Planning on paper does not always translate into the real world. Will the Burdens’ wish list be realized? What must to be cut to stay within budget? Tune in for design and building solutions as the project comes to life!
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Here's the Full Transcript of this Episode
[00:00:00] Welcome back to Measure Twice, Cut Once the podcast from HAVAN, the Homebuilders Association Vancouver. It’s season four and we’re following the Burden family through their real time renovation. This is not just a weekend makeover like you might see on reality. We’re talking real life, a real renovation.
[00:00:26] The entire main and upper floors of their East Vancouver heritage home are being gutted back to the steads to bring the home to its original 1912 glory with modern conveniences and finishes for increased efficiency, comfort, and safety. The Burden’s goal is to live in the basement where they currently are right now with their two small children for the duration of the project, estimated to take five to six months once construction starts. For each episode this season, we are bringing in the family, builder, and designer at key points in the project to share their experiences and lessons learned to help shed light on the real renovation process.
And as always, all episodes, transcripts, and resources are available at www.havan.ca/measuretwicecutonce, including photos of the project.
[00:01:18] Let’s get started. We’re going to talk about plumbing, electrical, kind of catch up on that and see where you guys are at because we left off on that a little bit in the last episode. And then we’re going to talk about millwork. But first, let’s meet the burdens and see if this is still a decision that they’re glad they made.
[00:01:34] How are you guys today?
Very good, thanks.
Yeah. Still feeling confident, with our decision.
Yeah. As you know, things, uh, it’s a bit of a roller coaster. Of emotions but yeah, we’re, we’re still married and living together in the basement, so that’s good; that’s a win.
That’s a win. It’s a big win. Lots of wins.
[00:01:56] Taking the good with the bad for sure. So mostly good. Yeah, getting really excited to see, you know, the day-to-day progress and, and we’re almost there. We’re, we’re more than halfway through now, so excited to see the end result. That’s great that you guys are halfway through and you’re still excited, so I’m happy with that.
[00:02:12] Can you tell us like a little bit more of like how the girls are doing, how you guys are doing? Because I know in the last episode, we really touched upon the fact that yeah, it’s a livable space with suite that you guys are in, but you know, there’s different things that you have to account for now, like washing dishes and maybe doing extra different bit of chores that you never had to do before when you were living in the current house.
[00:02:33] Yeah, our restauranting has gone up quite a bit. We’re taking a little break from from cooking downstairs. Going to some friends’ houses and staying overnight, trying to, yeah, mix up our environment. It’s hard living in a tight space for sure. We’ve settled into a routine for the most part, so, you know, we all have kind of taken responsibility.
[00:02:56] Even the kids now, which is awesome to see if are helping tidy up because even a small mess makes a, a big difference in such small living quarters. So, everyone has their certain tasks that we all take care of during the evening, and like Skyla said, we’re, we’ve started leaning on some other people, family and friends, uh, to try and get out, especially on the weekends.
[00:03:18] So that we’re not necessarily cooped up and, and given, you know, we are in the springtime, the girls are now in activities on the weekends, so we find ourselves out and about, not really at home that much on the weekends. It’s more just the weekday grind and you know, the extra time required. To wind down after work, clean up, do dinner, and get ready for the next day.
[00:03:38] Yeah. And it’s nice to take those breaks. And Justin, I know you work from a home, but you’re actually not working from that home. You do have another little at work home space that you can escape too as well.
Yeah. I’m with the in-laws now, so I’ve relocated my home office to, not my home, but you know, within the family.
[00:03:55] So very thankful that they have space for me and yeah, that’s been working out really well.
Skyla, I know you’re not working today, but you go obviously offsite to work now. You’re not at home working .
Yes. I’m very thankful.. I like going to work. Yeah. It’s a break and it, it feels healthy to, to go somewhere different.
[00:04:13] Well, I think that’s a thing that a lot of us didn’t think of before because. Yeah, I grew up with renovations all my life, but I went to school and my mom obviously went to an office job, but with Covid, it’s kind of really changed how we do renovations too, because a lot of people now, they’re working from home.
[00:04:28] So if you are deciding to live there and maybe you don’t have another space to escape to, that’s a lot. You’re in the renovation, you’re working at home through the renovation, and then of course, on top of that, you’re living your life through the renovation. So, I. For anyone listening to this, if they’re thinking about doing one and, and you guys would probably agree, is maybe think about other spaces that you can have lined up, so you don’t get burnt out from your space being renovated.
[00:04:53] Yeah, exactly. And just that you, you don’t realize how noisy it is. I don’t think Justin could work from home and be productive and on calls. It’s a living work site, you don’t want to work there too. I agree. I think that’s just a thing that a lot of us don’t think about when planning a renovation.
[00:05:08] We want the end product, of course, which is the beautiful home, but we don’t think about what to do in the meantime. And I know you guys put a lot of planning into that before jumping into this, so I just kind of wanted to share that a little bit with the people listening so they can start thinking about that if it’s something that they do want to venture into.
