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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Kitchen Reno Phase 2.5–Demolition & Drywall!

Welcome back everyone! This week I’ll be talking about the double D’s…calm yourself fellas, I’m not talking about boobs, I mean demolition and drywall!

First we commenced with tearing up the floors! Last week I left off with having torn down the ceilings and pulled up the laminate floor in the dining room. (I’ll be linking to all previous posts at the end of this one.)

Now Charles got to tear up the old hardwood in the kitchen and lay down U-Lay plywood floors. I took the kids out of the house for this so pictures are a bit fewer and farther between, my apologies.



Ta da!!! These still eventually need to be screwed down even more, but we’ll be waiting till a weekend when we can both tackle it together since it’s a very long, arduous, and noisy process that can’t be done while the kids nap lol.


At some point Charles also completely tore down the side wall, and filled in all the cracks with expanding foam. Because they had just built over the exterior wall there was a ton of gaps that was causing drafts to get into the house; hence why that side of the house was always so much colder!! Our heating bill should, thankfully, be a bit easier on our wallet now!

Next up was the drywall! This part I also got to help with although I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the demolition hehe. Lifting heavy sheets up to the ceiling, placing them, and screwing them isn’t exactly my forte! Charles did most of the heavy lifting and holding, but we did have a prop that I would set in place once the sheet got lifted up, to hold the drywall while Charles screwed it in place. It took a while for us to get in the swing of things but once we did it wasn’t all that bad.

This is our prop!


First sheet up!


Boom! Here you can also see some of that expanding foam I was talking about; it created some nifty stalactites hahaha.


After the dining room came the kitchen; that room was definitely harder as the ceiling was about 2 feet higher than the dining room! Luckily to start, at least, we had our friend Skyler, the electrician, who offered to help us out while he was wiring our kitchen!


Press fast-forward andddd….BOOM! (Sorry for the terrible picture quality, yikes)



Now for a few other random things…we’ll start with our air conditioner! It’s now gone and patched up! Sadly, Charles didn’t get any photos of the process, but after much effort to bring the thing out gently Charles got frustrated and just shoved it and it crashed to the yard below outside hahaha. (“This is Sparta!!!” anyone??). He then patched up the hole, stuffed some insulation into it, and covered it with drywall.


Next is the chimney…ah our chimney. We had/have big dreams for this….being that in our attic and downstairs the brick is exposed, we had hoped if we removed the drywall covering it we would be left with a beautiful brick chimney we could clean up and paint, just like our attic. Disappointment. They actually covered it with plaster before they drywalled it!!! No clue why they painted lines on half of it…


We then hoped we could break the plaster off but, disappointment there too, as this chunk missing is after like…10 blows from a hammer lol.


So, back up plan! We still really, really want this to be a neat architectural detail in our kitchen; I refuse to just paint over it and have this dumb wall jut! Thus we have been looking into various tile and stone, and actually found some really nice stacked stone tile that we can apply over it by Norstone. Basically, you just apply your mortar and stick the stones to it, stacked on top of each other. We’re not 100% certain if this is the exact route we will take but it’s definitely the look we are going for! We love their white rock panels.

Photo courtesy of Norstone USA

Of course that is an added expense that’s not in the budget so it will have to wait till a later date but eventually we will get around to it, and we will share all the deets with you when we do! For now we get to stare at an ugly, half painted faux brick chimney hahahhaa.

Now share with me your pity stories, what major inconveniences have you encountered with old houses? I’d love to hear all about them!! Next week I will be back to share with you our mud/taping adventures and maybe even some paint on our walls ;) Working on that this weekend!!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Kitchen Reno Phase 2–Demolition!!!!

Dun Dun Dunnnnnn DEMOLITION!!!!! Needless to say this was one of my super favourite parts of this reno; particularly because I got to help! Let’s just say that this Thanksgiving I was thankful that I got to spend the day wielding a sledgehammer to our kitchen walls, muahahaha….and yes, this was how we spent our Thanksgiving day, although we did go to Charles parents’ place for dinner after which I was also VERY thankful for!

