It may have appeared as though Derek and I dropped off the face of the earth sometime this past year. Rest assured, we have just been wholly preoccupied with what is now referred to in hushed tones as “The Great Renovation of 2016” or “The Renovation to End All Renovations”. It has been all-consuming and exhausting, driven by obsession bordering on madness, and has left time for little else. And now…dare I say…we’re done? No, I’d best not, that’s just begging for trouble.
As you may already know, Derek and I bought our first house in 2013, beside the beach in Roberts Creek. It’s a lovely spot, and has been a dream come true after many years of renting.
The house was about 1000 sq ft, and badly in need of some attention. It came with 30 year old, stained and peeling kitchen cupboards, some creative wiring and the infamous blue carpet that you will be all too familiar with if you’ve ever been a guest here. The blue carpet has endured decades of use with different families, children and pets before we finally finished it off. Daily tracking in sand and dirt, muddy paws from the garden, one incontinent senior dog, 2 new puppies were more than our carpet cleaner could handle. Gross. Why, yes it was.
We tackled our first, smaller renos in our first year here. The first stage of our workshop and the bathroom reno. (old blog post here) The bathroom was a surprise, high-priority item when we realized that the base of the toilet was leaking into the floor which of course was made of particle board and not plywood. Surprise! The swelling of the particleboard caused the toilet to recline further and further back each day. I fondly referred to it as “The Lazyboy”.
These first renos gave us a good idea of what to expect for time and cost as we started planning for the Big One. Even so, it was a daunting project to take on.
The first stage of drawing up the architectural diagrams, floor-plans and elevations and planning all the interior finishings, was actually a lot of fun. That’s because the project was still imaginary in my head at that point, and imaginary projects are easy and don’t cost anything. That all changed.
I think it was when the concrete boom truck showed up in the driveway that I realized, “Oh shit, this is actually happening in real life” and “Who’s in charge here and how is it that I was allowed to make these decisions like I’m an actual adult?”
We have hired Laurie Lacovetsky of Sound Construction with his capable crew, Scott and Andy for all our renos and we’ve never regretted it. They are hard working and knowledgeable with great attention to detail. Progress went very quickly on the back extension to the house and workshop and within a few months they were tearing up the inside.
It was a colder than normal winter this year when our drywall and insulation was removed from the walls and ceiling, and our kitchen torn out. It was then, with impeccable timing, our dryer gave out.
Here are a few photos from December:
The dismantled kitchen and new cabinets piled up in the living room, our wet clothes hanging from makeshift clotheslines, but best of all, no blue carpet. In hindsight, it might have been a good idea to move out during this part.
Once the main renovations were done, we did much of the finishing work, wood trim, painting etc. ourselves to save cost, and to be honest, because I enjoy using power tools. This kept us greatly occupied for many months.
Fast forward a few more months, we have no more blue carpet, and lots of cool before and after photos. I think it was worth it. What do you think?
Beautiful concrete counters by Julien of La Cote Concrete and Maple counter by Christian of Lafor Wood Products. Why yes, that is a plumbed in beer tap in the above photo, on the left. Also on the left, a cutting board I made from cherry wood from a tree we cut down in the back yard.
In the photo below, the pebble floor beside the patio door is mostly sourced from the beach and is a great way to hide the dirt that the pups track in every day. The cedar panel along the front of my desk came from a cedar tree we took down in the back of our house. The center of the tree was split and rotten but there was still plenty of perfectly good wood that we have used throughout the house.