Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Short Lived Excitement

All of our excitement over the progress on the hardwood floors came to a screeching halt yesterday.

When we bought our hardwood flooring almost a year ago, we managed to get a fantastic deal (half price) on a product that was promised to be an exact match to the walnut flooring we bought for the kitchen two years earlier. But apparently that deal was too good to be true.

The hardwood is a perfect match to the kitchen hardwood in colour and wood quality, however once we started to install it, we quickly discovered there is a reason it was so much cheaper. Each board will vary up to 5 mm in width, sometimes even from one end of the board to the other.

When you are trying to achieve a hardwood floor without gaps - 5 mm is a BIG deal.

Dave thought he could work with the discrepancies, measuring and sorting each board by width to generate even rows. But after a week of fighting, he decided yesterday he had had enough and today all seven remaining boxes are being returned to the store.

Thankfully the store quickly agreed that it is unacceptable quality in hardwood flooring and has offered to fully refund the full price of the hardwood and to force the supplier to replace the product with something of an acceptable quality. 

Unfortunately it means all progress in the living room and dining room is on hold until we get the flooring resolved...



And I thought our bathrooms were small...

Via The House that AM Built

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Falling Apart at the Seams

That is how I feel this week due to a crazy week at work... but that is a whole different story...

The carpet has barely been installed for three months but already one of seams in the hallway had started to pull apart. In such a high traffic area, I was worried that it would only continue to unravel.

Thankfully with one quick email to the carpet installer, a 5 minute house call and two staples later, the seam is now securely fastened down.

Much better service then when we complained after the initial carpet installation... but again that is a story for another day...


Thursday, June 23, 2011

We Have Progress!

Window trim in the entry, living room and dining room.

Wainscoting and storage bench in the front entry.

Best of all... the start of hardwood in the dining room!!!

Both of us are finding it hard to wrap our heads around the visual of our kitchen flowing into the dining room... we have lived with the ugly gap between the two rooms for so long. It is still strange for us to see something we have been visualizing for so long to become reality!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Adding On

We decided we needed some more room so we built an addition on the back of the house!

Ok so it is only temporary. Dave built it as a "work shop" so he has space to do the cutting when he begins to install the hardwood floors tomorrow.

The best part - it means all (most) of the dust will be moving outside! And with all of the rain, it will mean we can finally start dining outside too!


Thursday, June 16, 2011


Dave LOVES soapstone. He lobbied for a long time to have soapstone counters in the kitchen. After extensive research and searching, I vetoed it when I found out the beautiful, uniform black soapstone found in school labs and Martha Stewart's kitchen is now almost impossible to come by. Supplies of soapstone are getting low and most of the stone available now is heavily veined and rarely black.

What I wanted...

What I found...
I do love soapstone too, so ever since the kitchen we have been trying to work it into the house some where... neither of the bathrooms have counters, it is too expensive and heavy to justify for a desktop and our laundry room is just simply out of the question (there is a reason there are no photos of the basement). 
Finally we have found the perfect location to use soapstone - on the hearth in front of the fireplace!

The slabs are the perfect thickness to inlay into the hardwood flooring, the colour will compliment the brick on the mantel and anchor the black cast iron insert, and soapstone has excellent heat retention so it is ideal for a fireplace hearth. Plus we only needed a small peice so we would be able to save money by getting our stone out of remnants from other projects.

Last week I visited the remnant pile at Dauter Stone to pick out a piece of soapstone. They had remnants available in three types of soapstone - I was torn between the charcoal grey Canadian (back) and the deep black green veined Serpentine (front). Ultimately I decided the Canadian soapstone would work better with the grey accents in the brick (really I was scared to commit to the green veins in the Serpentine - too much colour for something so permament!).

Now we just have to wait for our stone to be cut and polished. Hopefully it will arrive soon so we can start the hardwood flooring!


Monday, June 13, 2011

ecoENERGY Retrofit Program Verdict

Last week we got our second installment for the ecoEnergy Retrofit Program.

This time it was a $4,270 cheque from the federal government!

Again there was absolutely no information accompanying the cheque so we have no idea what the money specifically relates to but I am guessing this is our full payment from the federal program.

Replace furnace with 95% high efficiency furnace:
Cost: $2,780
Rebate: $650

Replace hot water tank with instant hot water system:
Cost: $1,300      
Rebate: $315

Insulate walls (spray foam):   
Cost: $4,155                  
Rebate: $1,815

Insulate attic and cathedral ceiling 
(blown fiberglass, spray foam):   
Cost: $1,970                 
Rebate: $750

Install new EnergyStar windows and doors:
Cost: $14,398
Rebate: $480

Improve air seal (spray foam, new windows & doors):
Cost: $0 (Included in items above)           
Rebate: $190

Install low flow toilets:
Cost: $500                   
Rebate: $130

Total Cost: $25,103
Total Predicted Rebate: $4,330
Total Rebate: $4,270

We are pretty stoked to have achieved almost the full rebate - not sure what the $60 discrepancy is for - and to have almost achieved the $5,000 maximum rebate. We also got a $1969 rebate from the Alberta government for the insulation and are still trying to get a $600 rebate for the furnace from the provincial government.

All said and done, we will have re-cooperated over 25% of the improvement costs - not including the savings due to the reduced energy consumption!

I have been tracking our energy consumption since we bought our house six years ago so I am most excited to see how our utility bills change over the next year.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In the Next Kitchen...

Forget stainless steel - wouldn't these vintage appliances be fun? Especially in a cabin ktichen.

 The hard part would be picking a colour!

Buttercup Yellow

Flamingo Pink

Robin Egg Blue


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


The reality of living in a construction zone.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Curb Appeal

Since the new front door is larger than the original, we knew we were going to have to rebuild the front steps eventually.

However, now that we are looking to redo the siding this year, I am pushing Dace to do the steps as well... it seems a shame to have a beautiful new house with ugly, off-sided concrete steps on the front!

I am also hoping to convince him to build the new steps out of red brick to match the chimney.

He has been bragging about how good of mason he is afterall...

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