Beam #2 has landed!

Friday, June 29, 2007

As unbelievable as it seems, beam #2 is in position, perfectly placed below the floors and perfectly leveled on the cement pockets Todd made. It had to be cut down about 12″ which took 6 blades! The original house beam also had to be trimmed to fit with the new beam. They will be welded together!

We should see significant progress in the next week, particularly we now have a deadline: the soapstone counter has a 5 week lead time and we are now in queue for delivery during July 16th week, miss it and we’re out 5 weeks. I am glad of this impending deadline because it means that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel.

This is the basement beam as seen from the kitchen floor:


This is Todd the lead carpenter; everyone was very pleased with the beam installation!


This is Brett the understudy:


June 27 TDB is not in yet! yet again!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Well, TDB is still sitting on the front lawn, same position as 15 days ago. But there is some progression…oh wait, that was delayed too. We are waiting again for the pinning, this is a 4 foot square piece of metal that will hold up the wall while they slide the beam in and then remove the basement wall. I guess it cannot be done without it, but WTF is it taking so long to get here?

We’ve had some electrical work, here are some more photos…

Powder room wiring:


Dining room speaker wiring (both corners were done):


Dining room switches and sound system controls:


Kitchen pin lights:


Basement pinning:


It’s been really hot and humid:


The progress of TDB (basement)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I would like to say that the beam has gone in today. But sadly, I cannot. The beam is still unceremoniously sitting on our front lawn, embedding itself into the grass. I think John will be sad when it is installed…it has been such a source of conversation in the hood.

It’s been wildly hot. The next few days will be 40+ with high humidity. I leave the guys water on ice (and cookies too). It must be awful working outside in this heat!

Today, Todd made more progress. The hold-up now seems to be the beam people themselves…Todd needs a longer pin so that he can support the second floor wall until the beam is installed. Support is good. We wait for the beam people. Todd feels optimistic (he is young) that he will hopefully, maybe install TDB in the basement tomorrow, directly after the pinning happens. But if the pinning cannot happen because the beam people don’t show up (like today), then it’s another day. And the plumber cannot work until the basement beam is installed (you see, an up to date work plan may have allowed people to manage this without looking like they really can’t!)

George apparently went on a weekend course on how to manage people. We were supposed to meet with him at 5:30 (our weekly meeting) . What did he learn? Well, apparently not much…he sent John an email saying he cannot make the meeting. No call, no reschedule, just cannot make it, please meet withTodd. Of course, he cannot yell at Todd, as Todd is not George. Well spend time and money George!!!

Other things are moving along…s l o w l y. Anthony the electrician seems to work very systematically but slowly. He has installed almost all the speaker wire and the category 6 cable for the sound system. I have photos showing all the hanging wires.

Powder room wiring:


Speaker wire in dining room corner


This is the speaker wire switch in the dining room, which will have to move since it was not put in the correct place!


This is the basement, more concrete work to hold up wall (this is a good thing)


More wiring taking place in the basement. And they have dug the trench for the new drains.


Basement Beam

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It’s Sunday June 24 and the basement beam is still not in. Although Todd has been prepping and prepping and prepping. I guess I should be glad he is taking his time to be thorough, but I am anxious to get on with it.

The guest room is still not finished as there is patching to do and re attaching the heater (which they had to remove for the pinning) and there will be plumbing (the vent for the new powder room). So, the upstairs is still in a flux. Damn.

