“It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it”.
That’s what I kept saying to myself once demolition started on my new home. I knew that renovation was synonymous with demolition, but I don’t think I truly visualised how it would all happen.
The project started slow… my friend Karelle did the architectural drawings of what the house is now and some options of what it could be post-reno. She had good ideas and in the end, my guy – who is a graphic designer & had a good computer program that allowed us to play with the plans – and I spent an evening tweaking the bathroom/second floor to make it just perfect! The second floor would be where the major renovations would happen, or so I thought (**keep on reading). The plans then went to the engineer. A week later, her plans were finalized and went to the city. The permit then arrived a few days later. Demolition could officially start!
This got me excited — as you can see by my purchase of a sledge hammer:
End of week one, this is what the house looked like:
Not too bad. Nothing to panic about.
However, as expected, we discovered quite a few surprises. The second floor bathroom, which was fairly new, had been done so badly that the floor around the shower was already rotten through. The beams supporting the floor were cut out in order to pass plumbing through them, not smart, yet this explained the floors being so crooked… their support had been weakened. Those would have to be changed. Ventilation pipes went nowhere — literally… they were decorative! Insulation in the ceiling was nil. Ayayaille! However, I knew there was work to be done on the second floor, so I did not panic. What stunned me was that the bulk of the surprises were in the one room that I did not anticipate much work… the kitchen!
I was going to tear up the uneven ceramic floor and fix the ceiling (as it was the old angled ceiling, built before the upstairs extension was built, with closed off skylights and a pet squirrel), but I did not expect that Ralph – the pet squirrel – LOVED the taste of electrical wires so much (or maybe it was Mona – the dead squirrel that fell out of the ceiling). The wires had been eaten down to the copper in multiple places and the risk of fire was huge… so my electrical renovation bill went up.
Not only that, another discovery was that the second floor addition – above the kitchen – had no supporting side walls, no insulation and the beams (from 2012) were already curving… one had a 6 inch difference in between two spots! We opened up the bottom back wall to see how it was supporting the second floor and found not one, not two, but three walls… all built one against the other… not one fully aligned with the second floor! Plus, a window was found in the middle wall! This is what my kitchen looks like now:
The one room that needed NOTHING MUCH! haha Breath in… breath out… breath in… breath out!
The budget hasn’t exploded though, mostly thanks to my amazing solution-finding contractor, plus my friend Beatrice and our favorite rocker Jason Rockman, who don’t mind getting dirty in order to save me thousands of dollars:
Oh the fun we’ve had in the debris! The faces of all the men at the Eco-centre seeing two girls roll in with a truck FULL of debris is priceless! It’s not easy, but it will be worth it!