Jul 092016
 

DSC03942If you free your mind to explore the possibilities for your home, you can come up with some pretty cool ideas. Start with the facts and then free-associate.

Fact 1. The garage of Hammond Forever House is located at the edge of the property, separate from the house. It depends on an electrical line from the house for power.

Fact 2. We disconnected the overhead electrical line to the garage when we lifted the house. We need to replace it.

Fact 3. We own a 2001 Toyota Prius (1st generation gas-electric hybrid car) and plan for our future cars to be 100% electric.

Fact 4. The garage roof slopes toward the south, making it the best roof on the property for installing Photo-Voltaic Solar Panels (the kind that produce electricity).

Fact 5. Dave the Father-in-Law knows a thing or two about electricity and electric cars.

What conclusion do these facts lead to?

Using the car in the garage as a back-up generator of course!

Dave and I at Earth Day Maple Ridge with our display

Dave and I at Earth Day Maple Ridge with our display

If you’re like me, you didn’t come to that conclusion on your own. I needed Dave to think of it because he is a retired electrician and member of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association. He knows that as soon as you banish fossil fuels and go 100% electric in your home and transportation, there are a lot of options for making stuff work together.

Having dug up the yard already, it wasn’t a big deal for us to dig another little trench from the house to the garage to bury some electrical conduit. It will be nice to have electricity in the garage without having the overhead wire in the way.

For some reason, Leanne and I were not around that day so Dave and our electrician, Jim from Golden Ears Electric helped the excavator get the trench right. It’s a bit painful paying an electrician to dig a ditch at the rate he charges. Dave, on the other hand, has agreed to put his fee on a lay-away plan. It’s a little vague. Someday, perhaps, like the Godfather, he will ask a favour.

With the trench dug, it was not too much trouble (or money) to run an extra conduit or two so that not only can the garage be powered by the house, but the house can also be powered by the garage! Continue reading »

Jul 042014
 

There are a lot of ways to put an addition on your house.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, If my Dad hadn’t connected us to an architect and we had been able to get a building permit, we might have asked a contractor to go ahead and do a quick and cheap ‘pimple’ on the side of the house. That pimple would have contained a nice new bathroom and master closet and resolved the foundation issues in the basement.

It wouldn’t be too expensive so we could have financed it by re-negotiating our mortgage.

It could have been completed in a conservative 6 months.

Tempting.

It might have looked something like these additions you can find around our Hammond neighbourhood. I don’t have any criticism to offer these homeowners. I don’t know who lives in these houses but they are my neighbours and “friends I haven’t met yet.”

Shed addition on the side. Our addition would have been trickier because the roofline runs the other way.

Shed addition on the side. Our addition would have been trickier because the roofline runs the other way.

Two additions: one shed addition on the right side and another addition at the back.

Two additions: one shed addition on the right side and another addition at the back.

Continue reading »

Jun 152014
 

Son: “Once we finish the basement, we’ll have things like a swimming pool and a ball pit!”


Leanne: “Well, I don’t think we’re going to have a swimming pool down there.”

Son nobly takes one for the team.

Son: “OK. Just the ball pit then.”

Thank you son, that’s very reasonable of you!

The kids also want a trap door and slide like this. [I used this image without permission!]

The kids also want a trap door and slide like this. [I used this image without permission!]

Jan 062014
 

You know when your kids write on the wall? Isn’t it awesome?

Hoo-boy this bathroom has a lot of issues–foundation, ants, rotting wood, probably mold–and it’s the only one in the house! We put a lot of work into the other rooms when we first moved in so we could, you know, live here, but the bathroom was too big a job. It had to wait. It’s still waiting.

This is the bathroom as it is. Pushing the north wall out to line up with the rest of the house was all we wanted to do when we started this journey.

Continue reading »