Friday, December 14, 2007

Sub(versive)-floor removal

Nope, floors aren't installed yet. We had to remove some stone tiles from the entranceway and while pulling up the actual tiles was fairly easy and only took a few hours, the plywood subfloor is a nightmare. S spent 4 hours on it yesterday and not even one piece is up yet (looks like there are 4 small pieces). It turns out it is nailed down but that's not the problem....the problem is that the nails are hidden beneath the left over caulking and glue so we have to guess where the are and basically chip away the caulking to find each nail. Wow. Patience is a virtue right?

In other breaking news, I have done quite a bit of Christmas shopping so far. I checked off 4 more gifts last night with a trip to Oscar's Art Books after work. It is a great bookstore and they had a great sale on. Y'all should check it out - it's on Broadway, on the north side just west of Granville. Skip the Chapters across the street if you can and head straight to Oscar's.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oops, I forgot

My blogging skills are apparently very rusty. I'm not really sure how I managed to blog (almost) every day for 5 years.

Anyway, it's been 2 months since we moved into our new home. Renovations are going...slowly. We got all new stainless steel appliances, bottom freezer fridge, ceramic top stove (with warming element in the middle - which we use ALL the time), and a new dishwasher (which seems to fill up very quickly). They look great and immediately gave the kitchen a shot of "moderning." We had to hire a plumber to install the dishwasher which was a bit of a pain because the first guy bailed on us because he "couldn't find any parking" and we wasted a couple of weeks waiting for him to reschedule. Which he never ended up doing. We also bought and installed a new clothes dryer. It took a bit of fiddling to get the vent hooked up but it wasn't difficult.

We also ordered some Bamboo Strand flooring from Plyboo (via Greenworks). However, it's been 2.5 weeks and it still hasn't come in. S has had to go back to work (P/T for now) so having the floor done before Christmas isn't looking good. A lot of other things seem to depend on having the floor in so everything else is on hold. We want to paint after the floor is in because the bamboo will likely change the light and tone in the room. We pulled out a cabinet/shelving unit that sat between the kitchen and dining area. It came out fairly easily and really opens things up. We've also gotten some prices on counter tops...damn they are expensive! I still like the poured concrete option but we've also been looking at granite. Last weekend we decided we are going to raise the breakfast bar so that will take a bit of work before we can order the countertops. We have also decided to leave the grey ceramic tiles in the kitchen for now. We may replace them eventually but for now they work fine. I'm interested in learning more about Marmoleum.

So, we're moved in and happy with lots to do.

Perhaps I should change the privacy settings on this blog so other people can actually read it. There is nothing like pressure and guilt to keep one blogging regularly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Groan, whine, moan

There is nothing like a little moving to smack me into reality about how out of shape I am. After 3 days of moving and running up and down stairs I'm worn out. And we aren't even moved in yet. We've been trying to move a little bit at a time and have rented a U-haul for this coming Saturday. Kyra and Sam helped out heaps today and even arrived with a lovely house warming gift basket. We also now have a lovely new king sized bed all set up which is just begging to be slept in. Not yet though. It will have to wait until Sunday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just a little while longer now...

Wow. We received news today that we get possession a couple of days early. This is splendid news because it means we have an extra weekend to move. Two whole days with both of us available to move. We are trying to book some cleaners to come in on the morning we take possession so it will be spick and span for us. Hopefully VanClean is available on such short notice.

Still no decision on the floors or paint colours. We need to be in the space I reckon. To know what feels right. It's all so touchy feely (but true).

We haven't picked out appliances yet either. However, we have decided to go for all stainless steel. Yes, we actually did consider just getting plain white. Heaven forbid! No stainless steel?? ALL the cool kids buy stainless. So yeah, we're going to be cool. Oh, and we both love the freezer on the bottom idea. One question , oh wise ones, why are they so much more expensive??

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I've been packing a lot over the past week. I have several towers of boxes in my apartment. My cat, Carmen, thinks it's great. Me? Not so much.

Even though it's a pain, seeing all those boxes keeps me excited about unpacking them in the new place. I booked a moving truck for one day to move all the furniture. We are going to try and move most of the boxes in the car over a week. I also need to book the carpet cleaners to come in before we get a lot of furniture in. And we haven't even chosen paint colours or decided 100% on a new floor. Argh! We are leaning towards Bamboo quite heavily now though. S saw some floors today by Teragren. The really nice ones are apparently all solid though. Because we have concrete below the carpet we have to install a floating floor which means engineered hardwood rather than solid. I think we could install sub-flooring first but so far noone has advised us of that.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Because I live in a fairly small apartment alone I've never felt the need to set up a wireless connection or network. However, now that we (not just me) will have 2 whole floors of space, I would like to go wireless. I've got my eye on the Apple Airport Express. It's small, cute and sounds like exactly what we need. I hope to buy one before we move to check it out and make sure I can make it work. I'm not as geeky as I used to be.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


After more telephone tag we have our home insurance set up. It was fairly cheap - under $400.00 for the year. I'm not sure what I was expecting but it seems cheap. I think because it's a townhouse and we do have strata/building insurance it's not as expensive as detached house insurance. That's just a guess.

