What have I learned so far?

We’re at the completely unexciting part of the makeover when we aren’t quite finished, but nothing much is happening.  So while we wait for the final details to fall into place, there’s time to reflect on the lessons learned from our renovation experience.

Professionally

  • A good general contractor, and good trades, are worth their weight in gold.  This isn’t exactly a new revelation, and I thought I knew how good my G.C. was.  However, after having a close-up and ongoing months-long  view of my general contractor in action, and having an opportunity to compare him to the contractors who work for others, I’ve gained an even better appreciation for his honesty and commitment to quality.  I also have new appreciation for his willingness to listen to our ideas, to respond with his own experience, and then to do whatever I deem is best.  Without argument. Period.  Gold-Bullion
  • Trust my gut when it comes to hiring good people.  We didn’t already know all the people we needed for this project.  We had to find contractors for our roof, siding & eavestroughs, and our garage door.  We did what any well-informed person would do — asked for referrals, checked references and professional affiliations, and conducted personal interviews.  When all was said and done, we relied on our ‘gut’ to guide us.  Having said that, our ‘gut’ was influenced by the actions of the various companies.  For instance, when a window company we had used previously was struggling to get back to us on a timely basis, we decided to dump them late in the game and find another contractor.  We felt we ended up with better windows and a better price as a result.  Likewise, when our first choice for a roofer didn’t get back to us, even though they came highly recommended by someone in the industry, we moved to Plan B with great results.  No matter how highly someone is recommended, we question their work ethic if they can’t return quotes or calls on a timely basis.  We were prepared to look beyond our first choice if something didn’t ‘feel’ right.
  • Don’t second-guess my own design decisions.   There were times when I wondered if we had made a mistake by choosing grays and taupes for our new kitchen and floors.  Would it be too neutral, too bland?  I underestimated the drama of the dark gray cabinets against the paler greige floor boards, with the pop of white countertops.  Likewise, I hesitated over paint colours, and took a long time to finalize what I wanted.  When they finally went on the walls, we loved them, and they pull everything together, perfectly blending old and new elements of the design.  I expect to feel even more excited when the decorating is finally completed.

    Tile goes in on schedule Monday and Tuesday.  So glad we used so much -- it adds texture and pattern.

     

  • There’s no substitute for living through my own renovation when advising clients on theirs.  Several times in the past few months, I have drawn on my reno experiences to advise clients on theirs — a paint colour here, a countertop there, a lesson on stair treads elsewhere.  Plus, there’s the added benefit of the empathy that comes from having survived my own renovation, when speaking to clients about their reno trials and tribulations.   It’s such a beneficial experience that it seems unfair that we can’t write part of it off as a business education expense!
  • Don’t change how we handle our own custom makeover projects for clients.  Being a client, and thus being at the mercy of other service providers, was a fascinating experience for us.  We have handled many large makeover projects in the past 20 years, and we have certain expectations based on our experiences.  For instance, we always attend our own deliveries and installations. On an all-day installation, we might just show up for an hour to be sure everything is going according to plan.  If the client were to call with questions or issues, we would be back on site ASAP. We were surprised to see which companies did this and which ones didn’t; there were definitely times when we thought we were being neglected.  We came to the conclusion that we like our way of doing business better, and now we know that we need to promote it as something quite unique and valuable.

 

Personally

  • We can survive any disruption to our daily routine with enough planning.  Every renovation causes disruption, whether you live in or move out.  Some people thrive on the chaos; my family thrives on routine.  Routine helps us to balance work, school and personal life.  So, we created a new routine to accommodate the inevitable disruptions that a renovation would create.  Further, we planned our renovation for Summer, when at least one of our daily stressors — school — would be a non-issue.  We were able to carry on our business, and a satisfying daily routine, while the renovation raged around us.  Living in the house during the reno was a bit inconvenient, but much less so than moving out would have been, especially when various trades and contractors were clamouring for decisions on a daily basis. survivor basement kitchen
  • I’ve gained a new appreciation for the thrill that some people get from flipping houses — renovating to sell, then moving on to another project.  I don’t plan to take it up any time soon, but after watching our decisions come to life and transforming our home, I can better understand why some people can’t get enough.  Having said that, I think I might be paralyzed by the thought that my selections have to be sellable.  For this renovation, we had the freedom to select what worked best for our lifestyle and tastes.  The fact that others might like it is a bonus, but not a financial necessity.
  • Some problems will sort themselves out in time.  Although we waited a long time to do the renovation, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Had we renovated, or moved, 10 years earlier, we would have made completely different decisions.  Waiting gave us a chance to really understand how we use our home, what we really need, what we really like, and what we really value.  We love the end results, and we don’t regret a single decision.  I know that wouldn’t have been the case if we had done this sooner.  We also needed to accept the idea of staying put, and not moving, before an extensive reno made sense.

Progress Report: Week 11 — Details, Details

We are finally back in a fully-functional kitchen.  There are still a few little details to be sorted out — minor paint touch-ups, a small leak under the sink, paint to scrape off the pocket doors, and a collar to be added to our vent hood to cover the off-center hole in our ceiling soffit.   Nothing that is keeping us from cooking — and enjoying — our kitchen.  We’ve started to focus on the finishing touches, the stuff we decorators love!

With the new design, I’ve decreed that there shall be no clutter on the countertops.  Given that we actually do cook in our kitchen, this is a tall order.  And the items that must be left out must match the new decor.  This has led to a round of Splurge vs. Save.

I've gone low-tech with my new kettle.  This elliptical model whistles when the water boils, and saves me from having an electric kettle on the countertop. It was a bargain at Target, and I've seen it in a few other places.  The pepper mill was more of a splurge, from Trudeau, but we use a pepper mill every day, and a good grinder is a must.  We went big so we don't have to constantly refill it.

I’ve gone low-tech with my new kettle. This elliptical model whistles when the water boils, and saves me from having an electric kettle on the countertop. It was a $35 bargain at Target, and I’ve seen it in a few other places. The pepper mill was more of a splurge, (about $75) from Trudeau, but we use a pepper mill every day, and a good grinder is a must. We went big so we don’t have to constantly refill it.

I insisted that my husband ditch his not-so-old but very messy coffee maker, with separate grinder.  His new Breville You-Brew was a splurge, but we bought it with Air Miles.  It has a built-in grinder, so there is minimal clutter on the countertop.

I insisted that my husband ditch his not-so-old but very messy coffee maker, with separate grinder. His new Breville You-Brew was a splurge, but we bought it with Air Miles. It has a built-in grinder, so there is minimal clutter on the countertop.

We used to have a plastic paper towel holder on the wall of our old kitchen.  I still need the paper towels, but I wanted something a little more attractive.  This holder is from Simple Human, and I picked it up at Hudson's Bay for $35.00.  I love the quick-release top for reloading the rolls, and the weighted base with rubber bottom.  You can pull off a sheet with one hand without toppling the whole thing.

