Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Progress Update - Tile Time!

As we get near the finish line, there are a thousand little things to do to get the house completed.  A big element is installing all the tile and it's coming along beautifully.

My favourite feature thus far are the upstairs bathroom floors.  We used a large format (12" x 24") tile, but interspersed glass & marble mosaic tile stripes to give it a little added interest.






These stripes also provide a visual trick to make the rooms look bigger.  They fool the eye into thinking there is more space!   We also used the mosaic around the tub surround in the Tenant's Unit, to take advantage of some of the funky angles!







In the downstairs bathrooms, we used the beautiful marble pieces that I splurged on.  The colors look a little funky with the temporary light bulb we have hanging out of the wall, but I love the dramatic pattern and mix of marble colors.

Once we get the walls painted, plumbing fixtures will be installed and they will start to look like real bathrooms!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Kitchen(s) Update!

The kitchen in each unit is coming together quickly.

Remember the plan for the Tenant's kitchen?


Well the guys made great progress last week and it's looking good.  We used Martha Stewart's Maidstone cabinets in Heavy Cream.  I love the Shaker style door and the warm off-white finish.  We're complimenting them with a new paint color we haven't tried before - Netsuke, from Sherwin Williams #6134.




I especially like the stove and peninsula wall.  It's going to work really well for Kyle & Sam.  A cooking station with a couple of stools to pull up and watch the chef!








Dining Room View to Kitchen - Before
Best of all, I like how removing the walls from the dining room and hallway have linked the rooms and made it feel so much more spacious.  Now the kitchen feels like it's integrated with the rest of the living area.  
View of kitchen from Dining Room

Tenants Unit - Sink and Window Wall



The Owner's Kitchen is also moving right along.  The only challenge?  The cabinet over the refrigerator arrived damaged.  But they  will replace it and we're just waiting for it to arrive.

This kitchen has a slightly different floor plan, since we removed the wall to the dining room to give the living spaces better flow.



I always love how the guys do the crown moulding.  It adds such a beautiful touch to the room.  This cabinet will create a built in furniture look, with glass doors and a lighted interior.  Oh, and see how they were able to reuse the antique rosettes around the new door and window trim?

It gets dark early this time of year!
But of course installing the doors is a critical step - they make such a difference!

The next step is to make the template for the new quartz countertops.  It's all done with a laser, for a perfect, precision fit.  



We are using a quartz countertop for both kitchens.  I love the combination of colors and quartz elements in this pattern.  It gives it a unique 'texture', without overpowering the room.  They are made with 93% quartz - which is stronger than iron or titanium!!  They can handle temperatures up to 360 degrees and require no sealers or maintenance.  And they're made in the USA!

Quartz Countertop - Solar Canyon
It will be two weeks before the counter tops are ready.  Then it's time to install the tile, sink and open shelving.  So still lots to do, but it's looking good, don't you think?

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Color(s) of the Year

Since I'm always looking for new paint colors, I'm always curious what the new Color of the Year will be. And this year,  I seem to be the only person that likes the new 2015 Colors! Everyone awaits the annual color announcements to see what new palette trends they will provoke.  The color will introduce new paint combos, textiles, wallpapers and accessories for the coming year.  This year Pantone launched their new color - Marsala.  Forbes magazine says it "evoked bodily fluids and decrepit buildings".  And they claim social media calls it "a color that makes you want to go to Olive Garden or order tampax in bulk".   Hmmm......and I thought it was quite nice!


For a more global perspective, AkzoNobel , the world's largest color and coatings manufacturer, has named its color of the year Copper Orange.  It's a warm shade and per their press release: "Replacing the cool blues and greens of recent years, a warmer spectrum of pinks, reds and oranges is emerging, reflecting a more positive global outlook". 









I really like the warmth of both these colors and think they're a cozy choice (maybe it's more appealing in winter!).  But what do you think?  Love them?  Or Hate them? 


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Monday, December 1, 2014

The Decision - It's Going to be a Rental!


We have agonized for the last several months about whether or not to sell the duplex.  I liked the idea of renting it, my husband wasn't quite as keen on that idea.

But as luck would have it, one of our carpenters and his fiancé were looking for a place to rent.











They're such a cute couple and it seems like a win win for both of us.  They get a great place to rent and we get a carpenter who is working on the place he'll be living in!!!  Talk about a little extra TLC!

Kyle - Installing new Energy Efficient Windows
Kyle - Rebuilding the vintage china cabinet
They will be renting the smaller unit - aka the Tenant's Unit.  And with one unit already rented, my husband started adjusting to the idea!  So, once we get all the work done, the Owner's Unit will be available for rent.  And it's a big Unit:  3 bedrooms, 2 full baths with 1400 sq ft and a one car garage. And of course everything is brand new, including all the appliances - even a full size washer and dryer!






The only downside: we won't be staging it and holding the usual Open House.  Staging a house is a pretty expensive proposition (usually $2,500-4000) and I just can't justify the expense for a rental.  But we will have lots and lots of photos to share.  So you'll get to see all the Before & Afters!

Help spread the word, if you know of anyone looking for a place!  We won't officially put it on the market until it's finished - probably around the beginning of the New Year.  Just stay tuned to Facebook and the Blog for updates.



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Monday, November 24, 2014

Trim Time!

With the drywall dust behind us, it's time to start finish trim.  This is when the guys from Waterhouse Builders really get to show their stuff - because putting these houses back together takes a lot of craftsmanship!

