Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wall must come down

Our house was designed with a wall separating the front entrance from the living room, leaving a long and narrow hall way upon entering. We wanted to open up the living room, creating a larger space and reducing some of the wasted space. We knew early on that this wall would be the first thing to go. What we didn't know was how challenging it would be to deal with lath and plaster.

There was a second wall designed to close off the room that had to come down as well. So my husband and I taped off the area and purchased a couple of crowbars, goggles, ventilators, gloves, heavy duty garbage bags, etc., and got to work. Dealing with lath and plaster is a messy job! The plaster weighs a tonne and created a significant amount of dust. We definitely questioned whether we were doing to right thing by handling the renos ourselves.

One of the walls we tore down was carrying the weight of two stories of wall above it and therefore the joist needed to be reinforced before we went and removed the studs. Since the job involved removing a portion of the ceiling (hence more lath) we decided to call in a skilled contractor to complete the job.

With two weeks until our move in date and Christmas holidays falling within that time frame, our contractor was able to get the job done. Also, since he was already removing a portion of the ceiling, he suggested that we add pot lights. He did a fantastic job!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The house -December 09

After conducting a thorough search for houses in our west end neighborhood, my husband and I settled on a house that was just 10 houses down the street from the basement apartment we were renting. It certainly made for an interesting move!

The house was in great condition but it would need a lot of work to update it and make it feel clean and current. Since there was a long "to do" list we had to prioritize our tasks in terms of the following: 1) absolute must 2) affordability, and 3) it makes sense. The first on our must do list was the electrical. Since our house is almost a hundred years old it consisted of the old knob and tube wiring. It is both difficult to get your house insured and a safety hazard to have this type of wiring. We were able to get insurance with a condition that we will bring our electrical up to code. Since we already wanted to tear down a couple of walls surrounding the living room, we decided to do this prior to having the rewiring started as having the walls already opened (thus accessible) would save us money in the end.

To give you an idea of our home prior to the renovations, I have posted some of the pictures from the MLS listing.