February 05, 2007

Shower is go

Our house came with one bathroom (let's not count the thing in the basement) containing a bathtub. No shower. After living here for 5 months we finally got one installed.

Here's what it looked like when we moved in. There was an ugly sink, ugly toilet, and the cast iron tub was on stilts. There were wooden shelves that had been varnished after installation, leaving drips down the wall.

The toilet was replaced early on; the tub was lowered off its pedestals, but the sink is still there (we're planning a replacement). Took down the shelves, washed the walls (grimy). We patched holes in the walls, put in a new light fixture, and gave the walls and ceiling a new coat of paint. Might be hard to tell, but it's a big improvement.

Best of all, we get to take showers. Even the kids take showers, which is a lot quicker than baths and they like it. The last major thing for this room is to put in a vanity with some cabinets, with a better sink. On the minor side we need towel hooks and rails. And the door needs to be refinished. All in time.

February 04, 2007

Post-post (and pre-post)

Our house, though generally structurally sound (knock on wood...) nonetheless had some issues. One of the support posts in the basement was experiencing dry rot. And the breakfast nook was gradually sinking into the backyard because the posts were not seated on good footings. One of the posts was also in two sections, which didn't seem like a good idea. A few months ago we removed a cinder block wall to make way for the repair.

We hired John to replace these, which took a looong time to happen and then a looong time to finish. But it's done now. Here's John and his helper (son?) removing the old post in the basement.

In goes the new footing:

Meanwhile, out back, the old posts were removed and temporary shoring put in. The new footings sit on the hardpan (clay) that lies about 18 inches under ground in these parts.

Then began a wait of 3 weeks, part of which was to let the concrete cure but the rest is just the usual contractor delays. One fine day we realized they had finished the job.

There's a few things we noticed that aren't 100% perfect about this job. But on the plus side, it is done.

You might have noticed that we have downspouts - part of the spanking new gutters that were put in around the same time. I might blog about those later ... but enough for one day.

January 28, 2007

You think you know a place

Vancouver thinks it's spring today, so the birds are twittering around etc. Watching them from the upstairs front window, I noticed one (chickadee?) fly up at an angle that didn't seem to be quite high enough to go over the roof. Craning my neck, I saw that we have a nice nesting spot under the eaves.

This is not just birds exploiting a cozy nook, it's a constructed bird house. Someone (the PO, presumably), has nailed pieces of paneling to create a sheltered area. It looks like the same paneling that was in the basement and which we just painted over in the living room. It's not very visible from the ground and the housepainters didn't mention it. So it's been unnoticed until now.

What other surprises are in store?

December 09, 2006

Painting the living room

Another big event in the last few weeks has been painting the living and dining rooms. I didn't lift a finger - Ingrid did everything. She's thoroughly burned out on painting and isn't quite done yet. But the rooms look almost perfect and we've moved back in. Here's complete documentation.

First, before. The south and west walls of the room are covered brown paneling. There is a drop paneling. The rest of the room had dingy white paint with, yes, graffitti.

(The next picture is after painting the ceiling)

An important step is fixing the windows. There are two windows that had spent untold years hidden behind the paneling. We hacked holes in the paneling, so to make it look acceptable Ingrid installed trim and a sill.

Primer going on the paneling. These walls ended up requiring five coats: three of primer, two of topcoat.

Everybody helped. Except me.

The end walls are getting their coat of primer. The topcoat will be a wine red.

It definitely wears on you, living like this.

Fireplace got a new look.

The finished product is beautiful. Not architectural digest beautiful, but a huge improvement.

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