0 In Our House

Framing the Second Floor Part 1

‘The sun never knew how great it was until it hit the side of a building’ -Louis Kahn

This quote rings so true to me. A lot of people would look at a renovation and see the mess that is being created in it’s path, and for some people, it’s extremely hard to see the finished product before it comes to fruition. But to me, as we put up the first walls of what would be our new home, all I could think of was what we were creating. And every time a new day would shine it’s light on our project, the more excited I would get!

At this stage, we were only taking care of the walls in the master en-suite since we hadn’t torn off the roof yet. As with all renovations, we started with our exterior walls. One of the things we did debate was putting some windows on the south facing wall where we would eventually (most likely) place the bed. This was one of the things that was in our original drawing and in the end, once we were able to grasp a better idea of spacing, we opted to nix it.

You don’t realize how many big (and little) decisions you make over the course of a project like this, especially when you’re doing it yourself and have full control. But that was one of those decisions that had to be made along the way.

Another one said decision that concerned the immediate build was how to cover the exterior walls. Normally you would put plywood sheathing on the exterior of your walls and your insulation within there. With the new building code in effect in our area, we now needed to find a way to bump up our insulation’s R value. We then discovered structural insulation panels, which replace your traditional plywood. Essentially it’s a two layered product that has a wood fiber panel on one side and a styrofoam insulation on the other. The application process is almost the same as your plywood sheathing, the only difference is that you apply vapor barrier tuck tape to seal in your insulation.

Now that the exterior walls were up, to keep the momentum going before tearing the roof off we also got the interior walls put in place.

The previous picture is a view of the south facing wall, this is where we had debated putting in the extra windows. Our windows were framed out but not cut in yet. But I feel like even though it’s probably the least exciting picture to look at, this will be one of the ones with the biggest before and afters. Since we’ve never truly had a master before (the one in our current house was a tiny 11×11 bedroom with barely a closet, that also served as storage for some of the kids clothes…) I can’t wait to make this a space to relax in!

If you look to the right from there, towards the back of the house, we have two separate closets, one for each of us, with framing for pocket doors and a large en-suite bathroom at the rear. Having only had one bathroom from almost 8 years, we’re pretty excited about having a bathroom we don’t have to share with the kids!

As you’ll notice here, this last wall that I’m showing you butts right up to our roof, this is the interior wall that will be shared between bedrooms once the roof is removed. We built it none the less though since it was also a reference wall for us to build the interior walls within the master en-suite. It also gives us a jumping off point to work from once we get in there.

Next is the roof removal!

0 In Our House

Officially off the Ground!

Now that the foundation for our garage had been finished, it was time to finally get OFF the ground! I’m probably going to say this at a lot of points in this renovation, but this was definitely what felt like another turning point! This was really when we first began to see what would be our new home, sure it was just a small portion of it, but when you’ve dreamed of something and put it into motion, there’s nothing quite like seeing it materialize in front of your eyes!

To be able to begin though, we just needed to do just a bit of prep work before we started on the framing.

We started by tearing a portion of the roof off (the overhang and side of the attic) and where the new framing would join the old. Essentially, this part of the house needed to be ‘flush’ and ‘bare bones’ so that joining up wouldn’t be an issue.

Once that prep work was all completed… the rest went up quickly! We framed the garage and put the floor joists in.

I feel like I don’t have anything too crazy to say about these steps… basically, you lay out your walls on the ground and build them, then lift them up and secure in place and BOOM, there you go, you have your walls!

And then same goes for floor joists… you lift them up, secure them and put your spacing blocks in place. See nothing crazy? But once these steps are accomplished it makes it feel real! Like you actually have walls that will be finished in these places and you get to see a better idea of what will be where.

Next step in this process before we finished it up for the moment was get our plywood flooring up on the joists.

Once we had all the sheets in place and secured, not we had a surface to work off of on the upstairs! This made a huge difference and felt like another milestone/turning point when it came to building. Now we’re able to start focusing on the living space of the house!

