Author Topic: Anatomy of a renovation  (Read 9918 times)

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Anatomy of a renovation
« on: December 01, 2012, 07:04:21 am »
Hi Folks

Thought I'd share with you what I did on my summer vacation. Well, not really but this story does sorta start in early summer.

Actually, if I were to be honest I'd start with Once upon a time there was a wish.

I bought a house... one that had a cherry tree in the back yard and a grand view of a valley in the middle (North-West central actually) of Toronto. This was scary too. The payments were initially outrageously expensive, what with 14%+ interest rates, but with income from the basement rental and a little belt tightening I could manage. It was 1990 and I was almost 40 years old.

As time went on, the cherry tree disappeared (too many ants) and was replaced by an apple and a pear tree - and the interest rates fell (as did the value of the property - but that's a different story). My tenant moved out and Bryan moved in - but not as a tenant. He was/had become family. Improvements to the property were needed and discussions veered towards what might be. In the late 1990's a wish was formed - to remove a wall seperating the kitchen and the living room and create a larger living space. The idea might very well have been Bryan's, but I now claim it as my own. The cost of such a radical change might be prohibative, but I never got an estimate - knowing full well that I couldn't afford it. Even thought the interest rates kept on decreasing, what I owed on the house didn't seem to go down much.

Bryan moved on (as happens in many relationships), but we remained good friends and time went on. The interest rates kept going down and in time, so did the principal I owed on the house. My 50th birthday came & went and retirement approached. There was a countdown, I remember. I knew when I was ten years away, and then five. My house would not be paid off by retirement, but I sure would give it a try - by making extra payments. Of couse, as many of you might already know I did manage to pay off the morgage at roughly the same time as I retired in 2008.
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2015 - Edmonton, Montréal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg: Woman's World Cup of Soccer

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2012, 07:51:53 am »
After retirement and paying off the mortgage and two decades of belt tightening I found myself in a situation of more money coming in than I was spending. Hereditary money came in, loans to relatives I'd forgotten about were paid off, renting the basement as a favour to friends' relatives and a friend in trouble (she spent a year in there for free before I started charging her) made for additional income. And having low-balled my income compared to my needs, I had plenty of money left over to maximize my retirement plans (RSP's) and even making bank and market investments. But as interest on investments declined I considered buying property - like maybe the house my parents used to own in Timmins, or the cottage property my parents sold off 45 years ago on Star Lake (see 'My Great White North' thread, first 20 pages). These were just ideas, but nothing happened. I just continued accumulating money in the bank.

Then, after much nagging by Bryan, plans were formulated to renovate the house I live in. The bathroom was a cramped room and if I removed the two closets behind the tub, I'd have more leg room in there. The walls coming down between the kitchen and the living room AND the middle (or 2nd bedroom aka the junk) room would provide a larger living space - one I'd always had but had never really appreciated/enjoyed.

There had been naysayers suggesting that fewer rooms and fewer closets would negatively impact the value of the property. The money in the bank wasn't making any money so I decided to jump in.

Bryan recommended a small private contractor who confirmed that the whole thing could be done - with a 30 000$ budget. I didn't want to borrow to make these changes and in time I found another 10 000$ that didn't involve the Tax Free Savings (TFS) or RSP's so I could actually do the changes and have quality finishings.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 09:16:06 am by Sheriff Roland »
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2012, 08:25:12 am »
Clive, a small, jovial, Jamaican-Canadian in his early 50's was the contractor. He made at least two visits in early July (thus the early false start about this being what I did during my summer vacation ;)) when we discussed the likely need for a support beam to be installed across the middle of the house - a job that the wall between the kitchen & the living room was probably doing.

Actual demolition of the walls started on Monday, July 16 and the changes were swift. I didn't think of taking before-and-after pictures until the second day's work was done.

And before that day, I had basically created an entertainment centre downstairs, having installed my computer and by brand new 46" HDTV with antenna in the large bedroom space downstairs. In addition the entire contents of the living room (except the sofa and an Ikea chair) the middle room and some things from the kitchen and back (computer) room had to be boxed and moved downstairs. A few things found their way into the garage. I had plenty of help from Bryan and even my neighbour, who helped me select my TV and installed the antenna and helped move some boxes.

I'd made some refence to this back in July on the "How's the Weather Where You're at?" thread.

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,45845.msg634931.html#msg634931

Anyways, this is where I start posting some of the 'before' - sort of pictures.
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2012, 08:30:01 am »
By the way - if you were wondering, and as a completely accidental happening, I've almost finished reading Annie's Bird Cloud about her building her dream house in Wyoming.

I picked up the hard cover book for 6$, thinking I was going to read a recent collection of her fictional works. It's actually an easier read than her Shipping News which I picked up after I went to view Brokeback Mountain at the TIFF back in June ... when Annie made a short presentation to a very small crowd. (I've actually been reading quite a bit of Annie's writing this past while.)

I've related some of this earlier in the "Brokie Social Events' forum in the "Brokeback Mountain and Annie Proulx, Toronto, June 10, 2012" thread.

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,49950.msg632790.html#msg632790
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 10:26:20 am by Sheriff Roland »
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2012, 08:46:48 am »
Taking pictures of a room ain't an easy thing. There's just not enough space to get a full view. By day two, the only room that still looked like it use to (sort of) was the living room. But I couldn't step far enough back to give a panoramic view.

So here goes - a series of pictures showing a mostly empty 'before' picture of the living room.

This image is of the entrance, looking into the stairway to the side door from the far end of the living room's south-west corner.


12-07-17
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2012, 08:48:17 am »
Moving right from the first picture ... the couch and the faux-fireplace are fixtures that will help orient you over time, I think.


12-07-17
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2012, 08:53:00 am »
Now moving back into the entrance, looking into the living room ... and then, the soon to be demolished wall. In the back the door is opened onto the computer room. Right next to it, on the right is the entrance to the bedroom and on the left of it, one of the soon-to-be-gone closets' door and the door to the bathroom.


12-07-17
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2012, 09:45:27 am »
Closing in on the back room we see that the closet door (on the left) has already been removed, as has the archway to this hallway. The camera was not on 'flash' or 'indoor' setting so some of these first pictures are of poor quality - sorry.




12-07-13
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2012, 09:54:39 am »
And from the back (south end) of the middle room, looking into what use to be the closets, one in the computer room (or back room), the other, the hallway linen closet. The 'new' bathroom space will more than double the 'walking space' I had in the bathroom. The new bathtub will basically be installed where the closets use to be.


12-07-17
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2012, 10:04:24 am »
And finally on day two, the middle room looked like this - then came day 3 ... yet more walls came tumbling down.


12-07-17/18
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Anatomy of a renovation
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2012, 10:09:47 am »
This picture gives an idea of how much little room there was between the toilet and the tub - little more than knee room. (That disc on the floor is covering the flush hole of the toilet.)


12-08-18

To be fair, the downstairs bathroom is even smaller ... the knees actually touch the wall when sitting on the toilet and there's only a shower - no tub. That, for the two weeks during which the bathroom was getting renovated (a priority), is where I showered & relieved myself. I still had access to the kitchen and the bedroom on the main floor but the air was dusty thoughout the house and I suffered through a 'cold' - well at least, a runny nose and itchy eyes - for months.
2015 - Toronto: Pan Am Games
2015 - Edmonton, Montréal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg: Woman's World Cup of Soccer