Tag Archives: habitat

the bathrooms are finished!

Sunday night we pushed and pushed and actually got the bathrooms finished.  Thank you Natas for those amazingly delicious xtra large afternoon coffees, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Here’s a refresher of what we were starting with.

bathroom before

bathroom before

bathroom before

bathroom before

No words for it but NASTY!

Nasty no more…..Feast your eyes on the afters!

New flooring, new walls, new plumbing, new ceiling, new tub, new toilet, new surround, new fixtures, new baseboards.  New New New!!!!!!  Can you tell I am proud of what we have pulled off?!

finished upper bathroom

finished bathroom

  • Toilet, bulk purchase @ Peterborough Rona ($120 $70)
  • Sink, Toronto Restore ($40)
  • Stone counter top, Toronto Restore ($39)
  • Flooring, Ottawa Restore ($10)
  • Ikea apelskar taps, ebay ($25)
  • Ikea godmorgon cabinet and handles, As-is Toronto Ikea ($109)
  • Ikea godmorgon cabinet legs, now or never Toronto Ikea ($8 each)
  • Ceiling light fixture, Toronto Restore ($20)
  • Wall light fixture, Toronto Restore ($30)
  • Ikea mirror, re-purposed from our Berryman house (free)
  • Soaker tub, Oshawa Restore ($50)
  • Subway tiles, clearance Stone Tile ($1.14 a square foot)
  • Shower head and taps, Lowes ($79)
  • Curved Shower Bar, Buffalo Home Depot ($24)
  • Shower Curtain and rings, Dollarama ($2)
  • Matchstick blinds, Canadian Tire ($9.99)
  • Wall paint,  mistint Benjamin Moore ($8 one gallon)
  • Trim paint, Ottawa Restore ($50 18.9L)
  • Baseboard trim, Peterborough Restore (1/3 listed price @ homedepot)
  • Bathroom Exhaust Fan, Toronto Restore ($5)
  • GFI outlet with built in nightlight, Buffalo Home Depot ($17)
  • Aluminum wallplates, Belleville Restore (.75 cents each)
  • Aluminum vent cover, re-purposed from our Berryman house (free)

and now for the mainfloor!

When we first saw the house there was no main floor bathroom, just a place under the stairs to put junk in.  This is how it looked in all it’s busted up walls, rotting floor and failing plaster glory!


and now we have a new two piece that matches the period style of the house!

finished downstairs bathroom

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40 degrees and rising! part two

Just off the kitchen (and under the stairs) was a long and narrow space the past owner was using as a closet to store trash and broken bikes in. Seemed like such a waste so we decided to put in a powder room. Laying the tile floor in this room was one of our first jobs but the walls were in such bad shape we had to do some pretty extensive drywall work . Once that was done Dale could plumb in the sink and toilet, install baseboards and trim and run some electricity.

powder room

powder room

These walls took 5 rounds of mudding and sanding, but last weekend we were FINALLY ready to put some paint on the walls. We still have to fasten the mirror to the wall, put up a towel bar, curtain rod and other small stuff, but we are far enough along that I can say we’ve got ourselves a powder room!

powder room tile

Love these etched tiles, the scale has a contemporary feel but the cascading floral pattern is a definite nod to the Victorian era . It was a nice splurge for a small room, $10 a tile from the Ottawa restore.

The Chicago style Pedestal Sink features a geometric shape and a beveled edge, making it work well with both the era of the house and the contemporary design style we are going for in the rest of the joint. The wide faucet deck provides plenty of room for soap and other toiletries and the built-in back splash should keep the walls safe and dry. The sink was purchased at a Toronto restore for $125 and included the taps, can’t beat that.

The shelf above the toilet was an original mantle taken out of a Cabbagetown home and scooped up on the annual yard sale weekend.

