Best laid plans

It’s been a very long time.  I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I actually drew anything on my drafting table – let alone actual plans.  Needless to say, that’s changed this past week.

I've missed this

I’ve missed this

I’ve drawn the floorplans and elevations as the house currently exists.  I’ll take you on a little tour in a moment, but first let me tell you a bit of history.  I don’t actually remember a time when my drafting table wasn’t in our household – and I don’t mean in the time Vanessa and I have been together – I mean EVER.  The drafting table was my fathers and I guess it’s something that’s just been passed along to me.  My Dad was a homebuilder/general contractor when I was growing up and I remember “playing” with all his drafting tools as a kid.

Later, I spent many late nights working on drafting projects during my post-secondary Architectural Technologist program – although my actual career choices didn’t require much of my “hands-on” drafting skills.  I was an estimator at a large timber-frame construction company, worked in the building departments at both the Town of Richmond Hill and Town of Ajax in Ontario and was an Associate Project Manager for a restoration contractor in Durham Region (alongside my brother) when we left Ontario for PEI.

So, last week, I set up my drafting table and started with the current layout of our house:

Main Floor

Main Floor

Main Floor:  closest to you is the front of our house.  The front door opens into the main hall with the stairs to the second floor on your right.  To the left is a set of double French doors leading into the Living Room (which we’re currently using as our bedroom while we demo and renovate the upper level).  The hall leads to the Dining Room (currently our Living Room) and the small room to the left is where we built the temporary washroom.  I’m guessing that previous owners probably used this room as a den or office.  We’ll likely turn it into Vanessa’s Craft Room where she can finally have a dedicated space for knitting, sewing and jewellery making.  To the right of the Dining Room is the Kitchen.  Probably the most important room to Vanessa and I, it currently has sparse cabinetry and minimal storage.  We’ve also had to use this space to install the hot water tank and laundry facilities until the renovations allow these items to be relocated elsewhere.  Off the back of the Kitchen is a small Foyer with a Powder Room that we’ve taken apart and is currently being used for storage.  The long room off the back Kitchen hallway is….well….I’m not sure.  Some previous owner of the house built this addition for some purpose – storage, most likely – and it’s not in the best shape.  No foundation, no heat, un-insulated, sinking on one side and a leaking roof makes this addition not useable for anything other than we what have been using it for – a glorified mudroom/entrance/storage area.  This addition, back hall and Powder Room will be removed as part of our main floor renovations and replaced with a more appropriate rear-entrance/mudroom/laundry room.

Second Floor

Second Floor

Second Floor:  to the right at the top of the stairs is (what will eventually be) our Master Bedroom.  One window in a dormer looks out the front of the house and a window in the side gable looks over the driveway.  The washroom is at the top of the stairs, with a small vanity, tub and toilet.  The second bedroom is on the back corner of the house with a big closet and the chimney coming up through the room.  The front room is the third bedroom, although we’ll use it as an office/den.  There is a small walk-in closet in the upper hall towards the front of the house.

Front Elevation

Front Elevation

Front Elevation:  very typical styling of a PEI “island-ell” farmhouse with the front dormer and round-top window and has some decorative gingerbread trim around the front porch.  The shutters are not original, nor functional, nor real shutters – just some boards fastened and painted for a decorative treatment added some-time in the past.

Rear Elevation

Rear Elevation

Rear Elevation: nothing special here.  The back addition makes for a poor view and will be much better once it is removed.

In addition to documenting the current use and layout of the house, I’ve been sketching the changes were going to make as things progress the next few months.  I hope to have these plans posted in the near future.

I’d love to hear some of your feedback and suggestions or answer any questions you have (at least to the best of my ability).

Well, it’s begun….

….sort of.    Really, we began the repairs and renovations to the house on the day we purchased it – November 15, 2013.  But TODAY, our disposal bin was dropped in our driveway and demo has started.

IMG_0410

One man’s junk….

If you’re now looking at the dates, yes, it’s been two months since we bought the house.  Don’t judge me, we’ve been busy.  Up until now, we’ve been preparing to start the renovations and make the house livable – if not somewhat comfortable.  And the snow.   Oh boy, the snow.

There were a number of things we needed to do in order to live here – not the least of which was to dig a new well and build a washroom (an outhouse, while a throwback to simpler times, wasn’t an option).  That’s where we began.

15 storeys deep - two streams

15 storeys deep – two streams

Here’s where I need to give you some background.  Our house needs a complete overhaul.  I’m talking foundation-to-roof overhaul.  When we inspected the house, we were pretty comfortable with the structure – everything was straight and true – no sags in the roof, no racking walls, no inter-dimensional vortex in the crawlspace to drag you into some parallel universe.  Well, I’m assuming that last one is true – so far, so good anyhow.  So, to start, we’re going to live on the main floor, gut the second floor, start the foundation and roof repairs, move upstairs and then tackle the main floor.  Easy, peasy.

So, the new well was relocated and dug, trenched to the house, new pump and pressure tank installed, decommissioned the old well, installed new piping to the temporary washroom (now in what was originally the Den), installed the tub, toilet and vanity, plumbed-in the washer and dryer (in the kitchen for now) and installed the new hot water tank.  Well, that takes care of the plumbing-related stuff.  In addition to that, we painted the Living-Room-now-Master-Bedroom and the Dining-Room-now-Living-Room, installed a new wood burning stove in the Living Room and put-up two cords of firewood and shopped for and bought a new car.  Throw in Christmas and New Year’s – it’s been a very busy two months.

Yeah.  That and the snow.

PEI: "Canada's Summer Playground"

PEI: “Canada’s Summer Playground”

We moved to PEI in the earliest and snowiest winter in recent memory.  In three weeks we had six major snowfalls.   The field in our backyard had at least 4 feet over it.  I know that because there is an old oil drum with a broomstick poking out of it – and it was completely buried.   The snowbanks were shoulder-high in the driveway and I was starting to get a bit desperate.  I simply couldn’t throw the snow any higher.  Then the thaw happened.  In less than two weeks, the snow is all but gone.  A few days of above-zero temperatures, rain and winds of 60-80 km/h (gusting to 100) made this winter wonderland a soggy, muddy mess.

But hey, that’s part of the adventure.  We’re going to have lots more mud before it gets better (wait till we start digging a new foundation).

quicksand1