As attentive readers will know, last autumn we had a number of outdoor improvements made to the house access points and we shared some photographs here … as a result of the “unexpected” need to replace the septic tank created by these activities, several of these works-in-progress were not completed by the time the snows arrived and the garden was rendered a close simulacrum of the Somme before the builders departed for the winter.
Knowing the garden was going to be in need of major, major reconstruction (a new garden design opportunity, perhaps?) we decided during the winter to bring forward a long-planned decision to construct an extension to the dining room and thereby to create a more spacious area for sitting and watching the garden and its inhabitants from. The price was right (just), the building permit was issued … and the builder was ready to start as soon as the snows began to melt.
Everyone likes a nice photograph and a chance to say “rather you than me” … if you keep checking back here you can see how things progress. At the point of starting this web-page things look quite dramatic to say the least and we have more than an inkling of how many years it will take to get the garden back to what it was … albeit, and to be fair, it’s mostly lawn that is being obliterated.
To begin at the beginning ….
Where we are headed
The Day Before
** To make the page easier to scan – there being quite a lot of photographs – the images are mostly gathered into small “galleries”. If you hover your cursor over a thumbnail you will see a descriptive caption and if you click on any image you will be taken to a full size version.
26 March – work begins
27-28 March – Looking around
They should be pouring the concrete for the lower walls and foundations in the next couple of days … meanwhile the garden is still not “gardenable” and won’t be for some time.
Erecting the forms ready for pouring the cement walls
The forms were finished and they started pouring concrete … we had expected that they would be pumping it from the concrete delivery truck but they obviously resorted to Plan B and decided to use the large bucket on the excavator to do the job. A bit like filling a bathtub with a teaspoon but they seem to know what they are about.
While this was going on, the cats were a bit concerned but the wimpy one felt it was too interesting not to “supervise” and that he could watch provided it was from somewhere “safe” rather than hide under the bed as usual.
Overnight the concrete hardened and the rain started to come down in a genuine Douglas Adams style “blatter”.
So now we have the foundations and the wall bases in place – next stage will be backfilling the cavity and waiting for the carpenters to come near the end of the month and begin the clever work of actually building the extension. It’s good to be at this stage and it will be even better when the squirrels mountain (no longer a ski hill) is removed. Very Somme-like today.
Yesterday and today the mountain has been removed and we have a restored view across the garden … well, what was a garden anyway. Evidently once the building is all done we will be relaying grass and making some other amendments – actually a good opportunity to start on some landscaping changes.
Barely worth a photograph – but things are moving again and this morning, early this morning, a couple of guys with “the BIG truck” arrived to clear away the remnants of the old deck and all the other waste that has been piled up in the garden for the past couple of weeks – what, in good Québecois French they call “Le scrap de construction”. A nice flat surface has been restored and this will help us to properly visualize how we are going to change things when the building is done and we turn to landscaping.
The carpenter is due to start work bang on the dot of 8am next Monday – a shame the weather forecast is for plenty of rain whereas this week has been gloriously dry and sunny.
(Part) week of 12 – 15 May
After a week of hot sun perfect for building (but no builders) this week started with heavy rain but finally things are moving … Wednesday morning Denis the carpenter arrived to set up his tools and a truck-load of lumber was delivered. Denis inspected the foundations and declared them “pretty good – nice and level – you don’t always get that”.
**From this point, photographs will be added in weekly albums and not day by day … floating your cursor over the thumbnails will bring up a caption and clicking them will open a full-size album
Week of 18-22-May
This was the week when things really started to happen – starting with one wall sort of in place we finished with a shield roof and the patio doors installed. Denis the carpenter and his team don’t hang around …
Things are really moving now. This week the bay window has been taken out of its original position and inserted in its new one (I was asked to lend some -weak- muscle … quite a struggle) and inside electrical wiring “first fix” is completed. There is a plastic wall across the dining room to separate us form the dusts but the cats really would like to be able to get past it and see what’s out there.
Week of 1-5 June
This has been a busy and productive week with the interior walls going in, spray foam and fibre insulation batts being installed and one exterior wall finished. A couple of days were spent on building a magnificent sloped roof over the bay window – that’ll keep the weather out.
Amazingly, it’s two months since they first broke ground … half the summer gone.
(All pictures this week were iPhoned so not the best)
Week of 8 – 12 June
Beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel … We now have siding on two of three outside walls. Interior plastering is completed, the bay-window (that’s proved to be a longer and more complex job than envisaged) is also up to speed and the cats more or less approve. Next week should see the outside completed, painting done and the laying of the red-oak floor at least started.
Week of 15-19 June
The room is almost completed and decorated … apart from finishing touches pretty much all that now remains to be done is to reconnect the deck to the wall and build some new steps down to ground level. Once that is done we will paste some “quality” photographs here of the finished room.
24 June (Fete de St-Jean Baptiste … a big day in Quebec)
Finished … well all but for the guttering which will be sorted in a few days. Everything signed off and accepted. Denis and Thomas have done a really superb and careful job.
All we have to do now is to put the garden back to rights. Now that’s going to be a lot of work.
Finally on the home stretch. The patio has been laid, the drive is being worked on and the turf to re-create the lawn should be laid in the next few days.
Meanwhile – here is what we have to look out at: