Monthly Archives: December 2012

Construction Starts Here

We went home for a visit yesterday! It was a good thing waiting a couple of days because by the time we arrived it was very obvious that this thing was on. They erected a large fence shown here:

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Make sure you bring your hard hat.

Hmmm…. doesn’t look like much until we step inside:

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just careful where you step, kay?

That gaping hole there is where the new steps leading down to the basement are going to be. Changing the location of the basement steps increases the amount of space we get in the kitchen and allows for more light via a newly constructed bay window on the eastern wall of the house. Previously a treacherously steep staircase and a powder room right off of the kitchen made it difficult to design an efficient kitchen layout and would have blocked the would-be new window. The new design moves the powder room altogether into the hallway (a much better location in my opinion). Plus…light! More light and a bigger kitchen! The new placement of the staircase, however, provides us with one big challenge that we have yet to work out… how to open and close drapes or blinds on the window just above. I am open to ideas but right now I am thinking that remote control might be the only way to do this effectively.

As you can see, the basement is in a state of…undress

We have to break down before we build up

We have to break down before we build up

Its hard to see everything torn up like this; it probably won’t get easier to look at for a couple of months, but in the end I have been promised eight foot ceilings in the basement which is remarkable. Hey, did I ever even mention the basement? It was recommended to us that there was a huge economy of scale to dig out / finish the basement while they are working to replace the entire foundation. It wasn’t work we planned on doing for years but D was convinced of the value and so, yeah…

One of the cool things about the visit was seeing people, real actual people doing busy work using large busy-looking machines. The crew that our contractor found to replace the foundation didn’t know we’d be dropping by and it was a Saturday morning, so it was especially convincing to see people bustle around the house before they even saw us coming. I know they wanted to start and complete this job almost as much as we did so I shouldn’t be too surprised, but still it was nice. Also on the good/better news front: this foundation job absolutely has to be done right 100% of the way.  I am not sure if this is because of the city issued permits, the nature of the work or a combination of the two but at multiple stages the city inspector and the engineer must sign off of what is going on, so its not gonna be like two guys with a shovel playing popsicle sticks with our house. That is a huge relief.

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Let’s try this thing again…

The permits finally came though this week! I have been chomping at the bit to go to the house to check out the progress, but haven’t made it over because of existing after-work plans. I also figure the longer I wait to visit the house, the more work will be done for me to be pleasantly surprised by.

Its still hard to imagine that this Humpty Dumpty of a house will ever be put back together again. The foundation people had to rip up about a dozen mature bushes in the front of the house in order to dig, so even once the insides have been righted, there will be some pretty bleak-looking landscaping going on in the front of the house, actually, all around the house. And its a corner house so we can’t hide! From the digging alone I think I can safely surmise that the entire lawn will need to be replaced. Ugh, its gonna be ugly for a very long time.

I have taken to immersing myself once again in design elements as a way of maintaining optimism. Once we decided to go ahead once again with the construction work, we finally signed the papers for our new cabinetry from Aya. The Mount Pleasant showroom doesn’t have a lot to see, but the kitchen designer was a joy to work and extremely skilled to boot. She also worked hard to get us the best possible price, which both D and I appreciated. The picture below depicts a few elements that we have chosen for the kitchen. The main cabinets, a simple shaker style, will be white painted wood (oyster, to be exact) and the island will be painted a colour called anthracite, which I’d never heard of before. Its dark grey. I haven’t selected the pull or knob yet, but I was attracted by this handsome “Asbury” pull from RH. The pendant, or “Benson” is also an RH find. I am hoping to find a Benson lookalike because, well, RH isn’t cheap and I need two or three of those guys to hang above the island. The whitish square is the countertop colour and I believe its called “organic white.”

Kitchen components