[00:05:25] Just to add to that, I mean, that’s something that we discussed with Alex beforehand to make sure that, you know, everyone was aware it was workable from all angles. Right? So, it’s obviously not ideal to be there, but, you know, we kind of worked all those details out beforehand and been able to work, like for the most part, everything’s gone relatively smoothly.
[00:05:44] You know, living in Vancouver, the idea of trying to move out, find a place to rent temporarily for a family of four seemed overwhelming at the time and maybe, maybe not even doable. Would you like to recommend to people that they should be living through their renovation?
Yeah. Why not ? Yeah. I would say sometimes make you a better person.
[00:06:07] Yeah. And it’s not even hard times. I mean, it’s not that hard really. It’s really the loss. Some of your day-to-day luxuries, which we could probably all kind of use a little bit of a, a wake up calls on that too. I mean, these are just really minor things at the end of the day, and for the most part, it, it really hasn’t been too much of an inconvenience.
[00:06:26] If you’re able to line up, you know, what you’re going to do during the workday, that helps. But a lot of the times, you know, just with the scope of work that’s involved, you can’t, your contractor will say, you know, you, you can’t live there. And you’ll just have to find somewhere to live during the reno if the scope of work makes sense and you can find somewhere to work during, you know, the working hours definitely feasible, but it just depends on, on the couple too, and how willing they are to work through some of the struggles of not having power for a certain amount of time living off of a bar fridge.
[00:07:00] But we should also explain that we had to change some of the scope of work that we initially wanted to do in order for Skyla and Justin to live downstairs. At one point we had kind of a different plan for the main floor, but the engineering was so extensive it would’ve meant that you guys couldn’t live downstairs.
[00:07:19] And so we had to kind of pivot in order to achieve that, because obviously finding. Offsite accommodations add to the budget. On top of that extra engineering that would’ve happened. So, some renos, it is possible to live through. Some is not at all. But we did pivot to make sure that we could achieve that living situation for you guys.
[00:07:40] Well, and that’s why it’s important too, to have the right team behind you. I know we stress this a lot in this podcast, having the right contractor to say, hey, these are your options. This is what you can do. If you do this option, it’s going to affect you this way. If you’re going to do this option, it’s going to affect you that way because if you don’t have somebody kind of guiding you, then you know, it would be horrible if the contractor’s like, yeah.
[00:08:00] Live in there and then things are breaking and leaking on you and or you’re not maybe getting the home that you wanted. So having those expectations are important.
Okay. Well, let’s move on. In the last episode, we talked about a variety of things. So, let’s get an update. Where are we now? With the roof? I think we’re about 90% complete.
[00:08:17] Still 90% complete. A holding pattern that, but we have a roof that doesn’t leak, so I mean, it’s doing, its. There are a few finishing items that need to be taken care of, so we’re anxiously awaiting that completion, but it’s not critical at this stage anymore. And what needs to be done to make it a hundred percent complete.
[00:08:35] Daryl just needs to come back and finish the scope of work, we’re waiting on Daryl . Yeah, and also, kind of during the process, our roofer had installed, uh, a skylight that was cracked. It was a bit of a situation to find out like, well, how did this crack happen? And hey, Level One, did you guys do it?
[00:08:53] Any of you guys, do it? And everyone said, No. Hey, Darrell, did you do it? He said, No. So anyways, there was a cracked skylight. We don’t know how it happened. I think when it landed at our office, it probably cracked the skylight. And we didn’t open it earlier enough to do like a thorough check before we installed it.
[00:09:09] And part of his work coming back is to replace that skylight. And get one that that’s not cracked up in the bathroom. Did we figure out if the glass can be replaced or does the whole unit have to be replaced? Uh, nope. The whole unit. How common is that Alex? Because I know that sometimes we have cracked windows and stuff that come site do.
[00:09:27] Is it fairly common to have cracked products because obviously they’re being shipped pretty far or, you know, things happen? Yeah, because a lot of the times, usually for big items like appliances, you always do a thorough check. Because they can get damaged in transit, but light fixtures or, you know, plumbing fixtures, they’ll be, you know, a small scratch and whatnot.
[00:09:49] So honestly, it’s very, very common to see defects in products and who covers the cost. If your product gets the site and it’s cracked, if it was due to a sub trade, they would be back charged, you know, and they would have to pay for the cost of the skylight. In this scenario, since I can’t prove. Who screwed up?
[00:10:10] We have to eat the cost. Oh, okay. So, it’s the building company. If you can’t figure out where it was cracked, it would be the contractor. So, us and us going back to the manufacturer or the supplier, they wouldn’t refund us because the product has already been installed. But if it was to come to site, like transported there by a delivery truck and you guys opened it up on site before installing it and its product was scratched or cracked, yeah.
[00:10:35] Would that go back to the manufacturer then? Yes. Yes. Okay. Because then, yeah, it’s either a manufacturing issue or it’s it was damaged in transit issue, always learning something new. It’s so important to check the products. Okay. And then, Plumbing where we’re at with plumbing. I know last time we talked about the older copper pipes, some of them having to be replaced.
