Archive for category renovations

Deck, Patio, Roof & Fence completed

It’s been a hot summer and did we ever take advantage of it, yesterday and today my father and I finally put a roof up on the side portion of the deck, which means… it’s finished!  There are a couple of small items here and there to do but I can pretty much say it’s complete.   We used a corrugated plastic roofing, which didn’t exactly come with any instructions, but we worked it out and (fingers crossed) it should provide some adequate shelter from the element for BBQing.   Our tenant Mark also took the opportunity to re-do his bike port at the back of the property and finished it off nicely with some boards to match our fence.  We’ve been using the deck now since the middle of June and I have to say it’s my favourite part of the house!

We definitely could not have gotten this done so well without a lot of help from my Dad, and lots of help from our friends and family!  Thanks guys!

Here are some photos:



Deck & Fence 90% done!

We got a lot more work done on the deck this week, on Wednesday I managed to book off work for the day and picked up enough lumber to build all the fences.  Wednesday afternoon we got to work building out some of the frames and got a few panels up, the fence design is very simple, double sided and staggered to hopefully add some breeze while maintaining a lot of privacy.  Last night we got the last of the panels up, unfortunately we still have 1 board per panel to put up since we didn’t get a chance to rip them.   Up next we’ve got to rip those boards, cut the posts down, put the roof to up over the side deck portion, get some siding for the covered stairs wall, put up some lights and buy some furniture.   The gravel + deck did wonders for the back area of the house, really improved (imo) the look and gave us about 180square feet of space to use!   Can’t wait for the first BBQ

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Deck weekend #2

This past weekend proved to be a very productive and wet one, with rain in the forecast we rounded up some of our friends who would typically be busy doing more awesome things and put them to work.  Saturday morning at 7am we had 11 tonnes of crushed stone delivered, which Brian shoveled the better part of until his dad and friends showed up a few hours later.  Once the help had arrived we set up tent, and finished off the ribbons, ledgers and framing.  By the end of Saturday we had the side deck finished, and some of the wood cut for the back part.   Sunday we managed to finish up the decking all together, over the next 2 weeks we’re hoping to get the fencing put up around the deck, and the roof up over the side portion.  Thanks to Dave, Tyler, Chris and Danny who helped out this weekend!

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Deck and Fence construction – Day 2

Well we got about as far along as I was expecting for the weekend.  We managed to get all the posts dug, and cemented in place that run the length of the driveway; which means we’ve got 2 posts left for the back portion of the fence.  It also means we got a chance to start framing in the deck at the side of the house, which I’m hoping we can have some boards down on sometime this week, maybe Wednesday after work.  Thanks to everyone that stopped by and helped again today.  Here are some photos and the layout / plan we came up with originally.

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Deck demolition and reconstruction

Part of our plans for this summer were to rebuild the deck at the side of the house and extend it into a small square back yard surrounded by a fence.  We regularly use the side door as our main entrance and have never had a roof there, so when it’s raining and you’ve got groceries, or BBQing to do, you get wet.  We’ve opted to put a roof over the side porch, and leave the back deck exposed.  Somehow we’ve also managed to keep our 3 parking spots and a shed at the back for our tenant.  Here are some before, demolition and construction photos.  Not much really to see yet.

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Before & After Photos

It’s been a long time since we’ve done some updates, we’ve been living comfortable for over a year now since the major renovations took place.  In that time we’ve put the house on the market for 2 weeks showed it to 20+ potential buyers, decided not to sell, then put our apartment up for rent on Kijiji, showed it to several potential tenants then decided not to move, and finally decided to do some more renovations.  We’re sticking it out a while longer and have some smaller renovations to do this coming summer.  The next couple of weeks will involve building a small backyard, and new deck with roof for the back entrance (our main entrance), this will provide us a bit of outdoor space to relax in the summer.   Following those renovations we’re planning to finish up the kitchen (backsplash and pot rack).  Here are some before & after photos of our apartment, not everything is finished, but pretty close.  Thanks to everyone that helped us get to this!

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Kitchen counters!!

