needed to take into account the size of the ceiling  beams we wanted to make, and where they would eventually be installed. We didn't want the lights too close or too far away from the beams as well.  Speaking of beams, we were also considering the spacing of lighting dependent on the big supporting beam that we installed that now separates the kitchen and dining area. We would be trimming that out in a similar manner as we would our ceiling beams so we couldn't have lighting too close to that area either. 

As you can see from the above picture that was taken in the evening, we literally had two light fixtures in the whole open great room and we definitely needed more than that.

Because day light savings.

We decided we would want one light above our dining room table as apposed to two fixtures. Then, after lots of debate on where the dining room table would settle, we spaced the lighting a little off center in the open room. It would eventually be perfectly centered above our long farmhouse table though.

We insulated and added a protective membrane to the ceiling while we were adding the lighting.

We also planned the logistics for the fireplace wall and insulated that wall area while we were at it. Spray foam in all of the corners and crevices would happen later. ;)

Because Canada.

A lot of you have asked at what point did we live IN the renovation and at this point we still had not. 

We would move in shortly after this stage once we got in flooring though.

At this point in our reno story we were paying two mortgages and living between two houses. Essentially, we lived in this mess day in and day out and went home to our old house to rest our weary heads.

I often wished we had of slept at the new house the whole time though. And here is why you might consider it too if you ever do a full house reno and own two homes at once.

 Two workers are better than one.

Though if you have kids than you know they need to be considered in every process. For us that meant giving them a good nights sleep in a familiar and safe environment. Hence, sleeping at the old house.

Because, electricity.

Our days during this stage in the reno looked like this:

Work all day at day job, pick up our three children from their care giver, travel over to the new house or gallivant around to all the hardware stores (with three kids in tow) until we could find what we needed for the next step in our reno journey and then, if we were lucky, we could then bust out two hours of project time before the kids needed to go to bed. 

(Oh yes, and we would also be cooking and transporting food and trying to eat dinner in this mess.)

Whoever invented the crock pot is my hero.

Crazy enough, we dreamt of moving into the mess just so the hubby and I could put the kids safely to bed and BOTH work on projects deep into the night. We figured two tired but willing DIY addicts were better than one tired one. But, that didn't happen because we reasoned that sleeping in a dust filled house beside bails of insulation isn't very fun. The other reason we didn't move right into the mess was that someone needed to pack up our old house.  SO instead of two DIY-ers working on things, I would travel back to our old house with three dirty tired kids in tow, bathe them, beg them to help me pack up their plethora of stuffies, threaten to throw out the plethora of stuffies and then tuck them into bed. Then I would pack and pack and pack. 

If you've ever moved than you know how stressful packing can be. Even though I thought I might have a mental breakdown during this stressful time while I admitted I was officially a hoarder, I somehow managed to pack up the entire house and garage and my home business.

Which meant this is the type of thing I received on my cell phone late at night from my awesome husband.

Progress shots!

Glorious glorious light! 

I loved getting this picture sent to me from my handy hubby. I can remember getting the above picture delivered to my phone and feeling an immediate sense of relief while I was surrounded by moving boxes and all the stuff that still needed packed.

We would have light when we moved in!

When I visited the new house during my lunch breaks, I couldn't help but smile. 

Things were falling into place and our outlook was literally brighter!!

Next, we just needed to close up that ceiling, get some floors down install some new windows and doors in and then we could move right in!

Stay tuned. Demo is done and things are about to get put back together.

Next up: prettier pictures. ;)

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Chapter 12 {Progress Photos & A Plan Revealed}

It's the new year! 

Hooray! Happy New year to you and yours!

We are all back into the daily grind by now; or at least trying to be. 

The grind where, up here in Canada, you bundle up and clench your teeth and barely survive the freezing cold temperatures - all while taking the kids to school. 

It is also a time here at this little estate to show you some new pictures of our old (but new to us) living room.

