The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Renovation Reveal!!!

So K and I were up to our eyeballs in renovations this summer. Five years ago we bought a 100-year-old school house that was swathed in various shades of purple, bad wall paper, ancient carpet tiles, and *drumroll please* fake wood panelling. We have been working our tails off ever since, trying to get the place to look the way we imagined it could if only someone showed it just a little dang respect (I mean, seriously, fake wood panelling??? Geesh.)

So we have tiled and painted and sanded and stripped and electrical-ed and intalled sinks and refinished kitchen cabinets and painted some more and framed and drywalled and sanded and cursed all the sanding and oh yeah, did I mention paint? We’ve done a crapload of work and are mighty proud of it to boot.

This summer we finally looked around and said: “we quit”. Things were 90% done to our satisfaction but what remained were pretty big tasks, for the most part. So we did what any sensible couple would: we let our fingers do the walking (thank you yellow pages) and hired a bunch of guys to come in and finish up. We are ALMOST finished, but some good, good stuff has happened. Enough that I feel like I can post “before and afters”.

So now, for your “oooh”-ing and “aaaaaaah”-ing pleasure, I give you: The House that K and Who, me? Built.

This is the main staircase leading to the second-story loft…the “before” pics were taken during our second tour of the house, after we’d put an offer on it, but while the old owners were still occupying it. Please note: purple, wallpaper, fake wood panelling, nasty carpet. Barf-tastic.
This is the same staircase, after. We hired someone to put in the new carpets after we did all the rest of the work ourselves: a LOT of paint, we also built the new dividing wall at the foot of the stairs…the room in front of it (interchangeabley called “the fireplace room” or “the big room”) had previously been suffering from a serious lack of space definition…it was a long, wide open area with only one wall. When we’re done, we’ll put a cosy sitting area in front of the new wall, probably a few chairs and a coffee table; it will become a useable room. In the meantime, you get Gratuitous Cute Pet Pic of the lovely miss Gracie. New drywall where the fake wood panelling once was, too. The “wall”underneath it was held up by…nothing at all. We just pulled it out. Now there is proper framing and nice flow to the space.

Next up is basically the view from the front (main) door at the south end of the house. You can see the lovely dark purple trim, the state of the softwood (pine…I mean, really, PINE???) foors, that lovely panellng again.
Now we have white trim on all the wood and new matte black hardware on the doors. The floors are now a solid oak hardwood, done in an “antique” style; matte finish and lots of natural texture from the grain. We’ve already decided that, as dog people, these floors are a godsend; nails don’t scratch it (and even if they did the texture would mask it) and muddy paw prints don’t show too badly. We LOVE these floors. The 7″ baseboards were also installed at the same time. We’ve been living without baseboards for 5 years. I cannot tell you what a HUGE difference such a small feature makes. You’ll also note that the bannisters between the posts on the left were removed. Kim has a penchant for removing things when I’m out of town for work. Once I get over the initial shock, I’ve always been pleased with the end result. In this case it really opened the space up and improved the flow.

This is a small view from the upstairs loft looking towards the main entrace. Our biggest beefs here: the ridiculous random inset panelling over the front door and the ridiculous random window on the right; that window was built into the only full-height wall in the spare bedroom (the others have sloped ceilings, so lower space).
So mainly this was a cosmetic change, but a few builds; we framed in and drywalled the random window and panneling, and also reduced the height of the main door frame. Paint, paint, and more paint, plus some simple curtain rods and sheers. Oh, yeah, our butt-ugly ceiling fan is still there, but the pretty new one is in a box downstairs waiting for the electrician with the loooooong ladder to install it.
Ahhhh, the old woodstove corner. To orient you in the space, this is in the southeast corner on the main level; the main door is to the right of this picture. Some fab features here: dimpled plaster on the wall above; asbestos fake brick; completely unusable stove with “quaint” image of two lumberjacks. Oh, and let’s not forget the lovely edging of crushed white stone in the rear. Just lovely.

Big changes here. The new slate tile surround was one of our first projects and our first attempt at tiling. After our first VERY FREAKING COLD winter in the house (no woodstove and a barely functional furnace…seriously, I wore a toque for months) we decided to invest in a new stove the following fall. So in went the slate and the stove went in a week later (it’s so pretty, and the dogs and I pretty much live about 3 inches away from it all winter, so cozy!) We finished it off finally this summer with stained mouldings to edge off the slate and a new mantle above. We also painstakingly scraped off all the crumbly old plaster above, plastered and sanded and smoothed and painted.
Our flooring guys managed to find a practically identical tile and mirrored the shape of the floor pad in our new tiled entryway.

So that’s some of the good, good stuff that’s happened. I’ve got more pics, but I think I’ll save them for another day.

4 responses to “Renovation Reveal!!!

  1. R October 6, 2009 at 8:14 AM

    Jesus Christ, C! That is utterly amazing! Seriously. Holy home reno, batman!

    OK, for real, this is just gorgeous. You guys are beast and amazingly talented beasts at that! The wow-factor here is HUGE! The new place looks so modern and updated. I bet you've added 10's of thousands to the price of your home. What a wonderful space to live in.

    Two thing, when can I move in? And can you give us a dry walling demo? We've never tackled the drywall stuff but how difficult is it? Ok, I lied one more, do you guys have a good bit of land also? If so I'm totally jealous!

    Anyway can't wait to see more pictures, you guys did such a great job!

  2. Who, me? October 6, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    Thanks for the compliments! 🙂 I won't lie, it's been a CRAPload of work. This is the first time in 5 years that we've not had about 30 projects on the go, AND have access to all the rooms in the house (because historically at least one room has been "the place to dump stuff while we're working on another room"). We can finally chillax a little, yay!

    Ok, so as for drywall. It is a beast. A messy, messy beast. It's not super-terrible on level, ground-height surfaces, but when you're working on angles 15 feet above the floor…well, the suckage is large. Make sure you have the proper bit for sinking screws without punturing the drywall paper, and a lot of patience. Because unless you're a mudding diety, you'll be plastering and sanding probably 3-5 coats. Be prepared for lots and lots and lots of dust. Wear masks. Make sure you buy the right kind of tools for doing inside/outside corners. Take your time. It's doable for do-it-yerself-ers, but it does take a while. We're happy with the end results, though.

    We have about 1 acre of land. Which sounded like a lot when we first moved, but now we are land-greedy and would like about 100 acres with a woodlot and a stream running through it. But hey, you can't always get what you want, right?

  3. JML October 6, 2009 at 1:41 PM

    WOW. Rachel is right! You guys are beasts!

    That is some AMAZING work right there. And I'm jeliz of your acre of land. We have about .15 acres, lol. Though with the lots around us being empty, it feels a bit bigger.

  4. R October 7, 2009 at 7:55 AM

    I can only imagine the time, energy, and work this took. It's amazing though.

    Man, I was afraid the dry walling would be out of our league. Patience is not something I have much of. LOL.

    We're on about .40 acres and dying for more land. We'd like 5 acres mostly wooded with enough open for a big garden. We can all dream!

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