Finally! And we mean finally!  It’s been over 2 months since we moved in, for our first month, we lived with a bathroom, bedroom and I had my computer desk.  About a month ago, we started to clean all of the construction materials out of the living room, and got that set up with our new couch and TV.  We still have wallpaper to put up, a coffee table to purchase and some side tables etc, but that can wait.   But seriously, 2 months with no kitchen, I never thought I would say that I’m fully tired of eating at restaurants or take out for every meal.. but I actually am!

This past weekend my dad and I put the finishing touches on the support for the bar area, and got the plumbing ready for the washer dryer.  Speaking of which, while we were in Cuba in February my dad built us a nice custom cabinet around the washer dryer unit, it was a nice surprise to come home to!  We also picked up these shelves/wine racks from Ikea for under the bar, that helped make bridging the support a little easier, and provided a bit more storage.

Then this morning, the granite finally arrived, the guys worked their magic and got each piece in it’s spot, and was it ever snug!  They now measure granite with a point and shoot calibrated camera, and a series of “targets” that have bardcodes on them that they place all over your kitchen.  They shoot all the photos, upload them to a rendering engine, and build a 3d model of your kitchen on a computer, and cut the granite based on that.   I was a little skeptical at first, especially considering he didn’t even have a tape measurer with him, but the fit is so perfect it’s basically magic.  Emerald Tile in Ottawa are the company responsible for doing our granite, they gave us a great price and amazing service, everyone we worked with there was so friendly and professional, highly recommended!  If you’re looking for granite/tiles etc, their showroom on Sheffield road is very impressive.

Anyways that’s enough of a ramble, we’ve still got a ways to go with the baseboards, furniture, installing the taps, and a back splash, but here are some photos of where we’re at right now:



Bathroom tiling complete and the toilet is back

Finally, after almost 2 months of visiting McNabb to use the bathrooms, we have our toilet back.  It’s been a super big push for the past week and a half, by my parents, uncle, Ilona and I.  We have to especially thank my uncle Roger and my mom who spent hours at the house putting in all the tiles, it looks fantastic.  We still have some grouting to do, the plumbing for the sink to attach, and finally get some glass fitted for the door, but at least we have a toilet!  My dad spent the week prepping the floors for the hardwood repairs that start tomorrow.  We also finished painting the bedroom, the studio room and the hallway.  Can’t wait to see how the floors look on Friday, and it will be really nice to not have to go to the house everyday after work this week.  Here are some photos of the almost done bathroom:

finished bathroom.


End of year update – bathroom tiling and hallway updates

It’s been a good year, and we’ve got a lot of work done on the house.  We both honestly thought we’d be moved in and settled by now, but obviously that is not the case.  We started the tiling in the bathroom this week, and have pretty much finished up with the drywall in the hallway/desk nook.  The hardwood floor refinishing starts on January 10th, so we still have a lot of work to do in the next 10 days to get it ready.  We both wanted to thank everyone that has helped us at the house over the past couple of months, and everyone reading our blog and posting comments.  Happy new year.


Building our own crown molding

In old houses that have plaster walls and ceilings, the options are limited when it comes to finishing the corners/joints between the wall and ceiling.  We tore down the ceilings so that we could add sound and fire insulation, but left the original plaster walls in tact.  After doing some reading we realized there was no easy way to have a neat finished dry wall joint between the two.  Crown molding was the favored option from the get go, however the combination of it’s stiffness, and the crookedness of our walls/ceilings didn’t favor to well.  That’s when we came up with the idea to build our own molding out of window trim, a 1×3 mdm board and a cove (see reverse of 1/4 round).

The process was actually pretty simple, it looks great and was easy to install.  Basically we had 3 pieces that we layered on top of each other, for all the joints, we cut them at 45 degrees to force the matching up better, and used a nail gun to tack it into the wall.  Using the 3 separate flimsy pieces allowed us the luxury of bending them slightly to follow the crooked lines created by the ceiling.  Below are some photos showing the separate pieces and the partially finished product.  More photos to come when we finish up the kitchen and living room 🙂

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Upper Kitchen Cabinets installed!

Saturday morning our friend Matt (cousin) came over and helped out with the Kitchen cabinets, when Rob told us that installing an Ikea kitchen was easy, I had no idea that it would be this easy.  If you can build an Ikea coffee table, you can pretty much build an Ikea kitchen.  Essentially you build all the cabinets, draw a level line on the wall at a certain height, install a horizontal metal bar/rack on that line, then hang the cabinets one at a time.  The door hardware just snaps into the doors, and attaches right to the cabinets, fully adjustable and they all come with the anti-slam hardware.  With 2 people it would easily be feasible in a weekend, unfortunately I had to work Sunday morning for a deploy, so I only got a few hours in, but we’ve got all the upper cabinets installed and level.