We used to have a plastic paper towel holder on the wall of our old kitchen. I still need the paper towels, but I wanted something a little more attractive. This holder is from SimpleHuman, and I picked it up at Hudson’s Bay for $35.00. I love the quick-release top for reloading the rolls, and the weighted base with rubber bottom. You can pull off a sheet with one hand without toppling the whole thing.

 

Our new stools under the eating bar were a steal at Target -- only $80 each! I love the industrial Restoration Hardware look.

Our new stools under the eating bar were a steal at Target — only $80 each! I love the industrial Restoration Hardware look.   With everything coming together, we’re also appreciating the fact that Kitchen Court thought to upgrade these under-the-bar panels to door panels, as they are very visible as we enter the house and look up the stairs.  

My old library stool won't cut it in the new kitchen.  My son ripped the wheels off it shortly after we bought it years ago, but it's sturdy, and the perfect height.  So, the search was on for a replacement.....

My old library stool won’t cut it in the new kitchen. My son ripped the wheels off it shortly after we bought it years ago, but it’s sturdy, and the perfect height. So, the search was on for a replacement…..

My husband couldn't find anything until I suggested that he search under 'library stools'.  And voila!  He found this heavy-duty beauty in stainless steel.  Why a library stool?  I worked for years in libraries as a student, and these stools have wheels that allow you to kick them along, but when you step on the top, the stool lowers to the floor, on a rubber ring that won't slip.

My husband couldn’t find anything until I suggested that he search under ‘library stools’. And voila! He found this heavy-duty beauty in stainless steel — the Kik-step from Cramer. Why a library stool? I worked for years in libraries as a student, and these stools have wheels that allow you to kick them along, but when you step on the top, the stool lowers to the floor, on a rubber ring that won’t slip.  We ordered our from macglen.ca, an online resource for library supplies — only $79.50 plus shipping, etc.

The kitchen isn’t the only space that needs finishing details.  While we wait for custom draperies and a new area rug, we are slowly pulling the living and dining rooms together.

Since I have to work with my existing furniture for a little longer, I've ordered new custom pillows to update my sofa.  To go with those, I found this big feather-filled rectangle at Hudson's Bay for $35.

Since I have to work with my existing furniture for a little longer, I’ve ordered new custom pillows to update my sofa. To go with those, I found this big feather-filled rectangle at Hudson’s Bay for $35.

I like my old Engelite made-in-Canada lamp, but the old bell shade had to go.  I updated it with this modified drum shade for $80 from Living Lighting. It was a bit of a splurge but still less than a new lamp.

I like my old Engelite made-in-Canada lamp, but the old bell shade had to go. I updated it with this modified drum shade for $80 from Living Lighting. It was a bit of a splurge but still less than a new lamp.

We spotted these parsons chairs months ago, on one of our trips to Lowe's.  A few weeks later, I spotted them on sale -- I scored 6 chairs for $300!  Since I don't have my ideal dining table yet, these will nicely update my existing table without breaking the bank.

We spotted these parsons chairs months ago, on one of our trips to Lowe’s. A few weeks later, I spotted them on sale — I scored 6 chairs for $300! Since I won’t be getting my ideal dining table yet, these will nicely update my existing table without breaking the bank.  And just in time — our existing chairs were on their last legs before the reno.

The carpet for my stair risers and living room rug has arrived.  I got a sneak peek at how it's going to look on my stairs.....

The carpet for my stair risers and living room rug has arrived. I got a sneak peek at how it’s going to look on my stairs…..

 

... and with my living room furniture.

… and with my living room furniture.

I always tell my clients that they will really feel settled once the art goes on the walls.  I love seeing how their existing pieces work on new wall colours or in new positions — it’s like having a new collection, and we notice pieces we may have taken for granted previously.

I always tell my clients that they will really feel settled once the art is hung up.  We picked this piece up in Lake Tahoe years ago, and we've never really had a great place to show it off.  Now we do!

We picked this piece up in Lake Tahoe years ago, unframed, and we’ve never really had a great place to show it off. Now we do!

This is a print we bought in Quebec City, showing a restaurant called Aux Anciens Canadiens in both winter and summer.  If you've been to Quebec City, you've likely walked past this building.  I've been there in both seasons, so this brings back memories.

This is a print we bought in Quebec City, showing a restaurant called Aux Anciens Canadiens in both winter and summer. If you’ve been to Quebec City, you’ve likely walked past this building. I’ve been there in both seasons, so this brings back memories.

We are definitely getting back into our regular daily routine, including morning walks on the treadmill.  I can't say that I really missed this, but it is good to get back to 'normal'.

We are definitely getting back into our regular daily routine, including morning walks on the treadmill. I can’t say that I really missed this, but it is good to get back to ‘normal’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress Report: Week 10 — Overtime and Extra Innings

By now, there should be nothing left to report — we’re done, it’s all over, hurray! Not so fast….. We’re now officially in OT.  It’s Week 2 of the new school year, I’m back to a 6-day-a-week store-open schedule, and I’ve got a renovation hangover.  Ugh!  But wait a minute — after 20 years of observing clients’ renovations, we knew this was a possibility.  And we ARE 90% finished.

Bye, Bye, Basement! We have completely moved out of our temporary basement kitchen, and we're back upstairs for cooking and eating.

Bye, Bye, Basement! We have completely moved out of our temporary basement kitchen, and we’re back upstairs for cooking and eating.

So if we've moved into our new kitchen, how come I'm still cooking on a hotplate??

So if we’ve moved into our new kitchen, how come I’m still cooking on a hotplate?? (Albeit with a better view!)

With kitchens more than any other renovation zone (except possibly for bathrooms), one little detail gone awry can mess up everything.  In our case, it’s our vent hood that’s causing us to be unable to actually cook in our new kitchen.

That green tape at the bottom is where the bottom of the hood should be.  The tape at the top is the point above which the power connection should be.  Hmmm..... that white thing is the power outlet, and it's not where it needs to be.

That green tape at the bottom is where the bottom of the hood should be. The tape at the top is the point above which the power connection should be. Hmmm….. that white thing is the power outlet, and it’s not where it needs to be.

Through some misinterpretation of the installation specs (or missing information is said specs!), the power outlet has been placed too low.  Hubby was game to pull the electrical cable up the wall, but there wasn’t enough slack to do that.  Splicing and dicing electrical wiring is outside his comfort (and safety) zone, so were were stuck.  This became clear on (of course!) the holiday Monday of a long weekend.   Nothing to do but wait for our contractor to return from vacation and send in the electrician.    This meant we could do limited cooking, but nothing too steamy or smelly.

