Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chapter 15: Out with the old and in with the new. Windows and doors addition.

As soon as we fell in love with our new home we knew the windows and doors needed to be upgraded.

Although I swoon over vintage everything, the original 1955 windows had served this home well in their 60 years of being a part of this house.

I imagined they had heard a million rain drops against their glass and that the doors had swung open in joy and slammed shut in a rush.

Sentimentally I believed the worn wooden windows had bravely protected the house from sixty years of windy blustering winters, had warmed in the spring and had reflected hundreds of pink summer sunsets.

But, they still had to go.

As much as I knew brand new windows were going to update the overall look of our home and be more economical during our long Canadian winters, I hate to be the one to make the decision to change something that is original to a home. Also, windows and doors are expensive and I would rather spend those dolla bills on pretty coaches and more pillows for my collection.

In this case though, these windows and doors had had their glory and they needed to be upgraded.

So I shook my head of all romanticism and got crazy excited to pick new doors and windows for our new home.

I mean, anything would make a huge difference when this was the state of our front door.

..and back door.

Our friend left us a giant love note on our old worn front window on our ten year wedding anniversary, and it was very fitting.

 We had once planned to go away for our decade anniversary. but instead we decided that our gift to each other  would be a trip to the window shop and that our tropical vacation would have to wait. 

Even the baby was depressed about this idea. ;)

Once our vacation fund had been relocated to the "window budget" and ordered up, we just had to sit back and wait for them to be delivered.

The day the windows and doors arrived was probably the most exciting day during our renovation. Proof that we knew we made the best decision. Replacing all five doors and twelve windows at once was truly a fabulous investment for our whole family -- despite no vacations in our near future. ;)

For our main floor windows we decided to go with a grouping of windows as apposed to the singular fixed windows our home had had for so long. This would allow each window to be open and closed with ease. Quite the change after working during the hot summer months in a home where the windows on the main floor didn't open. 

We were excited to have windows that could finally let a breeze in!

Although little hands wanted to help with this part, we hired a family friend to help with the demolition of our windows and doors and the installation of them. Besides, we weren't about to mess around with safety of our vacation fund! 

Here is our contractor friend Al Ward, doing what he does best, surrounded by our mess.

The living area of our home looked like this before the new windows were installed.

The men removed the heavy 60 year old windows and installed the new ones in two days time.

We only stopped to play "fast food drive thru window" for a few minutes. ;)

It was amazing how the house immediately looked updated with the new shiny windows.

I chose windows that had a grid within them but only on the top half, the bottom half is a plain glass and lifts upward on the inside. When open there isn't a double layer of grid, making the overall aesthetic simple and not busy.

At the front of the house we replaced two front doors, two large windows and a linear garage window.

Everyone who drove by our little estate the day of install slowed right down to take in the new view  of the outside of the house. 

On the inside of the house we still had a lot to do. The three upstairs windows were taken out and new windows were installed in our bathroom and two bedrooms.

At the back of our house a set of double doors were installed, another entry door , two windows flanking it and four basement windows.

Here is a bit of the before and during...


Who knew that getting nice new clean windows would make such a big BIG mess?

Yep. Replacing windows and doors proved to be a heavy lifting and messy task.


Sadly, our yard looked like this for a little longer then we would have liked.  Eventually we stopped with some other projects and took a few trips to our local restore and city dump before the neighbours could complain to the authorities. ;)

We will show you more of our after photos in a later post, but here is a little peek at our new back door which will be our families main entrance.

We are loving all of the new windows, best of all the kids bedrooms now feel bright, updated and safe.

We still have two windows to replace on the upstairs level of our home. They are fairly unnoticeable from the front view of our home though. Really we have left them for now, because our home's five year plan includes building a second story and/or peaking our roof. We will hopefully incorporate new windows into that design when the time comes, I can hardly wait for the before and after photos of THAT project.

For now though, during the winter months, we have moved our projects indoors  and are currently working on our kitchen, updating two bathrooms, our mudroom, trimming out all the new windows and a plethora of other projects. Basically, just picture half done projects and piles of tools in every room of our home and then you will have a good idea of what we are up to.


Lets just put these before and after pictures side by side for a minute though shall we?  It will give us a momentary sense of accomplishment and perhaps motivate us to keep going.


OK, that was fun. 


Now back to doing a million things at once. Can't wait to share with you guys our kitchen progress next. It's been a fun longgggggggg task. Everyone who had lived through a kitchen renovation KNOWS.

See you soon!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

THE MOVING CHAPTERS (Chapter 14: A floor dilemma solved!)

Choosing flooring for our new home was super hard. Flooring is obviously a big investment and something we wouldn't be changing any time in the foreseeable future. We wanted to make sure we made the best decision possible for our families needs but my husband and I had contrasting views.

We had a design dilemma.

We knew we wanted to get rid of the old orange carpet from our kitchen but we didn't know what we wanted to replace it with. 

I am a no-mess-live-life-all-the-time-and-wear-heels-in-the-house kind of girl. Truth be told, I don't like wasting a nice day sparkling flooring either. So, we knew we wanted a resistant floor, one that wouldn't show dirt and dust immediately and one that would stand up to our three children and years ahead of wear and tear.

We agreed hardwood throughout the whole space would be ideal but then were totally stumped on what type, name brand and color to purchase.

Guys, there is sooooo much selection out there!

