Further Developments

….and so, in the fullness of time, we took possession of the Apple House, and it was good.

A day’s worth of time of a cleaning crew was given unto us, and today they cleaned up the Flies, and the House was no longer the House of Flies, it was rebirthed as the House of Body Hair That The Cleaners Missed.

Lo, a phone call was made, and the cleaning lady was made to return on the morrow to finish the job because SRSLY. The house is empty, you have the time to clean out the insides of the bathroom cabinets. The Word of the Lord, amen.

And in that time it was discovered that the powder room sink leaks terribly, and that the powder room sink cabinet needs to be removed, and a new sink must be purchased, and new taps, and there was much rejoicing, for LO I DO LOVE RENOVATION, and verily this is my jam.

The dessicated poop that was revealed to all in the master bathroom toilet was rehydrated and flushed, praise be unto Me, who used an orange juice jug to refill the toilet, and who laughed the entire time for indeed it was SO GROSS and yet, I did say I wishethed for a challenge.

For thine is thy fixer upper, the power tools and the stories, earl grey tea lattés, amen.


Hello My Name Is

I should probably get around to introducing myself. I’m the OTHER HALF. Mark, by name. Known across a multitude of car forums by.. well, that’s not important, is it?

 And I had originally thought I’d just talk about my thoughts for the house, and my priorities and the fun we were going to have talking out design ideas and… but that’s not the way Janine and I work. And anyone who knows us, knows it. I had my thoughts on the home inspection: my priorities are always the function over form (car too: give me performance, and it can look like hell) first, which means all the nits that are picked (she’s going to change that before this gets posted, mark my words) in a home inspection got a viable, italicized list, with fixes and estimated costs and…

 Screw that. It’s not time for that yet.

 So, lets start here, with Janine’s own words:

Game over, seller.

 Your junk pile is ours.

 It’s mine to turn into a gem, and it’s his to turn into the ultimate support system for the garage. (We have different priorities, and that’s fine, because I respect his garage and he doesn’t say no to my paint choices.) People need boundaries and their own “spaces”.


The statement there isn’t entirely accurate. It’s KIND OF ACCURATE. Yes, the garage is gonna be a definite play thing for me, and yes, there’ll be design stuff to deal with there.

 I do say no to her paint choices. Regularly. At which point, there’s ranting and raving, because I don’t know the difference between oatmeal and creme grey, and dammit, it’s OBVIOUS when you look at it in the 3pm light on a fall day during the equinox. or something.

 I don’t know interior design, is what I’m saying, but I know waht I like. And I know that if I don’t know what something is going to look like ahead of time, I inherently dislike it on the face of the discussion.

 This makes Janine bonkers.

 This making Janine bonkers makes me bonkers.

 You can see why we get along, right?

 There’s currently an ongoing war about whether or not there will be a plethora of pink in the house. It goes like this:

 Janine: I’m going to do this, this and this, it’s these wonderful pink shades

Mark: No pink. Seriously.

Janine: it’s more a salmon/peach type of flavor

Mark: It’s pink. You just said it was pink. it looks pink.

Janine: it won’t in the sun between 3pm and 4pm, in the fall, it’ll look rosy and warm.

Mark: *gets out phone to google* “rosy”. That’s PINK. YOU’RE NOT FOOLING ME.

Janine: it’ll be fine WHY WON’T YOU TRUST MY VISION?

Mark: Because your vision is PINK!

Janine: it’s not!

Mark: it is!

Janine: It’s not!

Mark: It is!


Mark: NO PINK!

 This is only half in jest. It’s at least fifty percent of the truth. Maybe less.

 Mostly, what I’m saying is, we have very different visions, and extremely different ways of attacking projects. She’s talked a bunch about design and color already, both interior and exterior. I’m not really thinking about any of those things. And honestly, despite the somewhat facetious display above, I’m generally fine with what she’s looking at doing, style-wise. She did brilliantly with the townhouse, before we sold it. In reality, our tastes are similar, with hers being more adventurous than mine.

 Where we really differ is the way we attack projects. She is superbly detail oriented. She’s said it herself, she’s a perfectionist, and she gets hung up on the details. I, on the other hand, dig my hands in and sweat.I pre-plan like crazy, and get all my supplies together first. I don’t mind breaking things, I don’t mind building them, and (with a laptop and google handly) I don’t have any issues doing something I’ve never done before. I can get plumbing right… after she points me in the right direction for the correct style fixtures. I’ve done laminate flooring, a deck, spent a summer doing roofing. I worked in landscaping for years, and while my kneejerk reaction to landscaping now is “pave it all”, if you need a tree trimmed or stump dug out I’ll be in there with an ax and shovel and that tree WILL get moved. And I’ll make you some nice lookin’ flowerbeds when it’s done. I’ll fix my own tools where I can, and happily.

 I am king, with a caulk-gun.

And I’ll provide design input where I feel appropriate. Because I can, and it’s not all about the garage.