0 In Our House

The Beginning of Things…

As with all things, there’s a beginning…

Once we went through the process of applying for our permits, we were finally able to get started on the actual house! First up in the build process was the garage. We were beyond excited to finally get to this point! After weeks of back and forth with the city over the permit, we received the green light and were able to dig!

Since the new garage would extend past the original house, we knew we would be needing to cut into our driveway and clear that area first. This work was quick and easy. A quick tip, since asphalt is pretty heavy for dumping… you can contact your local asphalt contractor or aggregates company and see if they will take the clean asphalt. In our case, we were lucky and were able to drop it off that day.

Our dig went pretty easily, nothing major in terms of surprises, so we were able to get the new foundation for the garage dug out with no snags. Next up was the footings. Again, this is something that we were able to bang our fairly quickly. We used a laser level and had the area prepped and marked out ahead of time so that everything would line up nicely.

As you can see in this photo, most of our footing work was pretty straight forward, with the addition of a step down at the front and the back to tie into the existing foundation. At this point, we called in for an inspection, passed and were able to put an order in for our cement. It took about a day or so to get our cement and put it in and then we were good to call in for our final footings inspection.

Once the inspector came by and cleared this, we brought in some forms and laid out the actual foundation walls for the garage. We probably had this done in about another day?! This process of the build can fly by pretty quickly where it’s straightforward like ours, since we only needed to do the garage exterior.

I can’t say how thankful I am for having family and friends that were here to help us out. This part of the build is my family’s expertise area, so it felt really good to be able to work with my dad on this! Again, we passed inspection on this quickly and brought in cement I think that same day.

Once it was dry and cured, we were able to remove the forms and back-fill the foundation in.

Let me say this again, but damn this part of the process can fly by! We completed this part in about 14 days or so, including the back-fill. Because of the soil type that we have (clay), we decided the best course of action would be to give it the time to settle instead of rushing to put a concrete pad in that would likely crack. Which means that next up, are the walls!

0 In Our House

Splitting Things Into Phases

Adding a whole second story to a house can be a really daunting undertaking, especially for those that are new to renovations or that have only ever done minor projects. Ripping the roof off of your house is no minor undertaking, and with it comes a lot of work and possible hiccups down the road. Not only that, but the budget didn’t include relocating temporarily, nor did we want to partially move out of the house either. Our goal was to keep the household running as smoothly as possible with the least amount of impact on our day to day lives. So one of the big questions we were facing was

‘How do we approach this project?’

And Jay came up with a fairly simple concept. When he first brought it up to me, I thought he might have been crazy BUT I know that he’s taken on similar construction projects in the past so I had total faith… the catch was that none of these projects had the clients still living in the house….

But before we get ahead with ours, let’s start with the basics… First we had to prioritize what needed to be done and in which order. So we split out plan up into 2 major phases, that would then be split into minor chunks.

Phase 1 includes any square footage that we’re adding to the house, by building and framing the garage and the second story. We would then be able to work on the upper level of the house, without having to directly open up the house and having our living space become a walk through construction zone. The upstairs access is to remain ‘outdoors’ for as long as possible. Our original plan was to use a temporary staircase that would bring you directly into the master bedroom through the garage. Once the second floor is as close to ready as possible (bedrooms, laundry and family bath), we’re to close it up and put in the opening for the permanent staircase. At which point, we’d want to move everybody in.

Phase 2 is where it gets a bit more into the nitty gritty of our daily lives. Once everyone is moved in upstairs, the plan is do some demo on the main floor and rearrange it so that it flows better with the new addition and everything gets tied in. We’ve also left the master bathroom off of phase 1 due to the fact that budget wise, it makes more sense to do the rest of the work first, and then we can build the budget back up for the master bath, since I’m sure there will be things that will pop up that will require a bit more of the budget than originally anticipated.

ETA: As I’m posting this, we’re already deep into phase 1 of the renovation. But I do want to get everything up on the blog as to the steps we’ve undertaken so far and how everything’s gone. A renovation this big has so many moving parts, but it’s such a fun process to undertake, and I can’t wait to look back at what we’ve achieved.