The electrician showed up on Tuesday to do his part.  Unfortunately, the contractor  couldn't do the same.  That left us with a beautiful vent hood sitting on top of our cooktop.  We were again without our stove!

The electrician showed up on Tuesday to do his part. Unfortunately, the contractor couldn’t do the same. That left us with a beautiful vent hood sitting on top of our cooktop. We were again without our stove!

Meanwhile, we were able to finish loading our stuff into the new cupboards, including 2 bins of food that my husband forgot to bring out of the storeroom.  Our first attempt at organizing hit a few snags, but we ultimately tweaked everything and were able to pack everything away with room so spare.

Meanwhile, we were able to finish loading our stuff into the new cupboards, including 2 bins of food that my husband forgot to bring out of the storeroom. Our first attempt at organizing hit a few snags, (like this door that won’t close) but we ultimately tweaked everything and were able to pack it away with room to spare.

I love having all my cookbooks within easy reach.  My son would like me to retire the slow cooker books and get back to 'real' cooking.

I love having all my cookbooks within easy reach. My son would like me to retire the slow cooker books and get back to ‘real’ cooking.

After washing dishes by hand for the past 7 months, our tea towels are shot.  I've decided to use my mother-in-law's vintage tea towels, instead.  Most are from the '70's, as you can see from the colours.  The 'Presidents of the United States' towel ends at Gerald Ford!  These are way more fun than checks and stripes!  Plus, it frees up space in my closet, where they've been stashed for the past 5 years.

After washing dishes by hand for the past 7 months, our tea towels are shot. I’ve decided to use my mother-in-law’s vintage tea towels, instead. Most are from the ’70’s, as you can see from the colours. The ‘Presidents of the United States’ towel ends at Gerald Ford! These are way more fun than checks and stripes! Plus, it frees up space in my closet, where they’ve been stashed for the past 5 years.

 

it took 2 tries, but we've settled on this cupboard for our breakfast prep area.  Since we use the same items every single morning, I wanted a spot to keep them together. This is near the coffee maker and toaster.

It took 2 tries, but we’ve settled on this cupboard for our breakfast prep area. Since we use the same items every single morning, I wanted a spot to keep them together. This is near the coffee maker and toaster.

After discovering the forgotten food bins, and dozens more spice bottles, we had to rethink our spice storage.  I had managed to get all the bottles of oils, vinegars, and spices into our pullout next to the stove, but the additional spices demanded a rethink.  We decided to put the smaller bottles into one side of the knife drawer, directly across from the stove.  It meant a purge of unused and duplicate spices, but it was worth it.

After discovering the forgotten food bins, and dozens more spice bottles, we had to rethink our spice storage. I had managed to get all the bottles of oils, vinegars, and spices into our pullout next to the stove, but the additional spices demanded a rethink. We decided to put the smaller bottles into one side of the knife drawer, directly across from the stove. It meant a purge of unused and duplicate spices, but it was worth it.

Another favourite item is the colander that we purchased to fit into the smaller side of our 60/40 sink.  It's incredibly multifunctional, as a place to rinse fruits and veggies, as well as piling wet pots and pans to drain after washing.  It's also a great spot to gather smaller dishes between dishwasher cycles.

Another favourite item is the colander that we purchased to fit into the smaller side of our 60/40 sink. It’s incredibly multifunctional, as a place to rinse fruits and veggies, as well as piling wet pots and pans to drain after washing. It’s also a great spot to gather smaller dishes between dishwasher cycles.  Try doing all that with your typical round strainer!

While this may look like a jumbled mess to some, to me it's nirvana.  All my baking supplies are in one area, including my 10 kg and 20 kg bags of flour.  Some day, I may go all OCD and put everything in neatly labelled plastic buckets, but for now, I'm content to have it all together.

While this may look like a jumbled mess to some, to me it’s nirvana. All my baking supplies are in one area, including my 10 kg and 20 kg bags of flour. Some day, I may go all OCD and put everything in neatly labelled plastic buckets, but for now, I’m content to have it all together.

By Friday, our contractor was able to come and install our vent hood.  While we love the hood (Thank you, Tasco!) we are not pleased to see our worst fears realized -- the cover does not hide the hole in our ceiling soffit. (A few posts ago, I showed you the centered vent pipe vs. the off-centre hole in the soffit.) It may not be perfect (yet!), but it's functional -- finally.

By Friday, our contractor was able to come and install our vent hood. While we love the hood (Thank you, Tasco!) we are not pleased to see our worst fears realized — the cover does not hide the hole in our ceiling soffit. (A few posts ago, I showed you the centered vent pipe vs. the off-centre hole in the soffit.) It may not be perfect (yet!), but it’s functional — finally.

Time to get back in touch with my inner chef.  Saturday brings a cooking and baking frenzy.

Time to get back in touch with my inner chef. Saturday brings a cooking and baking frenzy.

We are thrilled to (re)discover that we have a lower oven drawer.  We couldn't remember if we ended up with that or just a warming drawer.  This will definitely be handy at the turkey holidays.

We are thrilled to (re)discover that we have a lower oven drawer. We couldn’t remember if we ended up with that or just a warming drawer. This will definitely be handy at the turkey holidays.

We are also pleased to have a warming zone, for heating up the dinner plates.  We had one on the last stove, and we dislike eating hot food off of cold plates.

We are also pleased to have a warming zone, for heating up the dinner plates. We had one on the last stove, and we dislike eating hot food off of cold plates.

Bring on the sun! After spending the summer camped out in the basement, it's nice to see the light of day.  However, the sun really dazzles on those new white countertops, so our mesh blinds are a must.

Bring on the sun! After spending the summer camped out in the basement, it’s nice to see the light of day. However, the sun really dazzles on those new white countertops, so our mesh blinds are a must.

Speaking of windows, our wayward exterior shutters were finally installed, bringing to a close the exterior portion of our reno.

Speaking of windows, our wayward exterior shutters were finally installed, bringing to a close the exterior portion of our reno.  We will be happy to say the same about our interior renovations.

There are still a few outstanding ‘renovation’ issues, but mostly we need to get on with the decorating portion of the project, to really feel at home.  More on that, coming soon.

 

 

 

 

Progress Report : Week 9 — Ready or Not?

This is supposed to be our final week of construction, and it should see big changes to the appearance and functionality of our new kitchen.  No matter what happens, we will be returning to our normal work and school routines after the Labour Day weekend, and that means we need a functioning kitchen (even if it’s not completely finished.)  Our list of things still to be completed is long:

  • finish painting in front stairwell and back hall, plus touch-ups throughout
  • install wall tiles and grout them
  • finish installing dishwasher
  • finish electrical
  • hookup plumbing to dishwasher and fridge
  • install faucet
  • finish cabinetry details, including platform for stove, hardware on pantry, drawer dividers and rubber mats, and sagging cupboard above fridge/freezer
  • install range
  • install vent hood
  • move out of temporary kitchen and into new kitchen
  • move furniture back into living and dining rooms
  • unpack boxes for kitchen, living and dining rooms

Too bad a week is only 7 days!  Did I mention that my contractor has gone on vacation, and left me with the phone numbers of his electrician, plumber and tiler?  Let’s hope they return my calls.

