The Bug Geek

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Tag Archives: renovations


Put a hammer and a crowbar in her hands, and my wife transforms into a kick-ass one-woman demolition derby.  Many times during the renovations, I came home to find these two tools out and some fixture/structure or another no longer intact.  She luuuuuvs to wreck stuff.  

Happily these mad demo skills came in handy on the weekend: our old, shaky, unsound side porch needed to be removed in order to make room for the new one that should be going up soon. I think it took her maybe a hour to do this.  GRRRRRR!!!!!

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.


So I was on my friend Rachel’s blog today and saw that my last blog post was like, two months ago, which is pretty darn pathetic, so I’m here.

I haven’t been neglecting this little blog for any particular reason…I think of this mainly as a space for my career/school stuff musings and quite frankly very little has been happening on that front for quite a while. Case in point:

1. my current job is still mind-numbing and soul-squelching and I hate being here

2. my (hopefully) supervisor-to-be is in a blissful state of sabbatical/summer holidays and pretty much MIA

That said, I DID get an email from Dr. B today, saying he’s alive and well, and I’m not forgotten, and that he’s secured MORE money for OTHER stuff and he may have an alternate cool project for me to work on. Which is yay and yay. We now have plans to meet late summer/early fall to chat about these new developments and tour the lab. Yay. The little bit of creeping dread/fear/anxiety I was starting to feel (i.e. the “he’s not going to have any money and this is going to fall through and I’m going to be in my brain-numbing/soul-squelching job 4EVR” kinda anxiety). But I’m ok now.

Things have been busy at home though.

We have a new nephew, Jason. He is as cute as cute can be…behold:

Our newest furry addition (featured below, she is Teh Cute for sure, she says “RAWR”) is official a family member and not just a foster.

We are T-minus 2 weeks from having backhoes and other large yellow machines on our property as Teh Great and Mighty Renos get underway. We are discovering that it’s really, really, REALLY easy to get very excited about things like glass (squeeeeee!) tile and vanities when planning a new bathroom and that these very exciting things are also very expensive. (But still, squeeeeee!)

On a significantly less squee-ish note, it seems that my little extended family here has been dealt a nasty blow…K’s dad seems to have a peach-sized lump in his lung. We’re not sure exactly what we’re dealing with yet, but tests are being conducted and frankly it’s not looking too promising. We’re pretty much in management mode right now, and learning how best to coordinate all the driving to Dr’s appointments and the like with only 4 people (me, K, K’s sister, and K’s bro-in-law), 3 of whom work full time and out of town, the other of whom is currently on mat leave with a 4 week old and a toddler. We’re holding our breaths and hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

I’m also wrapping my head around the idea of needing to postpone my school start date, if K decides to take compassionate care leave from work…we’ll do what we need to do, though, to get through this as a family.

Protected: Reviews, renos and running, oh my!

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