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Posts from the ‘Home Renovation’ Category

laneway housing

December 10, 2011

zora naki

At least here in Vancouver, the laneway house is the newest form of housing densification. On a 33′ wide lot with lane access, you can build a one and a half story house (i think 500 – 750 sq feet) of living space to either rent out or use as you will. some resistance in the wealthier parts of the city (Dunbar), but pretty enthusiastically embraced elsewhere – especiallyamong more ethnic neighbourhoods with a cultural tradition of multiple generations living in close proximity.

good article overview here.

Dream house – if you like that sort of thing

September 16, 2011

zora naki

Drooling with envy over this gorgeous modern home in Seattle.

Take a guy with some property, some money – and obsessive attention to detail – and you get a blog that tracks every aspect of his sustainable new home construction:

The Seattle Times wrote about it here.

modern house numbers

May 29, 2010

zora naki

a lengthy search paid off with these numbers from WestOn Letters. Ordered online, arrived after a slight delay – really happy with the end result.

They come with a pattern, so you can eyeball placement before making it permanent. I ordered the spacers as well, to mount the numbers off the wall – it adds a nice shadow effect when it’s sunny out. These puppies are the 6″ Deep Ribbon in Natural Satin Aluminum.

Now if only I could find a hose-hanger in something similar…

this is the outside now

April 22, 2010

zora naki

Okay, so i’ve been on hiatus for awhile now, what with the moving back in and getting settled and life in general, but i have some new photos.

The outside of our house (pre-reno):

The outside (post-reno, pre-paint, not a real door)

The outside (post-paint, and with 30 cubic yards of soil dumped on the front lawn):

We decided to level the front yard to match the height of the yard next door. The kids had a blast body-surfing down the giant pile of dirt – it was the ‘most fun EVER’, according to daughter. They begged me not to spread it out, but alas, i am hard-hearted, and also wanting to do some landscaping.

Thus, after five days of a LOT of shoveling (and some help from quite possibly the nicest neighbours in the history of neighbourhoods anywhere):

Now onto some planting! (picture me gleefully rubbing my hands together…)

the big window

November 11, 2009

zora naki

the big windowthe big windowthe big window

the big window stretches from floor to ceiling on the landing of the stairs leading up to the second floor. I was thinking we should do some thing like Maynard Architects’ Tattoo House – they took pictures of nearby trees and simplified them into graphic forms. Cut the shapes out of UV-stable vinyl and applied to the glass.

the big window
the big window

Sadly, my idea was ix-nayed by other inhabitants on the grounds of privacy (we’re on a corner).

I still think it would have looked neat…

the ikea kitchen

November 10, 2009

zora naki

say what you will about IKEA, their kitchens have a decent reputation (Consumer Reports did an article ranking them 3rd, but unless you pay to sign up to their site, you can’t read it). The hardware is Blum – fully extending drawers, decent quality. Until I can afford Viola Park (or in my dreams henrybuilt), I will be very happy with my brown-black Nexus and glossy white Abstrakt doors.

kitchen after painting

the ikea kitchen

after cabinets…
the ikea kitchen

before with bumpout

the ikea kitchen

after with cabinets. Because of the heating ducts and sun tunnel, the two tall cabinets next to the back door were hacked to be 12″ depth – I just need to exchange some shelves and drawers to fit these new dimensions.

the ikea kitchen

The contractor built bases for the cabinets out of wood. In his opinion, this is a much more solid option than the legs provided. It seems like a good idea, especially since part of the lower cabinets dogleg across the room without a wall to hang on. I’ve also read that  a reinforced base is recommended if you are planning to use a heavier countertop material like granite or quartz.

the ikea kitchen

On the tall cabinet side, we boosted these up an additional few inches on top of the regular toe kick height, so that the upper cabinets would start at 70 1/2″, thus clearing the top of my new fridge.

the ikea kitchen

Bought a nice, square range hood on clearance (last year’s model) at midland appliance – half the price of a comparable IKEA model.

the ikea kitchen

the corner windows before…

the ikea kitchen

and now. We raised them up about 12 inches to match the window over the sink, and also to give us some more wall space for things like hiding counter clutter from the neighbours.

the ikea kitchen

IKEA has kitchen sales events two-three times a year: spend more than $1000 and you get 10 – 15% back in IKEA gift cards. FYI – my cabinetry was about $5K. I used the gift cards for closet fittings (IKEA kitchen cabinet boxes + drawers=way better value than the PAX system).

