Monday, February 22, 2010

The Dreaded Radiator Box

I may have been a little bit niave when I told Ryan that I was going to make a radiator box one day and that I could do it all myself. I am very handy and have done everything from drywalling to painting to installing flooring. So something as simple as a radiator box in my mind should have only taken a few hours. HAHAHAHAH I wish!!! It was a snowy Saturday and Ryan and I set out to Home Depot to find a sheet of lazer cutout metal for the front of the radiator box (so the heat comes out). We were sadly disappointed to find that they don't make them anymore because they bent too easily and were then unsellable. (I would have bought a bent one!!). Off we went to Canadian Tire and Lowes to find the same problem. BUT I would like to announce that although none of the stores had what we were looking ALL of their shelves were made of what we wanted... at Canadian Tire we asked if we could buy their display shelves.... they just laughed at us! Finally we went to the Rona at Royal York and Dundas where we found what we were looking for... however it was $40/sheet and we needed 2 sheets.... This was the first set back. So we changed our design and got a large square sheet of hole filled thick cardboard type wood. (yes that is my technical term for it....) All happy that we had finally found something we went to go put it in the Matrix to find that its too wide. Now we have managed to never have a problem packing the car full of our purchases... sometimes being so crammed in the car there is no room for me! But we have never not been able to fit everything. Ryan looks at me, throws it on the roof and decides we will stick our hands out the window and hold in place while driving. Well it is -10 outside without driving.... needless to say it was a LONG drive home (15 minutes is a long time with your hand out the window). Then we get home to find that the board is wide... but not wide enough. I had even measured the radiator before we left but in all of the frustration of not finding what we were looking for I forgot to measure before bringing the board home! It was NOT going back though... so we made do. This was only problem #1. Next problem... the radiator is so close to the toilet we have just enough room to make the radiator box. Problem #3... our floors are not even so everything is always slightly crooked and takes double the time to do because you have to measure every angle! Ryan and I go outside and cut all of our pieces. We cut the side pieces and the top piece and attached them with glue and nails and put angled pieces in the corner to keep it square. Now for problem #4, since the hole-filled from piece wasn't one large piece and was 3 pieces we had no idea how to attach it to the front and since we didn't have room to do middle posts to attach it too we had to sit back and stare at it for awhile. Finally after much thought we took some left over trim and glued and bolted the front pieces together to make one large front piece. And then glued and nailed (using the nail gun) it to the front. For a finishing touch we used quarter-round along the edges to make it look nice.

What I learned from this project was to measure before you attempt to fit things into the car AND that things that seem simple may just be a real pain in the butt!!!

But after all of the problems we had it looks fantastic and covers up the rusting and peeling radiator in the bathroom!

The Bathroom

The upstairs bathroom is going to be one of those projects that goes on forever... Where to even begin when describing the bathroom... well... the bathroom walls are wood panelling.... which some super smart person decided to wallpaper over the wood panelling walls. Now I'm not sure if you've ever tried to get wallpaper off a normal wall... try getting it off wood panelling. Its actually an impossible job since the glue fuses itself into the wood. To make matters worse the wallpaper looked like it was from a grandma's 1950's house. PLUS (oh yes it can get worse) it was slightly peeling and ripped. SO we instantly knew we needed to eventually gut the bathroom. BUT being the only bathroom in the house at the moment that is not exactly possible while still living in the house. We did a quick fix of the bathroom for the time being until the basement bathroom is put in.
Bathroom Before: behind the radiator is peeling wallpaper and woodpanelling...

