Day 4

Finally have the last supporting wall up today! This is the last structural wall we have to put up, getting the wall up was fairly easy but I can’t say the same about the prep work. Took my dad and I about 4 hours to prep the area to get the wall up and about 2 hours to build the wall. Hopefully we can complete the last wall (bedroom to walk-in closet) tomorrow. Just have make the current door opening bigger (about 10 inches) and higher (about 8 inches) to fit the pocket door.

The guy from Baltic Windows came in for a quotation today. Have to say, this guy was like day and night compare to the Canuck Window guy yesterday. The Baltic guy took his time and explain what and how they were going to do everything and provide advice on every window in the house (we have 14 windows in total =D) so that it will look nice and uniform. The guys from Canuck Window give me the impression that he wanted to sell me the windows that were the easiest for him to install as oppose to what will be best suited for our needs. He asked me “So how many more guys do you have coming in for a quotation?”, have to admit I was a little take back by his question...I lied and told him he’s the only one I have and he told me “I will give you a good price then”. In my mind I was thinking “ you weren’t going to quote me your most competitive price if I am seeking multiple quotation?!?” Another thing that annoyed me was his inability to provide me a quotation in writing. He said he doesn’t like email because it doesn’t allow him to “connect” with customer. I am still waiting for his quotation. The Baltic guy give me a quotation on the spot (took him about 20 mins to enter the data into his laptop) and showed it and emailed it to me on the spot. Going to call Becker Thursday and see when they can come in for a quotation.

For anyone that’s interested, there’s a great Window and Door thread here:

Did some more demolition work in the basement, I have removed about 70% of the walls but I have till Friday to completely remove everything (I only have the bin till Saturday or I have to pay extra)
Bottom Pic - Here is the view from the Master bedroom into the walkin closet and ensuite

Bottom Pic – The view from the ensuite to walkin closet and Master bedroom

Day 3

Slow day today, lots of demo and not much building. We completed framing/prepping about 90% of the walls in the new master bedroom and ensuite. We will be putting up a new supporting wall tomorrow to complete framing the new master bedroom. We didn’t get around to running the electric wires today, will try to do that tomorrow.
My dad did bring up a good point, there's a pretty tight turn into the new master bedroom, may have issues bring in the mattress when we have everything completed.
Once again, I forgot the camera this morning =| Will take some pictures of the new master bedroom before we start work.

Here's the bedroom at the end of day 3:

Top pic - This view is from the Master bedroom looking into the ensuite
Bottom pic - This is the view from ensuite to the Master bedroom

Bottom pic - This is from the hallway looking into the Master bedroom, this used to be a wall of mirrors (floor to ceiling):

Bottom pic - This is the view from the dinning room into the kitchen. This wall will contain the fridge (right), range (middle) and a floor to ceiling pantry (left).

Day 2

Writing this in the basement today with the cutest bunny in the world, Ms Bunny Chu! It’s been a long day; we removed all the old kitchen cabinets and finished the last structure wall in the kitchen. We also started the work on the new ensuite. To allow placement of the toilet, we have to remove the door and frame to one of the existing closets. Ken the “wrecking ball” just went in and just destroyed that door and frame in less than an hour. Have to say I am very impressed since that job will probably take me over an hour and I won’t have enjoyed it as much as Ken did.

Also did some electrical work today too, I spend about an hour in the attic pulling old wires out. That’s one of the things we have to do in day 3, restoring the light to the kitchen and dining room so it`s not so dark.

(I know I promised pictures tonight...I have the camera but no USB cables. I was going to use the card reader on the laptop but there were no memory card in the camera so the photos were stored onboard the camera =|)

Here's the kitchen all opened up

That's the damage Ken did in 30 mins

Day 1

Finally got into the house for the first time as the owner! My dad and brother were here today to help out and there’s lots to do! Took us about 30 minutes to move all the equipment and tiles into the house; within the hour, we had the hammers out and we were smashing the drywalls in the kitchen. After the little demo fun, Ken and I went up into the crazy hot attic to check out how the roof joists are arranged so we don’t collapse the roof! After the hot info finding session, Ken sat down and came up with a way support the ceiling so we rebuild the new support wall while dad and I removed and prep the area.

After 2 hours at the Home Depot to pick the materials we need, we got home and started to work!

After the a few hours of bracing and hammer 2 x 8s into place, we removed the temporary support wall and our new support handle the load. No crack on the ceiling and the roof is still in place. 1 wall completed 3 more to go!

I forgot to bring a camera to the house so will take them tomorrow morning and will upload them tomorrow night! Have to say, it looks good so far!

Pictures of day 1

We opened up one of the 2 sides of the kitchen

The Key ordeal

Swing by the our new house after work today with our new house key in hand. I wanted to drop off some of the building equipment/supplies that I have been stashing in the trunk of my car for the last few weeks.

