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So there we were. A week away from our rental ending and no where else to go. Our reno, which was supposed to have taken only 6-8 weeks (that was my schedule…to be fair Daniel DID say Christmas and I kept saying never), was no where near where it should be.
To begin, our permit took a long time, longer than we were expecting. So did the asbestos abatement. What was supposed to take only 4 days, turned into 2 weeks. They had to remove the drywall from the entire house. That is when things really took a turn.
Next, the framing was TERRIBLE! Nothing was holding the roof up. Many of the exterior walls were not nailed down. Interior walls fell over with a slight nudge. The entire second floor landing was resting on a GLASS DOOR! (For non-construction people, there should be headers to support doors). Many joists were simply hanging in mid air, and an entire second floor addition (or so we guessed) was resting on a single 2 x 4, which was twisted, rather than a post and beam like it should have.
At one point, the floor in the master bathroom fell through, just like in the money pit, and all Daniel could do was laugh.
We also discovered the electrical system had been chewed to bits by rats (as evidenced by a rat skeleton still stuck to a wire), and the heating system was not adequate for the space. Due to the fact that we were using a permit, everything had to be done correctly and to code. That is a good thing…but also an expensive thing. New framing. New electrical. New heating. Oh and did I mention all the new plumbing?
Thankfully…Daniel is a framing carpenter. Had he not been, we might have had to move into a shack. The work it took to re-frame almost the entire house took AGES. Daniel would get off work, head straight over to the house, and work until 10-12pm (depending on the sound involved). What was originally only supposed to take a few days, took a couple of months.
Meanwhile, I was acting as a single parent to what would affectionately be known as the Surrey Curry Killer House.
A few days before we had to be out of the previous rental, I managed to track down the only AIRBNB rental within a 45 minutes drive of the kids school and the new house. We were so desperate to find somewhere to live, that I walked through the house on my own in a manner of seconds, and figured it was as good as any. It was deep within a neighboring city and had a very strong smell of curry. I love curry, one of my favorite foods, but definitely a challenging smell all the time in your home when you are not use to it.
How did the “killer” aspect get involved? Two reasons. The first? Well, the house had a weird set up. We entered from the back through a mudroom door. At the front of the house it appeared they had drywalled the front door shut. You could see windows and a front door from the street, but within the house where you assumed the door should be, it was just a detailed aspect of the wall.
One day while walking down the side of the house, however, I noticed something strange. The front of the house was a good 15ft further than where the kitchen, which we THOUGHT was at the front of the house, started. I quickly realized there was a SECRET ROOM at the front of the house! Ahhh!! Needless to say, the I-watched-too-many-horror-movies-as-a-kid person inside of me immediately called Daniel and my closest friend, freaked out! It is only obvious that serial killers live in secret rooms. In the end, however, I made the grown-up decision to ask the landlord what was there. She calmly explained it was a room with a bathroom and a bed where she use to live. Ohhhhhkaaaaayyyyy…..not sure that helped or not. This is the photo she sent me…looks nice for a secret room….
Another day, I was doing something in the kitchen and noticed the kids playing with a doll. The house had come furnished so I assumed they were playing with some toy they found. I walked over and immediately got freaked out. This is what I found.
Again. I clearly watch too many movies…and all this time on my own had turned me just a bit nutty. But wouldn’t you be freaked out finding this doll? I later found out it was some sort of special doll…but at the time, thoughts of Chucky came flooding in.
Meanwhile Daniel continued to work hard at the framing so we could finally get to interior work. Obstacle after obstacle kept arising, including insane delays, product issues, and even a trade’s person’s death (not at our house).
Little did we know, our BIGGEST obstacle was about to come our way. Find out more at Big Family Renovations – Part 3!
To see how our kitchen turned out, click here!
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