For the last few months I been asked for an update on what's been happening, but since my most recent project is a very personal one that affects not only me, but my entire family; I am finally ready to share some details. At 7pm on Saturday January 5th of this year (2013) an electrical fire broke out at in the basement of Romados, my family's business in Montreal, thankfully no one was hurt. We had full house, line up out to the door and everyone, including my Dad, who was in the basement at the time made it out without injury.
Once the smoke cleared we finally saw the extend of the damage, and it didn't seem so bad, it would take a little clean up and we'd be back up and running in no time, or so we thought. As the weeks passed and my family and I were stuck in "insurance limbo" we learned the hard way that smoke damage is much worse than fire damage. The initial physical collateral damage was nothing compared to what would happen next. The toxic smoke had made its way up to the apartments above Romados and had contaminated all the walls, ceiling and floors of not only our shop, but the living spaces as well.
The situation become much worse while we waited for the insurance companies, they would not release the spaces due to their investigations and we had to wait for over 60 days before we could even talk construction or demolition. It was fairly traumatic for my family, being closed for over 2 months was not anticipated.
I quickly went to work on a plan for the space which now would involve a full gut of the space and a chance to change some of the problem areas. This leads us to the present and the current state of the shop, which I'm happy to report is fully gutted and is ready for all the new changes.
**If the pictures don't look right, please reload the page, thank you**
30 days into the renovation the work took a major turn from demolition to construction. After sweating it out for 4 weeks, which included revisiting the kitchen and bathroom plan several times- I jokingly called the last revision #75, since it seemed that many options were played out before we finally settled on one. I'd have to say that one of the most difficult challenges we had was reworking the kitchen plan without a floor to walk on, on the upside my core muscles improved dramatically as we had to balance from beam to beam, laying out the kitchen and bathroom flow. I should also mention that each beam was no more than 4"wide- it was a feat to be seen, especially when our friends Keith and Michael came by to review plan #25,which quickly changed and morphed into plan #26, 26 and so on... It was thanks to my friend and colleague Glen Peloso that we finally happily realized plan #75.
I have been making video journals of the whole process and I invite you to watch them and let me know what you think.
It's finally taken shape, I'll have more images to show soon..
I just can't contain my excitement any longer, with the renovation in full swing, it's getting hard to not show the current pictures as everyday the project takes a new shape. So in order to get caught up to the current state of the renovation, I'm going to attempt to get the blog entries up to speed.
Apart from just pictures, I started making a video journal of what's been happening (see link), I've really enjoyed the perspective of looking back and seeing the transformation from a personal angle. This is a major stage in my life, not only is this a big purchase for Ricky and I, but it is also my first residential renovation. Which anyone who's gone through will attest that it can possess many challenges and in this case I'm not only the homeowner but the designer and project manager. I'm the person the homeowner turns to to get some sense of reality and support when the madness ensues. So I'm a little crazier than usual these days- can you blame me?
The next entries will cover weeks two to four, during which we made a big discovery and a major directional design move for our 3rd storey loft. The images can be terrifying, I don't think I could even bring myself to video during that move. I may have gained a new wrinkle or gray hair during that whole process.
Day 3 of reno focused on the removal of the walls within the old kitchen space. With the cabinetry and appliances safely removed and unplugged, JEFA construction went to town taking apart the walls. Unexpected curve balls are part in partial to a home renovation and day 3 certainly did not disappoint in the surprise department. During the tear down, the contractors discovered 3 layers of ceiling, bad insulation and 6 hornet's nest inside the walls. Thankfully the hornet's had vacated so no one was injured, but that does mean I have a very holey house!
During day 3, I was still involved with prep for Fashion Cares, but still managed to get in one video while the contractors were demolition the walls.
Reno Day 3- Blow the house down!
As day 2 of the reno began on Wednesday Sept. 7th, the organizers of Fashion Cares called asking me to help out with the staging of the event which was happening that very same weekend. Fashion Cares has been near and dear to me for many years and this year's event was the last one, it was impossible for me to turn them down. It was difficult tearing myself away from the renovation so early in the game, but I had made my commitment to the event and now had to trust that my contractor Josh and his from JEFA Construction would be capable of moving on without me for the days leading up to the event.
I've worked with JEFA before on smaller projects and so I knew the project was in good hands, however Josh and his team outdid themselves during the first week and really got the project off to a good start. I've heard many homeowner's horror stories of bad renovations and contractor/ client relationships going sour. I can say that the work Josh and his team did for me during the initial phases really fermented my belief that I had in fact hired the right crew and that he has my back.
The work has been progressing at a very steady pace and after only 2 days the house already looks completely different.
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