a long story of heroic achievement, a long, involved story, account, or series of incidents
This is Stoneleigh.
And this is our Stoneleigh saga. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a stone home in Guelph, and bring it back to life came our way out of the blue — as most great adventures do — and we jumped in two feet first. There’s no looking back now…
This page is a place for us to share our restoration journey and photos with our family and friends, but also a place we can visualize the progress over the next year.
On the first day, Arni and his trusty sidekicks (an Estwing hammer and whammy bar) opened up the front hallway. The hallway had been filled in with a coat closet, so the only way to get to the kitchen was through the dining or living room. Solution? A sledgehammer.
It just got messier and dustier after that. Thankfully, on our first full demo day, we had lots of help. Thanks David, Sue, Kristin! Alison, Ieva, Brad, Lyndsay, Claudia and Bryan came by to laugh (and brought cards, treats and flowers)! Lloyd and Todd took up the hammer too. Thanks guys!
Oh, and did I mention that I broke out with poison ivy all over my face the day we got the keys?
Although we are starting the renos with a whole lot of destruction, we do actually have a plan! There’s the cosmetic stuff, like stripping wallpaper (every room) and ripping out the old carpet (including the bathroom, yuck!) and painting. And the yard. And the floors.
But the first (and biggest) project is the kitchen. It was created in 1973 (based on dated signatures we found inside the walls), and is claustrophobic. The west wall window was closed in and the ceiling was dropped. Cabinets were in decent shape, but they hung too low from the ceiling. They are off to the ReStore to find a new home.
A new roof was on the list of first-things-first. Thankfully, friend (and roofer) Mike had time to fit us into his busy schedule. A few hiccups on day one (shingles couldn’t be delivered to the roof due to hydro lines) but the job has started. Saturday was a write-off due to rain, but being a great guy, Mike gave us some valuable help using a shingle-remover shovel to remove flooring in the master bedroom.
The plan for upstairs flooring has evolved. The original plan was to install new hardwood over whatever we found under the carpet. But wait! Under the carpet was linoleum, and under the linoleum was fibreboard, and under the fibreboard was the original pine flooring! Change of plans! New plan: refinish the original floors and bring them back to life.
BACK TO THE KITCHEN
We are at the end of Week One! The kitchen is back to the bare walls, and the plans have changed slightly. We are going to leave the back wall of the house exposed to the stone in the kitchen. The stonework is just too nice to cover up, and the beam above the back door has so much character.
Due in part to great marketing, there’s a tendency to believe that a new modern double-glazed vinyl or aluminum window is better. But a good old-fashioned wood sash window is just as efficient (or more) and can last well over 200 years if cared for properly.
Enter Taylor Giberson.
Taylor is our go-to guy for restoring the original windows. It’s a specialized skill (art, really) and requires a belief that the original builders knew what they were doing. Long painted (or caulked or plastered) shut, our windows are opening again.
As we swept up debris in the partial darkness last night around 11 pm, I’ll be honest, I felt overwhelmed and discouraged. So far, we’ve been focused on destruction. Plaster dust, fibreboard, sawdust and nails are everywhere. It’s like a bomb went off. We didn’t go into this renovation starry-eyed, so the many delays and changes of plan so far haven’t dampened our spirits too much. We remind each other often to “focus on the end goal”. Really, we are only on week three, and we’ve done a hell of a lot. Demolition doesn’t feel like progress, but it’s a necessary step before putting it all back together.
By the end of Week Three, the focus had shifted to the bathroom, primarily because plumbing is the number one domino in getting the house is liveable condition with Moving Day fast approaching. As we have come to expect, no task is as easy as we thought. Bathroom prep consisted of removing all flooring, taking down walls, ceiling and removing old pipes. But it’s done! We took a day off of having plaster dust in our hair and headed out to shop – lights, sink, vanity, bathtub, floor tile, wall tile and more! We ended up in Toronto – Dunlop Plumbing, Gingers, Union Lighting — and finished the day at Mustafas for Mediterranian food. Yes, a good day’s work deserves a good meal.
The countdown is on – moving date is booked for December 13. We are running out of time and the prospect of a Christmas with no kitchen is very real. The biggest priority right now is getting the kitchen wall down. A few delays along the way have halted progress — engineering drawings, building permit application, waiting, waiting, waiting.
Our go-to reno guy is Mark Rayner (http://www.raynerrenos.com) – and he’s is amazing. This week he’s working on the structural beam that will replace the wall, which involved digging a footing through the basement floor.
Still no building permit from the City! Waiting is driving us crazy and as we need to get this effing wall down soon. Trying to follow all the rules.
WE MOVED IN!
December 13, rain or shine, electricity or not, was Move-In Day! Needless to say, the big time gap in this online saga is because we have been heads over heels immersed in renovation work to make Stoneleigh liveable, and maybe even (fingers crossed) have family over for Christmas…
It’s 2018! So much has happened…so rather than try to narrate in words, I will let the photos do the talking.
When we first moved in, we didn’t intend to do the bathroom right away…but that soon changed and it became a full demolition. The layout was all wrong. And we both realized that, at the end of a long day, a nice bath is essential. The ceiling was removed, walls, insulation added, new tub, new everything.
WE HAVE A KITCHEN!
The kitchen goal is ever-changing. The goal for December was to be able to cook Christmas dinner. The definition of “cook” is open. Take-out. Microwave. Wings at the Wooly.