Saturday, 4 October 2014

Reno Update - Fall 2014

 Well, it's been a whole year now since we got electricity and things have sure moved quickly. We had spent the winter and spring working on the interior of the house but once the temperatures warmed up, our Reno's moved to the outside of the house. We had been lamenting the lack of outdoor space to enjoy our environment so Dave decided to build us a new float to expand our deck space.

Our front deck had lost some of its floatation during the tow up here and creaked alarmingly every time somebody walked across it, so that was the first thing to be repaired. We found a place on Craigslist that was giving away large pallets used for shipping industrial machinery. The wood was awesome and the pallets came apart easily so we stocked up with about 40 of them. That gave us enough planks to redo the front porch, build a 10ft x 35ft float, re-deck our 66ft long side dock and rebuild our back dock(still to be done, we are on the look out for more logs).  We still have a few boards left over for future raised garden beds.

The side dock" before "picture

The front deck "before " picture

The front deck got more foam billets installed, new planks laid on top, then coated with linseed oil for protection. The ugly, falling down railing was finally removed ( I hated that thing with a passion, it was a  wobbly deathtrap waiting to take some unsuspecting visitor out!)

1st step... get rid of that railing!

 Cutting notches in the logs for the float

Putting the logs in place and chaining them together

Sinking two containers for our water supply
 The containers submerged and plumbed in. Sadly, the plastic caved in on itself as soon as we used it, so they came out, that plan was scrapped and the deck was boarded over.
 Decking going on
 Almost finished...I'm already trying to load it up with stuff !  :)
 After the float was built, Dave got busy re-planking our side dock. It is so nice that all the wood matches now and each dock flows to the next.

The side deck ripped apart with beams laid down to raise the level of the deck to be flush with all the other docks.

New planking down on the side deck.

Added a swim ladder for those days when a refreshing dip in the river was in order.
 The decks all finished and we start to move outside!
 Twilight dinner with a fire pit.

Summer flowers in full bloom in the baskets. Loving our new front yard!

 The blue hose on the ground is hooked up to a submerged water pump, instant fire hose just in case!

 Of course as soon as the last board was nailed down, I couldn't wait to start furnishing our new "yard". We got some awesome deals this summer starting with a BBQ that came with all the bells and whistles for a mere $20.00, then a brand new gazebo still in the box for $30.00. A propane patio heater for $30.00 and a portable fire pit added the required night time ambiance.

 The piece de resistance, was a cute two person hot tub for free! Dave used some of our left over ceiling material to build a super cute surround for it complete with a rock bed for washing off your feet and a rack to hold the wine glasses. Some more work was done running an electrical outlet to the outside and plumbing in outside taps so we can fill the tub. We weren't interested in soaking in chemicals so we just fill the tub each time we want to use it and drain it afterward. We LOVE our tub and can be found having a soak in it most nights!

  The new BBQ
 The deck as it is looking these days

I am not finished with the deck yet. Eventually we will be putting up lattice privacy screens and trading the gazebo for a wood pergola. The plastic deck furniture will be going to make way for wood seating ( I am thinking wooden futon frames with colourful cushions) But all in good time, for now it is quite serviceable and we have spent almost every waking moment out on the deck since it was built.

 Best place in the world to watch a sunset!

Once we had our outdoor space sorted out, Dave turned his attention to installing patio doors to the river side of the house. The house, originally being a net shed, had two huge sliding doors on either side of the living room. At first we had just boarded them in and insulated them to make the house livable but now I wanted them opened up and glass doors installed so we could enjoy our view.

The dock side got done last year with a pair of stained glass doors. Friends of ours had their condo redone this summer and donated their old patio doors to us. We ripped out the insulation, opened the sliding door and framed in the new patio doors. What a difference it made! We now have so much more light coming into the living room/ dining room and the view is just awesome. Even though they are way more glass then we had in the area to begin with , we are hoping that the fact that they are double pane instead of the single pane windows that were there, will improve our ability to keep the room warm.(fingers crossed!)

The sliding door opened showing the hole to be framed in for the doors on the dock side

The view from the new single door on the river side

The single door from the outside ( there was just a window in this space before)

The view from the double doors on the river side
 The double doors from the outside
 The view of our new dock and doors
 The view of the river from the dining room table
 The view of the river from the living room aspect ( it will be so much better when those 2x4s are taken down!)

Another chore tackled was pressure washing the whole outside of the house. What a difference it makes! The wood went from almost black looking to a much nicer cedar colour.

 I didn't have to spend too much on plants this year as most of the perennials I planted last year survived the winter.

This was the garden the 1st year I planted it.

This is how it looks at the end of the 2nd summer. The grape vine on the right is getting bigger, the Boston Vine in the middle has also filled out nicely and the lilacs on the right are quite a bit bigger. I think in another year or two, you will not be able to see the container any more!
These were the side gardens the 1st year I planted them, You can hardly see the ivy in the back

This is the same beds at the end of this summer. The ivy is really advancing now, the hostas came back nicely after being devoured by slugs last year. I put some slug bait and a ton of crushed eggshells around them and never saw one slug all year :) We also painted the door and put up some siding on the walls trying to pretty things up a bit.
 I grew a bean whoohoo!

