First things first...


We did so much demo!  I know I posted about this before, but then I kind of fell of the face of the blogosphere so I wanted to start over with posting this journey.  We saved about $2,000 in labour etc. by demoing the bathroom, kitchen and floors ourselves.

The first picture is from the kitchen.  We had to pull off drywall and flooring right down to the studs.  You can see the subfloor is littered with large holes.  This was unexpected and had to be repaired.  The second picture is from the hallway looking into the bathroom.  There were three layers of vinyl flooring in there!  Three!  It took forever to pull it all off.  Also.  Wallpaper.  So. Much. Wallpaper.  I have so much to say about wall paper I'll save that for another post.

The third photo is another shot of the kitchen.  The big red bucket saved us!  Even after the water was turned off, this shut off valve just kept leaking!  We had to dump it every day.  We did get the plumber in eventually to fix it when we were relocating things for the new sink and dishwasher, but sheesh, it was a bit ridiculous for a while there.


The Kitchen...

This is what the kitchen looked like when we bought the place.  

Two windows that don't open, and are not in functional positions, a dishwasher that was the tenants (sink connect style), a sink and electric stove/oven that were apartment sized.  A very skinny and tall fridge in a cubby and three free standing ikea shelving units.

Do you see?  How much crap the tenants had all over the counters.  That's because there is absolutely zero storage!  Okay, okay, not zero...but impractical and not enough storage.  There's also not a lot of good usable counter space.

There is hardwood floors here, but it's really cheap and installed really poorly.  It was put over top of existing flooring which lift about an inch transition step in between the dining room and living room.

Here is a snap of the dining room that is the corner of the L of the kitchen and living room.  It has the same floors in the kitchen and a beautiful large window letting in so much light.

The layout and the windows are what sold us!


The Bathroom....

This is what we started with:

Right?  Right?

This is awful.

That shower is so dark it's like a cave.  The vanity has this curtain hiding storage, not shelves, just empty storage space.  Light fixtures that don't work together and a ceiling fan that was vented into the attic.  The attic!  That's no cool.  Should we talk about the floors?  Because that blue and white sticky vinyl is pretty great.  Obviously it all had to go!


Appliance Rebate

Before moving in, we are doing some pretty extensive renovations.  Namely our kitchen and bathroom.  The kitchen was pretty dismal.  It had a poor layout, no dishwasher, a pocket fridge and an apartment size stove/oven in an IKEA plug and play counter.

We decided to upgrade all of the appliances and eventually decided on the GE slate line.  

So pretty! 

Our set is close to this but instead of a microwave we have a chimney hood vent and our fridge ice maker is on the interior.

Now, on to the appliance rebate.  I checked the BC Hydro site - and it turns out that they were having a refrigerator rebate program on.  I applied, and about six weeks later, found out that I was approved for $100.  

I decided for a bill credit rather than a cheque, and should see that on a future bill in the next month or so.  Woo hoo!  


Managing Electricity Usage

Managing our electric bill is a priority for both Jordan and I.  To start, Jordan and I have upgrade appliances to energy efficient ones.  During this summer and our renovation phase, the breaker for all of the baseboard heaters has been turned off - and we plan on managing which are turned back on, and what temperatures very carefully come the fall and winter months.  The next big thing that we've done is upgrade all of the lighted to LED.

We went with integrated fixtures where possible and in total have spent $1,120 on those and LED bulbs.  This includes our bathroom vanity and ceiling light, three exterior lights (including one motion sensor light), our dining light, and five just basic all the same fixtures.  For the latter we went with Costco's Cloudraker lights - can't say enough good things about them.

Some folks might be inclined to suggest that we should have just upgraded lights as bulbs died or what have you - but with all the other renovations, it made sense just to do it all at once.  I did keep all of the old fixtures that were pulled out and am going to try to sell them on my local classifieds site.

How do you guys manage your electricity consumption?


Annual Utilities

I've never lived anywhere before that had annual utility bills. It's interesting.  Also, it was a bit of a surprise.  After taking possession of our new house, we paid for the year (pro-rated).  Here's the breakdown:
  • Garbage - $125.04
  • Recycling - $31.08
  • Water - $246.60
  • Sewer - $313.20
Hydro (electricity) is billed every other month, so time will tell what we can expect there.  |The source of heat for the house we bought is baseboard electric.  It\s 100% efficient, but electric heat is pretty expensive.  My cousin lives a few blocks from our house, with the same heating and they pay around $300/month.  They are on an averaging program....so I'm expecting an expensive winter.

Do any of you have annual utilities?  How to you manage it?


Coffee Cake

Guys!  You need to try this cake.

For my birthday this year, I was craving coffee cake.  No, no, no.  Not the cake that you have with coffee, cake that tasted like.

Not sure where or why I got this idea, but it stuck.  I googled, and googled, and googled and eventually found what I was craving.  A real coffee cake, on The Pioneer Women's website.

I'm not going to copy/paste the recipe for you, but if you're interested, just click the link above.

I will tell you that instead of using  instant coffee, we used real coffee and added instant to that.

So.  Good.



Employment Insurance...Coming to an End

It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since I started my Maternity Leave.  I had left work two weeks before my due date, and went two weeks over due.  So my leave ends with Little Man is just shy of 11 months old.  When I say left work, most of you know that it wasn't a mutual separation.  I was advised when my leave was starting that my department was shutting down and I wouldn't have a job to come back to.


When my EI stops mid-September, my severance kicks in.  I haven't looked at the paperwork for a while, but it's about six months of my old salary.  I'm really looking forward to that - to help pay off some of the over runs of the renovations and to top up some of our savings funds.  It will feel good to go into the New Year on the right foot and that sure will help.

I've started looking for jobs in our new town - the first fell through, but I'm excited about a couple more contract opportunities that are on the horizon.

Wish our little family luck as our financial landscape changes, changes again, and changes some more.


July Spend Report

Here it is!

Groceries was higher than I expected but the previous month it was less...it all averages out eventually.

Most other categories are on track for what we typically spend.

This month has kept us busy with renovations.  I'm excited to start posting some before and after shots now that we are just about finished.  I think just a couple weeks away before we can actually start moving in.

Links ♥