The soapstone counter is a bit closer in getting ordered. Fadil made up a measured layout of the finished kitchen (yes, finished) but he forgot to include where the stove and sinks are…so the quote is a bit whacked! And when JT and I were laying out the island template to locate the pendants, we noticed a discrepancy in one of the measurements…we truly have the curse of the tape measure! Shall we recap?
1. Idiot cad person (ICP) arbitrarily moves wall 20″ into the kitchen and no one notices because ICP forgot to include the original wall as a dotted line (did I mention, Idiot?)
2. Sink window was incorrectly marked as 36″ instead of 30″ on several drawings to the point where kitchen guy almost started (we noticed this and mentioned it about a billion and a half times).
3. Dining room wall is moved back into actual position (we didn’t want to move it because dining room has plaster crown molding and we didn’t want to disturb it), now we don’t have enough space for bank of drawers, so kitchen designer makes suggestions. At this time, JT and I decide to add an extra 6″ to the width of the powder room and lop off 6″ from the peninsula.
4. Surprise, somewhere along the line it is discovered that a return is required for TDB (the damn beam) beside the pantry. Kitchen designer redraws again and we lose the cook book shelves.
5. Kitchen guy calls that there is not enough space on the left of the window for the dishwasher…what? another measure that is wrong? So, kitchen guy moves dishwasher to right side (oddly enough, the drawings show that there is not enough space on the right of the window, but actual measurements show that there IS). Could this be for real?
6. Kitchen is completed according to actual measurements – all paper plans are discarded.
7. In measuring for the pin lights, Todd notices that the sink window is actually 6″ too far toward the dining room…OH MA GOH…here is the problem. The idiot framers actually put the window in the wrong place. There is a panic, kitchen guy comes out, confirms that the actual kitchen was made with actual measurements of the kitchen and not to the plans. Todd does not move the window. We all breath a sigh of relief.
8. Kitchen guy comes out again with templates of the kitchen layout to confirm that it will fit. It does. He leaves island template so JT and I can figure out where exactly it will sit and where the pendants need to go (as well as plumbing for the prep sink).
9. Kitchen guy also prepares a linear of the footprint for the counter guy to give George a quote. JT and I use this linear to place island. Oh…can you see where I am going? Yes, there is another incorrect measurement on this plan. Now, it could be just a typo…but can you believe it?

More TDB prepping

Friday, June 22, 2007

Well, it’s now Thursday. You may ask, wasn’t this The Day that the basement beam was to be installed? And “yes” we would say, it surely WAS. Unfortunately, the prep work (removal of stone foundation, cement pocket making and such) seem to be more troublesome. It’s Todd this time, and he has indicated that it is indeed quite laborious work. He needs to be careful so the foundation doesn’t completely fall out, it’s kindly like straws (remember that game? you try to pull out a straw one by one and not disturb all the other straws?!).


Todd has now taken apart the stairs to the basement. He has also marked them clearly so we don’t happen to fall in.


Todd is a good guy. I really like his enthusiasm and energy. But I am disappointed in the lack of progress…at this rate maybe even a Christmas party is not realistic. Although, I would imagine George would want to be paid before then, and it ain’t gonna happen until it’s finished!

A lot of electrical has gone on. We’ve even made a few changes, and then some. So we do see things are happening. The cookies are almost all gone every night, and the coffee was put on. We’re on the second pack of water too…so they do come around! I will have to get out my whip next week!

John is doing a bang up job managing the project. He is firm with George and he gets results…I may have been a bit over the top. I like not having to deal with George…he really still infuriates me.

Basement Beam Prep

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Todd et all began taking apart the basement stairs, getting ready for the pocket to hold up TDB (Beam #2 goes in the basement). Where Todd has removed foundation just under the white box (the old milk box) is where the cement pocket will go. He has to be very careful removing foundation stone as he doesn’t want to stir the wrong one and have them all cave in!


This is the basement addition. The top right, where you see wood, those are the stairs from the kitchen down…they will change later. That foundation wall on the right will also be removed.



In the meantime, Anthony the electrician has been busy…we had to mark exactly where the new sconces will go on the second floor landing.


The Beam is IN.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Kim and I popped home at lunch and…WOW, the beam has moved! The kitchen beam is sitting on the driveway…it’s not in yet, but at least we’re about 15 feet closer!



The Beam is finally in. 3 hrs, a handful of young strong men (damn, I missed it) and the beam is sitting exactly where it should, not hanging down to any major degree and holding up everything it is supposed to! It is a BEAUTIFUL sight!


Guy on right is Todd (ball cap), on red shirt is someone new (and JT’s shoulder at bottom right). The Beam is that beautiful piece of 500lb metal that the guy in the red shirt has his right hand on. Todd is actually showing us how little the beam hangs down in the new space in comparison to the existing ceiling. I am so happy, one might say I am BEAMING. Oh, sorry. Now I need a tini.


Hopefully the next few weeks will be fast and furious with work and blog updates.

The Plight of TDB (the damn beam)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Well, it’s Thursday of the week where Tuesday was supposed to be the day (this time) that TDB was to go in. Still not in. What is the problem, you wonder (as do JT and I)? Well, this time, it seems the beam is too heavy to move. OK. Let’s recap:

1. Friday May 11 (as per plan) Kitchen is removed and beam is supposed to go in on Tuesday May 15. But there seems to be a problem. Apparently the structural engineer has the beam hanging down into the ceiling space in both kitchen and basement so now the size needs to be deliberated. What to do? What to do? After all, these drawing have only been completed since February. Surely that wasn’t enough time to figure out what to do. Should the beam hang down 10″ into the room, or should the engineer try to figure out a way to tuck the beam into the ceiling so it doesn’t hang down at all or very minimal. Engineer takes another week to figure it out. Possibly more than one engineer is consulted, although I believe nothing at this time.

