Tuesday 19 September 2017

Getting Ready

I took this photo today...

thinking it would be the last photo I would take before the door would be put in.  I don't want to get into what's happening just yet as I am hopeful that things will blow over.  But for now, what I can report is that Will's best friend called him tonight to tell him he was coming out tomorrow at 7am ready to demo and get the door in all in one day.... and we had to tell him to wait one more day...  Fingers and toes crossed everyone.  Fingers and toes crossed...

But on to what's been happening this week.

With not having a garage, or proper rooms to store things in, we usually just place things where they will be out of the way.  It can be super frustrating since it's stuff that we can't get rid of, but takes up a ton of space (beds, dressers, winter tires etc).  Knowing the door will be going in soon we needed to clean up this section of the hallway, as well as take down the drop ceiling.

If anyone doesn't know what drop ceiling is (cause I had no idea what it was called until we got this place), it's the type of ceiling that are in most offices.  Those white squares you can push up and inspect electrical and such.  Once everything was taken out, and the ceiling was ripped out we got to see what we are working with.

This is what the tin ceiling is looking like.  We knew of some of the missing tin as we used it for the ceiling where the church bells sit.  We needed the trim.

It was one of our contractors that ripped out the trim and used it for the other part of the ceiling.  What he didn't mention (or really we didn't even think to discuss) was that the wires of the church bells don't just go strait up into the attic.  For some frustrating, unknown reason, they were angled into this part of the ceiling within the soon to be porch and then up into the attic.  Here is a closer look.

This is super frustrating as we had decided to keep the bells where they are and built around them.

So we could move them in to the space where the door will be placed and they could be one of the first things you see as you walk in.

But one of the issues is that everything would then be backwards.  Bell 8 would become bell 1 and all the hymns we have could no longer be played.  We would have to take out the wall just to build around it again.  A frustration and some decisions we didn't think we would have to make.  We have thought about just taking out the tin ceiling here and designing the ceiling so we could just cover the wires.  The tin might have to come out no matter what as we are working with limited resources.  Since the church decided to cover the tin ceiling with terrible faux wood paneling.  Many areas of the tin have been destroyed in the main space of the church.

Because of this, we are discussing not having the tin ceiling in the loft area so we have more to work with and replace for the living room space.  It's a large area we are worried that is going to be damaged.

What will most probably happen is once the door is in we will finish the demo of the main area of the church.  That will include taking down the remainder of the faux wood paneling.  We can then assess the damage of the tin and decide from there what we are going to do.

But for now, let's just concentrate on getting this door in!

Friday 15 September 2017

And the winner is......

Well here it is everyone.  Wednesday we FINALLY received the email stating if we won or not.  For anyone interested here is the 8 page document:

But if you don't feel like reading all of that....

WE WON!!!!!  🎜Celebrate good times, COME ON! It's a celebration!🎜 We have been on cloud 9 ever since.  Over a year of fighting and almost everyone we know saying "Why are you STILL fighting about this?!" Or "You know you aren't going to win right?" we have our ruling and we can FINALLY put in the door we have, where we want, where it makes the most sense for a home, NOT a church.  This decision was a long time coming.  We knew from the start that this was the only reasonable place to put the door, and we always felt the bylaws allowed for it.  It's nice to be vindicated by this highest level of appeal (other that the courts).  Moving forward we hope to continue working with the town to save this historic building, and hopeful we won't see these types of roadblocks again.

I'm not going to lie.  This whole thing has been so hard.  Many times it's felt like we were the only ones who worried what happens to this big, beautiful building.  Multiple times we discussed other options we had, with nothing feeling right. We discussed different places to put the door, insetting the door in the space we want it, we even discussed tearing down the whole building and building new since it felt like we were hitting roadblocks everywhere.  We are insisting a building that was never designed to be a house, become a home. Without our intervention this place likely would have been left to rot or worse, torn down and condos erected in it's place.  But let's not dwell.  We won!  Let's look to the future!