0 In Knitting

Tamitik Love

I’m a slow knitter… there’s no doubt about that! I think the last time I finished a knitting project was way back in January! What with all the renovations going on around here, last winter and spring I wound up focusing a lot more on reading. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but it did, and I’m starting to look back on the year and realizing that I haven’t really completed many projects. So I’ve been trying to pick up quick projects here and there to get me motivated again. Really these are meant to be little projects that I hope will be confidence boosters.

With these little projects I’ve been wanting to bust out the yarn I’ve previously been hoarding too. Since I don’t tend to buy yarn in large quantities unless I already have a project in mind, my yarn stash consists usually of individual skeins that I thought were too pretty to leave behind…. which then makes finding a project for them interesting haha.

That’s pretty much how I felt about this Serpentina yarn from Manos del Uruguay. I’ve previously eyed up their yarn when I’ve gone in to my LYS, each time leaving empty handed because I didn’t know what I wanted to make. But when a few skeins of this Serpentina showed up on the sale shelf I just couldn’t leave it behind… that texture completely grabbed my attention.

When I needed a quick project last March, I decided to finally knit up this Tamitik hat pattern from Very Shannon. By the way…. You definitely read that right! I knit this hat up last winter! It took me forever to finally get a pom pom for it that it hasn’t been worn until last weekend. I thought that the thick and thin yarn would be so interesting with the already existent texture of the pattern and I couldn’t wait how it would make that slip stitch look. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, it’s not overwhelming, but you can see certain spots on the hat that have a thicker slip stitch and certain spots that have a thinner one and it just gives it enough contrast for me.

I sized the hat for myself, and I had full intentions of keeping it for me. I love the colour of the yarn, with the bits grays and the burgundy. I believe the actual colourway is called Florence Nightingale. I found it was neutral enough for most of the time, but still had some pop of colours… But it turns out my girls are loving this hat, so much that they fight over it! I’ve even had a request by my oldest to knit up the exact same one again so that she doesn’t have fight her sister to get it anymore. I think the ‘selling feature’ on this hat was the faux fur pom pom. It took me forever to finally get one (just because it wasn’t that high on my priority list through the summer…) but once I put it on, gah!! I loved the hat that much more, and so did my girls. Now I’ll just have to see if I have enough yarn left to squeeze out a second hat for the youngest…. even though she likes that it’s slouchy on her.

I’m a tad annoyed that I lost my hat, but at the same time I love that they want me to make them hats.

0 In Our House

Our Renovation Plans

When I left you with the news that we were adding on to our house, we had just started working on the actual addition itself. If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed a few posts here and there and in my stories about our process.

As some of you may know, we’re tackling this addition all by ourselves, with the help of family and friends when we need more manpower. This is, of course, not your usual DIY. And not something I would recommend for the average person to take on. Jay (hubs), is a general contractor by trade and this is pretty much his day job, while I have a lot of background (compared to the average individual) in the construction trade. So for the most part, I’d like to think we know what we’re digging ourselves into 😉 As I had mentioned in my previous post, we knew we’d be building something onto this house at one point or another, but we weren’t sure what it was going to be.

existing layout

Our house is essentially a shoe box. It’s just a small rectangular house, with two bedrooms + one bath that’s just shy of 1000 sq/ft (plus basement). As much as we’ve loved living in a smaller house, now that there are 6 of us, and that the kids are older, we decided to that needed to make room. The girls currently share a bedroom on the main level, and the boys share a bedroom in the basement. While Jay and I take up the second main level bedroom.

Our living space is tight and cramped with that many people hanging out in there on a movie night, god forbid we decide to invite friends over the adults either go outside or we force the kids into the basement (which has a family room that isn’t well layed out at the moment). So in all reality, not ideal. We’re also having the same issue with the dining area. We’ve fit in the biggest table we can, which sits 6 comfortably, and we’ve crammed a few more in there we needed to but ultimately, it’d be nice to have a table to comfortably host dinners with friends and/or family without needing to cram children in a bench seating area or serving dinner twice.