Our goal is to reuse the original, antique trim whenever possible.  During demo, we saved every piece of trim that was removed in the back of the garage - to keep it nice and safe during construction.  But before it gets used, there is some prep work to do - because there is usually a layer of old caulk and gunk on all the edges.  Kyle cleaned that up in a flash.


Next up - they start to put everything back together.  The china cabinet trim had to be pulled out when we removed the wall during construction - now it gets put back in place.  In addition, the guys removed the old wooden shelves that were there.  We're going to replace them with glass shelves, so the new light we installed can shine through the whole cabinet.



Scribed Baseboard - For a Perfect Fit!
What really distinguishes their work from others is the attention to detail.  See this baseboard?  It's been 'scribed' (the wavy pencil line on the right edge) to exactly match the old floor.  When they cut off the scribed edge, it will be a perfect fit on the old floor.  And will look fantastic!

See the old back bedroom?  This is the room we ended up gutting, due to a lot of cracked plaster.  Now it's sporting all new drywall and the guys are installing original mouldings.



Look how nice it looks now (and the refinished maple floors are a beautiful touch!)

Next, they tackled the new master suite in the tenant's unit.  We wanted to use the original doors, but they needed a little work.  See how they trimmed this old door?  It needed a funky angle on the top corner and then a bit of trimming on each side to fit in the new doorway.  That meant James had to reset the old mortise lockset with some chisel work.




They've got more trim work to do, but it's starting to look like a finished house around here!  Next up - the kitchens!


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Owners Unit - It's Looking Good!!

Like next door, we've made a lot of progress on the Owner's Unit.  These aren't quite 'Before & After' photos - think of them as 'Before & During', as the updated unit takes shape.  The Owner's Unit is the largest unit, with 3 bedrooms (2 up and 1 downstairs) and two baths.  Look how much we've changed it in the last few months.

The Living Room

We removed a wall and made a really big living room.  I've looked at lots and lots of houses in SoPo and this is one of the biggest living rooms I've seen.  It's over 25 feet long, with 6 windows that keep it light and bright (and the front window has this beautiful antique stained glass!).  Of course it will look even better when we don't have 2 kitchens worth of appliances sitting in there!





And see the large wall on the right?  It's perfect for a giant TV set (it's amazing how many men come to the Open House and look for that :-) ).   We left the original china cabinet, complete with glass doors and lots of drawers.  But we modernized it by adding a light to the top unit and will replace the wood shelves with glass, to give it some wow!

The Dining Room

We created this room from a first floor bedroom.   In the process, we opened it up into the kitchen, so the space really flows.  On the back wall, we were able to leave the closet for some extra storage space (because let's face it, you can never have too much storage space!).  I can already see it as the heart of the household - a place where kids do homework and the family gets together for dinner!

Ah, but you say, what about that tired old ceiling fan?  We have this fabulous Restoration Hardware light fixture going in here.  It can expand and contract, depending how big the table is!




Kitchen

After a lot of deliberating, we decided to take out the old cabinets and completely redo this kitchen.  It turned out to be a smart choice - the plaster cracked when we levelled the floors and we needed to run new plumbing and electric to meet current building codes.  With the wall open to the Dining Room, it suddenly feels much bigger and more integrated with the rest of the house.
And the most exciting find??  Look at those antique wood floors!  The new cabinets will hide the wonky space - and the rest is beautiful!

First Floor Bedroom


While it probably doesn't look like we did much in here, the plaster was so badly cracked, we had to remove all of the plaster and install new drywall.  So now we have perfectly smooth walls and will reinstall all the original trim.  Couple that with the beautiful maple floors and a freshly painted radiator and this will be a wonderful room!

First Floor Bathroom

What do you think?  It's changed a bit!!!  Just getting rid of the dark green walls has made a difference  But with the new tub, custom tile and soon to be new vanity and toilet, it's going to be fabulous!


Bedroom Number Two

First big change - farewell to that sad old ceiling fan!  Next, we added the Soundboard - to reduce noise between the two units.  And then we tore out the nasty old wall to wall carpet and refinished the floors.  What a difference!


The Master Suite

This is a big master suite.  There's room for a large bed and plenty of space for a couple of chairs to relax in, when the owners want to get away from it all downstairs.  Or, you could put a deck in the alcove and have a home office.
We didn't change much about the room itself, but we made a lot of updates to the adjoining spaces.  And they all have a big impact - for example, the new bigger bath skylight brings more light into the entire space.  See the difference below.

Yea.....the toilet in the middle of the room isn't a great touch :-)




See this fabulous new walk in closet?  We created it from unused attic space!  We will put closet rods all the way around, creating space for lots and lots of clothes (and that's a door to a very large crawl space, for storing lots more stuff)



This closet will be decked out with lots of closet rods - bring on that big wardrobe!

The mirror for petite people is gone - along with the formica sink top
The master bathroom lost a couple of walls, got a new, larger skylight and all new tile - complete with marble and glass mosaic insets.  I can't wait to get the new vanity and fixtures installed!


 See the mystery holes that were cut into the wall?  Turns out we had some leaking pipes.  But it's all fixed now and we have electrical for new light fixtures as well.
Remember the staircase off of the Master Bedroom - that ended 8 feet up in the air, above the backyard?  Well we removed that and now have a nice balcony, overlooking the backyard.

The perfect spot for a couple of chairs to enjoy your morning coffee!

We're really turned the corner - stay tuned as Waterhouse Builders does all the fancy woodwork.  Can't wait to see how it all comes together!





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