[00:10:54] All our trade work, plumbing, electrical, is all complete and passed. We had our framing inspection. All that’s passed. Our insulation contractor accidentally spray foamed the exterior wall upstairs in the bathroom and issue we, we failed our inspection because our plants had that as fiberglass insulation and we knew it was going to fail, and they were like, oh no, it’s going to be fine.
[00:11:19] And in the city of Vancouver, you can’t spray foam your exterior walls if you’re within, I believe, four feet of the property line anyway. So, you had to come back and scrape out all that spray foam. And put fiberglass on there and recall for our inspection. And then he passed it.
[00:11:38] Yeah. Everything else has been passed and now we’ve got the drywall loaded on site and we’re ready to start boarding.
How does a problem like that happen where the spray foam ends up on the exterior wall and not where it’s supposed to be?
I would say just a miscommunication between the spray foam contractor, and you know, his employee. It’s on this one.
[00:11:54] It’s a really small, I guess, mistake because it’s just a small area and not something you would normally see. And in other jurisdictions, you know, this wouldn’t be an issue. In the city of Vancouver. I, you know, I knew it wasn’t going to pass just because of previous experience, but sometimes things happen. Yeah, no, and I’m glad that you’re honest with that because you can be the best builder ever, and on any site, there can be some small things that happen.
[00:12:18] So I just want to be real with the audience. That’s like, things happen, it doesn’t matter. Like not everyone’s going to always be a hundred percent perfect. Yeah, and I don’t even know if you guys even knew about that, and it’s not even really a problem. Things have to be inspected anyways and have to be done as per plan.
[00:12:34] So it was something we knew we had to fix. They fixed it the next day. They had to cover the cost of obviously scraping that out and redoing it. But, you know, that’s, that’s their problem. You know, as the homeowner, when we see these, you know, documents coming through these permits or inspections being passed.
[00:12:50] It gives us another kind of layer of confidence that, you know, things are going according to plan. There’s no corners being cut here. Not that, you know, we’d expect that we have the utmost confidence in, in Alex and the team here, but it just gives you that next level, right? That another set of eyes who knows what they’re looking at, has taken a look at it and said, you know what?
[00:13:09] This is good to move forward on. And there is a real misunderstanding of the process of what’s required for a permit. And you know, thankfully in this project there was really no. You know, you guys are completely on board, but sometimes if there’s no walls moving or being removed, you know, a homeowner may be like, well, why do I need a building permit then?
[00:13:29] And you know, there’s just so many other factors to that where even if you’re not removing walls, you know, you’re still breaching firewalls. You know, there’s still a certain level of a scope of work that if you are achieving, you still want to get that, you know, building permit. And that’s for safety and, and what.
[00:13:47] You know, on, on this project, we could have done it in a way where we weren’t removing any walls and we still wanted to upgrade the home and increase its efficiency and Skyla and Justin could have said like, well, why do we need a building permit? But you know, there’s still electrical that’s moving, there’s still plumbing that’s moving, there’s still gas work.
[00:14:02] So even if we’re not removing a wall, it doesn’t mean you necessarily don’t need a building permit. And especially with all their insulation upgrades and everything like that, you, you would want a building permit as well. You guys are going over the important parts that I think a lot of people don’t think about when they’re hiring a contractor.
[00:14:18] Vancouver has different rules than say Burnaby or New Westminster does. And so, Alex as the contractor, you guys are very knowledgeable, un in Level One Construction about Vancouver. So, I think that’s also a very important point to make. You know, just to give you an example in Coquitlam, before they issue a permit, you have to provide a hazardous materials, buildings, inspections, report a basically scan the whole property for asbestos.
[00:14:42] Any other you know, hazardous items in city of Vancouver, you don’t have to do that. Well, let’s move on to millwork then.
Cara. Can you walk us through the millwork process and the importance of approving millwork, which impacts, you know, a lot of the house, once kind of the walls are closed up, then the millwork company comes and does a check measure because things can change from demolition or the pre-site measure to when the millwork actually needs to be started to be fabric.
[00:15:10] So once the millwork company does a check measure, then they send me the shop drawings to approve. And so, I go through those in detail and compare them to the original design drawings. And there’s always little, little tweaks like by an inch or so, but to make sure that any changes aren’t drastically impacting the end result of that kitchen.
[00:15:30] So, and sometimes an inch will mean you get a certain pullout or not. So, if we have to adjust somewhere by an inch or making sure that we’re not sacrificing something that’s really important or will make the kitchen super functional. And so just going through that and working with the millworker to make sure that our end result and the functionality of that space is still as we intended it to be.
[00:15:54] Skyla, Justin had some color choices they had to approve, which is important because looking at a color on a little paint chip is not the same as seeing it sprayed out on a door when the same finish that the millwork company will. We were trying to do this like kind of dusty purple in the powder room, and then when we got the sample, it was way more gray than we wanted and we were trying to stay away from gray, so we had to go through and pick some new colors for the powder room.
[00:16:23] And all the walls, the vanity and the ceiling and finishing carpentry are all going to be sprayed out in the same color to kind of create this like little grotto cave. And so, it was really important that colour we got right, because our walls were also going to be that color. We had to go through a couple iterations of colors in that room.
