We Passed!!!!!!

A quick update on the Forever Home!!!

Today we had the inspection done on all of our electrical/framing and WE PASSED! I really had no doubt that we wouldn't but you still wonder if they are going to make you re-do anything which would have delayed us some more! I cannot handle anymore delays - we have baby coming remember!!!

Branko and his father did all of the electrical work in the house. I may have helped pull a few wires but bending over and being pregnant was no easy task! I really miss being able to help out more but this darn belly keeps getting in my way!

The electrical was all pulled through the basement and then into the floor joist to the panel.

This means more updates coming to the blog as we get started on the drywall! The walls itself will be pretty simple but the ceilings are going to be zero fun. I'm sure much swearing will happen.

No joke, our kitchen wall.

I'll be sure to follow up with a new post soon and better pictures of our kitchen wall. As you can see in the above picture the wall is 15ft high and we will be having zero cabinets. There will be a nice range hood to the left of the window and 2 lights right above the window but that is about it.

Have any ideas??????? Please feel free to share below and in my next post I plan on sharing what our thoughts our & how we plan to approach the wall.

 

With that being said I will leave you with this pretty view.....when driving home from town I have two options. Take the paved road home or take the side dirt road. On nice days I always take the side roads and that's my advice to all you country living people.

The side roads let your mind be free.


living through a renovation and exciting news

 

I've determined that if and when I survive the winter of 2014/2015 in a home with barely any heat I am a super woman. It was cold over the weekend, the evenings are dipping into the -20s some nights and running to the bathroom is an adventure.

When we started the renovations on the home we gutted everything. This included the old heating system. We plan on installing Geo-thermal in the early spring so our plan was to tough out the winter heating the main part of the house with a wood fireplace and an industrial heater.

We are using our new entrance area as a living area. We have fully insulated the room and installed a door to the room.  The space is 450 sq. ft. We have our bed, tv, coffee table for eating, all of our clothes, batteries for the tools, and coffee machine in this room. The coffee machine is in here because the water was freezing in the tank and basically broke my Tassimo! YAY for an upgrade to the Nespresso Virtuoline. Our heat source in the sleeping room is 1 oil heater & 2 baseboard heaters. One heater is left on during the day so when we come home the room is warm.

The bathroom has one baseboard heater that is left running at all times. When we shower or take "longer bathroom breaks" we have a small industrial heater that runs on a 20amp that we turn on. It actually works really well and sometimes the bathroom can become so hot it can feel like sauna.

The main living area which is the kitchen, living room, and dining room is being heated by the wood fire place. Truthfully we only use this space when preparing food. So far we have managed to keep this area above 10 degrees on the weekends. During the week if its a sunny day that area will stay at a balmy 4 degrees.


Our pipes have froze maybe a total of 6 times. Not bad considering the circumstances.

Many people have been asking or commenting on our situation with the most common statements being:

  -  How do you do it?

  - I could NEVER live like that!!!

  - Don't you just wish it was over!

  - You are crazy!

  - You live way toooooooooooooooooo far!!!!!!!!!!!!

You get the drift.....most days I don't get the comments. I certainly don't go over to other people's houses and say "Look! I can see your neighbors making out! OR "WOW, can your backyard be any smaller?" I would never say these things because at the end of the day you probably love your home and I respect that. You bought it for a reason.  Any time I walk into somebodies new home I always find something nice and respectful to say about it.

The point here is that yes we are roughing it currently and yes it can be tough at times. We have saved tons of money doing this work on our own. It has been well worth the time BUT it's not just the money saved. It has been about the experience. It has showed us that we accommodate well, we can communicate our concerns, we can laugh about the worst situations. One night we cooked a dinner in our winter coats and toque's.(we have a picture for proof, but Branko would kill me if I shared it)

At the end of the day I would hope that anybody who comes across our story respects our choices as I would yours. I hope that by following my journey you may want to step out of your own comfort zone.


AND for the exciting news:

YES!!! I am finally ready to share that we will be welcoming a little bundle of joy in MAY!!! We are both excited and nervous of course. Branko already has dreams of building a Cadillac bed :)

 

It's safe to say we need to hustle but I am excited about what our future holds with this new addition to our family coming soon!

2015 Forever Home Update

Dearest Forever Home - we have big plans for you in 2015!

I've been slow with the Forever Home updates, this blog is all about our week to week process of building our dream home. We had big plans for the Christmas Holidays to work, work, work but then cold mornings settled in real quick and it made leaving our one warm cozy room that much more difficult. 

Since re-building our entire chimney (you can read that post here) we have finished building our interior walls, all of ducting has been installed and prepared for our geothermal install later this year, we've done numerous clean ups, the entire old home has been completely torn down ( in case you are new here, we built a new roof over our old roof).

