A long-overdue renovation update

Yeah, the renovations are still going. You’ll know when they’re done — thar’ll be a “we’re done” post, which will include before/after shots. But until then, please understand that we’re poking along pretty slowly at this point, with only little things being done, and most of the remaining “big” stuff (notably painting, furniture placement, and decorating) solely being in our hands.So yes, this is all for you, Therese…

Some of our work is dependent on when some of the other renovation work is completed (we can’t finish painting until the drywalling is complete), some is dependent on time (when you have two small kids running around, it’s hard to paint), and then there’s this minor illness that’s temporarily sidelined me. Y’know, the usual stuff.

Okay, so where did we leave off?

The kitchen part of the reno is almost completely finished, save for five things:

  1. The doors of one cabinet have still not been delivered. These are the only glass doors, and are taking an unbelievably long time to show up. I’m mildly tempted to charge interest on their non-presence. A couple of weeks is one thing, but we’re nearly two months since the cabinets first arrived.
  2. The dishwasher is now working, but only after we discovered that during all this renovation bruhaha, a vent hose went missing. It’s simply not there. So the part’s on order, which I’ll install, and then the dishwasher can be properly secured.
  3. The backsplash on the side opposite the glass-tiled backsplash. Originally, there had been discussion about tiling both, but somewhere along the line the decision had been made to not tile the opposite wall. (Honestly, can’t remember when and whom.) So that needs to be properly finished so we can paint it; that’s nearly done.
  4. Painting. Not heavy painting, but definitely the aforementioned backsplash, touch-ups in the dining area, and the baseboards.
  5. The pendant lights are temporary, pending the discovery of ones we like. That’s proving to be tougher than we’d thought. Likely, this will be the last thing completed.

Outside of the kitchen, there’s a few more things that need attention. The work’s progressed a bit more slowly on this side, mostly owing to availability of people. And there’s been hold-ups because there’s been issues that’ve needed correcting, too.

First up was the grout in the entranceway tile. It simply gave way, leaving large holes. This was not only unexpected, it was irritating. The more I hear that the guys who installed it are “Calgary’s best”, the more I want to laugh in our contractor’s face, because we’ve seen some of the worst workmanship from them, compared to the other trades we’ve seen through the house. (Incidentally, if you ever do glass tile, never use it in an area that’ll have lighting directly over it — the glass tile exposes every little defect in your wall when the light shines through. Moreso when the tile isn’t lined up perfectly.) They also apparently need glasses, as they placed two tiles in our bathroom that had a different pattern than the rest, and used a different tile for the backsplash. Removing the offending tile broke other tiles … well, you get the picture.

The next issue was hallway doors. As you know, we’re replacing all but one of the interior doors upstairs with ones Alex had seen at Home Depot. Finding doors that would fit was a major challenge, as our doorways were apparently built in an era of “aw, just eyeball it and get ‘er done!”, so we have (no lie) four different door sizes for five doorways. The closet doors also got replaced (save for Megan’s, which are the only ones still fully-functional), leading to four closet doors needed for the front entrance, the utility closet, and the linen closet. Those doors were narrower and shorter than the original bifolds, leading to more framing and more drywalling.

That means that the baseboards aren’t done yet, either. They’re about 85% installed, notably not where the framing was going on for closets. That needs to be completed, the gaps and holes filed, and then painted to completion. The baseboards themselves almost became a problem, because where they lined up with the kickboards on the cabinets, the baseboards were over 1/2″ taller. You’d think someone would’ve measured twice before cutting? (Or maybe they thought we were blind? I’m not sure…)

Then there’s the painting, easily the largest (remaining) issue of this renovation. The hardest part has been choosing colours. Amber, our awesome next-door neighbour, is also a professional designer, and has helped immensely in vetting out a colour that might actually work. As I think I’ve already mentioned, Alex literally stumbled across a mistint that has been fabulous as an accent wall, but finding something that would complement it has been a struggle. Alex’s first choice worked well for many, but it didn’t sit well with her. A new paint seems to have solved that problem, however.

We still need to paint quite a lot, though: the dining area (retouches, mostly), the kitchen (backsplash wall), the living room, the entranceway (accent wall), the hallway, the main bathroom (last coat for most of it, though the closet needs to be painted entirely), the new doors (most have had two coats; three appear to be needed), the master bedroom (colour still to be chosen), and the kids’ rooms at some point this year. Oh, and the baseboards (that one is really going to suck).

My biggest desire is to get our living room back. I want to have a living room again, not a collection of stuff piled in the middle under a sheet of poly. I want the TV back on the wall. I want a couch I can sit in. I want chairs at the bar counter. I want pictures on the walls. I want to have people come in and feel at home, not wonder when the chaos will end. I can live with ongoing clutter for a while when I know there’s an end in sight, but there’s a limit to everything, and the sooner this completes, the better.

We’ll see how this next week goes. With luck, that’ll be the cabinet doors, the drywall, more of the painting, and the baseboards. Maybe our living room back in place?

Stay tuned for more…

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