When we moved here in fall of 2013 we were a family of 6. Our oldest two kids had graduated and were in university. The younger two were in high school. This house was built in 1979 and for most of its life had been lived in by only adults and had never had any upgrades or renovations. It looked like it was stuck in 1987. It is a split level design and the main living space was chopped up into 4 rooms – kitchen, dining, living room and family room. All small by today’s standards. We chose to live in it as is for awhile – as is being with 4x4” ceramic tile counters in the kitchen, floral wallpaper borders in every bedroom, peeling wallpaper on all the walls of every bathroom and orange shag carpet. The kitchen especially was difficult to live with as its layout really wasn’t conducive to 4 or more people making breakfast and lunches at the same time and I dreamt at night about taking a baseball bat to the cabinetry. So we finally bit the bullet. In the summer of 2015. I hunted down beautiful cherry kitchen cabinets in a house in the fancy White Rock beach neighbourhood near us and we spent an entire day ripping them out of their house, stacked them in our garage and set to work on making them fit in our house. I went to work on cleaning and painting them and Karl began ripping out the old cabinetry. Long story short, we took out the eat in breakfast nook to allow for a more extensive prep space, ended up removing all the walls on the main floor to create an open concept and re-insulated the attic space above and re-drywalled the ceiling throughout this space. I would like to say we finished it by Christmas 2016, but ‘finished’ would be a stretch. There are still items to be done, but we’re living in it and have moved on to bigger and better things. Since then the oldest two kids have moved out and our son is married with 2 kids of his own. Great, more room for everyone you say? No, it doesn’t feel that way really. We all still crave time at home alone because if we want to do something quietly, the only place to go is up to our rooms when others are home. The existing family room was less than 12x12’ square and part of that was a corridor between other spaces. And it was open to the other living space. So we hired a designer. We told him we wanted more living space and more bedrooms. The intention -the dream - is to become foster parents to teens. And we are not in a hurry to see our kids move out. But we do want to be able to separate a little better. So our fantastic designer from Back Porch Designs created a beautiful plan to add on to the side of our house (the ground level), expanding the laundry room and creating a great room with kitchenette and then building 2 bedrooms and a bathroom above. We did lose one ground floor bedroom, so we’re technically only adding 1 bedroom, but in a much better configuration. This way, not only can we add more kids to the house, but when we’re old and grey (don’t look at my husband’s hair – grey is a mindset) we can turn the great room and additional bedrooms and bathroom into a suite. The next thing we did was hire a framer. He poured the foundation and framed the addition. In the meantime, I began removing the bricks of the family room fireplace as that wall was being removed to extend the length of the family room by about 6 feet. But we wanted to keep the beautiful grey brick for a future project. So we had to remove it carefully which means it took awhile. We had the roof placed by the neighbour (who owns a roofing company, Pacific Shores Roofing) and Karl began to work on the plumbing, which he ended up redoing throughout the house, replacing copper pipe with pvc and even relocating the plumbing stack (where all the poop goes down to the city connection) to make the design work well. The floor was poured last fall and we were about to finish the interior framing but became concerned about the exterior being exposed to the elements so we set about getting ready to install siding. After much research, we purchased enough Hardieboard siding to do redo the entire house and began installation. Well, I thought we were beginning installation, but Karl wanted to get it just right so he spent a week or two just figuring out how he wanted to prep the walls. We are now about halfway through siding the addition and still have the rest of the house to side as well although that won’t happen immediately. Of course, nothing happens immediately with us. Does reading all we’ve been through exhaust you? Did I mention we both work full time? This is a very slow process. We are a little controlling and struggle to be ok with tradespeople since we are not high end builders, we find its hard to get quality out of the tradespeople that do work for us. We’ve had some great ones, but we’ve also had some issues. And Karl would rather not pay people to make the mistakes he can make himself. 😊 And he catches his mistakes before its too late. However, we’re feeling overwhelmed. And my chronic health issues make it difficult for me to be much help. So I’m looking to other things I can do that contribute to our overall purpose and life goals and maybe help pay for help for him. Although at some point, I will get to do all the purchasing and planning to finish the space. Yay! That’s the fun part! Until he gets frustrated because I don’t have something here on time. So I hope you feel like you have some background to where we are. There will be lots more blogging about the reno, but if you have questions, ask away!
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