Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday, September 30: Gaga over Garaga

The garage doors are in! The garage doors are in!

This means we are now totally enclosed. This means we can turn on the heated floors (well, it would if the heated floor guy who has gone awol shows up.) If we can turn on the heated floors, it means the hardwood floors installers can start Monday. Yes, floors. Actual floors. But I'll get to those in a minute.

For now, check out the front garage door. Love it. So streamlined,, so smooth. Hope it stays that way and the kids don't make kid on bike indentations on it for a while. We ordered from Garaga (fun to say). They were installed in one day.

But the piece de resistance is the back garage door, the back opening off the dining room area. It's our riskiest idea. I haven't seen this one myself just yet - will head over after work today - but the husband sent me these pictures. It's kind of hard to see from this pics ... but it looks nice and bright and I am very glad about this.

Here it is from the back, first. Really like the black - we had to get it sprayed, so I am glad it turned out well. This is the view from the exterior back deck.

Here it is from inside: It's very galvanized, don't you think?

So, with the installation of these doors, we can now turn on the heat. And the installers can start on the floors on Monday. This is the huge pile of flooring now sitting in the living room:

Here is the flooring up close. It's bamboo. It's very eco-friendly and just feels good underneath. We chose it for environmental reasons, for look, and because it's engineered so we can place it over the floor heating tubes. We are putting it everywhere in the house - every room - with the exception of the bathrooms, mudroom and laundry room. It's even going in the basement and the basement suite. We will stain the stairs (which are NOT made of bamboo, but of birch (or beech? one of them ...) to match.

So, this is huge. Mudders and tapers are gone by week's end. Flooring starts Monday and will take about a week, then the Tony the tile guy moves in. We have ordered all the floor tile, they actually need to turn the heating tubes OFF for tiling. That will take just under a week.
From there, the trim team starts, and then paint. On my list for next week ..... is finalize paint colours, fabric choices, blinds .... ah, but I have solicited help for these. More on that next post.
I now officially have a team helping on this project.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 24: Drywall amazement

Two posts in one day. So much going on. Our drywall is almost done. By the end of day Friday all of our boards will be up, Meanwhile, there has been a first coat of mud and tape on the first floor.
And they'll keep going.

These guys are doing it. (They wanted a blog mention.)

It's a hard job. And they are working at warp speed. Last weekend a team put up almost the entire first floor of boards (including ceiling) on one day. It changes everything. The whole place looks so different. Looks real and much more house-like. In a bit of a hurry to pick the paint colours now. The painters will start in about a week. No pressure or anything. Then the hardwood floors and tile will go in.
Getting so close now. Getting very hard to wait.


Wednesday, September 23: Tiles, tiles tiles

It's all about tiles this week. Did something I swore I would never do on this project. Did the thing that messes us projects. Tried not to, but couldn't help it. I changed my mind. About the tiles. Let me explain.
Early, early days when we were tearing pages from magazines and identifying what we liked and wanted. I saw several bathrooms with beautiful showers - with glass tiles in varying styles. I liked one in particular, it was bold, horizontal stipes of muted glass tile in two slightly different shades of grey and blue. Loved it. Another one was glass tiles - mixed colours in greens and blues - the entire back wall of this shower was done with them, lovely, both.

When I went to pick our tiles - I ran into more than one person who said they would show water spatters. Yuck. I am too Type A for water spatters. However, I thought I could deal.

Then, the more I looked around, the more the tiles seemed too much - too trendy, too expected. Not what I wanted for our shower. It felt kind of overdone and suburban model home (not that there's anything wrong with that ....) Lovely, but overdone. And I didn't want to look at them in three years and feel regret. So then, if not glass, then what? I hadn't any back up ideas. So, this means we had to come up with something.

I'm notusually indecisive. With the husband, I am even less so. The two of us get stuff done at a dizzying pace.

We just weren't feeling it with the tiles, though. There are dozens and dozen of beautiful, stunning tiles. It seems like there are even more selection that suit a contemporary style.

Breakthrough came on Friday. At this great local plumbing and bathroom store Preston Hardware Found these lovelies. And then came up with a great idea of what to do with them.
Stay tuned.

Also found this fun tile for the laundry room accent tile. Remember our washer and dryer are electric blue ...? Well, who could resist these? (the blue ones). Aren't they fun?
And while we are at it, why not these for the kids/main bathroom accent tile?

