Home Reno

Nesting Part 1: Bringing in some nature

February 5th, 2012

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Recently we found out that because of the delayed permits, our renovation is not going to be complete until the fall. As a result, we figured we better make ourselves feel more at home in our temporary apartment, because we’ll be spending a lot of time there in the early baby days. So the first thing we did was head over to ecostems to buy some plants!

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On the left are some special edition Kin tea light holders by Claesson Koivisto Rune. Seventy-five were made for disaster relief in Japan through the shop Sfera. Coated with traditional Japanese Urushi, we have a black, red and green version.

Large furry Dala horse was bought off Ebay.

On the right is a Pure Nature Pillow by Dorte Agergaard. We will have more stock in the shop soon (we just need to order pillows for the cases).

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Encaustic artwork is by Beverly Owens.

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Photographic artwork is by Joshua Jensen-Nagle (our first art purchase).

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We bought this wall vase by Masanobu Ando on our honeymoon in Hokkaido. We will be hosting Ando-san on February 23rd at Mjölk for an exhibition of his amazing ceramics. We’ll post the invite this week!

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Man Cave

December 6th, 2011

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Yesterday I had a date with our basement. Our apartment walls are paper thin, and with the impending baby arrival I wanted to make a space in the basement that I would feel comfortable playing music in. The mini-reno took me to Home Depot, to buy 80 boards of cedar and a miter saw to clad up this weird little glassed in room. Cedar was ideal because it holds up against the moist basement, looks good, and it smells fantastic.

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Here’s a view of the room under the stairs, I think I might frost the glass so I don’t have to look at the mess in the rest of the basement.

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Time to get to work, the hardest part was deciding whether to install the slats vertical or horizontal. I ended up going horizontal to stay away from the traditional wood paneling look.

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Here’s my new little Ryobi miter saw, only $99 and works perfectly for these little jobs. The only limitation is you can’t cut very wide boards.

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I thought I would tackle the most difficult wall first, and it came out pretty nice.

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For the next wall I just butted up the ends of the boards against each other, nothing fancy.

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The angle under the stairs will be a nice little keyboard nook.

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Here it is with all of the walls finished. I still need to decide on flooring, install the baseboards, and decide whether or not to conquer the ceiling.

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Can’t wait to get it all cleaned up and move all my old gear in!

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Building permit finally approved

November 15th, 2011

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If you have walked / biked / or driven past our store during the last few months it would be fair for you to think we had closed down based on the amount of scaffolding and hoarding in front of our building.

Unfortunately the scaffolding needed to go up to assess the state of the windows, and stayed up during the entire permit process. Now that the permit was finally approved yesterday everyone is scrambling to get the exterior work finished before the winter, and to our dismay the facade work won’t be completed until January.

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Through the whole permit process you find yourself starting to loathe the bureaucrats at city hall. The act of simply stamping a piece of paper that had already been approved by two other people should not take 8 weeks to do. The worst thing is you try to be nice with them, because you know if they sense attitude your project might end up at the bottom of the pile.

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At the end of the day, news of the approval made us more optimistic. Things are happening upstairs and there is a new energy to get the ball rolling on everything. We have come to terms that the renovation won’t be completed in time for the baby, but in the end it will all be worth it.

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A plywood slide to carry down all of the debris to the lower roof. Not the easiest site to work on!

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Hopefully the updates in the future will start to look less like an industrial work site.

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Demolition part two

July 20th, 2011

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We hope this week will be the last week of demolition. the walls are gutted right to the brick and the ceiling has completely opened up, we’re looking for anything that could be salvaged but it looks like we need new everything, floors, drywall, windows.

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The front oriel windows float off the end of the building.

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This is something you don’t see often, 19th century engineering. Using a similar formula to a suspension bridge, the weight of the windows are supported by a long horizontal beam and to offset the sag, two beams are connected at an angled point and a metal spike is driven in the center.

Surprisingly enough this tactic was enough to hold the oriel windows for over a century, but after a lot of water damage and rot to the original beams this will have to all be replaced (budget buzzkill).

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We would love to plaster over the brick walls instead of using drywall as it would add such a beautiful texture. We fell in love with white painted plaster after seeing it used countless times in buildings by Alvar Aalto. Unfortunately we have to keep in mind sound and insulation.

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Peeling back the walls you can see some of the original details like the remnants of an old window.

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Or this beautiful curved wall detail made with the building’s original plaster.

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You can now see all the way from the back to the front.

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These are the original ceilings which might look beautiful sprayed white but the pattern is very busy and distracting, plus having a clean drywall ceiling means hiding all of the wires used for lighting.

So many decisions to make!

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Demolition

July 4th, 2011

If you’ve been to the shop this week you might have noticed a lot of noise going on upstairs. We have begun the first stage of renovating our home above the store, taking out all of the interior structure and leaving a blank slate to be put back together.

Over the last 2 years we’ve been putting in a little bit of work here and there to make our apartment nice to live in, but all the work we did was simply cosmetic. This old building has a lot of structural and electrical issues that need to be taken care of sooner than later.

It was a little hard committing to renovating our place, there is a lot on our plates and we did have the living room the way we wanted but there were so many things we couldn’t fix without getting invasive like: stucco ceilings, way too many awkward rooms, a college dorm kitchen, no windows, and the very obvious issues with structure. It’s impossible to capture with photographs but you can actually feel the floor sinking as you walk close to the Bay window area, this is perhaps our biggest problem area to fix during the renovation.

So why now?

Besides the obvious fixes to get the building back to code, we just feel that this is the best time for us to take on our future home. We want to have a family some day soon, but we’ve had a lot of friends who went through renovations during pregnancy, and it was very stressful time. Why not try to start enjoying our home sooner than later. Plus, we’re really excited to collaborate with Studio Junction again on this project. Christine and Peter have played such an important role in our life, and it wasn’t even a question of whether or not to work with them again. We were talking about the future of the building even before designing the store.

The good thing about a building this narrow is that there are no internal load bearing walls, so we can just gut the whole place and start from scratch. In the meantime we’re temporarily renting an apartment just down the street. We’re excited to share some insight during the next stage in our renovating endeavors. Also we’ve got our temporary apartment looking pretty good in the meantime, more on that to come!

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White sprayed electric fireplace

December 20th, 2010

We finally got our vintage fireplace sprayed white and lugged up to the apartment (I’m very proud of Juli). The burnt orange was pretty cool, but I’m happy that we got it sprayed a simple white.

Tim from Beresford Inc. did an amazing job keeping all the details intact, including this retro “Log” logo.

We picked up an extension flue at Home Depot and the little tin cap which finishes off the top, but also has an open vent for the fan.

The faux logs are pretty quirky, but they do set the mood. I’m still toying with painting the brass handles black, just for simplicity sake.

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