February 20, 2011

Can You See Me Now?

Rory has rediscovered sunbeams! In the mornings he plasters himself to the baseboard radiator under the living room window. Once the sun is up he heads to the dining room and the new sliding doors for some southern exposure. And some squirrel watching. All good by me since it means he's not drooling on the new windowsill in the living room.

A little self-grooming always makes a boy feel ready to face the day.

Oh oh, what's this? Two-for-one day! Maybe it's a critter BOGO.

Rory-cam. Ridgebacks must have pretty good sight. The squirrels are in the apple tree on the left.

Really, see? Thing One...

....and Thing Two!

Tile by Jury

Working on the back hall and powder room. Mostly on the powder room. Dry layout of the tiles is taking WAY more time than I imagined it would. But I think the hard part is done. Coming out of that little room and into the back hall the tiles should flow fairly easily. Knock on wood. Or porcelain. Stop me now if you need to because the plan for tomorrow is to put these tiles in for real.
Powder room floor. The orange stuff is an uncoupling membrane called Schluter Ditra (which sounds like the name of a German dominatrix, but whatever, take it up with their marketing department).

Dry layout. Now I`m ready for bed. This was a ridiculous amount of work.

Absolutely no laughing allowed. This is what happens when Norm buys a camera of his very own. It would have happened even with "our" camera but at least then I could have vetoed the photo before it ever made it onto our hard drive. Anyway, here we have what can only be described as a Canadian renovation fashionista. This was taken last week when I was mixing thinset to use as a skim coat in the back hall and the little bathroom. Safety goggles, check. Ludicrously blue muck gloves, check. Down-filled parka, check (hey, it was minus 20C, and yah Mom, I know my coat is undone). Don`t even get me started on the headband. The kneepads are just de rigueur now. I wear them all the time. There was absolutely no good reason for me to be wearing them here.

February 5, 2011

As I write this, there are patches of modified thinset curing in various locations at the back entrance and the 'powder room'. With different and old surfaces we want to ensure that when we start laying tile down it stays where we put it.

When we did the TV room it was fairly easy to keep the construction isolated to just that room. Not so with the rest of the house. One thing leads to another. When we did the roof, it made sense to do the skylights in the living room at the same time. Last spring, when we ordered the window for the TV room, it made sense to order the ones for the kitchen at the same time, since we'd be doing the kitchen next.  So we did. In the fall, when we ordered the windows for the dining room (because you can't do the kitchen without doing the dining room, especially when you're tearing the wall down between the two) we also ordered the windows for the living room. What the heck.

The windows were finally installed last week.  I only got to see the evening light until I was off work on Friday when I made a point to check out the living room and dining room from different angles at different times of day. Window geek. You wouldn't think it could make such a big difference but it does. Especially since we covered up the two east windows that look out onto a fairly busy street. I suspect when the house was built the street wasn't quite as busy as it is now. It's not terrible. Summer isn`t too bad because the whole side of the house is treed, but in winter when the leaves are gone rush hour can be a little distracting. To compensate for covering those two up, we added five smaller windows in a row high up on the wall, and turned one of the dining room windows into patio doors.

This is the living room window that we had covered up. For a house this size, there was surprisingly little wallspace for artwork - so we've had to make some. And to me, the space above the window was wasted.

...so, add five smaller windows to let in the sunrise. I figure walking down the hall away from the bedroom in the morning it will be nice to see the colours of the sunrise through these. The glass is reeded, so the light is prettily diffused. The patch underneath looks like a bandaid. Norm is in the garage right now cutting mahogany to cover that up. If he gets his lights fixed...

Same window, but photo taken from closer to the front entrance.

And now. It makes a huge difference to let light in at the top of the room. Between these and the skylights,  there is now plenty of natural light in the living room - good for a room that faces north - it needs all the light you can get for it.

This is the same window taken from the outside (obviously in warmer weather). Now that it and its match from the dining room are gone, this side of the house has its own bandaid in the form of unpainted cedar siding. I drove by it for the first time today and was really taken aback - it looks like some boarded up abandoned place. Ugh. Can't do much about that right now. When the weather warms up we'll be out painting it white so it blends with the rest of the cedar siding. Yah, I know, the fence needs some work.

Here`s the bow window from the living room ``before``.

...and after. It`s now ``bowed`` enough that you can actually sit on it. It was okay before, but a few extra inches make all the difference. Now Rory and I are going to have to have a talk. The seating area of the old window was varnished wood. Shortly after we moved in I began to notice strange little blotches, like drops of something were staining or corroding the finish on the wood. Dog drool. This is the window where Rory waits for me to get home. Either laying alongside the radiator that runs under the window, or staring out into the front yard watching squirrels. And drooling.

It`s getting kind of complicated to navigate in this space, nevermind taking photographs.

See the clean, dog-drool-free base...

Dining room windows. The one on the left is gone now. It was along the same east wall as the one in the living room.

Norm does the mahogany, I do the drywalling. Now patio doors to the back yard. Currently a four foot drop, until we build a deck. In the meantime Rory has another vantage point for squirrel watching. If the room looks a bit smaller, I think it`s because the entire kitchen is pretty much in the dining room. Old fridge. Stove. One countertop. And the new fridge is blocking the righthand side. Oh...anybody want an aquarium?