Along with these, we picked the rest of the floor and still have one or two wall tiles to go, but it's feeling great so far.
Our potential tile guy wants to meet with us tomorrow night - he wants to interview us before he takes the job. Makes me nervous. He's supposed to be very good. I will have to brush up on my tile acumen.
The husband fancies himself a bit of a tile guy. Owns a wet saw. Maybe we can sway him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17, The Stair is the Thing

We have stairs! We have stairs! I am very excited about this. The house is completely changed by these lovely, floaty, lovely woodgrain, stairs.

Stopped by the house on my lunch to pick exterior house finish samples. There they were - the stairs guys. They were installed in three hours. There is one whole section missing- but we pretty much have a complete set of stairs! Here there are close up - can you see the nice wood grain. They will be stained to match the floors - and we will have glass railings with stainless steel handrails. They are all covered with plastic wrappers and wood pieces. They will be making an appearance later in this saga.
For now, we say good-bye to the ladder. The four year old will miss it. He could scale it like a little mountain goat. My mom, friend Sue and neice Kaitlin will be very happy to see the last of it, however.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 15th : On the Outside

Mid-September. The work continues, things moving forward. Insulation is in, drywalling starts tomorrow. Deck got built (except for floor boards). Garage doors next week. Stairs installed by the end of this week. Here's the front, as of Sunday.

But first some excitement. This guy has moved in. The husband got a call very early yesterday am, from frantic plumber reporting vermin in the eaves.

Mr. Thumbs walked right in the gaping hole in the back. They chased him out. He went to this spot. Stayed all day. Trouble was, he had no way down. The husband had to leave him the ladder ... we hope we escaped unscathed. But he needs to be evicted. No word yet today whether he came back or not. All seems quiet so far today.

Now that we think about it, we thought there were, ahem, traces on Sunday when we were there cleaning the site. (The whole family was there, stacking garbage, sweeping .. fun, fun, fun.) The garbage, it's everywhere. Construction sites, not so on the environmental side. We have no less than 5 bright blue recyle bins throughout the house, still there are coffee cups, water bottles, cans etc. strewn on the floor. Garbage cans (we have four) seem to be invisible to this particular employment sector. Therefore, we have all been spending our Sundays (especially the husband) cleaning up our construction debris and mess ..... Not to mention every lighting fixture, bathtub, cartons of nails, pieces of fireplace, piece of insulation , comes in a box, carton or bag of some kind.
Here's what we gathered in only one week. Lovely, isn't it?

But now for a much nicer view. We have quite a few outdoor spaces and we're starting to get a feel for what they will be like to hang out on. Here is the view from the main living area out to the back, though the garage door. The kids were enhaling some sugar there on Sunday ..... and then the opposite view, the back of the house:

And from the side:

Here is the doorway from our master bedroom to the balcony and then the view from there (view from best seat in the hot tub):

And the view out our front bedroom (the guest room) and the front balcony:

Will report later this week on stairs and interior finishing. Have quite a week ahead of me with picking tile for nine different areas, fabric for all window seats, sinks (we forgot about ordering those) and remaining furniture. This should be the most fun part of all .... the trouble is, I am fading. Yes, even me. I am losing energy.
Must. Gain. Strength.
Must. Keep. Shopping.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2 : Got the minor variance!

Update from yesterday - the City Committee of Adjustments allowed our minor variance - meaning we don't have to build a protruding car port in front of our garage. This is great news. For us and our neighbours. I am sure they didn't want our house sitting on the curb.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Some time much later ..... like, May 16th.. A Long Overdue Update

I blogged myself out I guess. No posts from me since the holidays (they were lovely and relaxing). It was quite a whirlwind and I needed a break - from everything. I will post a full roster of photos of the finished product ... that's coming up in a few days. But for now, I gathered a few pictures of the January to April "settling in and finishing" period ...

Below you can see how the Christmas tree looked in front of the garage door. And to the left, we put up some lights on our new front porch:

Since then, really, we have been chipping away at a variety of things that needed finishing .. including shelving, hooks, towel racks etc. for the mudrooms and bathrooms. The hot tub went in and we enjoyed it all winter. We did this and that, moved through each room .... house felt finished for the most part.

We threw a "Vintage" New Years party .... some of these pictures show bits of the house. Thetile wall behind the dining room table:

And the window seats .....

And a few shots of Lily's new bulletin board fabric and window seat, which we completed over the winter.

With most of the inside done .... naturally, as the snow melted, the outside began to weigh heavily. There was still quite a bit of debris (we had an early melt ..) and it was pretty ugly out there.

Another post will deal with the landscaping and what we did there.

Until then,


Tuesday, September 1: Closer and closer ....

