Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ventilation System for the Lacanche

Because our range can potentially generate over 100,000 BTUs of heat, we had to have a commercial sized ventilation system installed. We were able to tap the exhaust duct work into an existing chimney and install the exhaust motor on the top of the chimney (keeping noise out of the kitchen). Because of the size of the exhaust system (we can move air at 1000 CFM) we also had to install a make up air vent. This vent has the motor in the basement and still sounds like a jet starting up when we turn it on. It also has an electric furnace built into it to heat air as it's drawn into the house. This is something we only need to use (a) in the winter (in the summer we just open a window)  and (b) when we're using the grill and only for a short time. It would never be on for more than a few moments so no need to worry about high electric bills heating make up air. I've included a few pictures of the system.

You can see the ventilation here in the hood. It needs to be on "high" to effectively remove most of the smoke from the grill. We often think it would work better had the grill been positioned more toward the center of the range (therefore more toward the center of the range hood) but it still works well in removing the smoke. Just make sure you have it on full power.

Here is the duct work for the make up air intake. The large black bulge in the duct work is the motor that sucks the air in from outside. The square part (left side of photo) in the duct work is the electric furnace that heats the air before blowing it into the house.

This is the grate in the kitchen floor where the fresh heated air is blown into the kitchen. It has a slider that opens and closes it. If it's windy outside we have to make sure the vent is closed. Otherwise, wind will blow through the intake (even if it's not turned on) and the electric furnace will detect air moving through the pipe and begin heating it. The electric furnace works on an air movement system where it comes on as soon as air starts moving through it (ideally by being pushed through by the motor) but, as I said, sometimes if the wind is blowing it will trick the furnace into thinking the motor is pushing air through. Closing the vent in the floor fixed the issue.

Here is the control for the make up air. Both the exhaust and the make up air are variable speeds. We have to manually make sure that each is set to the same speed. Otherwise we'll have more air going out than coming in or vice versa. It's a pretty easy system to figure out as soon as you understand the principle of balancing the air.  All in all, the whole system works great but I would never recommend anyone use the grill feature without an exhaust system at least as strong as this one.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 10 - Home Stretch

So, if you've been paying attention to the dates you'll notice that we have just passed the one-year mark about a week ago. In some ways it seems like it's taken forever to get through this renovation and in other ways it feels like we've accomplished a great deal in a year. Many people have pointed out that a new home can be built far quicker than this but we have to point out that we had to carefully tear down  a great deal of our old structure before we even began to build the new parts. But, fast or slow, we are nearing the end of the project. We still have a bathroom to renovate upstairs but we're currently waiting for some plumbing fixtures before we can get going on that. There are other little jobs that still need to be finished - some painting, some plumbing, some electrical but we're much closer than we were even a month ago. I've included some pictures that show some of the newer additions as well as some areas that are very nearly done.
Here is our coat rack and bench as designed and created by Mike DeLuca. We salvaged some coat hooks from the barn which were added after this photo was taken. The bench is actually a storage unit - the seat lifts up. There is also storage at the top.

These are walnut floating shelves - the future home of Mike's Cookbook Collection. The style of the shelf  mimics the style of the shelf in the kitchen and provides a bit of continuity from the kitchen into the seating area in front of the fireplace.

The shelves again - this time with all the cookbooks in place.

The bridge faucet is in place and just waiting for the plumbers to come and hook everything up.

This is the barn door leading into the TV room. The rail at the top was salvaged from the old carriage house (before it was converted into a laundry room) and re-purposed for this door.

The wine fridge in its permanent home.
This is looking past the fireplace down into the little library area. You can see our new wineglass case illuminated on the right.
This is Omen enjoying the heated floor and the warm glow of the fireplace.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Lacanche is in the house!

This Lacanche Chagny range was born in Lacanche, France on June 3, 2015. It slowly made it's way to Canada and came to rest in our garage until today. Here's a photo record of the last leg of the journey to its home in our new kitchen.
It was all even floors from the garage to the kitchen except for these stairs that lead from the Costco room to the laundry room. Matt and Mike D. fashioned a ramp to get past this one obstacle.

I suspect Matt has a sore back now. That's an 800 lb stove.

Matt and Mike inspecting the attachments and seeing what needs to go where before they get the stove off the dolly.

It's all about leverage really or, as my dear friend Erin would say - It's a very physical thing.

Everything's lined up. Ready to slide it into place.

The star of the renovation - Home Sweet Home.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ups and Downs - Feb. 9, 2016

This week (and it's only Tuesday) has been a roller coaster. Maybe it's because of the never-ending delays that each set-back seems that much more disheartening. Whatever the reason - it seems that we're destined to continue going two feet ahead and one back with this project.  Here are just a few of the "ahead" and "back" moments we've encountered lately.
This is what's left of the giant puddle of water that resulted from the snow melting off the Range Rover Friday night (this picture was taken Monday morning so a lot of the water had evaporated). There is a floor drain in the garage (directly under the truck) but we've discovered that the cement wasn't poured properly and the floor actually tilts away from the drain instead of toward it. We've contacted the contractor to see what can be done. I suspect the only answer will be to install another drain in this area of the floor. It just happened that we noticed it in time to move a china cabinet (still in it's cardboard crate) out of harm's way before it was water damaged.

