Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Day 28

More scrubbing down plaster walls in the office, very slow going. I got fed up with it after finishing the wall I’d started yesterday.
No more writing on the walls...
 I decided to wash down the trim in the living room instead. Deep baseboards and detailed window trim meant it took me two hours to clean but it looks fresher and clean. The bucket of water was filthy! My hands are certainly taking a beating this week. I added a couple of bits of furniture to make it seem like a proper room then headed home.
Starting to look like home...

Day 27

More painting… Another coat in the living room and I’m done! One room down…  I spent HOURS scrubbing down the plaster walls in the office. I wish we’d washed the residual wallpaper paste off on Saturday. At this point it had dried and hardened and did not want to come off. After two hours I had only done one and a bit walls, I need more elbow grease for sure. This is going to take longer than I thought…  I had an electrician come out and take a look at the place in the evening. Other than the fuse box needing updating to a breaker panel, he wasn’t too scared by what he saw. He said the rest was just ‘little jobs’. That sounds promising. We’ll see what happens when I get the estimate.
No pictures for today...

Day 25

The weekend! We had a very slow start due to JM’s gig last night. We finally got to the house around lunchtime then we left James with the dog while we took Shabana and Callum to pick paint colours. They both wanted very bright colours but we managed to tone down the choices to something acceptable. A quick stop at Canadian Tire for a saw and new reciprocating saw blades, a visit to the local library ( just 3km away) then back to attack the wallpaper.
 JM and I had a fun time discovering history on the walls while the boys chopped down another tree sized shrub. The signatures hidden behind the wallpaper dated back to 1906! How spectacular! We snapped photos since we’re going to be painting and the writing will never be seen again.



 The boys enjoyed removing the shrub, boys with their toys eh? It had to come out, JM had named it the poo tree since it was located right next to the septic tank. Another plant in the wrong place. Another quick bonfire then we headed home. A very productive day.

Day 24

Painting day! Today was the day I finally got to paint the living room. With 9 ½ foot ceilings it took me a bit longer than I’m used to but it looks good. I wasn’t too motivated today so once the painting was done I did a test patch for removing wallpaper, it wasn’t too bad at all, then headed home. I’ll be back tomorrow to tackle the wallpaper…




Day 23

A day off from working on the house but we went up in the evening while our other house had its home inspection. Our first family meal together at the new house- baked potatoes and chilli with muffins for dessert. Not too shabby. After dinner we lit a huge bonfire with the 112 year old lath, it went up so easily as one would expect. Next time I’ll remember the marshmallows!

Day 22

JM and I were able to get to the house together, gotta love that day off in the middle of the week lark J. By the time we picked out paint and headed up there it was lunchtime so we only had a small window of time to work with. We gave the living room ceiling a coat of paint and it looks much better. JM tackled a twelve foot shrub outside the laundry room window, afterwards of course we discovered the plant had caused damage to the bricks L Why do people insist on planting things so close to the house? Without the right tools it was a bit of a challenge but he managed with a hand saw and reciprocating saw (whose blade was too short and broke before we were finished). I imagine there will be a bit more light in the laundry room now.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Day 21

Yes, day 21! We had the house a week then went on holiday so no work has taken place for a while. I stopped by yesterday to empty the letter box and have a look around so I was eager to get stuck in today. The living room patches are sanded and primed ready to paint. More patches in other parts of the house got sanded and filled but the majority of my time was spent painting the office/music room ceiling and stripping off wallpaper. I only took off the vinyl layer but it looks so different! The living room needs to get finished first but this room definitely has to be next on the list. The plan is to run a strip of wood high up to hang guitars off, so many ideas rattling around in my head…  

 JM stopped by for lunch( reheated in the oven since we have no microwave yet) which is a first for him, even at school he was never able to go home for lunch!
After lunch I put together a design for the upstairs bathroom, headed to the township office to get planning permission only to find that both inspectors were out of the office, so it is delayed until I can get back out there. Time flies when you’re having fun…

Monday, 19 November 2012

Day 8

I wasn’t planning on a visit to the house today but James had a driving test just 5 minutes down the road so I stopped in to sand and fill a few more patches, and a few more and a few more...
I was looking at the kitchen stove and thought I should take a peek inside, big mistake, huge! Half an hour of scraping, sweeping and general mess making and I had a bag full of ash. It was so heavy, I had no idea. Quick tidy up then I was off. James passed his test (yay) and I was heading home to clean up before heading to the UK for a much anticipated trip J

Day 7

Headed to the house in the morning and JM and I got started on the painting! We slapped high adhesive primer(not knowing if it is water or oil based paint we're covering) on the ceiling and walls of the living room and it looks so much better already. I forgot the sanding block (it had fallen out of my painting box) so we had to leave areas around the patches but I'll come back to that.

We decided to rip up a floor board in the bedroom to double check which way the joists run so we can start planning the bathroom layout and while there proceeded to disconnect the woodburning stove. Lovely stove but in the wrong place! I'll have to find another home for it...
A sooty job but another thing done. We just covered up the hole from the chimney with plywood for now, we'll have to seal it off properly later.

One last thing, JM tried to secure the guttering to the porch but it wasn't complying so that will be another spring job...

A good day, it is nice to see a difference after being there. Slowly but surely we'll get there.

Day 6

Where is Day 5 you ask? I decided that I will need to skip the days I wasn't at the house but continue counting the numbers of days so I can gauge how long it took me to reach certain goals.


