Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Intermission: Winter II 2014

Intermission: Winter II 2014
Pictures: year-end randoms & glimpses of reno's in-the-works.
Maybe we'll explain more later about the clusterf*cks delays, but certainly not feeling the need atm. Everything is pretty darned awesome in spite of the renovation rigamaroll and even including the pace/otherwise not-timely occurrence of those things. We're too busy being alive. Too occupied with breathing & feeling electric to blog/take pictures/worry/be accountable/give any f*cks.
We'll be back... eventually. But for now: peace out.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Update: Autumn 2014

In the throws of some sweet renos.
This round is currently delightful, as it is still constructing the Basement Suite (like a mini-house inside our house! META), and fixing the sh*t we didn't totally do right the first time refining previously in-progress, "90% complete", or "final" rooms (Main floor Bath, Family Bath, Kitchen, Library, Dining Room, Living Room). Wouldn't it be a different world if we all didn't make mistakes & everything was perfectly formed the first time? Haha... how are we possibly supposed to know everything there is to know before forging forth & getting messy? We forge ahead & do it anyway... failing, making mistakes... shameless... all in the trust of that divine mistress Process to infuse her gifts of inspiration, innovation, and courage. It's a sweet spot. We are not afraid. Besides, you don't get to judge us. Viewing home, nay, life, as a work-in-progress is not only freeing but it is good. This is just part of our awesome.
So we're messing about with tweaking these spaces, and wondering still about where we will end up next while painting, furniture tetris, co-ordinating trades, and appreciating the day to day grind with a relaxed attitude. Winter is coming... feelin' the chill... getting a little tired of workin' so dang hard... so we're warming this home with more mature tones (Library, Kitchen, and Main Bath), and "finishing" projects (Living Room, Dining Room) to soothe our souls. Hunkerin' down! Stay in tune near 2014 year-end (if all goes to plan) to catch our next update... she'll be a doozy.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Intermission: Summer 2014.b.

We spent most of our "project" time @ City Hall/co-ordinating with our trades to slam out this Basement Suite asap (with reconstruction starting Sept 2014), and the rest was pell mell shows, events, walks along the riverbank falling in love with this Cityscape, tomfoolery and general rolling with summertime's bliss as the garden grew (notes: pools w tomatoes not a design meant for this climate of rain & mosquitos). Also, the Foyer project aired on the AT website, which was a lesson in needing a second editor as well as re-establishing that internet trolls are depressing excuses of human life: as enlightened & sensitive human beings, when confronted with the pain of others (in the usual forms of personal attacks/attachment, superiority/inferiority complexities, and blame/not having accountability for your own actions) it is cause for; a.humour, b.restraint to not poke the bear, and c.getting more serious about our life's work making a path for compassionate expression we can all access aka re-dedication to finding another way to interact as human beings to each other on this planet. In other words "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" is how we are approaching personally resolving that experience (not uncommon, as it is basic psychology that a person needs 5 positive instances to counter-act 1 negative). Synchronicity that we officially closed the other job down after tour this year to now just accommodate custom/bespoke items, as the accumulation of STUFF and need to concentrate more upon our passions for reclaiming/sustainability in this new urban way take centre-stage. It's a hell of a lot of work to promote & push forth a new bridge-philosophy of living... send us & our peeps the strength to continue our peaceful revolution, love for all people & the planet, and send us hope that it will catch on.
So... a loaded summers worth for us! We love our life.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Phase Z: Basement Suite.a. (Update)

Last time it looked like this.
Now she looks like this ta-da!

Beam & Ducting (and subsequent re-routing of Plumbing) complete!
Sure, it doesn't look like much... but this was a diehard task on our nearly-100-year-old home. Many nights of panic-sweating wondering if the whole damn thing was going to *collapse* dramatically a la every Sci-Fi rip in the space-time continuum scene ever into the vortex, the tag-team trades-folk who needed to dance the "work-stop-return-work-stop-return" jig for over a year to complete this phase (re-support/removal of beam, ducting, plumbing, concrete repairs), and the handful of cautionary tales we now have a collection of (i see authoring a future children's book featuring talking pony-walls and the enthralling details of materials resiliency while the man mixes by hand 27 bags of concrete). So YAY FRICKIN' US.

Also, SK Housing Corp. reinstated it's Secondary Suite Program just in time for us (now the delay in our efforts is starting to make more sense in stars aligning/Universe/mysterious ways/hippie jazz kind of way). Stalling was beneficial to the application & acceptance into the program, which will provide a much-needed forgivable loan in exchange for providing housing to the masses in our rapid-growth City. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, we had to change the layout again to meet bureaucratic hopscotching tag. So... smaller suite (way smaller) with rent control it is! At first we considered this a setback, but looking at it with an open mind we are seeing the possibilities & versatility is actually better for us all-round. Hoorah for tolerating accepting embracing change!

