Friday, August 27, 2010

And The Walls.... Come Tumbling Down.......

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a month already! I wanted to post sooner, but was hoping to have at least one finished project to show you by now. It's all been more of a process than I anticipated. I have no power as of yet, although that is being worked on now. Someone had cut all the wires going into the panel box and stolen most of the breakers, so I was left with a big electrical mess to sort out. I have had someone here for the last three days trying to put it all back together with various components that we already had kicking around .

In the meantime most of last month was scorching hot so I wasn't too motivated to do heavy labor and by the time night fell and it cooled off, I had no light to see by. For years I have been drawing plans to design my dream home. It never looked exactly like this place, so I found myself just needing to hang out and spend time here feeling the place out and trying to visualize different ideas to see what I wanted to do next. I kept changing my mind every other day, so got kind of paralyzed and scared to start something. I've been slowly unpacking some of my boxes, trying to find all my tools and craft supplies. I have most of them out now, but won't show you the room just yet as I am waiting to find them all before I decided how to store them.

I've also been working five days a week, so had to wait for time off and some cash for materials before I could get much done. The first project is to get the two front rooms done so I can set up a kitchen and living room.

This is going to be the kitchen. I stripped off the wallpaper that was on these walls. Two of the walls were wood paneling that the paper just peeled off.The other two walls , it was glued on tight. I managed to pull the paper off but it left a paper backing stuck to the wall. I mixed fabric softner with boiling water ( half and half) in a sprayer bottle and soaked the paper backing on the wall.

It just peeled off the wall after that with a little nudge from a plastic scraper. ( The white wall is the first one I did, you can see the paper on the floor. To the left where the wall looks beige hasn't been done yet.)

The room beside the kitchen had horrible plastic looking paneling with plastic ribs holding it together. It looked like mobile home paneling from the eighties or something, seriously fugly anyway. Armed with a crowbar, I pulled all the molding and paneling down. What a horror show underneath. The first wall I did, had this large wood paneling which I thought, ok I can work with this.

But the next wall was all styrofoam insulation

and this wall had thick cardboard like sheets of wallpaper glued to the wood.The different wall paneling you see here is all the back of the plastic stuff that was on the walls originally.

I could of a matter of fact, I avoided that room for a few weeks after.

As soon as I have some more cash, I will be buying beadboard paneling for the bottom of the walls and more paneling for the top which will then be painted sage green or burgendy( I haven't decided yet)

Then there is the upstairs ( sigh...)
I have one room set up as a bedroom and the door wouldn't even open all the way before it hit this wall.

The room behind that wall is a huge airless, windowless space filled to the brim with boxes of stuff. In the heat wave we have been having it was too hot and lacking in oxygen to work up there for any length of time. In desperation one day, I had a fellow come up with a saw and cut me hole in the wall so I could get airflow coming through from the other side.

Ahhhh , much better, light and oxygen!!

While he was doing that, I tore down the wall in front of the bedroom door, so I can easily access the space now and have some cross ventilation going on.

In the meantime, I am still searching craigslist for more material. I lucked out the other day and got all these tiles ,vinyl and wooden flooring for free.

From this huge pile that was free to pick from.
I got tons of gorgeous blue tile for the downstairs bathroom and some nice mushroom brown ones for the upstairs bathroom. I also got cans of the adhesive and grout I needed to do the job. I got some lovely tongue and groove wood and some beadboard style as well as three different styles of vinyl flooring. In total, I probably got in the neighborhood of four thousand dollars of material for free, all because they needed more room in their warehouse!
I also picked up a laundry room sink and a bunch of dressers and shelf units so I can create a large walk-in closet type-of-affair in that upstairs space.
Here is one project, I'm close to being finished on,

The First of Many Projects!!!

The Shirley Metal Kitchen. This was donated to me by David. It is an old (1940-1950) metal kitchen sink and cupboard unit. As you can see, it was seriously rusty and decrepted looking when I first saw it.


I thought for about a nano second, that I might keep the original sticky paper that was on the shelves, just to keep it original looking , but decided against that when I saw the fifty year old dirt under the edges of it. Out it came!

I then spent a few hours sanding the whole unit down with various grades of grit, until the rust was all gone. Then I gave it a good washing with TSP and hot water, followed by a good long hosing down. Once it was dry, it got painted with 2 coats of self etching primer inside and out.

