Monday, 28 December 2015

Kitchen Update #1

After taking a few days off over Christmas, we're back to work in the kitchen.  Before Christmas we were able to get all of the demo done.

With the cabinets down and the walls out, we realized how large the room actually is!

We got the old ceramic floor up quite easily and were surprised to find a number of layers of linoleum underneath.  My favourite is the red...I can't imagine having an entire kitchen with a red floor!

Once again, we uncovered a variety of different wallpapers.  In some areas there are layers of wallpaper that have also been covered by layers of lath and plaster.  Many of these wallpapers are the same as the ones we found in the bathroom (which is right next to the kitchen) so we figure that at one time this was one large space.  Some day down the road we would love to move the bathroom and regain that space as part of the kitchen.  It would be an awesome pantry or breakfast nook!

With so many layers of wallpaper, plaster and old sheet rock, we decided that the easiest solution for us would be to drywall over everything like we did in the dining room.  Had we chosen to strip all of the wallpaper, we probably wouldn't have our new kitchen until 2017!

My brother has been here helping us with the drywall for the past few days, and we can really see things starting to come together now (which is a much better feeling than the moment when you realize that you no longer have a kitchen and will be eating microwave dinners for the next 6 weeks!)

Although things are pretty dusty right now, we're very happy with the progress that we have made over the past few days.  We still have a lot to do, but knowing that we are putting things back together instead of tearing them apart is a good feeling!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Kitchen Inspiration

It's been a difficult few weeks around here.  Unfortunately both of our grandmothers passed away two weeks ago, just two days apart.  It was an extremely emotional time for both of us, but with the support of our family and friends we were able to pull together and get through it.

In between the visitations and funerals, we also had our first home study visit from CAS.  We are now done the classes and are feeling really excited about having the home study part done soon as well.  If all goes according to plan, that will all be done by the end of January.

We have been working on the mudroom and are at the point now where we are ready to do some drywalling.  We have been planning on working on the kitchen over the holidays though, and realized that we might as well do the mudroom and kitchen at the same time to keep the dust at a minimum.

The current layout of our kitchen is really impractical.  The oven and cooktop are separated from the fridge and sink by a peninsula that cuts the kitchen in half.  There is also a lot of wasted space that we are hoping to gain back.  There aren't any windows, but there are 4 doors and a stairwell which means that wall space is minimal.

It's currently dark, outdated and dingy looking.  The wallpaper was probably hung in the early 90's and the cabinets are about 30 years old.  We have lived with it for a year and a half, but we're ready to make some changes!

Once we had our layout figured out, we went to Ikea and used their kitchen design software to see if our ideas would actually work.  Within an hour we had our design done and we were starting to look at cabinets.

Our plan is to have two straight walls of cabinets with a narrow island down the middle.  We want it to be lighter, brighter and cleaner looking.  Something like the pictures below:
Without any windows, our space will never be as bright and airy as most of these ones, but with white cabinets and additional lighting we are hoping to brighten it up as much as we can.

We started demo today.  The cabinets are out, the walls are down and the appliances are gone.  I'll write more about that in the next post, but for's back to ripping flooring out and cleaning the mess up!  


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Christmas at 220 Cochrane

Christmas truly is my favourite time of the year!  I love the music, the smells of cinnamon and gingerbread, and the decorations.  We go pretty crazy around here with the decorations, and we've been hard at work getting it all done.  We put the finishing touches on both the indoor and outdoor decorations this past weekend, so here's a few shots of how things are looking these days.


Now that our decorating is done, I guess it's time to start baking and shopping and wrapping...

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Falling Into November

October was a really busy month for us.  Our PRIDE classes for our adoption are now in full swing and keeping us occupied every Wednesday (plus the homework afterwards!).  Once again we hosted a big Thanksgiving dinner with over 20 of our family and friends at the table.  It was amazing!  We also enjoyed decorating the house for Halloween, but didn't find the time to get all of our outside decorations up.  Hopefully we won't be as busy next year and will be able to go all out!

We also managed to get quite a bit accomplished in the mudroom.  With my brother's help, we had already installed the new door in August.  Jeremy had also removed the leaking skylights and put a new roof on the mudroom, which was very much needed.  Next on the list was removing the cedar shake wall, replacing the windows, and levelling out and insulating the floor.  I can't take credit for very much of this.  Although I'm a helping hand when needed, Jeremy has been doing a lot of the work on this project.

One of our biggest hold-ups was the insulation in the flooring.  When we lifted the old floor, we discovered that there was very little insulation underneath it.  In most areas it was bare dirt.  In others, there were remnants of insulation, but it looked like animals had carried most of it away.  Another point for the squirrels (we continue to battle them in the attic as well!).

We had a few quotes done for spray foam insulation in the floor, and chose what we felt was the best company with the most reasonable price.  At the same time, we also decided to have the garage ceiling done.  Our bedroom, which is above the garage, was the coldest room in the house!  Last year we had heat ducts run to it, which was a big improvement...but the insulation was still lacking.  So we set a date to have the spray foam done, then ripped up the old mudroom floor and tore down the nasty old insulation in the garage.   We then received a call to say they had fallen a week behind schedule and wouldn't be at our place for another seven days.

After a very cold week with no mudroom floor and some very cold nights with nothing insulating our bedroom, they finally arrived with their spray foam magic.  Let's just say, it was worth the wait! Even on the nights when the temperature has fallen below freezing, our bedroom floor has remained nice and warm and the gas fireplace has hardly been on.

So with the floor levelled, the cedar shake wall gone and original bricks exposed, and the new windows and door in, we're finally into the home stretch in the mudroom!  We still have some big decisions to make, like how we are going to deal with the old window opening, what we are going to do with the brick wall, and what kid of storage we are going to put in. Although we like the clean look of built-ins, we are also considering an antique wardrobe which will add a feeling of history to the space.

We have the floor picked out, but are waiting for some permanency with our jobs before we go ahead and order it.  It will also carry through into the kitchen, and eventually the bathroom.  We also have some water damaged drywall to fix, and lots of trim work to do before we can call this room finished.

November is already off to a great start!  While Jeremy was out raking leaves this afternoon, the granddaughter of Samuel Jeffrey stopped by to drop off a few old pictures that she had found of the outside of the house and the gardens.  We're not sure of the date, but we know they were taken while the Jeffrey's lived here (from 1926-1954).  We are always excited when we have the chance to see any old photos of the house.

I can't believe how many gardens there were back then, similar to when we moved in.  She said that many of the gardens were in the lots adjacent to the house, which have all been sold off over the past half-century.  I'm always grateful to have even a glimpse of the past and see how things were previously.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Finishing the Foyer

After just a few short weeks, we have the majority of the work done in the foyer and front stairwell.  Even though we hit a few unexpected bumps along the way, this project was actually fairly easy and painless.

We started with a lot of red wallpaper and carpet.  Surprisingly, the wallpaper came down easily and with very little damage underneath.  One of the biggest jobs was replacing the damaged drywall from where the roof above had been leaking for many years.  

We also tore up the red carpet on a whim.  With the wallpaper gone, it just didn't look right.  With that job done, we were able to begin priming and painting.  We chose to use the same colour that we had already painted the living and dining rooms.  We thought that would help make everything feel bigger, and keep a good flow going throughout the main floor.  We also have a 5 gallon pail of it that we are trying to use up!  I don't think we'll ever buy one of those again.

We can't believe how big the foyer feels now!  Without the patterned wallpaper and the dark trim, it has really opened the space up.


We still have a lot to do in this space.  The stairs need a lot of work, we have to reupholster the pink bench, and we are looking for a new console table that will be more functional than the old sewing machine.  But for now, we are moving into the mudroom.  Work has already started in there, and it's going better than expected.  I'll post about that soon!