In our last post I shared some pictures of the space, but here are some more detailed shots to show you the old living room in all of its glory. 

Some of you asked about the hefty built in that took hours to take apart because it was so well made. 

1954 Construction was no joke.

I've got some pictures to share with you, but first here is the other side of the rooms before shot.

In the room there were also two dividers made from the same product that matched the built in. You can spy one of them here...

Between the built in and the shelving units the area beyond the front door of our home was visually separated from the other part of the long room.

As I had mentioned, the middle of the built in doubled as a pass through from the kitchen to the dining area. Although it was a smart design and well made, the space didnt work for our family. As someone who does a lot of cooking, I dreamt of cooking in our new kitchen and yet still keeping an eye on our three tornadoes.

And that one.

Here you can see all the way to the kitchen from the living room. If you closed the door and the built in the rooms were completely separate and closed off from each other. It would be a big process to take down everything and add in the proper support in place of all of this, but we were up to the challenge.

The part of the room past the dinging area we wanted to utilize as our living room or family room. It was the perfect size for all the plans we had talked about when dreaming of a new home to renovate.

We knew a lot of the space had to go before we could put in the things we were wanting. So we made a plan.


Our plan started by making the first phase of a "NEED list" for this living room and dining room area. It read like this:

New ceiling (Paneled with beams)
New lighting in ceiling
New insulation in ceiling
New windows
New front door
New electrical
Move the intake and outake air system to where it should be

Later we ended up having to add to the list: 

Replace insulation in walls 
Spray foam walls
Drywall all walls

We figured with a list that kept on growing we should cut it off at some point. Besides, the NEED list was enough to keep us busy for a while, so we stopped there. Also, we figured that the list couldn't actually grow any bigger because it was quickly eating up our living area budget. 

All the home DIY ers KNOW!!!!

Of course this didn't keep me from making the mental list. 

Our living room "WISH list" includes:

Pretty dining room chandelier
Gas fireplace ('cause CANADA)
Built in book shelves flanking the living room window
A window seat 
Pretty wall treatments
Pretty paint

Obviously you know with all the "pretty" describing that list that the things on it are less for function and more for aesthetics. Being an adult is hard sometimes.


I still cant help really wanting a fireplace these days though. ;)


Before we could put things back together and cross off accomplishments from our living room "NEED List" everything had to come apart. We started by taking down the dropped ceiling.

And the built in...

As a reminder here is what the view from the kitchen to the living area looked like before we started to take things apart.

And here is the view without the wall and built in obstructing the line of vision.

Again, here is the before from the opposite side of the living space...

And here is how it looked with a lot of the room taken apart.

As you know we love to reuse and re purpose things so we took apart the hefty built in very carefully as you can see in the above picture. From chatting with other design enthusiasts and green minded people I have discovered that Im not the only one who cringes when a perfectly good kitchen in a television design show gets demolished.

It has long been a pet peeve of mine (also so is the word pet peeve!) when resusable kitchens and bathrooms arent given to habitat for humanity and instead get dragged off to the dump. At least drag it to the curb so all of us who are interested can take what we want. ;)

This lovingly made built in wasn't about to get that kind of treatment. I will keep you updated on what we end up doing with the giant cuts of wood. I've already got some ideas.

Obviously there are always times to demolition things and act like a psycho. ;)

As always there are also times to involve the kids in projects and to ummmm shake out some of the wiggles. ;)

Pretty sure this is a nine year old boys dream, right there!

In renovations, things have to get really bad before they can get better...

Im talking dozens of trips to the dump before we caved and spent some of the reno budget on a dumpster. Not wher the "pretty list maker" wants to spend her pennies. ;)

And because side by side before and afters are my favorite....

What do you think? Does this demo mess make you itchy too? What things would you add to a "WISH List"?? And most importantly, HOW exactly would you convince your partner that a fireplace was needed ASAP?
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