For some reason the colour I chose isn't showing up in these pictures at all, but this is the cabinet with two coats of sage green colour ( which mysteriously looks exactly like the military green tarp that its sitting on).

I found these cute handles at Home Depot. I guess over the years we have changed the standards of how wide our handles are for cupboards. The holes in mine were for about a two and a half inch spacing, but all the handles I found were three inch. So unfortunately, I had to ( get David) to drill an extra set of holes to fit the handles.

So, its pretty much done now. I want to build a small wooden frame for it to sit on as the doors catch on the ground, then as soon as the kitchen is painted, it will be installed.

All this work has aggravated my bulging discs in my neck once again ( 3 times in one year!) Each time it seems to take about 6 weeks to resolve itself. The last time it happened , I spent over a thousand dollars on naturopath, chiropracter, massage, physiotherapy and acupunture. Nothing works unfortunatly. They all say the same thing, there is nothing they can do for me, I just have to manage the pain and wait for it to fix itself. So a few advil and a demerol, then wait for it all to kick in and I have about 2 painfree hours to work with with before it all wear off. I then have to wait an hour before I can take more and it takes about another hour for it to kick in. Slowly but surely, I am making some progress. I'm off to paint the kitchen now, wish me luck, I suck at painting!

This post is linked to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home Sweet Home

If you have been reading my other blog Wyldestone Cottage then this is old news to you, but as this blog is more my personal story than the other, I wanted to document whats been going on as of late.

I finally have my own float home!!! All these years of blogging where I kept going on about how I wanted to build or find a floathome and it finally happened. I am over the moon!!

Home Sweet Home

Back in June, I found out that Davids other floathome that had been moored up in Mission had been seized by the baliff for non-payment of moorage fees. The tenants that had been staying there were involved in illegal activities, got busted and ran for the hills. When David went to check on things he found the notice from the baliff tacked to the door. He couldn't come up with the money to pay the bill and was going to lose the house, so I said, "if I can pay the bill, may I have the house?". He agreed and I went about begging everyone I knew to lend me the money. My Dad and best friend Daryl, came up with the majority of the money for me and the bill got paid just in the nick of time.

It took almost another month before I could get the house towed back here to Mitchell Island. I had to wait for the tugboat operator to get his boat fixed and for the tides to cooperate so we could rearrange the marina to make a spot for me. In the meantime, I was spending every day packing up my stuff at Diana's house and dragging it over here to store in the back of the shop. I managed to load and unload 6 vanloads of stuff over the period of a few weeks. Finally on July 14th, Steve and David were ready to go and get the house.

I was extremely excited and nervous at the same time. The freshet was still running quite hard, they were doing this with just one boat, and if anything went wrong coming under any of the bridges, I could have lost everything. I didn't want them risking their lives for me and my house, so spent the day praying as hard as I could that everything would go smoothly. I had David phone every hour or so and keep me updated on their progress. They had 60 km of river to navigate with strong tides to contend with.

They made much better time then any of us anticipated. I got a call around 4 pm to tell me they were coming through New Westminster. I jumped in my car and raced up there to see if I could get some pictures of them coming through the bridges. They were moving so fast, that by the time I got there, I only managed to grab a quick shot of them passing under the last bridge. I tried to keep up in the car, but they were flying down the river, so I beelined it back to the marina to double check that everything there was ready for them to dock when they arrived.

My first view of the house going down the river

The last of the bridges conquered

Lots of nervous anticipation and then suddenly there they were, coming around the last corner.

Passing in front of the condos across from us

A few more minutes and Steve had swung the house around and got it lined up with the docks.
A few helping hands to guide it into place and my home was home safe and sound. I was ecstatic to say the least. Everything went smoothly for them, the trip was uneventful, unlike the night we brought the Lucky 7 home, thank god! That night was too much drama, I thought we were all going to die.

The house sat for about a week at the very end of the docks while David finished rearranging things here to find me a better spot. Originally, I was to go on the inside of his house, but there is so much mud in there, it would take forever to clear a spot, so in the end I got put in behind his house and the 40 foot barge. I love this spot as it is right at the foot of the ramp and means I have the least amount of docks to stumble over to get stuff loaded into the house.

