It wasn’t the dishwasher but the dishwasher detergent

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It wasn’t the dishwasher but the dishwasher detergent

Well, I was wrong. As the last post noted, I was unhappy with our new dishwasher because it didn’t seem to clean very well. In fact, even with rinsing before, most often there were still dishes that didn’t get quite clean.

But after I wrote that post, I started to think about what else could be causing this. So I went out and looked at a few posts and decided to try something radical: Maybe I should change the detergent! It seems that for this type of unit, you need to use a detergent with enzymes that help eat the dirt off the dishes. Sounds a bit weird but I was willing to give anything a try.

What really helped out was looking at Consumers Reports online because they’d just finished a report on the best and worst detergents available and to my displeasure, I was using one of the worst. So off I went to the store to pick up an “All-in-one” that was supposed to work better with the way the dishwasher is made to clean.

And it did! I use Cascade All-in-One tabs and now I don’t rinse anything: dishes with oatmeal, sticky jam, barbeque all go right in there. It even cleans the soy milk off glasses. So now I can save time and water by not having to rinse. Now I need a cheaper source for detergent as this stuff is about twice the cost of the old! But its worth it.

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Dishwasher drama – inside the world of dirty dishes

When we were first designing our kitchen we really fell in love with the option that moved the sink over to the other side of the kitchen. Not only would this free up more counter space beside the range, but it would split up the two main work areas allowing more than one person to work simultaneously.

Well, in practice this has worked splendidly! But what this also meant was that the sink and dishwasher was visible from the rest of the main floor. So we would have to deal with potentially dirty dishes and an appliance in full view of company. To minimize the clutter we wanted to have a dishwasher that could take a custom panel that matched the rest of the millwork in the kitchen.

Custom panel hides dishwasher

The problem with this approach is that for the pleasure of installing a panel, most manufacturers charge significantly more than stock appliances. Why? I guess because they can. And, not all manufacturers have this option. So we quickly settled on two brands: Miele and Bosch.

We took a look at both and I honestly think that although each has its advantages and disadvantages, they are both solid machines. What really swung the pendulum in favour of the Miele was the third rack for cutlery (more on that in a moment) and the fact that we could get one that was a “scratch and dent” model for over 50% off the list price from MTC.

So I went to the showroom and ordered one for delivery. When it was delivered, the installer mentioned a few hints because Miele’s have a different installation method than others. As I mentioned previously, it was a good thing we got those tips because it was certainly somewhat less straightforward than I thought.

After first time we loaded it up and turned it on, we were sitting in our living room reading and at a certain point we both looked up and wondered if the thing was still on or if there was a problem and it had stopped. Well, no word of a lie, it was running, but it’s so quiet that we didn’t hear it! What a change from our old machine that was so loud we had to turn up the volume on the TV! The only time you can tell its going is during a drain cycle when the noise from the water rushing down the PVC drain pipes tells you that it’s still on.

It does however have quite a long cycle, which isn’t really a problem if you plan for it. I believe the manual says that the “normal” cycle is about 110 minutes! Additionally, with this type of dishwasher, there are no heating elements at the bottom to dry the dishes. Instead, the stainless walls retain heat which is radiated back into the drum and dries dishes by evaporation. If you open the unit just after it finishes, you’ll be greeted by pretty wet glasses and cutlery. So we typically turn it on in the evening and by morning things are usually pretty dry.

Speaking of glasses, a good rinse agent is mandatory! There is a separate compartment and a red indicator light if the reservoir is running low. Furthermore, its better not to use lots of dishwashing detergent or else the interior begins to smell a bit funky. I had to find that out by following a few online forums.

Three, count ’em, three racks!

I really like the design of the racks and it has such a large capacity that it takes us a couple of days to fill. I’d rather fill the unit and run it once than run a few half empty loads but the problem with that is the inside starts to smell of whatever last nights dinner was! So I often just run a quick “rinse” if I know that we don’t have enough to run a full load.

It has a filter in the bottom that you have to check and clean manually (rather than an automatic one in most North American units). But its really no problem to get and and a quick rinse every few weeks gets out most things.

Filter is easy to clean

But just a word of warning- if you and your partner have “discussions” about how to load a dishwasher, you could find all sorts of things to argue about with this unit! For example, the third rack is for cutlery and supposedly the fastest method is to arrange all the knives together, the forks etc. so that when you unload, you just grab a handful and dump them into the drawer. So if you like this type of order (and your partner doesn’t) these discussions could degenerate quickly to a battle! Just warning you!

Cutlery rack-helpful or hindrance? Discuss!

Finally the big question: how well does it clean? Sorry to disappoint, but its just ok. Nothing startling, but ok. I eat oatmeal in the morning and not only do I have to scrape (as is recommended in the manual) but I have to rinse and scrub or else it gets baked on to the bowl. Even if I put them in and run it right away, it still gets baked on. I’ve tried a number of different locations and still the same problem. So I’ve learned to live with that because it does the other stuff so well. And it’s built in, so it’s not going anywhere for a while!

So there you have it- good looks, quiet, ok cleaning. And hopefully no more discussions about how to load cutlery.

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Sink and faucet- What’s the verdict?

I realized that its been over a month since I posted on the reno and I guess I started to believe the title of that last post: “Done, done, done…” But really how do we ever define “done” when it comes to renovations?

So as promised here is a bit of a review on some of the choices we made for our first floor renovation. Lets start with the sink and faucet.

Faucet is clean and simple


The faucet is a HansGrohe Metro: a single lever, high-arc unit that I picked up on sale at the Home Depot for 20% off after I nearly fainted seeing the prices of other models in a specialty store. I figure that this cost us less than half of what some of the mid priced units were going for at the other store.
Pros –

  • Looks good with a simple clean design – the control lever can be mounted right or left or in the center like we have
  • Feels solid and the unit moves smoothly without sticking
  • From what I saw it was a pretty easy installation
  • Sprayer option on pullout can be operated with one hand

Cons –

  • My biggest beef is that you pull the control lever down to turn it on and left for cold or right for hot. No problem really but seems to be very little fine control – the water goes from a trickle to full blast very quickly. This is something we had to get used to.
  • The head for the pull down doesn’t want to retract fully. There is a little magnet which holds the head in but you have to make sure its aligned before it takes hold
  • The sprayer requires you to hold down the trigger. There is not a setting where you can turn it on and leave it on.

But given the other benefits I think it’s a good trade-off.

Now the sink. Its a Franke RGX-160 ‘Regatta.’

The sink is a good size for the small kitchen and the bottom grid on the left really helps with cleanup


I wondered why they were so expensive – I mean its just formed stainless steel right? Well in comparing the it which we ended up purchasing from Bathworks in Ajax with products at the Home Depot, I found that the others didn’t have the solid feel of the Franke. It also had nice sound insulating material on the underside which keeps it from sounding “tinny” when you put something in the bottom. We were pretty fortunate that the sales staff at Bathworks helped us by extending the manufacturers sale offer that included the bottom grid and the strainers. I didn’t think that the grid would be useful but we hand wash a lot so its great to put it right on the grid and have it dry. Once again here are the pros;
Pros –

  • Looks great!
  • Two bowls are different depths so when you put dishes in the deeper one to dry you can hardly see them from the living room. (This was a big consideration to us as you can see that counter run from the living/dining room and we needed it to at least look less cluttered on a day-to-day basis).
  • The strainers really seal when you push them down so no water leaks out.
  • Solid feel! A real difference between this one and other manufacturers I looked at.
  • Sizing fits a 33” base cabinet

Cons –

  • None!

So far we are really happy with these two choices. They are used frequently throughout the day and their solid feel (hopefully) means that we will get many years of use out of them.

