Cottage Renovations Never End

The winter of 2015 was so cold our buried water pipe running between the lake and our cottage froze in Ompah, Ontario.  This has never happened before and the cottage was built way back in 1972.  Apparently, the frost line was deeper than normal for this area of Canada this winter.  Digging down to find the buried water pipe, we found the ground frozen solid six feet down!  Fortunately, the soil at the cottage is sandy rather than full of clay as it is here in Kanata, although it was still a big job.  This was just the beginning of our cottage renovations that just keep on going.

Image result for cold winter

Replacing the Water Pipe

The good news is we had planned (eventually) to rebuild the patio, so the frozen pipe turned out to be the motivation to start the patio project. This project turned out to be an ongoing adventure, however, snowballing into rebuilding the patio and deck, which then lead to considering replacing doors and windows.

The pipe was rerouted so it no longer goes under the covered patio, but instead will be snow-covered for better insulation in winters to come. This first set of pictures shows the soil that was displaced while attempting to move the water pipe…

Patio Renovation

Next up was digging up the existing patio and expanding the width. length and depth so it is more comfortable. Eventually, we plan on replacing and adding to the existing patio stones so they extend out further than the deck above. Perhaps the addition of a hot tub is on the horizon too.

Deck Renovation

Then came removing the old deck, and discovering the damage caused by carpenter ants…

then replacing the old, chewed boards, footings, and joists with new ones…

Up next we added a waterproofing system to keep the patio dry, added the floorboards, then the posts and railings. Final results: an upper deck for viewing or sunbathing, and a lower, covered patio, perfect for storm watching, reading, or working in the shade…

Unfortunately, our cottage renovations have been put on the back burner because of a family issue.  My father-in-law fell and broke his hip and the ensuing drama had us very busy.  The side railings of the deck still have to be installed, including a hummingbird fence insert for a privacy screen.

New Windows and Doors for Rooms with a View

As renovations continued at our family cottage, our front door and bedroom window have now been replaced with patio doors, creating rooms with a spectacular view of the lake…

We enlisted the help of two sons and a friend to remove the old door and window, create the necessary rough-ins and install the new doors…

The process of finding, ordering, and getting patio doors delivered to the cottage was a frustrating experience.  In this age of online shopping, it was next to impossible to see the doors in real life before ordering.  Due to the possible extreme weather conditions at the cottage, we wanted something more durable than the base models available at local DIY stores like Home Depot or Lowes.  Stores that specialized in patio doors could not show us any doors and were very confusing on the details of what we were trying to order.  Thanks to the manager of the Lookout Home Hardware Building Center in Plevna we were able to order doors specific to our needs and even get them delivered to the cottage.

Now that this project is complete, we plan to add windows to the side of the cottage and replace the door at the side as well as the window at the back with patio doors. 

When the exterior is complete, including new siding, the interior renovations begin…stay tuned!

Lumber Shortage Thwarts New Dock Steps

Anyone trying to complete a DIY project involving wood recently knows what I mean about a lumber shortage. I’m not sure just how widespread the shortage was, but we sure felt it here in the Ottawa area. Of course, the shortage is COVID related, isn’t everything bad related to the dreaded virus these days?

Last fall, when we dug up most of our cottage property to install a new water pipe, we decided to replace and widen the ancient steps and base to our dock. We figured we could get them replaced before cottage season began in earnest.

Enter the pandemic, throwing everything and everyone into chaos, even the best-laid plans.

Luckily hubby had some pressure-treated lumber stashed away, remnants from our deck project several summers ago. I won’t be living down this (only) advantage of his “discard nothing” personality anytime soon!

We were able to get started using this leftover lumber but had to wait (what seemed like) forever for the floorboards. I was finally able to locate some 12-footers we needed to finish the project this past week. Thankfully, our son has a large truck and could transport the boards from Ottawa to the cottage for us.

We finally completed the project, a few months later than planned. This base will look awesome next summer when the cedars are trimmed and a few of my specialties, planters full of colorful flowers, are added.