Here’s our naive before picture…or maybe I was just naive, and Charles was just being Charles hahaha….darn demolition is really hard work, fun yes, but hard….


And you can’t forget, safety first!


Here’s a line up of some of our weapons of mass destruction…from left to right, a chisel, a crowbar, a burke bar, and a wonder bar! Also not shown is a hammer, and yes, we had a pink one hehe.


Action shot!!!!


Let the demolition commence! We are slowly phasing out our various styles of ceilings in this house (I swear we have like 5 different kinds) and switching it all to drywall. The sad part is their lath and plaster underneath whatever style it is which makes this one messy job! Also their was one wall in the kitchen that was panelling over top of lath and plaster that had to come down, which we will get to shortly. (That’s where a lot of my sledgehammer fun came in! hehe )


First tile down!!!


The wonder bar was taking to long so we recruited the burke bar and those bad boys didn’t stand a chance!!!


Do you find it odd I want to start playing “Let The Bodies Hit The Floor” by Drowning Pool? Maybe I enjoyed this a touch to much….


Now for round 2! The lath and plaster…yuck. Tearing this stuff down was extremely difficult and made for some very sore arms; just getting started involved some very heavy smashing to finally expose the laths.


Cue the sledge hammer!


Once the laths were exposed we made “fast”, dirty work of the ceiling, using a crowbar to pull down the laths which caused a lot of the plaster to come with it. This was where our respirators were very, very crucial.


Break for lunch! *elevator music plays* then commence some very fun sledgehammer action on the wall!




The next victim to our mass destruction was the dining room ceiling which was some foam board; due to the dining room being an addition there was no lath and plaster there, and all the walls were already drywall that will just need to be patched in some areas. (And yes, we are tearing out that old air conditioner!)


Last of the day was that little island!


And boom! Shocker! Stucco siding….like seriously??? Gotta love old houses! After some thought we came to the conclusion that there must have been a door and a window on the exterior wall of the old house, and they decided to just frame around where the window was and stick the counter on top, and make the doorway the new pass through to the dining room….sigh.


And behind that stucco? Joy of joys! Shingles lol


Time to bust out the reciprocating saw and cut that bad boy down!! Another day Charles completely removed that wall, and then just added in a beam to make sure it was sturdy, although in technicality it was not a load-bearing wall.


Oh what a mess….


Check out our trash piles outside hahahaha. Renting a garbage bin would have been very practical, but because we are doing this in stages and we didn’t want to rent one for more than just a day, we will just rent one at the end of this all…or perhaps come spring lol.


Our beautiful, dusty after shot hahaha.


And after much picking up, shovelling, sweeping, and vacuuming….here is what we were left with! During the clean up phase we also pulled up all the laminate flooring that was in the dining room.



Next week I’ll share with you the rest of the demolition that Charles did later on – involving tearing up the kitchen floor, dealing with the chimney, and the commencement of drywall!

How did all of you spend your Thanksgiving? Have any of you ever wielded a sledgehammer or burke bar? If not you most certainly have to put it on your bucket list ;)

P.S. Did you miss out on phase 1 of our kitchen reno? If so you can check it out here! You can also check out what we plan to do with our kitchen here.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Kitchen Renovation Phase 1–Organization!

IT HAS BEGUN!!!!! We have officially started our kitchen renovation!! As I write this our cabinets are out, walls have been torn down, and we are eating out of our living room off paper plates hahaha. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a step back!

The first step to our renovation was organization; setting up an appropriate area for us to store food, prep and cook food, and to eat. Our goal was to still make as many home cooked meals as possible, and to make this process as easy as possible. Thus our slow cooker, and our BBQ, will definitely be getting a good workout!

We started out by cleaning up our living room, and making space for our dining room table, thankfully it’s small!


