Title of picture

Winter sunrise, Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Settling in to the Lake House

Need a lot of days like this! (Garrett and Freya)
The past five days have been quite busy settling in, making lists of things that need attention, arranging appointments for contractors, etc. Everyone that knows my Ray, knows he wants things done like yesterday, he hates the clutter and wants things "tidied up" right away and then onto the next project. Unfortunately, physically he cannot do this anymore, so now he has 15 odd contractors to call. (His job as he can do this reclining in his chair. lol)

Ray and I knew going in buying this house, it required some repair work as there were a bunch of things that still needed to be finished. We made up a budget and will have to prioritize what needs to be done versus what we want to be done. :) The previous owner's husband did most of the work himself as this was his dream.  In his early sixties, and the daunting task of finishing the house, he probably felt overwhelmed and did little work for the last two years before he passed away unexpectedly. The work was halted until Louise had contractors in this past Christmas.They finished the tile work, put in the kitchen and new railings on the stairs from the deck, to name a few. (She lived for 8 years with plywood cupboards and counters with a few appliances freestanding in place and a curtain for a bathroom door.) She only had the furnace put in a year and a half ago. Previously she only had a couple of space heaters to stay warm over the winter. The heat pump was put in last spring, a year ago, as well. The house virtually was not very livable until a year and a half ago, so everything is really new.

We knew the dock needed some work and redecking but on closer inspection we realized the whole thing needs replacing. All of the styrofoam floatation system has been virtually disintegrating. The neighbours have commented they saw pieces of it floating by in the winter. It was originally decked with fir, not cedar (way too costly), and of course that equals rotting deck boards. The local dock guy came yesterday, so the quote will be forthcoming for a new dock to be built. As they are incredibly busy and we are "late to the party" to get on the list, it will be in place at the end of summer.

The back deck has some rot in the deckboards which we knew, but we did not know that one of the posts attached to the house is completely rotten at the base. Ray heard from the neighbour last night, that last winter, water came inside on the floor of the dining room and the floor had to be fixed inside. This is right by the rotten post.... hmmmm probably connected. It appears that the deck has been flashed to the house incorrectly, so a new deck seems to be in order as well. We are trying to wrap our heads around a vinyl deck, which waterproofs up the wall and keeps the underneath of the deck dry. This will be great for Ray's therapy pool, aka hot tub, or another wood deck that would require some maintenance. We are definitely leaning to the waterproofing and no maintenance, even though it won't be as pretty as hardwood tiles we were considering. Good thing the inside is beautiful and I have decided to live with the current kitchen and not have it redone.  I worried about not having any upper cabinets in the kitchen.  We'll get a hutch in the dining room to handle my overflow of dishes, i.e. my china. instead.  The upper cabinet height in the kitchen would've have meant a stepladder for me anyways to reach the shelves. lol

The locksmith is arriving today (Saturday) to re-key the locks and put on some new door handles as a bunch of them are pretty flimsy. There are 9 locking doors in this house and they all require a different key!!! I can envision getting into the garage and the door not reopening and not being able to get into the house as the key on my keychain is for the front door only! :) Once he was here and we realized how cheap and non-matching all of the door hardware was  ... we have opted to replace all of them including interior doors so they will all match and the locking ones will only need one key to open all. Most of the interior doors have dummy handles and just snap shut. The problem is that the dogs, ours and our kids, know to just push with their noses and everything opens up for them. Doesn't matter if you are standing there naked or not! (Almost happened to me. lol) