Celebrating One Year in Our New/Old House

It's our House-iversary!  We thought we'd celebrate with a look back...

A client recently commented to me that she suspected hell would likely include some sort of packing or moving component.  I laughed because I knew exactly how she felt: Nobody hates packing as much as I do and I always cry on moving day.

It's funny because I walk clients through the process all the time, but when it's time for me to move (as I did one year ago today) I feel as though the task is too massive to take on.  Luckily, Corey took charge and did most of our packing and my mom spent days helping as well.  I think my biggest moving blunders are always forgetting just how long it takes to pack the few "last-minute" items and forgetting that my new home will need to be cleaned and will probably smell like other people.

Isn't it funny how you grow accustomed to the way your own house smells?  I remember when we moved here, it took days for me to finally get the other family's smell out of the house so that it could finally feel like OUR home!  Some people need to unpack their own stuff, but for me it's all about smell.  What makes you feel like you're new digs are home?

I thought it would be fun to recap some of the early days in our new/old house...  By the way, you guys are going to think we're crazy when you hear about how quickly we got started on the renos.

Moving Day

We moved on a Thursday and I remember being worried sick about people from our crazy condo interfering with our move.  I don't think I have ever felt as crazy as I did towards the end of our time in that condo and by then, Corey and I were being pretty tight-lipped with most of our neighbours because we worried about interference.  Of course, moving day was a perfect opportunity for all of our nosiest neighbours to gather and watch our move.  Many even took the opportunity to question our movers about some of the items we were moving... "What's in that box?"  "Where are you moving them to?" Suffice it to say, I was piping mad!

When we arrived at the house, the seller still wasn't finished moving out.  He had left furniture with neighbours as well as in the back yard "to pick up later"... I wasn't thrilled about this but Corey and I had already decided to be patient with him.

The move went fairly smoothly since most items were moved directly to the basement so that we could do the floors right away.  Our sleeping quarters for the first week or so were also in the basement.  We put our mattress on the floor next to a suspicious mattress left by the sellers, which Corey eventually had to saw in half in order to remove.  I was terrified that it might have bed bugs, but we haven't had any issues... probably because of the MASSIVE predatory spiders who lived down there at the time.  They still haunt my dreams.

The biggest hiccup on moving day happened while I was upstairs taking a breather (probably banished by Corey since I was stressing everyone out) and heard him calmly say to one of our movers "You NEED to get this inside.  It's literally the only item she cares about."  I knew right away that he was referring to our harvest dining table, which I love.  I discovered later that it was stuck in the front door and Corey had to remove the door frame and storm door in order to get it inside.

The First Few Days

After a busy Thursday and a rather uncomfortable sleep, we were ready to start the real work.  Initially, my mom and my friend Bonnie came over to help clean while Corey and my brother picked up our clawfoot tub and our buffet from some Craigslist sellers who had been holding them for us.  Already missing Barkley to the point of tears, I worked on ripping up the nasty stair carpeting and making stair runners so that he could join us a little sooner.

We also began meeting with HVAC companies to see about the duct work.  The company with the best quote told us they only had an opening a week away, otherwise we'd be waiting much longer, and paying more during peak season.  They insisted that we have the basement somewhat cleared out first so we knew we'd have to arrange for a company to do the floors immediately.

The entire process felt like a balancing act but we were lucky to find Mr. Sandless, who could squeeze us in on Monday.  Of course, the caveat was that the floors had to be prepped and ready for them to start... which meant a couple of sleepless nights for us!

The Floors

Corey and I couldn't believe the layers and layers of flooring that had accumulated over the years.  What we thought was just laminate over the original hardwood was actually laminate over layers upon layers of every material imaginable from double subfloors, tile, parquet, to plaster and metal lathe.  Everything was nailed down and the work was backbreaking.  I remember we were still pulling up nails on Monday morning at 3:30 am when we were expecting Mr. Sandless at 8!

Luckily, Mr. Sandless began on the main floor, giving us an extra day or so to prep upstairs.  Corey was working night shifts at the time and I remember deciding at 10:30 one night (after he'd left for work) to stay up all night pulling up carpet tacks to surprise him.

It was LITERALLY a ton of work (and I was glad to have booked a few days off work) but my least favourite part was still dropping off all the flooring debris at the local dump.  When they weighed our load, it came to over 1,000 kilograms!

All's well that ends well though, and we were thrilled with our floors once they were sanded and stained!

The Ducts

Once the floors were done, we were able to move enough furniture upstairs, that our HVAC company could install ducts for central air.  This work took about five days and I found it difficult working from home (after FINALLY moving upstairs) with so much disruption.

People are often afraid of the work and expense required to do this, but it actually wasn't bad.  We agreed to drywall over the ducts ourselves (there are only exposed ducts in two rooms) to save money and to allow for creative solutions and I believe we paid about $12,000 in total.  We're still planning to build a window seat to hide the duct in the second bedroom.

The Yard

And then there was the yard.  Not only was a ton of furniture left, but there was also broken glass everywhere as well as those hideous trees in the middle and even a tree in the back which had actually grown around a child's camping chair.  Normally we wouldn't have cared about tackling any of this right away, but we were desperate to show Barkley his new house (and for it to be safe for him) so we had a clean-up day.

Looking Back

I can't believe how challenging those first few weeks in the house were.  I suppose we were high on adrenaline and just excited to be out of the condo but still...  How did we do it?  Do you ever look back on challenging or tiresome times in your life and wonder how you ever managed?  I sort of feel that way about our time in the condo and I seem to forget that even after we moved into the house, it wasn't all flowers and cupcakes right away.

I think these memories will get me through my last few days of our bathroom reno... which you'll be seeing a lot of this week.  I may hate peeing in the basement, but it's still better than sleeping in the basement!
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