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!
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) |
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) |
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) |
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) |
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) |
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) |
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) |
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) |
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) |
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
- 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) |
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) |
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)
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
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 Emily Carr print (already have + framed) Lawren Harris print (already have + framed) Renee Anne – small bird note card (already have + framed) Julia Chu – “do everything in love” canvas (already have + framed) Arrow mirror Reversible “Jesus Loves You” to “Welcome Tiny Overlord” cross-stitch from our friend Christy
- ?Shark art piece
- Other letters or “finishing touch” pieces
- Hanging plant
| Third/Attic Bedroom (90% complete) |
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) |
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) |
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
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.