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when it rains it pours

Last weekend we worked and worked and worked, and on Sunday night when we looked around, it seemed like nothing had changed.  Crazy discouraging but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Our attempt at gluing the under-mount kitchen sink to the stone counter was a dismal failure.  We had placed  adhesive to the edges of the sink then flipped the counter upside down and put a bunch of heavy stuff on top of the sink once in place thinking that would do the trick…um no.  Note to self, a double sink full of water is going to be 100 pounds or more…this is serious stuff.

While Dale got to work peeling off the adhesive for round two I got on google for some expert advice on mounting a sink.  No joking around, you need the following to do this job properly.

  • A set of bar clamps of suitable length
  • A piece of 2″ x 4″, longer than the width of the sink
  • Solvent, such as denatured alcohol, to clean the surface
  • Transparent silicone caulk
  • Epoxy resin adhesive for granite or natural stone (we used 3m marine adhesive thanks to Dale’s sailboat repair know how)
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Utility knife (with new blade)

There’s no easy way to do this job.  It takes 2 people and one of them is going to get covered with adhesive.  Make sure you are wearing safety glasses and crappy clothes if you are the person going into the cabinet to fix the sink from underneath.  Goop is going to drip all over you (and the inside of the cabinet), it will harden and peel off easily once dry, but that’s small consolation if it’s in your hair.  ha.

Our second kick in the teeth came when it was time to assemble the ceiling fans.

We got a deal on these fans $50 each from Home Depot and while the style wasn’t our favorite, the price was worth the compromise and we happily loaded the pathfinder with 7 of them. 

Dale was busy swapping out the kitchen plumbing and electrical and I set up on the front porch to put together the 7 fans.  No sweat since the box said 5min or less…what a shit show.

fan assembly central

Try as I might I could not get one put together.  I called in for help and after Dale reamed me out for hastily putting this together and essentially ruining all the components he opened a fresh box to show me how to put a fan together properly!   Well guess what?  He couldn’t get it together either.  First off, the parts included don’t match what the manual indicates.  Secondly, the screw are so cheap they strip immediately.  Third, none of the pre-drilled holes are the right size for the parts and also aren’t aligned properly.  Total piece of crap at any price.

Luckily the Depot has a great no questions asked return policy so 2 hours into the 5 min installation, back these craptastic fans went.  We went with good ol Hampton Bay fans instead. and managed to get an extra 10 bucks off each fan thanks to them ringing in at the wrong price at check out.  Gotta love that Scanner Accuracy Code of Practice!  Don’t be afraid to call a store out if your items don’t ring in as marked; we saved ourselves $140 by watching the register and speaking up.

3 hours after I had first started tackling the fan hurdle I got back at it.  Guess what? these guys must be assembled in place aka dangling from the ceiling, power off so wires can be bare, arms stretched over head, balancing on a ladder….AARRRCCCGGG! I think it was at this point that I cracked and admitted the house had me beat.   I reluctantly went inside and  asked Dale if he could help me put them up once he was done with all his fun in the basement…sigh.

In the meantime I patched and mudded all the holes, cracks, dents, seams in the walls I could find cause apparently there’s no shortage of work to do round here…

front bedroom patching

middle bedroom patching
Bathroom patching

kitchen patching

Before calling it a day, we did manage to squeeze in the fan assembly.

We got 2 Re-Store fans up (already assembled, Hampton Bay with remotes for $20 each) .  One looks like it has a bad light housing which is total drag.  Once we threw the power back on the blades  were spinning, and the remote works but no light…arrrrg.

Re-Stores usually test everything before selling, and while the Peterborough location claims to follow this practice, but it’s our experience that often times that’s not the case.  There are some serious quality issues with the Peterborough location that need ironing out.  They’ve been cleaning house (some of the difficult staff are gone) and I think some new management is in the works so perhaps it will  soon be as good as the rest of the organization…

Living room be damned, for now we will just enjoy having something other than a bare bulb hanging in the kitchen.

kitchen fan in!

