Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We-Design-Day: Mr. TroubleMaker, take down that wall!

Today, excitement happens! Today is Day One of our scheduled six day basement renovation. It is the culmination of six years of planning, 2MB worth of drawing’s, 25 shopping trips, 42 hours searching Kijiji for used items to reduce costs, scope creep, scope reduction, budget cuts, budget additions followed by more cuts. We’ve had a baby, three job changes and one career change but finally, after seven years in our home, we are ready.

Our “Crew” consists of five bodies. Our “boss” is a three year old, hammer swinging terror affectionately named “TroubleMaker”. The labourer is my super patient, extra awesome husband to whom I affectionately call “Hunny Bunny” but because that is neither macho or indicative of his role, we’ll just call him “The Thinker”. The brains of the group is truly my husband but since I’m the designer and manager of this little project, I’d take the title but I know full well that any issues we run into and all the hard stuff will be thought out and planned by my husband. Although the cat and dog have no official role, Max will not like the renovation at all and will likely hide and the cat will do her thing to supervise and get in the way by climbing all the ladders and give us hell from the top rung.

Before the wall came down

We assembled all of our gear prior to starting. Over breakfast, TroubleMaker and I made a list. A list of the tools we needed and the steps we'd take to bring the wall down. Don't forget your safety gear - hearing, eye and body protection. Sure you're doing it at home but that's all the more reason to wear the proper personal protective equipment!


Our son is a machine. He was right in the thick of everything and being a great "halper". He pried, he hauled, he hammered.

The boy and his tools

It was difficult to convince him that he did not need to take any other walls down. He rationalized to us that the other walls were old and therefore, should be replaced. Perhaps he was reading his Dad's blog about things getting older and wearing out!

TroubleMaker Helping

It took us about 5 hours to get it all down and hauled out of the basement. We are right on and maybe even a little ahead of schedule!

Taking it down

One comment I will make is that it took an amazing amount of brute force to get it down. We've noticed a few "funny" things with the construction in our home... It, in most aspects, is great however there are a few things that are "amateur handyman" about the place. The 6" spikes used to nail the wood together... The patch job of the 2x4's used to build this wall are a story themselves. More than half of them had been sawed through at some point before being made into the wall. To compensate, another 2x4 was butted up against it and nailed in place (again with 6" spikes) for stability. The ceiling varies up to 4 inches depending on where you measure it and it all slopes downhill!

Finished Product

Tomorrow is "Day One" of construction. Now that we've got a better view of what we're up against, it means a trip to the home store to get supplies. We are going to piece the carpet and lay our wood floor over it and we are faced with enclosing the handyman special bulkhead and rehanging the entire t-bar ceiling in the studio space. I had hoped to be able to patch it but do to the gross difference in the height, the only option is to remove it and rehang it flush to the adjacent space.

Remember earlier when I said that my awesome husband would likely think us out of any dilemma? Well, he did. I was confused on how we'd move the light switch. It will be re-installed in a few weeks when my step Dad comes and does some electrical for us but we needed to move it in order to take the wall down.

Try as I might, I didn't know how we'd get the wire out of the wood. I was prepared to get a saw and carefully saw through the wood until we broke through to the hole the wire was in. It didn't seem like the safest solution but the only one I would know how to do.

Thankfully, "The Thinker" was there and talked me out of it. Turns out it was a simple turn of a few screws and viola, the wires were disconnected from the box and slipped through. Betcha that saved us a trip to the emergency room!

Although we'll be completing the bulk of the project in the next few days, I'll be featuring each portion of the renovation on the upcoming We-Design-Day features. Thank you for stopping by and we'll see you again next week!

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