Cottage Reno

Cottage Reno: Update

July 17th, 2009

Finally finally finally we get to see the fruits of our labour.

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We painted the living room/dining room floors on Monday. As there was no prep besides sweeping up, it went pretty quickly, with one coat of primer and a coat of glossy floor paint. And the result is quite stunning, and so very different than it ever was.

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We still need to do the baseboards and trim to cover up that red tuck tape. The paint colour we chose was Benjamin Moore Cloud White, if only because there are infinite shades of white and its a designer stand by. It’s not as white as we thought it was but it works in the space. A slight antique look, but overall it looks very white.

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That’s where the dining room is going to go. After these photos, we set it up, table and chairs, and it looks amazing. But we can’t share yet, as much as that pains us.

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Sadly we came to a painting standstill as Steve, our man on the job, is busy making a whole new mess in the back half of the cottage. He’s working on the bathroom right now (so. excited.) and then he said he’d do all the finishing. So in the meantime we challenged our relationship with a little bit of IKEA cabinet construction.

We had a little pep talk before hand, to ensure that whatever happened between start and finish wouldn’t mean our demise as a couple, and successfully put together a drawer base cabinet with no bickering. Imagine that!

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We would have accomplished more had our sink base cabinet not had a gash in it (pictured but it looks small and insignificant, though it wasn’t). We also couldn’t figure out what those doors were for as they were smaller than any cabinet we had. We figured it out later, after we returned them, that we did in fact need them.

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It still needs the fronts, but we didn’t have them yet. It feels good to have started. Only 3 more to go, and I imagine that they will be much simpler than this one (though this one was fairly simple).

We may get some summer after all!

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Cottage Reno: Ceiling

July 10th, 2009

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Before we went away, we thought we were done with the demo/clean up and ready to start putting it all back together again. We returned to discover that there was more to dispose of along with a plethora of mouse poop that keeps appearing from all the nooks and crannies (John made a discovery of perfectly sized mouse holes–were they initially for ventilation?–running all along the area where the ceiling meets the walls…perfection).

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Anyway, aside from the bathroom that needs to be done by the end of July, is all the painting, plywood installation and kitchen frustration (aka putting together Ikea cabinets). So a couple of weeks ago John and I headed up north and directly to Home Depot with optimism. We decided that we were going to rent a paint sprayer and get going on all that painting. At $115/day, it’s pretty pricey but we were feeling good. So off we trundled to the cottage to get going on the job. Not. We both got inside the cottage and took a real hard look around and realized that we had an awful lot more prep work to be done than we thought. So we got to work (miserably) and about 30 minutes in we regrouped and decided that this scenario was not working for us. It’s not that we’re lazy, it was just so incredibly overwhelming! On top of that, John realized that painting the exposed ceilings in the bedrooms and kitchen wasn’t necessarily going to equal a gorgeous looking space. It looked busy and it wasn’t intended to ever be exposed so it’s not the best construction. We’ve since decided to cover the low ceilings with plywood (which we were going to do anyway on some key walls). That saves us from preparing and painting the low ceilings, but we still have to install the heavy plywood boards. Argh!

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So after all that we rushed the unused sprayer back to the tool rental department. The guys were super nice and didn’t charge us for the 2 hours we had the machine and we returned to the cottage on much happier terms. That said, nothing really got accomplished over the last two visits except for some cleaning up and prep work.

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So….this past week we finally made some progress. We hired a (human) paint sprayer and after two hours of assisted prep and about an hour of spraying…

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Voila! So different (yet still a mess). Of course, the cedar was a lovely colour but not in the best shape.

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We also got the fresh drywall painted.

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We’re getting closer, kinda sorta.

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A shout out to mom.

June 28th, 2009

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Guest Cottage Before

While we were gallavanting around Scandinavia, my mom took advantage of us not being around to deal with some unfinished business that I kept pushing aside. Last summer we had a new roof put on the guest cottage, and our not so honorable contractors didn’t finish the job (surprise surprise). Among many things, they didn’t put any eaves troughs up or paint the wood along the edges to keep it from rotting. My mom had been bugging me to fix this for awhile but my sights were set on the interior of the main cottage. You know sometimes when something needs to be done, but you really have no concept of how much it’ll change your experience until it’s done?

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Guest Cottage After

Tada! My mom picked an amazingly soft and beautiful blue to replace the acrid green that had been plaguing our world for the past 30 years. It matched perfectly with the shingles she chose and makes the whole area feel like a place you want to be. The white table has been around for over 30 years (thrifty!) so John spray painted it a fresh coat of flat white (needs another coat, we ran out!) and added some black rubber feet (not pictured) that have long been missing.

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John and I added some black wood chips to add some contrast.

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My mom also added some new landscaping, which although small, really adds to the space (and we don’t like to look at our neighbors, who are much too close for our liking). The trees and shrubbery on the property are old and haven’t been maintained over the last 7 or so years so it’s nice to have some new plants to spruce things up a bit (no pun intended).

So the guest cottage is really shaping up to be a warm and inviting space. It’s actually putting the main cottage to shame…

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Cottage Reno: Demolition Done (we think)

May 27th, 2009

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We just spent the last two days at the cottage, hoping we’d be sanding and priming the floor but discovering that once you start demolishing, you seemingly never stop. You may recall John waving the white flag on the ceiling. We called in a pinch hitter, local contractor Steve Marsh, to help us out with taking down the rest of the ceiling and to put up some fresh drywall in the living room (this time with vapor barrier!). Steve has been amazing so far – a hard worker that always has a smile on his face. If we don’t make him hate us too much from this job, I would definitely call him back for more jobs down the road.

