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The mid-meeting tile run

August 12, 2011

The boys loved their new dance floor! (We hadn't cleaned off excess grout yet)

When my phone rang in the middle of a morning meeting this week, I knew it had to be bad.

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And then there were LIGHTS!

August 8, 2011

All the rewiring, pulling drilling and connecting.  Brining in a professional to get us to and past the inspection.  Last week saw drywallers, come in and sand and dust.  This weekend saw Mel in on the action with priming and painting.  Hindsight would state we should have probablly fired up the electrical before all this, but confidence was on our side.

Basil and I rerouted and eliminted old cable yesterday afternoon, and kreeping in on 6pm, it was time.  To see all the work and to light up the room.

Flicking up on the breakers, none tripped.  Good sign.  Going upstairs, we arrived in a strobe of light bulbs.  I had put in CFL’s to test all 19 fixtures.  CFL, ast least these DO NOT LIKE DIMMERS.  result, STOBE EFFECT and a Black Lab heading for the hills.

Heart attack averted and a 3rd trip to Lowes that day saw the replacement to par 20 50w halogens and the room became alive after a few adjustments to wiring in one light.

This is one of the big check marks off the big list of the Tale of the Almost Kitchen.

Divorce dust

August 5, 2011

A tool to save marriages.

Okay, provocative headline, but let me be clear off the top: We’re not getting a divorce.

When D’Arcy and I began re-shingling a small garage in Toronto, a neighbour said to us “Oi! A married couple doing DIY? They call that ‘divorce dust.’ (He himself had a handyman on staff – something we could and can’t afford to do)

But let me tell you – if there is such a thing as divorce dust, it comes from drywall.

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Being your own renovation contractor

August 1, 2011

The tile declared 'sub standard' by Frank #1.

An alternate title for this post might be – ‘A tale of three Franks.’

Let me explain. The beauty of being your own contractor on a renovation is that you are in charge of the people coming into your house, how much you pay them, and when they come in to do their work.

The drag of being your own contractor is that you are responsible for the people coming into your house, determining how much you’ll pay them, and when they’ll be in to work on your kitchen.

A professional contractor might have his favourite trades lined up, but as amateurs, we relied a lot on word of mouth, many estimates, and our gut. The key moment is the quote.

Enter the Three Franks, a perfect example of the (perhaps unexpected) extra work being your own contractor can create.

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The itchy and scratchy show

July 20, 2011

Not exactly reno chic, but it does the job.

Installing insulation today took me back to sweaty days on the farm.

Years ago, working on a horse farm, it  always seemed the extreme heat of the summer was saved for haying. Hay is cut in the field, lays in the sun for days and dries until it’s baled.

Then, some poor sod (me, on a couple of occasions) has to throw the dried hay bales onto a truck to be taken back to the truck.

It’s hot, stinky work that has to be done wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, lest the hay break the skin and make wounds that will fester in your arms.

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Working with your hands

July 18, 2011

Mouse, pen, notepad have been replaced.

Today marks the start of our summer vacation. And the start of our self-imposed labour camp.

I spent eight hours today in a muggy garage, sweat rolling down my face as I worked away constructing the boxes for our cabinets.

And it was fantastic.

No,  I’m not referring to my growing confidence at deciphering IKEA’s hieroglyphic instructions.

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A bigger, brighter window

July 11, 2011
In this pre-reno pic, you can see the old window.

It has been fun watching D’Arcy and Basil (and sometimes I come along as clean up crew if I get a break from the kids) rip things out of our kitchen, but I gotta say…

 Nothing is as wonderful as watching them put stuff in.
Take this weekend for example. After a night off (at a U2 concert!) they continued work on wiring up the kitchen for lights. Our designer provided a lighting grid for us, making the job a little easier, but the wires still need to be hooked up to the lights and to the electrical box in the basement.
To me, this kind of work seems to be moving at a snail’s pace. There’s not a lot to show for a day of stringing wire, but I’m sure when they’re finished this kitchen will light up like Times Square. With dimmers, of course.
And then, tada! They made a huge change to our space – they put in a new window.
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