Renos-Where to Start #1 The Horror Stories of Inspiration.

You're sitting on the couch, staring at your significant other and you start that infamous conversation,

"So, I was thinking. What if we..."

That's how I started that infamous conversation at least, actually a couple of times. Mine was, 

"So, I was thinking. What if we checked what the flooring looks like underneath the laminate flooring?"

Big, BIG mistake...

We knew we had hardwood flooring, you know, the old kind, that everyone dreams of pulling back the carpet to this wooden oasis of increased property value. Original HARDWOOD flooring! Our new house was old (~100 yrs), so, ya know, there MUST be a gem laying beneath our feet. 

Ohhhhh, NOOOOO! **GASP**

There was a clear reason why they put that oak laminate down. The first 5-10 pieces came up and the flooring underneath looked AMAZING! Character damage I would call it in spots. 

I looked into my wife's eyes,

 "Lets do it!"

I started moving furniture, pulling off base boards, pulling more and more laminate back. 3/4 of the flooring is pulled up, last section remaining. I will never forget that moment. That moment I pulled up that last board to see BLACK! (I actually curled up in a small ball and whimpered)

The floor had heaved and shifted over, you know, the last 100 yrs, and they had pulled up all the boards in this one area and laid down black cement based floor levelling compound. 

Well, UP came the entire FLOOR. 

One layer of laminate, plus floor padding.

One layer of hardwood.

A SECOND layer of hardwood! 3/4" Fir! nope, even worse then the top layer.

Down to the the original sub floor. 

You can see the starting of the black blob of doom in the left hand photo. You can also see my distinct "I'm so glad I..." look. Don't worry, we also updated the drapery during this little project, and the wood panelling, and the door, and...I'll show you later.

I thought to myself,

"We are gaining some serious head room. Vaulted ceilings?"

That was the beginning of our 2016 summer renovation project.

Renovations can begin with a significant amount of planning and preparation, or sometimes they begin somewhat unpredictably due to either your choices or sometimes mother natures. A backed up sewer is always a great initiator of a renovation. Just ask my parents. No matter the spark, an important aspect to consider when diving into renovations is what is the FLAME that will drive you to commit to this project? Sit down, either after that infamous question, but before you see the severely damaged flooring, and go through the following questions:
  1. What are you trying to accomplish with this renovation?
    • Replace damage, structural or code issues, a simple face lift, modernization, preparation for a property sale, a complete gut to up date everything (electrical, plumbing, insulation)? 
    • The reason will substantially effect your timeline, expertise involved, materials and ultimately COST. 
  2. What is the atmosphere or feel you are hoping to create with this new room? 
    • Is this a place to rest and relax, to get work done, to be a family space, warm, cozy, modern, clean? 
    • This is often where I put most of my time when planning a new room or home.  
    • THE FEEL
    • This directs the choice of materials, textures, colours, functionality. 
  3. So, what is the functional purpose of the room? 
    • When trying to figure out what type of vehicle to purchase, my dad always says "Consider what you will be doing with the vehicle 90% of the time? Buy that vehicle." 
    • I'd like a truck, but do I need a truck? Not if I drive to work, get groceries, commute to the city but do a renovation once every two to three years. I can borrow or rent a truck. Heck, buy a utility trailer (better mileage). 
    • The same applies to a room. Do I need to plan on entertaining large groups, cuddling up watching movies, reading, doing work/homework, sleeping etc, some or all of the above
  4. How do all the above then factor into each other? 
    • This then begins to give you guidance into your  materials and budget. You don't necessarily want to lay down $8.00/sq ft dark hardwood if you have a couple of toddlers and a dog. 
    • Tip of the Day: If you want to keep that floor looking as good as new, save the investment to when they no longer drop EVERYTHING!!!  PS: My wife thinks I need to let go of that one...
In the coming weeks we will dive into each of these topics further. What are your renovation horror stories? Share in the comments section.

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