For weeks our conversations always came back to flooring selection. We just couldnt find the perfect floor that made both of us happy and at the right price point.

Originally I was trying desperately to sway my husband towards pine flooring with a white washed finish. 

I have always adored the look that comes along with a casual floor. In the back of my mind though, I knew that our three kids, our dog and our all around dirt-loving-family wouldn't maintain a clean white floor. So, I ignored the white washed idea but still fought hard for the pine floors I've always loved.

But with contrasting views it was proving difficult to get two stubborn partners to agree on anything.

My husband loved the idea of a much more tailored floor and leaned towards a classic dark hardwood. 

I like white, he likes dark. 

Ironic, right?

Someone should tell Alanis Morissette that this is ironic, dont you think? 

In this situation compromising was needed - big time.

Eventually we settled on a color in the middle.

I know if you have been in this situation or similar you are imaginary high fiving us right now.

Compromise is what I believe makes a marriage strong. OR, what makes each of you think you're always getting half of your own way -- all of the time. ;)

Ultimately we decided on a flooring color that wasn't light and wasn't dark. It was the perfect in between tone.

As a complete bonus, the tone of the floor would mask the color of our dog's fur. 

She sheds. 

We don't like sweeping. 

So, it only made sense to get something that would disguise the hair balls and dust bunnies that will inevitably build up and the children will eventually refer to as their other pets.

Hubby made a great point that the way we treat flooring and the rough and tumble life style we our crazy kids  lead, means we were probably better off choosing a very strong wood floor that would stand up to winters -- while enjoying indoor hockey. 

So we ended up choosing a solid maple hardwood because of its durability and wear ability.

Lowes had a no tax event the week we needed to purchase our flooring (DIY TIP: Every 6 weeks or so Lowes has a store wide no tax event which means one can save %15 on anything in the store. If you can hold off from purchasing something until an event like that than you can save bundles. They just so happened to also have an event where if you spend $100 you get $25 back in gift cards, so we utilized that special as well. In the end we made a million trips to every Lowes within driving distance but we saved TONS. You can too, see store for details. ;)

PS: This is not an affiliated post. We just love Lowes since you know, the employees know us by name now and we see them more than our friends at this point in our renovation.

Here is the floor we chose up close and personal from Lowes website.

We chose this "Buckskin" color of hardwood because it was a medium warm brown and because we loved the touch of warm grey the floors have.

We had a lot of demo left to do before floors could be installed so we decided that I would do the demo during the day and my hubby would start installing the floors in the evening.

I got right to work ripping up this orange carpet that had seen better days.

It was installed over a large part of the kitchen floor and covered our stairs and into our hallway that lead to our bedrooms. It took a lot of muscle to remove since it was tacked down, nailed down and glued down. 

Hmmmmmm...I wonder if 1950 construction crews feared earthquakes?

Then I started removing the linoleum flooring in the kitchen. Since it was installed in one giant piece and glued down with the stickiest glue of all time, I cut it into pieces with an exacto knife and rolled up smaller manageable pieces.

Piece after piece and the floor disappeared.

I moved used all of my body weight to slowly shove the old kitchen island out of the way and handed over the flooring project to my husband. 

He began by replacing the plywood flooring in some spots, filling in the area where the dividing wall had been and then he nailed down the whole floor again until everything was extremely secure.

 This floor once again is earthquake proof. ;)

Hubby dragged in all the boxes of hardwood a week or so before installation to acclimate the wood and then in the first night of install got a fair amount of the floor nailed down.

We purchased the installation tool (sometimes referred to as a "side-nailer gun" off of a seller on Kijiji who lived in a neighboring town. We saved money in every way with this flooring. ;)

After work the next day, the hubs got right to it again.

The kids made sure he was doing it right. ;)

We decided that we wanted to cover the flooring immediately with a protective barrier. At the time we were working on different areas of this space and we didn't want to damage the new floor. We simply taped down a roll of brown protective paper over everything and gained some momentary peace of mind.

Over the next couple evenings my handy hubby and the babies put down the floor. 

Though we were on a pretty tight time crunch, Ill never forget sitting back and taking in the way the kids handed him pieces of wood as they saw fit and that our little girl even decided against a walk to the park with her brothers so that she could stay and help Daddy.

This house has turned from being just a big renovation project into a house that love has actually built.

Little hands helped lay these floors and little feet will run across them and leave their marks throughout the years.

Yes. :)

This is a house that is slowly being built, but we have learned it takes time to pour love into every crack and crevice. 

Thank you for coming along on this renovation process with us. So far we have shared a lot of messy and ugly photos and a lot of boring information with you guys, but honestly, these posts are being made with my Mama brain in mind. 

I'm going to forget how far we have come at some point. 

I am going to forget how satisfying it felt to pull up that orange carpet and how crazy it was to rush from store to store collecting the last few boxes of the hardwood the store had in stock and I'm going to forget the times we ate dinner, utterly exhausted, in the middle of a sawdust covered plywood floor; but I never want to forget how much love has been put into this place.

These "before" posts are mostly for our little family to look back on with fondness, but I hope they inspire you too. I hope these messes gently remind you to run after your dreams and to trust in and grow your abilities.

Who would have thought that the first present we would unwrap in this house would be flooring wrapped up in brown packaging...

Brown paper packages wrapped up with love,
These are a few of my favorite things. ;)

Blogging tips