Lakeshore Cottage

A reno blog for a cottage just outside of Toronto
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Misc work and bird feeder activity

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

At some point just before we started into the bathroom project we did a few days of work on the utility room downstairs, which is basically our water room. It used to be completely open to the crawlspace because the behemoth of an oil furnace we had stuck out partially into the room and therefore couldn’t be closed off. We switch to propane about a year ago – I just did a search and couldn’t find any post for it, which is weird – and the new Napoleon furnace is much better and much smaller. This meant we could finally close off the room from the crawlspace.

There are two external walls in this room and neither had insulation except for flimsy/old white stryofoam stuff nailed on the outside of the MDF (?) paneling. This also explains why the room would sometimes get to extremely low temperatures (even into the negatives) which always made me nervous considering it houses the main water line, water pressure tank, and hot water tank. We pulled everything down, ran the electrical and ductwork for the upstairs dining room register through the walls/joists (previously had been sitting outside the walls), replaced with Roxul insulation and put poly over it. We drywalled until we ran out of drywall so it’s half finished. We also moved the light more in the middle of the room which I’m grateful for, because we discovered that some mice had chewed through the wiring and left the black hot exposed – yikes. We fixed it all up, did some crazy drywalling around a main furnace duct we wouldn’t get away from, and the room is so much better and warmer. We still need to mud and finish the drywall but it’s good enough for now.

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We’ve also had a bird feeder going for the winter which has been a great supply of nature TV. The birds are a bit hard to see in the photos below but we’ve had have repeat visits from dark-eyed juncos, blue jays, chickadees, nuthatches, a downy woodpecker, northern flicker, American goldfinch and even a pair of turtle doves.



We also had an ordeal dealing with a Home Depot install of new eavestroughs/gutters which I’ll have to save for another post.

Bathroom reno from hell – Part 2

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Read Part 1 of the bathroom reno here.

It’s taken me a while to finish this bathroom wrap up post but the bathroom is basically finished. We were pretty burnt out and worked like crazy after the holidays to wrap it up because we had a Cuba sailing trip in February and visits from friends to look forward to. The sailing trip was amazing, btw, and we highly recommend it.


Cuba sailing with G Adventures

After the Durock went up it was a matter of thinsetting the seams, applying Redguard, and getting into tiling the shower.



We used 4×16 white subway tile stackbond pattern. I have a laser level that I throw up on a tripod and test every few rows. I love it and won’t use anything else now for these type of tiles. The green tape on some of the corners is because although we shimmed the studs on the back wall, the wall still slanted out and left a bit of a gap after the two side wall tiles. Frustrating but at this point we wanted to get it done. In hindsight I should have ripped a 2×4 down the entire length of the studs to fix this and spent more time on it. “It’s a cottage” became our mantra for cosmetic shit we couldn’t easily fix.






Grouting happened. The lake water has a tendency to leave a coloured residue on the tub so we went with a light grey to help hide it.




We didn’t have a fan in the previous bathroom and it would get humid at times when showering, even with the window open. The cottage was built as a small main room with several other rooms added on, the bathroom being one of them, so when you’re in the attic there’s actually a second roof under the current main room above the bathroom (and the dining/front room on the other side). Because of this we decided to go with a in-wall fan to avoid needing to cut through two layers of roof/shingles and avoid disturbing the blown-in attic insulation we did a few years ago. We bought a Panasonic FV-08WQ1 WhisperWall fan which was considerably more expensive than a ceiling mount and one of the more expensive things we bought for the bathroom. It wasn’t difficult to install and the fan is great. I splurged on a humidity sensor switch so if someone forgets to turn it on, it’ll come on automatically.


Installed some fixtures:


The in floor heating is amazing. Definitely was worth the time and stress of pouring self leveling cement. I keep kicking myself for not doing it at our house in Toronto. Considering we got the mat at 50% off clearance online at Home Depot, it was a steal. Was pretty amazing to connect it all a month later and feel the floor warming up.

Instead of having another gross closet thing we drywalled behind the shower and created shelves:




Another thing we hated about the bathroom was the popcorn ceiling. Instead of scraping it off or pulling down the drywall (we hate drywalling ceilings and who knows if it’s asbestos) we decided to go full cottage and put up wood planks. It also gave us a reason to buy a new finish nailer (we only had a brad) which is a pretty awesome tool. We bought the wood from Lowes, let them acclimatize for over a week, painted, and nailed them up. We ran out at one point because they’re pretty awful (30% or so are waste) and were stuck buying more at a Lowes near us (instead of in Toronto) where they only had cottage grade, which basically meant 50% of them were waste. We kept the shitty ones though and will use in the outhouse build this summer (another project to come).




Some final photos:



Overall we’re really happy about the bathroom. We totaled the cost for it before our trip and it came out to about $3700. We have had further Home Depot trips since then so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come out around $4500.

It’s hard to believe how different it is from what we had before. This project was definitely worth it but all the work leading up to the holidays, during the holidays, and the weekends after were a total slog. There was no way for us to know how bad it was going to be until we got into it. Completing this project pretty much means that we’ve redone every (big) thing upstairs in the cottage. No more leaks, no more gross bathroom. It’s awesome.