Friday, 1 March 2013

Demolition Man Redux

It's time for your weekly dose of Philip. Please note side effects may include nausea, drowning, and Dutch Elm Disease.

Before we get too far, just wanted to point out that we're on top of our banner switch! It's March now which, in Winnipeg, means that spring is here! winter will occasionally tease us with some above-freezing temperatures, but we'll still realistically have snow on the ground when April hits. Which is why our banner is featuring Concetta, our once-busty snowwoman, and our biggest March point of progress, our new blinds (showing off their cool top-down/bottom-up capabilities).

But on to the topic at hand.

If you read regularly, you've heard a lot about our bathroom renovation, and more specifically how it's been stalled. But we haven't taken the time to detail the work that has been done. That changes today!

I titled this post "Demolition Man Redux" in honour of the inaugural Friday Phil, because gutting a bathroom is a lot like gutting a basement.

Well, not quite. I mean, it's close to the same thing, except everywhere you look there's:
  • a pipe you shouldn't dent,
  • a wire you shouldn't nick,
  • a new window you shouldn't crack
  • or a wall you have to tear out carefully so you don't put a hole in the spare bedroom wall next door.
Oh, and when you're working in there with even just two people, it feels like you're working inside a room the size of a milk crate. (Note from editor, some of us young folk don't understand this analogy)
But, apart from those 200 words, it's just like gutting a basement. It comes apart in 6 easy medium-difficulty you're-still-not-done-after-completing-them steps.

Step 1: Getting the water shut off

But seriously; step one was getting the water shut off. Our plumber came by, had a look, and in relatively short order had created a detour so water could be shut off to the upstairs bathroom and not the downstairs as this bathroom didn't have a shut off valve (hooray for not having to pee in a bucket!).

Step 2: Remove the vanity, tub, and toilet

Of these three, the most difficult was the tub. The vanity popped off with only a few nails holding it back. Once the toilet was empty and shut off, it too came off with only a couple screws holding it down. (Pro tip? No matter how much you try, there will always be a little water left in the toilet somewhere, so put it down on a tarp or towel and have some tags ready for drips during transit.) But the tub was a different story. A big metal tub bolted to the studs for 30 or so years does not come easily. With my dad's help, we were able to unhook all the pipe connections (in some cases cutting right through them), pry it off the studs, and haul the thing out our front door. (Thankfully the detached tub wasn't too heavy; definitely manageable for a team of two.) I'm pretty sure all the prying, bracing against the studs took a bit of a toll on our house; since that time a large crack has appeared in the plaster on the other side of the bathtub wall (in our side door landing).

Step 3: Remove the plaster/drywall, deconstruct the linen closet

This was dusty work, made more difficult since the broken plaster/drywall had to be hauled through the house to get it out. Plus, the walls hide these metal corner meshes that they use to put up plaster. They hide and are hard to remove, but when they finally let go, it's satisfying like getting all the glue off a granola bar wrapper. (What, that's just me? Okay, moving on...) Fortunately, taking out the linen closet was simpler, just requiring some elbow grease and a wrecking bar for leverage. Oh, and a hard hat would've helped when the one 2x4 broke and 4 feet of its nail-embedded length caught the top of my head. Escaped without a scratch, but those were a few terrifying seconds.

This is where we were at during this step...and nothing has changed. 

See ya, bathtub. 

Step 4: Replace the ceiling, a.k.a. $#!@*%

If you're asking me why the bathroom isn't
done yet, this right here is why.
So we want to put up a ventilation fan and pot light over the shower. Plus, it looked like there might be some discoloration or even mould in one corner. "Let's just re-drywall the ceiling!" We thought. "Muahahaha," our house laughed evilly.
With the help of my good friend Alan, we started carefully pulling back the drywall, trying not to puncture the vapour barrier behind it. Immediately upon discovering wood-shaving insulation and old, thin (2mm) vapour barrier, he recommended we climb up into the attic and sweep the area above the bathroom clear of insulation. In retrospect, this would have been a real pain (especially working in an uninsulated attic in Winnipeg in January), but would have probably been a faster pain than what we've ended up with.
I decided to try to preserve the existing setup, and lo and behold the wood shaving insulation (and the blown insulation our home inspection has led us to assume is on top of it) collected in the lowest spots, dragging those down further and causing the vapour barrier to pop of the joists in a few spots. Of course, now the shavings have really collected below the joist, and there's no hope of ever reattaching that vapour barrier to the joists.