We love our new outdoor lights that were destined for the pergola. Our electricians have informed us that there are actually two types of "outdoor" lights. One is this type that is designed to be outdoors but under a roof (say on a porch or veranda) - the type we bought. Then there is the other type that is capable of being directly exposed to rain (the type we need for under our pergola) - the type we should have bought. We had no idea there was a difference - we foolishly assumed "outdoor" light meant a light that could be installed outdoors. How silly. And, of course, we purchased them from Direct Buy so there is no returning them (we have two) since there's nothing wrong with them. There is some talk of perhaps fashioning a small little roof to go over each one. We'll have to see how creative the contractor can be or what the electricians will allow.
This is our new, shiny brass, kitchen faucet. Looks great...until you look a little closer (see below).

This is the left side of the faucet. That little crescent of space you see on the left shouldn't be there.

Likewise, on the right side of the faucet, this little crescent shouldn't be here either. Typically, these faucet holes would be drilled in a stone counter top at about 8 inches apart. However, our faucets were imported from England where the typical distance is actually 7 7/8 inches apart. We were very diligent and made sure the stone cutters were aware of this difference and watched them put the 7 7/8 inch measurement into the template. However, the holes were drilled on-site, after the counter top was installed and, for whatever reason, was drilled with the holes too far apart. They're close - dare I say 1/8 of an inch - but far enough apart that if we forced the faucets they would leak or if we left it as it is, there would be a place for water to leak around the base of the faucets. Plus you would still be able to see the mistake. We should also point out that these imported brass faucets cost almost as much as the counter top. I think our friends at Jade Stone Halifax were aware of that and have offered to replace the entire counter top. So, whatever they lacked in hole-cutting they made up for in customer service. It's great that we'll have the properly drilled counter top but frustrating that we have to wait another week for the new one to be fabricated and then they'll be here another day removing the old one and installing the new one.

On a brighter note - the area where the stove will eventually live is beginning to really come together. The addition of the counter tops and the corbels and the valance really have made a amazing looking custom feature of the kitchen. The outlined centers of those corbels are actually cupboards that you simply push and they slide out to reveal spices or oils or whatever we decide to store in there. You can also note the difference in the back splash now that the marble tiles have been grouted.

From a bit further back you can see the exposed ventilation pipe at the top of the valance. Once all the electrical is completed the valance will be closed in right up to the ceiling. The pot filler will be installed in the next couple of days and then we should be just about ready to finally bring the stove in from the garage and put it in it's final resting place. It's seen sitting in that garage for six months so it'll be fantastic to (a) finally have a stove in the kitchen and (b) finally have that section of the garage back so I'll be able to park my car in there.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February 7 Update

Yesterday, Saturday, was a big day. The counter tops arrived and our odd looking room has finally begun to look like a kitchen. The delays have been unbelievable so the fact that it's finally beginning to shape up has us really excited and we're daring to hope that this might all be over soon. Here are some pictures to explain the latest developments.

Here's a view of the kitchen with the counters in place. No cupboards yet in this picture.

The island without cupboards or drawers or butcher block but, again, starting to look like a kitchen finally.

The custom made butcher block. Some things are worth the wait. Not all. But some.

The marble back splash in place. This isn't grouted yet. It looks very different now with the grout in place. The hole in the center is where the pot-filler fixture will go.

Showing some of the great detail of the counters and the farm house sink sitting in place (no plumbed in yet).

The cupboards are in place. They protrude out beyond the dining room door and make it inset which is really neat look.

With so much attention on the kitchen we forget about the other parts of the house. Here is where the 100 year old radiator finally gave out. I had to refinish the floor where the old rad had been and tried to match the finish as closely as possible. Hopefully it will not be too noticeable once the new radiator is in place. We removed it and our heating guy found one to replace it. We had it painted to match the trim and he'll hopefully get around to installing it soon. It's February and we miss that part of the house being heated.

The new counter tops arrived.

Andrew and Gordon - our counter top guys - skillfully put them in place and start cementing things together.

Meanwhile in the laundry room - it was a big day for counter tops in the laundry room too on Saturday. Mike DeLuca came over to be on hand in case the stone counter top guys needed some direction. They were pretty good on their own so Mike went to work putting the counter tops on the laundry room counter and island.

The second counter top goes into place.

The counter tops on the island and counter in the laundry room. The rooms are actually beginning to look like what they are supposed to look like finally. Still lots of clutter that will eventually find it's way to the empty cupboards and drawers. Mike and Rio are heading into the kitchen to check things out there.

The island counter top finally installed. They're made of a quartz composite - 97% stone aggregate and 3% resin. They won't stain and never need to be sealed or treated. Maintenance free. The hole in the center is where an electrical outlet will go. It's a little pop-up box that sits flush until you need it. Then you just give it a push and the receptacle pops up. Very cool.