Next time I will take a look at our Miele dishwasher and you may be surprised by what we’ve found.

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Done, done, done (a bit late)

So, I was so excited to be done the whole reno thing that I forgot to post! Well, in hindsight, it just seemed like we would get really close to being done then something would crop up to push back the completion date a bit further out. Truth be told, it does feel really good to be done and have the rest of the summer to enjoy the house!

When the tile was at last done and the plates were put on the switches, we realized that looking at our punch list that there were no more things left to cross off! And just in time too as we had some friends over on the weekend to “break in” the results.

In terms of impact the work that was done in the kitchen was huge no question. But everyone commented on the new hardwood and the paint as making a big difference to the rest of the floor. Which goes to prove that for the biggest bang for the buck, changing the paint color is usually the way to go to improve your space.

So now to go over some of our choices and how they are holding up in use. First of all, lets start from the bottom up and take a look at the flooring. Everyone agrees that it is really gorgeous. Hickory would not have been the first material on my lips if you’d have asked me a year ago about hardwood, but it looks really elegant. It gives the visual interest you want in a floor with the grain pattern, but not too busy as you get with other hardwoods.

The color also goes really well with our furniture (and the paint, but that’s another story). The only thing I have to get used to is the scratch factor. I still kind of worry about scratching the floor and I know, I know that this is inevitable, but I haven’t gotten over it yet. And even though the manufacturer quotes a “35 year warrantee” and a high tech “Nano” coating it still scratches (all floors do!). In fact my contractor said that he’s never heard of anyone collecting on any manufacturer’s warrantee!

But that’s not really the point here. Our intention was to get a good looking floor to carry through the entire space to unify the living/dining room and the kitchen. I know the contractor thought we were crazy to put hardwood in the kitchen instead of ceramic, we love it! And the new carpet should help with the entry areas.

Carpet looks great with the paint and hardwood!

Speaking of carpet we selected a great fabric from D’Abbieri Collection called “Leggero – Undercool” and it feels really luxurious underfoot. The carpet installer (Victorious Flooring) did a fantastic job doing the stair runner and the front hall. He even set up the cutting so that we could maximize the carpet installation within the least amount of carpet saving us about $400 in the process!

So next time I will get into some detail on some of the fixtures in the kitchen proper and maybe sum up our experiences.

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Tile backsplash redux- almost done (really!)

Both the electrician and the tiler came by today (in that order) and it was great to see some of the last things get done. It seems like the last 5% or so has taken the same time as the previous 95% (and somehow, at least as frustrating.)

But really the work that Bill the electrician had to do didn’t take that long: putting the trims on the potlights, plates on the outlets and installing the pendant light (which looks great!) with some other bits and pieces.

Pendant picks up the color of the floor and furniture


He even replaced one of our existing outlets to match the Decora style outlets he put in. He said that he didn’t like the look of it because it didn’t match. That just shows the attention to detail in his work!

He had to wait on a few things as he ran out of trims for the pots and wanted to come back after the tile was grouted to put the plates on that wall. So he will be back tomorrow, co-incidentally when the carpet is being installed in the front hall and up the stairs as a runner. I found the carpet installer on and he has a fantastic approval rating. So far he has been extremely responsive and has really helped us through the carpet ordering process.

The backsplash was grouted and looks better than the previous one, although the tiler commented that the tiles are still not truly straight and I can see what he means. Maybe we should have sprung for higher end tiles?

New tile installed last week and grouted


So now it looks like we could really be done for the weekend! (Cross fingers and toes)

Stay tuned – I will devote some time to talking about the various appliances/ fixtures we chose and what I think of them having lived with them on a daily basis!

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Looking at drywall compound (again, sigh…)

Well, it looked like almost everything was done and then this happened….

Ripping out the backsplash. It had to be done….

hmmm… drywall compound as a backsplash?

