Thursday, October 24, 2013


It's hard to believe that we've been renovating this old house since 2001.  Eric started off with gusto, got lots done in the first year, and then other things took over.

Real Life took over, that's what.

Eric decided that this October, he'd take a month off work - unpaid, I should add.  He wanted to tackle the upstairs, once and for all.  The last time I posted about our so-called progress, it was October 25, 2012.  I called the post Renovation Day 1388 to coincide with the day we officially started the knotty pine purge.  If I add 364 days to that count, we'd be at 1752 days, but that's bordering on terrifying.  Let's forget I even went there.

Oh, what a naive and innocent soul I was!  I've often said I'm time-challenged because I need to be, and I'm not kidding.  My sanity depends on looking the other way, and pretending that everyone lives with exposed 2x4's and plastic sheets in place of bedroom doors, don't they?  When people ask me how I deal with it, I put my hands over my ears, and sing LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA, very loudly to prove my point.  That's the defense mechanism I've built up over the last few years.  Maturity is not my middle name.
Remember I said we always complicate things?  That's why we're still here, 12 years later, wielding power tools and cursing, albeit lovingly, at each other under our breath.

Truth be told, our house was massacred at the above spot by previous owners.  A couple of square feet of actual, physical house structure was missing here.
Here's a photo taken last year that shows what I mean.  The master bedroom is behind the formidable plastic sheet, as I've affectionately named what we've considered a bedroom door since January 2009.
 While Eric insists he didn't over-engineer, I tend to agree with him so as not to pick a fight.
Here we can see the BC Fir timber-frame structure that Eric built to shore up this part of the house, and accommodate the rail-mounted glass door from Sadev we're putting here.  Perfection doesn't evade Eric, which is why he talks in terms of 64ths, and uses a micrometer to measure things.

While some people think it might be romantic to renovate an 1850's farm house, I'm here to say but one thing:  NOT.  Knowing what we know now, we'd much rather build from scratch than marry old with new, ever again.  It's, like, six times the work.
Trying to get things to fit flush - on the first try - takes a bit of knowledge, a lot of patience, and the right tools. Make that a lot of knowledge, and a bit of patience, on second thought.
When Eric asks me to hand him the 0.5mm pen instead of the 0.7mm pen for marking, I think he's over-doing things just a tad, but I do have to hand it to him, literally and figuratively.  His attention to detail pays off in the end.  When Eric marks and cuts, stuff fits.  And if it doesn't?  That's where the La La La La song comes in.
In order to finish up this corner, we actually had to remove part of the vapour barrier and the boards we had initially put up in 2009.  Once the timber-frame structure was complete, and the electrical wiring done, Eric insulated using Roxul Safe'n'Sound.  Again, words can't express just how highly we think of this product.  I have to be punny and say it rocks.  Enough said.

We've used a radiant barrier everywhere upstairs.  I cannot extoll the virtues of this misunderstood step enough.  We used rFoil NT radiant barrier upstairs and highly recommend it.  It makes a huge difference in the comfort of our home, and should be considered by everyone building or renovating.  It's an integral step in insulation.
rFoil installed!  Eric is chugging right along!  The barrier is joined to the studs using Mulco's Acoustic.  There's another pun in there, because this stuff sticks like a SOB.  Buy a big container of lighter fluid - that's the antidote.  Where 2 sections of barrier overlap, use the best aluminum foil tape you can find - we prefer Cantech brand.

The only thing missing is the drywall.  Thankfully, Eric has a new foreman:
Capucine is to construction as misery is to renovation.  Crack that whip, kitty!  Here she is on the platform Eric built to be able to work safely in the stairwell.  We've left it in place for now, and we only needed to knock our heads on it twice to remember to duck, both coming up and going down the stairs.  When we remove this platform, I can guarantee you it will take us a few days to walk straight again.

Hark, what have we here?

Why, the drywall has been applied, the joints are done and sanded, and the first coat of primer is down!  We're so excited by this step, we actually run our hands over the walls and burst into gales of laughter.  Clearly, we're not quite sane, but that's a prerequisite for undertaking a project of this magnitude in the first place.

Paradoxically, part of me is sad we don't see the old structure of the house anymore.  While I never really got used to the dangling electrical outlet (see the first photo), and always tentatively fumbled for it when the house was dark, I'm sad to see the old part of our house now covered.

I'll probably get over it by tomorrow.

