Old Stone House

Gutter Love – An Electrifying Affair

October 19, 2008

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 9:43 am

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you’ll know that we have had a number of issues with ice dams over the last few winters. Our first year in the house we didn’t have and problems, but since then we have had ‘water in the kitchen’ event every winter.

At first we thought the water was the result on backed-up gutters. But judicious cleaning ruled that out. We considered that the terrible soffits might have something to do with our wet walls, but that theory was disproved after replacing all the soffits (reinstating walls etc.) on the ugly addition.

It wasn’t until I ventured onto the roof in the dead of winter with a shovel and crowbar that I discovered a 6″-8″ slab of ice atop the roof… (more agony and joy…)

Of Autumn Winds and Hindsight

October 5, 2008

Filed under: Day to Day,Ugly Addition @ 9:14 am

justlivingsmall.jpgI can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post! Where has the time gone?

I’m happy to report that nothing extraordinary has happened since my last writing – and I’m grateful for that! It would seem that our little experiment with the housing market did us a world of good – allowing us to prioritize our needs, be thankful for what we have, and avoid possible economic disaster. (more agony and joy…)

Damn Ice Dam

March 10, 2008

Filed under: Day to Day,Ugly Addition @ 8:26 am

damnice.jpgWell, it’s been a quiet couple of months since we finished the exterior of the ugly addition. Outside of the very occasional blog entry we’ve enjoyed NOT working on the house – taking advantage of some much needed down-time. We’ve avoided looking through home renovation magazines, surfing our favourite DIY sites, and thinking about the house in general. At least until this weekend… (more agony and joy…)

The Exterior Is Done!

December 4, 2007

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 2:14 pm

newsmall.jpgWe’ve put forth a monolithic effort these past two weeks in order to finally finish the exterior of the ‘ugly addition’. This effort was offset by crappy weather, so when you average everything out – we only accomplished a modest amount. That being said, all the siding is on, the windows are caulked and sealed, the eaves have been cleaned and repaired and every crack that can be insulated/siliconed has been filled.

I wasn’t expecting snow this ‘early’ in the season – as we’ve had little/no snow before January the past few years – and working in the cold is painful. Not only do your fingers ache from the cold, they ache as you can’t seem to stop hitting them with the hammer. As well, there’s nothing more pleasant than removing your hands from your gloves and having the sweaty palms stick to the frozen tin snips or hammer.

(more agony and joy…)

Installing Windows Should Be Simple – Part Three

November 25, 2007

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 12:25 pm

sidedoorwindowsmall.jpgHaving experienced a number of aggravations while installing the first two windows, I was thankful that I could finally install the remaining window beside the door. This window installation was going to be the most involved as it required me to rip out a section of existing wall, lay a course of cinder blocks, and frame new interior and exterior wall sections. That being said, I was relaxed about doing the work as there wasn’t going to be any surprises… And for once I was finally right!

I removed the existing window (another well planned install by the previous contractor – the casing window opened into the side gate) and cleaned out all the shims and insulation scraps that made up the rest of the wall. I discovered that much of the insulation that was in the wall had slumped between the studs – likely due to water, which further explained why this part of the house has been so cold.

(more agony and joy…)

Installing Windows Should Be Simple – Part Two

November 24, 2007

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 11:20 am

bathroomwindow-small.jpgDespite the minor setbacks encountered while installing the first two windows – namely rough openings smaller then expected – spirits in oldstonehouse were still high as I prepared to tackle the third challenge: the sh*tty bathroom window. As before, I gleefully ripped out the old window, excited about the prospect of finally having more then one pane of glass in the bathroom. As I swept away the debris a small panic started to rie – the inside and outside openings weren’t the same size…

I measured the size of the hole – it was two inches shorter and one inch narrower then the window I had ordered.

So I would seem that once again I mismeasured the window opening.

(more agony and joy…)

Installing Windows Should Be Simple – Part One

November 20, 2007

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 11:34 am

windowsmall.jpgHaving spent countless hours fixing-siding-flashing-sheeting I was excited to finally install the new windows – a relatively straightforward job. Installing windows should be simple: put the new window in the hole, shim till level, foam, done. This would have been true in our case, had the window’s been the right size…

It would seem that I made one major mistake when I measured the windows – I ‘assumed’. Rather then remove the trim on each of the existing windows and measure the rough openings, I simple measured the inside dimensions of the each of the window frames and added an inch. I ‘assumed’ that this would account for the width of the window frame, which for all intents and purposes should have to be smaller then the rough opening.

(more agony and joy…)

The Devil’s in the Details

November 13, 2007

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 10:45 am

devilthumb.jpgPerhaps one of the most frustrating, yet rewarding aspects of renovating is detail work. What might take the renovator weeks to design, plan and execute will only garner a passing ‘looks good’ from the common visitor. So too is the case with our ugly addition.

As far as we can determine, the rear of our house has had several additions made over the years. There was, and still is the original stone ‘summer kitchen’ on the back of the house. At some point this room had its side walls removed in favour of adding a pair of ‘wings’ to each side to create our side entrance and the bathroom. Later, the sunroom was added across the back of the house. Although an architectural disaster, these additions do make sense as they provide much needed space and functionality – the only problem is that they do so at the expense of aesthetics.

(more agony and joy…)

Sweet Sound Of Swoosh

November 3, 2007

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 9:55 am

thedoorsmall.jpgWell, I’m not sure if it’s ‘swoosh’ – it’s whatever you would call the sound of a new door seating into it’s frame – as its side’s press in against the bumpers and the rubber fins drag across the threshold. Swoosh. Also sounds like warmth…

The door that we replaced was only 15 years old. It was a very large 36” pre-hung metal door that for all intents and purposes should have outlasted the house. Alas, whoever installed it managed to butcher the door frame and threshold cutting it apart and re-assembling it. The door didn’t seal, and there was ¾” gap at the top. There is a good chance that the door was a cast-way from another house and the previous renovators salvaged it with the best of intentions.

(more agony and joy…)

An Angry Spirit Walks This House!

October 31, 2007

Filed under: Ugly Addition @ 5:08 pm

ghosthiddensmall.jpgLast night our neighbour knocked on the door to inform us that she thought she had seen someone in the house while we were out shopping. I politely thanked her for being so vigilant, but dismissed what she told me – racking it up to mild bought dementia. Later that night I took the dog for a walk and upon returning home, something caught my eye – the second story window looked as if a figure was looking out at me. I gave it little mind, took the dog inside and checked on the family (who were all now sleeping). I returned outside to see if I could find the newspaper, and when I looked back up at the window it was undeniable that there was clearly someone looking out at me. I stared at the window for a few moments in shock, wondering what I should do. Finally, I streaked into the house and dashed upstairs to my daughter’s room where the figure had been standing. Nothing…

Confused, I returned outside to have another look at the window – there stood the figure! I returned to my daughter’s room and again found her sleeping peacefully. At this point I decided that I needed to document what was becoming a rather unsettling moment, so I took our digital camera outside to shoot a few photos of the window. I was sure I could see the figure, but the preview screen on the camera only showed black images. Despite this, I did my best to take a few photos, deciding that I might be able to recover some information in Photoshop.

(more agony and joy…)