Sunday, February 21, 2010

Making a Silk Purse From a Sow's Ear

You may have read here previously that we are undergoing renovations in our home, but I haven't really fully expanded on what is going on. Since I have run out of weaving topics to share with you, its time has come!

I have been fact that 'simple to treadle' towel project has been great! Some days I literally had no where to go in my own home and so retreated to the loom, plugged in the iPod and have been plugging away on my towels. I'm down to the last one, maybe two towels to weave off and I'm already thinking on what's next... The towels and future project will be discussed at another post.

I do try to keep to my chosen topic of weaving but this is what is happening in my life right now and there is no escaping its influence right now!

The renovation posts will most likely cover two or three entries for now and some updates down the road. There are a number of pictures as they tell the story best.

We have a few projects on the go:

  • full kitchen remodel, including dining room
  • two skylight remodelling
  • upper hall, stairwell and lower hall
  • ceiling repair in my studio
  • *and soon* restoration of the laundry room ceiling and room painted (after dishwasher overflow)
  • *delayed for a week or so*: painting our living room.
  • *to come*: three new patio doors, new front door, new back door.

Okay, here's our old kitchen. With its dark wood, dingy cupboards, awful wall paper, nasty tile counter tops with cracked grout, faucet that moves, dead dishwasher.... and that glass cupboard that hangs right where you look! If you were talking to someone you had to crouch down. It was a dark physical 'block' that divided the space. (The old hardwood floor was removed by the restoration company.)
We started with taking down the glass cupboard and the change was amazing! It opened the whole space right up and gave us a hint of what was to come. I packed up the contents and piled it up in the guest room, and wondered how this was going to work with us living here during the process? Particularly me as I'm home all the time.

Finally the day arrived and Keith and Clay started to take things apart. You can see some nasty 1970's lino which was found under the hardwood floor. It went nicely with the bright orange counter top and I somehow can imagine the appliances being a lovely avocado green for contrast. Yuck! I didn't like it the first time through the 70's!

Soon it was all piled up outside on the deck. You can see a bright strip of the old orange counter top...
There are so many different parts to the various projects that I have decided to focus on the two skylights from start to finish. Here is the one above the kitchen and it had a florescent light box all around the opening. It was the main light in the kitchen and left the far corner dark.

Here the box frame and lights have come down and drywall repairs are under way. New wire for new lights has been pulled and you can see some of the new pot lights in place. I don't know who made a bigger mess! The electrician or the dry waller/ painters. They kept me busy every night for one to two hours vacuuming.... *everywhere*!

Here the same skylight is close to being finished. All it needs is re-stippling of the ceiling texture.

Okay, skylight number two is over the dining room area. It was lined with cedar boards. It felt like there was a heavy weight above you when you sat at the table. We debated what to do. Paint it white? Replace the bottom trim with something newer? Remove it and drywall? The latter won!

Here Clay is starting to strip it down. You can see the electrician left me a very classy bare light bulb !

When they left for the day, this is what I found. Turns out that from back when the house was first built in 1979 there were a light circle of insulation but not really secure. In fact some had fallen over and the vapour barrier didn't seal the area and was open 3 inches all around the bottom. Clay went up into the attic with R40 batts and sealed it up tight. Then up went the new drywall.
Here it has had the tape joins applied with mud and the new edges done with corner bead. It needs primer and paint, then re-stippling of the texture.. You can also see the new colour for the kitchen dining room here as well.

Here's Keith giving the space its first coat of colour. Look at all that light! It feels so airy and light now. (fun photograph! I couldn't resist...)
Meanwhile back in the kitchen ( and a bit back in time) I had been trying valiantly to strip off the old wall paper only to find that there was *MORE* wall paper underneath!
It actually looked nicer than what was on top. I have actually seen a commercial on TV for our local electricity company and the 'new' home has wall paper in the same pattern but green! This paper must be over 25 to 30 years old. It was also on for good! The painter floated a layer of dry wall mud over it and sealed it away for who knows how many more years as a 'time capsule'.

So this last picture for this time (if you are still with me :) shows a stripped down room that looks pretty darn ugly. I had to put a good spin on things and concentrated on how much more light and room there seemed to be now with all the dark wood gone. How open the space was. The plumbing is in place now and most of the lighting and electrical is done or the wires waiting for the next phase.

Even though the new kitchen is something I really want to see happen, I have found this part quite distressing, messy and down right confusing some days. Its a process where you reduce the room down to it bare, unattractive bones and then start to build it back up. I'm one of those people who like to keep the home front calm and I have some *frazzled* nerves at this point. I was even called cranky one day! Me???!

Meals? breakfast is cold cereal and coffee made in the bathroom. I am NOT going with out my coffee! Lunch happened when ever things went quiet upstairs and I'd make a dash for the fridge. Instant cup a soup's are handy (but awful) and cheese buns quick. Dinner was (and still is) a medley of local dining. We reckon that the cost of not buying groceries helps offset the cost of restaurant dining. Okay, we're kidding ourselves but we actually needed a daily break from the house each day.
Part 2 next time with more pictures... and maybe even some weaving?


weaveblah said...

Your builders certainly are making progress, and the renovations are taking shape and looking very good.

barbara said...

Hang in there Susan, it is going to be beautiful!!! I know just how you feel, living with boxes and a mess; my renovations are about 20% of yours. I am waiting on friends who want to help, and I find that frustrating - especially one person who is working full time. Lesson learned - hire people who do this for a living. Trying to save money is the objective of my exercise since I have retired. Take care you place will be beautiful!!!!!
Weaverly yours .... Barbara

LA said...

You are going to be so glad you took all these pictures! It's a work in progress, and not too much fun right now. But, already it is amazing! Keep us posted!

Lynn said...

Oh, geez, that looks like it will be wonderful when it's done, but hell to live through!

Restless Knitter said...

I loved seeing the pictures and hearing about your renovation! I would love to do some remodeling here but knowing this isn't our permanent home, we hesitate to do much to it.

charlotte said...

I'm sure your kitchen will be lovely when it's finished. Living in boxes without access to a kitchen seems quite awful to me, but I'm sure it will be worthwile!

Synnøve. said...

Its nice when its done.
Lookong forward to se the result when its finisht.

Hugs from a cold and snowy Norway.

bspinner said...

Wow, your removation is coming along so nicely. It's going to be beautiful when your finished!!!

Trapunto said...

You're off to a flying start! And not only is the heavy feeling gone, but you're going to get tons more reflected light without the cedar in the skylight. I wish you well and continue to enjoy your posts, weaving-related or reno-related!

DebbieB said...

"We have a few projects on the go" - that's certainly a huge understatement! Oh my - I envy you the final result (a gorgeous renovated home) but not the ongoing dust and mess. Hang in there!

Silky said...

Hang in there it will be so worth it. And your still weaving towels. Thats good. I actually enjoyed all the photo's

Benita said...

I love reading about other people's remodeling projects! And yours is quite a make-over. Just think how nice it will be when it is finally done.

Lynnette said...

Only two things to say....I didn't have any trouble seeing under that cabinet.....but you're right it's sooooooooo much better and as always I feel your pain! Can't wait to see it all finished!

Jasmine Weaver said...

Susan, we just got back from the island and believe it or not the portion of our place that will be the business side looks just like yours. Had hoped to get to some of the fiber events when we were there but the renos took over. Simple jobs seem to grow, but once it is done think how happy we will be!

Life Looms Large said...

Wow - you have made so much progress from when you started out. It's striking to go back and see the difference!

Good luck!