Its not like we didn’t know, and I know its only a small setback but it has slowed us down somewhat in getting things back to a somewhat normal state around here. Luckily it wasn’t too messy today…

I think the electician will be back to hook up the dining room pendant and exterior light and finish off the rest of his work next week (when he gets back from Disneyworld). And I am getting some wood delivered so I can put up a pergola over the deck just outside the door, where it gets really hot in the sun. I figured, I had pretty much taken out the railing anyway, so I might as well extend the posts up and put in a sun shade. We shall see how that goes!

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It could get messy – again

Well I was right: the second coat of stucco was pretty messy as shown in these photos, but in all honesty, they did come back to put a third base coat down to make sure that they had it all covered properly before they sprayed it.

Basecoat meet house. House meet basecoat

I think all stucco jobs are messy.

Today they sprayed it and it looks really good! Its not quite the stark white that we had originally; its warmer which I like. The coat is nice and even so that part is great. The part which is not so great is that they oversprayed the area a bit so that my hose, and gate are now a slightly stucco’d. Not sure if it comes off but we’ll see.

Nice clean look; makes me want to repaint entire house? Nahhhh.

Speaking of messy the contractor was in on Monday to pickup the rest of the trim pieces and assorted garbage that has built up since the bin was taken away about two weeks ago. What we also looked at was the backsplash. He agreed that its not the tiler’s best work and asked me what should be done? I said that given the really stellar quality of everything else in the kitchen it stuck out like a sore thumb and he agreed. So what does that mean? It means that the backsplash on the kitchen side will be ripped out (ugh) and re-drywalled and re-tiled. What does that mean? It really means more mess, just as we were starting to get all cleaned up!

So I am waiting to hear when all this will start. I am hoping that it will only take a few days to demo and patch. Then waiting for the tiler to come back and re-install the tile and re-grout. I hope that the finished product will be worth the impending mess!

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A few things to wait on to finish the reno

The stucco guys were here today to patch the area where the bricklayer filled in the windows. Tomorrow (I hope) they’ll be back to scratch coat the entire wall to even it out. Judging by the mess today just from the patch, the next coat will be messy…. Very messy.

But we are still waiting on a few things. The tile contractor has to take a look at the backsplash to give us an opinion on the job and the electrician has to come and put in the trims for the potlights and all the plates on the switches. And in the kitchen we couldn’t push the stove all the way back- it is just about ¾” out too far and it interferes slightly with the door mounted spice rack beside the stove. Maybe we can figure it out later.

Slide in stoves don’t always slide all the way.

We still are putting things back in the cupboards and deciding if they are in the right place. We never really thought of it before as we were so short of space that organization was an afterthought. In this case we can hopefully think of what makes sense in the way we work and organize accordingly. But I think we will just run out of patience and put stuff back and worry about it later. Anything to get rid of those boxes!

But the floor looks good.

On the weekend I finished painting the ceiling and the one area on the wall that’d been holding us up and we ripped off some of the kraft paper that was protecting the floor. I’d forgotten how good the floor looked! But it reminded me that we still have to get some carpet or runners done for the front hall and near the back door. So with that in mind, we went to a store to select a carpet sample and lo and behold within five minutes we found one we both agreed on.

Got the drapes up-finally.

So now it’s a case of finding someone that can do the custom work to cut around all the vents etc that are in the front hall.

I just finished painting the walls in the kitchen and just have the second coat to do near the stairs – almost done! When I said I would do the painting, I seem to have forgotten how much time it takes. At least the paint I’m using is good (Aura by Benjamin Moore) so it makes it a bit easier to cover the last of the yellow.

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Are we close to finishing the reno? Not sure but I am hoping!

After a great week of work last week (and frantic efforts to get us up and running for the long weekend) not too much happened this week. As it was a short week, the contractor was only here a few times to do some minor things. That’s usually the way it is when getting close to the finish: there are many small things to do and often they don’t make as big an impact as putting in the countertop.