The largest upper cabinet on the left closest to the living room has glass doors that we probably won’t install until we move in, we also still have to pick out some handles for the doors, we’ll probably pick these up from Lee Valley Tools, they have the biggest (and cheapest) selection we’ve been able to find.


Closet under the stairs removed!

The section under the stairs has finally been taken care of, what was previously there was pretty much the most unsafe thing we’ve found in our house (so far).  The wall that formed the closet space under the stairs was built from about 6 2×4’s with minimal bracing, what we didn’t know until we investigated further is that this wall supported the entire set of stairs, plus the landings for the 2nd and 3rd apartments!!  We couldn’t believe it, essentially the upstairs platform was precariously balanced on the wall, and tacked into the inside hallway wall, and exterior wall.

To beef it up, we put in some new stringers in both walls, attached with about 10-12 5″ long 1/4″ thick lag screws, we then used 2 double 2×8 beams and a double 2×6 beam as the new floor joists for the landing up top, and hung those from joint hangers on the stringers.  The result is way more space below for my computer area, and a more open hallway.

Below are some before photos, during photos, after photos, and a little sketch on one of the photos showing our plans for the space in here.  We’re planning to build a small computer nook for myself, a closet space (without a door), some shelves, and a little cubby with a trap door/cat door to put the smelly litter boxes in.  I’m still contemplating whether I should eventually attempt to build a small motion sensor activated fan and exhaust from that little cubby to the outside of the house.. maybe next year if we’re looking for something to work on!

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Kitchen & Living room drywalled!

It’s been a while since an update, we’ve moved out of our condo off Walkley, into a temporary luxury suite at the Garsons residence, and have been busy working away on the new place.  Last Thursday my dad and Jean rented a drywall jack, and did the ceilings in the kitchen and living room, the following day Ilona and I successfully finished the beam and column between the kitchen and living room.  Saturday Tyler came over and we framed the 2 support columns for the beam and drywalled them as well.  Today we got the good news that our drywall finisher Derek will be done by Thursday and we should be able to paint the kitchen and living room, and start installing the cabinets!

Ilona also picked out a checkered black and white marmoleum click-tile for the kitchen floors that we might be installing soon, after some research we decided to go with marmoleum because of it’s durability and eco-friendliness, she found it at Dynasty Flooring in Ottawa.  Here are some photos from the living room and kitchen with finished walls and ceilings:

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End of weekend update

Well there’s not a lot to show this week, but there has definitely been a lot of work accomplished this past week.  On Wednesday Danny came over and we got all of the pot light boxes installed in the kitchen.  On Saturday my uncle roger came over and we got started on the bathroom, and continued to work Sunday on it.  Tyler also came over on Saturday and we built some shelving units in the basement as well as the column that will separate the living room and kitchen. Our plumbing is now set up, and going to work for moving the bathroom around as planned, Ilona picked out our selection of tiles for the ceramic shower, floors and walls in the bathroom, the colours are great.  Our friends Bob and Michelle came over as well as Rob today and we managed to get the kitchen wired properly, the ceiling insulated, more tar stripped off the wood floors,  and a lot of the paint stripped off the window in our living room.   Last weekend Rob and I also wired the living room for the home theatre, and finished insulating the ceilings for fire and sound.   Things are definitely taking a little bit longer than we expected, we have to move out of our current condo on Wednesday and will be shacking up with my parents for a couple of weeks.  It’s hard to believe we thought we’d be moving in this week a month ago.  One thing we’ve learned is everything takes twice as long as you would think it does, and every project you start in an old home inevitably starts another project that you hadn’t anticipated on doing.  We’re glad we’re doing things properly, and the extra couple weeks of waiting should pay off.