Bathroom After:

What was done:
1) New flooring was a must. Since we plan on completely renovating the bathroom in the hopefully near future we just put stick down tiles in here to follow with what we did in the hallway and kitchen.
2) The ugliest part of the bathroom was the wallpaper, so we did the unthinkable and painted the crappy wallpaper. It was literally our only option at the time without having to tear down the walls. My other idea that I may still do is to get the paintable textured wallpaper and install it to hide the woodpaneling lines. But wallpaper in a bathroom is not the best idea... the moisture from the shower tends to peel wallpaper off. Mind you thats if it is on drywall.... nothing gets it off wood panelling!!!
3) We built a radiator box. See next post for details on the radiator box as its a story in itself!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Then and Now

To summarize the past 2 years we should paint a picture of the house as it was when we bought it. The old owners lived in the house for 20 years and not only chain smoked inside but we feel they didn't clean a day in the 20 years they were here!! SO needless to say the place needed a LOT of TLC to get it liveable. The first 3 weeks were spent scrubbing, cleaning and painting for about 12 hours a day! We could not have done it if it weren't for the great support we had of our friends and family. I believe there were some weekends where there were about 11 people painting in the small confinds of our kitchen/hallway!!
The kitchen before and after: We liked the wood cabinets in the kitchen, so the big jobs in the kitchen were cleaning and painting and replacing the flooring. The floor had cigarette burns in it and desperately needed replacing. Due to a tight budget and VERY uneven floors we went with stick down tiles. I am a master at them now... Ryan does not have the patience for installing the stick down tiles and after installing a few crooked he was removed from that job. :-) (this is my mom in the super dirty kitchen.... if you look closely you can see the dirt and the unwhite ceiling)

Kitchen After: Its hard to see the difference int he picture.. but it shone with cleanliness!!

The back hallway before: had astro turf for carpeting... yes that is correct fake grass carpeting!! The walls are wood panelling that they painted a nasty grey and which was caked in smoke!!

Hallway After: A good cleaning and painting does wonders!!

Bedroom #3 Before: This room is a 8 by 9 room which is small. So we decided for the time being to make it a walk in closet. Before I get into the details of the makeover I should explain the oddness of this room. There was a curtain at one end that used to be the opening to a closet... the old owners opened up the closet on the kitchen side and put the fridge in it to make more space in the kitchen. Great idea... however they never put drywall up in the bedroom to hide the back of the closet. So there was a big opening looking at the back of the fridge! Since our house is so old and was plaster and lathe and this room was wallpapered. It was decided to gut the room and properly insulate it. So day 2 of our adventures in home ownership started with tearing down walls.

Closet After: I loved the idea of the Extend-It Closet sytsem that you can get at Canadian Tire. However, the base system is $75 and then you need extra pieces to add onto it. So being the shopping savy person I am I found it for $25 on craigslist and Ryan was very proud of me! So after putting up new drywall and getting it mud and taped by Ryan's brother we were ready to go. We ended up being given a can of green paint and since we didn't really care what colour the room was we painted it green. We also had to put the stick down tiles in here as well because the flooring was puke yellow tiles underneath dirty dirty carpeting!

The Basement Before: So not only did the astro turf carpeting go down the back stairwell... BUT it was in the basement as well... I think this picture says it all!

Basement After: We painted the wood panelling and ripped up the disgusting carpet and it made a HUGE difference!!

Thats it for now. Stay tuned for the living room/spare bedroom makeover that happened last year!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

And It Begins!!

Ryan and I bought our house two years ago and in that time we have gutted, ripped down, scrubbed, cleaned, painted and fixed just about every inch of the house. BUT its still not done yet! We are DIY people who look at a big project and say hey why not save some money and do it ourselves. Those are always our famous last words... haahaa. Ryan and I realized we should have started this blog a LONG time ago so for the first little bit it will probably be full of projects from the past. But believe me there is lots to come. So in the next couple of weeks expect to see lots of projects from the past. And of course there will also be projects from the future. The purpose of this blog is to let you know all of the FUN home projects we have been up to and/or have already completed.

Currently we are working on 2 projects. The first is a smaller project making a Radiator Box for the bathroom upstairs. The second is a larger project of putting a second bathroom in the house in the basement. Wish us good luck!!!