[00:16:42] And then our pink vanity upstairs, we went through a few pinks to get it right, because just the slightest difference in color makes a huge difference in that space. Just going to ask, how do you ensure with the clients like Skyla and Justin, that they are going to like the color as it gets bigger and bigger off that little square
[00:17:01] They just have to trust me. Well, I think with color, like that was something, well actually, Justin wanted to have a pink vanity, which was super exciting. Oh, I didn’t know that. Nice. Good for you.
Now you know.
Now I know.
Secret’s out. Sorry, I spilled the beans, Justin.
It’s ok. I’m comfortable with it.
When a client comes to you and wants a color, like you’re going to be picking a color that they already like, and I’m not going to be pushing them, say for orange, if they hate orange.
[00:17:28] So color is important to know. That you like this color and you’re going to like it for a while, and then making sure it’s just cohesive with the rest of the design. Okay, Cara, so when you are doing color samples, is there a way that you can show a bigger sample than what’s on the card? Like can you spray some different, like, bigger, larger wood samples?
[00:17:49] What do you do for the clients to kind of give them the full picture?
So, initially, pick a color from the paint deck and then, well, first Skyla and Justin, we had a few options, and then the millwork company provided us with larger sprayed samples so that they could see it in the actual finish of the cabinetry.
[00:18:06] So you know that that’s what it’s going to be for the rest of the kitchen. So, we had I think like three kind of gray purples for the powder room initially. And then we had to go for three new ones because we didn’t like any of them. Well, we were trying to do like a kind of a terra cotta pink. Initially and they just weren’t, Weren’t right.
[00:18:24] And so then we had to do three or four new pinks for the upstairs bathroom vanity before we got it finally, right? And the big samples were helpful because we were able to actually bring them upstairs and go into the different rooms and see what it looked like in daylight. Versus the cavernous basement where there’s no daylight.
[00:18:44] So it, it does make a difference to actually see it in the, in the space because the color’s changed quite a bit. And with color, it’s really important to see, see it in the space and see a larger piece because color can change so much. And when you’re committing to a color, like you’re already pretty brave.
[00:19:01] And that makes me excited. But let’s make sure we really like it. Yeah, and our, when we first saw those samples, I mean, I think we wanted to like them, once we got them upstairs, me and Skyla were both like two of these three just aren’t working. The pink and the initial purple just, just weren’t there. So, we appreciate being able to circle back and, and get a, get a handful of other samples.
[00:19:24] Because, like you said, they are so different than the colors you see in the deck. And I think you had forwarded a picture of the actual samples through email, and even that doesn’t do it justice, so no, even like if you’re looking at it on your phone, it can look different than if you’re looking at it on your computer.
[00:19:41] And then it depends on how my phone took the picture. So, you know, I forwarded the picture, but I knew you guys would have to see it in person. I knew you wouldn’t be very happy with it. So, I was like, mm, okay. Let them see it in person and make that final call, because I don’t want you to see all your millwork installed near the end and be like, uh, what is this again?
[00:20:03] It’s important to have the right interior designer not to sound like a broker record, because they can help you understand what it’s going to look like, because I know another misconception that people have, especially. Especially if they’re doing marble and not like a manufactured stone because the samples are so tiny and people like the veining on this tiny little sample.
[00:20:22] But then when they go, because it’s a living thing, marble is, and get a full countertop, they will usually tell the interior designer like, oh, I don’t like all this veining here. But it’s because you’re looking at a tiny sample. So, it’s similar. Paint too. If you’re not going to like the color and then like you said, Skyla, you’re going to go up to a bathroom that’s filled with light opposed to a darker area, it’s going to change as well.
[00:20:44] And you got to be able to live with it because you’re living with it for a long time.
And that exact thing happened with us with the countertops too. We went to a showroom, a kitchen showroom. And tour choice of countertop. We actually decided against, once we saw the pervasive thick veining throughout, and we decided we actually don’t like it on the large scale.
[00:21:08] It looked good in a small sample, and then ultimately, we changed our mind. Yeah. And with counters, that’s always something I tell my clients to go to a showroom for because I’m showing you maybe like a. Four by four-inch sample, and that’s depending on where it’s cut on the slab, it might be super veiny or not be veiny at all.
[00:21:27] So you want to see a large piece of that because then you really understand the scale of what those veins are, the movement in that either natural stone or manufactured stone. Yeah. And at the end of the day, like Justin and I want to make sure we’ve done our due diligence too. Like we, we want to make sure that we’re going to be satisfied with it in the end.
[00:21:49] I mean, it’s, yeah, I think it’s really on the homeowner to, to do their, yeah. Do their own double check and, and make sure they’re pleased. Right. Cara has great ideas and there’s so many options out there. Having a designer is so helpful to narrow those options down. But then, you know, you’re still left with a, a handful of decisions that, that you need to be making and you guys are the ones who are living with it in the end.