So what does this mean?  Well, William called he best friend who also happens to have his own construction business (he knew this call was coming if we won) and they set up when he and his crew could come out.  Sounds like Thursday next week might be the day if everything goes to plan. Good thing we have been super busy with demolition otherwise we would be in panic mode. For anyone who has forgotten, this is the next space (or phase II) we will be working on.

It looks so different now from when I took this picture, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.  This post is celebrating we won and the door is going in.

The Church Reno Adventure is back in full swing!!

Thursday 7 September 2017

Round Two

People I haven't seen in ages always ask a version of the same questions,  "So what's happened to your blog and all the renovations?!"

Do you see it?

Perhaps we should take a closer look.

If you have been keeping up with our renovation adventure I'm sure you are thinking "I'm pretty sure I have seen these pictures before."  Well you are not completely wrong.  The first picture was me being all excited to have a new door and couldn't wait for it to be installed.  This second picture is one I took over the past weekend.  And to be honest I'm feeling just like that poor tarp looks.  Putting up a good fight but feeling a little worse for wear.  The short answer for the questions I'm asked is always "Nothing.  There is NOTHING going on for the renovation so the blog has stalled."  But let's catch up so I can be more specific.

I last left you with discussions of plans for the main floor, and the new door entry.  We decided to concentrate on the door for a few reasons.  We thought that if we started there, it would give us more time to work on the plans for the main floor, and if the front door was moved to where we wanted, it would be much easier to bring materials into the building.

So the guys we organized to put in the door also drew up plans for the door.  We submitted those plans.  The inspector declined the plans, asking for specific blueprints.  So, we asked Chris (our home designer) to draw up the plans so we could submit and receive a permit before it got too cold.  We were denied again.  They told us that the minimum set back on a side yard is 4 feet.  Even though our address suggests that where we want to put the door is the front of the house.  Technically it's the side. So, no door.  But that is not how we roll in this house.  We put up a fight when things are not fare or are wrong.  We set up a hearing with the Development Appeal Board.  The meeting was held at the town office.

Unfortunately, they didn't understand what our plans were, and they felt there was an increase in the area of non conformity and they did not feel that we could move the location of the non conformity to another part of the building.  We appealed to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board because we feel that the zoning bylaw does allow us to move this door. (How lucky are we that Will reads bylaws as part of his job so he actually understand what the town can and cannot do).

So that hearing was on July 18th and they have 60 days from the day of the hearing to give us a ruling.  The catch is that every time they ask for more information, that 60 days resets.  They have currently asked the town twice for more information.  Will is optimistic and thinks we will hear back from them by the end of September.  Personally this whole experience has been such a disheartening one that I keep telling people that it won't be till around Christmas.  It's been over a year that we put in our first set of plans to apply for a permit.  There have been many times I've been ready to throw in the towel.  Like I've come close to just saying "let's just move back to the city".  But thanks to the friends I've made here, and having an amazing summer, I'm back on track and ready to keep fighting!!

It's not that we have done absolutely nothing.  We went from having no eaves troughs,

to having them installed.  The building went for so long without them that we have a dampness in the basement during the summer months (and with that the WORST spider problem).

And the yard has had a bit of an over hall.  We went from having seven pine trees way too close to each other and not having any way of properly using the yard, to having a huge veggie garden space.





So there you have it.  You are caught up to what is going on around here.  I really hope to have good news when I next speak of the door.  Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for us that everything will work out.

In the mean time, we will keep demoing, and Chris sent us the next round of plans for us to go over.

Friday 26 August 2016

Plans Plans Plans

Today our designer Chris came back out to see us.  He needed more measurements inside as well as out in our yard.  He and William ventured out to the town office to find out where our property lines are.  This being an old church we weren't exactly sure what was our property and what was town. Some good news and some bad, but I'll get into that...

While Chris was here we sat down and discussed the first draft of the plans.


After our chat and redesigning a few things, I am super excited for what Chris comes back with.  