We can't leave grout colour to the installer -- that's like letting the painter choose our paint colours! Mapei's 'Pewter' looks good to us. Thank goodness Lowe's has enough for our project.

We can’t leave grout colour to the installer — that’s like letting the painter choose our paint colours! Mapei’s ‘Pewter’ looks good to us. Thank goodness Lowe’s has enough for our project.

Our first look at the tile with our wall colour and cabinets confirms that it will pull everything together nicely.  Love the slate pieces!

Our first look at the tile with our wall colour and cabinets confirms that it will pull everything together nicely. Love the slate pieces!

Tile goes in on schedule Monday and Tuesday.  So glad we used so much -- it adds texture and pattern.

Tile goes in on schedule Monday and Tuesday. So glad we used so much — it adds texture and pattern.

Kitchen Court also showed up on Monday to drop off some missing doors, and pick up our pantry doors for hardware installation.  Easy come, easy go!

Kitchen Court also showed up on Monday to drop off some missing doors, and pick up our pantry doors for hardware installation. Easy come, easy go!

 

Now that the backsplash is almost complete, we turn our attention to coverplates for the electrical outlets.  We were thinking of all stainless steel, but that was not available.  Then we considered stainless plates around white outlets....they're okay but not great.

Now that the backsplash is almost complete, we turn our attention to coverplates for the electrical outlets. We were thinking of all stainless steel, but that was not available. Then we considered stainless plates around white outlets….they’re okay but not great.

Black outlets with stainless steel plates are much sexier than the white ones!  Decision made.

Black outlets with stainless steel plates are much sexier than the white ones! Decision made.

We decided to complete the dishwasher installation ourselves. We were told it required a platform, which it did not. However, levelling it after it was pushed under the countertop and raised to its proper height proved to be a feat of contortion and brute strength.  (And a certain amount of cursing!)

We decided to complete the dishwasher installation ourselves. We were told it required a platform, which it did not. However, leveling it after it was pushed under the countertop and raised to its proper height proved to be a feat of contortion and brute strength. (And included a certain amount of cursing!)

Speaking of washing dishes, we were thrilled to discover that our 'too big' sink did indeed fit without removing our soap holders.  Hurray!  (Our joy was short-lived when we realized that they have been set too high, and our scrubbing sponges get caught when we open the flap.  Add that to our list of details to sort out.)

Speaking of washing dishes, we were thrilled to discover that our ‘too big’ sink did indeed fit without removing our soap holders. Hurray! (Our joy was short-lived when we realized that they have been set too high, and our scrubbing sponges get caught when we open the flap. Add that to our list of details to sort out.)

 

The electrician also showed up on schedule, to complete lighting installations and other work. That meant we needed bulbs. Hubby was determined to convert all of our lighting to LED bulbs.  Little did he know that sourcing the right wattages in the right colour temperatures would be so complicated.  Our choices ranged from warm 2700 K (similar to many incandescents) to 3000K to cool 4000 K (Under-cabinet strips). It involved a lot of testing of trial bulbs in various fixtures in various rooms before we decided which ones we preferred in each.  I don't mind saving energy, but not at the expense of my colours.  This week, we finally got the right bulbs installed in every fixture.

The electrician also showed up on schedule, to complete lighting installations and other work. That meant we needed bulbs. Hubby was determined to convert all of our lighting to LED bulbs. Little did he know that sourcing the right wattages in the right colour temperatures would be so complicated. Our choices ranged from warm 2700 K (similar to many incandescents) to 3000K to cool 4000 K (Under-cabinet strips). It involved a lot of testing of trial bulbs in various fixtures in various rooms before we decided which ones we preferred in each. I don’t mind saving energy, but not at the expense of my colours. This week, we finally got the right bulbs installed in every fixture.

Move-in was scheduled for Wednesday, which meant that Tuesday was clean-up day.  Time to remove all the cardboard and paper protecting our floors.  Look, there's wood under there! We finally get to see how our wall colours look with our flooring.

Move-in was scheduled for Wednesday, which meant that Tuesday was clean-up day. Time to remove all the cardboard and paper protecting our floors. Look, there’s wood under there! We finally get to see how our wall colours look with our flooring.

Did I mention that I hate moving?

Did I mention that I hate moving?

In the midst of our moving day, the plumber was hard at work.

In the midst of our moving day, the plumber was hard at work.

Ta da! We have a faucet.  Good thing I poked my head in the kitchen once in a while-- the on/off lever was meant to be at the front, but he had it to the side, where it bumped into the backsplash.  It was easily fixed at the time, but might have been a bit trickier later on.

Ta da! We have a faucet. Good thing I poked my head in the kitchen once in a while– the on/off lever was meant to be at the front, but he had it to the side, where it bumped into the backsplash. It was easily fixed at the time, but might have been a bit trickier later on.

Having the furniture upstairs, before we had a functioning kitchen, meant we were still cooking downstairs, but eating upstairs.  Logan insisted that we turn on the fireplace, even with the boxes, to add atmosphere while we ate.

Having the furniture upstairs, before we had a functioning kitchen, meant we were still cooking downstairs, but eating upstairs. Logan insisted that we turn on the fireplace, even with the boxes, to add atmosphere while we ate.

Friday saw the return of our pantry doors, with the beautiful new recessed hardware. It's big and bold, and we love it.

Friday saw the return of our pantry doors, with the beautiful new recessed hardware. It’s big and bold, and we love it.

We were finally able to 'install' the range on its platform, with a little help from Kitchen Court.  Now if we could just get that vent hood up, I could start cooking for real! Unfortunately, grouting has to come first.

We were finally able to ‘install’ the range on its platform, with a little help from Kitchen Court. Now if we could just get that vent hood up, I could start cooking for real! Unfortunately, grouting has to come first.

Our old fridge and stand-up freezer were to go to a sister, which meant they needed to be emptied before the weekend.  Finally, we are moving our food from here......

Our old fridge and stand-up freezer were to go to a sister, which meant they needed to be emptied before the weekend. Finally, we are moving our food from here……

.... to here.

…. to here.

The catch is, we had to take a break in our unpacking and organizing, to help my Mom move.  My sister benefited because we decided to drop the fridge and freezer off on our way to my Mom’s.  Unfortunately, it was a very long day, in the rain, and it put us behind on our own work.  But you can’t say no to Mom! It’s payback time for all the times she helped me move in and out  during 4 years of out-of-town university.  We may not have finished our move-in completely, but were were able to prepare (if not cook) our first lunch on schedule.