 One major chore left to do is to repaint all our trim but I think that will wait for next year.

As the summer drew to a close and the temperatures started to drop we turned our attention to winterizing the house. We finally got some gutters installed which will stop the torrent of water splashing onto the docks. Of course nothing is ever easy here. First we had to nail some boards up to attach the gutters to. One side was fine but for some weird reason they had cut the roof timbers  short and flat instead of angled on the river side, so Dave had to cut another piece for each of those boards to attach the trim and gutters to. Lots of work, but he got it done in just two days and the house looks so much better for it.

New gutters and fascia board installed on dock side

Extensions added to boards on river side
 Gutters up on river side, should be a lot drier going in and out of those doors now!

I got busy inside the house and put weather stripping around all the door jambs and covered all the windows with plastic wrap to seal out drafts. I also insulated all the power receptacles that are on outside facing walls. More insulation was put on the wall at the base of the stairs and around our new patio doors.

I took the woodstove outside and spent the day with a wire brush scraping off all the rust and then repainted it with special heat proof paint. We got some new plywood and redid the floor where the stove is going to go. We still have to tile that floor area, then get a licensed wet certified guy to install the stove for us. Can't wait for wood stove heat!  Even though I installed a propane furnace the first year we were here, it was too expense to run it so it never got used. It is close to the woodstove though so I will use the furnace fans to suck up the heat from the woodstove and distribute it around the house through the ducting system.

Yucky rust!

Hours later, starting to look better

All painted and waiting to get hooked up
 Loving this awesome fireplace tool set that I found in a thrift store.
One good thing about fall is that is when the salmon start running. We had a great run this year, the fisherman were kept very busy and their nets full. It was fun watching them go back and forth all day.

 We managed to get a few fish this year. We cooked a few on the BBQ and took a couple more and smoked them in the Little Chief Smoker. They turned out pretty good although I was going for more of a salmon candy, so will adjust my recipe next time to more sugar and way less salt.

Another chore tackled recently was our video library. I have been collecting VCR movies from thrift stores over the last few years and had amassed quite a large collection and needed somewhere to store them all. We got some boards and made shelves between the 2x4s behind the bookcase. I spread all the videos out on the living room floor and tried to sort them into some kind of order before placing them on the shelves. We don't get cable out here, just have a few free channels that we pick up with an antennae so its nice to have movies to watch now and again.

The video collection in all its glory
  Building the shelves
 The library installed and in some kind of order

I had a pair of sliding mirrored closet doors that we want to cover the videos with but for some reason didn't get the track that goes with them so they are yet to be installed. It is proving to be more difficult than we first imagined. Apparently there are 150 makers of these doors and each uses its own track system. We may end up rebuilding the frames with wood to use a track system we already own. Another job for another day!

So we have made a huge dent in the honey to do- do- do list. There is still a ton of projects of course but it feels like we are coming into the home stretch now. The essentials are in place, the rooms are all habitable, the outside is looking good, the hatches a little more battened down. We will spend the winter months putting finishing touches on rooms. One of Dave's friends has a lumber mill and has offered to help Dave cut wood flooring to do the whole house. That will be a massive undertaking to cut and install but will be worth it in the end and will allow us to finish subbing all the floors and insulating them from the cold river just below us.

I am hoping that we have finished off most of the house by next summer and can finally sit back and enjoy ourselves, do some travelling, some camping, visiting with friends, you something like it!

My favorite sunset picture from here, it is my screensaver on my computer :)

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  1. You are so resourceful and creative. And Dave has done an excellent job with all the construction projects. The hot tub is cool (or warm I should say). You have such a strong new deck to handle the weight. Wood stoves sure fix up nicely. Ours is about ready for another paint job. The first was the worst, now only touch-ups are needed. Our neighbour is building a new cabin to replace his old A-frame. But we are still happy with ours, just the way it is. - Margy

  2. I always enjoy your posts. You have accomplished so much!

  3. Renovation can be a long and tiring job. But seeing your deck shaping up quite nicely, the long wait and all the hard work seems to have paid off. But in all the changes done to your deck, the one I really loved is the two-person hot tub addition. It looks amazing, plus you got it for free! Anyway, are you done with all the renovation? I hope it's already finished, so you can finally relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    Silvia Morris @ Claudette Pools

  4. Awesome is not a word we use much in Australia, but I have to say, that's the first word that came to me as I read this post! You are such a super-woman, I'm really impressed. I love how your house and decks are progressing, and especially your garden. Absolutely wonderful!

  5. I've been thinking about you with all the rain, wind and the mighty Fraser River. For some reason I can't comment on your Facebook posts so I thought I would leave a comment here. - Margy


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment, Rhianna

The Eclectic Ark