[00:22:13] So you need to ultimately be in love with it. It’s great to have the interior designer and the help, but at the end of the day, Cara is not the one living. It’s you guys. So, it’s important to kind of have a combination of what you really like and, and her ideas, because you guys are going to be the ones staring at that countertop and you don’t want to be like, oh, Cara, why did we pick this?
[00:22:34] I hate this countertop now. Like every day. Yeah. You guys are, are now accountable for the choices. I feel sometimes some homeowners don’t. You know, they might take what the designer says and what they expect, but they haven’t gone themselves and taken a look at those items that are important to them. And then when they see it, they’re like, well, we don’t like it.
[00:22:54] And then it kind of puts everyone in an awkward situation. But yeah, if you go there yourself, then yeah, you hold in yourself. There’s accountability to you guys, right? Because you guys are the ones you know, living there, but also you approve this color. So, I think that’s important. You guys actually realize that.
[00:23:07] Because a lot of homeowners don’t. But it takes time. Like you two are two busy professionals, two young children. And I think that again, shows commitment to the house and, and it’s going to be the reason why your house is so great. At the end of the day. It’s because you took that time. I think the designer takes 90% of the time commitment.
[00:23:25] Because we’ve done this before where you open a paint deck and there’s a thousand colors, and it’s like, where do you start? But to make a decision, one of three colors, that’s doable. But yeah, you have to spend the time to do that last 10% for sure. But you know what? It feels good when everyone’s number one comes out at the same, so me, Skyla, Cara, that’s, you know, you’ve nailed.
[00:23:49] Yeah, we’re all in the same page now. Cara, Justin and I are just like one person and that’s the beautiful thing about design is it’s a super collaborative thing and I’m here to guide you guys with my expertise and knowledge, but you guys bring your own unique perspective to the table and you’re living in this space.
[00:24:08] So how you guys interact in that space has an impact on the things that I may present to you or that will work in your space, and you’ll have your own ideas that you come and I will say no, or I’ll say, Yeah, that’s great, but we’re working together to achieve the overall outcome and make sure that it works for you guys.
[00:24:26] I like it when you say no because it gives us some clarity and direct. We value that, that you can actually speak up and say, you know what? I don’t think this works at all. Because that really helps us kind of narrow in on, on what we should be looking at and the direction we should be going. Yeah.
[00:24:42] Because I could say yes to everything, but it doesn’t mean that it will go together. So, a lot of people have really great ideas, and a lot of people have lots of ideas, but trying to. Keep it kind of concise and cohesive is another challenge. So, kind of sifting through those ideas and pulling out what will work overall in the end.
[00:25:03] So we’re achieving what we want. It’s all about being on the same page, working together, and being honest with each other too. Like Cara said, she could tell you yes, but it might not work, and then she’s going to have a tougher conversation with you. She just kept saying yes, all the time too. And also, like Skyla and Justin have to have the great communication to me as well.
[00:25:21] So if they don’t like something or something’s not been sitting well with them, like for that communication to come back to me so that we can revisit a design area or. Like a color or material or something we’ve designed and presented to them so that we can make sure it works for them. Because when something’s not really sitting right with you in design, then it’s probably not right and we should revisit it.
[00:25:44] But if that doesn’t get communicated back to your designer, we have no idea. And we’ll just go a long or merry way, assuming everything’s good. And then in the end there’s like this bitterness that develops and. Well, we could have troubleshooted if that was communicated, but Skyla and Justin have been great with their communication.
[00:26:01] So I don’t think we had that issue. Like it’s actually a really interesting process doing a renovation with designer and, and professional builder because it’s such a personal experience and so, but this is your job. Like it’s not necessarily this personal for you, but it’s really personal for us, so, you know, saying no to you about something is we do that and, and that’s fine.
[00:26:24] But you know, I could see how some people could feel uncomfortable or like, it, it’s such a, I don’t know. It’s a different dynamic. It’s a different relationship. It’s not just, you know, you’re helping us buy a car or something. It’s, it’s your home. So, it’s has that whole other layer.
[00:26:46] Sometimes through design you get asked questions that you’re like, well, I don’t ever want to tell anyone that so you have to feel comfortable and then just have to remember that your designer’s not going to be offended if you don’t like something because our goal is for you guys to love your space and it to work really well for you. And yeah, sometimes it could be uncomfortable being like, hey, we actually need this because that’s like how we use it.
[00:27:04] But all that information, so important, and hopefully you like your designer and that you feel okay talking about those things, but that’s where that communication and that comfort level comes from at the very beginning, like when you’re kind of sussing out your professionals at the beginning, it’s so important.
[00:27:23] You’re right, because they are designing some personal spaces too, like they’re designing your bathroom, they’re designing your bedroom. But if you don’t give the answers to them that they need, that might feel a little bit personal, um, they’re not going to be able to make the space for you, and they’re not judging.
[00:27:38] They just want to make sure that everything that you’re doing in those spaces, you’re able to do them with ease and that it’s going to feel good when you’re living in there. Like I wanted the extra deep. Bathtub with the armrest and other people might not understand, but it’s a high priority for me. We went through a few iterations with that bathtub.
