Sunday, October 21, 2012

"The Studio"

The Studio
Our new and improved yard
We have been living in Eatonia for about a month.  When we originally looked at our current home, we couldn't help but notice the cute little house 30ft to the right.  The house next door seemed vacant, so we took a little peek through the windows and saw that someone had the interior torn down to the studs.  Later that day, we bought our house and have been keeping our eye on the neighboring house ever since.  Being the pro-active go-getter that I am (LOL), I took a wander down the street to the town office one day and asked who owned that little house.  The lady in the office couldn't give me the name, but said that she would pass on the message.  I figured this was a good start... so I continued to flap my big mouth, asking about the house all around town until there came a knock on my door at 8pm one evening.  There stood a pretty young woman and her boyfriend asking if we were the people making inquiries about her house.  We went and took a look at the house with them by flashlight (as there is no power hooked up) and made an offer...which she accepted almost immediately. She picked up her tools, we signed a single piece of paper, and now we own not one, but two "from the ground up" houses in Eatonia.   The house comes with a pile of new 2x4's and some pink insulation that had already been gathered for the renovations. Our yard has gained a nice chunk of grass, a fire pit, and a garden.  Our plans for the house are fairly well established... since we have been hoping to get our hands on it from Day One.  Basically, the house will become a quilting studio for me, complete with a spare room and bathroom for out-of-town guests...(Jeremy's just counting the days until my mountains of quilting supplies are no longer occupying the majority of his newly aquired garage).  Some of the  floor plan details are unclear, but it's all coming together nicely.  Since we only took possession of it a couple days ago, I think I may be feeling a little optimistic, as my plans seem to be getting a little extravagant for 600 square feet.  Well, the jokes could just keep coming but instead, I took a "before clean-up" and "after clean up" video.  Enjoy

Presenting "The Studio".

A little tidied up.

Venis Saskasus

We are the proud owners of an out of control Mountain Ash tree.   Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the tree before we cut it back, but before the trimming the overhead wire in this photo was completely obscured by the tree and the branches were almost brushing the ground. At first, the kids were upset that we were cutting all their climbing branches, but I think we left more than enough for them to continue testing their resilience to sudden impacts with the ground.

With some of the debris, we built the kids a lean-to.  This kept them happily dragging branches across the yard to their construction project (unwittingly saving Mom and Dad the chore of cleaning up themselves). Once they had 'renovated' their new 'home' everything was fine.

 The lovely foliage around the front of the house was in desperate need of some attention too.  The weather was fine for an October afternoon so Jeremy and I decided that we would spend a little energy making that evergreen ground plant of unknown genus disappear.  It very quickly became apparent that this seemingly innocent plant is actually a man-eating death vine that was probably here before the house.  After a couple of hours digging in what can only be called some kind of alien soil... we weren't even touching the surface of what awaited us.  We had shovels, clippers, and yes, eventually power tools; and still we were defeated by "Venis Saskasus" the most tenacious plant on the prairies.  I wish I could tell you that we triumphed over the evergreen brush with never-ending roots and massive colonies of all manner of creepy-crawlies... alas the truck was full.

We have also been working on the attic for the last couple weeks.  The entrance into the attic is a hair-raising accent into the unknown.  If, for some unfortunate reason, a person were to fall; they wouldn't just land nine feet lower than the top of the ladder, but would continue to plummet into the wide open maw of the entrance into the crawlspace... Fortunately, both Jeremy and I are very agile... well I am anyways.  Once in the attic, a person would be met with a nice wide open space just itching for a set of real stairs, and a couple of sound-proof kids' rooms. 

Jeremy and I removed this pile of wood and various random things from the attic in preparation of clean-up and drafting a floor plan.   Some of the things we found were, a table top, an outdoor lawn faucet, a dozen single pane windows and a huge exhaust fan that must have been up there as they built the house.  There is no way Jeremy and I can get that thing out in one piece, not through the hatch of terror or out the mini-me window... so it remains until Jeremy cuts a hole in the floor for the awesome staircase I'm going to make him build for me. 

We pulled the nails and made us a nice pile of Saskatchewan firewood for backyard campfires... "real" firewood is a little hard to come by in the flatlands.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What Lies Beneath

Well, the most important thing to do to our new house was to make it livable.  This basically required a bathtub full of bleach, and stack upon stack of sponges.  I actually thought the walls and fixtures were different colours... Ewwww.  Anyhow, the carpet was obviously the biggest source of the smell, so the day before we moved in, Jeremy and I tore it all out.

So, whenever you buy a house this old (somewhere between 75-85 years) you can be optimistic that there will be some happy surprises along with a lot of "WTF?" moments.  Today was a happy surprise day, for under the carpet we discovered this.

 The hardwood is pretty awesome; and with the living room carpet out, the smell in the house at this point was beginning to reach a tolerable level. Luckily, Jeremy and I both had colds and couldn't smell much... but we could still pick up the unique odor that permeated the entire house, a smell borne of decades of cigarette smoke, non-existent building maintenance, and (cannot emphasize this enough) poor, poor housekeeping practices... it was everywhere!

I wish we (Jeremy) could have just pulled the staples out of the floor and that would be it... a big shout out to Kirby for helping out by the way!  Unfortunately, remember those "WTF?" moments I was talking about? Well, we are still scratching our heads over this one. Somebody, somewhere, knows why this plywood patch is dropped in the middle of the hardwood floors...  It's only a foot square, and we have ideas of how to fix it, but it's sad.  At this point, we were losing daylight so we had to move into the bedrooms and see what lie there under those wicked awesome orange carpets...


"This isn't as bad as it looks"... That's what we told ourselves too.  Some weird floral linoleum that looked like it was printed on a giant computer printer...the flower prints were all pixellated, we'd never seen anything like it before... The first bedroom was relatively straight forward, the lino came up in large chunks and required a minimal amount of scraping to get the glue off (6 hours worth).  It took me 4 days to scrape the lino off the other bedroom floor, it must have been a high-traffic room as the lino was pounded down right into the wood beneath it.  As you can see, it was well worth the effort because the hardwood continued from the living room right into both bedrooms (and the wannabe closet that separates them).  By the way...this stuff smelled just as bad as the carpet, but it was worse because we had to kneel in it for almost a week trying to remove the remnants.

With only one of the two bedrooms suitable for habitation during this days-long floor scraping
chore, the kids got the room and we were relegated to camping out on the living room floor surrounded by  boxes of unpacked stuff. The picture's cluttered, and there's some dude laying in the middle of the room... but you can see how nicely those floors cleaned up with just a good washing (and we had thought that we'd be moving in onto plywood floors after we lifted those carpets)...guess things could have been worse!