It wasn’t a full day but we managed to get quite a bit accomplished. First job of the day- clearing gutters. We didn’t realise until we were up on the roof of the porch that the top layer of water which couldn’t drain away due to major leafage was frozen! We grabbed what we could (ice and leaves) until we got the water trickling enough.The gutter was a bit loose towards the centre so JM tried to fix it on better without too much success.  We then worked our way to the front porch. They must not have cleared it for a while since there was about an inch of brown sludge that we had to shift with a stick, eww…
Next was taking out the rest of Callum’s wall except for the light switch. Much mess was created but it feels like we’re getting things done. Boy, did my arms ache after that!  Lastly I patched and filled a few holes in the walls left from nails etc. Another day done.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Day 4

We arrived at the house later than planned and commenced moving boxes to their designated areas. Shabana definitely has the most stuff out of all of us! When Callum and JM got there it was action stations. James and Callum had the most fun taking down most of a lath and plaster wall between a storage area and the smallest bedroom creating a decent sized room. We need to get an electrician to move a light switch then we can take out the rest of the wall. It looks so much bigger, great idea JM! All JM and I accomplished was the installation of a dishwasher, it took no time at all with the right length hose, why didn’t we think of this yesterday when we were struggling to make it work? We could have saved ourselves a load of time. We discovered the mailbox, a rusty metal contraption, and wandered around exploring the hidden nooks and crannies in the garden. This place is so cool…
Callum's room before

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Day 3

I left the key for the Asbestos Abatement company and they were almost finished by the time we arrived in the morning. It was contained to one redundant heat duct so it was a couple of hours work then done! Was are now asbestos free! I’ll sleep better at night now, no more scary stuff hiding in the walls...

Next on the list, removing the old dishwasher the last owners left behind, simple right? You would think so. The screws holding it in place were punched through the body of the dishwasher, not where I expected at all and of course they were rusty and stiff. We dragged it out all gloved up, the local mice had made a home in the batting around it and left their nasty deposits all over, and we tore it all out and cleaned up the floor underneath ready to install our own dishwasher. Space too small, out with the reciprocating saw! Holes in the wrong place, out came the saw again. After a very long time of feeding water lines, wiggling in and out and frustration we realised that we definitely couldn’t reuse what they had. We headed home tired and defeated. We bought a new 6’ braided hose and will get it hooked up tomorrow. Another day down with not too much accomplished(although the bath also got caulked too), maybe tomorrow will turn out better…
Before(with asbestos)
After(asbestos free!)

The sun came out,yay!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Day 2

I headed to the house early and anxiously awaited the Asbestos Abatement company. The decision to buy the house after discovering the presence of asbestos wasn’t an easy one. With the health risks associated with it we knew that even though it was left undisturbed we didn’t like the idea of it lurking in the walls, so it had to be removed. 8am came and went, then 9am… it was only at 10am I was finally able to get in touch with the guy who admitted that he had no knowledge of the appointment! He wrote it down on his notes weeks ago when he came to give me a quote, what to do? He spoke to his boss and booked an appointment for tomorrow first thing. It was disappointing but what can you do? I cleaned, walked the dog and kept myself busy for the day waiting for my 3pm appointment with a plumber…3pm came and went, then 4pm, what is it with these people? I phoned the plumber to find he was at home, he said our appointment was for tomorrow not today. He thankfully came anyway and as he was approaching the house confirmed that in fact our appointment was for today, a slight oversight but he was here and that was what mattered. We checked out the mishmash of old and new and decided the lead had the go, cast iron stack should stay, the rest was acceptable but most importantly we can add another bathroom upstairs exactly where we want it. Phew! Life with one bathroom (off the kitchen) and five members in the family just wasn’t going to cut it so when we get the cash, a bathroom rough in is first on the list. Time to head back to the 4 bathroom house and appreciate the plumbing while we have it.
The laundry room became the dumping room for boxes...

Day 1

Day 1

 The day we got the keys to our new (old) house! After much anticipation today finally arrived. We headed out early to make sure that Sandy hadn’t left a tree in our bedroom or any other major catastrophe. We gave the property the once over before heading to the Uhaul place. Our guaranteed 9am pick up turned out to be a 9:30 pick up, not a good start to the move... We were only moving some items from storage but with all the junk we have that still meant hiring a 17 foot truck and filling it to the rafters. Thanks to the helping hands of a few friends it was packed and ready to go in no time at all.

We grabbed a bite to eat and were ready to head to Guelph when we got ‘the call’, the keys were ready for picking up. Ooh exciting! We are now the owners of a century home! After 5 years searching for the dream home on the perfect property we are living our dream. Note I didn’t say the perfect home? It is beautiful but needs time and patience to drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. There are many features which I love and will keep but it certainly needs vision and loving to make it as fantastic as I am imagining.

JM and James took the truck, I drove to the lawyer then we met at the house for an afternoon of lugging boxes in the rain along a muddy path through the garden. A few challenges (sorry, opportunities..) which needed to be overcome and we were done! We gathered the remaining kids from the corners of the tri-cities and returned for our first time together at the house. Much excitement and running from room to room ensued. Despite the weather we toured the grounds (ha,ha) then returned to our modern home for an evening of Halloween festivities.
 We survived our first day and I look forward to getting started on this old beauty.


Welcome to my blog!

I decided to share some thoughts about the process of dragging my new circa 1900 home kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I'm excited for the journey, come along with me...