Lakeshore Cottage

A reno blog for a cottage just outside of Toronto
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Finishing the windows

Monday, April 21st, 2014

We took a break from the house renos (currently finishing up the bathroom in our basement apartment) and spent the weekend at the cottage. It was great. We worked on finishing up the window trim and also replaced the broken whirlybird roof vent thing (no photo, though). These were some of the easiest tasks we’ve done but they’re so satisfying to see finished.






Fast forward two years…

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

I totally forgot about this blog until recently and now I can’t believe that two years have passed since my last update. We ended up buying a house in Toronto and it (of course) was a “handyman special” so we’ve spent more time working on the house in the past two years than we have the cottage. The house has slowed down a bit, however, and now I’m trying to refocus on the cottage as much as possible before summer hits and renovations are furthest from our mind.

We redid the kitchen last summer:

We’re IKEA kitchen converts and especially subscribe to the belief of leaving the uppers and just replacing the lowers if you can get away with it. We sanded and painted the upper cabinets to match the new lower cabinets and replaced the door handles. Also swapped out all the appliances with basic (read: cheapest) white ones to match. We never did paint the ceiling like I had originally wanted and it’s totally fine now that the rest of the kitchen doesn’t scream WOOD WOOD WOOD!!!! At this point, I think the only thing left in here to do is another coat of white paint (we ran out the first time) and to replace the front door. We love it.

Another huge update was replacing the large front windows and patio door. My brother and I had replaced all the other (smaller) windows ourselves up until this point but we decided that a patio door was too big a thing to potentially mess up and waited for a 15% off sale at Home Depot before moving forward. It took months for the windows/door to come in, the door was originally made the wrong size, it was too cold for the caulking to dry, an installer was let go so they were having scheduling issues, and I think the installation date was moved at least four times, but finally they got replaced.

We went with fixed in the front since the patio was coming with a screen and a large picture+slider on the side to allow a breeze to come into the diningroom if needed. The slider area is a lot less than the old one though. The old windows were super drafty, one was leaking, and the metal bar separating the picture from the slider was right at eye level when sitting at the table. These are so much better and we’re really happy with them. They were also insanely expensive compared to the other windows we ordered and installed ourselves which was hard to stomach, but it wasn’t something we really wanted to undertake and probably wouldn’t have gotten done in a day had we done it.

We painted the exterior trim to match the rest of the trim this past weekend:

Also repainted the inside room a different grey… it was minor but I wasn’t really a fan of the old shade.

Last fall we also got a local water company to replace the water line from the house to the lake and install a new heat tracer in it so we could continue to have water throughout the winter. There were a couple power failures that resulted in the line freezing but it always thawed and came back after a day+, even with our exceptionally brutal winter this year. I think it’s safe to say that it passes the test, although we didn’t get to come up in the winter as much as we would have liked.

Upcoming projects for the year include:
Next couple weeks:
– interior window trim on the smaller windows
– we need to make window boxes and add casing to the new front windows, the drywall is too wonky to do it any other way
– roman shades everywhere
– finish off baseboard and trim
– paint all trim
– figure out whether there is a better way to lay out the main room

– install a new basement door – the replacement is currently sitting on our front porch in Toronto because the truck was under the weather all winter
– build a new dock (spring)
– get an air hockey or fooseball or something table for the front room by the patio door

– replace the front door (this might be tricky)

I would love to sneak “redo the bathroom” on there but that probably won’t happen this year. Maybe the fall? Would also love to sand/refinish the kitchen/dining/front room floors (basically the only floors we haven’t replaced) but that might also be a fall project.

Photo recap of the past two weeks

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

I’m probably done 80% of the crawlspace walls with new insulation. Tore out the old stuff and the tar paper holding it in place. Lots of mice nests, very little insulation. I need another bag of Roxul, some rigid, and some poly to call it a day down here. Then I have some foil faced rigid to think about screwing into the floor joists. It looks so much cleaner down there now, if that can be said of a crawlspace.

I got rid of the junk in the rafters of the boathouse and tore up the carpet. If I’m doing the floor properly (I have decent laminate for it) I’ll need some more subfloor to make it stronger. Right now it’s 3/4″ plywood that is cut up and assembled in multiple pieces. It’s thick but not ideal for minimizing movement.

I was lucky and Molly was able to come up with me both days last weekend. Usually her work doesn’t allow it. Friday night we brought up a kayak, the bbq, and our road bikes. Sunday we brought the second kayak and brand new hardwood flooring (for the bedroom) I managed to score off kijiji the day before. The kayaks were a killer Christmas gift from Molly, the bikes are hot and awesome and meant we were able to go for over an hour long ride Saturday morning – first time out with the bikes this season. Hard to believe it’s March and it’s this warm. The bbq is way better than the slow cooker for meals and the hardwood flooring is an amazing score off kijiji. I love kijiji. It’s prefinished, brand new in box light maple flooring and found for about $1/sf. The bedroom is going to look amazing and I can’t wait to finish it off tomorrow/Sunday.

Progress was also made in the bathroom:

And lots of mudding/painting in the main room. It’s looking amazing.

Attack the walls (with paint)

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Today was pretty much a painting day. The colours were pre-determined by leftover paint cans from previous painting adventures so the hard part was basically deciding which room got what. I was lucky that when I arrived in the morning it was fairly sunny – keep in mind I am still without power. When I ran out of paint for the first room I moved onto the second room and then had to do a run for more of each when that ran dry. It sucks to have to do that because it means I am away from working for at least an hour since the nearest Home Depot is a fair drive away. At that point I was battling the sun and threw on a second coat each as quick as I could.

Aside from feeling like the rooms are cleaner because of the fresh paint (one of the rooms was described by my gf as looking like someone just went crazy in it), the only other excitement was meeting with the first electrician. There’s a fair bit of items that need to be addressed and I honestly have no idea what the estimate will come in at. I called 3 other guys and might be meeting with them over the next few days/weekend? Maybe? Two are calling me back tomorrow and one on the weekend. A contractor friend from Toronto is already planning on stopping by Friday on his way to Ottawa and will also give a quote. Either way I am antsy to get hydro going again. It’s been shut off for almost a year now which means I need an ESA inspection before the hydro company will make it happen. I don’t really know how someone could have lived there for a year without power but I guess it was possible.

Electrical things to address include:

  • Upgrading main panel – it’s a mix of old and new wiring, but no knob and tube
  • Add light to one bedroom
  • 6 pot lights in main room
  • Weather proof the line that runs from the house to the boathouse
  • Add a second light to the boathouse
  • Change old wiring to new

Curious to see what the quotes come in at. My least favorite thing to do is call people as I would much rather email, but out in the country it seems all anyone does is phone.

The crazy room – pink and brown. Why?

Grumpy companion.