Some Action

After raising my voice a bit and shedding some tears for the Builder, this week produced some movement on the addition.

Right now I have a partially insulated basement (needs rim joist insulation), a partially insulated main floor (has a back door and pink insulation in walls, but no poly because electrician and plumber have not been through, and of course no windows yet), and an uninsulated upstairs. Shingles don’t arrive until next week, so still raining a bit through the underlayment. One morning we could have skated on the frozen water on the floor inside.

Icy floor

On the main floor there is a roughed in closet at the back door (I’m not intending it to have any doors, it will be shelving and hooks only) and a roughed in two piece bathroom. I had originally thought to have a pocket door, but a swing will be better.

The upstairs bedroom is really big. Much bigger than I need and it feels conspicuous. The original ‘designer’ on the project advised that for resale value people want huge bedrooms, ensuites, and walk in closets. I should have said I’m not most people, but I couldn’t see any other way of practically dividing up the space. So big it is.

Part of the big bedroom

Here are the roughed in ensuite and closet. The closet is smaller than originally planned, as we’ve changed the plan for the stairs.

Bedroom closet and bathroom roughly framed

Assuming approval from the engineer and the City, the new stairs will make it possible for me to have a one level, medium-sized entry foyer, which was one of my three stated goals of this renovation (the other two being a main floor powder room and a level exterior grade to the yard).

The existing stair case will be pushed back a foot or more and we will take out the mid landing and turn, and instead continue the stairs directly upwards and through the existing wall, resulting in a landing in what is now my son’s bedroom. That whole wall of his bedroom will come out and the space will simply be open. I’ll use it as a home gym and he’ll move into my current bedroom. This change in the staircase is what reduced the size of my planned bedroom closet, because the new entry to that bedroom will be where part of the closet was to sit. I’m fine with that change because it gives me the 2 or so feet extra at the front door. Of course, this is all assuming the City allows for it.

I am absolutely delighted to be able to use my grandmother’s doors for both bathrooms and my bedroom closet. I’ll have those, her windows, and all the trim – baseboards and plinths, plate rail, window and door casings and cornices, etc. I think I would be most pleased if someone entering the house could not tell there was a new addition on the house.

The window re-finishing is coming along. I am now painting the exterior on some of the sashes, although a couple of the sashes had broken glass and I’m waiting for replacement glass to come in. So once that glass is in, I will have to glaze those sashes, prime, and paint. The glazing putty takes several days to skim over, so should the glass come in on Monday, I will not have the windows finished for installation until at least the following Monday. And I picked up two additional windows from my grandmother’s last weekend, which need to be completely refinished, including sanding. I’m not a fan of the sanding. So my end of the window bargain has lots of work left in it.

Here’s a photo of the exterior – it looks big and manor-like. One of those things that a drawing can’t really convey – you have to see it to get a sense of its impact. And the roof looks really good.

Starting to see how big it will look

Anyway, cross fingers for another progressive week coming up!

Pain and Torment

I am feeling the deep pain and torment of renovation gone wrong, and there is no practical way out. It’s fall, it’s cool and wet, and snow will be here in no time. I have a shell of an addition with no insulation, holes in the shared wall – from the addition to my basement, on the main floor where the cold air return opened into the wall, and the same on the upstairs in two locations. The cold air makes it way easily into my house and my furnace is running nonstop.

It’s raining inside my addition, with the water dripping down the shared wall and into my basement, onto my upstairs landing, and probably into my attic. I’m afraid to look.

The roof has only a sheathing on it, as the Builder failed to order the shingles I asked him to order in June, with a reminder in July and another reminder in August. There’s a two week wait while they get shipped in (he also ordered the wrong colour, but instead of making him change the order and wait a further two weeks, I’ll go with what he ordered).

I raised my voice, stomped my feet, and even shed a tear when I met with the Builder this week. I asked whether he was intentionally trying to get me to fire him and he denied it. But I think he does want that. I’m prepared to do it, but in the end all I asked for was that he keep me posted daily as to what the plan is in the morning and what was accomplished by the evening. Three days went by before he updated me. ┬áHe is incredibly aggravating. Such an incredibly small thing I asked of him.

I’ve decided that if he is not working by next Tuesday, I will start calling around to get another company to take over, get them to assess the value of the work currently completed, and then fire this aggravating Builder. I’d call him worse but this is a public site.


Kitchen Mostly Reassembled

Last kitchen update for some time: I got the ABS plumbing figured out and the dishwasher reassembled, and my brother came by today and finished the heating duct in the crawlspace and fitted a plywood floor. So, it appears I have a fully insulated crawlspace and the kitchen is again a kitchen for cooking.
I still have some cleaning and dusting to do but it is a much more manageable space again. Thanks Bro!

Last Piece of Old Kitchen Flooring Gone

If anyone asks why my DIY renovations take so long, this explains why: I’m a homeowner with no carpentry skills and I get my information from Google. The only thing I have going for me is my fearlessness (which is really just a lack of understanding of the risks) and a willingness to throw more money at my projects.

Earlier this week I took out the dishwasher, so that my brother could work on the kitchen crawlspace. Since it was out, I took the opportunity to pull out the counter and get at the last bit of old flooring underneath. That was on Saturday morning.


There was a different linoleum under the sink, and not as many layers as had been elsewhere in the kitchen.

Different linoleum pattern than discovered elsewhere

Glad to see the original flooring was not in too bad a shape.

But definitely lots of mouse activity.



Old Friends

I plugged what I could see for holes with steel wool and silicone. I think the two circular holes were where the first pump for running water sat.

Then I stuffed steel wool into crevices and around the heating duct.

I think I got this particular area sealed off from mice. But a few hours later a daring mouse on recon spent a few moments in the open watching tv with us, before running off into the kitchen. Maybe it likes Glee or maybe it was giving me stink eye for removing the super-highway. But it plainly did not care that the house is already occupied by humans.

As usual, I’m quite effective at taking things apart. Not so good at putting back together.
Taking out the old flooring means the counter dropped an inch or so, which means that the plumbing no longer meets under the sink.

As happens with homeowners untrained in carpentry, I made several trips to the hardware store to get the parts I thought I needed, but I still don’t have the right stuff (literally and figuratively). Obviously, running water and a working drain are important in a kitchen, so I have to get this figured out before the rush of the new work week on Monday.

I thought this project was small – just undoing the plumbing under the sink to the degree that I could pull the counter away from the wall, cleaning up underneath the sink, taking out the layers of flooring, filling the mouse holes, and then reassembling the plumbing – and I thought I would be done in 5-6 hours, but now it is Sunday and have another couple of hours of work because of my error on having the right plumbing parts. Oh, plus, the copper pipe that goes to the dishwasher will not allow itself to reattach – the nut will not slide down the pipe to where it’s supposed to be. I have no idea why but it appears hung up on burrs or the tube shape is no longer round, that kind of thing. But this pipe at the right length and the right fittings is not on the shelf at the hardware store. It’s custom made by a plumber.


So, I will have to call a plumber when it’s time to reinstall the dishwasher, ’cause I don’t have time to train myself in proper plumbing this week.

My liveable space on the main floor is currently at about 300 square feet. I have about 12″ of counter space to work with and all kitchen surfaces are covered in construction dust. With no running water to rinse off the dust before using the kitchen and the usual weekday rush looming, I have to get this figured out today.