It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about the renovations.  Mostly it’s just been a few status updates on facebook. So here’s where we are, then working backwards:


The cabinets were ordered from Ikea and installed by Graham Galeote, the “go to” installer for customized Ikea kitchen work. Here are a few suggestions on what order to do your stuff. First, call Graham to find out when he’s available. We waited until after the demolition of the old kitchen and were shocked to hear in May that he was booking for August. But, if you’re flexible and can spread it out over a few days, he’s pretty good about working you in.

Second, when measuring yourself, double and triple check before you place your order. Robert at Ikea asked me twice about the width of my hood fan cabinet and I kept saying it was the right measurement. The software can be a bit wonky so double check before you go to place your order. After we ordered, I re-measured and it was in fact too narrow. We had to buy the new one, wait for the large order to be shipped, find all the pieces and then go back to Ikea. So lots of extra trips.

Third, get ideas from Graham before you place your order. He had some good ideas that you might have adapted (we didn’t), but it’s too late if you’ve already placed your order. He does like to see what you’re planning, and the Ikea kitchen guys can print off multiple copies for you. Graham also can receive the electronic file.

Four, Graham’s not an e-mail guy. Definitely follow up by phone.

For the counter top, we opted to go with granite. Graham gave us a quote, which was spot on. He sent us off to Solid Decorum in Aylmer. Dave and Nathaniel were very professional. The prices are good because they don’t have any slimy sales people in a retail location. It’s by appointment only, and you basically walk into their warehouse. You need to pay half up front, half on installation. Will let you know how that goes after next week.

The electrical work is almost done. Our electrician is returning this week to put the juice to the outlets and install fixtures. Then we’ll have a stove again! and the fridge can move to its new location.

Initially we were going to go with a darker wood floor from Barwood (recommended by our architect) throughout the addition and into the old part of the kitchen. But then we wouldn’t have been able to use the Adel medium brown cabinetry from Ikea. We had dropped by several times and had quite good service. But when I asked about getting a quote, everything changed. I was asked to bring in our drawings and speak to the estimator. The estimator clearly didn’t know how to read the drawings and insisted on coming into the house to do the estimate. No matter how many times we told him it’s not the whole house, he kept saying he didn’t understand the drawings. He got on my nerves so much, that we decided to find the flooring elsewhere.

We visited Hunt Club Flooring and Continental, where we were treated with a lot more respect. But we still weren’t able to find the perfect match. They did say we could go with natural maple, which would eventually yellow over time.  Then I remembered hearing about a flooring place in the outskirts of Ottawa that sold factory direct. I asked around the office and nobody could remember the name or location.  A few days later while we were antiquing in the Glebe an OC Transpo bus drove by with an ad on the back. It said hardwood flooring factory direct prices from 99 cents per square foot. We raced to catch up so that we could read the company name.

In the end, price and a perfect colour match won out at Estate Flooring (also known as Kultur) in Renfrew. It’s a bit of a pain to get to and you do have to arrange your own delivery (we found a great deal on a cargo van rental), but if you have old yellowed maple floors, they really do have the best colour match we saw in Ottawa.  A few pieces weren’t ready when promised, but they arranged for delivery at no charge to us, and threw in the stain for free because of the delay. I’d say allow 4 weeks from the time you visit to get your entire order if it includes treads or stairs.

We hummed and hawed a lot about transitions, and in the end opted to keep them in maple. At the entry way, I had grand visions of making a centrepiece tile at Gotta Paint, then tiling around it. Our main contractor recommended a visit to the Tile Centre on Churchill. They were very helpful and we ended up going with travertine.

Another big decision was what to do for window and door trim. Because we’d found such a perfect colour match for the flooring, we decided to continue the larger baseboards of the older part of the house into the kitchen and addition. MDF and pine don’t seem to exist in such a large, plain and simple profile, so we started to shop around for prices on Douglas Fir, to match the exist trim. We lucked out while browsing at Classic Wood Mouldings on Colonnade Rd. They had leftover fir from a custom job and sold it at a much-reduced price. Then Dave let us know how much more we’d need to buy at full price.

Randall’s Paints was able to provide us with the colour match stain for the Adel medium brown. The one in Bell’s Corners now has it on file. Rob stained all that fir and then clear coated it. Some of it has been installed and it looks great.

Kitchen Demolition:

The second round of demolition took place on the May long weekend. The guys were already taping off the entrances to the old kitchen, but tearing down plaster walls and ceiling is a m


essy and hazardous job. We realized that the return vent that was tucked behind the stove is actually shared with the computer room. We learned this when all the dust was appearing in the computer room. Only minimal collateral damage was incurred, at the ceiling of the computer room. The drywall taper was able to fix this area and some damage in the bathroom that was linked with installing the sub-floor upstairs.

Getting rid of the waste was a bit more challenging because Rob had to take it out in buckets instead of using the window. The old kitchen cabinets were only MDF so we bashed the crap out of them with the crowbar.  We made an interesting discovery in the dead space between the wall and the last cabinet.

Building up and breaking through

It’s amazing how things take shape. At each stage of the process the rooms got smaller and smaller. When we saw the hole we thought it was too big, then the footprint made it smaller. Then when walls went up and the floor was added, the area seemed smaller again. Then the main floor walls went up and the roof trusses were installed, and it seemed cathedral like again. And while all this happened, I cleaned 461 bricks to be re-used on the addition wall.

The original plans called for Hardie board, but because I really wanted to have some brick on the addition. We decided that all brick would be too overpowering, and went half brick, half vinyl, with limestone as a transition. The vinyl ties in the existing dormer and the garage.

Pictures will follow once I get them all organized.