December 5, 2014

The Not So Fun Stuff

Looking back, 2014 has been an incredible year at our Cabin Up North.  We went from a 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom, a front entry, a new deck, new flooring throughout, a nearly new kitchen... the change is pretty amazing. But all that doesn't even give you guys a full picture of the work we've accomplished.  As most homeowners know, any renovation combines the fun decor and layout stuff, with the not so fun fixes and upgrades to utility and performance.  So lest you guys think we were lazy and could have gotten much more accomplished this year, here's a list of the not so fun projects we also took on Up North this year.

Our little cabin comes with a 3 foot crawl space underneath, which can be accessed through a trap door in the linen closet.

Unfortunately, this little space looked as though it was treated like a dumping ground for decades.  The space was full of dozens of old pallets, broken insulation, and just trash.  This is actually a "during" photo, that doesn't give you a full picture of how gross this space really was.

Gross and dangerous, as who wants all that flammable trash hiding in piles under their house? So for 2 or 3 solid weekends we devoted to trash removal (more than 15 huge bags!) and clean up.  Which left us with this.

But the point wasn't just to clean up.  There was little-to-no insulation in this space, allowing all the cold air and moisture to raise through the ceiling, making for a really cold cabin floor.  So Super Dad started by covering the floors with a moisture barrier:

And then we had a company come in and spray the walls with insulation.

The change will be pretty massive in our heating bill, but not as fun, as say, new duvets or decor. 

We did the same No Fun Work up in the attic.  Although I spent time up in that godforsaken attic nearly every weekend we visited the cabin this year, I somehow didn't come back with a single photo. No photographic evidence to prove that we installed venting shoots into the eves and then covered the entire attic with new bats of insulation.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  It was expensive, time consuming process, and it was no fun.

The next no fun project was the boiler covers.  Our cabin has boiler heat, which is really efficient, but the old, cream colored heating element covers were rusty, stained and a huge eye sore once we put in the crisp new white trim and new floors.  We started by removing them all and hosing them down.

Next I had to sand them all down by hand to remove the rust, years of paint drops and dirt.

And finally, I lined them all up and gave them about 7 coats of crisp white spray paint.
This is a before picture, obviously.
But life isn't fair, and some parts of the covers can't be removed from the wall without cutting copper pipes, so some weekend this winter I'll need to spend a little more time painting the rest of the covers, as evidence below.

But check out that color difference already- huh?
The last of our not-so-fun projects was the gutters.  The new configuration of the deck left us with this awkward gutter scenario.

Not only was the placement bad, but these babies were in rough shape.

It wasn't cheap, but my parents invested in nice, new leaf guard gutters, which not only look shinny white and great, but should prevent us from having to climb the roof each weekend to
scoop out thousands of leaves.

So there's our little insight into where the time and money goes when you're working on a big reno.  We're lucky that my Dad has really concerned himself with things that we can do for the long term health of the cabin.  Maybe he doesn't trust my decision making to invest in insulation when I want to buy pillows, (wise man), but he's making sure that for generations to come this cabin is as self sufficient and maintenance free as it can be.  Which means I can buy more pillows.  You know, the important stuff.

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