When we bought our little house eight years ago, we figured we would live here for 5 years then sell & move closer to the downtown. As time passed and the real estate market in this city got nuttier, we realized that plan was not going to work for us and we found we were totally okay with it.
Now that we have been here almost a decade we are finding more home repair jobs that are beyond our ability to fix on our own so we have had to make a list, check it twice of home repairs that will need to be dealt with over the next 10 years.
In April we had a surprise bathroom reno, one morning tiles decided they didn’t want to be attached to the wall any more leading us to discover a pipe in the walls had leaked, soaking the plasterboard. With the assistance of my BIL, the bathroom was taken down to the studs, which is when we found the knob & tube wiring… Initially we figured that this was all there was to be found and as our home is 65 years old, finding some was to be expected. We figured it was a simple bit of minor electrical until we went to isolate the breaker the bathroom ran on, which was when we discovered that the back half of the house ran on 1 breaker and the front was on a 2nd breaker. The only items on their own breaker were the stove, the furnace & the a/c unit…this totally explains why I couldn’t run the toaster and coffee maker, which are on opposite sides of the kitchen at the same time with out tripping the breaker!
With this discovery our initial reno plan had to go on hold until the electrical issues were resolved and we couldn’t resolve them until we had full access to the basement which wouldn’t happen until my sister no longer needed to use the apartment down there…we took comfort in the knowledge that the bathroom looked great and the new tub’s 14″ soaking depth!
Shortly after all of this, my sister got a job closer to her house and left the job she had in the city and her little apartment in our basement. For the first time since we moved in we had the WHOLE HOUSE to ourselves and could deal with the electrical! I was a little light headed with possibility!
The contractor was called in, he insepected the space, budget was discussed, plans were made, a dumpster was ordered and I spent about a week taking my basement down to the cinders.
Before the hammer dropped…
The nicest of the 6 layers of wood paneling. If there hadn’t been wiring issues and the whole basement had been finished with this paneling, we would never have touched it, but as they say “if wishes were horses…”
Some of the other styles of paneling:
While I was tearing down the wall with the sliding door that seperated the bedroom from the living space in the apartment, I found a hinged door had been sealed up in there…Other peoples reno’s often boggle one’s brain.
Deep in the throes of the demo.
One week and two very full dumpsters later, the basement was down to the blocks, electrical was hanging down everywhere and I looked like I had been beaten with a 2×4, which really wasn’t too far off the truth!
Last night the electrician came in to tidy up the wires that were hanging down so the contractor & his crew could safely work with out risk of electrocution. This “little” pile of wires is just the stuff that was hanging down and a small fraction of the k&t.
The basement looks considerably tidier and safer, without all the wires hanging down!
What are we going to do with all this new space? Well, the electrical work will take up the lion’s share of the budget, but since any future reno work will rely on our having proper wiring, we are taking the time & spending the money to have it done right the first time. Luckily, since my house is a bungalow, the majority of the wiring is in my basement ceiling! This makes life way easier for Al, the electrician as everything is exposed and there will be minimal poking of holes in my main floor walls. Neil, the contractor will be building Chris & I a bedroom along the back wall, a utility room to house/hide the furnace & water tank and put up some framing around the other walls so we can drywall down the road when we have some more money. The rest of the space will become a play room for the kids, the old kitchen space will now house my loom & craft supplies, Chris will get a proper painting space for his hobby but most important of all, we won’t be crammed up in the first floor of the house!