Lazy Friday with Niagara Tree Service

Remember way back when, I was talking about the trees in the back yard?  Well, guess what?

We had some visitors today - with a BIG truck.

"Does this truck make my house look small?"

They came early in the morning, and went right to work




Let's try this again... "Tim...."


And done.  Lather, rinse, and repeat a few dozen more times.

We went inside at this point, much to the relief of the crew, I'm sure, who must love customers who stand around watching.  And drinking coffee.  And taking pictures.

A few hours later, the living room looked like this...

... and the backyard like this.

And this. 
Fewer trees, more firewood.  Win-win :)

And just in case the front yard was feeling neglected...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I cut down the wee tree too.  It was also an ash.  Planted WAY too close to the house.  Think of the size of the trees in the back, and put that in the front where the wee tree was - notice that the house is in the way?  Seriously people, when you are planting trees, think ahead - YEARS ahead - and choose your site well.  Your house's future owners will thanks you :)

So, that was my not-so-lazy Friday.  And I can't say enough about my tree cutters, Niagara Tree Service.  Great people, reasonable prices, showed up on time, worked like dogs...

...hrmmm, worked very hard, cleaned up the yard.. GREAT service.  If anyone in the Niagara area needs trees removed, I highly recommend them - and no, I didn't receive anything in compensation for this plug - just incredibly happy with Brian and his crew.  And I like rewarding good service with word-of-mouth!

Dead bodies and other odd things found in the attic

Dog bed

Shoe laces...

...which actually come in handy!

Remnants of shiny silver flexible metal-y stuff, held in place by upholstery tacks (and yes, I am completely trying not to come up with uses for shiny silver "metal" and shoe laces in an attic.  Maybe a dog house and leash for the attic canine??)

Dead bodies*

Doc Ock's winter coat

*Okay, okay, it wasn't really a dead body, just my brother, who we stuck in the attic with the fantastic job of getting rid of all the blown-in insulation.  After two days of that (and the job only 1/2 done), he only wishes he were dead.  Thanks, D!

I think we have a winner...

After lots of measuring, talking, drawing, then measuring, talking and drawing, followed by some measuring, talking and drawing, I think we've come up with a plan for the bedrooms.

It came down to two things - the need for a cross wall towards the front of the house for some additional structual support*, and the fact I refuse to sleep in a single bed :)

My queen-sized bed really was causing some issues, mainly because I don't like beds under windows, or right up against walls.  And try as we might, we could NOT figure out a way to get a 3-piece bath into the area by the window, and also have enough room for the bed near the front window.  But by placing the bathroom in the front part of them smallest room, I get a decent sized bathroom (even if it doesn't have a window), and a walk-in closet!!  In addition to two decent sized bedrooms.  

Storage.  LOTS of storage.  Something many old houses lack.  I'm giddy with the thought of a walk-in closet.  And bookcases.  

So yeah, we have a solution.
I think.. :)
* the ceilings in the two front rooms were sagging a bit, due to some interesting attic shenanigans, mostly the result of some unsupported beams.  A cross wall, even though it doesn't go all the way across, will help support those beams.

Ch-ch-ch-changes... Part 2: The Bad News

The trim defeated me.

I REALLY wanted to save the trim in this house - it's the original, never-been-painted (mostly), solid wood trim.

I tried, I really did.

I ignored the fact that it would be in pieces in my house (or more likely my parent's garage) for months (if not years), waiting for me to refinish it.

I ignored the fact that trying to get it to match (or at least go with) the new wood floor colour would be, um, interesting.

I ignored the fact that I'd have to find a source for matching trim, to fix areas where the trim was missing or damaged - and the $$$ associated with that.

I ignored the fact that, in adding closets and rooms, I'd need to find matching doors - and trying to find solid wood, 5-panel doors would be either impossible or expensive, if not both (and let's not even talk about the hardware).