And one bathroom! You don’t realize how nice a second bathroom is until someone is using that one bathroom and you can’t get in there with a toddler who needs to pee AT THAT MOMENT. This one is pretty self explanatory haha.

first floor

Once we decided that we’d be going up rather then out with our addition, we know we needed to make a wishlist of items that were musts and things we’d like but could be chopped off if need be. Here is the list we came up with:

  • a garage space This was an absolute must! Whatever we were doing, it had to include a garage, which was one of the driving factors behind our decision to go up. The garage needed to be as wide as we could, with the possibility of fitting two cars and a mudroom area.
  • large dinner area I’d like to be able to fit a larger dinning table so we can actually host people over, minimum a 6 seater table.
  • bedrooms for everyone Ideally we wanted to be able to give everyone in the family a bedroom space (with the boys sharing if we couldn’t make it happen).
  • a proper master We were really hoping we could fit in a proper master en-suite for ourselves. A walk-in closet was a luxury we weren’t sure we’d be able to fit in, but as long as we had one decent sized closet with a bathroom we were good to go.
  • upstairs laundry This was a wishlist item, and I honestly didn’t think we’d be able to fit it in.
  • sewing/office space If we were moving everything upstairs I was hoping we’d be able to find space on the main floor to have an office or sewing space, if not, I definitely wanted to have a separate space somewhere in the house to put it.
  • maximize storage Whatever we were doing for floorplan, it had to allow for a lot of storage!!!
second floor

As you can see in these layouts, we were able to fit almost everything we wanted into the addition and the new layout of the first floor. All the bedrooms will be moved to the second floor, with the addition of a family bathroom and, what I’m most excited for, a second floor laundry (because my people create a LOT of dirty clothes). Plus we actually had enough space for a full master en-suite with his and hers closets and a large master bathroom. We were also able to add linen closets in the hall and family bath, which will create a lot of storage for us that we don’t currently have.

The first floor will get reconfigured, the kitchen will become bigger, with a full pantry wall and massive island (to fit all the kids) and have an open floor plan to what will become the dining room, where I have my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to have a bigger table that will allow for better entertaining.

We’ll also have access to the garage from here, where I’ll create a small mudroom area, so the kids outdoor things don’t get brought into the house. Plus we’ll be able to air out the hockey bags there. Although we couldn’t fit a double wide garage due to the placement of the house on the lot, we did sacrifice a little bit of the backyard and driveway so we could have double deep garage. Which means we can still park one car in the front and have a work space (whether it be for a car, boat or wood work area) in the back for Jay.

And finally, we’ll be demoing the walls between the bedrooms to create the new living room space, nothing is quite decided for this space in particular yet but I’m hoping I can create a larger seating area with space for the kids do sit, without having to sit in front of the tv.

Finally, we’ll be tackling the basement separately once we’re done with the main living space.

There’s so much that’s been happening and I’ll be sharing more of the journey soon, so stay tuned!

0 In Sewing

Rompers for School : B2S Blog Tour 2019

I can’t believe we’re already 3/4 of the way through summer! Of all the past summer, I think this one has flown by the fastest. What with working around the house, kid’s activities and all the trips in between, I’ve only just started to think about back to school now… and by think, I mean ignore the fact that summer is almost over and that this year ALL the kids will be out of the house! But to be honest, as I’m trying to ignore that fact, I’m also relishing this next chapter.

This year, our youngest will be going into Jr Kindergarten. This little spitfire of ours is always on the move and has been ready for school since last September. Since she’s always on the go, I want her to have some easy outfits to wear to school. Plus let’s be honest, this is the first year of school so they also need to be super friendly in terms of her being able to go to the bathroom on her own.

I’ve decided the rompers and one piece outfits will definitely be a good go to for this fall. And since we still have a bit of nice weather before fall truly hits, and we’re going to hold on to summer as long as possible, I figured a romper that she could wear now would be the perfect one to start with!