Then we made room to set up another table for all of our food prep. There is also a night stand now underneath our TV, there to the right, which we had to move from it’s initial home to make way for our fridge; conveniently we were able to empty it out and use it to house all our snack food – crackers, granola bars, apple sauce, nuts, raisins, etc.

Next up was finding a room for the kitchen items we use most – a few pots (to be used on the side burner of our bbq), tupperware, and our food.

Stored under the table is a box with our teas, a box of our spices, our tupperware, and two boxes with our non-perishable food – cereal, pasta, oils & vinegars, beans, etc.


On top of the table we stored our most commonly used items – oatmeal, chocolate chips, brown sugar, granola, peanut butter, protein powder, vitamins, etc. We also housed our small appliances here (slow cooker, blender, and toaster), our mixing utensils and cutlery, plus papers plates, bowls, and cups.



Now I would like to state, normally we are hugely against waste. We avoid plastic plates and utensils at all costs, or reuse them if necessary; however, during this kitchen renovation we are doing our dishes in our bathroom sink or bathtub, so we decided that our sanity is worth more than some paper plates for this short time period. Sometimes, you just have to do what it takes to survive.

Last was taking down our microwave! Eventually we will be buying a new, significantly smaller microwave, but for now we just set up our old, above the range one…which resulted in a rather gross find…for the longest time I always saw some….legs dangling down past the microwave and sadly what I feared to be the grossest possible scenario was deemed true. A giant spider had somehow gotten stuck in between the microwave and the wall and died, leaving only a dangling pair of legs for evidence until the microwave got taken down. So gross. I’ll save you the gory picture though hahahaha.


And here are some full view shots of our new kitchen/living room!



Cozy isn’t it?? We have been living like this for about 3 days now and it honestly isn’t all that bad, definitely not as terrible as I imagined it to be, but we will still be very grateful for our new kitchen!!

Finally, we set up a plastic barrier between our living room and kitchen to keep out as much dust as possible during the destruction that was to come; we set up two layers worth, with an opening on alternate sides. Note you go in on the left, walk through, come out on the right side…I hope that makes sense!


While setting up the plastic we couldn’t resist having some fun pretending to be zombies as it greatly reminded us of World War Z hahahaha.


And on that creepy note I sign off! Be sure to stay tuned for next week when I share Phase 2 – the Demolition Process! Do you have any tips to help us survive a kitchen renovation? Or have you ever had a dead dangling spider trapped somewhere? Be sure to share any and all thoughts in the comments below!

P.S. Curious what we are doing with our kitchen? Check out this post, here, about the planning phase!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

DIY Rustic Picture Frame

For the longest time we have been on the hunt for some really nice, large, artwork for our living room, but despite some amazing lust worthy finds, our budget has not had room to spend on actual art due to all our other pending renovations.

I have even spent countless hours scouring Pinterest for DIY ideas but nothing seemed quite right either, so finally, one day I just took the plunge and attempted to create some art with the kids, all the while fingers crossed, that it would look good enough for our living room and it shockingly turned out better than I could have imagined.

diy rustic frame

I don’t have any actual pictures of the process of the kids creating the art since it was so last minute. This was pretty much just thrown together using what we had one rainy day when the kids were driving me up the wall hahaha….in essence I just pulled out some regular acrylic paint from the dollar store in colours that suited our theme, and I also grabbed a large piece of kraft paper I had been saving from when Charles had once bought me flowers! I then gave each the kids a brush, and while I squirted paint from above, they set to spreading it out. Occasionally I gave some direction, or had to tell Anna to stop blending the paint so much, but it’s about 98% pure child original.


Once I was happy with how it looked we hung it up on a wall to dry and there it sat for about 2 months until we (aka Charles) finally made a frame for it!

For our frame we collected some rough old lumber that Charles’ dad had laying around. These pieces happened to be approximately 1x6 rough cut hemlock/pine.