Lakeshore Cottage

A reno blog for a cottage just outside of Toronto
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Main room improvements

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Saturday was a short day because we needed to be back in time for an amazing show (Blue Dragon / Robert Lepage), but we had a friend come with us. This weekend was basically more mudding to make the texture on the walls less offensive, and more flooring. I pulled up the ugly marble tile that had been placed in the space between the bathroom and bedroom. A piece of the floor was sanded down to the bare wood and various sample stains applied. Molly and I also combed through paint colours to come up with a combination we think we’ll like. The plan has always been to sand down the hardwood, and now we’re aiming at just putting the polyurethene clear coat down and keeping the floor a natural or naked red oak. We think we’re going with these colours from CIL:

The electrical work our friend did is amazing. I can’t believe how much of a difference it actually makes. I’m really impressed by it all and happy with his work.

The hardwood flooring is nearly complete, but I wasn’t in the mood to use the tablesaw last night at 8pm so the last couple rows will need to go in this weekend. Turns out the flooring I bought was basically the exact right amount for the main room and small “hallway” area after ditching the pieces too shitty to use and the end pieces that they already cut. I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel now to find pieces for the last couple rows and there is no way it could have been used for the bedroom like I originally hoped. The floor is also not totally perfect. I now see that I could have done a better job at flattening/leveling the floor but I’m hoping the sander will help out in that area. Also, the wood had already acclimatized to the house it used to be in, some of them are water damaged (which is probably why they tore it out), and just warped — all of which is to be expected with reused/recycled/reclaimed hardwood flooring, I guess. It just means that in some areas, there are larger cracks between boards where I wasn’t able to pull the boards totally straight. This of course means in some areas, it adds larger gaps between boards after that.

If I had any advice for others who are considering reusing hardwood flooring, buy more than you think you’ll need, since it was suited for the project before yours. I still think it was the best way to go for the cottage, but I am not so sure I would do it for my main house.

And with that said, here are some before and after shots:

This weekend is the Family Day long weekend and I need to make a plan for what that will look like, work-wise. I’m starting to feel a bit stressed at running out of time to make the return eco-audit.

It’s electric

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Excited to go up tomorrow. We’re picking up two bookcase type things from a friend who was getting rid of them first thing in the morning, but more importantly, I’ll get to check out the work that our electrical friend did after spending 3.5 days up there. He managed to:

  • install an overhead light in the one bedroom that didn’t have one, with a switch
  • install a light switch and gfci outlet in the bathroom (was previously just a light with a chain)
  • light switch for the diningroom light, which was another light with a chain style thing (what were they thinking?)
  • 6 new pot lights with a dimmer in the main room
  • replaced all old wiring in the attic and crawlspace with new stuff
  • exterior conduit for the line that runs outside to the boathouse, it was previously half exposed
  • supply power to the boathouse
  • supply power to the rest of the house, including the crawlspace, downstairs, laundry room, 1 bedroom
  • new wiring to replace 3 outlets in the main room
  • new wiring for an outlet in the kitchen that hadn’t been hooked up to a breaker (?)

It seems like the only thing not working at this point is the water pump, but we need the weather to get warmer before we do anything with that.

Tomorrow the plan is to tear up the marble tile that is in the small space between the bathroom and bedroom, finish mudding the walls, finish nailing down the floor and call it a day. I’ve picked up four different stains for us to try out on some extra flooring and will see if we like any of them enough to do the entire floor at some point. Still debating the paint vs stain…

Weekend recap

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Between all the driving and work I was doing last week and my girlfriend coming down with the flu, I was knocked on my ass for the past couple days with the flu myself, unable to do anything requiring more effort than moving from my bed or couch. I’m back at work today and feeling much more human, finally.

So to recap since the last post…

M (girlfriend) and I went up Saturday at a much less obscene hour than I had been keeping all week. I borrowed power from a neighbour who had offered it the first day we went up and I spent the time cutting and laying down the teaser subfloor/underlayment overtop of the existing 3/4″ plywood that my friend V and I discovered Friday. M was amazing and set out with cleaning the entire kitchen, something she had been looking forward to doing for a while. We lost too much light in the sky to continue, but basically the floor was left in a state of needing more screws and the kitchen is probably more than half done. This was also the first that the flu hit me and I was pretty much dead by the time we got back to Toronto.

Sunday – I had already arranged for my beefcake brother Steve to help out and not wanting to put his muscles to waste, I drugged myself and went up with him the next morning. This was the first he had seen it too. I was worried that my lack of energy/excitement meant the trip was for nothing but two electricians I hadn’t heard from in days ended up coming by to see the place before prepping quotes.

One of them walked through the place and pointed out every single issue that an inspector would apparently see and not pass because of. Steve and I caught each other with matching eye-rolls more than once. The second guy seemed more reasonable and down to earth. His approach was not to fix every single thing that might be wrong (like an excess of wiring that was hanging, or faceplates missing, etc.) but to do only the basic work necessary to restore power to the furnace, water pump, replace the currently old/messy electrical panel (primary need), and give us one electrical outlet at the panel. His reasoning was that this would be much easier in terms of passing the inspection but also, we have no idea what other systems may or may not work, which walls we want to re-insulate or tear down, what the condition of the wiring behind the light fixtures is, etc. It also helps that his quote came in at the most affordable.

I was feeling a bit lost with what to do next because I hadn’t heard from Hydro One but about 45 minutes after placing a call to them to ask what was happening (which got nowhere) I received a personalized email from an actual human (!) from Hydro One that basically gave me everything I needed to know in order to proceed. They’re sending a crew out Friday the 18th to disconnect the service lines to my house so Brian the electrician can upgrade the meter base and take it from there. I’m really hoping it means I’ll have power by next weekend… and hopefully some heat!