Happy New Year! This year will hopefully be the Elm house year. I want this house fixed ASAP. Ugh. It’s getting so bad it’s driving me nuts. Everything is breaking and it’s cold.
Warning, don’t ever live in a house you are renovating even if it’s your only option.
Ok back to being optimistic. Keep your eye on the prizes, right? Well, I’ve finally found a contractor who will come to my house, give me a quote and work with me. At least I hope so. I’m waiting for some general quotes and from there I can make better plans.
For now, here’s a glance at the back room that is now the living room, over Christmas. I’ll take more photos when it’s been cleaned up and we have the new gas fireplace installed, which has been a crazy nightmare.
I was tempted to Christmas wrap the superfluous function box behind the tree but alas I didn’t have time to. When the roof is fixed this box will go. This room will gain about 2′ in height.
Up next on the agenda is some temporary work to make the house livable like reinstalling the hardwood in the laundry room from the second flood, cut out dryer vent and finally get the dryer going a year after I bought it, install the gas fireplace, finish insulating the dining room ceiling and vapour barrier, then lots of selling of household items, rearranging and organizing and then hopefully get a plan going for the roof. I’m also going to start slowly buying my kitchen cabinet frames. I’m going to just do a basic IKEA cabinet and then see if John can custom make cabinet doors and fronts. We shall see.
The house has become a disaster lately so today I shall focus on the minute. Zoey is too big for her bassinet now so I’ve moved in the crib.
I didn’t have space in the room to build the crib nor a baby sitter, so I took Zoey into the back room while I built the crib so she could use the jolly jumper. Turns out the crib didn’t fit through the tiny door between the kitchen and the back room. John muscling it on his own around the whole house while telling me he’s not doing anything was futile. The crib also didn’t fit through the door into the bedroom itself. Ya, I had to take it apart and build it again. Luckily she slept through the second making of the crib.
Life has been beyond overwhelming this year with a new child and the opening of John’s new furniture store. The renovations at the store took over everything. They aren’t fully complete but enough that focus may now be returned to this home. We also have had our water heater burst … Yes after we were well on our way to completing the transformation of the cold room into a laundry room. How fun, huh?!? So we have a lot to redo there and over time we will get back to it. (See flooring stacked against wall in pics below. It needs to be laid back down in the laundry room). For now we are focusing on completing the back room and making it into a living room because our baby Zoey is a mover and shaker. She will soon be crawling and we have no space for her to crawl safely. The bedroom is too small and there’s no space for us let alone crawling.
The idea is to rip up the old vinyl, slap down some flooring, finish stripping the old wallpaper, paint the wood panelling, clean the gross ceiling, switch out the furnace, put up fire retardant board behind the furnace, plug the laundry holes and figure out a temporary solution to the gross ceiling tiles. Oh and of course open up the brick wall. Eventually we are hoping to move the electrical sub panel into the laundry room. A lot of it has been disconnected.
We’ve been working on transferring over the laundry from the back room to the cold room which will become the new laundry room. There’s still lots to do but it’s coming together. Here’s what we’ve done so far to the cold room.
In this room we did nothing at first, we just added a few of our own movable shelves to this room and stored some items away. There was a lot of random stuff that was left in here and we figured we’d just deal with it one day. The past owners put in massive shelves across every wall, even over and around the water heater. Taking them down was horrible. There was also a little shelf with damask paper on it on cinder blocks that we kept for awhile but it has now since been removed as well. The walls were black from moisture and the rotting shelves.
Last year we had no choice but to do work on it when it flooded. When it was super cold in February (coldest ever on record?), I was leaving the house and heard an odd sound. I doubled back out of concern opening the door to the cold room to see water, everywhere. As there’s no ductwork in our house, there was no heating in here, it got extremely cold in there with the door closed and a pipe burst. The plumbing for the laundry came from this room, across its ceiling down and through the wall and into the room next to it. It broke on this pipe coming down the wall. We found out later that it was probably coldest at the wall or in it. Here are some photos of the flood that we took after shutting off the water. Basically this flood chronicles the “beginning” of the renovation of this room.
So if you haven’t been following our blogs and just read the last one, you may not know that this room will just be temporary. We are just making it decent to live in for the next while before we raise the roof above and then raise the ceiling in this room and finish it properly with drywall, wallpaper etc. We will also eventually fix the upstairs and move back up there. So this is our temporary solution. The changes at most cost probably about $200 and will be mostly reusable for our final room design.
I’m taking any tips on how to clean up brick walls. This is a tough one. We have a few exposed brick walls we will have to fix up over time but right now I’m trying to figure out how to make this brick wall look better.
This wall seems to be in need of paint, dirt and possibly tar removed from it??
Also not sure if we should seal it as this room is just being renovated for temporary use – read nothing fancy. Is there anything natural to seal brick??
I am going to be googling away for answers but if anyone out there in the field or any diy specialist have tried anything that’s worked I’d appreciate if you could share your knowledge with me.
Normally my favourite thing to do is to design but with being so ill lately (I was hospitalized for a bit with some asthma complications from a serious infection), I am dreading designing as I have to throw something together pretty fast. We are in need of major changes at our house and the likelihood of it happening in time for the arrival of our little one is few and far between but at this point it’s worth a shot.
Many people say, don’t worry, children don’t need renovations and they won’t notice … well of course not but I think these people may have not been to our house or may not understand that it’s not cosmetic, although I’d like to change that too. We need a new roof, to insulate and keep the house warm and we need a new roof to evict the bat colony. Basically we need to renovate for the safety and well being of our child. Ekkkk, so much to do. We may need a few back up plans.