 I’m looking forward to this house. Janine and I have really disparate views on where it all goes (the kitchen alone is going to cause a multitude of high volume discussions, I’m already sure) but it’s going to be fun along the way. There are design cues throughout the house that I want to pick up, and as she said, the garage will be a thing that gets done in the same way. there’s no need to neglect that space: I plan on spending a lot of time there with friends and fellow enthusiasts. I’m a garage kind of guy. So, it’s gonna be interesting, and useful.

What you’ll probably see from me here (as you may already have guessed) is counterpoint to Janine’s more regular discussions. Also, probably a bunch of step-by-step DIY stuff, and documentation of the colossal fuck-ups I’m undoubtedly going to make. And the garage and basement plans, and probably a lot of landscaping. The individual fixes that are, in and each, minor, but put together, much larger and more time consuming. And the general high-larity that will come from doing all of this, and living the life with Janine.

Planning Ahead

There’s a lot of snow outside, and even more filling up the driveway of the Apple House. Mark and I drove past it while on Christmas vacation, and the city snow plows had given us a seasonal gift of a 4 foot high wall of compacted snow and ice. No one is clearing off the path to the front door either, although some hard core postal worker is still trudging up to the front door to leave fliers. Poor bastard… also, poor us, because we are in for a nightmare of a workout. Thank the LORD I go to the gym.
Despite the fact that it’s the season for hot drinks, mountains of blankets, roaring fireplaces and movie marathons, I think both Mark and I are a bit obsessed with thoughts of spring and the exterior of the house. We were at the house because it had warmed up unexpectedly and snow was melting, and we wanted to know if the snow on the very very messed up roof of the Apple House was melting. We were in for such a great surprise! Despite all the snow we’ve had this winter, the prevailing winds in our new ‘hood picked up the snow from the East roof faces and dumped it all on the West roof faces. The weak spot in the roof, the big crisis spot that we wanted patched so urgently, is on the East side of the house and miracle of miracles, there was only about an inch of snow over that spot. The West side of the house had about a foot of snow, and it was forming an incredibly impressive drift over the front of the house! The Apple House looks like an emo kid with a heavy sweep of bangs hanging in his/her eyes.
I fell in a snowbank. I am a graceful Canadian swan. 
I pulled myself out by holding onto our Subaru Forester. 
When I ran out of station wagon to hold onto, I almost fell back into the snowbank.
Mark couldn’t even look at me, it was so embarrassing to watch.
That’s not the only creeping I’ve been doing, though. I’ve been working on figuring out what to do to improve the exterior of the house. Right now, the house is the worst of the 1980s in Canada. Any Canadian (who would notice these kinds of things) will tell you that in the late ’70s and in the ’80s, there was this insane Canadian civic love affair with dark chocolate brown: libraries were painted chocolate brown, park signs were chocolate brown with yellow letters, trim on houses were glossy chocolate brown OH GOD THE MEMORIES. Everything that was provided to the public by the provincial or municipal governments (it seemed) got painted chocolate brown! Our house kind of falls into that category: cream vinyl siding, red brick, and dark chocolate brown trim (and shutters).
This colour combination has always strongly reminded me of a nanaimo bar, which isn’t BAD because yum? But it’s dated to be sure. Since we have to put a new roof and new windows on the house, we’re in a position to make significant changes to the appearance of the house. This is brilliant! However, if you’re gonna be choosing a new roof and new windows, it’s a good idea to have a vision for the whole exterior. The roof will come from one supplier, the windows from another, so it really falls to the homeowner to have a master plan.
So what do you do with a red brick and cream vinyl siding house? (Answer: google image search the crap out of red brick houses!)
The internet seems to say that your only options for a red brick house  are black shutters with white trim and windows, but that’s pretty much what we have now and it doesn’t look good at all. It really, really looks… dark? Dirty? Boring?
I decided to assume that the windows would have charcoal grey trim (more on that later), and that the roof would be a medium grey. The choice of roof colour is a big deal: the darker your roof, the more heat it’ll create and the more your insulation will have to work at keeping your house cool. Since that’s the case, I think a medium grey will be both dark enough to have class, and will be light enough to not create too much heat.
After futzing around with Microsoft paint and trying out a wide variety of colours, I created a milky oxblood red (applied to the shutters, front door and garage door) that just happens to look absolutely incredible with a charcoal windows and cream vinyl siding. The look is very “modern farmhouse”.
I’m hoping that in real life we’ll find a garnet/oxblood house paint that looks absolutely incredible with the existing brick. The colour I created on my computer is darker, browner and somehow has a smooth milky-ness that sets off the brick instead of creating a sense that the whole damn house is an OXO cube. Win!
But the tricky part becomes this: in my successful mock up with the imaginary oxblood house paint, my starting point was those grey frame windows. The mock ups with pure white window frames clashed with the cream coloured siding.
Well, we have a quote for getting grey frame windows, but they’re more expensive than white windows. So now my question is…
…if I wanted to put grey framed windows on the parts of the house that face the street, and white frame windows everywhere else, would that be such a crime?