Sault House

We own this wonderful house. It is well-built and in a great neighbourhood.

It also has some issues. It needed major systems like electrical and the furnace replaced. Some repairs are easy – a coat of paint or some laminate flooring. In other spots, the repairs are pretty major.

And there were a few cosmetic issues. Vinyl decals were everywhere. The entire house was painted a dingy tan colour. The downstairs floors are full of gaps and scratches.

And Jarod and I get to work on this house! What a great long-term project for us!

sault house - exterior shot

As a “Mastermind” personality, INTJ on the Myers-Briggs, I enjoy long-term planning. I love being able to look back and remember that I have accomplished some things. It’s great to know the estimated cost before you begin a project. And a master list can help keep me on track.

And I can also be bad at finishing projects. My attention can waver, and I can fail to finish the last bits of a project. So this is also accountability to actually finish some rooms!

As we keep renovating (currently the basement) I will be updating this list here.

Right now, here is our overview:

|  Front Yard (50% complete)  |


  • Dig flowerbed beside sidewalk
  • Rip out weeds/grass in flowerbed beside sidewalk
  • Remove dandelions and overseed front lawn
  • Properly edge flowerbed + dig all flowerbeds to same width
  • Rip out weeds in bed near the house
  • Re-plant flower beds, mostly with strategic perennials.
  • If neighbours are willing, replace cedar hedge on east property line with boxwood.
  • Remove lilies from bed on west side of driveway
  • Add boxwood hedge and mulch to bed on west side of driveway
  • Repair or replace front walkway pavers
  • Redo driveway
  • Add fence across driveway, to make yard completely fenced



|  Front Porch (20% complete)  |

sault house - exterior temp railing shot

  • Install temporary safety railing
  • Install brackets for above windows for hanging baskets
  • Install permanent railing/balusters
  • Paint permanent railing/balusters
  • Add porch skirting with hinges to access storage
  • Replace shallow single light fixture with two flanking the door
  • Replace old house numbers with more appropriate ones
  • Raise awkwardly low mailbox and find a creative solution for placement
  • Add greenery/planters to front railing and/or flanking porch


|  Front Room (40% complete) |

sault house - front room

  • Build a bench for seating
  • Add mat for front door and entry door
  • Replace exterior door locks
  • Add window treatments
  • Add boot trays, shoe racks and coat hooks for storage
  • Redo window treatments (the above ones from 2012 are torn)
  • Replace interior door knob
  • Clean and paint steel doors
  • Remove vinyl decal remnants,  patch and paint walls
  • Replace light fixture
  • Repair broken floor tiles


|  Interior Entry/Stairwell (40% complete) |

 1959474_10153866386245603_218566521_n 11709963_10155821705580603_3721613328656558981_o

  • Install coat hooks, mail rack and scarf storage at front door
  • Begin gallery wall above stairs
  • Add large piece of art on landing wall
  • Add full-length mirror at front door
  • Build frame for mirror
  • Finish removing peeling paint, patch holes
  • Figure out a finish that works on the cracked/old plaster: maybe a concrete or plaster finish
  • Replace 2 builder fixtures (middle and top of landing) with better ones
  • Add window treatments to 2 stairwell windows
  • Remove carpet and underpad
  • Strip old paint off stairs
  • Refinish oak stairs
  • Repaint or replace railing and brackets


|  Living Room (70% complete)  |

sault house - living room before 12087082_10156143688910603_7285345203237411470_o


  • Patch wall holes and sand
  • Paint walls
  • Re-paint trim or strip and stain it.
  • Install curtain rods and 96″ long curtains
  • Acquire temporary furniture (a sofa, a few trunks, a small coffee table and shelf)
  • Eventually replace with more long-term furniture items
  • Add drum shade to front light fixture
  • Replace front light fixture with a brighter option
  • Add large art piece to main wall
  • Add smaller art piece to opposite wall
  • Find at least one hardy houseplant for the space
  • Wall-mount video system and TV
  • Paint interior door
  • Add cushions and accessories


|  Dining Room (50% complete)  |

sault house - dining room before 10519179_10154442326375603_7564823226528425010_n

