We moved here almost five years ago, funnelling the belongings that filled an 1800 square foot house into about 640 square feet. We have been renovating here at Mist Cottage since we moved in, and for five years before we moved in. The only contracted work was to dig up around the foundation to install a drainage system and a water guard, new window installation, and attic insulation. Otherwise all of the labour for our renovations has been done by us. I provide all of the administrative, financial, research, and development aspects of the renovations, as well as all of the domestic necessities, basically keeping the boat afloat while Attila is focused on physical projects.
All of the serious structural issues with the house have been addressed as well as they can be, with the exception of the wiring and plumbing, which still need replacement, or at the very least tweaking. There is a lot of work remaining, in the realm of the cosmetic: gutting the exterior walls on the main floor, wire, insulate, drywall; new back door; new back porch and deck; new flooring in all but kitchen and bathroom; paint walls and ceiling; new kitchen cabinets; new stairs to basement… and the list goes on. I doubt we will ever be finished. But I think that once the basement is organized, renovating will be a more comfortable process than it has been thus far.
The project that Attila began working on in November of 2019, was to build stud walls in the basement, and to install insulation and drywall. He finished that just a few weeks ago, much to our delight.
At last, we are beginning the project of organizing the basement!!!
Since we live here, and our belongings are stored in the basement, reorganizing is not a simple exercise.
Here is an example of how things go. Attila had the heavy filing cabinets pulled away from the wall to do the drywall. The cabinets are difficult to move around, so we decided that painting the floor along the wall would be wise before the cabinets were moved back into place. That took about two weeks, to clean the floor, allow it to dry, apply paint, wait for it to dry, then apply more paint, then wait for that to dry. Attila works full time, in a hot and exhausting environment, and he maintains a sizable garden, so there is limited time and energy available to work on home renovation, so getting all that done in a two week period is commendable.
With the floor painted, the space was now ready to be put into use. It was decided that the tools and items from the garage, that needed to come indoors during the winter, would be stored along the section of wall above the newly painted floor. This involved moving a storage rack which then opened access to the space under the stairs. Soooo, it was decided that this was the best opportunity clean and paint the floor under the stairs, that took two days.
With all the floor paint dry, Attila could then move the storage racks into place, and it took a day to sort through the items and store them on the racks, that took half a day.
Today we finally moved on, to the area of the basement where the freezer sits. In order to move the freezer to the most efficient location, it needed to be plugged in to a different outlet. Attila tested the outlet and found it to be installed incorrectly, the terminals were reversed. Soooo, it was decided that the electrical outlet needed to be reinstalled correctly before moving the freezer. Simple yes? No! It turned out that all of the outlets in that part of the basement were reversed, three more of them. So all of those outlets had to be rewired too. This will take one day, today. Then, when the rewiring is completed, we can move the freezer.
While we are taking these things step by step, the rest of the house is in chaos, because there isn’t a lot of room to place displaced items, while they wait for their “forever home” on a shelf, somewhere in the basement. Another element adding to the chaos is our annual purchase of wheat berries, they are bulky. And then of course, we are harvesting from the garden, and all of the Cucumber Pickles and Zucchini-Pineapple I have been canning, about 50 jars so far, take up a lot of room.
Organizing the basement is going to take a lot of time and effort.
I am so very grateful that all of this chaos is confined to the living room and the basement!!! My kitchen is a bit cluttered, but manageable. The bedroom and bathroom are likewise manageable. We can eat and sleep comfortably, the basics are covered, so we are good.
We are never, ever, bored.
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Thursday 6 August 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Dew point: 14.9°C
Wind: S 19 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
“All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.”
Mary Caroline Richards
1916 – 1999