Pizza anyone? The grill works wonders on prepared flatbread with our toppings.

Pizza anyone? The grill works wonders on prepared flatbread with our toppings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress Report: Week 8 — Counting Down

Week 8 has seen major progress, and some minor (we hope!) hold-ups.

The week began with the arrival of our appliances, followed shortly thereafter by partial installation.

The Frigidaire all-fridge and all-freezer were the first appliances we selected 6 months ago.  They were love at first sight for me!

The Frigidaire all-fridge and all-freezer were the first appliances we selected 6 months ago. They were love at first sight for me!

Ta da!  It was worth having Colin give up the closet in his office, to have these beauties in our kitchen.

Ta da! It was worth having Colin give up the closet in his office, to have these beauties in our kitchen.

Check out the inside of our new freezer. I can't wait to empty out the old one and organize everything in here.  No more tumbling blocks of frozen bread falling on my toes when I open the door.

Check out the inside of our new freezer. I can’t wait to empty out the old one and organize everything in here. No more tumbling blocks of frozen bread falling on my toes when I open the door.

This ought'a hold 2 weeks worth of groceries!

This ought’a hold 2 weeks worth of groceries!

Our GE Profile slide-in range sits in our dining room until countertops are in.  It also needs a platform made to boost it up to our 38" countertop height.

Our GE Profile slide-in range sits in our dining room until countertops are in. It also needs a platform made to boost it up to our 38″ countertop height.

Unfortunately, our plans for installing the stove may be thwarted by the fact that the custom platform hasn’t yet been completed.  There is also a concern that the cutout in the soffit, where the exhaust pipe from our hood will go, is off-centre.  Will the hood cover the hole?   We have been assured that it will.  We hope so!

week 8 - vent pipe

The pipe is centered. The cutout isn’t centered. Tune in next week to see if the hood will cover everything up….

Our Miele dishwasher will be possibly the most welcome of all the appliances, after 2 months of washing dishes in our laundry sink.
Our Miele dishwasher will be possibly the most welcome of all the appliances, after 2 months of washing dishes in our laundry sink.
The dishwasher looks great with the front panel on, but there are a few more steps before it's fully installed.

The dishwasher looks great with the front panel on, but there are a few more steps before it’s fully installed.

Right on schedule, our countertops were delivered by York Fabrica, and they fit perfectly.  It’s probably a good thing that we weren’t at home to see them go in.  Besides, coming home to find them completed was more fun than watching them get installed.

Only with the most advanced laser tools for measuring can the countertop come this close to our doorways.      Yikes!

Only with the most advanced laser tools for measuring can the countertop come this close to our doorways. Yikes!

Our new LG quartz countertops, in Snow Storm, really brighten up the room.

Our new LG quartz countertops, in Snow Storm, really brighten up the room.

Having countertops means we have sinks.  Can't wait to see our restaurant-style faucet, and soap dispenser!

Having countertops means we have sinks. Can’t wait to see our restaurant-style faucet, and soap dispenser!

Leading up to our countertop fabrication and installation, we had to reselect our sink, as our original choice was too large.  Even so, we were warned that our flip-down cupboard for the soaps and sponges might not fit.  Luckily it still works — hurray!

The view from our front stairs gets better every week.

The view from our front stairs gets better every week.

I'm also enjoying the view inside my drawers.  These dividers are a neat freak's dream come true!

I’m also enjoying the view inside my drawers. These dividers are a neat freak’s dream come true!

We also had hardware installed on our cabinets this week, and they are like the jewellery on a little black dress.  However, the recessed hardware that will replace the original selection on our pantry wall (to avoid handles banging into the walls which come very close to the end cupboards) could not be installed on site.  Sooooo, those doors will be removed to have the hardware installed in a shop.  Easy come, easy go!

We love this recessed hardware for our pantry wall doors.  It was a solution to a problem that has worked out better than the original selection.

We love this recessed hardware for our pantry wall doors. It was a solution to a problem that has worked out better than the original selection.

The green and blue tape marks where our new hardware will be placed.  We're going all horizontal on this wall.

The green and blue tape marks where our new hardware will be placed. We’re going all horizontal on this wall.

Next week is crunch time — School starts September 3 whether our kitchen is ready or not.  Will we make it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 7 — Progress Report: It’s all in the details

Week 7 felt like the week that we had to ‘hurry up and wait’ — we were not quite ready for appliances, but hundreds of little details needed attention.

New stair railings were finally installed.

Hurray! No more worries about sleepily falling off the landing in the wee hours.

Hurray! No more worries about sleepily falling off the landing in the wee hours.

Late Wheat walls, Gray Mist trim, gray stained railings, aged copper pickets, Satchel door

Late Wheat walls, Gray Mist trim, gray stained railings, aged copper pickets, bronze light fixture — we’re liking the view from the living room.

Interior doors were installed, including the door that will close off the back bedrooms from the front of the house.

The red patina on this bronze door hardware perfectly complements the Satchel paint colour.

The red patina on this bronze door hardware perfectly complements the Satchel paint colour from Benjamin Moore.

Our pocket doors for the dining room arrived ahead of schedule, but not in time to have them painted before they were installed.  Still, we’re happy to get them so quickly, after cancelling our original order with Lowes’ supplier. (They went into a 4 week backorder after keeping us waiting for 5 weeks.)

Love the glass in these doors, made locally  and ahead of schedule by Royal Door.

Love the glass in these doors, made locally and ahead of schedule by Royal Door.

Painting the pocket doors after installation is a bit trickier than doing it prior, but our contractor has made it as easy for us as he could.

Painting the pocket doors after installation is a bit trickier than doing it prior, but our contractor has made it as easy for us as he could.

The extra work is worth it, to see the Satchel door colour echoed in the kitchen wall, and complemented by the Late Wheat dining room walls, Gray Mist trim,  and Graphite cabinets.

The extra work is worth it, to see the Satchel door colour echoed in the kitchen wall, and complemented by the Late Wheat dining room walls, Gray Mist trim, and Graphite cabinets.

A new floor vent has been added to this kitchen alcove, and we love the way the stainless steel cover brightens the floor in this area.

We picked up these vent covers at Costco, and have seen them in other box stores since.  We like the hit of pattern in the floor.

We picked up these vent covers at Costco, and have seen them in other box stores since. We like the hit of pattern in the floor.

The wall vent was put up in its new position in the kitchen wall.  Why do they always come in white? I carefully painted this one to match the wall before it was installed.

Those little white screws might as well be the lights of Vegas! But I know how to fix them without gumming them up with paint....

Those little white screws might as well be the lights of Vegas! But I know how to fix them without gumming them up with paint….

Metallic markers from Sharpie!  They go on beatifully, and are great for touching up screws that always seem to be the wrong colour for whatever they are holding up.  Copper took care of the screws in my wall vent cover.

