Friday, November 28, 2008
When first installed, the framing for our closets was only as big as the doorways. We had a quick chat with the builder and the closets grew another foot each. I think he was preparing for a pull down movie screen to fit between the closets, but we can come up with a an alternative.
Those wires hanging from the ceiling are for the movie sound system.
The geek in me squeals like a schoolgirl over this stuff.
The speaker wire will connect into one amplifier and I will be able to play music in the Living Room and Kitchen from a system in the basement. The ethernet cables will plug into a patch panel and I'll be able to route phone or internet to any room in the house.
By my count there are now three devices for sale that take streaming video off the net and pump it straight into your tv. If you want to drool, google Netflix and Roku to see what $99 US gets you.
As a Canadian, I'm ticked that they aren't available to us yet, but i'm patient. Still, the writing is on the wall and the wait won't be too long.
Last Tuesday, I bumped into John and Glynis (our friends from around the corner from our house) We walked and talked until we were near my house and I invited them in to see the progress. I like to invite fiends in whenever I can. Their enthusiasm and encouragement are good for reminding me of how much we've done. Looking at the bones of our house for so long has made it seem like it will never get done.
That night as we came into the house, it was toasty warm for the first time since we left it. They had cranked up the heat for the spray insulating. All our new windows were in place too.
Based on what we'd read and our contractor recommended, we figured foam insulation was the way to go. It functions both as insulator and vapor barrier.
Now it actually is starting to feel less like a construction site and more like the home we've been waiting to come back to.
Monday, November 17, 2008
This is in our upstairs bedroom at the front of the house, now called the Media Room in our plans.
Later on, you'll see how Barb thought through the kitchen. Here's whee i got to run wild.
That's 4 blue ethernet cables coming out of a conduit that runs straight .to the basement. I've run 3-4 ethernet lines to nearly all the rooms in the house and they will all terminate at a patch panel in the basement. Just to be sure, there's pull strings too. Any time in the future I'll be able to pull whatever new cable is required.
To the right of the ethernet is coiled speaker wire running to the ceiling. That's for the surround speaker system that will be mounted overhead.
I'm betting that the future will be streamed.
Musty the Rotting Roof, that is.
By far our most expensive surprise has been the discovery of our decaying roof. In the last year, our shingles seemed to begin crumbling at a rapid rate. We knew that it would be silly to proceed with a renovation while leaving a roof that could start leaking at any time. Sure enough, in inspecting the roof they discovered that the boards were rotted beyond salvage. One brand new upper triangle later, we're looking forward to serving mac & cheese at our open house.
This is a view standing in the living room looking to the back of the house. The ladder on the ground is where the stairs used to be. They had to go (just too crooked) and the railing I had hoped would stay is looking pretty doubtful. Having no interior walls makes a 16 foot wide house look very, very, small. Kind of like a shotgun shack.
That's a new subfloor there. It turns out that you could fall through the old one in a couple of places. As you can see, the unexpected is starting to drive up the costs.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is our upstairs bedroom and you can see that there was a window that had been boarded up. You can see that the work had been done with castoff lumber.
There were a number of places in our house where the lumber in the walls was obviously scavenged from previous work. In many cases the lumber wasn't long enough and our contractor had to shore things up.
On our assessments, it says the house was built in 1916. Records show it was the first constructed in our development, by a developer trying to make good on his investments in a real estate market stalled out by the First World War. The Developer ended up moving into it for a couple years, waiting for the war to end and the market to heat up again. The earliest maps I can find show our house as one of four on our street. by 1924, all the houses on our street were in place.
Maybe scarcity of the war had left builders without choices. The insides of our walls a view into a time that forged Canadian identity.
Or maybe they were just crap builders.
This photo is in the dining room looking onto the back side of the stairs. Note the 1/2 inch furring strips on the exterior brick walls. Yep, that's it, the sum total of ALL the insulation we had on the walls of our downstairs. In this room you could see daylight between some of the bricks. One of our first decisions was to sacrifice some space in our rooms and add provide some depth in the walls for insulation. Given that the house is 16 feet wide, three inches less space may actually be noticeable
Once the gut started, it went pretty fast. I had hoped they would find old newspapers and other artifacts in the walls. With the lathe and plaster down, it became clear that a sheet of newspaper was about all that would have fit inside our walls.
Our renovation really started when we hired a design firm to help us plan. Several thousand dollars later we had drawings, a contractor and a start date. I am of course leaving lots out, but you'll have to come to the housewarming to hear the good stuff.