Next up were the 4 bedroom fans upstairs.  With the main electrical power shut off again we got to work putting them up.   Some of the ceiling electrical boxes/mounts needed to be reinforced and repaired by Dale to make sure the fans would  stay up on the ceiling  and not rocket off.  Once that was done it was just a matter of jointing the wires (red and blue are hot, white is neutral and green is ground) and screwing in all those tiny screws, blades, plates and pieces.   By the second fan we were pros, and no stripped screws!

bedroom fans

Power back on , and for the final moral crushing blow of the evening 2 of the 4 fans we installed (fresh out of the sealed box) have motor issues and need to be disassembled and taken back down.   AAARRRRHHHHHGGGG!

upper bedroom fan

So what have I learnt from this wretched day?

No matter how much you spend or where you buy ceiling fans, there appears to be an at least 50% failure rate.  You need to know this going in, and take it in stride when you have to take the damn things back down again.    Leave yourself an hour per fan for assembly time, and then double that for dis-assembly and returning of product, and that’s how much time you will need.

middle bedroom fan

And it’s nice to have a fans overhead now that it’s hot!  Makes that  air mattress sleep just a little better, grin.

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we heart the re-store

We are so lucky to have access to 4 Re-Stores in Toronto, and another 4 more on route to Peterborough. I can’t recommend shopping the Re-Store enough, especially if you are doing whole home renos.  How do you feel about paying less than 50% for new stuff that you had to buy anyhow?  I LOVE IT!!!  You won’t believe all the amazing stuff we find!

Our last trip to Ottawa netted us some pretty amazing flooring options for the house, and they were having a 20% off sale. 20% stuff marked down more than 50% anyhow!  AMAZINGGGGGGG and means we can install some pretty lux finishes instead of having to go with the cheapest (in more ways than one) options all the time.

Okay super deal #1

In the upper bathroom we are going with a heavy duty Armstrong commercial floor. It’s a really fresh mix of soft grey and white that is going to look great next to all the white fixtures and chunky woodwork.  This picture isn’t doing the thing justice, it is fresh and modern looking, this ain’t your grannies vinyl flooring.    Added bonus, the solid surface is going to be super easy to clean and durable.  Super bonus, the whole roll only cost $10. Yup, ten bucks. Crazy, I know…even Dale couldn’t argue with that number. SOLD!
bathroom floor
Super deal #2

We were able to pick up lots of adhesive for the sub-floor as well at a bargoon price of $3 bucks a tube rather than the $6.99 Home Depot price tag. Did I mention that everything at the Re-Store is also tax free? There  is a whole whack of new stuff there left over from building projects and housing developments besides all the salvaged goodies.  Plus all of their stock has been donated so every dollar you spend in there goes back to the Habitat for Humanity organization to build houses for families in need.  You can feel pretty smug with yourself  while you are scoring some pretty awesome deals for your own build project. Win win!

Super deal #3

Dale found us a gorgeous Soaker Tub at the Re-Store in Oshawa, normally $500 plus, this one was brand new and marked $50. They had a whole bunch and wanted them out the door! The Oshawa location is also pretty great for gardening supplies, closet organizers, staircases (yes new staircases) and entry doors. Things move really fast at this one.

Super deal #4

While we were there we picked up a whole bunch of paint rollers, trays, rubber gloves and low tack painter’s tape for a fraction of what it normally costs and a few cans of this special paint formulated to remove traces of fire and smoke. We figured it would do the trick with some of our smelly shmoker’s rooms, but the paint ended up being hard as a rock when we opened the cans. Not a problem, the Re-store has a good return policy. As for that person who donated useless paint to a charity rather than disposing of it, shame on you…never donate anything that doesn’t work or is damaged and or broken, the place for that kind of junk is in the garbage.

Super Deal #5 Especially for you!

The 4 Toronto locations are all featuring a 20% off sale this weekend, great chance to go check it out for yourself.

Happy 20th birthday Habitat for Humanity!

Some info about Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. They will train you to do anything you are interested in learning. No skills required, just a big heart, your time and an interest in making someone’s life a little better.

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