After 5 minutes of wrestling with the front door lock, I still couldn't get it to unlock. Thinking how retarded that looked, I went to the backyard to try the back door instead. I got the door handle to unlock on the first turn. Excited, I tried to go though the dead bolt lock, (I swear the lock is at least 40 years old!) but it held it's ground while I slammed into the door. Not a pleasant surprise to find myself locked outside of our new home on the day we closed.

I called our Real Estate agent while Patsy called our lawyer. After 45 minutes of calling and waiting, we finally arranged it so the seller's real estate agent will leave the spare key he has on a lockpad outside our door.

We got the keys!

Our lawyer called and we picked up the keys this afternoon! We're officially homeowners! And to Aim's point "Mortgage for life!".

It's too bad I'll be flying out tomorrow and out of town for two weeks. Can't wait to see what the house will be like when I return!


Our closing date is creeping up and that means the reno will start soon. Unfortunately Patsy won’t be here for a couple of weeks (L) so I am trying to finalize as much reno details before she leaves. Been looking at faucet for the bathroom (Shower and sink) and have to say, I didn’t know there are that many different parts and brands out there. We didn’t really want a tub since we don’t draw baths much so we decided on a shower stall. Patsy wants a shower “wand” and I want a rain showerhead so we were looking around for something in we both like. After visiting a few plumbing stores, we can’t find anything that we like and can afford so I started my research on the net for an alternative.

So here’s what I found out about shower faucet this week:

Faucet Companies

Grohe and Hansgrohe – Both of these German companies were founded by the same family, one was sold while one is still held by the family. Seems like they have a pretty good rep around the industry. I like the European designs they offer.

Delta, Moen and Kohler – These are your standard mass market companies. Their styles are very generic, but there is the odd gem in there.

I am sure there are more out there but I got tired of looking because the internet connection at my work really slow for some odd reason.

Valve type (a.k.a rough in valve) – The actual piece that controls the water flow and there are 2 different types of shower valve: Thermostatic and Pressure Balancing. Both work on the same principle; adjusting the flow of cold and hot water on the fly, if either water pressure drops due to any reason (i.e. toilet flush) the valve will compensate the change in pressure. Thermostatic costs more than Pressure Balancing and here’s the way:


  • Water temperature will be within +/- 1 degree Fahrenheit
  • There are 2 knobs to control the water output from the faucet, one for the temperature and one for the volume. This setup allows you to always get the same water temperature unless you adjust the temperature knob.

Pressure Balancing

  • Water temperature will be within +/- 3 degree Fahrenheit
  • There is only 1 knob that control the water output from the faucet. You will have to setup the water temperature every time you use it.

I am not sure if there are shower valve that doesn’t adjust the water temperature on the market but that’s not something we are interested in anyway.

Trims – This is the pretty/stylish looking part that you see everyday

For the trims, any brushed finish will cause you an arm! If you want a brushed finish, be prepared to pay at least 20+% on top of the chrome price.

After a few days of research, this is what I found out about their pricing. The entire package (valve + trim) are pretty competitively priced if you are looking for anything non-generic. Some companies will charge you more for the valve and cheaper trim or vice versa (Hansgrobe). Not sure if you can mix and match different company’s valve and trims but I highly doubt it.

The last part puzzled me a little. In the traditional faucet I grow up with, you pull the lever on the tub spout and the water goes to the showerhead. And since we don’t have the tub spout, how am I suppose to divert the water from the showerhead to the rainshower: the answer is the diverter valve. Seems so trivial now but I didn’t know such product existed!

So after 3 days of browsing, pricing, mixing and matching…this is what our shower faucet will look like!

The water control:

The diverter valve:

Hand Shower


Shower Stall

This is the 4 panel version, we want to get the 3 panel version (The piece of glass on the right hand side of the faucet will be a wall on ours).

RONA Father's Day sale

Last Saturday was RONA's Father's Day Sale. They were offering 15% off any product in store, one per customer, up to a limit of 15. We spent all afternoon there looking at tiles, potlights, and such. Ended up picking out our bathroom flooring, kitchen flooring, a couple of potlights and their enclosures, the kitchen faucet, and some other building materials. One weekend ran us up over a grand already... :P Who knew things cost so much? And everything I picked are overly expensive! This is the kitchen faucet I liked, but even for me $800+ is way overboard! Now we still have to figure out our shower faucet, washroom faucet, shower tiles, etc.. This is going to be one crazy week!

Our Kitchen

The whole of last week, we've been shopping around for kitchen counters and cabinets. We have a theme in mind which required four doors in a glossy light blue gray colour with thin aluminum framing. However, its been quite hard locating the exact colour we want. Kel's mentioned we could get them custom made since we only needed four doors, so it shouldn't run our budget for too much more. The hard part is, places only seem to have the brighter light blue, white, or plain glass. When asked whether we could special order them, the stores would say for only four doors, the shipping cost would be too much and it'd be hard to find manufacturers to make such a small quantity. *sigh* Its a lot harder to shop when you have something specific in mind!