[00:27:57] We really wanted a claw foot tub, but engineering didn’t allow that, so we had to go for our second choice of a deep alcove tub that had armrests. So, you know, if you’re reading or watching a movie in tub, you can do that. When you have children, sometimes you need to escape Makes sense. And have a little story in the tub like it’s me time.
[00:28:19] You got the tub. I’m happy for you. I think last time we were talking, they said it was harder to find tubs of armrest, but obviously you found one that you enjoy. Justin, did you get anything for yourself in the bathroom or the bedroom?
My requirements aren’t as, uh, aren’t as specific.
[00:28:35] So I think we ave a higher shower head, so I can actually stand under the shower now, so that’s a win for me.
He’s an easy man to please.
Yeah, Pink vanity can shower standing up. I think Cara’s elaborated on it before, but that was hard to achieve.
I’m still really nervous about that because it’s a really low ceiling there, so hopefully it’s all good for you Justin.
[00:28:56] No, I say that, and it sounds simple.
Yeah, it’s, it’s not as simple as it sounds given the, the pitch of the roof there. Because shower heads have evolved so much. Now are there ones that are for tight little corners like that? So, I think we just did a hand shower in there so that it could be adjusted and then it, we wouldn’t have the rain shower head, which has like the little return down, which would limit how high it could go because when it gets installed, it.
[00:29:21] Twisted the removable shower head is good because then if they can slide up and down, which is good for the kids, Justin can move it up or he can take it off of the wand if it’s like a little bit low because we’re talking about a steep slant with a low ceiling there. So, we tried to make it as multifunctional for them.
[00:29:38] Okay, so we talked about the bathroom, and we talked a little bit about the other millwork stuff that we’re doing, but kitchen, I know I teased everybody. Last episode we left on kind of a cliff hanger about the magic corner. What is a magic corner and how’s it going? Has it been built yet?
A magic corner is, It’s kind of like the modern-day Lazy Susan.
[00:29:58] So it makes the base corner cabinet functional. So, it’s these two baskets and they kind of sit in the corner and when you open them up, the back basket pulls to the front and the front basket pulls out. So, it just is a better use of space than a lazy Susan, but it requires a little bit. More of a door opening.
[00:30:17] So when we’re talking about inches, like that could mean yeah, your magic corner or not. We just did a smaller basket magic corner so that we could still have them and have that limited door width because we couldn’t, with magic corners is you could have it on one side or the other side of the corner, but in their kitchen we could only have it on one side with how the rest of the cabinetry layout happens.
[00:30:40] So we really had to try to make it work. Any efficient use of space is yeah, a win for us. And as we go through the design, I, I think it’s pretty good detail of like walking Skyla and Justin through like what kind of storage they have, what can be put where, so that we’re really making sure that everything that they’re going to be putting back at least has been thought about or has a home.
[00:31:02] Because if you have like a blender that you absolutely must store on, a base like that needs to be communicated so that we can make sure that somewhere in the kitchen that that can be accommodated. Or that if you’re like, I only do Costco buying, so let’s have some, make sure we have some big, deep cabinets that are flex for those bulk items, or that you’re like, Hey Cara, I store my cereal in a 14-inch container.
[00:31:24] Like, let’s make sure that that can be put back into the kitchen. That designing stage during the kitchen is really important because you notice bad design really easily, but good design is kind of harmonious to your lifestyle. That’s the thing is like we were just talking about why the desire needs to get personal and sometimes it’s tiresome to answer the questions, but they really need to know how you live your life.
[00:31:46] So you’re not trying to get your cereal container out and it’s like stuck because it’s not the right size. And then you have corn flakes all over the floor. Like it’s really important that they know all this stuff. Yeah, and there’s lots of interesting, like apart from the Magic Corner, there’s also other interesting cabinet organizers and drawer organizers that, you know, we didn’t know about.
[00:32:06] So that was helpful to, to learn from Cara, you know, things to, to separate your sheet pans or, Yeah, just little, little fun things that are exciting to, to put in when you’re doing brand new kitchen. And after living in the basement with no storage options or no fancy drawers, you guys are going to feel like you’re moved up like a whole new level.
[00:32:27] I know. It’s going to be luxurious up there. We’re really excited. Never excited that we’ve talked the whole podcast about, I’ve forgotten about how much of a bummer it is to live in the basement. Well then, we’re going to have to reno the basement because we’ve trashed it by living down there.
[00:32:44] The kids have run toys into every corner. Like all the corners are chipped. The one bathroom is like not functioning. Yeah. Cabinet doors are falling off. All the pot lights are falling out of the ceiling. Like, Yeah, it’s uh, it’s another, it’s, uh, it’s, there’s a saying that you want to put your money into your base because that’s where the kids are going to put you after.
[00:33:05] So usually you want to make that area the nicest.
I will never live down there ever again.
Don’t say that.
Oh my gosh, no. Someone’s going to be living down there eventually. Soon as you mention renovation in your house, like your appliances die or something starts to fall apart, your house knows when you’re going to be renovating.