I didn't start packing on Monday as I wanted to. Too busy and still fighting a cold that is sucking my energy. Oops, I've lost 2 days already. I will start before the end of the week. I promise.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moment of panic

We had a moment of panic the night before last when we got an email from our realtor saying we needed to get home insurance effective IMMEDIATELY. Ummm ok. It's 11pm on a Sunday night and we close Monday morning at 9am. Not a whole lot of time to set up insurance. We are in a unique situation with our closing and possession dates so insurance plans have been a bit convoluted. After a few phone calls however I (think) we are covered for what we need. Remember to check what is covered by the building insurance and work your personal contents insurance around that. It can make a difference. I think it's sort of funny that I have never had contents insurance when I rented yet I now suddenly feel my stuff is worthy of insurance. Ironic as I will probably have less money to buy "stuff" now than I did before.

I'm going to start packing tonight.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I mentioned a few posts ago that closing costs add a big bill onto an already scary big mortgage bill. We pay the final costs on Monday morning and then it's official. More official than it is now. Then I will start packing. I've resisted the urge to start packing but the boxes I've already started hoarding at my desk at work will definitely make their way home next week. Less than a month to pack! A lifetime for some....just the right amount of time for me. When I pack, even though I have very little to pack, I inevitably discover something I forgot I had or start flipping through old books or photos. I can't help it. It happens every time I move. I bet it happens to most people. So....plan for walking down memory lane when you pack and you will have lots of time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


We're trying to be as green as possible in planning our renovations. It's amazing to learn how something you thought was entirely environmentally friendly can be harmful to people due to toxic glues or other materials used in the construction. Like bamboo flooring for example. You have to specifically seek out non toxic bamboo flooring. I didn't know that but I'm learning a lot more as we go along.

One thing I'm really digging is concrete counter tops. They are non-toxic, very green, very durable and look great. And the bonus is that they aren't over the top expensive. We went to Greenworks Building Supply on W. 8th last weekend and saw some interesting samples of countertops and other materials, like PaperStone and IceStone.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Planning

Even though we don't close for a few days I've already started planning a few things. Actually, we have already started shopping for hardwood floors, appliances and paint colours. We also started using an online room planner. Ikea has one as well but it doesn't work on a Mac. One strike against the Swedes. The one we are using is so far fine but for some strange reason I can't seem to find a bathroom section. Weird...

Anyway, I put together a few excel spreadsheets to keep track of our closing costs, create a moving checklist and create a new home to-do list. First up on the list: we need to replace the outlets in both bathrooms to GFCI outlets. I had no idea what that meant a week ago. Buying a home has made me smrt. Of course, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms will be the first things we do. And have the downstairs carpet cleaned. I found Green Maids Canada online but I still want to shop around. Does anyone know of any enviro friendly, non chemical carpet cleaning companies in Vancouver? I've seen trucks driving around with oranges on them but I'm not sure what the name of the company is.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Welcome Home

It's been a long(ish) haul. After about 4 months of looking at properties, being outbid twice, being turned down once, we finally had an offer accepted on a townhouse.

We removed 3 pages of subjects on August 17, 2007. We signed the "removal document," visited the bank the next day to sign off on our mortgage details and hired a notary public to handle the rest. Closing date is August 27. The inspection was done on August 15. Home inspection that is. Yep, I'm buying a home. There is no turning back now. I've already begun to frown at price tags and walked away from things "because I have a mortgage now." I hope that ends soon. I don't want to live my life house poor. I hope to never utter the following statements:

"Sorry, I can't do that because I have a morgage."
"Sorry, I can't eat there, I have a mortgage."
"Umm sorry, but are you not aware that I have a mortgage?"

I recommend that people heed the warning that closing costs are surprisingly high. The Property Transfer Tax (PTT)* alone is a killer.

It feels good to be in the market. In Vancouver and in a home we both love.

*NOTE: If you are a first time home buyer and your property is under 375,000 the government waives this tax. Unfortunately, I didn't qualify.