Sunday, December 8, 2013

Eye of the Tiger

December has come.  All the crazy hussle bussle of the holiday season is upon us.  But before December comes November, my new favorite month.  This is entirely due to a surprise trip to Peru from my mom and Jeremy.  So instead of leading with an endless tirade of profanities relating to drywall or other stages of a seemingly endless renovation, I will let you gaze jealously at a couple of photos of me in Peru.  

Machu Picchu Ruins

Well the vacation came to an abrupt end and a real shock back into reality when the temperature here in Saskatchewan reached a chilly if not downright freeze-your-fun-bits off -49°C.  While I was gone off on one wild adventure after another, Jeremy took care of the kids and finished hanging the remaining drywall.

And once again it was a slow and steady descent into mudding madness.  

It never stops hurting...  I can't even look at these photos and not shudder with a sense of foreboding.  The jigsaw is just too real.

Just like any nightmare, it had to end sometime, and it was over... Drywall Happy Dance!

Moving on to stage... oh whatever, Flooring, yay!

 We always knew that we were going to be doing carpet in the attic, and we were lucky enough to find some of this carpet with the built-in underlay.  Jeremy installed carpet years ago on another of our homes... and swore up, down, and sideways he would never even contemplate trying that again.
This stuff, on the other hand, is a completely different install.  It's a lot like lino insofar as you cut it to fit and lay it down.  I think this was a good choice for our flooring because we didn't want to lose any more height clearance by installing a subfloor... and if the underlay doesn't prove to be enough, we can just roll it up and put some extra underlay under it.

As expected, the install went smoothly and we had all three areas done in no time.  The hardest room only took about an hour and a half.

Cat photo bomb
 Just because I so enjoy list making:

  • Framing
  • Electrical
  • Stairs
  • Contemplation
  • Stair Rebuild
  • Insulation
  • Whole Bunch of Little Crap
  • Drywall
  • Peru
  • Mud and Tape
  • Paint
  • Christmas Shopping (oh crap)
  • Carpet
  • Move Kids to New Rooms
  • Enjoy New Found Privacy
  • Doors
  • Window and Door Trim
  • Baseboards
  • Bathroom... whole new adventure....
All the walls are soundproofed too! 
Well that's about all I have to show for now.  As with any Do-It-Yourself project, there is a truly endless list of 'little' big things to do.  But for this winter, we will be taking a break from biting off gigantic wads of "what the hell did we just do that for?".  It's time to sit back, drink some eggnog, get back to sewing, work on a motorcycle (Jeremy), and plan the living room/master bedroom/kitchen project.  Now just in case anyone remembered, I predicted a project end date of December 14th... Well today is December 8th, and I even fit in a trip to Peru...  Feeling good. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Jigsaw

 It has been a long time since I have done a post.  However this doesn't mean that progress has stopped.  The jigsaw is coming together in exactly (pretty much) the way we planned.

As previously viewed this room looked a little like a patchwork quilt of massive (and rigid) proportions.  I'm proud to introduce you to Payton's Room 2.0.  Basically all that is left here is window trim, carpet, baseboards, and a stained piece of wood over that 'woohoo' in the wall over there (completely planned, and impeccably executed... or at least that's how it appears in the photo).

Check out that ceiling, nightmares have spawned from less.  I can safely say that I will never do that kind of 'funkyness' again (who am I kidding I'm a drywall masochist).

 Jordan's room has undergone an almost herculean transformation of similar proportions.  Less bull shit corners allowed us to move a little faster.  Both kids got to pick the colours for their rooms.  Jordan picked this green because she loves wild cats, and they live in jungles ("and stuff").  Payton loves whales so hence the blue for the ocean.

Common Room at the top of the stairs.

 As per our standing marriage agreement, there is no such thing as down time:

"What the hell are you doing, you don't need to sit to eat!  Eat on your way up the stairs!  I don't care if it's spaghetti I didn't sit down to cook it!"


"Follow mommy as you do your homework, no I can't look now, just sound it out again.  Oh spelling, well can you spell... mud, how about hammer, drill, level... Oh you have a list... go ask your sister."
Bathroom in progress. 

 All joking (or slightly abusive humor) aside, we are still moving forward.  Although this particular project in the house has been one headache after another (all renovations really), I love the retro-fit feel of the space we are creating.  Its cool.  I am however slightly appalled at the amount of wasted drywall.  Every piece in the entire attic has been cut (hence the play on jigsaw, just in case you didn't get it).

I'm apprehensive to announce a finish date for this attic, but if I had to guesstimate I would say December 14th.  I think I just shot myself in the foot.  I'll go bandage my wounds with some drywall tape and get back to work.

