Friday, October 29, 2010

The House of Dr Frankenstein

One of the biggest motivators for undertaking such a major renovation was the fear of electrical fire - being built in 1912 means that our house still boasts the horror of knob-and-post electrical wiring. Over the past couple years several of the circuits in our house had had degraded to the point of constant flicker and some had even stopped working altogether, including the front hall and living room lights. A little annoying and scary to say the least.

Check out some of the alarming arrangements that we found hiding in the walls - they seem better suited to Dr Frankensteins laboratory then a home!

Needless to say, we will be sleeping a little sounder at night now that all of the knob-and-post wiring has been stripped out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Layers of History

One of the adventures of renovating an old home is the treasures that you find buried in the walls. Much to David's dismay, there was nothing in the walls of our home but an old playing card... however we did uncover plenty of treasures ON the walls.

Each of the rooms in our house boasted several layers of colourful wallpaper and paint.

The dining room had at least three layers - beige floral covered by red and grey leaves covered by grey and pink damask all covered by red paint.

In the office we found this stunning purple and blue floral hidden under the yellow paint.

In the hallway we uncovered this fantastic pastel plaid complete with matching border.

Underneath the plaid was at least six more layers including a wood grain pattern, green and gold floral, pastel floral all over top of bright turquoise.

It almost seems blasphemous that I have every intention of painting all of the walls white. I don't think our house has ever had a white wall in its 98 year history!

I would love to use wallpaper as accents in our bedroom and the office but know I could never get David to agree. I love the modern bold florals that are currently available.

But I could only imagine what a future home owner would think when they are removing these wallpapers from the walls in another 98 years...


Monday, October 25, 2010

All Empty

One week later and the house is completely bare. No drywall, no carpet, no insulation, no lights. Only half the walls are still standing.

 living room

 living room and dining room

 spare bedroom and office

 upstairs hall and master bedroom

There was one pleasant surprise in all of the mess... the upstairs had hardwood hiding under the hideous blue dot carpet. It is in good condition in all of the rooms, except for being painted pink in the office, but the hallway has a few bad boards.

We had intended to install new carpet upstairs but now we are toying with the idea of re-finishing the hardwood to match the new walnut floors that will be installed downstairs. I have never lived with hardwood in a bedroom before and am a little uncertain I will like it. There would be some patching required in the hall but it is hard to justify covering beautiful wood floors.

This one might come down to a coin toss...



This past weekend we finally bit the bullet. After months of talking, planning, measuring and purchasing, we finally packed up the house and began the renovation.

On Sunday our fabulous family and friends came over to help with demolition. It is amazing how many eager volunteers show up when you give them the opportunity to take sledge hammers to your walls.

After one long day we had an overflowing 20 yard bin and an empty house. Now the real fun begins...


Welcome to Our Home

Our house is a 1200 square foot, 1 1/2 story home that was originally built in 1912. The house is located in Sunalta, a "beltline" community in central Calgary. We are fortunate enough to live in one of those rare communities with tree-lined streets, neighbors that sit on their front porches and church bells that toll at twelve and six every day.

We purchased the home in 2005 and have spent the last five years dreaming and scheming of how to convert it into our dream home. We have already completed one major renovation of the kitchen and are now facing the huge undertaking of renovating the rest of the house all at once. As with the kitchen, we will be completing the majority of the work with our own hands.

We are writing this blog to chronicle our adventures (and mis-adventures) in renovating and to share those adventures with our family and friends (and maybe a few followers) from the comfort of their own (dust-free) homes.

 Amy & David
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