Ten Projects for 2009: A Review

There's quite a bit of overlap with this list and the Ten Year Plan update I posted yesterday, mainly because we have been getting off our butts to work our way through the Plan before we run out of years (though as a concept, the Ten Year Plan is really more about things we can do without having to basically move out of the house, so it's not really limited to ten years).

Anyway, this was a decent year for house work getting done, but a great big batch of things didn't get done because a certain thing has not yet concluded, and even as we thought we had reached a conclusion it turned out to not be as concluded as we had hoped. Anyway, that event has been the limiting factor on how much money we could spend on the house for a while, and because of that we were not able to get as much work done as we would have preferred.

Even so, we got quite a bit of work done on the house, especially when you consider that we did a bunch of things that were not on the list.

1. Finish the Parlours

We started the year by finishing our work on the front parlour.

First we took down the drywall and wet insulation put up by that moron, Contractor A. We put in new, encapsulated insulation and drywall, and then I undid a bunch of taping I'd already done, which was a real treat.

I spent what felt like forever mudding:

March 15, 2009 : Et Tu, Drywall?
March 16, 2009 : Mudding in the Ceiling of the Bay
March 21, 2009 : Second Coat
March 22, 2009 : Home Stretch

And then we were able to paint:

March 23, 2009 : Priming
March 24, 2009 : Testing Colours
March 24, 2009 : More Pink!
March 25, 2009 : Fancy Paint

Because of the awesome qualities of Benjamin Moore Aura, we were able to move a bunch of stuff into the parlour before we got around to the final coat on our accent area (the pseudoplace, as I call it).

And I wrote a detailed review of the Aura paint (suffice it to say we'll be using this paint extensively in the future).

March 26, 2009 : Benjamin Moore Aura Paints: A Review

So that's one of two parlours down.

2. Electricity and water to the shed

Noel dug the trench out to the shed in one marathon session, we connected pipe over an extremely hot weekend, and there you have it. It's really nice to have a light in the shed, and to have a hose bibb on the far side of the yard.

3. Dining Room

It didn't take long for us to expand the scope of this project to the hallway. That happened in late January, when Noel drilled a hole in the hall ceiling and discovered a ceiling medallion hidden above the front entry.

Then we invited everybody over for a big party to tear down the ceiling. The night before we cleared out all the spaces we were going to be destroying and took some reference pictures. Then a large group of friends and blog readers who are new friends descended on the house and tore down hundreds of square feet of dropped ceiling (and brought us presents!).

The result was pretty impressive. Also, check out the stuff from our ceiling.

With the ceilings down and paneling removed, and most of the upper layer of wallpaper taken down, we began the long, slow process of stripping wallpaper from the plaster. Under the paper we found more interesting messages from the past.

But mostly it was a week of solid work to scrape off wallpaper. We did discover that you can use a clothes steamer to remove wallpaper pretty effectively, which will come in handy now that we have hardly any wallpaper left in the house. Much of the paper came off in a couple of marathon sessions, including one where I left the house for a few hours and came home to find the hallway piled with stripped wallpaper.

In early April, we said goodbye to the last of our fake wood paneling. With paneling gone, Noel turned his attention to the real wood. At some point this winter, Noel reached pink saturation. Since the hall was already in chaos, he began stripping paint, too. He used both a heat gun and the Silent Paint Remover borrowed from our neighbor, and made real progress by working a little every day.

We did one little fun paint removal project, which was stripping the pink paint from the stairway niche.

The summer was a hard time for getting anything done, with a lot of travel for family and other purposes, and the unbloggable event coming to a turning point. When things calmed down a little and we'd had time to assess the condition of the plaster in the dining room, and it just had to go. So we had another work party and took down the plaster ceiling in the dining room. (There was more fun stuff in the plaster ceiling, too.)

Noel made one small wiring change that made a mile of difference while repairing the faulty or ancient wiring in the room, and then we put the drywall up in one long day of work.

After that it was all about the plaster repair and mudding the drywall. We hadn't planned to host Thanksgiving, but when our original hosts had to leave town for family reasons, we threw together a meal and then in a panic threw together a dining room

And at that point we had Christmas looming over us, because we did plan to have a dinner for that day. We tried some paint colours (see the comments for a very helpful set of hints on choosing paint colours from our friend and dinner guest David), then worked our butts off, getting the room painted and cleaned just in time for a terrific Christmas dinner. We'd been prevented -- by the holiday -- from going out and buying a new lamp at the last minute, but a couple days after Christmas we took ourselves and some Christmas gift cards to a few stores and came home with a chair for the library and a fancy new light fixture.

It's not perfect, and the molding still needs work, but we're calling the dining room done.

4. Upstairs subpanel
5. Bathrooms

Because of a hundred things, this project didn't get done or started in 2009. But it's definitely on the list for 2010.

6. Greenhouse and anti-dog fences

We kind of dithered on the anti-dog fences, until late May when Noel made a prototype. When that worked well, we went into production mode and made a bunch of panels. They worked pretty well, but we still need to figure out a better way of getting in and out of the garden.

We didn't build the greenhouse, because of aforementioned financial contractions, but I did build this awesome potting bench from salvaged materials. I love it.

7. Finish the siding
8. Side stairs
9. Deck
10. Close out the permit for the foundation

These four projects are all related, and the reason why they didn't get done is also related. They're what we need to get done to finally finish the foundation job, but we don't have the money to do them. We hoped to get them done in 2009, but for reasons we cannot yet blog about, that just didn't happen. We've moved them to 2010, but there's a lot that is out of our control about these projects and their schedule, so I'm not banking on it. We might be able to get the deck built (it's designed and the drawings are ready to take in to the city), but since it is tied to the larger foundation project in many ways it doesn't make sense to do it alone.

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posted by ayse on 01/03/10