We started the electrical work and are around 50% done. If you follow me on Instagram (which you can here!!) you would have noticed how excited I was to have lights in our kitchen area. We have been using one 1 lamp since August. Now I can turn on real lights in the kitchen via a real switch. We had originally hoped we would be further along and our electrical would be done before the extreme cold settled in but that didn't happen. We are having some issues now with keeping the house above zero temperatures. We decided to move ahead with ordering the insulation and start stuffing the ceiling. Once that is done our fireplace should be able to keep the kitchen, dining, & living room around to around 10 degrees.

Once Branko finishes the electrical and our inspections are passed we will feel at ease. All of the walls will be stuffed with insulation and then we can put up our drywall. We our aiming for mid Feb. to have drywall go up.

Enough of the boring talk! Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of how we have been living. You know keeping it real on this blog as I always do....

You may see a disaster, I see pretty pink insulation that is helping us keep warm.

Another angle of the our very open concept area. The ceilings are 15ft at the peaks and 9ft at the walls.

Lighting! You can't see much here but the lighting in that picture will be our kitchen area.

Sorry for my lack of amazing photos, I don't even think the most professional camera can make this living area look any different at this point. Once we get started on the fun stuff like drywall I will be sure to capture some better pictures at different angles.

A new chimney

First off, with Instagram making it so easy to post my picture updates I have become a horrible blogger. I write here so that every step we take in building the Forever Home is documented. Hopefully you have a chance to popover to my Instagram and follow along as well!

 

You may be wondering why in the world would we want to rebuild the entire chimney, well we had many good reasons....

  1. The old chimney was now lower then the roof, it had to be built up to reach the new roof.
  2. The old chimney we discovered was actually seeping, no beuno...very unsafe.
  3. The old chimney was double the size it had to be, therefore taking up extra room.
  4. The old chimney was not centered

The last reason was the most annoying one, when we initially thought we were keeping the old chimney we had a very difficult time trying to center the fireplace and getting the attachments in place. We also had to make the fireplace much wider then we would have preferred.

Your next question might be...did you pay somebody to rebuild it. Nope, nada, no way, not on Branko's time. He knew it wouldn't be easy but he also knew he could save over $3000 by doing this work himself. Thankfully my dad who has all the patience in the world offered to come for two days and help.

The first step was to completely dismantle the old chimney. The very top part and the very bottom were the most difficult. Branko used a special tool to help chip away the concrete that seals the cinder blocks together. It took us 4 nights with around 3 hours of work each night.

The second step we had to prepare the basement to ensure the area was clean. An old furnace and the old chimney were partly in the way. He also had to cut out some holes in the floor and roof.


The third step...rebuild!! They were able to finish half of the work in one day. The upper part of the chimney was much more difficult as they had to carry the cinder blocks up the ladder.

I hope one day our new fire place looks like this.....

We plan on using a similar stone like in this picture and bringing the stone all the way to the ceiling which is around 15ft. Picture was sourced here.

Currently we will be using this fireplace more then likely for the winter until we finish the interior of the house.

We found this fireplace on Kijiji last year for $200. It was really worn down and faded, so we bought fire safe spray paint and gave it a fresh coat.

For now, the house will stay in the crazy condition. The shingles on the roof should be done in 10 days. Next up we do the wiring in the ceiling and then finish the insulation. It's pretty cold in this area since it's not properly insulated so we are thankful that we are close to that stage.

 

 

Forever Home - The Exterior Plan

The forever home is under going some major changes this weekend. We are installing a new roof that will allow taller walls on the inside of the house and a higher middle peak point.

The type of trusses we are using are called scissor trusses. They are constructed in a certain way that when you are designing the interior of your home interior walls are never load bearing. All of the weight sits on the outside walls. The other benefit is that the new trusses can be installed on top of the old roof and then the old roof is removed on the inside. This is mostly helpful when you are living in the house while work is being done. You are always covered from the outside elements.

Now the fun stuff!!! The new roof is providing new dimensions to the roof line. Before it was one very long house which was not all that pretty.

Let me remind you of what the Forever Home looked like when we first purchased it...

Forever Home Winter 2012

Then we added 2 additions to each end of the house (which we realized thru off the dimensions and the roof appeared too short on the long house)

Forever Home Winter 2013

Here are the new drawings of how the house will appear once completed.

The front of the house although not the main entrance.

This is the technically the front of the house where our main entrance will be, even though from the street it looks to be the side of the house.

That back door is a walk out from our kitchen onto a 20ft covered deck area, we plan on creating a two step deck. One part that is covered and the second will step down into the forest and have no cover.