[00:33:24] Oh yeah, our dryer sounds like a jet turbine engine. That’s all we need is that to go. And now we’re looking at the outside of the house and it’s like we’re going to have this beautiful interior. And then the outside’s starting to look really tired now, comparatively. So yeah, there’s, there’s things to take care of.
[00:33:41] There’s projects to undertake there. What’s next for when we come back into the next episode? Where are we heading now? You know, we’re in the process of drywalling. We’re talking about the millwork. All of a sudden, the fun is going to happen. Everything’s going to start coming together. And then of course we got the floors.
[00:33:57] So what can we expect? Yeah, next couple weeks or several weeks, uh, we’ll be addressing some of those, uh, subfloor issues. Getting the house ready to install our new engineered hardwood throughout. So yeah, we’ll be working on that after. You know, after drywall and from there we’ll start putting primer on the walls and painting the ceilings and adding our first coat on our walls.
[00:34:19] So lots of work ahead. What is the subfloor issue?
Just so we know on the existing main floor there was different types of existing floor. Throughout that space and once we removed what was there, each of the different areas of that main floor had different heights for us, when we’re installing our new engineered floor, we want to put everything on a flat level plane.
[00:34:40] Going through that demo process, we found that the existing shiplap, or the existing subfloor was built upon layers of additional plywood cheat. Our issue is trying to come up with how are we going to install this new floor and make sure that we have a level plane throughout, but also not building it too high so that we’re also affecting our front stairs and making our front step too small.
[00:35:04] So lots to consider in terms of trying to figure out how are we going to approach this best way. So, we knew that Level One communicated a plan to us that there would be some, uh, subfloor work required and we. Kind of understood that that was going to start taking place this week.
Unfortunately, on Tuesday when we came home, all of the subfloor in kind of the living room area had been removed down to the floor joist, and immediately below that area is our mechanical room.
[00:35:34] And in our mechanical room, we’ve had to store a bunch of living materials, including lots of clothing, all of the linens for, for our beds, for the kids’ beds, a lot of their school supplies, their lunch materials. When we came home on Tuesday night, what had happened was that that had been completely exposed to the working environment above, and it was just completely full of debris.
[00:36:01] Wood nails. It was a complete mess. And ultimately, me and Skyla spent the remainder of that evening into the early hours of the morning just trying to clean up dust and debris so that we didn’t, so that we could get up in the morning and be able to function properly. So, it was really disappointing because I think we didn’t, we didn’t fully understand what the impact of that subfloor.
[00:36:23] Work was going to be, and we didn’t understand that all of our belongings in that area were going to be exposed to the working environment. There’s no drywall on the ceiling there. So, it was completely open. And I think the main issue for us was we just figured if, you know, if we had understood what was going to happen, we would’ve moved our stuff out of there and it wouldn’t have been open and exposed to all the dirt and dust and debris.
[00:36:48] So a small job, maybe 30, 45 minutes to clear that out, has now turned into a big job for us where we have to wash all of the linens, all of our clothing, wash, all the, all of the cookware, the Tupperware that was in there, and we’ve had to dispose of a few items that are just aren’t salvageable because they, they just got too dirty and dusty
[00:37:08] So, and then the dust also, because there was no poly wall went everywhere, like down the floor into the bathroom. It was like you opened the door and it was a cloud in the basement of dust.
I mean, you guys know how we work during the process, right? If there’s any inconveniences, we always kind of tell you guys and we meet and say, hey, you know, your power’s going to be shut off or your access to water’s going to be, you know, limited or we’re, we’re doing.
[00:37:36] I thought Alex had an onsite discussion with you guys about what the plan was. And normally as part of that, we’re all very risk averse people. So, you know, I thought you guys are potentially going to vacate the premises during that because there was going to be dust. But obviously that communication on site and we see you guys, you know, there was that email, but you guys didn’t realize the extent of the work and what that meant.
[00:38:03] And yeah, I’m upset because I know we could have avoided this by, you know, a simple walkthrough and. You know, saying, hey, you know it’s going to be dusty. I think it’s best for you guys not to be just like, how you guys left for the spray foam. Right? You guys can’t be here.
Perhaps we didn’t necessarily know how much dust was going to happen, but I think it was just one of those things where we should have just, yeah, we honestly take responsibility for that and we should have said, hey, like this is not a good idea.
[00:38:27] I think you guys shouldn’t be here for this and. You know, we’ll continue where I work and when it’s time to come back, you guys come back, and all the work is done but didn’t happen. And yeah, you guys have to spend your evenings cleaning up crap. You know, I feel awful for that. I’ll preface all of this with saying like, up until this point, like we’ve had really no issues at all.
[00:38:48] You know, we understood what we’re getting into with living in the basement through a reno and, you know, there are, there’s foot traffic that comes downstairs to access the mechanical room, the electrical panel we’re used to coming home and, and doing a little bit of cleanup on a daily basis is just the what you have to deal with, and it has not been an issue up until this week.
[00:39:08] And I think Alex and the team has have done such a good job at communicating to us, you know, what the impacts at various stages are going to be. And you know, we had vacated for the spray foam. We had cleared out that whole area when they came into, uh, upgrade the mechanical, the boiler. So, it just caught us completely off guard and I think it was just miscommunication and a bit of a surprise to.