Incase you don't want to read about all the shenanigans or for a recap, or just to hear my melodious voice laughing at myself just watch the video instead.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Harvest Time

 Fall is upon us and here in Saskatchewan that means harvest time.  Jeremy is working long hours at the shop, doing his part to keep those combines combining.... Anyhow with fall came the realization that the weird tree up front of the house wasn't an apple tree but a plum tree.  The poor tree was in dire need of a serious trim so I took an afternoon and started hacking away.  After an hour or so of consistent swearing and a hundred little tiny scratches that are like burning needles of damnation later on in the shower.  I found the tree.
 What a cool looking trunk this tree has.  I have never really lived anywhere where fruit trees grow (except apples).  I'm super excited to put the hose to this tree in the spring and hopefully help it come back to life in an awesome, sweet, juicy way.

 Life, as always is super frustrating.  But I think the worst frustration is having everything we need to move forward (drywall, windows, wire...) yet having no time to accomplish the projects.  That being said we have been able to carve out some progress on the attic renovation. Firstly was an excess of silly little bits and bobs that needed to be done.  Things like one more piece of insulation here, or to tie in that last outlet into the circuit.  We have finished all those frustrating little things that had stymied so much of our ambition.

We decided to take on Payton's room with a all out, hell bent, get er' done attitude... So we put in a new window, and had a beer, taped some seems, and had a beer, mulled over this and that, and had a beer...
 Then we finally got down to business.
dresser cubby

 Things you forget to remember about Drywall:

  • It sucks
  • You can't fix 'everything' with mud
  • Get all your tools... yes all, you will need them in 2 minutes
  • Watch that YouTube video again
  • It sucks
  • Nothing will ever be square or straight so get over it

 So that is Payton's room all taped.  There is still an excess amount of mudding and sanding that needs to go into the room before paint but here we go again.

Another happy fall thought is the thought of school!  Whoo Hoo, game on drywall.  Both kids are in school full time this year (Grade 1 and Grade 2).

They had a good summer of spear making, skinny dipping, and bike riding.

I have one final thing I would like to share a video I took for my Aunty Kim who asked me to show her where I lived.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Are We There Yet?

 Sleeping in the living room is getting old... It feels as though we have been living this way for a year, but it has actually only been 6 weeks.  Progress seems so slow, but in reality things are coming along really well.  The staircase is built and we are using it.  That is pretty much the one finished project of this renovation.  That's not to say we haven't been getting stuff done.  We  just haven't quite finished any of the stages of the renovation.

The stairs obviously need a lot of finishing work but that project will be one of the last and go hand in hand with sanding and staining the floors (one of the final projects of the entire house).  The staircase really personifies the overall concept of the house.  Simple, utilitarian, minimalist.  The stairs will have new treads put on at the end of the renovations and the whole thing will be stained to match the floor.  No railings.  A simple computer/office nook will go under the the second flight.  A modern bright colour on the window wall and a bunch of simple bookshelves will complete the room.  Oooh I feel like a visionary... But I could just be spouting bullshit, only time will tell.
This is coming up the stairs reaching the second landing and the half wall. 

Second Landing
 This is the landing Jeremy built so that someone taller than my own 5'2" could navigate the stairs in retaliative comfort.

 Standing at the top of the stairs you and see to the right the wall of the bathroom which creates a short 'hallway' into the little seating room that separates the bedrooms.

Here is Jordan's room on the left and the frame for the pocket door on the right for the bathroom... actually that is the pocket door in the box.

The door to Payton's room is going to be an unusual shape but fitting a staircase, chimney and door in a line will produce variable success.  I really wanted to leave the chimney exposed but I decided to save the fight for the whole railing issue.  I won no railing, Jeremy covered the chimney.

So Jeremy will continue to plug along on the rest of the construction side of the attic project, but unfortunately harvest in Saskatchewan has arrived so it's pretty much impossible to predict when he will have a chance to work on the house when he's not sleeping.

We are so close to drywall (my half of the project) I'm itching to take the reins an' get er' done.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Optimist

A pessimist and an optimist have fallen off a building.  The pessimist is having a hard time thinking "Oh my god, only 15 more floors to live!".  The optimist on the other hand is thinking: "So far, so good"

Although nothing ever goes to plan, such is life. We have been making steady progress in the attic endeavor.  Jeremy has been building the walls.  After many a discussion as per placement/height/suitability we both agreed that we had exactly the same plan and the other person needs to learn to speak better English. Honestly up and forward are two completely different movements!

Most of the framing is done in the attic.  Jeremy has built for both bedrooms to have a nook in the wall where a dresser can be placed.  He is becoming quite the electrician, with 2/3 of the attic wired.  Pictured here is the proposed walls for the half bathroom.

We have a small (28") pocket door for the bathroom.  We have two new windows for each bedroom as well, now if we could only find the time.


While cutting the hole in the ceiling for the staircase Jeremy came across this little jewel.
It was kind of a cool find.  It's hard to argue with those rates!