2. Engineer specs beam to be 15′ wide 850lbs. George tries to find company to install beam. He finds this too expensive so he needs to look around. Another week or two or three. Why this step is left until the last minute is again beyond me!

3. Beam is finally ordered. We see the light (but don’t get too excited, it will be snuffed). Another week or two go by, while we wait for TDB. Meanwhile nothing really happens with the house, no one comes to do work. Every Friday just before our meeting there is a bit of activity, but other than that, nothing.

4. June 6th. TDBs are delivered, finally. That night men come by to inspect beam for installation and say to JT “oh my, beam too heavy, no way.” Men go away. That is the last we see of said men. Work somewhat continues inside in preparation for TDB installation, but not as quickly as one would think if it were to be installed anytime soon. TDB not installed anytime soon as indicated by George.

5. June 7 I leave nasty message on George‘s vmail. INSTALL THE F-IN beam already. Some swear words were used – a minor amount in comparison to later!

6. June 8 Weekly meeting, lots of action at the house. We meet new TDB installer in the new part of the kitchen. He explains in great detail HOW TDB will be installed (either that or he sells us some sheep not really sure, very heavy accent). Everyone is excited…a g a i n. Todd and company work through weekend preparing for TDB installation which is scheduled for June 12. No, really. Pockets are poured. Pinning happens and the back of the house is precariously sitting on a few steel rods. The excitement is mounting. Everyone is primed. No, really.

7. June 12. TDB-day comes and goes. Another week and no TDB installation. No one on the job site knows why it didn’t happen or can’t say. No, really.

8. June 12 pm I leave even nastier message on George ‘s vmail. Lots and lots of swear words. Not pretty. That night during a second bottle of wine, I give up my post in the reno and hand it over to John. it just makes me too angry and I don’t like that person (not to mention my father died of a massive coronary, and I don’t want to).

9. June 13 George sends email about why beam wasn’t installed…or did he? Believe it or not, it may be a little VAGUE. John actually speaks to George later in the day and lectures him about communication (this guy must be as thick as cement not getting this from all this time he’s had to work with us!!!). The new plan is to install a 12″ beam that will weigh only 500lbs. But this will hang down too much particularly in the basement – does this sound familiar?. JT suggests a 10″ beam to minimize the intrusion. George will look into it and get back to JT. New TDB-day is Friday June 15.

10. June 14 John leaves George another message. We have not had confirmation on the new installation date.

So here we are. June 14th. No word yet from George. There are still two 850lb beams sitting on our front lawn. Maybe I can sell them on ebay? They are worth quite a bit of money. Anyone interested, please call me at work.

Just keep reminding me how this will be a distant memory soon!

The Kitchen. We went to see Fadil with our new kitchen last night and WOW. That’s all I can say, WOW! It’s funny how space perception happens; when we first designed the addition, it seemed so HUGE. Then, I designed the layout for cabinetry, and then it seemed so small – how could we get everything we need in this teeny tiny space – what were we thinking! Well, the reality is now…and it’s H U G E (not the first time I’ve said that before!). The kitchen is spectacular! Fadil and Team Wood do outstanding work. The attention to detail is exceptional (for example the cabinetry above the fridge is for trays and baking sheets, the dividers actually pull out to make cleaning easier!) It will really be amazing, if ever it can be installed (HA!).

This is the pantry (left) and broom closet (we actually have a broom closet…never had one before!). You would have thought that I would need somewhere to store my transportation!

This is the view of the island where the bar stools will be. We are also looking at the kitchen window along the angled wall, sink directly in front.


This is just left of the sink, it is our recycling station!


This is the wall just right of the dining room. The peninsula is directly in front. The cabinet that is resting on the counter is actually the appliance garage (door is for example showing only the hinges, the wood is not the actual door front!) The left cabinets above the appliance garage are the two glass door cabinets (they are real actual maple throughout). The space just to the right of the cabinets will be the stove.


This is the island, viewed from the sink side. The prep sink will be going into the top of the last cabinet on the right (toward the top of the photo)


This is the china cabinet on the dining room side. It will be same counter height as the rest of the bottoms. In the distance you can also see the refrigerator cabinet, with the removable tray/cookie sheet storage (they made the dividers so you can take them out for cleaning and versatility!)


Fadil’s team wanted to make sure they fit the sink perfectly, so they asked us to pick it up early. John had that fun job (unbelievable experience, not in a good way! They couldn’t find the order…checked under Taylor, under Eva (I always enunciate the E on the phone) and under the sales girl’s name…nothing. It was under Ava! And surprisingly their system could not cross reference first and last names!!!)


Beam Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Well, it’s Tuesday June 12th, exactly 4 weeks and 4 days since our kitchen was removed and 4 week less one day since the beam was to be installed, the first time!


This is the position of the beams as of Tuesday June 12th. You might wonder, “Well, they seem to be in the same position as the day they were dropped off.” And you may think, “is this construction jargon for “installed”?”

We are scratching our heads too. What the heck excuse will we have NOW?!?!?!? I can see why couples might have ‘issues’ over a renovation. Fortunately, John and I have teamed together in anger and frustration with our contractor as opposed to against each other. As of last night, I am officially stepping away because I am so tired of being so angry. John handles it much better, I just yell and yell and swear at the contractor. I cannot believe how angry this experience makes me. From now on, John will handle the meetings, the telephone calls and even the yelling. I just can’t take it anymore.

On a slightly positive note, the wall has come down from main floor back of the house and the pinning is complete. This is what they mean by pinning (yes, it’s scary looking for us too):


You are looking at the guest room on the second floor, toward the back of the house, and the beams running across where the baseboard used to be is holding up the back wall of the house (there are posts in the basement and the kitchen on either side of the walls). I guess the guys had a lot of time yesterday (waiting for the beam to be installed) because they seem to have cleaned up the bricks they removed for the addition (which is nice, because now JT and I don’t have to do it)

I am having the cleaners in today. I’ve had it with the dirt. We keep things as tidy as we can, but the dirt is incredible. You cannot even walk bare feet because your feet become black with grit.

Tonight we visit our kitchen guy, Fadil. Team Wood (that is the name of their company) has finished our kitchen boxes to a point where we can stand in it in their studio and get a real sense of space. I will take lots and lots of photos. We are very excited to have this guy and his team make our kitchen, it will be totally amazing. He is so proud of his team and the quality they produce. This will definitely be a first class kitchen.

We bought our sink, now I am searching for faucets on ebay (man, they are expensive!) but then again, who thought a sink could be a focal point?


A flurry of activity … again!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It seems every Friday we stir up some shit and presto, a flurry of activity happens. Nothing different about this past Friday. George sent us another draw request! Imagine the gall. We are now into 5 weeks of this beam fiasco and nothing major happened, and the damn guy wants money. John set him straight in a terse email. NADA, NOTHING, ZIPO until we see some significant progress on the project. That email went out at around 2pm Friday, and low and behold, a flurry of activity Friday evening! He will get it when the beam goes in and the wall comes down.

We escaped up north and it was lovely. The guys, Todd and company got what they were supposed to get done, pinning has been completed, the second pocket has been poured and has been allowed to set. The basement wall has been removed to the foundation in anticipation of the next steps. We expect the kitchen wall to come down today. The beam people are expected to put the beam in on Tuesday. I have to say, I will believe it when I see it.

These are the old basement cabinets:

This is the wall as of Friday:

This is the last time we’ll see “The Wall”:

This is the basement foundation wall (the wall that used to have the built in cabinets, and the closet you see was the wine cellar!)

We have beams!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

TDB (the damn beams) have arrived. They are sitting unceremoniously on our front lawn. Apparently around 800lbs each! I tried to move one: they are damn heavy!

Todd was in all day on Wednesday preparing for TDBs and things are moving along (S L O W L Y). The one pocket on the garage side was prepared by Harry a day or two ago. The other pocket is ready for cement, and is waiting…it takes 48 hrs to cure…so you do the math…no beam install until next week. DAMN. DAMN. Did I mention, DAMN?

This is the pocket:

Todd started more demo, removing the wainscoting from the front hall for the bathroom door, and inside the kitchen…it’s funny as there was a doorway in this location originally! Ironically, there was also a doorway into the stairwell originally!

Todd found a brick, or rather this brick found him, it actually fell out of the wall onto his arm. The brick shows 1927, which seems to be the date the house was being built. Very cool!

Tonight is the Town Shoes Shoe-aholic contest which I entered a creative entry. The $5,000 of shoes is MINE! I will confirm tonight at 9:10pm! John and I have been invited as finalists to the Eaton Centre for the announcement. I am so excited!

Note added June 9: Well, I might as well come clean; I did not win. There I said it!