[00:39:33] That the impact of the subfloor work on, on the living space. And you know, we just felt that, you know, with a little bit of, of prep work, maybe a poly wall and us have some of our stuff out of that utility room could have saved us a lot of time at the end. To Alex’s credit, you know, right away apologetic, taking the responsibility for that breakdown in communication.
[00:39:55] And I mean, that’s all that we can ask. It didn’t turn into a situation where finger pointing back and forth and getting heated and, you know, bad feelings lingering. So, you know, it’s just one of those things, like we said at the beginning, we’re all human here and you know, things happen and there’s a lot of moving parts to these renovations and you know, we’re living there every day.
[00:40:15] Like the point we made before, it’s really personal to us, right? Like this is our, our living space and you guys are so cooperative. Like it’s nice to have homeowners like you guys too and be understanding. Cause it is a difficult process. It’s something that you’re tied to, like anytime that somebody’s building or renovating a home, it involves money, it involves their home, the place they live.
[00:40:33] You’re tied there emotionally. So, it’s great to also have a good interior designer and a contractor that understand that as well, because it’s important that everybody is kind of there to support you because we know that it’s not always going to be easy. It’s a story you can tell the kids later in life too when you’re in your home.
[00:40:51] Thank you guys so much for sharing that. I know it’s not easy to share exactly what’s going on, especially when it’s so personal. I always say building a home is like a marriage, and that’s why you really need to do your homework and make sure you’re hiring the right professionals that you’re gone be able to have those tough conversations.
[00:41:06] If they don’t have your back, it’s not going to be the right person to build or renovate. Your home feels like an MTV show now. We have lots to look forward to in the next episode. We talked a little bit about getting ready for the flooring. Of course, the floors are going to be coming in soon, so I’m sure there’s going to be more fun stuff once they start laying down the hardwood and laying down the tile.
[00:41:27] What’s to get it all level? Anymore. Any issues anticipate with that, or you think we we’ve kind of smoothed it all out so far?
No, I think we smoothed it all out. I think we had to address some of the issues with the, with the framing before drywall. Just because it is an old house, you know, not everything is going to be straight.
[00:41:42] Our drywall work is, is taking longer than we had anticipated and has involved us redoing several areas to make sure that Justin and Skyla are sitting down at the couch they’re not looking at a crook ceiling. So probably one of the hurdles we, we faced, but you know, we kind of knew we were going to have to deal with something.
[00:42:00] So just thankful to have really good drywaller that I’ve worked with for a long time that can do great work and not just, you know, slap up something and, and call her a day. So true craftsman. So thankful to have those kinds of people that can help us overcome some of these issues in an older home. All part of your dream team.
[00:42:19] Okay. I can’t wait to hear about the update on all of that next time we chat. So, we know that living in the basement right now has been a little bit challenging. Do you have any summer trips planned to kind of get you guys out the door while they finish up your renovation?
[00:42:35] We do have a few trips. We’re going to be going up into the Okanagan for a week. Yeah, for probably several weeks we’ll be in SH area as well. So yeah, we’ll be out throughout July and August trying to be out of the house as much as possible. So, if you could let me know those dates, just because when we’re spraying, sometimes some of the fumes from the spray could be annoying and can get some headaches, so.
[00:42:59] Maybe just let me know those days so we can coordinate that communication’s going.
And Cara, before we go back to you, any other major decisions that are required by Justin and Skyla in the next four to six weeks? Design wise, not really.
No. I think we’ve pretty much ironed out all the outstanding items or the changes, so pretty good now.
[00:43:21] I’m looking forward to that vanity that Justin picked out, so I can’t wait to hear about that. Thank you so much. You guys have been great. Thank you. This, this episode, we, we got a lot of deep feelings about the project and a lot of like insights, so I really appreciate in the next four to six weeks when we meet again, we’re going to talk about hopefully the drywall’s all done.
[00:43:41] Flooring’s in things are gone start coming together and really excited about that. And you can also tell us about your Okanagan trip too. Justin, maybe you did some wine tours at that point. Feeling good, and so I’m excited. Thank you, guys, so much.
[00:44:00] Measure Twice, Cut Once is grateful to our podcast partners FortisBC and Ethical Flooring. Their support helps us share expert knowledge and resources with families looking to build, design, and renovate the home right for you. Ethical Flooring is located in North Vancouver and specializes in the supply and installation of brand name flooring for residential renovations and custom-built homes.
[00:44:23] And the BC Energy Step code program is a provincial standard moving the entire home building industry forward to build homes to better energy efficiency. Which means better health, comfort, and safety. Be sure to check out www.betterhomesbc.ca or to talk to your renovator or builder for the latest energy, rebates, and resources.
[00:44:43] If you’ve enjoyed this episode or have a friend or family member looking to renovate, be sure to share this podcast. Simply by following and sharing the podcast you’ll be entered into win a Napoleon Prestige P 500 stainless steel natural gas barbecue, valued at $1,549. Compliments of FortisBC, season four’s podcast partner.
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