Moving forward, I was getting a little tired of climbing up the closet ladder which has now been dubbed "the climb of death'.  So we switched to stair building.  This is our first staircase.  Stairs really are not that complicated, the math is simple and there are more than enough stair calculators on the internet... but for some reason it just never makes sense. We argued and calculated, calculated and argued:

Me: "Just because you have big freaky feet doesn't mean we have to build the staircase to fit you!".

Jeremy: "My feet are just like any normal person, we need to build it to standard size".

Me: "Well just in case you haven't noticed there is nothing standard about this damn place!"

Jeremy: "If we want the railing to go like this..."

Me: "Railing! I don't want a railing.  Jeeze, I grew up with no railing on either my mom's or grandmother's. We never fell down the stairs".

Jeremy: "Yeah and none of you are scared of heights either right?"

Me: "Ugh, beside the point.  Here look the guy on YouTube said to do it like this, see, you one step short.  That's why this piece of newly created firewood doesn't fit".

Jeremy: "Fine.  Here jump up onto this landing and see if it feels right".

Me: "Shit! I'm going to hit my head on this! Oh crap now what the hell are we going to do! I'm only 5 feet tall!"

We eventually did come up with a plan that works and with a combination of beer, stubbornness, and creative thinking it fits all our personal criteria.

It's even level

We are just going to put some plywood on for treads for now because there is so much drywall to come.  I keep telling Jeremy that I'm ready for drywall any day ("Sure no problem, I can do that, I'm pretty much a pro now").  It's a complete lie, I'm starting to have nightmares nightly.

Sleeping in the living room is getting really old.  So I'm dragging Jeremy out for at least one night of camping this weekend.

Project List:

  • Put plywood treads on stairs to circumvent climb of death.
  • Build post under last stair (in kitchen) so safe, comfortable, no railing stairs don't become surprise drop of doom.
  • Finish last bits of wiring, framing, insulation.
  • Make a friend who will help Jeremy pack drywall upstairs...
  • blah, blah, blah, CAMPING! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Plan B... C...D?

The reason we bought this smelly, small, old, house was the attic.  We tried to buy other, more suitable houses in this small town in the middle of nowhere Saskatchewan, but alas we settled on this one.  We KNEW that we (being extremely talented and perhaps a little insane) could transform the attic into a cool and fun place for the kids to get out of our hair.  

If you have been following the saga of awesome (endless) renovations you would know that this particular project got put on the back burner in lieu of The Studio.  But we are back to the Big House (800 square feet).  
Here is a photo of the attic last fall when we bought this ugly, dated, dusty, house.  It's not hard to see the potential here in adding almost 2/3 more space to the house.  We spent hours in this decrepit, disgusting, spider-infested, attic.  Discussing potential floor plans, heating/cooling options, insulation, plumbing, electrical, and access.   

The Stair hole (stage 1)
We had a plan, a good one.  Too bad nothing ever works out.  Jeremy actually framed half of the attic in preparation of insulating.  We had decided that the best way to go was spray foam.  We don't have a lot of room but you don't need a lot for spray foam, plus all the air tight benefits etc...  
Well unfortunately for us, we (Jeremy) always get a head of ourselves (Jeremy).  Turns out the spray foam guys wouldn't drop their price below $4400!  Our house is pretty small, and the attic even smaller.  That was our entire budget for the attic and stairs.  It just wasn't going to happen. 

Lucky for me, Jeremy (get so far ahead of myself, no wonder that I have to take 3 steps back) is a pseudo-genius and came up with another idea.  The plan goes thus:
  • Buy entire truck full of fancy rigid foam
  • Cut foam to size and fit between joists
  • Bump joists using 2x2's 

  •  Create air tight seal using cans of low expanding spray foam

Most seam's were not this pretty 

  •  Try desperately not to die of heat stroke or dehydration (turns out beer is not a good hydrater... who knew?)

  •  Add fiberglass R-20 on top of foam, and try not to destroy lungs in process. 

Well, that pretty much covers the basics of the plan.  As per any secondary plan, more things went wrong and have had to be adjusted (like taking down all of Jeremy's carefully and meticulously built walls).  

I like to think sometimes that we have learned enough to take on these projects. But the more we do, the more it appears that we have no idea what the can of worms holds... this time I believe it was maggots.  Things like tongue-and-groove planks under the drywall on both outside walls and ceiling.  Not realizing that our insulation caused us to loose too many inches on the ceiling of the attic, so if your over 5 ft 6 inches you have to duck for the last 3 steps.  How exactly do we do this... or that... well, shit.  

Jeremy is presently on days-off (the kids are back in BC for the time being), and we have been working on this big, bloody, messy job for the past 5 days.  We figured out a plan for the stairs to make them a little more comfortable for an adult to go up them, but it's pretty involved.  So, off the mark, we are so far behind I feel like my name is Jeremy (who is destroying my kitchen as I type). 

The in home nightmare has begun I can only hope that we don't loose our minds.