September review

Note: This post was written last last year and continues the story of our renovation through the fall of 2016.

We're now at the end of October and a recap of September's progress is overdue, before covering everything that went on this month. Work has stretched out into the Fall, mainly due to the installation of the siding which took at least two or three weeks longer than expected. They did a nearly perfect job of installing it though. Lots of furring out crooked walls and squaring up corners. With the previous builder I don't think I saw a level or a square on the job site even once. Even though it is an older foundation to start with, the walls which were built brand new even weren't square and true. They just didn't care. But fortunately the new builder and his subs did care and they made sure everything lined up. If you look at the corners of the house, for example, all the joints of the boards line up perfectly on both walls.


Michanie had a gentleman named Patrice come and do the front deck. A retired auto body mechanic who has been working as a carpenter as a retirement "hobby". His work on the deck was beautiful.




On the interior, final trim work and painting has been mostly completed. Michanie did quite a bit of drywall patching and paint touch ups to correct a variety of issues left behind by the original contractor.

Installation of the modest kitchen had a few hiccups, but they were quickly resolved. I got to help a bit one evening to install a panels and trim boards.  The countertops, ordered through IKEA and installed by Uniform Custom Countertops, were unfortunately not shimmed to the correct height and therefore the gas range trim was sitting proud of the countertop.  Sylvain, the foreman and main carpenter who did the majority of work on our house, didn't hesitate to get right in and jack up the base cabinets to bring everything to a proper height. It required a bit of creativity with a drill and screwdriver where the cabinets attach to the walls, not pretty, but it works and you can't see those attachments anyway. We had some adjustment of the hinges and rails to get all the doors square and even. Fortunately the IKEA cabinet hinges are pretty easy to adjust.



The space in front of the kitchen is intended as a small living room / relax area. It's not really big enough for a large sofa but it could accommodate two or three lounge chairs.



The original house had a similar window configuration here: the small side window and a large front window, which is now a (narrow) patio door. The morning sun streams into the house here, filling it with light. It's a beautiful quality of light, too. Hard to describe, but one of the things we really like about this place, and people who visit frequently comment on it. By opening up this space, the entire area has become full of light.



One of my weekend projects in September was to stain this barn door. It's a simple, off-the-shelf product from Home Depot, and a little incongruous to hang a rustic, country-style barn door on a modern stainless rail, but it actually turned out ok, since the color of it is pretty close to the color of the wood-grained tiles in the master bath, which you can see through the open door in the photo below.



Here's a closer look at the tiles in the master bath. I though the tile installer did a very good job. I was pretty impressed with the workmanship. No complaints on the tile.



We used the same simple white 8x16" tiles in the "Japanese bath" (which is called a wet-room configuration here in North America).  The main difference is that there's a second tub filler below the shower. This is a Grohe Geotherm 2000 system that's normally used in a bathtub. We have it over the shower pan, with a separate tub filler for the tub itself, because with the Japanese bath you would use the faucet outside the tub to fill a wash basin for lathering up and rinsing before entering the hot bath.  I'll post more on the Japanese bath later on.



The siding on the house took a very long time to complete, again mainly because none of the walls were square, but I'm glad they took the time to do a good job. There is unfortunately a bit of "caning" visible on the wide fascia in a couple of spots, if the light hits it right. There is a bit of corner trim left to install.



Originally the porch roof was meant to extent across the entire front of the house. The engineer, however, said this wasn't feasible due to load bearing issues on the overhanging portion (we get a lot of snow in winter here). So the plan switch to make a pergola (open trellis) over the steps -- and then maybe install some plexiglass over that, once the final inspections were done.



Finally, near the end of October, we rented a truck, got our friends Yves, Michael, Lillian and Jared to help us out, loaded up our stuff, and moved back to our house!  They offered to do another load to pick up some of the smaller stuff, and I said don't worry.  Later on, after making about 2 dozen trips back to the rental condo to get moving boxes full of stuff, I wished that I had taken them up on the offer.



Work continues to complete the rear walk-out basement retaining wall, footings and deck, and to finish a bit of exterior trim and porch detail at the front. I'll post details of the rear basement walk-out and deck in another post.

Being back home has been such a relief. Before we found a good builder to rescue us, we were living in a nightmare. Even afterwards the costs and many problems discovered as we worked to complete things were very stressful on already frayed nerves.  But since we moved back into the house we really feel like the nightmare is nearly over.  And while the ending is not exactly as we had hoped, we have our house and our lives back and we can now deal with settling in and fitting out the interior of the house as time permits.

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