Monday, 8 July 2013

How much for that window in the...window?

    Last fall we recognized that we really needed new windows. Okay, in all honesty it was probably the winter before last fall when we were blow drying plastic covering kits onto the windows that we realized we really needed new windows. After some outrageous quotes that scared us into thinking we'd be wearing five layers indoors every winter, we were tipped off about a local wholesale window supplier. Instead of purchasing our windows through a contractor who would then mark up the costs, we could buy our custom sized windows right from the source. However, this left us with no one to install them. But as fate would have it we ran into an old friend a few weekends later who was now a full time carpenter and was willing to work for cash to install our windows. Score!

   So that is exactly what we did, rushing against September and early October weather we plunged into the project eagerly. There is little organization to the photos I did manage to snap. I had just returned to school around this time and was extremely busy adjusting to the new program I was in. But I did manage to find the time to get in on the power tool action and help remove the old windows...

 For a while things were pretty scary around here while we went on with our lives during the day and found time in the evenings when our carpenter was available to demo and install. This was a normal scene for a bit.

Replacing the windows was a cosmetic choice, but beyond that it really was an economical one as well. The energy and heat that we would save by replacing the windows was really important to us. The province also has some really great rebates available for these kinds of upgrades, if you get all the appropriate paper work in place.

In early October we had some pretty large holes in the side of our house, obviously never longer than a day, but things certainly became chillier before they became warmer. And our neighbours probably thought our slow going one window at a time method was madness (I know I did!) 

 In the end it was very worth it. We saved a TON of money, and our windows went from being drafty, ugly and unsafe to being air tight, fresh and secure. In total we replaced 8 windows throughout the house.

We knew that we wanted to replace the siding on the house one day, so we added the plank border to the window that would go with the new siding, when that day did come. Unfortunately because of this there is a slight gaping around the window's new border and the existing siding. This is only a cosmetic issue, and does not effect the efficiency of the windows in any way. Looking into our siding options is definitely on our very long to do list, but until then we are happy to live with our new windows just the way they are!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Rustic, meet Technology.

 After our pallet deconstruction battle we took some time to regenerate, but were finally ready to move forward with the project. Especially because we both recognized that with a computer system on the way, time was of the essence. So with our table saw we measured and cut down our reclaimed pallet wood pieces and methodically attached them to the wall space using our nail gun.

It was kind of fun to see the concrete and warped 2 x 4s slowly disappear behind the rustic wood, and soon we had a full wall.

Thankfully we recouped from the pallet deconstruction, and continued forward with our pallet wall office nook for Zach just in time for his computer to arrive from Chicago.

While it certainly is far from beautiful and ideal, it serves a very important function and is definitely more comfortable then the way it was prior to the pallet wall. Our workshop needs to come a lot further, but we definitely recognize that it is not one of our top priorities and we knew that we didn't want to sink our teeth into it fully right now. We have big plans for it some day, and having this system and a semi designated area for Zach to trade will go a long way in helping us save up for those plans.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Pallet Palace?

 After taking a break from the blog and then trying to jump back in, it made me realize how much tidier I was keeping everything around here when I was constantly taking photos to share with the webosphere. We definitely need to update our "House Tour" page because there have been some great changes to many of the rooms, so I plan to tackle some tidying and get that done soon. Even though we are always tinkering with projects on the top floor of our house, we have spent the last few months renovating our basement - and let me tell you, it has been a journey.  

Recently Zach came to me and asked me if I was willing to "share" my office with him, which I thought was a ridiculous question because I had always considered it our office anyways and thought we were sharing it. Seeing an opportunity to be a great wife I told him that he could OF COURSE share my office with me. That was until I found out the kind of technology this sharing would entail, and then I sweetly suggested that we find him his own space - and we did! The problem was that it looked like this...

Our workshop is in the basement and can usually be found under a cloud of sawdust and piles of tools. It has been the perfect space for us to store all of our renovation paraphernalia, especially when we were in the thick of it. But now that our tasks are getting smaller and smaller we have been talking about turning this very rough space into another room, taking our house from being a 3 bedroom into being a 4 bedroom. That is the ultimate goal. However, Zach needed his office space ASAP as his new computer system was being custom built and was on its way from Chicago. So we knew we had no time to empty the room, insulate the way we want, re-wire, drywall and lay floors among other things. We also would have no other space for our crazy projects and our tools, so we still had to keep this room half workshop for now. We had to get creative. 

We knew we needed to tear out some of the homemade cabinets that the previous owner had built in order to create an office nook. What we did not know was what it would look like behind the cabinets. 

It wasn't good. It wasn't zen. It wasn't going to work. So feeling the pressure to make a decision in order to move Zach in right away, I did what any logical person facing a creative task does. I turned to Pinterest. I revisited my love of repurposing pallets. After perusing some pallet wall images, we decided that it was a very affordable (free!) option for a temporary solution.  So we checked kijiji for some free pallets, and away we went. 