And, for your viewing pleasure, things would not be complete without two sunsets and a message from Capucine:

Looks like you missed a spot, right there!  Just doing my job!  X O X O, Capucine.


Ron said...

"...wielding power tools and cursing, albeit lovingly, at each other under our breath."

Yeah, we curse lovingly at each other here sometimes too. :)

It was a big relief here to finally get drywall up. I came to deeply appreciate man-made materials that are uniform, flat, square, and consistent.

Shim Farm said...

LOL, Ron. At the end of the day, we mostly end up laughing things off, emphasis on the "mostly".

I hear you about the drywall! It's an exciting step. And at the end of the day - we've decided to put pine on all slanted surfaces of the upstairs, sort of in keeping with what we had originally. Only difference is we'll stain it white, so it will look less camp-y.

Shepherd's Loft said...

I stand in awe at your accomplishments. Let the perfect man carry on. Mine doesn't tackle huge jobs like yours but they are always just right when they are complete. A kitty to question your work is essential, don't you agree? Have a great weekend.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Linda! Oh yes, nothing gets done without many kitty eyes watching. And seriously - Eric sometimes works with fractions that make my eyes glaze over. But the good news, we managed to agree on a paint colour, and while it's not on the walls yet, it's a huge hurdle for us LOL. Things are moving in the right direction! So happy you stopped by!

Stephen Andrew said...

I'm going to pretend I didn't read the warning about thinking it's swell and grand to marry old with new in an old farmhouse. Hahaha. As I lust over a farmhouse built in 1913...

Shim Farm said...

Stephen, we're probably morons, because we'd likely do this all over again. We sometimes check out old farm houses over the border in Ontario, so nothing's out of the question LOL. These old houses have character, that's for sure!

If you're really interested in a 1913 farmhouse, I say go for it!

Robin said...

What, I don't have a plastic door!! I never thought of that. What luxury! Is it hard to even picture your life without 2x4 walls?

I think drywall is one of the most exciting things ever invented for people like us. What color did you decide on? I am doing the last touch ups to the room we finished. We did a big color test swatch on a scrap piece of drywall but it didn't quite turn out the final color. It's a bright green that Lee says he will live with and he hopes it grows on him. I'm not sure it has grown on me but neither one of us wants to repaint again. We are just happy to have a room that has finished walls.

Shim Farm said...

LOL...Robin, so you're envious of my plastic door with the fancy zipper, hahaha! It IS quite the luxury item, let me tell you!

I think Eric put the second coat of colour in the stairwell. We're still ducking under the platform, so he's not quite done yet. Next step is to put up the pine paneling in the stairwell. From there, we'll finish up the vapour barrier everywhere, drywall the knee-walls, and once that's done, we can put the pine up everywhere, and hopefully call it done. I'm not even going to think about the bathroom, because that will be a saga unto its own, no doubt.

You know, when it came time to choose the paint, I sent Eric off to our favorite paint store, and told him to get a nice white that the owner recommended. I told him to use Benjamin Moore's Linen White 912 as a reference, and she suggested Oxford White 869. I took one look at the sample and said OK. We've come so far, Eric could have painted the walls day-glo puce and I probably wouldn't have cared LOL. Like you said, you're so happy Lee's office is done that you don't even care about the green LOL.

Our local paint store has THE BEST colour lady you could ask for. We take a few digital pics and show them to her, and she just knows what to pick. She's seriously awesome.

And yeah - two thumbs up for drywall, yaaaayyyy!

Anonymous said...

Lots of times I read your blog and I just want to be you and live in an old farmhouse on a farm in the countryside. Thank you for writing this post so I can be happy where I am :)

Shim Farm said...

Oh, haha, Kelly! You're smart to stay put! This is NOT for the faint of heart. It's an interminable slog. But we are moving things along upstairs, and that's what counts. Our farm is a little piece of paradise though, so it makes the hard work and inconvenience worthwhile!

Stephen Andrew said...

I have checked here 4939443288 times looking for a puppy update!

Shim Farm said...

Oh Stephen - we lucked out with THE most wonderful puppy ever! We are all so in love! The past few days have been a flurry of activity - visits, visitors, acclimating the cats to little Odin's arrival, puppy-proofing the house, the longest walks ever, you understand the drill. We have been so occupied, but all in a good way! I hope to post some photos tonight, and introduce you to our beautiful Odin! A true dream-pup...we are so lucky we can hardly believe it!

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