So this week more handles got installed on the cabinet doors and some adjustments got made so the panel on the dishwasher can fit properly within the cabinet. Just a quick word for those intrepid souls who try to install their Miele dishwasher – when you cut the hole for the hoses to hook up to the supply and drain, make sure you get them as far back towards the wall as you can or, better yet, cut the hole close to the floor and bring them up through the bottom of the sink base. Reason? There is a cut-out on the bottom of the dishwasher that goes up about 6” that lets the hoses fit between the wall and the dishwasher and if the hole through the cabinet is too high, when the unit is pushed back, it will pinch the hoses. We did a lot of measuring before we pushed this one back so we knew where to cut the hole, but if you didn’t, you might be met with a nasty mess one morning.

Oh yeah, and the tile behind the sink is a bit rough. We are waiting to see what can be done (if anything) about it.

With the dishwasher panel in, the look is more seamless.

So next week I have to sand the patch in the ceiling, prime and paint it as well as the kitchen ceiling, paint the rest of the walls and put in all the baseboards. Oh yeah and paint the patches upstairs that the electrician drilled to run the track and rewire a few outlets. And still no word on a stucco contractor to patch the back of the house. I hope this doesn’t take weeks to get done, but really as long as we can get the stuff into the kitchen (and our furniture up from the basement) I will be extremely happy.

We can use the stove again!

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Counter is in – but back to the basement

I didn’t think anything was going to be happening at the house this week because we were waiting for the countertop to be installed.  We were told that it would take 10 business days for the counter to be fabricated so understanding human nature I thought it would be fortunate if it did arrive on the 10th day.  Well as good luck would have it I was wrong!

Early this morning the contractor was at our house and I asked him why he was here.  He said that the countertop with showing up at any minute.  I was pretty surprised that it was showing up early and I helped him cleanup a bit of the kitchen in preparation for the installation.  I brought up the sink and they brought in the counter and it was a way to the races.

The countertop was fabricated with strips of plywood attached to the underside.  This is so that if the countertop ever has to be removed you can unscrew it from the cabinets without having to rip it right off.  It also helps to attach the dishwasher when that’s installed.

The installation went pretty smoothly was finished in about 45 minutes.  The only area where the installer had some problems was that the back corner under the window.  He had to take out a bit of drywall [only about ¼ inch] push the counter back enough to make it fit.

He then siliconed the under mount sink and pushed it into place against the underside of the countertop.  He just cut two pieces of wood to hold it in place underneath while it dried.  And then he applied a little bit of silicone to the joint between the countertop and the wall and that was it.  Off to the next job.

Sink finally out of basement in its proper place.

So now we have to wait hopefully only a day or two until the plumber can hook up the faucet and the drain on the sink.  He will also do the dishwasher at that time.  So that is why we’re back in the basement.  With no running water in the kitchen we have to go back downstairs to get water for cooking.

But with the counter and sink installed its really starting to look finished and the material looks fantastic with the cabinet color and the flooring.  It’s a quartz countertop from Hanstone and with the bits of quartz which reflect the light and the other subtle colors it picks up the browns and reds from the floor.

Countertop and doors make it look like a real kitchen!

Can’t wait for the appliances to go back in.

So now we’re getting to the part of the job where we have to make note of all the items that have to be completed [and a lot of them are mine].  Things that I have to do include  priming and painting the living room ceiling, installing new trim around the dining room window, priming and painting all the window trim and even repainting the stairs as they got a bit banged up over the past couple months.  I have to say it’s looking really good and I can’t wait for it to be done so we can enjoy having friends and family over again without having to wonder where the spatula is!

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Sink + cabinets = progress

Last Friday the contractor put in a temporary sink just as we were leaving to go away for the weekend. Which was a great thing as we haven’t had water on the main floor for about 6 weeks. But as we were going out the door, I heard them say, “Wait its leaking!” This is not what you want to hear as you leave the house for two nights and you have newly installed hardwood floors. Hardwood and water; not a good mix.

