Sunday, December 27, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Here are a few of my favourites from the website directory:
Sunny Choi (above) paints incredibly stunning yet haunting images of beautiful women.
Lindsay Chambers (left)
Elizabeth Dyer (above)
Brian Harvey (left)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
4. Hand tighten till you feel a noticable increase in resistance.
5. Wrench tighten 2 more full turns.
And voila no more drips:
Friday, November 6, 2009
We worked on our basement simultaneously with our kitchen, since we needed to make holes in the basement walls and ceilings to run wires to the new kitchen. We also got rid of the laughably small laundry machines that were in the kitchen and built a nice laundry room, with storage and counters. We wanted many of the same finishes in the laundry room as the kitchen, to keep the look harmonious throughout the house. However in the laundry room I decided to install IKEA cabinets and hardware, as well as sink and faucet (see below Technical Tip if you have bought one of these). We then had our cabinet maker, mill and spray shaker doors to match our kitchen doors, and we chose to go with the same bianco carrara marble for the counter tops. And finally I installed a clean white subway tile backsplash.
We still have a few more odds and sods to finish up:
- I need to scribe some filler strips between the sink cabinet and the wall, and I need to install a cover panel below the sink doors
- I need to finish installing the last few feet of baseboard in the laundry room and hide the water heater.
- I plan on refinishing some old French doors and using barn door hardware to install them in front of the laundry room.
- I need to build in some more storage throughout the basement
- And right now I am in the middle of renovating the basement bathroom.
So there'll likely be some future posts if i can tear myself away from the DIY Channel.
Anyone who is planning on installing an IKEA faucet LISTEN UP! The robinets (hoses) that come with the faucet are metric, they will not fit on 99.9% of the fittings available in our country.
So here's what you need:
- 2 Male Adapters 1/2" Code: W01131H ( i picked mine up at Home Despot).
- 2 1/2" sweat to 1/2" sweat inline shut off valves.- all the soldering goodies (emery cloth, pipe cutter, flux, blow torch and solder)
- Some teflon tape and pipe joint compound
Here's what it should look like:
So here it is, after months of take out dinners and BBQ’ing, our kitchen was truly and finally DONE. It was time to hang up my tool belt and put on an apron, I was finally ready for my inner chef to wok out with my spatula out. OK I’m getting carried away, but the point is we’re really happy with the way it turned out and at how much more storage and counter space we now have. The appliances which started us down this path are dreamy. Going from one working electric burner to 5 gas burners is like going from steerage to First Class. And we are just scratching the surface with the features on our new wall oven. It can bake, roast, broil, convect, microwave, steam and clean itself. That’s 5 more things than our old range.
Overall, the reno process went fairly smoothly and quickly, even with us doing much of the work on evenings and weekends. More often then not the availability of tradespeople became the bottleneck. I guess with the Home Reno Tax Credit, they’ve got more jobs than they know what to do with. But we were able to find some excellent trades through Homestars. We also saved a lot of money by doing much of the work ourselves. The first quote we got was for a turn key renovation of our kitchen and basement, it ended up at $50K-60K labour only. Much more than we were prepared to pay. That made our decision to roll up our sleeves an easy one. We did the demolition, framing, insulation, plumbing, flooring, painting, and finish carpentry on our own. In total we spent about 13K on trades for items that were beyond our abilities (mason, electrician, drywallers, and HVAC) and in that 13K number were a lot of materials embedded in their quotes, like bricks, wires, electrical boxes, drywall, switches and outlets. With all the money we saved on labour, we were comfortable splurging on finishes, like the deep undermount sink, marble counters and moonstone backsplash.
What we love about our new kitchen:
- So much more functional and better planned
- The appliances are great, and they were a steal.
- The counters and backsplash make us swoon.
- The heated floors feel really good
- The abundance of natural, ambient and task light really makes cooking more enjoyable
- The wine fridge was a splurge, but it gets a lot of use.
What we slightly regret:
- Wish we had enough room to include storage for coats and for a step ladder.
- We wish we had chosen a lighter flooring stain, because dust really shows on it
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
We had called Habitat for Humanity’s Restore to see if they would be interested in taking our old cabinets, granite counter and appliances. After sending them some pictures of the old kitchen, they were happy to send over a crew to carefully dismantle everything and pick it up. And when they sold the cabinets, counter and appliances, we received a tax receipt for $2200. I would highly recommend to anyone doing a major renovation, involving replacing anything that still has a lot of value, to please consider donating it to Restore. Their concept truly is a win-win-win solution; they sell the donated goods to raise money to fund Habitat for Humanity. Meanwhile it keeps the items from going into a landfill, and finally it not only reduces dumping fees for the home owner, it also provides them with a tax receipt once the donated goods are sold.
When coming up with our kitchen design, we noticed that the ceiling in the kitchen was much lower than the ceiling in the rest of the main floor. So I drilled a few large holes in the ceiling drywall to see whether we had a false ceiling and how much room we could gain back. Turns out the old owner liked the look of pot lights, but didn’t want to pay to redo the ceiling. So instead he just put in a false ceiling about 13 inches below the original, and then wired up the pot lights to the single box that was in the middle of the kitchen. Once Restore had removed everything worth salvaging, we were excited to begin demolition, so that we could see the room without the false ceiling and partition walls around the washer & dryer. My wife and I spent a few days of hammering, prying and bagging and watched as the room began to expand before our eyes.
Now came time to demolish the ceramic floor tile. For this I rented an electric jack hammer with a tile scraping bit. Here’s a tip for anyone looking to remove tile, go with a small SDS demolition hammer instead of a big heavy jack hammer. Unlike jack hammering concrete where the weight of the machine works for you, in tile scraping you need to hold the machine at a shallow angle to the floor. Therefore all that extra weight is just more for you to support with your arms.
The last part of our demolition, involved moving the door opening and rebuilding the brick wall. For this we had Glen from Castlerock Masonry come back.
Here are some progress pics:
No more false ceiling and partition walls - YAY!
The doorway being moved to the center:
The exterior brick work:
Friday, October 2, 2009
Here’s what we went with (in future posts I’ll detail the installation of each of these items):
Hardwood floors – Our house is open from the front door all the way to the back, and we wanted the flooring to be continuous throughout. So we chose a dark oak engineered hardwood floor by Kahrs.
White floor to ceiling cabinets – Our kitchen did not have a very large foot print, but we knew we could go a lot higher with the cabinets ….Once we got rid of the false ceiling.
White marble counters – Lots of people tried to steer us away from marble towards granite, though very few of them were ever talking from experience with marble. This is a must read blog post for anyone considering marble counters. For us the decision was simple – marble is always classic, understated, beautiful and timeless, like Grace Kelly. Granite on the other hand is like Zsa Zsa Gabor in a leopard print unitard.
French Doors – We had ugly aluminum sliding patio doors, that as far as I could tell opened the wrong way, the operable side of the patio door, meant you had to duck as you passed through, or risk banging your head on a kitchen cabinet. That and there wasn't anyway to lock it from the outside.
Powder Room – We had a small powder room in our kitchen, we toyed with the idea of removing it, to get a bigger kitchen, but we felt the convenience of having a powder room on the main floor out-weighed having a few more cabinets. So we changed the fixtures and painted it.
Here is a before picture: