Friday, September 25, 2009

Peach with Salmon – As ugly as it probably tastes (Kitchen and Basement Reno Part 2)

When we moved in, our house had a legal rental unit in the basement, for which we still get all sorts of strange mail. The upshot was the basement was finished, and there was a bathroom and kitchen down there which we could re-purpose. Unfortunately in order to make the laundry accessible to the owner’s unit, it had been moved to the main floor and it occupied a good chunk of our already too small kitchen. So we decided to reclaim that space back for the kitchen, and to put the laundry room downstairs where the apartment’s kitchen had been.

Some of the features we liked about the basement apartment were the exposed brick wall on the one side, the 3-piece bathroom was a bonus, the fact that it had already been water-proofed, insulated, dry-walled and had pot lights was also great. What we didn’t like was the peach coloured tile throughout and the giant salmon-coloured brick fireplace that dominated the large living area of the basement. So we hired Glen from Castle Rock Masonry to clean up and re-point the exposed brick wall, we also had him demolish and remove the giant brick fireplace. Meanwhile I dismantled and removed the basement kitchen and removed the cheap particle board doors.

On the topic of cheap hollow core particle board doors, I would like to take this opportunity to state emphatically that I hate them, who makes a door out of cardboard anyway? I always have a chuckle when I read real estate listings, bragging about how some builder used Series 200 doors, or some such nonsensical boast. It’s kind of like bragging that your polyester suit has 10% wool content. As far as I’m concerned if you choose a door made of cardboard, you’re a cheapskate. You’re just slightly less cheap than the Series 100 cheapskates. Doors are supposed to provide privacy and security. Cardboard does none of these things. Anyone remember this movie:

If that were a particle board door Jack probably could have left the axe at home and just taken along a pen knife or even a salad fork. Just say NO to particle board doors!

With the kitchen cabinets and fireplace removed, the basement felt so much bigger. But that would be very temporary. To keep the washing machine noises out of the living area, which would eventually become our family room, I framed in some partition walls around the laundry room area.

And to take the chill off the basement floor we laid an insulating underlayment and electric heat pads from Warmly Yours. And over that my wife and I spent a few weekends, gluing together a floating gombeira (Brazilian ebony) hardwood floor that we got at Celebrity Hardwood. Celebrity Hardwood is a great place to shop for hardwood if you have a small area to cover, as they specialize in end of batch runs.

Tip: If you are putting down a floating floor, keep the tip of the glue bottle clean. I stubbornly continued to try to squeeze glue out of the bottle, when the tip was starting to clog instead of cleaning it. My hands were so sore from all the squeezing, i felt like a had milked 20 herds of cattle. And the glue came out much slower, making the whole process much slower, than if i had just stopped to clean the tip. I guess that's what they mean when they say, "sometimes you have to go slow to go fast".

Work in progress:

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