I was in a whole different class of creative…rap songs, videos, cake decorating and of course the old same old same old photos and [s]crap-booking.

It was an interesting event. Town Shoes at the Eaton Centre was decked out and all the creative entries were displayed. Some better than others. One guy, who was a runner up performed his rap song that was good enough to be an ad! The woman who won apparently slept outside the Eaton Centre store waiting for the spring launch (she won with a creative book entry).

The prizes turned out to be very misleading and (not to sound like sour grapes) but I would have been disappointed had I won. It turns out that the $5,000 is made up of a multidude of prizes, only a very small portion of shoe coupons – hair products, a stay at the Delta Chelsey (not one of the finer hotels in TO, I might add!), some costume jewelery and stuff like that! It seems that Town Shoes didn’t give away all that much; the runner’s up got $100 and $130 gift certificates from Town Shoes and other prizes in total about $500! Now WHAT is THAT about?

So, I had fun making my creative entry, and I had fun talking about it for a few weeks. Thank you for your patience and support!


I just won one of two BCBGs on ebay that I bid on last night! They just can’t crush the shoe-aholic in me!

The prep work continues…at a snails pace!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Saturday June 2, Harry is here at 8am. He is on his own today, getting more organized and ready for tdb (the damn beam). On Saturdays he works only to noon, so he wants to get a lot done.

We had places to go, people to see. Our powder room needs a teeny tiny sink and we have lots of choice…we also had to meet with our kitchen guy Fadil.

Some sink choices:





We also stopped by a tile place to get an idea on costs. We know we would like subway tile, and I had originally thought of 2″ x 3″ tiles with a crackled glaze. The tile place has them and they are not out of this world, but then we saw tumbled marble. Gorgeous. It’s an antique white colour, minor pores, honed finish, also 2″ x 3″ and they look amazing. AND they are in the “outlet” area, so it’s even a better price! Both will be laid in the traditional brick pattern (I had considered the stacked linear pattern, but now I think it would be too modern for the house!)

This is my original thought:


This is what we are leaning toward:


Fadil has apparently purchased some of the wood for our kitchen. We were happy to see the inside cupboards will be a wood grain laminate and not the stark white that was originally quoted. This is photo of the wood for the boxes (taken with my new phone):


Upon our return, the baseboards in the guest room were removed, getting ready for pinning and there was a chunk of brick removed from the north side of the house, where the beam will be inserted by the boom truck. I can hardly wait until this is a distant memory.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Barbie!

It’s Friday June 1 and I’m off on a vacation day today running around like a chicken with my head cut off – need to catch up since our weekends are so full.

I started out early, 8am to Loblaws’ garden centre to pick up some plants for the urns out front. I was back by 9 for planting and was out of the house by 9:45 for my hair appointment. I was disappointed to find no one in the house working at 9:45.

I returned around 4pm after a day of running a-muck a-muck a-muck! Harry had just arrived. Someone had been around and did some additional prep work. We now have a doorway from the basement to the kitchen (remember where that little cabinet was just before you turned left to get to the front hall? THAT is a doorway!). That little return on the right will be lopped off. Harry stayed around until 6:15 cleaning up and organizing. They will be at the house 8am sharp on Saturday to prep for the beams (eta is Wednesday).


Here is the view from the kitchen going down (that space on the right where the molding sits is the future powder room!):


Friday night, Kevin generously invited us to dinner at Coppi’s to celebrate Barb’s 30th (well, if she is 30, then I am only 34, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Carol surprised her from New Brunswick. Barb was thrilled. Here is a lovely photo of the group!


The renovation is ALIVE…it’s finally alive!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Thursday, I came home to a flurry of activity. Front door open, George and our Lead Carpenter, Harry in the centre hall, a guy making a lot of noise in the old kitchen…I was VERY HAPPY to see this activity. After three weeks of nothing, finally the renovation is alive again! George thinks he will catch up the lost time easily…famous last words!

The kitchen revised layout is finally totally worked out re the incorrect measurement in the dining room and we’ve conquered the powder room issues (we’re making it 6″ wider into the kitchen for more elbow room and we’ll have to get some fancy shmancy teeny tiny designer sink, but we will have a powder room). Finally we can get on with it.

The beam has been ordered (again?) and now they are talking about a boom truck instead of brawny young men. Oh well. It will still be exciting. I hope now I can start posting photos more often.

I’m off on a vacation day today running around like a chicken with my head cut off – need to catch up since our weekends are so full.

We’ve finished painting the shed!