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March 4

Home Renovations: WIP’s & more Plans

While I’ve been stripping woodwork (with my mom) Felix and my step-dad Bob have been working in the basement since November in order to make our house livable.

The furnace that was in the basement wasn’t installed properly which meant a lot of things have had to happen to correct this issue.

The first thing that Bob and Felix did was to remove all of the old duct work on the first floor.  This means no heat in the house.

It was right around thanksgiving when the furnace was disconnected and it wasn’t able to be reconnected until right after Christmas.  There were a lot of reasons for this… but again it’s too much detail to get into on here.

During this whole time our house had no heat so I wasn’t able to work on the first floor (with the stripping).  The guys worked in the basement with the aid of fuel-burning space heater, luckily.  And in the rest of the house we had electric space heaters strategically placed so that our pipes wouldn’t freeze up in the freezing temps.

After removing all most all of the junk & disconnecting old lines, the guys cleaned & painted the basement:

New gas lines were/are being installed:

Not very fun photos, but here’s more new gas lines:

Vine Video of the gas pipes being cut.

Bob has a pipe threader… because why wouldn’t he?  heh

Concrete has been poured for bases to set the new furnace & hot water heater on:

But rebar had to be cut first in order to support the concrete: 

Rebar framed & laid in place:

Of course my dad has a concrete mixer for all of this: 

And they’ve done lots of other things too…

What’s all quite new to me is the steps involved in order to do any one task. Pouring concrete for example.  It’s not just pouring concrete but you have to 1.) Frame the space you want to pour it in 2.) Make sure your framing is level 3.) Cut rebar to support the concrete area (given it’s large enough) 4.)urchase the concrete (each bag is 80 lbs and we needed several bags) 5.)Mix & Pour concrete – let sit then 6.)Seal concrete after it’s set.  I’m probably missing things but that took several evenings and a weekend to do & it’s just concrete.

I know things take time, but I continue to underestimate the work involved for ALL of this.  When I talk with people, I’m always saying “We knew what we were getting into… but we didn’t quite know what we were getting into.”

We knew this was an old house that needed renovating, but now that we’re working on it – the scope has changed and we’re beginning to fully understand the amount of effort & time that goes into making livable & lovely houses.  It’s a lot.

After everything we have planned – I’m honestly hoping that in a year’s time we can live on the second floor – as opposed to the first floor living room that we will be soon moving into as our bedroom/living room/home office all in one.

‘Small’ list of plans we’ve made:

  • Complete kitchen overhaul – including new appliances & relocating the backdoor & window
  • Re-pipe all water pipes to second floor & kitchen
  • New electrical service to & inside the house
  • Walls removed & walls rebuilt
  • Continue to strip & refinish all wood on 1st floor
  • Strip walls down to the plaster on the 1st floor (which means removing the painted over-wallpaper)
  • Refinish floors
  • Loft the 2nd floor’s front (joint office/sewing room)

It’s a lot.  But we have the end to spur us on and I know it’s going to be amazing once it’s all said and done.  Now to get there….

  1. Marie / Mar 4 2014

    Wowzers, you guys are amazing! I can only imagine how daunting this all must seem, but you’re doing a great job. All the hard work (blood, sweat and tears I bet) will certainly pay off and you’ll have such pride in your home! Just imagine entertaining friends and family in it when it’s done…!!!

  2. Sarah / Mar 4 2014

    I’m so glad you’re getting to do all of this! The notion that another industry exists, and that it has a depth of complexity unknown to those who use its products, is an important one to learn. One can’t expect to consider oneself an educated consumer without some idea of the complexity of modern lifestyle technologies. Because now that you are getting a clue about construction, you can extrapolate that another pile of complexity exists in every other industry…food production, for example, and this makes you a More Mature and Understanding Person.

    If everyone had such exposures, we’d live in a better world.

    (I’m on my third old house. Just keep trucking, and take care of your health. It’s ok if you don’t do everything you can think of, btw.)

  3. Rachel / Mar 4 2014

    That really is a lot of work- but so rewarding when you see it coming along :)

  4. Vicki Kate / Mar 4 2014

    What a labour of love. One step at a time… This sounds like the most complete renovation it’s possible to do! The house will love you for it, I hope it feels like home when you move in.

  5. Jennifer / Mar 5 2014

    Your home is going to be lovely (well, it already is!) when you’ve finished renovating it, and you’ll really feel like you’ve made it your own and brought it back to life. It’s going to be well worth the work.

  6. K-Line / Mar 5 2014

    You’re going to be ok cuz you’ve made peace with the insanity – and you’re working so well and methodically. You really are going to earn the beauty that everyone will comment on for years to come. You’re also restoring a piece of history – an extremely important public service (as far as I’m concerned). Keep on! You’ll get there.

  7. Michelle / Mar 5 2014

    I am amazed and impressed with the amount of work you guys have taken on! It is wonderful to have parents with tools and the skill-set to help all these projects along. It’s so wonderful that you and Felix are documenting this process, because a year from now, your house is going to be a completely different space!!!

  8. Amanda / Mar 6 2014

    Oh wow! That is a staggering amount of work being done- but so well worth it. Yay for new adventures!

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