  • Replace dining set
  • Reupholster dining chairs
  • Patch wall holes and sand
  • Paint walls
  • Re-paint trim or strip and stain it
  • Replace light fixture
  • Remove all writing/decals from walls
  • Remove all window treatments
  • Add breakfast bar to west wall
  • Add new window treatments
  • Add art piece to west wall
  • Add storage piece (buffet?)
  • Add finishing accessories, possible hanging plant


|  Kitchen (20% complete)  | 

sault house - kitchen before 10947256_10155123597285603_2827514987913026884_n


  • Remove old contact paper and adhesive residue from walls
  • Add pegboard for pot/pan storage
  • Find and hang art in poster frame(Frank Carmichael/Group of 7 large print)
  • Re-frame the Group of 7 print in a quality frame and mat
  • Remove poorly-done soffit above sink
  • Re-build soffit to proper depth and height
  • Remove base cabinet for dishwasher
  • Install dishwasher
  • Add shelf just above stove for storage
  • Build spice rack into cupboard interior
  • Tile, grout and seal backsplash
  • Trim and paint side panel for dishwasher
  • Add baseboard and toekicks around cabinets and walls
  • Repair the kitchen ceiling where it was torn down for plumbing access.
  • Replace the main kitchen light where it was disrupted for plumbing repair
  • Add a piece of trim to raise crown molding on cabinets all the way to the ceiling (removing the tiny gap)
  • De-gloss and paint cabinets a dirt-resistant medium gray tone
  • Replace counters
  • If necessary, replace sink
  • Replace faucet
  • Replace chipped/peeling flooring, add proper doorway transitions
  • Add hardware to cabinets
  • Window treatments
  • New pendant light above sink
  • Storage basket in awkward “cubby” cabinet
  • Hanging plants on walls
  • Change or paint doorknob leading to the back storage room.
  • Finishing accessories (dish towels, soap dispenser)


|  Back Porch/Storage Room (70% complete)  |

sault house - floorplan lower

  • Get rid of the random junk left there
  • Add pegboard to back wall
  • Use base cabinet removed from kitchen to build a workbench
  • Remove old plumbing for outdoor washer/dryer
  • Add additional shelving on right and left sides
  • Build tool storage


|  Basement (80% complete)  | 

sault house - basement hall stairs before 12015224_10156064168490603_4645774742343347742_o

  • Clean out 700 kg of junk and haul to the dump
  • Remove old plaster and lath in hallway
  • Unseal the glued-shut side door.
  • Remove broken glass from side window
  • Bleach the floor, trough and stand surfaces
  • Pick up a used washer and dryer
  • Get the basement headers spray-foamed to lessen the heat loss
  • Add a full interior waterproofing membrane system with drain
  • Modify ducts and cold air return to supply all basement rooms
  • Sprayfoam walls
  • Level floors with concrete
  • Rough in basement bathroom plumbing
  • Lay 1 step dimplex underlay for floors
  • Lay laminate floor
  • Add drywall
  • Replace windows
  • Add dropped ceiling
  • Install temporary construction staircase to replace cracked original staircase
  • Install permanent staircase
  • Finish basement bathroom by installing fixtures, tiling and adding storage and accessories
  • Add trim and find solutions for support poles, exposed stone areas etc.
  • Add window treatments to rec room and bedroom
  • Add frosted window film in bathroom
  • Finish window trim/flashing on house exterior
  • Find furniture appropriate for basement areas including “built-in” bookcases and sleeper sofa


|  Upstairs Bathroom (Phase 1 90% complete, Phase 2 to start soon)  |

p1330658 1488261_10154036100475603_2492540915543212299_n

Phase 1

  • Remove old broken toilet (done Spring 2013)
  • Install new high-efficiency, low-flow toilet
  • Remove old rotten vanity
  • Add new IKEA vanity and sink
  • Paint bathroom
  • Add trim
  • Paint cabinet hardware for closet area
  • Install bronze towel hooks
  • Make geometric curtains for window
  • Add new light fixture
  • Add new medicine cabinet/mirror
  • Add new shower curtain and rod
  • Install new baseboard trim
  • Finish caulking and painting baseboard

Phase 2

  • Remove tub
  • Repair tub plumbing
  • Remove old plaster and lath
  • Redo room with water-resistant drywall and cement board
  • Add new tub
  • Tile tub surround
  • Replace window
  • Add frosting film over window
  • Reinstall toilet, vanity, and medicine cabinet
  • Reinforce floor joists
  • Add new subfloor, flooring and trim
  • Install stacked washer/dryer combo
  • Add storage cupboard beside washer/dryer
  • Add storage cabinet
  • Finish room with plants and accessories


|  Master Bedroom (70% complete)  |

sault house - bedroom progress 10292288_10154045552970603_3606350311683211633_n

  • Remove old large mirror from headboard area
  • Tear out all plaster and lath 
  • Have knob and tube electrical torn out and professionally replaced
  • Add drywall, prime and paint
  • Add window and door trim
  • Finish caulking and painting trim
  • Add art above dresser
  • Build upholstered linen bed and headboard
  • Build pipe shelving/reclaimed walnut side tables
  • Source dressers to fit in entry niche
  • Nightstand lamps
  • Long mirror
  • Bench or sofa at foot of bed
  • Shelf for a plant between windows
  • Install curtain rods and 96″ long curtains
  • Replace single bulb with a ceiling fan
  • Repair hole near ceiling fan


|  Second Bedroom (Phase 1 90% complete, Phase 2 70% complete)  |

sault house - second bedroom before IMG_2863

Phase 1 (Guest Bedroom)