The previous tenants had left a virtual mountain of crap behind in the house, so I spent the first week, hauling all their stuff out and cleaning the whole place. It was a HUGE job. I literaly moved a ton ( 2000 lbs) of stuff in one day. ( I know because I weighed it!) It was back breaking work that I hadn't counted on before I could get on with the business of moving my own stuff in. Then I had to wait a few more days until the tides cooperated and gave us some water during daylight hours to finally get on with my move.

Last Wednesday, I borrowed a large panel truck from our neighbor and hired some helping hands and the great move began to get my storage lockers unloaded. We did two loads Wednesday night and another four early Thursday morning and finaly, all my stuff is under one roof. This is like Christmas for me, I haven't seen some of this stuff for 3-10 years. I can't wait to see it all again.

My house is not actually a house. It was designed as a workshop and had no kitchen or bathroom area. There are two rooms in the front of the house that are somewhat finished, a huge unfinished space in the middle and two rooms in the back (these will be a workshop and craft room.) The upstairs has one finished room on one end, a huge space in the middle and a smallish loft on the other side. I have my work cut out for me but have most of what I need to do the job. I have been collecting stuff from the free section of craigslist for the last year and have probably eighty percent of what I need to finish the job. Some doorskins and paint will be my first expenses as I try and get the two front rooms ready to live in. The next project after that will be to rearrange a wall or two and get my bathroom framed and plumbed in. By that point it will be a livable space and the rest will get done when I have time and money.

It is SO AWESOME to have elbow space again. I am capable of living in small confined spaces but I am really liking the variety of rooms to play in. I have already started on my beduoin tent themed room upstairs. I am loving it so much I am having a hard time leaving it to work on the rest of the house. I will be spending a lot of time in there in the future. I'll be back soon with some updates, right now its a lot of grunt work, shuffling stuff around, ripping down tacky wall coverings and trying to find neccesary tools buried in my boxes. I've taken this week off work to try and make some headway, so back to the grindstone before work comes along to distract me.

I'm a river rat again and I LOVE IT!!!

So come on in and let me give you the grand tour ( I have to say, I have a whole new apprectiation for real estate photographers, I couldn't get a whole room in one shot so these pictures are really hard to get a good idea of what the place really looks like. I think I will have to do a walk through with a video camera)

The view through the front door, this room will be my tempory kitchen, there is a tiled corner for a woodstove, the other room is just to the right, the door you see ahead leads out into the main area of the house

Looking to the left of the same room, I have already taken down the wallpaper in these pics.

Same room, wall to the left

Same room looking back to the front door

The ceilings in the two front rooms look like this

Looking into the second room ( I don't have any other decent pics of that room to show you, it has two windows)

Coming through the kitchen door and looking right( the wall on the left, I want to push back 5 feet and build my bathroom and a walk in closet in the space. I want to put a door from the second front room into the bathroom so that if I ever needed/wanted, the front half of the house could be a separate self contained suite)
Looking to the left is the staircase to the upstairs bedroom with a space for wood storage

Looking straight ahead you can see a fraction of the unfinshed space that will one day be a kitchen , living room. The two doors at the back are my tool/craft room(on the left) and workshop on the right

A picture from the back end of that room looking back towards the bathroom area

From the other corner looking back towards the staircase and front rooms

My tool /craft room with stairs up to the loft, looking in from the doorway

Looking to the left, I have a lovely view of the river out that window, my big desk will be going there
a view from the loft

Looking back into the room from the base of the stairs

The other room that will be my workshop right now has shelves on both sides. I am using these to store my hardwood flooring for now, once the flooring has been used, I will take down the shelves and open up the room to set up my lathe etc.

The bedroom above the front rooms, soon to be my beduion lounge

In between this room and the loft space is a huge room about 40 x16 feet that at the moment is stuffed full of my boxes, so couldnt get a good picture, and forgot to before the movers showed up.

My wonderful crew of movers, still smiling after moving my mountain of stuff

Casper is a happy cat, he has a new friend, Davids cat Smoochie, they get along like peas in a pod, so cute!

I still can't believe I managed to manifest my dream home, I'm looking forward to many years of joy and happiness within those walls and the joy of knowing I will never have to pack up my belongings again!

I'm linking this post to Cindy's Show and Tell Fridays