But they of course found out where the leak was and replaced that connection so when we got home everything was dry!

Water in the kitchen- what a concept!

Its been really great to be able to use the kitchen to do basic stuff like wash and chop veggies without going up and down the stairs. Now that we are using the kitchen, we are really looking forward to when the countertop arrives and all the rest of the tasks can be done. Seems a bit strange that the countertop holds up most of the stuff required to complete the job, but when I saw the fabricator template using the cardboard, I understood that since the walls are not perfectly square there would be no sense to fabricating it then having to re-cut and fit it on site. Better to do as much as possible at the factory and do small (again, cross fingers) customizations on site.

I’ve spent a bit of time patching the damage from the electricians doing a bit of re-wiring in the upstairs hall. It made sense to do this extra now because they ran a feed up to the hall for the track lighting and we could then use that to put in an additional outlet in the office and replace an old one in the middle bedroom. I just hope I have enough paint (and that it hasn’t dried out) to paint over the drywall compound.

Today they are installing the range hood which is great because not only does that finish off one more task, but it gets that big box out of my basement where I’ve stored it for the past 3 months!

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Great find for antiques and more!

While out of the city last weekend, we unexpectedly came across a solution to some of our furniture problems.

As some of you know we had an old couch which we Freecycled before we started all this work on the house. The expectation was that we’d find something that we could have delivered just as the job was finishing up. It so far hasn’t quite worked out and we’ve been looking for some furniture to match our existing Danish teak sideboard and dining room table.

So as we were driving down a county road, out of the corner of my eye saw not only an old barn (which is nothing really out of the ordinary in Prince Edward County) but an old barn with teak furniture out front! So after a quick u-turn we pulled up to MacCool’s Re-use, which has a fantastic collection of furniture with prices to match.

So after some thought, we picked up two chairs and a small table and stuffed them into the car. Now that they are here they look great (well they will look great once the kraft paper is off the floor and things are back to “normal.”)

Would you believe these chairs came from a barn?

A big decision we are looking at now is that we don’t have a couch, but would it make sense to move the dining area to the front of the house and the “living room” to the back? Any thoughts?

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Looking like a kitchen- cabinets are up

After a few really long days, the installer got the boxes up and the soffit trim installed around the top. Today the electrician was here for about ¾ of the day to put in the rest of the dimmer switches and undercabinet pucks.
As far as the dimmers go, I told him I want everything that comes from the ceiling (and undercabinet lights) to be dimmable. He looked at me like I had a hole in my head but its important to me to be able to control the light levels whether its task lighting or the potlights.

Undercabinet lights are in.

My rationale is that you might want different light for a party than for food prep or even at different times of the year. Since the kitchen pots are on a 3-way switch, we had to go with a 3-way dimmer, which is more expensive. Go figure.
I also went with pucks over the strip lights because it seems like they were more flexible to go under the different sized cabinets. We got Xenon ones and they are much cooler than halogens and should (I’m told) last much longer too.

The lights will look different once the backsplash and counter are in

So hopefully tomorrow the countertop will be templated then a few more small things to touch up. Then we wait- for about 2 weeks while the quartz is fabricated. I hope to have at least a temporary sink installed so we can have running water in the kitchen. Is that too much to ask?

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Kitchen cabinet installation – proceeding along

When you have some work done on your house, in my opinion you have to be an optimist. When things go wrong, you have to be able to see the big picture otherwise with the number of moving parts you’d pull your hair out with all the changes.
That being said, I was watching the installer put up the cabinets and didn’t really want to ask him how it was going for fear of jinxing the installation. So I will just shut up and show the pictures and let you see for yourself.

Cabinets going up

Fridge isn’t going to stay there…really.

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The kitchen cabinets arrived and I can’t wait for the install

Well not sure why it takes 6 days from Quebec to my house here, but after being shipped out last Tuesday the cabinets were delivered today to the house. As you can see, a kitchen takes up a lot of space before it’s installed!