Metallic markers from Sharpie! They go on beautifully, and are great for touching up screws that always seem to be the wrong colour for whatever they are holding up. Copper took care of the screws in my wall vent cover.

 

One little detail that came to light after the cabinets were installed: the tiny slivers of primer-painted white walls, between the front of the cabinets and the edge of the door frame.  There were a few more of these tiny gaps on walls that will otherwise be covered in tile.  Wish I’d thought of those areas before the cabinets were installed!  It doesn’t make sense (to me, anyway) to paint these slivers in my wall colour, because that reddish colour will draw too much attention.  So I painted them to blend in and disappear.

Those annoying little gaps of white primer are no match for a determined decorator with a tiny paint brush.

Those annoying little gaps of white primer are no match for a determined decorator with a tiny paint brush and a colour-matched can of paint.

I even painted those gaps between the bottom of my soffits and the tops of my window frames.  They won’t be visible when my valances are installed, but what if someone looks underneath the valances?

No one is going to see a white 'slip' showing when they look under my valances!

No one is going to see a white ‘slip’ showing when they look under my valances!

My contractor worked for several days to finish all of the carpentry details, but every new piece of wood he installed had to be primed and painted.  Since I’m the chief painter, that meant another lost weekend.

The trim around the top of the stairwell is a neat touch, but that wall was already painted.  Now I have to do it again.

The trim around the top of the stairwell is a neat touch, but that wall was already painted. Now I have to do it again.

Our closet doors weren’t new, but had not yet been painted.  There’s no escaping the task this time around.

Why did we get this style of door? What were we thinking, with all those little dividers to be painted?!

Why did we get this style of door? What were we thinking, with all those little dividers to be painted?!

The only saving grace in all the painting is how much I love our new colours.  I’m particularly in love with our new trim colour — I may never paint trim white again! It’s like liquid linen….

Good thing I love this paint colour --  Benjamin Moore's Gray Mist, CC-80 -- I seem to need miles of it on the trim!

Good thing I love this paint colour — Benjamin Moore’s Gray Mist, CC-80 — I seem to need miles of it on the trim!

Week 8 promises to be a big one — appliances will be delivered and installed; cabinetry is to be finished, including new hardware; and countertops are to be installed. With any luck, we’ll be moving back upstairs before Labour Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress Report: Week 6 — Let there be light — maybe?

We thought our biggest challenge was getting the lighting picked up before the store closed for the long weekend.   How wrong we were!

We thought our biggest challenge was getting the lighting picked up before the store closed for the long weekend. How wrong we were!

We started Week 6 with high hopes of getting our lighting installed.  After all, we had worked hard to get the walls and ceilings painted to prepare for it! Given our previous experiences with our contractors’s electrician — and other electricians on previous projects — we should have known this wouldn’t be so simple.

The electrician arrived late afternoon on the appointed day, about 4 hours later than we had been told to expect him.  He assured us that he had only a few hours of work to do.  After a few hours, he still hadn’t finished, so he asked to come back the next day.  We asked that he do so by 8:00 am, so he wouldn’t make us late for work.  Next morning, he showed up bright and early and got to work.  We showed him where the fixtures belonged, and gave directions for the height of each.   Then we went to work, looking forward to finally having more light.    Yes, we did have more light at the end of the day, but we also had this:

Discarded packaging in the kitchen -- this was the neatest corner!

Discarded packaging in the kitchen — this was the neatest corner!

More boxes and debris in the living room....

More boxes and debris in the living room….

Not only was the kitchen littered with wires and debris, but one of the fixtures was crooked!

Not only was the kitchen littered with wires and debris, but one of the fixtures was crooked!

Upon closer inspection, we noticed that one of the wall sconces was also crooked.

Upon closer inspection, we noticed that one of the wall sconces was also crooked.

The dining room fixture was only partially installed, and our ladder was covered in electrical bits and insulation.

The dining room fixture was only partially installed, and our ladder was covered in electrical bits and insulation.

Even worse was the damage around the dining room fixture canopy. How the heck did he puncture the plaster? And those scrapes will have to be repainted.  Urgh!

Even worse was the damage around the dining room fixture canopy. How the heck did he puncture the plaster? And those scrapes will have to be repainted. Urgh!

We decided to remove the dining room fixture until we could reinstall it properly.  It was so loose that the canopy was able to swing around and further scratch the ceiling, and we worried that it might fall down.

We decided to remove the dining room fixture until we could reinstall it properly. It was so loose that the canopy was able to swing around and further scratch the ceiling, and we worried that it might fall down.

Since my home looked as if the electrician had rushed out in the middle of the job (because he had!) I called my contractor to find out when the electrician was coming back.  Clever man — he had the electrician call me directly. The answer: 2 to 3 weeks!  He was heading out for vacation, and didn’t have any more time for our project.  Since he had to come back anyway to finish our undercabinet lighting (our kitchen installer neglected to ask whether we were using strips (yup!) or pucks (nope!), and drilled holes for pucks instead of strips.), the electrician had decided to leave everything until then.  I asked if there were problems with the fixtures that we had purchased, in case I needed to return them. The answer was ‘no’, the fixtures were fine and could be straightened, although he ‘had done his best’ to hang them properly.  Really!?  Might be time for a new line of work, then….

Rather than wait in the dark for the electrician to come back — thus risking further damage to my freshly painted ceilings — we decided to fix up what he had done, and hang the remaining fixtures ourselves.  (Shhhh! Don’t rat us out — hubby can connect the wires himself, although we would never tackle anything more complex than that.)  This was in addition to the work we had already scheduled to prepare for the installation of doors and railings.  Luckily, our Saturday plans were cancelled by the other family we were supposed to meet, so we had a free day.  Oh boy! Another lost weekend….

The dining room chandelier has now been correctly, and completely, assembled and installed.

The dining room chandelier has now been correctly, and completely, assembled and installed, and the ceiling damage patched and painted.

The wonky kitchen fixture has been straightened out and the ceiling touched up.

The wonky kitchen fixture has been straightened out and the ceiling touched up.

The wall sconces are straight, and no longer swing loosely against the wall.

The wall sconces are straight, and no longer swing loosely against the wall.

In the stairwell, we managed to hang the fixture, and to get 2 coats of paint on the door frame where stair railings will be attached.

In the stairwell, we managed to hang the fixture, and to get 2 coats of paint on the door frame where stair railings will be attached.

Last, but not least, we painted the new door that will separate our back hall from the front of the house.  Yes, that's the same colour as our kitchen walls.

Last, but not least, we painted the new door that will separate our back hall from the front of the house. Yes, that’s the same colour as our kitchen walls.