Step 5: Have your wife sprain her foot and write/direct a feature-length stage production

I didn't quite fall into a burning ring o' fire, but when I write
and direct, I walk the line... Okay, I'll stop.
Just kidding. Don't do this if you want to get your bathroom done quickly and efficiently. (Though I'd fully recommend writing and directing for the stage. It's been a 2 weeks since our production wrapped and I'm experiencing withdrawal. Not quite chain-me-to-the-radiator-June-Carter levels, but close.)

Step 6: Figure out a solution to our ceiling/attic insulation issue

This is the step we're in right now.

What's the solution to our current woes? We're trying to find that out from a few experts, but I you have expertise/input/ideas, we'd love to hear them in the comments below! Of course we'll be updating you as we go, so stay tuned!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Unhouserelated DIY

This is slightly off topic, but is still DIY so I figured I'd share it. Plus it's a real money-saver which we can all use!

Yesterday I cut Philip's hair, something I started doing about a year ago and we've kept going ever since. For those of you who have a husband/boyfriend who spends $20 every couple months on a less than extraordinary haircut, here's how you can change that.

This was how long Philip's hair was when we first started dating...agh. 

1. Buy Clippers. 
I bought ours at Winners for $16.99, it's probably not the best one ever - it doesn't seem super powerful, but it does the job and pays for itself in one use so even if it doesn't last us forever it still was worth the money. You can find it in the gift section at Winners, in between the sauna suits and the iphone cases (this is not an exact description of where it is, just examples of some of the wacky things that are also sold in this section), feel free to pick up a nose hair trimmer while you're there. 

2. Prep. 
Philip usually gets his haircut shirtless - scandal! - and then you can use a cape if your clippers came with them (ours didn't but my parents did), or like we did yesterday we just put a sheet around him which worked out pretty well and then we just washed it after. We also got a garbage bag ready which Philip held while I cut so that when there were big chunks I could throw them straight out instead of having to vacuum it all up after. 

3. Choose a Length. 
The first few times I cut his hair we started with a longer length and worked our way down slowly until we knew what length he liked so that we wouldn't accidentally go too short. Now we just go straight for #2. It looks good and only takes a couple weeks to grow in a little so it makes sense to us to go pretty short. 

4. Cut Cut Cut
I just do the whole thing the same length, because I'm not coordinated enough to do different lengths and have it look good - I couldn't even do my own ponytail until high school, so I'm not about to try and do a fancy haircut. It looks good on Philip though so it works for us. 
Once I'm done we look in the mirror for anything that looks off, I trim around his ears and neck and we're good to go!

5. Clean Up
Vacuum, shower, etc. 

6. Routine
One thing we haven't got down yet is making this a regular occurrence  this last haircut was needed for a very very very long time, and it makes it a lot harder to cut because the clippers get caught up in thick long hair so I have to go over it a bunch, if we did it every month or so it would be so easy to maintain. This one we also held off a bit because Philip was afraid his head would get cold walking to the bus and everything, but it's starting to warm up so we figured it was worth it. 

Post Haircut Philip Wiebe

So that's how you can save $10/month or so on haircuts! It's easy enough and so convenient because Philip never needs to head out to the hairdresser. Also it only took about half an hour which isn't too bad. 

Anyone else cut their own hair? More money saving beauty tips? 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Window Shopping Wednesday: EQ3

Welcome to Window Shopping Wednesday
Over the long weekend, between having a belated Valentine's date lunch at Joey (be mine, California Chicken Club) and picking up my mom at the airport, we had the opportunity to stop in at EQ3 Polo Park. Here are some of the great items we found - but didn't take home!
(Oh, and check it out: Philip made our little weekly event its own logo. So cute and pink!)
Now, back to the lusting over overpriced decor being totally content with the things we have! (While admiring a few things that reflect qualities we appreciate.)