I’ve sewn this Emerie Romper pattern once before (I’ll have a post for that one soon!) and it was the perfect, easy, one piece outfit sewing project I needed in my life! I used this Citron Stripe organic jersey (only available in the light blue now) that I bought on a whim from Jumping June Textiles… which I never do since euro prints tend to be so expensive. But I was in the need of something summery to sooth the winter blues and I just love how this print screams summer days to me. I matched it with some black jersey I had on hand for the binding and just HAD to add some pompom trim to the leg binding.

The fabric itself is definitely a great quality fabric, it feels soft, tends to work more like cotton/lycra blended fabric, but isn’t as ‘stiff’ when it comes to the rushing around the waist. So I’m really happy with it. I also love the watercolour look of the lemons compared to the contrasting vertical stripes.

For the pattern itself, I sewed up a size 4. This pattern is super easy to sew up. The only tricky part is the binding itself. It’s not actually tricky, it’s just one of those techniques that you need to slow down for and take your time, but the results are oh so satisfying! I’ll definitely be sewing up this pattern again and again. And I’m thinking it would be really easy to hack it so that it has a pant leg. Which could bring this pattern right into the fall.

I’m going to be honest, I’m never too sure what to sew up for back to school, but I’m thinking as long as I focus on wardrobe staples they actually need, I’m doing good right?! As part of that focus, I’m hoping I can take a quick dive into bag making in the next two weeks and sew up a backpack for this girl (we haven’t picked one out yet) and possibly one as well for my oldest, who starts Jr High. It’s crazy to think that they’re this old already!

And as before I sign off… I’m wondering, what kind of projects do you include in your back to school sewing? Just wardrobe pieces? Backpacks? School accessories? Let me know in the comments! And also make sure to check out this amazing giveaway that Karly of Paisley Roots has put together for the Back 2 School Blog Tour and check out what these other amazing sewists have put together!

10% off all patterns from DIBY Club with code: B2Sblogtour (expires Aug 25, 2019)
2 patterns of choice from DIBY Club (bundles excluded)
 2 patterns of choice from Rad Patterns
2 patterns of choice from Paisley Roots
1 pattern of choice from Sisboom
1 pattern of choice from Little Lizard King

1 pattern of choice from Titchy Threads
1 pattern of choice from New Horizons Designs

0 In Our House

Our Biggest Project Yet

Man it’s been a while since I’ve written on here… and it’s been so long since I’ve checked on this site that I’ve somehow seemed to have lost all the previous posts. Darn it! So let’s start fresh shall we?!

There’s been a lot of things going on around here! If you follow me already on instagram, you’ll have noticed that we’ve decided to undertake our biggest project yet. We’ve decided to finally renovate our house into our dream home. We originally purchased this house 8 years ago, back when we were still pregnant with our third child. At the time, we probably considered this just a start house. Jay had plans on moving on within 5 years of purchasing the house, where as I wasn’t sure what we would do, but knew we would outgrow it eventually. At just under 1000 sq/ft, it definitely isn’t a big house.

Our plans were always to put some sort of small addition on to the house, fix it up and then go from there. Since living here though, we’ve become a family of 6 and the housing market in our area as definitely at least doubled in price, which has made finding a house with enough space (both indoors and outdoors, since we’re not really tight subdivision people) out of the question. And we’ve decided it’s time to build that addition to make this our forever home!

We did a lot of research and drew up quite a few plans, and ultimately, we decided we wanted to build up rather than out. Here are the factors that came into play and what helped make our decision:

  • we love our yard and the amount of outdoor space we currently have, and really didn’t want to lose any by using it for square footage;
  • Jay wanted to replace the plywood under the shingles in a few years since the sheets were starting to bend and warp a bit, which would also mean replacing the shingles;
  • and we would be building a garage off to the side of the house, which means there was no roof there yet and it would be easier to add a second story there at that stage.

By going with this design, we feel like we’re getting the best of both worlds! I’ll be sharing our progress here for any of those that are interested in this sort of thing 🙂 And if not, I’ve got a bunch of sewing posts coming back at your shortly 😉