In the theme of cutting down our budget, Kel's been trying to see if anything at Ikea would fit our theme. He proposed one of the doors, but I shook my head right away as the colour was totally off. It was a DARK blue gray! As we were looking at all the options available (you know how Ikea has a wall where they hang all the doors), Kel suddenly had an idea. What if we picked up a plain glass door and painted the underside ourselves? Then we can choose our own color for sure! Brilliant! With this in mind, we went to their "AS-IS" section and picked up two glass cabinet doors: a thicker frame with frosted glass front, and a thin frame with clear glass front. Next, we went to RONA to check out their paint palettes. After about 15-20 minutes of comparing, we picked up two sampler bottles and two different paint brushes. As soon as we got home, Kel laid out the newspaper and started our experimental project. He painted both colours on the underside of the frosted glass and laid that to dry. There was a glossy cardboard tacked on to the underside of the clear glass one, so he removed that and tried painting the cardboard. However after thirty seconds, it was clear that the paint would not stay. It was beading off the cardboard already! We then experimented by painting a regular sheet of paper, drying, and pressing that against the door. And.... we have a winner! Although we both like the thinner frame and the clear glass, it was obvious that the frosted glass door had a way better effect and much closer to what we had in mind. Way to go Kel! :D


Kel made an appointment for a window company to send a guy over to give us a quote on window replacements for the house today. We had to get our realtor to set it up with the seller since we technically still don't own the house yet. We waited for an hour as Kel did more measurements and I took some pictures of the interior. However, the window guy never showed up. Well, at least I got my photos.

Did I mention...

... we also got ourselves a Pink Dyson DC 21 Canister Vacuum?? :D Isn't she a beauty? Pre-housewarming present from ----- :)

< Edited > Our generous gifter insisted she didn't want to be named.

The House

Here is the drawing of the house as promised! Took me a bit longer since my Editor wanted me to make the drawings better =D The drawing below is the pre-reno layout. I will get the post-reno drawing later.

Appliance Shopping Part 2

This past week seemed extra long. Although we've only purchased the LG fridge a week ago, it seems like its been at least two weeks now. Our outings this week has evolved to price matching appliances half the time and pricing the needed bathroom pieces for the other half. In our "spare time", we went looking at the different types of hardwood and flooring tiles, too!

We saw a Bosche pair of washer dryer at the Brick last week for a really good price and has been scoping around to see if there are better deals around to bring to Sears for a price match. This past weekend was Sears VIP weekend with extra discounts so we've been waiting for that to see what our options were like. Friday night rolled around and Kel's on my bedroom floor rummaging through flyers, while I surfed the web to see what deals were out this week. I had heard on the radio that the Brick was also doing a promotional weekend, so that's where I went. To my dismay, instead of finding even better deals, the Bosche deal last week now costed $300 more! Luckily, Kel found an ad in the paper that was promoting a Sears warehouse sale that starts the next morning, so we decided to wake up early the next day to check it out. It was a good thing we went, too, because we scored a Kenmore dryer for cheap! :)

After much debate this last week on kitchen appliances, we've decided that I'd have to sacriface my convection wall oven and him the Wolf cooktop, so we can take advantage of the current low rates and be more aggressive on our mortgage. (With that said, we've made a pact to redo the kitchen in 5-6 years time.) Even so, we still have to decide whether we want to get a gas range or an induction range. Last weekend, as Kel was researching the induction range, (he actually looked up the official manual for care instructions!), he found a part that cautioned the dragging of pots and pans and similar actions to prevent scratching the ceramic top. That part was disconcerting as I was highly prone to chipping, denting, scratching... basically damaging things in ways one would not normally conceive. So last weekend, when we were inspecting the induction cooktop that was on display, he surprised me by whipping out his car keys and starting running it back and forth on the ceramic top! Surprisingly enough that didn't leave a mark.

Saturday afternoon rolled around and we went to pay a visit to Frank at Sears to check out the VIP weekend event. We asked him about the induction range and he highly recommended it. Kel asked him whether the ceramic top is easily scratchable and he whipped out a metal clip and ran it across! He then handed it to Kel so he can run it as much as he liked! Huh, makes me wonder if that's the norm, or I just happened to be with two crazy guys, because that certainly is not "normal wear and tear". Something else Frank pointed out was that we should change the breaker in the back to 50amps. Apparently, thats half the load of our house, so we'd either have to be wary of turning on too many things at a time, or up the ampage of our board. Anyhow, we did end up purchasing the Kenmore induction range, as well as the LG front loading washer. Frank worked his magic and pulled in our fridge from last weekend to up our appliance purchase to three pieces to get us a better discount. And yes, to Ken's point, our washer and dryer do not match. They're not the same color, nor are they the same brand, because seriously, who cares?!