Pinterest failed to tell me how back breaking it is to take pallets apart. It is extremely difficult! We brought in the big guns. 

At the end of the day we were exhausted, but also had a wealth of rustic boards. 

We definitely needed to take a breather before moving onto the install process. Seriously, never try to take apart pallets without power tools. There are more nails then you've ever seen in your life and they do NOT want to come out of those boards. We just hope the end result will be worth all of the sweat, time and emotional turmoil. ( It WAS that bad, you weren't there.) 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

We're Back!

  September to May? Clearly we've been neglecting our blog baby, but the good news it that the neglect of the blog came at the cost of  rectifying some serious self neglecting we were doing. Now that we are both feeling a bit rejuvenated we have decided that it is blog-o-clock again. So where have we been for the past few months and what the heck have we been doing? Lets play a little bit of catch up.

  Since September began I've been ridiculously busy with school. I knew that this new education program would be a change of pace for me but I was not fully prepared for the craziness that would be my life as soon as September began. So instead of being a carpentry co-pilot I was doing a lot more of this... 

and it was pretty great and rewarding, but exhausting as most great and rewarding things are. Also, our new fur baby that we welcomed into our lives last summer (read more about that here) went from looking like this...

to looking like this....

We've loved watching her grow and having her settle perfectly into our family, it has really challenged us to spend more time being active with her and less time focusing on and completing house projects. She has contributed greatly to some "fun" backyard developments for us. Especially this year as the snow melted and she discovered the soft muddy earth and how functional it was for hiding bones and other tasty treats that were bound to be stolen if not buried. 

Zach traded in his hammer, nail gun and other power tools for stock trading books and online courses. So as he pursued a long time dream of his our lofty dreams for our home fell to the back burner. In the interest of keeping our sanity, maintaining our family and trying to sleep every once and a while we knew we could not blog as often. 

However, school is now out for me and I have made the decision to throw in a few of the many hats I've been wearing lately and to get back to doing things that I enjoy, at least for the next 4 months of summer holidays. I realized that writing and maintaining this little blog fell nicely into the category of things I enjoy doing. We both agreed that sharing our projects is a really fun part of the process, it motivates us to get them done and it also has been a fun way to archive our journey as home owners. So with that all said, we are back to labouring and loving! 

We never completely stopped renovating, we simply stopped photographing every step and writing posts for our family and friends to read. So we definitely have some things to catch up on and a few projects to reveal, which I promise to do before another 9 months goes by. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Behind Door One...

We have been working hard to take care of some finishing projects upstairs, things that will make our house a little less blah and a little more custom to us. And custom is definitely the name of the game when it comes to the doors throughout the main floor of our home. They are all 8 foot doors, which in short means that they go right to the ceiling and look extra skinny and extra awkward. Replacing them would come with a huge price tag since we would have to pay for the extra height on top of any interesting design elements. 

See what I mean? Sort of goofy, and yes the tape residue "E" doesn't help. The sad part is that I have lived with that "E" for a year now and have never made any attempts to remove it. Pretty embarrassing, but I knew if I removed it before taking these photos I would be a huge phoney. Anyways, after some "research" on Pinterest we decided that we would attempt a DIY custom door project.  

We figured out a pattern for the front of our door and went out to purchase our trim. We like to buy our trim from a contractor store instead of places like Rona or Home Depot because it is always less expensive and the employees are really knowledgeable and helpful. After making sure our rectangles were square and even, we started making our cuts on the mitre saw. 

We made 45 degree angle cuts so that the corners of the rectangles would fit together nicely. We had some experiences that really drove home the measure twice, cut once mantra. Oops! 

We used a Brad nailer to secure our trim rectangles so that they wouldn't be budging anytime soon. After this we used wood filler to fill the corner joins and the tiny nail holes in preparation to paint. In true Anderson fashion we were up later than we should've been painting in our pyjamas (hence the lack of photos, some things are better left unseen) 

After seeing how amazing our new door looked we knew we couldn't put the old door handle back on, it physically pained me to even imagine doing that. So we picked out some new handles that we felt would be in keeping with the tallness of our doors. We also went for a push down style out of the simple convenience of being able to hit it with your elbow when you have a basket full of laundry, etc.  

After it was all said and done our repurposed door looks like this! We are smitten, I actually "holla" about it every time I walk down the hall and see it. It was a great way to dress up our awkward doors and make them look custom and unique. We have all the trim ready to do 4 more, and even though I am dreading all the painting that awaits me I am pretty sure I can suck it up, strap on my candy cane pyjamas and get it done if it means that all my doors will look this lovely.  Lets check out a before and after, shall we? 

That's plenty of motivation for me to get the others done!