There’s a big wide world of renovations out there

What’s beyond the bridge? I don’t know, is it a mystical land? No it’s Surrey.
That time has finally come for us, the time where we would venture out of Vancouver. Is it exciting? No it’s a pain in the ass, having to do the commute everyday and not be able to park the work vehicle at the job site and bike in to work. However we will adapt and embrace and waiver from the quality we assign to our jobs. To kick us off we’re increasing the upper floor area, replacing 3 bathrooms, 1 kitchen and 1 roof. However to kick us off we have to stabilize this house and stop the floors from drooping.

The Jetsons

Check this out. If you’re wondering, its a bath tub. Don’t make ’em like they used to. We nick named it the Jetson’s Tub for obvious reasons. No? Well its like something that you would see in the bathroom of the Jetson’s home. Right?

Well anyhow there was no room for sentimentality, we had to get that thing out the bathroom, and only one way to do it – cut it into manageable pieces. There were a few tears but the fibre glass soon distracted us with the itching and scratchingIMG_0820



What to do….what to do????

Hmmmm, let me think. I just don’t want to do it. Not because I can’t be bothered. I’m not lazy. Well really, I guess you could leave it up – maybe it’ll be alright in the end, and I’m sure even though I don’t have x-ray vision and can’t see what’s behind that wall it’ll be alright. Can it be wrong? Well he got the other stuff wrong, but surely he checked everything before he put the dry wall on and then was going to tile it. Surely he can’t have done that half cocked – you know, all the plumbing back there, it could be right I guess? What about if we cross our fingers and then it will be ok? What about that?

The real reason I don’t want to do it is because I don’t want to see the look on their faces. The look of disappointment.  I can see it in their eyes – the “You mean we’ve lived through this dust for nothing”? “You mean the $5000 we paid him has literally gone down the drain?” the “We have to start again?”

Yes that look. When a ‘contractor’ comes along and tells you he can do it within your budget (you actually don’t have to tell him your budget – whatever it is, he can do it, as long as he just gets in there and gets started then he’s in and all bets are off). That look as the drywall gets peeled off the wall and we start again.

If what I can see is bad then probably what I can’t see is bad too – well, unless you like to gamble, just make sure your insurance is up to date and comprehensive.

Right down to the hardware.

In our diligent pursuit of recreating the authentic heritage renovation we even went right back to refurbishing the door hardware. Unfortunately I didn’t quite have the presence of mind (my boss is going to kill me) to take a before pic but I’ve got a couple of great after ones coming up (how exciting can a door handle really be?). Suffice to say the handles look rubbish – dirty, wonky and covered in paint. This is now what we have:

Look at those things – great eh? They were first dipped in a caustic acid tank for 2 hours, then put in’The Jiggler’, a machine that runs your item through a vat of metal pellets that are shaped like flying saucers. We then lubricated the locks with a dry graphite lube and sprayed the hinges a ‘bronze russet’ colour. Russet bronze is all the craze in the UK apparently. That’s our little spray booth in the last pic. We even sprayed the 80 yr old slot head screws.

The Heritage Classic

Back in the heart of Point Grey and loving it! This is our present project – of course I’m a little tardy, so things are nearly finished. I’m not sure if its because our customers really like us (which I certainly don’t understand) or they just can’t get enough of living in dust and having the stress of a renovation encroach on their lives, but here we are again, a project multiplying in size. What started as a kitchen renovation and maybe 10 weeks work has had us on all three levels of the house and to date we’re at five months. Obviously we’re not complaining (our next customer might be, but we never leave a customer stranded). Fair enough, the removal of a chimney put us on all three floors but we stayed on them longer than intended. Previous renovation work had us doing things again – when will they listen to Mike Holmes – “Do it once and do it right.”

Now how do I say this? Fortunately we have a great relationship with our customer, a lovely woman, but we do have to say we told you so. We get no pleasure out of it honestly. The old powder room looked even worse next to the new kitchen so we had to do a little back tracking and demolish the bathroom. Then the same happened with the entry and staircase. I’m not sure what the previous renovators were thinking but they put in a god awful 1980’s style drywall/concrete stairway – in a heritage home. I mean really, come on guys. Pictures are on the way.

Its been alot of fun working on this one. We really love the heritage work – even down to refurbing the door hardware and we’ve had a fun convivial relationship with our customer – did I say she’s a lovely woman?

More stories and pictures to come, I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat.

Downtown Yaletown meets North Vancouver

….and here it is. A complete clear out and fresh start. The 1950’s house was gutted and replaced with a modern interior.This was one of those jobs that started small and tripled in size (and budget don’t forget). The creation of an open kitchen concept and finding a place for a laundry led to the whole house being renovated. We added an ensuite bathroom to the Master suite (reducing the number of bedrooms by one) and opened up the whole kitchen, living room and stairwell down to the basement. In the basement we sectioned off a bedroom and media room to belong to the upstairs and created a separate one bedroom suite.

The upstairs hall way. We lifted the ceiling as high as we could (right up to the roof line) to make the entry way grander.

The upstairs common bathroom.

The Master suite. You are looking through a pocket door and into the ensuite bathroom.

Here you are looking through the living room towards the kitchen. This previously had walls separating the kitchen. We removed those,  reinforced the structure and fixed the original oak floor where the walls used to be.

This is the hall/entry leading down the stair well to the basement. Plated glass without a handrail gives a clear open look and with the increase in ceiling height we were able to install an array of bocci lights.

The picture really doesn’t do this bathroom justice. The tile is limestone and the counter tops are marble. The quality of this tile actually makes it a pleasure to put in place.

This is the master suites ensuite bathroom. The same tile and countertops as the common bathroom. The shower is finished with plate glass.

Looking through the living room towards the kitchen. Kitchen cabinetry is custom built in bleached oak with white quartz counter tops.

We built a fireplace out of marble with a gas insert. The gleaming floors you can see are the original oak floors that were stained and refinished.