The suite is now only ~1/2 of the Basement, leaving us a Rec & Bedroom (teenager claimed) as well as full access to the Mechanical & Wine Cellar. This potentially cuts costs as well as time.

Next Up:
Framing, electrical, soundproofing, and remaining Plumbing for the Bath & Kitchenette.
But, we're also just enjoying life in the dwelling. I dare thee to find drywall dust gathering to plot against us... for at least a few months, anyway.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Phase III: Foyer.d. (FINAL)


The easiest room yet... dare we say it. No plumbing, no hair-raising (quite literally) overhaul of electrical, no trades to co-ordinate... working our butts off was never so sweet. With this completion of the Foyer, our house actually looks like a really nice House now, just walking in the door. We could get away with selling it for a nice profit (as long as you don't open the door to the basement & don't mind getting your hands a tiny bit dirty with the remaining lipstick fixes & disaster that are our yards), or live in it comfortably for a while (if we were other people who could actually sit still & "settle down"). After 2.5 years of the ole renovation grind... we're pretty happy about this.

Entering the welcome home honey room (Foyer sounds kinda snobby, don't cha think?) is nice and bright, fresh, crisp, and clear. The spaces are divided into "landing pad" where you enter & take off your shoes/coat, and then the hardwood defines where the living spaces begin: doorway to Living Room, Kitchen, and staircase. Thank you Sarah Richardson for that gold nugget! We love that woman, in a totally stalker creepy kinda way.

We ripped out flooring & subfloor, the buit-in bench, and scraped the stippling off the ceiling (arms still throbbing-ache), but kept all but the last 2 steps, the walls, and the doors. Whew! 

Added a Coat closet! Personal fav. When winter hits (Winter on the SK prairies isn't one thing like the music; when it hits you feel lots and lots and lots of pain), this lil gem will be an organizational life-saver. We get it that thee-who-doth-not-live-in-the-Arctic-doth-not-understand-what-it-is-to-live-here and that we need a place to stow away our harpoons, snowshoes, and layers of outerwear made from the skin of ferocious animals in an upper-buy home.

Also: new subfloor & all flooring (hardwood, marble), reconfigured the last 2 steps, made the existing staircase rock fuckn' solid while still using all the original materials, & appliqued some wainscoting. Purdy little room, ain't she?

Elements of Design:
Focussing on the architecture; we chose to tediously repair and then paint out the dark-cavernous wood (it simply must be re-iterated that was unsalvageable in piss poor condition... look at it the wrong way & it would shoot hot splinters at your eyeballs), added the wainscot details (all the way to the 2nd floor) to boost any remaining character, and then pulled the hardwood through from the Kitchen until it meets the new marble landing-pad. Read more about all the other intricacies & doodads (in a cuss-free, polite environment) at Apartment Therapy.

Decor sits ontop the fixed elements... as we are still changing everything about so much still (this damn house is too big), which is nice because we believe good innovative design takes time.

Celebration/Next Up:
Still searching for an acceptable runner to line the stairs (hopefully before the big beast of Winter rolls into town). A runner would be not only sweet on the feet, but dampen the cavernous echo all the way through the 2nd floor that bounces off that beautiful beautiful marble.

Concocting something more *fun* to do in here now that we've completed the base-palette is also on the menu. All in all it's a crisp, clean look... we re-used as much original material as possible, repaired down to the bones to keep her healthy for many more years to come, and then added as fine of finishings as possible for our budget. Not too shabby.

Yes. It's funny cuz we keep saying we'll celebrate with a nice bottle of champagne (like... a nice one) when that fat lady (and no, I'm not talking about YOU when I say that, Justine, you vain toxic cow) sings... and that started when we decided to sell 223. It looked something like this:
"When we put the FOR SALE sign on the lawn"
"When we get an offer"
"When we close the deal"
"When we close the deal on 619"
"When we move in"
"When we get the Kitchen done"
"When we stop drywalling"
"When we're done...." get the picture.
It's always been a not yet kinda thing... rationalized in fear of loss? in frustration of possible postponement & re-scheduling? Of anticipating future catastrophic events that may or not yet happen? Anyway... it's humbling to acknowledge the folly of this false philosophy (a moving the goalposts carrot-stick bullshit oh-so-common in our repressed automaton cum hedonist culture). So, listen up: no matter what the state of affairs is currently in WE HAVE ARRIVED. And we're getting that fucking bottle of Dom, like, now, bitches. So join us & bubble-up!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Phase III: Foyer.c.

that piece over there on the left, isn't attached to a goddamn thing.
The Vortex:

It is time to talk about how 619 bends (affectionately referred to as the vortex).