Mid weekend update

We’re a little behind schedule, but things are still moving along.  We had a contractor come in last week to put up a beam to support our tenants kitchen, which was above ours, and was being supported by a wall resting directly on unsupported floor joists beneath our kitchen.   We took down that extra wall which was the plan all along and it really opened up the space.  We spent 12 hours at the house today, finished gutting the living room, and we’re finally starting some construction in there.  At 8pm tonight my dad and I finished putting up roxul sound/fire proof insulation in the ceiling.   The bathroom is completely gutted and hopefully this week we’ll get to work building that out.  Really too tired, and still feeling under the weather to have much more to say.  One nice note is the wood trim around the doors/windows appears to have beautiful wood underneath as you can see from one of the photos in this post.  Also we ordered our cabinets today, and tomorrow we’ll start wiring the internet/home theatre etc.

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More demolitions, some renovations and some news

It’s been a long week, we’ve filled up the entire dumpster with plaster, drywall and wood. I can’t believe before we started I didn’t think we’d even need a dumpster, really happy we ended up with one, thanks Ken and Marianne! We picked out some granite on Wednesday from Emerald Tiles on Sheffield road, lucky for us Andy Paul who helped Rob out with his kitchen, was nice enough to give us a great deal on some granite too. Next week we have some contractors coming in to remove the wall between the kitchen and living room, my dad and I re-routed the piping in the kitchen into a column that we’ll be building, Jean is almost finished building a closet into the master bedroom, and we discovered hardwood!! under 4 layers of tiles & plywood in the kitchen. I also laid some new patio stones in the front since the walkway had completely deteriorated to dirt, and Rob and I raised the side deck about 8 inches so it’s no longer drooping. Here’s a few photos from the day:

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Kitchen Floor Plans

Ilona and I came up with a design for our kitchen, and my mom eagerly put it all into the ikea kitchen planner.  I’ve tried the software out before and just find it too buggy to use, however she managed to get it all put in (minus our column).  There are a few slight oddities (floating upper cabinets), no counter tops.. but overall it gives you an idea of what it will look like, and the materials necessary to purchase it.  It’s looking like we’re going to be about $3000 for cabinets, Wednesday we’ll be going to look at granite counter tops to see if the cost will be worth it.


Demolitions Day 1

Demolitions started today, it was pretty fun, Marianne and Ken (Ilona’s parents) are sending us a bin to dump all our waste into tomorrow, which we’re really looking forward to, and very much appreciative about.  My parents and Jean were over today helping with the floor plans some of the demolitions.  We started out with taking apart the closet under the stairs, ripping out the cupboards in the kitchen, cutting into the wall seperating the kitchen and living room, and taking out the fireplace in the master bedroom.  The fireplace in the master bedroom was actually a faux fire place, built entirely of real bricks, Jean took care of it nicely.  It looks like we’re going to have a lot of work ahead of us, our plan has grown slightly in the fact that we’re going to re-do the washroom at the same time, turning it into a ceramic shower, toilet and sink/vanity.  The tub that’s in there right now is so small it’s useless as a bathtub anyways, and with the limited space we have, we think it’s the best option.  Here’s a few photos of the demolition from today.

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Apartment 1 – The Before Photos

Today before the demolitions started, I decided it would be a good idea to shoot some photos of all the rooms so we had something to look back on.  Decided to go with the fisheye lense even though it’s quite distorted it gives you a good idea of exactly what each room looks like.  The one nice thing are the really high ceilings, 9.5-10′ tall, the windows are also new (a couple of years old), and all the wiring has been updated.

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We got the keys!

Well today went really well, after nearly a month of stressing out about financing, insurance, who pays what, who’s parking in our spots so on and so on, we received the keys, and everything is sorted out. So we headed over after work and some terrible all you can eat sushi to assess the situation. I have to say it was slightly overwhelming at first, both Ilona and I almost felt like we were in over our heads, the place is really run down, and not quite as large as we had originally anticipated, not to mention the very gross bathroom. We plowed ahead and measured everything off, and started planning for some renovations for this month. It looks like we’re going to take down a closet under the stairs to build a computer nook for me, as well as the wall separating the kitchen and the living room. We’re hoping it will open up the space, give us a couple of barstools to sit at to eat, and accommodate our 2 in 1 washer dryer combo, a dishwasher and the other usual kitchen amenities. Below you can check out our sketches and measurements we did today, as well as some really quick design ideas. Hopefully by the end of the weekend we have something to work with. October should be a very busy month!

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