I ignored the fact that every designer paints wood trim white, and that there is probably a very good reason for that.  I also ignored the numerous 3-am wake-ups, with me lying in bed trying to convince myself that, yes I could have a kitchen with white cabinets and stained wood trim.

But I couldn't ignore the fact that, out of the 20+ pieces of trim we removed on day one (and yes, we were being oh-so-careful), 20+ pieces chipped, cracked, broke or fell apart.

The trim isn't un-salvageable, but it's un-salvageable by me.  I can ignore a lot, but I can't ignore the fact that fixing every *#&%* single piece of trim in the entire *#&%*house, before refinishing and re-installing every *#&%* single piece of trim in the entire *#&%*house, is a task that I am simply not up to doing.  Like many other things, it came down to time vs. money (and sanity), and in this case, time won out. 

And so the trim is taking a trip to the dump, which also saddens me, but it can't be burned (it does have a finish on it), I can't see anyone else wanting it in the dribs and drabs it's coming off in, and I can't see keeping it, waiting for inspiration to strike.  I HATE throwing things out, but I can't think of anything else to do with the damn stuff :(

Speaking of not wanting to throw out useful things... anyone know a good use for window sash weights??  They were never removed when the new windows were installed (oh, and that's a post unto itself), and there are apparently four per window.  There are 12 windows.  That's 48 HEAVY bits of metal, that must be somehow useful for something.

Have I ever told you that the Pack Rat Gene runs in my family?

Ch-ch-ch-changes... Part 1

I did know.  Really.  Honest.

I did know that a whole home reno was going to be a big mess, take lots of time and lots of money - and I also knew we'd be in for some surprises along the way.

I just wasn't expecting "along the way" to be Day 1 :)

There are 3 bedrooms upstairs - the "Office" (smallest room with no closet), the "Spare Room" (2nd smallest, with closet), and my bedroom (the largest room that stretches almost the entire width of the house, and has one closet).  Note that the closets are very small, as they are tucked in under the sloped part of the roof.  There is also a closet off the hallway, at the end on my bedroom.

The plan was to simply (hahahahhaha, "simply", ahahahhaha... anyhow...) tear down the walls and ceiling of the 2 smallest rooms, insulate, put up vapour barrier and drywall, keeping the footprint the same.  For the large bedroom though, we were going to steal a few feet off the end, add that to the hallway closet, and put in a 2 piece bathroom (since there is only one bathroom in the house).

Good plan, right?

Until we saw this:

That would be the ceiling of the spare room, going right on through to the office.

Unsurprisingly, the floor does the exact same thing:

So, the wall between the two rooms was put in after the floor and ceiling were put in. 

Le sigh.

So that wall has to come down.  So we can get the ceiling and floor out.  So we can put the wall back.  Which won't be the correct height anymore. 

But if we are taking that wall out...

Since we were going to tuck the second bathroom into an incredibly small space with a sloped ceiling, there would be no room for a shower (well, no room for a shower for anyone over 5' in height).  But now, we have the option of making it a two bedroom house, by combining the spare room and office into one large room, and taking a corner of that (with the side window) and making that the bathroom, with room for a shower.

Potential new bathroom space

Pros:  Larger, 3 piece bathroom with a window!

Cons: Making a three-bedroom house into a two-bedroom house.

Now, I cannot predict the future.  I bought this house with the plan to renovate it, and maybe, 5-10 years down the road, sell it and get another house.  But I really do like it here.  I like the property, I like the neighbours and the community.  And I didn't get this house just to flip it - I bought it to LIVE here.  I know that a three-bedroom house has a greater "selling potential" than a two-bedroom one; but a large, more functional bathroom is also a good selling point.  And while I do keep the housing market in mind while planning these renos, when it comes down to it, I need a house that fits ME.  

So yeah, it looks like plans have changed... maybe...

 Original layout (click to embiggen, all measurements are approximate!):
Original plans:
New plans:


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