All 17 pieces! Hope thats everything.

The cabinets look really good and strong – 3/4″ birch plywood, even for the parts that won’t be seen, like under the countertop! You can really feel how rigid they are (in contrast to the old cabinets.)

Nicely finished plywood

The contractor is coming tomorrow to start the install and we’ll see what tricks he has to use to get everything to fit.

I finished painting the trim and baseboard. I decided to use the paint sprayer just for the primer- it went on fairly well, but brushed and rolled the final coat of Benjamin Moore Palace White. It made more sense to pre-paint everything before I put it up and then I just have to touch up when it is installed.

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All quiet for the time being

Its been a few days since we’ve had work on the house here. Last week Wednesday the flooring was finished and after some cleanup, the contractor came by Friday to put down some paper and masonite to protect the flooring.

It’s actually been a good break for us- a chance to catch our breath while we wait for the cabinets to arrive. I haven’t heard confirmation if they are on the truck, but I am crossing my fingers that they arrive towards the end of this week and they can start the work of installation.

I have a feeling that it may be a tricky install because in my last conversation with the contractor about the reframing of the back wall, he mentioned that the wall is about an inch out which will affect how the cabinets (especially the lowers) go in.

But we are really hoping that once the lowers go in we can get a temporary sink and faucet hookup and some plywood counters so at least we can start inhabiting the main floor of the house again. Its been a bit trying to prep food (well I haven’t really been too ambitious, mostly microwave reheating and toaster). It will be such a relief to get some things back into the cabinets and drawers. Here is what it looks like currently:

Wow! Where’d all this stuff come from? I’m so embarassed.

Compare that to how it looks when our stuff from the main floor isn’t all piled together.


And the baseboard arrived today from Central-Fairbank Lumber! I am installing it myself and the trim around the new window to save a bit of money. My neighbor told me that the profile of the original deep baseboard was still being produced and this saves me from having to get it custom milled. He even has a paint sprayer, so instead of priming and painting  with a brush, I will see if its possible to spray it on (outside) and save a ton of time. At least that’s the theory.

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Flooring and drywall and more!

Monday was a crazy day here in the reno zone. At one point we had three cargo vans and seven contractors bumping into each other in the house. The HVAC guy connected up the supply line to the office and when I turned the heat on, lo and behold it worked!

You can see where the new duct runs up from the basement. (and yes I wanted them to step in the bulkhead for the fridge plug.

The window installer put in the window and it really makes a difference to see out into our backyard directly instead of having to crane our heads around.

New window looks nice and will be great place to work overlooking the backyard.

Then the flooring guys started sanding the upstairs and putting in the nosing for the new flooring. That’s when me and the dog left the house. We went for a walk and then sat in the car as it took them about 3 times longer to sand. And it smelled bad. They worked to match the color of the flooring and they say once they clear coat it, will look very similar.

After that day, we took off to my mothers to escape the dust/smell and get a little rest.

Today was a bit more sedate. A few coats of compound on drywall patch on the ceiling in the living room and the flooring continued in earnest. I decided to go with flush mount registers instead of the drop in ones because I saw them at my neighbours and really liked the look. They were more expensive at $45 each but I think that we are spending money on the floor, so in comparison, maybe not that bad.

They got about halfway done today on the main floor and one coat on the upper floor.

Flooring looks great so far.

Tomorrow they say that they will be done the whole thing. Then, you guessed it, I will be putting in the baseboards to match the existing deep baseboards that were original to the house. I have a line on a supplier so am hoping that I can pick them up and get them primed and painted so they are ready to go in.

I heard that the cabinets are delayed a week (boo) and so they won’t be shipped out until the 21st, which means that maybe, maybe the lowers will go in that week and we can get the counter templated. Then its about a 2 week (cross fingers) wait until they show up and the connections made to the fixtures.