Both of us pretty much fell in love with the house the first time we stepped into it. It’s an older bungalow but the openness and the layout were exactly what we were looking for. The rough renovation plans for the house has been completed for a while now, but filling in the details are taking longer then I thought. We are planning to open up the kitchen so it ties in better with the living and dinner room and combine two bedrooms into a master ensuite.

The kitchen renovation has proven to be harder then I thought because of a few things:

  • One of the walls is-load bearing
  • The crown molding that goes around the dining and living room
  • The plaster ceiling (a feature we want to keep and not damage during the kitchen demolition)

With Ken’s help, we've resolved the wall issue. To preserve the crown molding, I am thinking of building bulk heads, but have to see if it is doable.

The bedroom renovation should be the easier of the two. Patsy wants a walk in closet and we prefer to have our own bathroom, thus our decision to convert one of the bedrooms into a bathroom/walk-in closet. The only issue that has stumped me so far is the shower. I wanted a tiled shower, but the amount of work required to build it makes it really unattractive at the moment. I've been exploring the possibility of using a pre-built shower, but they are more expensive than I thought... will have to think of an alternative. I have a draft outline of the house at home, will upload that tonight.

Appliance Shopping Part 1

For the last 2 weeks, it seems like all we've been doing is running around from shop to shop looking at all the appliances to figure out what we want, what the prices look like, and plugging it into our Google spreadsheet to see what we can afford. Our only break from appliance shopping seems to be going to Home Depot to price faucets, sinks, and other building materials like plywood and insulation. Who would've thought that Home Depot carries kitchen sinks priced at $2k? Leave it to me to find stupidly expensive sinks!

One thing we really noticed after visiting all these stores was the difference in sales methods and attitudes. Interestingly enough, the salespeople at Sears Home were a lot more knowledgeable and sincere with guiding us to what we need then the more "specialty" stores like Appliance Canada and Sleep Country. As Kel would put it, the salesman at Appliance Canada was more like a car salesman! He couldn't provide any more facts than what we already know and when asked about the price of the products his response was "They're all around $2000". Kel pushed on and asked whether he could list the prices for us so we can see actual numbers, and the salesman goes "They're all about the same." I had to literally ask "Can we get something ON PAPER?!" before he nodded and retreated to his office to look it up and write us quotes! The salesman at Sleep Country was even worse. He stood monitoring us trying out the mattresses without providing any information, like we were loitering kids! When asked a question, he'd look at us questionably like we were stupid and wasting his time. Needless to say, we left feeling "to hell with him!"

Contrastingly, Frank the appliance guy at Sears Home, would insist on printing out spec sheets on all the options we were contemplating so we can take our time, go home and sleep on it. Frank also informed us of their special VIP sales event next weekend and advised us to delay our purchase as to take advantage of it! There was a manufacturer's rebate for LG appliances that ended on Saturday and when asked which would be more advantageous: LG rebate versus VIP sales, Frank actually sat down and crunched the numbers for us! And so.... we've purchased our first fridge! The price match + manufacturer rebate actually worked out cheaper than the VIP event and we now have until next weekend to decide on our other appliance options.

Similarly, Mike the mattress guy at Sears Home, gave us so much information we felt like we had a crash course 101 on everything there is to know about mattresses! He taught us the difference between brands and their lines, from how their coils are shaped, to the difference between materials used, and latex versus memory foam. Now we just need to make our final decisions...

Our offer was accepted!

After months of MLS scouring for our target neighbourhoods and discussions of our likes and dislikes, we've finally found a house we could both agree on. We immediately brought in both sets of parents so they can have a look before we went further. The house has only been on the market for a few days and we were both anxious to make a decision. The price for that area and lot size were pretty decent. The location was close to Bayview Avenue, yet tucked in and away from all the traffic. Downside to the place was that there was no garage, single driveway and all the windows needed to be replaced (among other things). Pluses were the wide lot, huge trees, awesome layout, a nice deck, and not too much grass in the backyard to mow. (Guess who complained about mowing. :P)

The next day, we went into our realtor's office to put in an offer. It was pretty surreal. Although we've been looking around for a while and have gone to many open houses, we still couldn't believe we're finally putting an offer down. After three long hours of going over papers and documents, it was finally done. We were told that there was another offer in for the house and it'd be another day or two before we'd find out. To tell you the truth, I expected to have to wait at least 2-3 days, so I was really surprised when Kel called me up the next afternoon to say "WE GOT THE HOUSE!!" Well, not really yet, still conditional on all those clauses we signed, but this is the first step!

Below are the pictures I downloaded from the MLS listing. They're kind of small, but I'll put better pictures up once I get a chance to it.