After a very tiring weekend, we were back on track, at least outside the kitchen.  We also found out this week that our sink was indeed too large for the counterop, and we had to reselect and reorder as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, our countertop fabricator’s production manager left on vacation this past weekend without our new sink template being delivered to the shop.  In spite of our best efforts to get it here, the sink was not delivered with the other pieces on Friday. We’re not sure if this will hold up the fabrication of the countertops or not.  And the Tasco folks wonder why I can’t commit to a delivery date for the appliances!

Week 7 promises to be a quiet one — maybe I will finally make some progress on the decorating!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress Report: Week 5 — Big Changes

Week 5 has been HUGE — we are finally able to catch a glimpse of the finished product,  inside and out.  Inside, we’ve been pushing ourselves and everyone else  to have everything ready for cabinet installation, which was scheduled the day we signed the contract with Kitchen Court.

We've taken it upon ourselves to do at least some of our own painting.  We started by priming the kitchen, living/dining area, and front hall.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to do at least some of our own painting. We started by priming the kitchen, living/dining area, and front hall.

Before cabinets could be installed the kitchen needed to be painted.  Here's a shot of the ceiling -- we are loving the blue-gray ceiling colour!

Before cabinets could be installed the kitchen needed to be painted. Here’s a shot of the ceiling — we are loving the blue-gray ceiling colour!

There aren't many painted walls in our new kitchen, but this will be the colour of those that are painted.

There aren’t many painted walls in our new kitchen, but this will be the colour of those that are painted.

week 5 - kitchen first view from stairs

On the appointed day, the kitchen cabinets arrived, and installation began. This is the view that greeted me as I arrived home at the end of the day.

That big gap in the middle is for my new  built-in fridge and freezer combination.

That big gap in the middle is for my new built-in fridge and freezer combination. 

Dishwasher, sink, garbage pullout -- the window wall is a busy one! And don't we love the bookcase!!

Dishwasher, sink, garbage pullout — the window wall is a busy one! And don’t we love the bookcase!!

The view from the front hall is even better on Day 2.  We have 2 vent plates in the kickplate of the peninsula -- one for heat, the other for our home alarm.

The view from the front hall is even better on Day 2. We have 2 vent plates in the kickplate of the peninsula — one for heat, the other for our home alarm. (Our alarm box lost its home in the reno, so we had to find a new one. This seemed like the best place for it.)

At the end of Day 2, they've installed everything that can be installed.  There are some missing doors (1 is backordered, the others were ordered incorrectly), and the platform for our range has been forgotten.  Now we wait a few more weeks for the finishing installation.

At the end of Day 2, they’ve installed everything that can be installed. There are some missing doors (1 is backordered, the others were ordered incorrectly), and the platform for our range has been forgotten. Now we wait a few more weeks for the finishing installation.

We are thrilled with the how the colours are coming together on floors, cabinets, walls and ceiling.  Can't wait to see how the wall tile pulls it all together!

We are thrilled with the how the colours are coming together on floors, cabinets, walls and ceiling. Can’t wait to see how the wall tile pulls it all together!

While the kitchen was being installed inside, the exterior makeover was kicking into high gear.  In fact, we may have goofed with the scheduling — on Day 1, both the siding guys and the kitchen installers laid claim to the driveway, so my husband had to mediate to keep everyone happy.  

week 5 - exterior destruction

Before the new siding can go on, the ugly old siding and front shingles have to come off. What a mess! Do not leave your windows open for this step (like I did!) — your sills will be full of dirt. It was so loud and so messy that we presented both of our neighbours with gift cards from Tim’s, as an apology.

Progress is quick on the exterior -- if only the rain would stop.

Progress is quick on the exterior — if only the rain would stop.

Finally, we get to see the transformation from all shingles to board and batten on the mansard portion of the front.

Finally, we get to see the transformation from all shingles to board and batten on the mansard portion of the front.

We're impressed with the details, like how they frame around the windows, or any other obstacles.

We’re impressed with the details, like how they frame around the windows, or any other obstacles.

The siding is scheduled to be an 8 day project.  We have to wait until next week to see the porch and garage door areas completely trimmed out.  And the shutters can't be ordered until this stage, in order to get the right size for the new openings that have been created around our windows.

The siding is scheduled to be an 8 day project. We have to wait until next week to see the porch and garage door areas completely trimmed out. And the shutters can’t be ordered until this stage, in order to get the right size for the new openings that have been created around our windows.

The exterior is looking great.  Now if only we could get Rogers to send out a crew to bury their cable, which has been strung from tree to tree, and across our front yard to the house.  It was originally tucked into our eaves troughs, but they have moved to the top of the house, so the cable now runs across our garage door, waiting to strangle anyone who dares to enter.  

At the end of Week 5, we had planned to take the Friday off, as part of a long weekend, in order to get started on painting.   On Thursday afternoon, our contractor called to say he was sending someone to finish putting filler in the crown and other moldings, so we could paint.  Since he couldn’t make it himself, and he knew we were on a schedule, he arranged for two professional painters to arrive at our home on Friday, to do the filling, and to paint for half a day.  What a gift!   Thankfully, we had already primed all the walls and ceiling, so we didn’t have to waste their talents on priming.

I could kiss the painters for getting the ceiling and crown completely, and perfectly, painted in the largest area.

I could kiss the painters for getting the ceiling and crown completely, and perfectly, painted in the largest area, as well as getting the first coat on the walls.  They saved us so much time, that we were able to finish the bulk of our painting that weekend. 

Week 5 ended with the templating for our quartz countertops.  Gary and Joe, from On-Centre Templating Services were knowledgeable and entertaining.

Week 5 ended with the templating for our quartz countertops. Gary and Joe, from On-Centre Templating Services were knowledgeable and entertaining, and they have the coolest toys with lasers.

We ended Week 5 with measurements for our new countertops.  Unfortunately, the sink we purchased may be too large — it’s too bad no one gave us a heads-up on the maximum size we could fit into a stone countertop.  Looks like we’ll be re-selecting and trying to get a rush delivery.  

Up Next Week: finishing touches for the exterior, completion of electrical work, installation of interior doors and stair railings.  It’s time to start thinking about finishing touches and decorating — my favourite part!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress Report: Week 4 — Crunch Time!

After a week of contractor behaviour that makes everyone question why they would ever want to renovate, we did manage to get our kitchen primed.  Monday of Week 4 brought the promise of new floors, with new stairs to follow  — or did it?

After being no-shows twice the previous week, our contractors did show up on Monday to finish the flooring, and the carpentry work.  Window and door frames were completed, and I have to say, they do nice work!

My kitchen windows now look like the ones in my elevation drawings from Kitchen Court, with no more sills, and frames on all sides.   Where will my husband leave his junk now that the ledges are gone?!

My kitchen windows now look like the ones in my elevation drawings from Kitchen Court, with no more sills, and frames on all sides. Where will my husband leave his junk now that the ledges are gone?!

