Thursday, September 29, 2011

Condo reno: Done!

I moved into the condo about a week ago.  Here are the official before and after pics from the reno I did.  I think I improved it at least a bit.

Here is the living room wall before and after the carpenter enlarged the window between it and the kitchen.  That and getting rid off the off-brown walls really increased the light:

Living room before and after the floors and paint were done.  The floors are a red-oak engineered hardwood.  (In a condo, you can't use solid hardwood as it expands too much on the concrete):

Dining room / entry:


Bedroom with the disturbing yellow paint and beige rugs.  Between that and the off-brown in the living room, I called it the pee-and-poo colour scheme.  Gone!

And the view of course is still amazing, no improvements needed there:

So that's where I'm living!  Closing day on my house sale is today.  I'll put some photos up of the old place once I am connected on internet (Bell has still not figured out how to move my internet connection, after a whole week!  I'm at the library right now.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Condo reno: Floors finished

For the past couple of weeks the flooring installers have been working on my floors at my condo.  Here are some photos from during the process:

The hardwood boxes, tile boxes, and hardwood underpadding.

The first day they made lots of progress, the carpet and old baseboards were ripped out and they got the floors laid in the bedroom and the living room:

This is a couple of days later, the tile guy came and ripped out the tile, and then disappeared for a while, I think they said he was having a baby or something:

The front entry- I don't think I documented what it looked like before but it had a nondescript brownish tile before:

This is the kitchen without the tiles, the appliances have been taken out.  That roll of pink stuff is the underpadding, it's required in a condo for sound insulation.

Here are some before and after pics to show how drab the floors were before and now nice they are now.  Here's the bathroom, the white tiles are the old ones that came out.  The new tiles are a porcelain tile made to look like slate.  They're still very dusty, haven't swept yet:

Living room:

They did a nice job on the stairs down into the sunken living room (it's still dirty, I need to sweep and then damp mop to get all the dust up):

Bedroom- the carpet in here was particularly boring and nondescript:

Detail of the inside of the closet:

Kitchen- I really like how the new tiles add some contrast, the kitchen and bathroom were just pathologically neutral before:

So, all that's left is the painting, which is happening this week.  I'll take some photos once it's done.  I move in on Friday so I might not be free to put them up right away.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Expiry minute

As a nurse, I work a lot with expiry dates.  Drugs and other assorted medical doodads have a certain shelf life, and the month and year in which they need replacing is printed on the package.

In recent years expiry dates have been added to packaged foods that didn't always have them before.  As I was munching on some peanuts recently, my eyes passed over the expiry date.  I was pretty impressed, that wow, they don't just know that these nuts will go bad in June of next year, they think they know the exact date!  Then I looked closer...

They don't just know the day.  They have it timed right down to the hour, and indeed... the minute.  If I don't finish them on June 3, I'm gonna have to get up pretty darned early on the 4th to polish them off safely.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's official: Twitter is stupid

After years of anecdotal research, I've developed my theory into solid fact and am ready to share it with @you: #twitter is stupid.

I get the concept of microblogging.  I believe in it.  I participate in several times daily myself, through Facebook.  (Which isn't to say I believe in everything Facebook does...)

I think it's wonderful to keep in touch with acquaintances who would have faded out of my life, and often turn these very loose connections into genuine electronic friends, who I then get together with whenever geographical challenges allow.  Some acquaintances from years past have resurfaced via my friend's friends lists on Facebook, and we know each other better now via electronic means than we ever did in "real" life.  I've never bought into the idea that face-to-face communication = real, electronic communication = fake .  You often see sides to people on Facebook that you didn't see when they were wearing a different mask when you hung out with them in real life.

It's great to be part of a bigger community of people, and stay in touch with what is going on in their lives.  This is true even when they're not someone I know in 3-D life... in several cases I've added someone to my friends list on Facebook whom I've never met, in fact have sometimes never even met electronically, and as long as they can construct a sentence, and aren't trying to "network" for moronic mogul-wannabe or religious reasons, I enjoy following their updates.  They become part of my community, even if they don't live next door or even in the same town.

I've concluded however that Twitter really doesn't offer that, despite the claim that it does.

I follow a lot of blogs, and lately many bloggers have been offering up their Twitter feed.  If it's a bright and interesting blogger, I go have a look.

What I inevitably find is a string of incomprehensible, uninteresting @replies they make to their 4756 followers or followed, who you can tell from the meaninglessness and randomness, aren't people they know either electronically or in real life.

There's no point in this.  This is not a community, this is not a useful addition to the real and well-crafted thoughts they share on their blogs.  There's rarely anything bright or compelling on their feed, there is rarely anything original at all.  Twitter's own character limit doesn't allow for bright and compelling... it often doesn't allow for a single complete thought before you've gone over your alloted Tweet-space.

So, if you were feeling Flintstonian for not "getting" Twitter (hey, plug the words "I don't get" into Google, and it's #1 suggestion for what you are looking for is, you guessed it...), rest assured, it's not you.  It's Twitter.  There's just nothing there to get.  I've been checking back for years, there is nothing there but noise.  If there is the odd nugget, it's lost in the noise.

There's nothing Twitter does that other electronic forms of communication don't do better.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Condo reno: Let there be more light

To get my condo ready to move into, I'm getting three things done:

1) pass-through window between kitchen and living room enlarged
2) carpets and old tile replaced with hardwood and porcelain tile
3) paint

My condo has a really great view, but the interior was kind of dingy looking, which is maybe why it hadn't sold, despite being on the market intermittently for much of the past year.  It had been rented out, and the tenant had chosen a drab colour that made the interior look dark. I was willing to bet though, that due to the river view and the western exposure, that it was a diamond (well, at least a cubic zirconia) in the rough, and I bought it for 90% of the current asking price.

Part of why it looked dark though was that it really was dark.  When they built these in 1974, the kitchens were completely walled off.  Since then, most units have had them opened up to some extent, but in this unit, they had just added a small, conservative window to bring some light into the kitchen.  The net result was... not that much light really got in.

Here are the before pictures:

Because so many units were for sale when I bought this one, I got to see how others had renovated their kitchens.  I considered totally taking out the upper wall and replacing it with cupboards and countertop, but decided that I liked the clean lines of a larger window I had seen in another really nicely renovated unit.  This had the added benefit of being much cheaper to do than putting in cupboards, and would preserve floor space, which is not that abundant in this kitchen.

I hired a carpenter through Handyman Connection.  Here are the after pics.  Bear in mind that it looks kind of rough as the painting hasn't been done yet:

You probably can't tell from the photos, but this really makes the light travel better around the apartment, it goes into the dining room now and the kitchen is way brighter, you don't need to turn the lights on in there any more during the day.

So, that was step 1.  It cost around $900, and took the guy 2 days (some of that was waiting for plaster layers to dry).  In 2 days the flooring guys come to rip out the carpet and tile, so stay tuned...