Kitchen · Renovation · Uncategorized

Getting Uncomfortable….


Most of our projects have involved some level of inconvenience or discomfort but the level of work has never been so difficult and challenging that we’ve thought twice about this whole turning a house into a home thing. Now, this could be because we tend to take things slow:)  Why rush?  Or because we’ve sometimes had paid help in the form of contractors and painters.  I like to think it’s because we’re balanced and reasonable people….but I think it’s more likely a combo of the first two….

At the start of things when floors and basements were being ripped out, we didn’t live in the house.  We went to work each day, came to the house in the evenings to demo and then happily went home to our clean and tidy apartment.  Then we moved in during a very chilly winter and lived through a lack of bathroom and hot water. Mildly inconvenient and uncomfortable – but with friendly neighbours it all worked out.  Recently, we spent 3.5 (unexpected) months sleeping in our dining room while the walls in our bedroom were opened up and some structured was fixed up. Somewhat annoying – and actually physically uncomfortable because our mattress was not really meant to be on the floor – but at least we had a place to sleep! And since we’ve moved in there’s been that ongoing lack of real floors through most of the house allowing stuff to fall through, cracks in the plaster, doors without knobs, stencils used liberally (from a time when stencils apparently only came in ivy and floral patterns), cabinets that don’t close and all that fun stuff that comes with an old house needing some love. Uncomfortable? Occasionally. Doable? Totally.

Flying Solo

Now, we’ve got a series of big projects starting soon – new floors in the living room, dining room and kitchen plus a whole new kitchen.  We’re actually going to be doing most of the work ourselves in order to save money (and have fun – it’s going to be fun, right?).  Friends and family will help at a few key junctures but this is the first major set of projects where we’re really flying solo for the most part.

So We Can Get Our Hands Dirty

I caught myself looking at our budget earlier today and seeing if we couldn’t swing hiring some help.  Then I mentally slapped myself out of that stuppor.  We have repeatedly lamented that our hands have not been as dirty as they could be in the last two years. This is the project we’ve been waiting for – a turning point in the house as a whole.

So I thought of that statement at the beginning of this post and then I looked up from where I write at our dining room table looking into our living room.  And as I look at the 90+yr old subfloor in our living room I happily (or stupidly – I’m not really sure here) recall the project of ripping the layers of carpet (2) and flooring (2) off in order to reveal what was underneath.  Was it hard work?  Totally – my thighs and butt were sore for days when that was done.

LR Floor Removal - Nov, 2010
November 2010 – taking up the floors in the living room. Half way through and taking a break. And don’t worry – we’ve painted the walls since then.
The final layer of flooring to rip up – note those long and close together nails and the original floorboards on the right.

Whoever put that particular layer of flooring in had placed 2 inch nails almost every 2 inches so it sounded like a machine gun going off as we worked the floors up. We developed a great technique involving crowbars and deep squats but it was seriously sweaty, heavy breathing work.

It was also worth it.  When I look at those old floorboards in their dinged, nailed and painted state I’m happy -even, proud – to share how we ripped those floors up on our own.

So – yes.  We’re going to make this flooring, kitchen, demo, craziness happen in 2013.  We’ll probably sweat and swear a little too but that’s okay.  It will be uncomfortable at times as we live without a kitchen in our little home – but then again, this is life beginning here….

How have you decided when to get fly solo and when to hire help?  What part of your renovation was most ‘uncomfortable’?  Was it worth it?  I’d love to know!


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