Up until our floor-plan major re-constitution in the Kitchen and Dining, there was a prominent slump in the centre of the house. It has been determined that this is due to the idiots that lived here, and several events we have discovered while rehabilitating this beautiful old house (considering its exceptionally poor condition upon our arrival: worst house in best neighbourhood indeed).

The main beam had the load support removed at one time (suspect #1), the main floor supporting wall was literally just dangling 2x4's inside the plaster when we arrived (Dining Room/Kitchen), there was a fire in the Basement (bad bad bad Real Estate Agent did NOT disclose this information until we were being handed the keys) by which it's extinguishment methods further damaged & weakened the subfloor to the Kitchen/Foyer (as well as being a major contributor to the awful brittle state of all the wood trims & panelling), there were heavy smokers inside here long enough to saturate their stench deep into the walls and wood as well as poke holes in every fecking window screen, there is evidence of the appropriate past vermin infestation equal to the level of neglect, and as we repaired the Family Bath there is A FECKING JOIST MISSING (removed so as to accommodate indoor plumbing). Say whaaaaaaat? Yup yup... it's true.

Although these crimes have been repaired (the main support was teleposted before our occupancy) by our renovations in so far (wahoo for the Man & his mad skills!), and the over 6" slump in the centre of the house that behaves alike a sci-fi wormhole sucking into it's dismal gravity the walls/floors/ceiling/willtolive isn't vastly apparent any longer, it's still a part of our story and helps describe the desperate plight of rehabilitating this abode. That's right, bitches, GOLD STAR for us.

We (the adults) come from a generation of "the disposable" and have worked very hard at reversing our social programming to value 1. our planetary home 2. our fellow humans. Taking on this money pit dwelling is all about making things last a lifetime through repairing what's broken, and investing in it's future so as not to end up levelled for a new-build (to which the condition of this home was slotted for). So, yah, on the surface it may look like we're culprits much like the idiots that lived here as we rip stuff out to fix stuff right, but if y'all haters calm the f*ck down and read what we're up to here at the Erleichda house, you may get the relief of understanding we're aligned with good ole-timey values of quality and sustainability (or if anything, to unapologetically document the process of learning to lighten up!). Also, we like to make buttloads of money so we work our asses off taking the time and energy to fix shit by hand (infusing more quality workmanship the assholes who live here 100 years-in-the-future can rip out because they want a more trendy space #painfullyselfaware). It's a delicate balance between restoring and modernizing, being honest and embracing change, the enlightenment to hold two opposite thoughts simultaneously, and protecting our investment by honouring what resources are available/existing. Level up!

Seeing the burnt & rotten state of this subfloor is the first time, in all this time, we were brought to exasperated tears (and there have been some hard times, chronicled here on point if not demonstrated by our tough-yet-trying-to-still-find-the-light demeanour that has developed over the breadth of these renovations). No sobbing or tears-to-laughter brand of weeping, but a slack-jawed eyes wide silent tears of resignation. That bloody vortex.

So we fix this sh*t. Now.

Thank stars this is something we CAN fix.

Wish us luck, folks.

(And follow the Renovation Diary here)

Friday, 4 July 2014

Intermission: Summer 2014.a.

WMCI class of 2014. photo cred: Pops Irvine

double tap

619 kaleidoscope. photo cred: Melanie

Ms. Lauryn Hill. photo cred: Michelle Berg

Aside from the OMG THIS IS WHAT SUMMER FEELS LIKE WHEN WE'RE NOT RENOVATING EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME general tomfoolery going on over here, there's a load of this & that we're bouncing around.

The Big Projects: Packing up the other job from seasonal tours (the last ever, may we add!), handling the interactive Foyer project, picking away at the Basement, working on minor Exterior fixin' while the weather is appeasing, and hardcore saving pennies for the Garden because our transient ghetto garden in the hot mess of our yard is super fecking ugly (although it is also super fecking effective).

The Smaller Projects: our perfect & finished Kitchen and Main Bath are getting a minor facelift (the Bath just accepted hookups to a washer/dryer for when the Basement Suite is renting, which took out 1/2 the walls... so "repairs were a great opportunity for change". The Kitchen just kinda happened as spill-over from there). The Family Bath and it's adjoining Stairwell and 2nd floor landing are also in the process of becoming "lived in". Yes... General tweaking and putzing around is afoot. Which brings mixed feelings about how much we really love this house, and the inevitability that it isn't our forever home. So... focussing on gratitude that we are able to experience the privilege of living & working in this home for whatever time that may be, and enjoying ourselves. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Phase III: Garden.b. (Ghetto 2014)

the Ghetto Garden:
Due to ye ole "lack of funds" song & dance (that has become increasingly familiar as we now find ourselves living in an almost-finished-and-fecking-beautiful Interior), the Garden has been pushed around... leaving us without fresh aslocalasyoucanget produce to nosh upon for several years, which was insufferable for our idealist bullshit. So... Ghetto Garden was birthed. Walkin' the walk, y'all.

