Saturday, March 5, 2011

Baby, look how far we’ve come!

Today my uncle Len called me to let me know he was in town from Saskatchewan for a few days. My uncle is the consummate handyman. By day he works as the Assistant Chief Building Official for the Saskatchewan government, setting and ensuring the implementation of building codes for the province. By night he is a master carpenter that has fully renovated his own home and built beautiful furniture and cabinetry that are easy to admire.

He asked me what I had been working on today and I proceeded to explain that I was priming the drywall return on our windowsills so that we could have the space prepped for the installation of our poplar stool and apron.

My uncle said something along the lines of, “I’m really proud of you”.

Two things happened after he said that. First off, I was just so grateful for his praise. Over the last few months we’ve had a lot of people try to discourage us from taking on this project, instead impressing upon us the importance of going with professionals anytime we felt like we got stuck. Secondly, it made me realize how much Brendon and I have learnt. We have a whole new vocabulary and a skill set that has blossomed along with the experience.

This last week was no exception.  We started on the bathroom and began what has loomed as one of the most daunting tasks on our list of ‘things to do’ – the shower tiles. The fear with tiling isn’t necessarily that it won’t go on straight or that the tiles will crack, its that you’ll do it wrong and a few years from now you’ll end up with mold in and behind the walls of the bathroom. And truth be told, it’s not uncommon for that to happen. So prompted by fear but constrained/motivated by our shrinking bank account, Brendon went out and canvassed Home Depot employees and customers. In aisle 74 he ran into a professional tiler and proceeded to pick his brain for all of the tips and tricks of the trade. He then supplemented this info with YouTube videos and was ready to go.

Assess the foundation. We started with a moisture resistant drywall. It looks just like gypsum board but it’s blue.

Seal, seal, seal. The drywall is not enough. We bought RedGaurd – a waterproofing paint that seals cracks and creates a moisture barrier.  
Measure, once, twice, three times. Brendon and his dad went as far as drawing out the lines and mapping the placement of every tile.
Cement, scrape and apply tile. Repeat.


Separate tiles with 'doohickies'.

Cut tiles to fit.

Wipe down and wash up. Let cure for at least a day.

To be continued….


  1. Hi Neighbours!
    We live down the lane from you at 21st (that funny skinny blue house) and are enjoying watching your build (as we tackle renovations of our own!)You're doing fabulous work!
    Patricia & Todd

  2. We love your skinny blue house! I admire your recycling nook every morning as I walk to the bus. Thanks so much for the support.
    Akua and Brendon