It's September. That means it's Fall. That means I will be moving into my new home this season. It's getting closer, and it feels like it.

Seriously, I feel like my head is about to spin off. If only I had about 2-4 more hours a day....

With the kids back in school and a normal (albeit nanny-less this year) routine, we have to find some snippets of time here and there to get all of this stuff done. But between work, kids, dog, soccer, day care, making meals, laundry, cottage, more work, our friends and families .... there's just no time. We squeeze and multi-task like nobody's business. The house is sucking us dry right now. It's crux time.

We applied for a minor variance to the city planning dept. to NOT add a front carport addition on the garage (Long story, but if you can believe it, they felt our house was too far back from the sidewalk. As if. I can almost touch the street from the front step... it's ridiculous, but is due to some long ago by-law). We find out tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Electricians are finishing wiring this week, next week insulation starts. That should be a few days and we're counting on drywalling to begin Sept. 14th. Three weeks of that, then floors. Then painting, then installation of all cabinetry, built ins and plumbing and lighting fixtures ... counters, trim, blinds .. furniture.
Squeee ....!!

But we are still September 1st. And there's still so much to do ....
Last week,the husband and I took a full Friday to focus on final selections and other decisions we had to make. In two days, we accomplished more than we ever thought possible.

We ordered our bed and one side table ( I think it's rather art deco-ish):

With an 8 week delivery time, we ordered our sectionals, check out the downstairs one here (in white leather with the stainless steel legs, it's so yummy.):

We ordered two fireplaces (one for upstairs, one for down.) I've shown you the upstairs one.

We tentatively ordered the kitchen for the downstairs nanny suite. Kitchen Craft, shaker white, quite nice. Except we "guesstimated" the length of one wall from our plans, rather than measure the actual wall and were off by a foot or two, so now we have to re-jig. It's all good, though. We just switched out the stove and pantry and we're back on. This kitchen will be installed by us, we're not using our uber-designer Tanner for the downstairs suite.

The lighting continues to drive us around the bend. Last week and this, the electricians (there is actually a team of electricians ... one of them a woman, which is rare but aweseme) are installing it all right now. As we speak. So, we had to decide last week - not later -- whether or not to do the kitchen island lamps - as Tanner designed - or use the typical overhead pendant lighting. We loved the lamps, but couldn't find anything of the right height or size. Because they will sit right on - and be wired to - the island (they are permanently affixed) they have to be right. In the end, we told the electicians to wire the island, we'll find something. One idea is to cut down some floor lamps. I've since seen a few that are close. We'll find something or use

Meanwhile, the dining room light fixture was imporant to us. Here are several choices. Please let me know what you think. Our table is very long - almost nine feet, so it has to be of a certain size.

This one? (from a local antique lighting place)

Or this one? (From a local modern design place?)

Can you see our poor, horribly bored four year old playing in the snooty modern design store? We were all there - the whole fam -- and I'm sure the staff weren't terribly happy about it. Words of wisdom: If you want to be left alone in snobby stores - bring kids ... the (typically childless) staff will give you a very wide berth. Our kids have been troopers actually. We multi-task shopping with family time, by bribing them with meals and treats. The four year old found one of those cool, egg chairs at this store and spent about half an hour spinning, around and around ... he'd just eaten a massive chocolate milkshake, so I made him stop .. just in case.

The brick work continues .. check out one completed side:

Our bricklayer is 72 years old! He's been in the business for 50 years! His grandson works with him, does a lot of the lifting, but it's amazing. Each one of the pieces is 75 pounds. I am in awe as to the precision, and quality of work involved in doing this. I am loving the results, it's beautiful. Next is the remaining siding choices - hardy board and corrugated metal. We've picked it, and are now looking for an installer. We still need to find the right wood for the wood sections. This is next on the list: possibly marine mahogany, maybe cedar ... we're not final yet. We don't want it to be too orange-y.

My mom is visiting. She saw the house for the first time Sunday. She even climbed a 14 foot ladder to see upstairs. Sixty one and she's still got it! She is already a tremendous help to us - watching the kids so we can run around, or even just walk the dog at night so we get a rare moment of quiet to make key decisons.

Today the husband is ordering the flooring, the countertops. Next up for me, pick tile (bathroom, flooring, laundry room) buy lighting, find chairs for dining room table (I'm close). We'll also finalize the landscaping plan and get that started. We need decks, walkways, driveways etc. etc.
With this plan, we are making the official leap to NO GRASS. I love it. Can't wait to not cut the lawn......