Yah... we also do that weeding by hand/chemical free/companion planting hippie crap. Oh quit it... with all the shitty side-effects on your health from the neurotoxins and other lovely mass-production methods that are destroying our planet those corporate farms use... you know you wanna too.

Researching for 15 years (since our younger days on the Farm) on the best container gardening methods was very darned helpful when deciding what exactly we were to do about our predicament. Now was the perfect time to test them out. We have the

1. Kiddie pools with Tomatoes (and Peppers)
Currently taking off. Yes, we've been warned of the effects of over-abundant tomato-production. Yes, we have a plan to offload our bounty if it becomes unbearable.
This method seems to be ok... but we've learned it's not specific to our mosquito-plagued climate (holes were drilled in the pools to render them useless as water-collectors of the "wicking" effect, so there's that), and also that the burlap coffee-sacs (totally sourced) are the perfect medium for a chia-effect weed partay (the bags sprout a zombie-apocalypse scale of weeds out their sides and if the weeds aren't pulled, create knarly holes in the sacs, so there's that too) that will ultimately render them unreuseable.
Oh... and it's really really ugly.

2. 5 gallon pails (with Squashes & Eggplants)
Our previously favoured container-garden method. We have tried it this time using sqaushes... which are growing like gangbusters, but we fear may become so entangled and overgrown to manage as the summer matures. We'll see!
Oh... and this is also really really ugly.

3. Reused palettes (with Greens)
This is working out as awesome as the re-useing palette trend is! Nice, neat little defined rows for the OCD gardener. It's a winner. And it's pretty! Hope to use this somewhere in the final-garden plans :)

4. Existing planter (with Cucumber, Tomatoes, Peas, Carrots, and Herbs)
We've used this planter every year for a few Tomatoes/Peppers and Herbs just to keep us in contact with dirt under our fingernails. It's difficult to believe why planting flowers is so popular (with the exception of bee or butterfly friendly flower gardens), when eating plants is so damn good.

We didn't get around to making the Potato box by the compost, setup for the Chickens or Mushrooms, and still working on hooking up the rain barrels/eaves. But, that's how she goes...

Currently enjoying from the (ghetto) Garden:
Basil (fresh, and made into Pesto). Green Onion. Oregano. Parsley. Rhubarb. Radishes. Rosemary. Baby Greens. Sunshine.

Thankful we are, for the journey & the work, and any potential future harvest.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Phaze Z: Basement Suite.a.

Basement Suite:
we can now walk upright in the Basement!

All was ripped out before... we've been in the "build it back up" stage for about a year... yay. All we can hear is $$$ rolling down the drain as we bust balls to get this suite in lickity-split! Apparently lickity-split means 1.5+ years (which is actually only 6 months in DIY years).

Ducting out! Electrical out! Beam out! What you see here is the pony walls keeping our humpty-dumpty house from falling apart while the Ducting/Electrical is re-routed before the Beam goes in. Sexy.

Ducting (separate ducting & HRV for the suite) is being re-routed to the exterior walls for head-room. It took about a year to find a tin-basher that would a. return our call-to-service, b. be awesome, and c. do the work for a song due to point b. Props to sourcing our trades through unconventional channels! Yes, through trial & error we've compiled quite the excellent team of trades now... and are happily prepared if we were to do this all over again to another house in SK (oh please erhmergerd no). 

Ch-ch-ch-changes! Surprised? No, us neither.

Coat-closet added at bottom of stairs (not only for more convenient storage, but for the added bonus of making moving large pieces of furniture in & out waaaaaaaaaaaay easier). 

Door to mechanical will be accessed through the Bathroom. I know? Weird, eh? But totally practical. It allows the Living Area to have a greater "living area" by not breaking up the wall with a doorway. Technically, the Mech room (also houses the Laundry & from that the secret Wine Cellar) isn't part of the suite (fire door/walls), although tennent will have access for Laundry because we're like totally super nice people.

Remaining placements are falling into place, but we know the process will change things as we go! 

Aiming for September '15 occupancy. This one's going to take a while. Good thing were ok i guess SUPER STOKED about getting messy with it... ye ole house is starting to look fine indeed; it's got our reno-wahoo all exited!

Next Up:
Beam & Ducting to complete. 
Walls framed, Bonus Room floor raised & water membrane in, Electrical/Plumbing.
Go team!