home sweet home update

Back in May 2008, I posted about the things we wanted to do to the house we just bought in order to make it more energy efficient, to indulge my gardening addiction, and just to make it all round nice to live in.

From our original list, we have accomplished:

  • 5 new windows, including the one that is basically our whole living room wall. After much research and deliberation, we went with fibreglass over PVC. The choice seemed simple, but fibreglass windows are quite a lot more expensive. Very happy with our choice, though, and will replace the rest as well are able.
  • New front and back door. Steel & insulated = more secure & warmer. Also new storm doors.
  • Insulation in all the walls and attic. Our house was built in 1912. You’d think even back then insulating the walls would be something builders would just do. But no. We have gone from no insulation to fully insulated and are noticing a huge difference in our comfort level. Hoping to notice a huge difference in the heat bill as well!
  • Fence & raised garden beds in the back. The summer sucked, so gardening was frustrating. Loads of rain and cool weather through July & August, then hot in September. Everything was leggy. Nothing fruited well. We got loads of small tomatoes, but many of the skins split. Being a gardener, I’ve already put it behind me and I’m planning for this season. We’re a hardy bunch, even when the plants aren’t.
  • We also painted the trim on the house and the whole garage, using Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint. Seemed very thick but was actually great on the trim, especially when we were reaching up, as it doesn’t drip. It’s self priming, so two coats were enough. Has no smell, and as proof… we were painting under a wasp nest and they completely ignored us.
Oddly, the easiest and cheapest things that we could have done, we haven’t gotten around to yet. Next on the list: low flow shower head and programmable thermostat!
A few pics of our progress:
When we moved in…
Summer 2009…
The after pics were taken prior to painting the garage and getting insulation. The garage is now the same burnt orange as the trim, and our house is pretty polka dots from where the insulation was blown in. Will repair and paint the stucco this summer, and then, I dunno… maybe just enjoy it for a while!

home sweet home

The love of my life and I have finally bought a house, after six months of searching in the stupidly tight and crazy Winnipeg market. I asked for only three things: 1) if there was a garage, I wanted it detached; 2) a shower we can stand up in (it’s been 4 1/2 years since we’ve had that luxury); and 3) a reasonable distance to work, so we could bike. He was more fussy, but in the end, we’re both satisfied and have a place we can (semi) afford.

Now to start “greening” it…

To start, we had an ecoEnergy Evaluation done. This means that we will be eligible for rebates on the energy efficiency improvements we make. The list is long! These are the things we could/should upgrade:

  • windows (all but one)
  • doors (they are wooden, old and not sealed properly)
  • insulation (basically, there isn’t any, and we live in Winterpeg, Manisnowba)
  • hot water heater (ours has reached it’s life span, so we want to switch from gas to electric)
  • shower head (much as I love the torrential downpour we currently have)
  • window frames (need to be caulked)
  • programmable thermostat

On the want list are:

  • new fridge
  • fence for the back yard
  • ceiling fans
  • painting the exterior of the house

Add to this, we have old wooden soffits with a hole in them, and therefore “tenants.” So new soffits, fascia and eaves troughs, though not eco, are essential. Since we aren’t swimming in money, we may go a bit deeper in debt and get a Power Smart loan for some of the work.

And then there is the yard. I have started 5 types of native prairie plants from seed, but let’s just say, it’s going to need a bit more than that…