Unfortunately, there is a time lag between taking out the old railings, and getting new ones installed.  We’re hoping that a table and small ladder at the top of the landing will stop anyone from falling into the abyss below.

Look, Ma! No railings!

Look, Ma! No railings!  I hope none of us takes up sleep-walking.

Removing the post on the landing revealed a history of bad wallpaper choices -- not mine!

Removing the post on the landing revealed a history of bad wallpaper choices — not mine!

My stair guy was scheduled to come in on Tuesday to put the new stairs over the old ones.  When I called to see what time he would be coming — so I could coordinate with the contractors — he said it would work better if it could be Thursday.  Since this worked better for the contractors, too, I agreed.   We expected him at 10:00 am.  When he didn’t arrive at 10:00, I called to check on him, and he said he would have to come around 4:00 pm — would it be okay if he worked late?  I agreed to this further delay, and when I left the house at 5:00 pm, he still hadn’t shown up.  When I returned at 6:00 pm, there he was, with an assistant; they finished up around 8:00 pm, and asked if they could return on Saturday to complete the job.  Sure, why not!? As long as they didn’t hold up the painting that we needed to start that day….

Fortunately, my stair guy also does great work.   Each of our existing steps has been covered with a new, solid wood step in oak, stained with a custom stain made to match our new flooring.   It’s quite an art form, with great results.

Our beautiful new stairs were worth the wait.

Our beautiful new stairs were worth the wait.

Remember these?  This is what our old stairs used to look like.  Bye, bye yellow!

Remember these? This is what our old stairs used to look like. Bye, bye yellow!

Stair guy is also staining our new stair posts and handrails.

Stair guy is also staining our new stair posts and handrails.

In addition to finish carpentry, and flooring installation, our contractors were also prepping for the exterior work to take place in Week 5.

The former door opening at the side of the house has finally been sealed -- no more light (or bugs!) sneaking in through the gaps.

The former door opening at the side of the house has finally been sealed — no more light (or bugs!) sneaking in through the gaps.

The outside of the house is also ready for its makeover.

The outside of the house is also ready for its makeover.

All the wood on the front porch has been stripped down and realigned to get ready for new aluminum coverings.

All the wood on the front porch has been stripped down and realigned to get ready for new aluminum coverings.

In spite of delays and no-shows, we did manage to get all the critical items completed to prepare for Week 5.  Week 5 is a BIG one, with cabinetry and new siding scheduled to happen simultaneously.  In order to get the inside ready, we need to finish painting the kitchen, and start priming the main living areas.  We ended Week 4 with a trip to the local Benjamin Moore dealer.

Good thing we brought the truck!

Good thing we brought the truck!

Let’s hope there are no more no-shows in Week 5.  Momma needs her kitchen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress Report: Week 3 — Here comes trouble!

A friend remarked this week that  I was the coolest and calmest person she had ever seen go through renovations. The fact that she said this in the midst of a week that (finally) brought some angst, is thanks to my clients.  I have lived vicariously through their renovations for 20 years, so it’s kind of like I’ve been renovating for 20 years.  That’s not to say that I don’t become ‘mildly annoyed’ by delays.

Week 3 was to be the week that we finally stopped tearing out and making a mess, and started putting things back together, with finishing touches like moldings and flooring.  We were supposed to be getting ready to paint in Week 4.  But things don’t always go according to plan….

The week started out with promise -- crown molding went up. We're loving it!

The week started out with promise — crown molding went up. We’re loving it!

Arches and doorways began to receive moldings.  We are beyond excited to see these 2 arches more balanced in width, and higher.

Arches and doorways began to receive moldings. We are beyond excited to see these 2 arches more balanced in width, and higher.  Apparently, the underlying beam on the living room arch is warped, necessitating the large ‘clamp’ on our new casing.

We did discover one little hitch with our newly framed arches -- how do we paint in that teeny, tiny little gap between door frames??

We did discover one little hitch with our newly framed arches — how do we paint in that teeny, tiny little gap between door frames??

 

The pile of moldings in my living room are proof of our contractor's good intentions.

The pile of moldings in my living room are proof of our contractor’s good intentions and plans for the week.

This pile of flooring should be a sign of imminent installation.

This pile of flooring should be a sign of imminent installation.

The problem started with the weather — extreme heat and humidity outside creates very hot conditions on the main floor of our house, where the flooring is to be installed.  The heat and humidity are mitigated by the air conditioning on the main level, but that has little impact on this space in the basement.  In fact, there is a 12 degree temperature difference, and a huge humidity difference, between this space and the main floor.  Hardwood flooring needs to acclimatize in the space in which it’s to be installed.  When the flooring was brought into the house, it was to be placed on the main floor.  When there wasn’t a clean space for this to happen, it was loaded into the only clean, empty space in the house — our former ‘cold room’.  This was Monday evening.

On Tuesday, I decided to check with my flooring supplier to see if they were happy with the conditions in which our flooring was being acclimatized.  The answer was no, so on Wednesday morning, I had to inform my general contractor that I wanted the flooring brought upstairs and opened up.  This brought work to a screeching halt, as this was the day that flooring installation was to begin.  They promised to come back around noon the next day, but they were no-shows.  Perhaps this was punishment for disagreeing with our contractors assessment that the flooring could acclimatize in my basement?   I’ve never agreed with homeowners and clients who let their contractors dictate how they do things, or how they don’t do things, but I will admit that it’s not easy to tell a crew what they don’t want to hear.  However, the alternative is lost sleep and needless worry, and possibly future flooring problems, so I did what needed to be done.

When we returned to the house on Wednesday, our flooring had been moved to the main floor and opened up to properly acclimatize.

When we returned to the house on Wednesday, our flooring had been moved to the main floor and opened up to properly acclimatize.   It stayed there until Friday, when our crew finally ‘blessed’ us with their presence. 

On Friday, flooring installation finally began.  It called for self-leveling cement to compensate for poor building practices in our kitchen.

On Friday, flooring installation finally began.  Our existing, sub-par sub-floor had been reinforced with additional plywood, and self-leveling cement had been used to compensate for poor building practices in our kitchen.

Hello gorgeous new floor!   It's great to see you here.

Hello gorgeous new floor! It’s great to see you here.

Unfortunately, the flooring couldn't be completed in one day, and our contractors were again no-shows on Saturday.

This kitchen isn’t quite ready for ‘prime’ time. 

The contractors made a good start on the flooring on Friday, and promised to return on Saturday.  Unfortunately, they were no-shows — again! — leaving us with a half-floored kitchen.  In order to keep to the painting schedule — and to have the kitchen ready for cabinetry in a week — we moved everything out so we could prime the ceiling and walls over the weekend.

Hopefully, Week 4 will bring less drama and more finishing.  The cabinetry is coming in Week 5, no matter what!