I rented a floor sander with optimism on Monday (about $45/day from Home Depot), and we got a bit done in the bedrooms, but overall it was definitely another two days of demolition. The ceiling took 1.5 days, the drywall removal, which was half done already, took a few hours, the ceiling in the bedroom took a good 45 minutes and the shower removal also took about half an hour. And then there is the debris removal. THE most tedious job, especially when the junk pile in your driveway is starting to resemble a wall. A very long and tall wall. It was mosly the styrofoam that came from the ceiling, 2 or 3 layers thick. We balked at the amount of waste this project is producing, and lamented at the fact that in the process of making something more green and healthy, you have to throw a lot of stuff out.

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This is the ceiling, now that all the tiles have been removed. The cedar is not as gorgeous as the cedar in the guest cottage, but it’s much warmer and cottagey than the old white boards that were up there. Plus we discovered a lovely carpenters ant colony and more mousy hiding spaces. All in all a good decision (although when we woke up this morning we were frozen so there is something to be said about adding insulation…heh heh).

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Steve putting up some fresh drywall. We hemmed and hawed over putting up drywall or leaving the wood exposed (very nice) but figured we didn’t want too much wind whistling through the space. Plus we need to break the wood ceiling and the floor up a bit.

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John looking a little like (a male) Alice in Wonderland. The bedroom is really not THAT small. Oh and see that ugly electrical panel box in the background. That is going to be a weekend project, sometime down the road we’re going to box it in with wood slats, or something to that effect.

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Partially sanded (the lighter portion). Weird, those dark marks in the shape of THE cross…just noticed that. If only it was the face of Mary, we could pay off the reno with that kind of money.

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Another shot of the difference sanding makes – we thought it would go a lot quicker but the floor boards are not completely flat. We’d have to rent a more intense floor sander in order to get ALL the boards looking like this:

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(I just realized the colouring is off on this photo – it should be more golden like the pic above). Those black marks are tar or something, from the tar paper that was under the linoleum. Anyway, we are definitely painting out the floors in the rest of the cottage white, but we’re debating whether to leave the natural look in the bedrooms. Your take???

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Our new bedroom. I grew up in the bedroom next door to this one – one benefit was that it was in the corner, but the shower takes up a good chunk of the room. That room has always been my room – and will serve as a kids room waaaay down the road (though we are preparing early by outfitting it with two single beds, mostly because it provides us with a unique challenge). This room has always been a guest room but honestly I think it’s the biggest and easiest to work with room because it only has one window. After this photo was taken, John tore down the wall that is on the right side of the photo, because he realized that since we are doing a tongue and groove slat wall on the other side, and a tongue and groove wall inside the bedroom to serve as a giant headboard feature, why not save time, energy and money and just make one that can be seen on both sides. He’s such a smarty. More rubbish removal for me. And as for the ceiling, we were going to get a bunch of wood to make the roof, but we may just paint the chip board and call it a day.

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Cottage Reno: Ew…

May 19th, 2009

So last Friday we were up north to receive some deliveries, sell some furniture (4 dressers!) and meet with a willing and able contractor to discuss removal of the ceiling tiles/insulation and put up some drywall. Of course the day resulted in waiting around so we started picking at new points of interest. Namely, the 1970s ceiling tiles in the kitchen and two of the bedrooms. We had already discussed replacing them with wood slats so John started to remove them. Much to our horror, the insulation and the ceiling tiles made for a comfy abode for decades of mouse families. Since John was moved over to drywall destruction duties, I had to don the gloves and mask and wade into the disgusting shreik-a-thon that was stage one of removal. This involved one shower of mouse droppings whilst I tentatively removed the tiles, then a wonderful round two of droppings while I gingerly removed the yards of insulation, all with the fear of a dead mouse landing on my head. At first the job revolted me but it subsided into determination mingled with screaming that was met with a “you’re such a girl” from John.

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I totally left out all the gross factors from these photos, making me look like a complete wuss. But it was super bad.

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This was evidently their kitchen/dining room. And yes, they do poop where they eat, albeit not as much.

And now for some more horrifying photos of the bathroom before! Read the rest of this entry »

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Cottage Reno: Flooring Part Deux

May 13th, 2009

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My life of leisure has done me no favors when it comes to manual labor. On Monday John and I went up north to start taking apart our flooring. Oh, didn’t we tell you? Last week we were up there and decided to take up the linoleum in preparation for our reclaimed wood flooring, only to discover perfectly amazing hardwood flooring beneath layers of the 1950s through 1970s.

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John is the most amazing trooper. He manhandled this crazy multi-layered floor (above) with minimal complaints (unlike me and my somewhat frightening spazz out on the Shopvac yesterday). The kitchen floor had tile, then at least two layers of linoleum, PLUS tar paper, burlap, massive sheets of 1/4″ thick plywood and probably asbestos. Oh and about one zillion nails.

So all too suddenly, we have hardwood flooring!  Problem is, we already put down a deposit for flooring at The Timeless Materials Co., and well, somewhere on that receipt is the fine print: All Sales Final. Insert big lesson here. At the time, we were somehow convinced that under all that linoleum was a whole lotta nothing so we impulsively went for it, because really, that white washed floor was super cool (and now totally available for someone to snatch it up. Snatch it up people!). Now we are at a loss. On one hand, we no longer have to install flooring (yay!), on the other, we’re out a pretty penny. Timeless has been nice enough to work with us to either return a portion of our deposit, or else make it into a store credit. Although it would have been amazing to magically get the money back, that is not the nature of deposits so we’re trying to figure out how we can best use it up (paint, cedar slats).

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You know the term “back breaking work”? I now know the full meaning of it. While John crowbarred the old floor up, I dutifully followed him around the room, pulling up every single nail. This took 6 hours. By the time we left for the night, I was walking like a newbie cowboy. But you know what? It was so worth it: Read the rest of this entry »

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