Keep in mind that if you are going to go down the same path, you must budget for AGGRAVATION. Measure your kitchen and play around with the kitchen planning software on the IKEA website. Save your plans online, and then retrieve them at your local store. The kitchen clerks are generally helpful – when you can get their attention (this can take a loooonnnnggggg time). I like to pick one clerk and stare at them mercilessly until they notice me. Small whining children can help speed up this process.

Remember that any cabinet can be set up in any combination of shelves and drawers – more options than are available on the website (especially for the tall cabinets). The clerk should help you sort this out.

After that, they will add all of the pieces that you’ve forgotten (trim, etc.), and if they are really good, they will provide you with a labeled layout and a manifest of which item goes with which cabinet (ESSENTIAL). Then plan on going back at least three times for exchanges and missing parts. It’s the nature of the beast…

if you want to read more about other people’s opinions on IKEA kitchens, check out these links:

apartment therapy q&a

this is the smallest person’s opinion of the goings-on…

the ikea kitchen

paint and (some) trim

November 9, 2009

zora naki

The drywalling is done (except for touch-ups) and the painter managed to spray two floors before going to bed with the flu. It seems like everyone is getting sick, being sick or in recovery from being sick right now, including us! I hope he heals quickly.

The arch entry to the living room is drywalled.

drywall arch

painted with closet doors added.

painted arch

living room

living room drywallliving room painted
the fireplace has been retiled and we’re on the waiting list for the logset and door installation.fireplace tile - panther gold mosaic

one of the bedrooms drywalled
bedroom drywall
and painted.
bedroom painted

The window trim is uber-simple – a squared off sill and drywalled box around the other three sides. I love our windows, but i am a little puzzled as to how i am going to mount blinds over them – the windows need to be able to open at the top and to swing open. The up side is that when they are closed, the silence in the house is deafening. who knew good windows could make such a difference in blocking sound?

more to come…

the outside

November 8, 2009

zora naki

the vancouver rains have set in and i think we’ve run out of painting weather. looks like we’ll be going with the concrete look this winter…

stucco house

the back porch was rebuilt and the ceiling is lined with fir, like the soffits.

the outside

the front path did get poured. i’m planning to grow creeping thyme between the pavers (where you see wood at the moment).front walk

and some photos of our favourite trick-or-treaters!

200911086the butterflythe grim reaper

plywood floor tiles

November 7, 2009

zora naki

The plywood tiles have been laid on the second floor and I am really pleased with how it turned out!

plywood floor tiles

I saw the idea on a blog and it took some figuring to work out exactly how we were going to stick it down. The wood place recommended using baltic birch instead of shop birch – both for aesthetics and because the higher quality of the plywood would make the tiles more consistent in height. They had a great deal on 5’x5′ sheets, so we decided to just cut each piece in 9 square tiles of 19 7/8″ (no waste).

plywood floor tiles

I emailed Michael Huber who was the architect on the blog project and he very kindly sent me some pictures of his own plywood floor. For his use (large tiles), they put a continuous 1/8″ edge around each tile and used 1/8″ strips of masonite to splinth it together, ending up with a floating floor.

We have a lot of smaller tiles and we debated back and forth on what to do. In the end, we went with glue and tiny finish nails in each corner of the tile. There has been much cursing and sanding of edges because the tile cuts were not perfectly square, and there is also some variation in tile height. Given the thin veneer on the plywood, there isn’t much room for sanding, but I think they’ve done a great job of it.

plywood floor tiles

Cracks are being filled with a mix of polyurethane and sawdust from the cuts. The cracks aren’t filled in the picture below, but you get an idea of the after across a room.

plywood floor tiles

In the closet, they cut around the door tracks that are sunk into the floor. The poly warms up the colour of the birch just a bit – I love it.

plywood floor tiles

Now just another 4 coats of polyurethane to go…

house reno update

October 26, 2009

zora naki

i’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus, but a brief house update, as i condense 4 weeks of renos into two or three posts.

here is the house with the stucco going on in layers. The colour on the chimney is what we will be painting the entire house.

house reno updatehouse reno updatehouse reno update

from the inside – the stud walls get some insulation

house reno updatehouse reno update

and then some drywall

house reno update

new back door in the kitchen (the kind with the blinds between the glass, based on our disastrous previous experience with blinds on the outside of the glass)
house reno update

looking towards the dining area (living room through the doorway)
house reno update

drywall in the living room
house reno update
this part is all new – front hallway with window, coat closet (!) and stairwell where there was once a reno update

progress 🙂

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