The other counter top. We put the faucets in for effect but they're not hooked up yet. Someone asked Mike if the cupboard door on the right was going to hit the counter when it was opened. All the cupboard doors only open to about 90 degrees. It was the same in the old kitchen. I'm assuming that's the same with all hidden hinges. You can also see that the solid walnut floating shelves have been installed. They'll be the home to some cookbooks (the ones that don't fit on the main cookbook shelf) and some nice pottery and other objets d'art.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13 - It's a Snow Day!!

It's been a couple weeks since my last update and we've had people here everyday but much of the progress would only be noticeable to someone who's here every day to see it. We got a new toilet installed in the downstairs bathroom. We still don't have a door on that bathroom but it's a start. But today we had a great leap forward. Today, for the first time in months, that big empty room started to finally begin to look like a kitchen. Even though it was a miserable snow storm this morning, the guys arrived with the first of our cabinets.
Even 15 cms of snow couldn't stop the guys from arriving with the first of our cabinets this morning. They were here before I even had a chance to get the snow cleared out of the courtyard.

Just for reference I took a "before" picture of what everything looked like before the cabinets were put in place.

Mike (Delucca - one of the cabinet builders) and Jonathan carry the cabinets in and gently put them in place. You can see the laser level on the wall behind Mike. They'll use that to make sure they go in level.

The tall broom closet is in place. The one on the floor is one of the ones that will go above the fridge in that space (you'll have to use your imagination - it's on back order).

Here are the first set all in place. The farmhouse sink goes on the top of that center cabinet. The two gaps you see are where the dishwashers will go.

Here is where the stove will go. You'd think we'd have a name for that appliance by now since it's the focal point of the whole renovation (and cost more than most of it) but we actually auctioned off the naming rights with our French dinner at the last Physicians' Philanthropic Gala Dinner. The night of the dinner the winners of the dinner will decide on a name for the star of this show. The stove will nestle between these two short counters and then scroll shaped corbels will go up to the range hood above the stove. The square hole in the wall is where the pot filler was installed. That hole will be patched and then the entire square that you can see drawn out on the wall will be tiled. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good Bye 2015

I am determined to post at least one more blog post before the end of this year. I will admit I've been remiss in keeping this blog up to date but I will try to bring everyone up to speed before 2016 starts.

Progress on the project has slowed considerably. Our initial end date of November 15 came and went. Then Matt suggested we'd be in by Christmas - didn't happen. And now, even though there is lots going on here almost every day, we are not realistically looking at completion until February. The progress is slow because we are into the details phase of the project and there are many things that are dependent on many other things. The tiler can't do his job until the dry waller is finished and the drywaller can't do his job until the plumber is done and the plumber can't do his job until the electricians are done...and so on.  This is a complicated dance to choreograph when everything goes right but as soon as there is a mistake...that mistake can have repercussions that can set us back for weeks. And we've had more than one mistake.

But, I'm not going to complain because, as soon as I do, I realize that I sound exactly like every other person I've ever talked to who went through a renovation. So, onward and upward. Here are some images that should help bring you up to date to where we are now.

Here are some shots of the new driveway being installed.

In this image you get a real sense of just how much of a grade there is in the back yard.

Here's a before picture of the kitchen (as posted earlier)
And this is where we are now. It doesn't look that different except the floor tiling has been completed and all of the electrical is done. Now we're just waiting for cabinets and the island. Then the electricians will be back to finish up and the plumbers will come back to do their thing.

This photo represents two and a half hours of my life that I'll never get back. You wouldn't think that 7 pieces of ceramic logs would be so difficult to assemble - it was. There were no instructions with it - only a stern warning to make sure the logs were assembled properly or else the fireplace could malfunction. Great. Luckily I found a video on YouTube of this model of fireplace and between printing screen shots and running back and for to the computer was eventually able to assemble them properly.

This is looking a lot better. Matt installed new trim and Jonathan reshingled along the bottom. Harry will be along when the weather allows and will paint the top of the window and have this section looking good again.

This isn't part of the renovation but it represents a whole Saturday shared by me and Angus and Mitchel (Jill's boys) who helped me stack the two cords of firewood that we'd bought.

This is just a shot of the completed barn and carriage house in the snow. As soon as the shingles start to turn grey (it'll take a year or two) this section will really start to come together.

This is our new bathroom vanity and our Turkish style tiles. We wanted to a pseudo Mediterranean theme so we went for the Greek keys on the vanity and some tiles that reminded us of a Turkish Hamam. If you look closely you can see the light fixture electrical boxes that will go on either side of the mirror. The faucet fixtures are in but we're still waiting for the faucets. They arrived once but in the wrong colour so had to be returned.

Here are all the pieces of our mantel uncrated. They arrived from Tararuga Designs in Toronto. Matt hired a brick layer/stone mason  (Wayne) to help with the installation.

Matt applying some of the adhesive to the first column.

Making sure everything is level - first with a laser and then, old school, with a level.

The second column going in.

Wayne applying some grout after the large top piece of the mantel has been installed.

The finished installation (please note the expertly assembled ceramic logs in the fireplace). Unfortunately the grout became mixed with the mortar and dried darker than we wanted. We're going to have the grout removed and reapplied to achieve a better colour match. Given the scale of this particular part of the renovation - that is a relatively small snafu.