We are well practised in destruction. I remember a few years ago when Ryan first moved in he really wanted to redo our bedroom. It was tired looking and cold. He was getting ready for work one day and I asked him, "what would you say if when you get home the ceiling is gone?" He looked back at me maniacally, I could see the chaotic excitement.. 8 months later I said the same thing early on a Saturday morning about our dining room. It's always exciting doing demolition, maybe less so if its a newer house, but you're always wondering if you'll find some treasures.
When it came time to deal with our kitchen I was pretty prepared for the mess and the hard work of demolition. We arranged for our friend, BJ to spend the weekend to help (he also helped us bag the old attic insulation.. What a good friend), we lined up my parents to come as well as our friend Tim. We had a good team and got through it all pretty efficiently.
Before the winter we thought it'd be wise to take the water supply lines out of the old kitchen, just in case they froze and ended up leaking. We cut through the first (of 6) layer of floor and immediately cut through the line. Someone thought it was a good idea to run the water to the kitchen directly under the subfloor.. This led to a minor disaster as there was only the main water shutoff that would stop the leak. We traced the lines back as far as we could and found that the plumbing monster from the basement had invaded the upper levels of the house. The water lines to the kitchen started in the basement, went to the upstairs washroom, came down a wall, under the main level floor and went to the sink. omg..
We decided to investigate the upstairs bathroom. We took the pedestal sink off and cut the floor open (carefully).. This little demo really helped solidify the fact that the additions had to come off. The floor had decayed to the point that it had become compost. it was disgusting. I had fun removing the old cast iron tub with the full force of the sledgehammer. Demolition sure helps to ease one's frustration!
Our skills went to good use last month as we prepared for the house to come off. You may remember from my previous posts that we decided to lop off the additions of the house due to structural problems. Now it's all feeling pretty real :P
We salvaged what we could. It turns out our house was made almost entirely out of cedar. Many of the old studs and joists were usable for future projects, so we took the nails out and stacked them up in the basement.
We were told that the less weight the better when it comes to taking the pieces of the house away, so we chose to take down what we could. Ryan and Ryan (aka Red) spent 3 days on our old bedroom, taking the roof and walls down. My parents came and took the wood away to burn. Initially this was a little bit fun, until they got to the floor.. I won't get in to details, but they decided to stop it there..
We had a list of what to accomplish before the house came off.
In the rad pipe removal the boys discovered an old cistern. Naturally, Ryan had to investigate. We got out our makeshift spelunking gear in the form of a winch and some ratchet straps.. He got strapped in and descended.
It was only about 6 and a half feet deep, so I guess all that prep wasn't really necessary, but you cant be too safe. Ryan said it was cool, but all he found was an earthworm.
The boys got back to work and cut the house off.
Darren the excavator was very fun to watch. He gained an audience that day (he says he's used to it). A couple passers by came and admired his work as he delicately picked apart the house. The neighbours a couple houses down had their laundry hanging out, and they said it wasn't even a little dusty.
I waited for the big moment when the roof came down. I stood there ready with the camera to get a good video. Unfortunately I wasn't paying enough attention to my surroundings as my foot was directly in the line of fire of our dog's (Max) pee stream. I ran inside to clean my foot and shoe, and to swear a little, when I came back outside the dust was settling. A neighbour made sure to inform me that I had missed the big moment.
We're so glad to be moving forward with construction now. It'll be a long haul, but with proper scheduling, lots of help, and the use of our family's showers we think our marriage will survive. :P
Since beginning our project we dreamt of all the amazing things we wanted for the house. We pinterested like crazy. Of course, Ryan likes things bold and opulent. I on the other hand wanted to keep things timeless and "true to the house." I won. Perhaps with the exception of a basement tiki bar that Ryan clearly NEEDS.
With a mother-in-law (Anne of Rooms & Blooms) as an interior designer I really can't get away with bad taste in furnishings or finishes. I have always had an eye for the most expensive things though, as I am my mothers' daughter. However since getting older and paying my own way for the last 15 years or so I do think very conservatively and logically about what will have a good return on investment, and what will keep our options open in the event that we decide to sell down the road. Also, I have to mention.. My father-in-law, Rick is also great, but this post isn't about him! :P
We have used Anne's design expertise on a number of projects at home. She makes sure to identify your personal style, rather than projecting her wants into your home. I think that's one of the things that makes a great Designer. She's worked on some interesting projects- the black, white & red house, the 50's diner bar, the star-wars rec room- all with class, layers, and texture. We were also gifted with her design and floral skills for our wedding.
To see some of Anne & Rick's projects visit their website or their other social media on Instagram and Facebook
A few years ago, when we began our bedroom and dining room projects (RIP) they both started with a questionnaire asking, "How do you want the space to feel?" This began the discussion to help narrow down some ideas- because if you're at all like me, you have lots of things you like, and if I was left to my own devices I'd end up with an opulent medieval dining room, a fairy tree house bedroom, and a bold bathroom and kitchen.. and none of it would go together :P
Many people renovate, paint/redecorate on a room-by-room basis as needed. This is definitely a practical way of going about things and spreading the cost over a long period of time. We have the benefit of being able to plan the finishes of the entire house at once (although it is also very stressful to pick everything at once and stick to it). We are taking our inspiration from our surroundings in Paris, the original features of styles of the house, and our own personal styles.
A few "before" pictures are posted below. Thankfully we are able to keep some of the original features of the house.
As we made our plans with the Architect we made sure to include Anne (MIL/Decorator/bringer of coffee and treats) in our discussions. She used the Architects' design to show a floor and furniture plan so we could envision the space once it was done. This is extremely beneficial as house plans don't always allow for the furniture you already have. Having a dining table that's too small, or a couch that's too big can really mess with the flow. She uses a program called Chief Architect which gives floor plans as well as 3D views of a space. This was especially helpful in planning our bathrooms, kitchen, and doors.
Bathroom design plans
Our most pressing project was to complete the main bathroom. When we took the additions off of the house we would only be left with a 2 piece guest bathroom. We also hadn't had laundry facilities for months. Anne Helped us through the layout (we went through many variations), and then the fixtures and finishes.
We decided to use a pocket door (to allow for room to get the washer and dryer in/out), a standard tub, and a closet where the washer and dryer will be stacked. We chose floor and wall tiles that mimic the marble look of our fireplace, and a warm grey for the cabinetry. The faucet is wall mounted for a dressier look (we're thinking of doing something extra-creative with this).
I'll be sure to post some pictures when we're all done!