Sunday, September 16, 2012

Housekeeping


Maybe it's crossed your mind, lately, that my craft output (if not my creative planning) isn't at its usual volume. I, for one, am blaming this on my home renovation. You know, the home reno that was supposed to be done by Labour Day? Well, now we're aiming for Canadian Thanksgiving. Because, natch, everyone ties the wishful completion of renovations to the major holidays.

Since I'm sure this is a topic of major interest to you (cue clearing of throat), here's a little update:
  • My expectations are beaten down so I can scarcely care anymore that we're behind schedule, over budget, unable to see through our windows, living under the shadow of scaffolding, cramped and without a useable back yard. 
  • This is despite the fact that my husband has taken on a second career (though his original one is going through an extremely busy phase) managing the contractor who's managing the trades. Scott is to be commended as the work is being excellently completed, if at the pace of restoration. The truth is, I don't understand how anyone can do any renovations for an affordable price. It takes so much labour, so many resources and SO MUCH TIME. We did go through a phase of trades-absenteeism (boring story), which affected our end-date, but we've more than made up the time and there's still an endless roster of things to complete.
  • It's pretty freakin' gorgeous up there. You know I was not in favour of this reno, since it comes at the expense of the new kitchen I desperately wanted (and arguably need). But I have to say, it's a beautifully balanced addition to the home I love so much.
  • Can't blame trades for everything... When we learned that the original floor would take far too much money to restore, based on its condition - we would have needed to remove all the boards, re-mill and re-lay them to fit and this wouldn't have addressed our sound-insulation concern adequately - we had to choose an alternative. Just call me that really annoying homeowner (a la Property Brothers) who says, at the last minute, I simply MUST have this special floor I just found - the one that needs to come in from Quebec takes an extra two weeks.
  • More to come on the floor but it's engineered wood, specifically reclaimed oak (i.e. barn board in a previous life). Plank lengths are 6 feet and plank width is 7.5 inches. No new trees were harmed in the making of this project and the reclaimed wood is exceedingly beautiful. Furthermore, it'll be laid on a sound insulating underlay (important as this room will act as my husband's music studio). Finally, nothing has been glued onto the existing hardwood so it will still be restorable in the future, should the next owners choose to go that route. Mind you, they'd be stupid to do that cuz the new floor is FINE.
  • In the words of my mother - who, on an impressive side note, is currently walking 500 miles in 6 weeks on the Camino de Santiago - Pay a lot, cry once. Pay a little, cry forever. (I think she's paraphrased the French saying: Bon marché tire agent de bourse. i.e. What is cheap is the most costly.) I'm working this philosophy, apparently, as the engineered wood we've ordered costs about 50 per cent more than your average nice hardwood. Mind you, to find hardwood in the length and width dimensions of this engineered wood, you'd be looking at about 100 bucks a board foot (that's smaller than a square foot, fyi). We're paying much less than that because the beautiful reclaimed oak you'll see sits on a bed of engineered wood. Point is, you won't be able to tell that our new floor isn't hardwood through all of its thicknesses. It will look like a million bucks (which is practically what it would have cost if it were pure hardwood).
  • IMO, the two things you notice first in any home are a) the height of the ceilings / light ratio and b) the quality of the floors. I'm just going to say it - I'm a total floor snob. One of the things I love most about old homes is the beauty of the wooden floors. I don't particularly like skinny planks. I don't like parquet, I don't like hardwood laid along the horizontal grain of the room. Laminate just makes me angry.
  • Having said all this, I'm at the "crying once" moment, for sure. I'm vaguely afraid of my line of credit.
Ah, home ownership. It's rich. For real, like.

12 comments:

  1. Are you still without a roof?

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  2. Worry not! We've had a roof for a couple of months now. We were only without it for a couple of weeks (by degrees of completion). We're at the painting and baseboard stage now. Hardwood, deck and balcony finishing, external electrical, internal electrical fixtures and fixing the plaster that has been damaged on the second floor (because of the reno) plus painting my bedroom (told Scott I needed a little something for my patience!) are yet to come.

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  3. I think home reno like pregnancy...it seems to take longer than the purported 9 months but you get a wonderful gift at the end...that is until teenage years! What I'm attempting to say is that the going through can be trying but you will be thrilled at the end! Just keep looking forward...

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    1. Hilarious comparison. OK, I'm just not looking forward to the teenage years (as I'm about to go through those with a real baby!).

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  4. Envious that you've got the strength of character to bite that "crying once" bullet. Took us longer to learn. . . I, too, favour those wide planks and your floor is going to be stunning!

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    1. I don't think of it as strength of character. I've been hearing this philosophy practically since birth so it's been drummed in. So much so that I seem never to find the ability to save. Which is a whole other life lesson I probably want to focus on!

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  5. Good luck with finishing the house renovation up. I have no doubt you'll love the results and forget much of the pain fairly quickly.

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    1. Thank you! I so hope you're right :-)

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  6. Put your Mammy in touch with my other half so they can say "Bon Camino" to each other and trade stories.
    I am going to have to get some kind of a booking in TO so I can come and see this floor. Am melting at the prospect of a timber but sound proof floor as my house shakes whenever Mr Teen uses the stairs, floor, any surface..

    Make the tradies real coffee and those cake yokes you do. They will hang around xx

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    1. Ha! Come and see it! It's worth the plane fare :-)

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  7. The fan to the under house hvac/heater system went out in July. In Georgia. I almost died in the heat. And when we started looking at units we realized the entire thing would have to be pulled out of the crawl space, replaced, plus a new a/c unit. My husband convinced me that it would be stupid to go with cheapest available. He said "get the best we can afford so that we'll be able to add on to the house later.

    He was right, but ouch, that hurt my finances.

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    1. Egad, I've had my furnace die in February (in Canada) so I know how horrible that would be! I think you made the right call - I would, wouldn't I :-) We went with a good furnace, but not the best, and now the blower is SO LOUD we have to turn up (and down) the TV every 3 minutes all winter as it goes on and off.

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