Cottage Reno

More Sneak pics of the Cottage

July 29th, 2009

Well I’m at work for the entire week (yeah that’s right 7 days straight!) So we’ve been pretty slow with posts lately, but right now Juli is at the cottage finishing up before the long weekend. She sent me a couple pictures via her iphone camera of the progress so far.


I know it looked like we were close to the finish in our last post, but there is still a lot of work to do…


The bathroom floor still needs to be painted and sealed, but the pedestal sink and that cool modern faucet look great!


There are still some parts of the floor that need to be painted, but I’m liking the look of our plywood accent walls.

Juli took her good camera up to the cottage, so hopefully we’ll have some nicer shots to share!

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Cottage dining set reveal!

July 23rd, 2009


Well we’ve decided to give up the goods. The cottage is still such a mess, but we wanted to have a little area that looked a bit finished. We are really excited to wrap this reno up so it’s images like this that get us through the long tedious process.

The two chairs on the end are dark blue and are by designer Jorgen Baekmark for FDB Møbler, while the 6 black chairs are also for FDB Møbler by Folke Palsson.


The table is the “Two Tops Table” by Marcel Wanders for Moooi in a matt black finish. It was one of those crazy deals that happens once in a lifetime. Apparently a movie company decided to rent this table for a film and during transportation they dropped it or damaged it and the leg broke off. The movie company was responsible for the table and had to come up with some quick cash to pay for it. They asked if the Queen West Antique Center could sell it for them at a crazy low price to help out with the bill. We were just at the right place at the right time and got the table at a steal for $700. You would have to add another 0 on the end of that number to buy it new.

The disappointing thing about the table is the quality… The top is made from MDF and it just doesn’t feel like a high quality table, it feels more like a $700 table. That said, we do love the size. We were picturing a large harvest table to sit all our friends and family, and at 8 1/2 feet we could easily fit 10 people around this thing. Even better than that are the tapered legs, which are very shaker influenced and work so well with the Møbler chairs.  I couldn’t imagine a better looking table for the cottage.

Is it wrong that our cottage is starting to look better than our home?


Cottage teaser # 1 is finished, but we still have a lot more to reveal!

Cottage Reno: Update

July 17th, 2009

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


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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).


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!


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.


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…


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



We also got the fresh drywall painted.


We’re getting closer, kinda sorta.

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A shout out to mom.

June 28th, 2009


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?


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.


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


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


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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:


(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???


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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