Back Veranda and Garden

On days when the wind is blowing off the lake from the north, we prefer to sit on the south, sunnier side of the cottage. A new veranda on that side of the cottage was just the answer. It also makes cleaning out the eavestrough easier for hubby.

Once the veranda began to take shape, I marked out a design for a new garden bed in front of the veranda. We removed the sod from the area, transplanting it to the slope that leads down to the lake. We also added stepping stones so we could easily cross the yard.

The pictures show the progression of both the veranda and the garden…

Ideas for more cottage renovations just keep turning up…stay tuned!

Home Renovations are Snowballing

Now I know what people mean when they say home renovations always snowball.  You start off planning to renovate one area, but the plan quickly “snowballs” (gains momentum) to include other areas until you are overwhelmed (and broke). If this post sounds familiar it is because a previous post complained about RENOVATIONS at our cottage that had the same snowball effect.

On the home front, we started off by deciding to renovate our main floor powder room. Our eldest son is getting married this summer, so that was our (my) incentive.  By renovating, I mean totally gutting it, removing everything, then painting, then flooring then installing a new vanity, toilet, mirror, lighting etc.   That was the plan, but…

When ordering flooring for this powder room we decided to add to the order so we would be able to use the same flooring in our front hallway.  This hallway, between our front, side, and garage doors is a high-traffic area, so we wanted something very resilient, but nice looking.  We chose a glueless “Luxury Vinyl Tile” (LVT) called Allure Ultra Locking Tile that supposedly “clicked together very easily.”

The flooring arrived before the vanity, granite countertop, and toilet for the bathroom, so we decided to start with the hallway before we tackled the bathroom.  

Hallway Renovation

The first thing we did in the hallway was to remove everything from the hall closet including the shelving there.  The piles of coats, jackets, shoes, and boots are now (still) in my living room and dining room.

Then came the fun job of replacing the shelving and repairing the scuffed-up paint in the closet area. Repainting the whole house will come later, to match the color I chose for the bathroom walls…

We used a roll-out underlay on top of the subfloor to cushion the tile and prevent any imperfections in the subfloor from showing through.  Sections of this were taped together to ensure they would not shift when installing the tile.  Next, we figured out the pattern we wanted the tile to be in. (you do not want your lines to line up)  For obvious reasons, it is best to do this before you start laying the tile.

I love the color, (a taupe and gray pattern) the durability, and the comfort of the flooring product we chose, but it sure was a lot harder to install than we were led to believe.  Of course, our hallway is not a perfect square or rectangle (lots of indentations/obstacles), and the walls are not perfectly square/straight, which meant we had to measure and cut lots of pieces to fit.  This is where the slogan “measure twice, cut once” comes in.  Fortunately, I am married to a very precise, handyman.

The hallway flooring is installed and the new closet doors have arrived.  The next step in the hallway project is to install rods and shelving, put the clothes back in, and the doors on.  New baseboards, door stops, and ceiling lights will be the finishing touches…

Bathroom Renovation

On to the bathroom. Everything was removed; out with the old (vanity, toilet, medicine cabinet/mirror, light, flooring, and paint).  The new vanity, granite countertop, back, and side splashes, as well as the sink, toilet, mirror, and lights, are all here, somewhere.  

with some repairs and preparation (including rerouting the plumbing because it would not fit behind the new vanity)  with plum-colored walls painted a neutral taupe shade…

Next, came the new flooring, the same taupe and gray pattern we used in the hallway…

home renovations
luxury vinyl tile (LVT)

and finally, in with the new features…

The only thing that returned to the room is a picture on the wall.  I think I will pick the deep purple color of the trilliums in the picture as my accent color for towels, soap dish, garbage can etc…

Stage two of our home renovation is now complete!  Our main floor powder room has been transformed from drab, boring, and outdated into a beautiful, stylish, and modern room.  The snowball is still growing and gathering momentum, while our renovation budget is shrinking. I hope we can convince ourselves to replace the carpeting with hardwood.

That’s it for now, I for one am hoping the snowball keeps growing…