The exterior will be clad in a combination of grey board and batten on the walls, stone features on the corners & pillars, and cedar shakes on any of the gables.

Thoughts??? Is there something you would do differently?

 

Forever Home Floor Plan Update

If you follow me on Instagram you would have noticed some new pictures popping up in regards to the Forever Home. Initially we really had no plans on expanding the house anymore but when it came time to move in Branko realized that the third room was more like an office and not a bedroom.

We had to make a big decision before we continued working on the house and that we did. The forever home will be undergoing another expansion plus raising the roof.

Currently our wall height is only 7'6, very short even for a standard home. The 3rd bedroom is only 8x8. There was no covered porch. The house was also one long house and we needed to add some dimension to the roof line.

This will be a two part series on all of the changes we are making. In this post I will talk about the new floor plan and in my second post I will talk about the changes on the exterior.

First we will take a look at one of our very first lay out plans. These were created very simply using the free floor planer website.

1200 sq ft bungalow 70's home. The layout was very awkward especially with the main bathroom outside the kitchen and living room.

Our initial plan included 2 major additions, adding a master suite, a proper entrance, larger kitchen, and moving the main bathroom further from the kitchen & more centralized to the bedrooms.

Our final plan. Another small addition to the back which allows us to move the master suite to the back for more privacy from the street, 3 very nice sized bedrooms, a main bathroom centralized in between the 3 bedrooms, a new roof to raise the wall height, a pantry added beside the kitchen. a walk out door from the kitchen onto a fully covered porch.

Our square footage has gone up to 2600 on the main floor which is far more then what we ever wanted. With the house being so long & narrow it was hard to configure the rooms. With the addition on the back it provides the house more dimension and room to work with normal size bedrooms.

What do you think??? Have you ever renovated your home by adding on??

Stay tuned next week for the exterior plans! This will really show you the changes on the roof line.

How to get your best deal on appliances

We have been living in the Forever Home for just over a month now, and just after we moved in our laptop took a turn for the worse and blogging on an iPad is zero fun so I haven't had a chance to update you on some fun things that have been going on around here!

Appliance shopping can be one of the most stressful, decision-making situations when being a home owner. The costs of appliances are usually very high and with all of the different options they have with newer technology it can become very confusing.

After living in the new home for two days I started shopping for a washer and dryer. We desperately needed it before the end of the week since our clean clothes options were becoming slim.

I spotted this Samsung duo in Lowe's and knew immediately this is what I wanted. They were the largest washer and dryer on the market. The washer was a top loader which was high on my must have list. The dryer had options for steaming clothes and a special rack for drying shoes. In my mind they were the Cadillac of washer and dryers out there. 

Sounds fantastic, right??? Well the price of this duo was not so fantastic. The washer original price was $1498 and dryer $1498 as well (Lowe's pricing). At Home Depot they were $1498 each. I knew that Branko had no interest in spending that much money on appliances but I also knew that I needed these in my home!

NOW I will tell you how I bought this set and saved myself $1000!!!!!

First stop was Lowe's. The washer was on sale for $1299 and the dryer on sale for $1199. No wheeling and dealing here because nobody was around to help me. 

Next stop, Home Depot. Did you know that Home Depot will match the price and give an additional 10% off. Home Depot had this washer and dryer by chance on the floor (another customer purchased it but didn't measure that they were not standard size and it wouldn't fit in her house.) When I was told this I asked what her best offer was, considering it was technically "used". It had minor scratches on it. Nope. That was the answer no budging on the price. She even tried to convince me to just buy a new set at the same price. I wasn't happy with that so I left.

Third stop, Future Shop. I was pretty firm on my last stop. I walked in, told the guy what I wanted, and that I only wanted to pay $2000 for the pair (originally they cost $3000). I told him what Home Depot was offering me. He hummed and hawed. Then he said, "You are going to buy them today?" I responded, "Yes, and if you give these to me for $2000, I will be back to buy a fridge, stove, and dishwasher"

Yes, this is the state of our Laundry Room. Yes. this is an iPhone picture.

 

SOLD!!! He even threw in the shipping cost of $50!

Some final thoughts:

1. Don't waiver on your price and stay firm.

2. Know your prices and product, when you are knowledgeable the sales person takes you more seriously. 

3. Try to find a location that has at least 3 different stores in close proximity. (In Brampton @ Bovaird Future Shop and Home Depot are in the same parking lot. Lowe's just down the street).

4. Last but not least be patient. Sales people can be pushy and sometimes really push your last nerve. If you become rude it's a sure thing they won't want to work with you.

Update: the washer/dryer duo are still on sale but for even cheaper now! I am sure you could nab these for $1800!!!