Don't be surprised if we come home with this when we renovate our kitchen/dining area. We were both crazy about it. Our dining room at the condo also had an EQ3 barrel light, but this was definitely tugging on both of our heartstrings. Also last night - I guess I must have been thinking about this post - I had a dream about this light. It was mixed in with nightmares about hospital catastrophes, but at some point during  the madness I bought a knockoff of this light at Costco, but then it turned out it was more expensive! Talk about a nightmare.
If I didn't live with a boy and could have all pink and purple glasses...
this is where I'd start...
This might be showing my lack of green thumb, but I am totally loving the idea of these herb cutting scissors. They have 6 blades so you can easily just chop away! 
I really like the subtle pattern on this pillow.
Maybe another daybed addition.

This last piece is no where near a new arrival, Philip & I have been wanting it for 2 years...but it's a bit more than we can justify spending. The shelves are all angled differently so it looks like an optical illusion a bit close up.
What's your favourite? Done any recent shopping at EQ3? Our entertainment unit and coffee table are from there, making a good mix between splurges and cheap finds in our living room. 

After this next week we don't have any Window Shopping Wednesday's in the hopper, any stores you'd like to see us explore? A weird number of sites don't have online shopping options - Crate and Barrel, Ten Thousand Villages, Pier One Imports, Superstore, etc. so I'll have to make some journeys - which could be dangerous on the wallet. Today I'm going to Ikea again so maybe I'll take a few photos. Hope you're enjoying this new series and it's inspiring you in your own home design pursuits!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

House Before Photos

Today I finally got around to updating our Take the Tour page, to include before photos of our home! The photos are from the selling agent, so they show the furniture that was here before exactly as it was when we bought it. As we finish some of the rooms we'll be sure to add some progress photos so keep eyes peeled for those! 

What's your favourite part of the house? I personally miss the sweat lodge - that's what we called it at least. 

Head over and take a look!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Winter 2013 Scramble

Well, according to our to-do list, Winter 2013 ends with this month. We took a bit of time to make some updates to the sometimes ominous list, as we finished some things that weren't scheduled for weeks, while leaving others for a later date. Our list now is more reflective of what we actually think we can accomplish for now. We'll have to keep updating as we go, but this leaves you with an idea of what we have to accomplish this week to stay on track and what is coming up next.

In order to get refocused, I wrote out on paper the Fall 2012 & Winter 2013 goals that we had. I checked off anything we've completed, and then went to work making little notes about if the things were accomplish-able by the end of February-ish or if they should be pushed to Spring and beyond. Once Philip was in agreement with my list, it was time to make the necessary amendments to our official list. 

Go ahead and head over to the To-Do list section of our site to see comprehensive changes, but for now I'll explain the changes we made.

Right now this week and the end of Winter 2013 (not by the Groundhog's calendar, but by our To-Do lists standards) look like:

  • Install Living Room Blinds (complete!)
  • Install Hallway Light Fixture (we think we can squeeze this in this week because we already have it thanks to a friend's free giveaway, and it won't take long to do)
  • March Banner Update!
This means a lot was pushed to Spring, but luckily we didn't have much slotted into that time, just some yardwork, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. 

Spring 2013 (this looks slightly different than the To-Do list you'll see on our page, primarily due to paraphrasing):

  • Cut Insurance Rates/Address Inspection Issues: There are a couple of things left to get checked off the old inspection so we can bring it to our insurance company and get our rates lowered (since we didn't have an inspection originally they just gave us basic rates that they'll adjust with an inspection but we figure we'll get rid of any concerns the inspector had first). 
  • Rehang our Interior Doors
  • Regain some Master Bedroom Sanity by moving the extra furniture out and starting to hang some artwork and things like that. 
  • Finish our 3rd Bedroom
  • Start dreaming up ideas for the rest of our house (deck, kitchen, basement, and the very far reaching idea of an en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet).
  • Brace the Basement Stairs (when we gutted the basement the stairs lost a bit of their strength - they're still super safe but we're just going to make sure they're as safe as possible). 
  • Plow unwanted flowerbeds
  • Sod open spaces
  • Plant flowers/bushes/trees/etc.
  • Finish Bathroom (this is obviously higher on the list than this - I was even nervous to move it to the Spring category because that technically gives us till May to complete - but I'm hoping no more than a month and it'll be ready for a nice bath). We had planned to finish insulating this past weekend but have ended up needing to hire that out - we'll update on our bathroom progress this week!
What did you accomplish this Winter? What do you hope to do this Spring? Any ideas on how we should update our banner for March? I don't want to keep doing holidays but I suppose St. Patrick's day is an optional theme.