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Chronicles of a home renovation project: the work continues!

Last modified: 2021-02-04 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

In the previous column, I talked about the first weeks of the project since the contractor has started working on our place. Things have quickly transformed in the home, from demolition to renovating plumbing and electricity, to building a new and larger bathroom.

Since then, the contractor and his team have reassembled the destroyed walls and started other stages of the work, such as installing the heated floor and preparing the sub-floor surfaces.

We stay in constant communication with our contractor. This is one of the elements that we are going to address in this column, namely the relationship we have with him.

Have you missed the previous columns? Click here to find them!

Renovation project: we're halfway through the work!

The bathroom, toilet and hallway

From left to right: the bathroom, the many boxes in the hallway, the toilet floor

From left to right: the bathroom, the many boxes in the hallway, the toilet floor

After the demolition, the walls go back up! 

To create the new layout as seen in the plan, they had to reposition some of the walls and create openings in other places. For example, a space that served as a wardrobe and storage for the water heater was removed to be added to the bathroom. Two other openings have been created between the kitchen and the future living room, as well as in the bedroom and the office/walk-in.

The workers also opened the baseboards at the bottom of the walls so that the electricians could redo the wiring and connections. That is why the first weeks of work were devoted to demolition and opening the walls.

Now that the openings have been created and the electricians have been able to carry out a large portion of their work, the contractor and his team have been able to close most of the walls and move on to installing the drywall sheets and a few layers of insulation, when necessary (for example, between the nursery and the bathroom). We can already see that in some rooms, they have started to apply drywall compound and added layers of plaster for the finishing touches.

Our relationship with the contractor

In a previous column, I talked about the process that led us to choose our contractor (click here to read about it). I can confirm that we are still very satisfied with our decision.

Communications are going well with Patrick, the owner of Rénovation PJL and we find he is being very patient with us! Later in this column, I'll tell you why, and you'll probably find him quite patient too.

Every day, we communicate either by phone, text message or via his platform on monday.com. It is very convenient and easy to get in touch with him at all times. In addition, it helps us a lot when the time comes to buy certain materials and when we do not have a good grasp of their characteristics, including the mouldings and the heaters.

Things are evolving!

Our most recent visits to the worksite (from left to right): the bedroom, the future walk-in, the transoms above the windows

Decisions to be taken quickly 

We still had to make a few decisions very quickly, because the workers were going to have to work on these elements during the following days or because the materials had to be purchased the next day or in the short term. This time, it was mainly a question of choosing whether we were going to install transoms over the doors of the bedroom and the office (it was already planned to have one above the door of the child's bedroom).

Then, we had to choose the mouldings. We had explored different possibilities with the interior designer, but when it came time to purchase the materials, we noticed that we would have to find an option that was a little bit outside the usual standards. Indeed, to cover the holes behind the old mouldings, we had to find a model that was more than 6 inches tall.

I probably scoured every page of the websites of all the major hardware stores in the area to find models that we liked. Finally, the contractor will be the one manufacturing custom mouldings from wooden slats that he will cut.

The bathroom being renovated

The walls of the bathroom have been mounted - what's left to do is the finishing and installing the tiles

We change our decision about installing heat pumps

Initially, we wanted to install a heat pump system in our home. Who isn't dreaming of a home where the temperature is perfect year-round? We have lived in this apartment, which was built in 1926, for almost 10 years. In winter, the temperature is freezing and in summer, the heat quickly becomes unbearable. Before the renovations, it was poorly insulated and the heating system was no longer functional.

We thought about installing a heat pump to control the temperature throughout the apartment. Initially, the budget for this service was approximately $ 4000. However, due to the layout of the home, the fresh air was not going to get to all the rooms, so we got another offer, this time for $ 10,000. This was way over our budget, so we had to make the decision to drop the heat pump entirely.

Indeed, it is not worth paying such a large amount if the most important rooms that need to be cooled (the bedrooms) are not going to receive fresh air. We have therefore chosen to opt for air conditioners that we will install directly in the windows in these rooms. For heating, the new electric baseboards will surely suit our needs!

The things we ordered recently

In the last few weeks, we have chosen the mouldings around the doors and windows, a few decorative elements and the appliances. We had to slow down the pace of purchases because there is no more space available in the apartment!

The kitchen being renovated

If you take a good look at the other side of the opening, you can see that the backroom is filled to the brim!

Our place is too full of stuff - what we should have done

Before leaving our place, we gave away and sold a lot of objects and we put our belongings in boxes. Knowing that the majority of the work was going to take place in the kitchen and the bathroom, we emptied these rooms and most of the boxes ended up in 3 rooms, i.e. the front room, the back room and the middle one.

I thought this was going to work well so as not to clutter up the rooms too much, but I hadn't taken into account the fact that we were going to have to buy a lot of furniture and materials for the rest of the project! Very quickly, the apartment was filled to capacity with boxes, materials and other objects of all kinds. The contractor and his workers are very patient, as they have had to move everything from one place to another several time in order to be able to work.

Having known, I might have rented a storage room to accommodate certain deliveries, especially for items that we will not need until the end of the work. In fact, we had to send in some orders in advance to make sure we received them on time, due to the shortage of certain materials. This is mostly a problem with IKEA, where some furniture pieces are unavailable for months, then available for a few days before disappearing again.

In short, this is another lesson to be learned for a future renovation project!

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