Chris needed some specific measurements from the floor to the ceiling (good thing Will took down the paneling so we could get more specific measurements!  He also wanted to know the thickness of our walls to make sure that nothing we are taking down is linked to structure in any way.  Will cut a small hole to be able to measure.

No wonder people use to complain about the church being drafty.  The only insulation we have is wood chips.  It's actually just a glorified tent!  They have little to no thermal benefits.  But still kind of neat to see (when you know you are going to insulate properly and not have to worry about freezing).

Once Will was finished, Chris dug around in there and got the measurements he needed.

Our contractor did up plans for the front door a few weeks ago and we applied for the permit. We found out that the inspector does not like the plans as they are drawn and wanted more specifics.  Bad news as we were hoping the door was going to go in soon. Good news, Chris said he could do up the plans for the door. EXCELLENT! Now the really frustrating news.  Our side door, like the one we use as the main door, is actually our front door.  And our yard is actually our front yard not side yard (I will go into this in more detail with pictures in the next blog post).  So that means that where we are planning on placing the new door is actually the side of the house.  This is bad/frustrating because the stairs need to be 4 feet from the property line on the side of a house.  This is impossible since that section of yard is roughly 6 feet wide.  We are going to need special permission to build stairs to the door (this could mean we need to plead our case to the town council).  So in short, it could take much longer for us to get that door in than we planned.  Chris took the measurements of the door to make up the plans.

Some exciting news; we should have (hopefully) all the counter tops we will need for the kitchen.

It's slate, and is going to be a project all of its own.  But that will be a blog post for another day.

Monday 22 August 2016

The Demo Has Begun

Last Thursday Chris sent us the first (of I'm sure MANY) draft of the plans for the upstairs.  First off, sorry everyone.  No sneak peaks until the final product.  Second, we have spent the past few days looking and discussing over and over different parts of the plan.  Some we LOVE!  Some were no surprise.  Some were "I LOVE what Chris did here!!" And some were "Uh... now that I see it in the plans I don't know if I like it anymore."  And finally, as I type this, I realize that I need to email Chris to organize a few things.  He mentioned he wanted to come back for a few more measurements.

The nice thing about receiving the plans was that it lit a fire under us that we really needed.  The demo is so large and with no garage, we have spare beds, luggage, tools, Christmas wrap... pretty much anything you have in your spare rooms and or garage... we live with in the upstairs.  PLUS building materials we have begun to collect for future projects.  But stuff or not, the demo must be done.

We put the scaffolding together and moved a bunch of stuff out of the way.  Will climbed up and decided to pull down some of the faux wood paneling.

Here we go!

As soon as Will broke threw the drywall the first question I asked was "How is the tin ceiling?!" These are the first looks at it.

At first look, I think we will be able to restore the tin as we did in the front hallway.  It will mean scraping off the old paint but it will be well worth it!

We decided it was enough for one day and started up again a few days later.

Will decided that he was going to take down as much as he could, so he pulled down the paneling from the walls too.


At this point I took a step back and realized we were officially not only in a demo again, but a renovation.

I'm so thankful we have our space in the basement that is nowhere near the dust and rubble.  Living in the middle of a renovation is hell.  We have made it so we can walk away at the end of a day and not even see the renovation.

With a lot of hard work, Will was able to get the paneling off the ceiling as well as the drywall to the end of the wall.


I can't express enough how excited I am that the tin ceiling is looking like it will be usable.  This is a picture from one end of the wall to the other.

As long as people were careful when they placed the paneling on the center of the ceiling we should be able to keep the entire ceiling as tin.  We will most likely need to buy one more level of scaffolding as you can see where Will is able to reach to.

I felt a little useless when Will was in the middle of demoing.  My job this time around is to keep the little one out of the dust.  An important job but not as hands on as I'm use to being.

So this is what we will be doing for the next little while.  Demo and trips to the dump. Hopefully we can coordinate so the demo will be finished and we can begin the official renovation shortly after.