There will always be more things to do, but we have created a 3-bedroom house that’s cool in summer and snug in winter and a back yard that’s providing salad and the occasional raspberry, as well as more not-yet-ripe tomatoes than I can count on the sun-baked third floor deck.
But after a final adventures that included painting the pitted wooden front door a delicious shade of rich, rich red, and redoing the wood and brass door number that came with the house, it’s time to say goodbye.
To recap, we started a year and a bit ago with a 1910 Toronto semi that had lost most of its charm in a 1970s reno that introduced beige jacuzzi tub, recessed light fixtures and ugly baseboard radiators. There was one bathroom, plus one in the basement that I still shy away from, and no air conditioning. But the structure was sound and the location sang.
We ended with a super-snug house that combines traditional and modern in a way that works like a dream. The kitchen and bathroom are modern, practical and beautifully designed, and we stroked in a modern powder room in the sun room off the kitchen. But we recreated the original trim in every room and combined modern and traditional with a sleek black pellet stove insert set into a rebuilt traditional mantlepiece. I’m amazed how warm it keeps the house.
We have new, built-in closets that recently sprouted funky LED lighting so we can actually see what’s there, a crazily expensive bathroom vanity and extra closet space in every room. I think there’s one closet, in the spouse’s office, that isn’t even used for anything.
Behind the scenes, we put in more insulation than anyone has any right to add, as well as triple-glazed fiberglass windows and new wiring and plumbing throughout. We used salvaged, refinished old cast-iron radiators and added luxurious underfloor heating in kitchen and bathroom. Lighting is mostly LED, which means hydro bills are mostly small. (OK, I’ve not seen the bill for this air conditioning heavy month yet)
Outside, a weeds-and-concrete back yard has given way to classy brick paving stones, and a small square foot vegetable garden. The herbs are going crazy and I haven’t even used the fennel yet. How do people with real vegetable gardens cope with the produce?
My thanks to you for following along, and my special thanks to the amazing spouse for his hands-on overseeing, managing and leading the transformation. We renovated a whole house, and we’re still married. This is good.
For more on the garden, its produce, and my other extra-curricular activity please check out my canning blog, which is all about trying to cook local, preserve the season and experiment with food.
Good bye, good luck.
It’s been quite a ride.