August 28, 2012

End of August progress report

Thankfully, the momentum we had before we left for the cottage hasn't slowed one bit.  Things are getting noticeably done every day it seems.
The stucco is now completely done.  
I chose the colour based on only a paint chip, which is never my preferred method for something so permanent!  But we were away, and I couldn't see the samples too well by way of iPhone pictures.  So I just went with my gut and specified Stone Harbour Grey by Benjamin Moore (2111-50).
I practically ran to the house the moment we drove in the driveway coming back from the cottage to see how it looked.  
Phew!!  It looks great!

Really great!!

And that's the bi-fold door installed-- love it!
That motion light won't stay by the way.  We put it there temporarily for security reasons.  We had a small break-in a few weeks back and then, last week, a couple in a van tried to dump a whole load of old carpet on our driveway.  Thankfully our next door neighbour (and friend) heard them from her window and confronted them directly.  They did manage to dump one carpet, but not the whole van load!  Yay, Karin!  The best neighbour!

Apparently that bi-fold door was a nightmare to install.  In hindsight we should have used the manufacturer's installers.  We'll know for the next house!  ;-)

The spray foam was done while we were away as well.
As I've mentioned before, I don't love using spray foam because of potential off-gassing and the permanence of it in case we ever do need to remove it.  Remember UFFI in the 1970's?  Well O.K., neither do I, but I do know the problems it caused for the people who did install it, and I can't help worrying that spray foam will go the same way in 5-10 years.  
But we also needed the high R-value that only spray foam could provide-- especially in the cathedral ceiling of the 3rd floor.  It took a lot for me to make that call, but in the end we decided to use it only in the places where it was absolutely necessary.  
To my happy surprise, though, the installation was done beautifully, and I couldn't smell a thing when I went in a week after.  Hopefully all my fears are completely unfounded!

In the less critical areas, we framed with 2 X 6's and used JM formaldehyde free insulation.

This sun-tunnel was installed in the wrong spot during our last vacation in Scotland.  
With a bit of MacGyvering, the guys managed to stretch it over to the tub and toilet area (where there is no window).  Even on the north side of the roof, it lets in an amazing amount of natural light!

We also got a sample of the new stairs.  
I was quite worried about them because we hired a "2-guys and a saw" kind of company to build them and they had neither seen nor made anything like the stairs that I wanted.  
Something like these:

via  Houzz

I gave them a bunch of pictures and some drawings that I made, and this is what they showed me today.  Fantastic!!  I very nearly hugged him!

The treads and risers are red oak, and the stringers (since they'll be completely hidden by drywall) were done in maple.
I love the zig-zag side view.  
They even got the angle right on the risers!

August 26, 2012

Our cottage vacation

We just got back from a 2 week vacation in beautiful Muskoka.  The weather was kind of chilly for the first week, but it was just glorious for the second when we had our friends and their 4 girls join us.  Seven girls aged 4 to 10!  They were all in heaven!
We did a lot of the usual cottage things like roasting marshmallows.

Cliff jumping.

Catching frogs and tadpoles.

Kayaking, canoeing, boating, tubing...  But most of all our girls liked the freedom they had of doing whatever they wanted, and roaming around the property as they pleased.  It was really eye-opening for me to hear this from our oldest daughter and I completely understand.  In the city, their lives are so scheduled and organized and monitored.  

The water around our cottage is very shallow as well, so it is perfect for little kids.  
This next picture makes me laugh a bit, because our cottage is in an area of extremely wealthy people.  Most of the boathouses are bigger than our entire cottage--no joke!  But you can't even see our cottage from the lake!  And our dock is smaller than most people's boats.  
My parents bought the place in 1972 from the daughter of the original owner. The cottage was originally built in the late 1800's.  When I was growing up, there were very few cottages in the area.  Now there are mansions popping up all over the place.  

This is one of my favourites that can be seen right from our beach.  Amazing, isn't it?!

While we were sitting by the fire at sunset, we noticed the cottage had golden windows just like a story that I read to my 5 year old.  She loved it!  It sure is beautiful.

Although I didn't get up to any projects while we were there, we did manage to dismantle the old dock (we built a new one last spring).

I thought I could re-use the old dock boards somehow in the Bennett House.  A headboard came to mind, or a coffee table.  But I think we're going to try and make light boxes out of them instead.  Hopefully it works out. 

I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer!  
As much as we enjoyed our two weeks away, it's also good to be back.

August 09, 2012

When it rains, it pours!

After feeling like our whole project has been progressing at a snail's pace for the last few weeks, we have suddenly had a complete turn around. 
We finished our 200 amp upgrade.

All the ductwork is now complete and we have the amended city HVAC permit in hand.  The last part of this stage was the re-installation of the existing A/C unit.  We had a very bad time with the HVAC, but the installers we ended up with really came through, and did an awesome job for us in the end.  So happy to move on from this now!

We also got a surprise when the stucco guys came by to let us know they had an opening and could start our project the next day!  We had to coordinate with Steve (our stone guy) since his wall and stairs were right in the way--  more on that later, but his wall is one of my favourite parts of the house!  Fortunately he had other jobs he could go to in the meantime, and the stucco work began.

Stucco is messy work!  They have to rough up the styrofoam surface and these little bits go flying everywhere like snow.  The poor guy doing it was sweating in the heat and had all these little bits stuck to his face and arms.  I couldn't embarrass him by taking his picture, but he did look hilarious!

The stucco guys needed the back doors installed to finish their job properly so we were in a mad rush today to get them picked up.  
By the way, we also finished the cedar shakes.  I love the look of them now!  

We used Thompson's Water Seal waterproofer plus clear wood protector.  I loved it so much that we went with the same look in the front of the house and plan to use it on the deck as well. 

These are the back sliding doors that we got today.

The one in our master bedroom just got installed.

Tomorrow the big, black bi-fold door is going in.  I really hope it goes smoothly.  
Tomorrow we also leave for our summer cottage vacation-- right after our inspection.  I hope to actually get some rest up there and not worry about everything that is happening at the house.  I am getting a bit stressed lately.

August 05, 2012

Our kitchen cabinet plans

Just before we left for Scotland, I finalized and ordered the kitchen cabinets.  I did mention the layout earlier, and have pretty much stuck with that, but tweaked a couple of minor things and figured out the exact  measurements of each cabinet.
We decided to go with a high gloss white acrylic cabinet with integrated, minimal chrome pulls.  Kitchens are one place that you can get seriously carried away and end up blowing your budget.  I ended up reigning in our spending by opting for the high gloss acrylic instead of the matte laquered fronts that I originally wanted.  I do think it will look great in the end and saved enough money to practically pay for all our appliances!
We are still hoping to do wood floors throughout the main level, so I wanted a simple look for the kitchen.  

I won't have those 2 chairs at the end of the island (the kitchen designer put them there), and plan to use a bigger stainless steel hood fan (the current plan, anyway), open wood shelving on either side of the hood fan, and our Rosle rail system underneath.  On the smaller wall (the solid black one in this picture) we plan to hang a large piece of art for now.  
I'm not sure what we'll use for the backsplash yet, but am thinking of a matte grey tile at the moment.

This is the back side of the island.  It will house the garbage and dishwasher.  I have carefully thought out every cupboard and drawer so that pretty much everything I own has it's place already.  We'll also have a few extra drawers and cupboards since this will be a bigger kitchen than we currently have.  

Below is a close up of the fronts and pulls we're getting.  Our's will be white and the pulls won't have that curve, though.  Very simple.