  • Tear out all plaster and lath
  • Have knob and tube electrical torn out and professionally replaced
  • Add drywall, prime and paint
  • Replace builder fixture with a ceiling fan
  • Add window and door trim
  • Add furniture for student boarders (mattress, bed frame, dresser, desk, bookcase, chair, lamp)
  • Install curtain rods and 96″ long blackout curtains
  • Finish caulking and painting trim

Phase 2 (Ben’s Nursery)

  • Furniture
    • Crib  – white pre-owned
    • Dresser — mid-century teak
    • Chair (rocking chair we already had)
    • Small ottoman (from downstairs?)
    • Wooden desk (Mer has one in St. Catharines that she refinished a few years ago)
    • Desk chair (dining chair from downstairs)
    • Storage/toy Trunks
  • Smaller items
    • Wire baskets for cloth diapers on dresser (Winners)
    • Small lamp (already owned, spray-paint Sea Glass by Krylon)
    • Wall hooks
    • Nightlight
    • Change pad
  • DIY
    • Linens
      • Change pad cover
      • Crib skirt
      • Crib sheets
      • Fabric garland from scraps?
    • Cushions for chair
    • Wall-mount stuffed animal storage (old wire basket from fridge, spray-paint Sea Glass by Krylon)
    • Book shelves or book display?
    • “Ben” cross-stitched banner from our friend Alicia
    • Gallery wall – all white frames
      1. Emily Carr print (already have + framed)
      2. Lawren Harris print (already have + framed)
      3. Renee Anne – small bird note card (already have + framed)
      4. Julia Chu – “do everything in love” canvas (already have + framed)
      5. Arrow mirror
      6. Reversible “Jesus Loves You” to “Welcome Tiny Overlord” cross-stitch from our friend Christy
      7. ?Shark art piece
      8. Other letters or “finishing touch” pieces
    • Hanging plant
    • Mobile


|  Third/Attic Bedroom (90% complete)  |

sault house attic bedroom before


  • Have knob and tube electrical torn out and professionally replaced
  • Thoroughly clean carpet and stairs
  • Add furniture for student boarders (mattress, bed frame, dresser, desk, bookcase, chair, lamp)
  • Add curtains
  • Hem curtains


|  Backyard and Back Porch (60% complete)  |

sault house backyard before 10431492_10154252520215603_3023638431253560311_n

  • Remove weeds and dandelions from grass
  • Re-seed a few times, going from mud pit to yard
  • Add fire-pit including proper fire permit
  • Construct more permanent fire pit
  • Dig out back flower beds
  • Grow vegetables in back right bed
  • Grow flowers in back left bed
  • Cut down dead trees and convert to firewood
  • Find a barbecue
  • Add patio furniture
  • Repair back concrete pad
  • Add bat and bird houses to reduce mosquitoes.
  • Make temporary repairs to back porch railing and supports
  • Eventually add a back deck to the house with new double doors off the dining room


|  Major Systems (70% complete)  |

sault house major systems wiring shot

  • Replace 25-year-old gas furnace with new high-efficiency furnace
  • Replace all knob-and-tube electrical with brand-new wiring
  • Run wiring for a washer/dryer on second level
  • Waterproof the basement in preparation for finishing
  • Replace wood floors on main floor
  • Replace windows
  • Ensure full insulation of all walls, ceilings, and attic space


sault house - jarod plaster alth sault house - meredith plaster lath

We have an amazing, 1300-square-foot house. It’s a gift I am thankful for every day. Although it needs a lot of work, I love seeing what we’ve accomplished so far.

It will be a relief when we have lower utility bills, surfaces that don’t catch dust and beautiful sightlines in every direction. It will be simpler to have adequate lighting, new concrete and a fully usable back yard.

But none of that is the point. Although we like renovating and making stuff, we know it is a means to an end.

Hour by hour, it’s pretty cheap entertainment (and hopefully we make the money back when we sell).

But most importantly, we are building a fine place to live – whether we stay here a long time, or end up going elsewhere.

And as long as we can light a candle, cook food, and have people over, it’s going to function just fine. That is what really matters.