a touch of the cape

small detour to coax the squirrels from my attic and the twins returned to close our structure in and strap and side it. we are now nearly seven weeks post demolition and finally have something that resembles a back to a house. as we now have something that resembles the back of a house, at least from the outside, i can pretend this month was not all that bad. the memory of unscrewing a sheet of plywood, hauling our laundry downstairs via ladder, and doing laundry in a shallow pool of rainwater is already kind of fading. this is the same science behind women having more than one child. but i will not let this mid-construction joy trick me into doing another renovation, ever.

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when we tried to embark on this renovation last fall — really good thing we didn’t because it’s easily going to take ten weeks and starting in early october would’ve had terrible results — we ordered the small window you see here to replace a small window in the existing mudroom. by the time spring rolled around, we’d started to think about reconfiguring the way the mudroom was set up (e.g., sliding glass doors facing the garden instead of a side-exit steel door) and wondered if we’d even find a use for this pre-ordered window. we decided to throw it in at ground level; it’s strategically placed so there’s natural light as you descend the stairs.

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i love the sliding glass doors, though we do need to acquire / create a step down in the yard. we’re hoping to do a 5′ stone step, but i think that’s literally the last step in the renovation so plenty of time to pick something out.

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the skylight is also great and it opens! or, it will open once all our electrical is hooked up. since this photo was taken, we’ve also had the roof shingled and the flashing installed around the skylight. we haven’t had any rain since the roof went on last weekend (though it looks like we may get lots today!) so things have yet to be tested for leaks.

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indoors, things are much improved as well. we had electrical done (an interior light, two indoor outlets, two outdoor outlets, the electric skylight and a baseboard heater (just in case); spray foam insulation; drywall; and one round of mudding.

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even if we left it like this, this is such an improvement over what we had. the size is just so much better and is much better proportioned for the house and yard. it looks meant to be a part of the house and not like some weird lean-to stuck on the back of the house. the doors on the back make a huge difference. once the kitchen door comes off (we’re leaving it up for now just to mitigate drywall dust) you’ll be able to see the garden from the dining room and i think the whole property will just feel so much better connected.

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the siding is cape cod (made in bedford, nova scotia!) and we actually chose it about five years ago for our second storey addition. you know, the one that never happened. five years later we still like it, which is a good sign. plus, it was free! (er, and as costs for unexpected items like having to regrade and sod our entire backyard push the budget, i’ll take free.) my dad’s company used this siding on one of their projects up north and enough was left over to do our mudroom. the colours tie the back of our house together with the front of our house nicely, as our porch is also white and grey-blue. as is our shed. in fact, we used white paint leftover from our porch to seal the ends of the fascia boards and blue paint leftover from our front door to seal the ends of the siding, that’s how good the colour match is.

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if you can ignore the grass (or lack thereof) and the dirt-splattered windows and brick (see: lack of grass), things are looking good from the outside, though there’s still what feels like a million things to do. let’s make a list:

  • sanding, second round of mudding and more sanding
  • priming and painting
  • tile
  • trimwork — baseboards, door and window trim, etc. all custom-made to match the older trim throughout the house? sure. it’s only money.
  • troughs and soffits — a special leaf-repelling kind? all the way around the house? possibly.
  • oak stairs stained to match the hardwood floors — custom-made? with a glass barrier in a powder-coated steel frame? maybe. we’ve come this far.
  • install all of the electrical — interior light, exterior lights, baseboard heater
  • power wash all the siding and paint nail heads and seams with colour-matched paint
  • caulk around the addition and all windows and doors
  • build cabinets / shelving unit in storage area under stairs to hold linens, shoes, seasonal items, etc.
  • pocket door installed to tuck storage area away
  • repaint basement floor
  • landscaping —a patio for the barbeque, fix our kissing gate patio, grade and sod the entire yard
  • stone step for outside the sliding glass doors
  • so much cleaning!!!

the first four items are on the to-do list for next week (no trades want to drive to our house once the pan-am games start) and then my mom’s coming with her power washer the following monday. i swear my family just somehow owns all these tools. so on the surface this list looks crazy overwhelming to me — like this will all get done by christmas or something — but i’m actually feeling like three or four more weeks and we’ll have our mudroom done and basement and backyard back. oh, here comes the rain. time to test the roof!

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