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No break on weekend for me

Even though the contractors were not here on the weekend, I was still here working to take advantage of the fact that the finished floor had yet to be installed.

Just to back up a bit, last week the mason and the installer were here on Thursday ripping out the old window to make a new opening for the new one I just picked up on Wednesday morning from Brock. I felt good that the old one is not going to the landfill but the contractor is taking it away for a shed he is building.

I am glad I was here to help with the questions as they sized the new opening and cut the brick. Man oh man what a mess! Since our house is double walled brick construction, they had to cut the exterior and interior brick with the quick cut saw. There was dust everywhere! So instead of going down to my mother-in-laws on Friday like we were going to, we just hightailed it out of here Thursday night instead after a short cleanup.

Even though they were here till about 8:30 they weren’t able to get the new window into the frame so they nailed up some plywood over the opening.

Plywood for a window? Seems hard to see through

The weather held out and we didn’t get any rain so things are looking good today for them to get the duct run above the window and the window installed.

New window opening with new brick.

The plumber put in the new copper on Thursday and the water pressure is fantastic in the bathroom. It improved in the rest of the house when we updated the water main from lead (ugh) to copper about 4 years ago, but because of the last bit of galvanized, we weren’t getting the benefit in the bathroom. Now just the ceiling needs to be patched.

Nice copper!

So why then was I here on the weekend? Well since the flooring is going down this week, I took the opportunity to finish patching some access holes the electrician put in so I could put a coat of paint on the ceiling. I know, I know, I will just  have to paint again after that hole gets repaired but it wont be as much work and I will only have to tarp a smaller area rather than the whole floor. I also painted (Aura by Benjamin Moore) the first coat on the walls and the new color (Feather Grey) looks great. I have to say that this is the best paint I’ve ever used. Goes on really quickly because it covers really well. So now have to do a second coat for the walls when I get a chance.

So today it seems like everyone showed up! The plumber was here to move the drain line in the basement so the HVAC guy could re route the duct into the main plenum. The installer is here to put in the window and frame and drywall the south wall. The electrician is re-wiring something (I don’t even know what exactly…) And on top of that the flooring guys showed up to repair and sand the upstairs hall, and start the finished flooring on the main floor. It’s quite a challenge to move around in here today and even work as the power is on and off. Good thing I’m using a laptop!

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New duct plan

The installer working with the duct situation came up with a great plan.

New location for the duct.

The duct would run up the wall behind the fridge, along the top of the cabinets, between the joists and into the existing hole. This would eliminate cutting the joists, losing headroom in the basement and having the duct in a cold space.  The box on the wall would be eliminated and placement of the window does not have to be exact and providing more room for the casing.

Only one outlet would have to be relocated, so I think that this looks like a pretty good option. We will see once I pick up the window tomorrow.

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Duct tape is not really for ducts

One of the key things in this reno that I’ve talked about before is moving (actually replacing) the existing window with a new one in a location that allows us to get the upper cabinets right to the south wall. Thats becasue the existing one is too tight to the corner and too low to get a countertop in. But whats required is not only work on cutting a new rough opening (hope to pickup the window today or tomorrow so contractor can measure off it for the opening) but moving a duct that runs from the basement to the second floor office.

The original plan was to extend the duct run along the joist space in the basement, notch out the joist closest to the south wall and run the duct up about 14″ closer to the door. When the contractor thought about this, he decided that wasn’t a good idea as the joist was already notched for the existing duct and had been structurally compromised.

They have cut the floor to prep for putting in the headers.

So what they are going to do today is put in a header of 2 x 2×8’s back to the next joist over and sit them into the brick exterior of the house. That will allow them to cut the joist and join it to the header giving them room to move the duct.

Also, the are running the duct in a straighter run in the basement eliminating some of the 5 or 6 bends which are currently there. No wonder that original duct doesn’t really do much to supply the office! Hardly any air is getting by all those bends! I am hoping that the new supply line will be much more efficient.