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Chronicles of a home renovation project: only a few weeks left!

Last modified: 2021-03-04 | Approximate reading time 7 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

At the time of writing, there are only two weeks left before we can return to live in our home. Being 32 weeks pregnant, I can't wait to get back to my belongings and my comfortable home.

The countdown has started and our contractor Patrick and his team are completing the final stages of the project so that the home is at the very least inhabitable for this date.

Indeed, it is quite possible that some finishing steps will not be completed at the time of our return. That's not a problem, as long as we can go back and live there and the place is going to be safe to accommodate a new baby in a few weeks.

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

Visiting worksite

From left to right: the bathroom floor, the toilet, the walls, bathtub and shower in the bathroom

The final steps of the renovation project: we're seeing a light at the end of the tunnel

The contractor has started installing the kitchen!

Last week, we were delighted to discover an almost complete kitchen. If there is anything that gives the impression that the work is progressing, it is seeing that the kitchen cabinets have been installed! This makes us feel like we can finally see the beginning of the results of the work.

We are very happy we chose this kitchen, even though IKEA has given us a hard time and continues to cause problems. Indeed, there is a lower cabinet missing that is never in stock, and we had some problems with the order.

Indeed, we received some cabinets which were indicated as back/order, while others did not arrive. I was afraid that a lot of items are missing, but ultimately only a few items are not there and we will be ordering them in a few days so that the contractor can add them at the end. As for the missing 12-inch cabinet, we're probably going to have to find another solution as it looks like this one isn't a priority for stock at IKEA!

We are now waiting for the installation of the counter and the cabinet that will serve as a pantry. The pantry cabinet was built by my step-father, so we'll be able to adjust the installation date depending on when we're ready.

Finally, the contractor will have to wait for the countertop to be installed in order to put up the backsplash, which could happen after we come home. No problem, we'll adjust!

Visiting the new kitchen

The kitchen cabinets have been installed!

The toilet and the bathroom are nearly done

The two most advanced rooms are the toilet and the bathroom. In the bathroom, what is left is painting and finishing the walls, and installing the door that will be in front of the washer/dryer. As for the toilet, they have to paint the walls, install a little bit of wallpaper on one of the surfaces and a custom shelf above the toilet.

Installation des moulures, début de la préparation pour la peinture

From left to right: the transom window over one of the doors, the future office/walk-in, the mouldings in the bedroom

What work remains to be done?

In the coming weeks, here is the list of work to be completed:

  • Finishing and repairing floors;
  • Preparing and painting all walls (all white except one wall and two small sections in the bedroom);
  • Installing quarter rounds on mouldings;
  • Completing the installation of the kitchen;
  • Installing the backsplash;
  • Completing the installation of the electrical system.

This list may seem rather long considering that there are only ten days of work left before our return, but Patrick and his team are very efficient! Also, if there are a few tasks left to complete after the 5th, as mentioned before, it's not the end of the world. I will be present on-site because I will have started my maternity leave, but the home is spacious enough so that we won't be stepping on each other's feet.

Installation des moulures et peinture

The contractor and his team have started painting and installing mouldings

Preparing the steps following our return home

The other night, I was thinking about everything we are going to have to do when we get back and a feeling of panic rose within me. Being used to living with anxiety, I didn't want to let these emotions take over, so I used one of my favourite stress management tools in a situation where I have a lot to manage: Google Sheets documents.

Indeed, these documents which have a structure similar to those of an Excel file, but without the complicated elements, are very easy to use when you want to establish lists and priorities. This allows me to let go of things and not get caught up in the expectations I have for the results of the work and above all, for our level of preparation before the baby arrives.

Here is an overview of one of my Google Sheets documents that I am using to prepare for our return home and the things to do in the coming weeks (in french only):

Google sheets document to prepare return home

What are my ideas for home decor?

I haven't talked about my decorating ideas much since the start of this column, except to share with you some examples of the materials we've chosen. Before the big unveiling of the results of the work, and the article where I will present our final decor in a few months, I wanted to share with you some images I have pinned and furniture we've bought in recent months.

This will give you a sneak peek of ​​my tastes and what I plan to do in the rooms.

A duvet cover that features a Japanese street scene and a black accent wall in the master bedroom

Housse de couette motif japonMur d'accent noir chambre à coucher

In the bedroom, I opted for a colour palette that focuses on black, white, dark wood and a few touches of gold. These are colours that can be found in this duvet cover purchased on the Society 6 website.

We're also going to have a black accent wall behind the bed, with a big black and white poster. The result will not quite look like the example presented above but will be in the same spirit. In front of this wall, there will be recessed shelves which will also be black, creating a callback to the accent wall.

This golden ceiling lamp from IKEA

Luminaire doré plafonnier IKEA

In most rooms of the house, we are going to have recessed lights in the ceilings. However, in the living room and in the office/walk-in, there will be ceiling lights. Here is the ceiling light we have chosen for the moment and which will be used in both rooms. I haven't ordered it yet, so this one might change until the last moment, but it's the one I have in my basket, waiting to place the next order from IKEA.

The cat wall

Mur de chats

Our home is designed like the most classic of Montreal apartments: lengthwise. This creates long corridors which represent a waste of space. However, the new layout will allow us to optimize the use of the hallways, namely with the installation of large storage cabinets and the creation of a cat wall.

This cat wall will be located between the toilet and the kitchen, in a small dark and narrow section of the home.

We have 3 cats, so visiting cat cafes around the world provided us with some simple layout ideas that felines will love. However, instead of opting for expensive furniture and accessories, we wanted to save money while creating an original installation, like what we see here in the photo.

These are mostly shelves bought from IKEA, with little bins turned into beds and toys that can be found in any good pet store. I also completed the look with sisal rugs that we will install on the walls. These rugs come from Amazon.

Wallpaper in the toilet

Papier peint coloré toilette

I briefly mentioned that we were going to have a wall covered with wallpaper in the toilet. Indeed, we wanted to create a particularly colourful decor in the small toilet, given that this room has no window.

I bought some super colourful concert posters and patterned wallpaper inspired by Matisse's paintings. This wallpaper will be installed on a single wall, so as not to create an overwhelming effect. It will above all be used to create a beautiful visual dynamism in a room that might lack it. This wallpaper was designed by Kathryn Zaremba who sells her products through her Etsy store.

The yellow bathmat in the bathroom

Tapis de bain jaune

The bathroom colour scheme will focus on white (the walls and wall tiles), black (the hex tile floor) and yellow.

At the moment, we only have one decorative element in yellow, which is the bath mat (bought from Simons), but I fully intend to add more, such as plant pots or pictures to install on the walls. This helps add a friendlier, less serious look to this room's colour scheme.

Blackout curtains for the little one's bedroom

Rideaux Keith Haring chambre bébé

I had already bought curtains for the baby's room, but when I received them, I quickly realized that I was wrong in the measurements! I had bought curtains in the style of those installed in Japanese doors. These are not very effective at cutting the light.

I had to buy another pair and I found what I was looking for on the Society 6 website (again). Here are curtains with patterns inspired by designs by New York artist Keith Haring. They are vibrant and childish, without resembling the classic style of a nursery that doesn't really fit with my taste.

The rest of the room will also be focused on tones of black and white, with nice patterns like this Marimekko blanket, as well as colourful posters featuring characters from Studios Ghibli films (Ponyo, Totoro, Kiki and so on).

The next article

In the next column, I plan to tell you about returning to our home and want to ask our contractor a few questions to get his impression of how the work went.

This, of course, hoping that the little one will not have decided to show up in advance!

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