Monday, August 30, 2010

Work plan

By day, I am a Project Manager so I cannot help myself when it comes to developing spreadsheets and work plans. Below is a plan that I drafted in December to keep our renovation plans in check. I reviewed and updated it as best I could. I am hoping that this table will help keep me on track with my future posts.

Activity Timeframe Status
Electrical Replace Knob and Tube December-09 Completed
Stairs Remove Carpet January-10 Completed
Lay new carpet January-10 *Still required
Back Yard Build gate December-09 Completed
Reinforce corners December-09 Completed
Build fence Spring 10 Moved to Summer 10
Lay brick Spring 10 Moved to Summer 10
Basement Remove/replace toilet Pending Future project
Purchase washer and dryer January-10 Completed
Install washer/ dryer (add dryer vent) Pending Dryer vent still required
Remove laundry sink Pending Future project
Complete bathroom reno Pending Future project
Floors Purchase new floors and materials Dec/Jan 10 Completed
Remove baseboards January-10 Completed
Remove old hardwood June-10 Completed
Reinforce sub floor
December Completed
Lay new sub floors
December Completed
install new floor Jan 10 (main fl) June 10 (2nd fl) Completed
Purchase and Install new baseboards
80% complete
First floor Rms
Front Hall Knock down wall December-09 Completed
Living Room Knock down wall December-09 Completed
Purchase new curtains Pending *Still required
Paint February-10 Completed
Dining Room Purchase new curtains Pending *Still required
Purchase dining table and hutch Table created (March 10) Hutch to be completed soon
Paint Pending *Still required
Kitchen Purchase new appliances Pending Future project

Second Floor
Hallway Paint Pending *Still required
Master Prime Pending *Still required
Bedroom 1 Purchase ikea bed frame

Bedroom 2 Purchase office equip and set up July-10 Completed
Sun Room Remove Fridge and Stove December-09 Completed
Third Floor
Bedroom Carpet Pending *Still required
Bathroom/Kitchen Remove Fridge and Stove December-09 Completed

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Moving from a small apartment to a big house meant that we would have plenty of space for storage. Chris and I decided that it was time to renew our membership at Costco. Initially, we were planning on picking up food for a weekend barbeque but we were side tracked by a beautiful shag rug. We had been wanting to buy a rug for the living room to make it a little cozier but it wasn't high on our prioity list. We debated over the size and ended up choosing the larger one. It's perfect! It's comfy and cozy on the feet but it also closes up the living room beautifully.

We were a little worried that the dog would confuse the new rug as his new bed so we picked him up a new bed as well (Costco $24). He seems to like it!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Raise the roof

When we bought our house, we were fortunate enough to be able to put a home inspection condition in the offer. At the time of our purchase, the Toronto real estate market was considered a "sellers market", which can create an environment of multiple offers and bidding wars. When buyers get involved in a bidding war, removing a condition on their offer such as a home inspection or approval of financing is a common strategy to position oneself better than the competition. I was too nervous to waive this condition, considering that we were making the single most important purchase of our lives, to date. I am thankful for the decision because we learned a lot about the state of the house and it made us feel confident in our decision!

One of the things that the home inspector told us was that we would need a new roof come spring. Our house is designed with a sloped roof, as well as a flat portion and both would need to be replaced. With all the regular closing costs along with the cost of the early renovations, we decided to take a chance with our roof and wait until the fall. Luckily we had a dry summer and everything is still holding up well but with fall around the corner we have decided to start collecting estimates. We turned to homestars, a website that reviews general contractors in the area. If you have any suggestions for good roofing companies in the GTA, please send us your comments. In the meantime, if you use general contractors in the GTA, it is worthwhile to post a review on homestars.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Floors Part II

My husband and I ran out of "renovation steam" and wanted to pay off a few of the earlier projects before starting the floors on the second level. As the nicer weather was approaching we were having more and more house guests, which is something we absolutely LOVE! We love seeing and hosting our friends from out of town and it gives us a convenient excuse to take the weekend off of renovating. However, we started to get the itch and since we were running out of weekends to work on the house we decided to take a week off of work and rip up the hard wood on the second floor. We had the same plan to do all the prep work and hire the same crew to install the floors in a day. During this week, we moved all of our belongings to the third floor. My dreams of having a beautiful master bedroom are getting closer but the dream is even more vivid after spending so much time in the attic!

Something I haven't mentioned yet... when we first visited our house, during the open house I was having a difficult time seeing it's potential. By the time we reached the third floor, it was giving me the heebie jeebies and I looked at my husband and said "let's get out of here". Now, we have set up shop in that very room that creeped me out and it couldn't feel cozier but I am ready to move back to the master at any time!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I am starting to lose track with the order in which things were done! I don't want that to stop me from updating the blog so I will post pictures and updates as I see fit. We wanted to replace the hardwood floors before our move in date of Jan. 1st. Originally, we priced out dark oak floors as we wanted to match the dark oak staircase (see picture). We were trying to meet a tight deadline and found out that the factory was closed over a two week period which would have made it impossible to meet our time line. We went to another company and found a similar dark maple that was priced even lower than the oak. Even better, they had the wood in stock and available for immediate delivery. The reason that the wood was such a good deal is because it was separated in two seizes (3 inch planks and 5 inch planks). We were always interested in the wider planks but it worked out that they had just enough 5 inch planks for our main floor and 3 inch for our second floor. With our narrow hallways upstairs and smaller rooms ... it was meant to be!

Unfortunately, with ripping down walls and the electrical work we ran out of time. We had purchased all of the wood and had it all delivered so it sat in the kitchen for a few weeks until we were ready. Within a couple of weeks of moving in Chris and I (with some help from a couple of friends) ripped up all the floors on the main level, pulled up all the nails -- generally the nails are about 5 inches apart so there was a sea of nails (this is where I could be the most help), and pulled off all the baseboards. Our plan was to do all the prep work ourselves but hire people to install the actual floors.

Because we had removed so much wood, we needed to rent a cube van to transport it all to the dump. Renting the truck for a few hours gave us the opportunity to buy and transport the giant pieces of ply wood that we would be using as a sub floor. A lot of work went into the sub floor. There was measuring, cutting, remeasuring, recutting, securing the floor with screws, adding more screws to avoid creeks, and lots of leveling. The amount of time we spent on the sub floors reconfirmed our plan to have the actual hard wood installed. To complete the main floor, it took a crew of four 12 hours to complete and we couldn't be happier!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Master Bedroom

Our master bedroom is a great size, it has a decent size closet, nice bay windows, and once upon a time it even had a fireplace! Our initial thought was to remove the makeshift mantel and expose the old fireplace. I had visions of a beautiful brick fireplace decorated with candles ...

Unfortunately, when we removed the mantel the brick we found was very old and decaying. It was crumbling so easily that we were actually able to remove it all by hand. My dream of refurbishing the fireplace was ruined and we covered it up with dry wall instead. I really wanted to be creative and use the old mantel as a vanity (as you can see from the picture) but the longer I left it, the longer it became a major eye soar for my husband and I, so out it went with our next run to the dump. Currently, the master room is empty and we are living in the attic. I will update you on that situation soon!

Below is how the wall looks now. I think I a couple of coats of paint will go a long way. Please feel free to post your suggestions for paint colours.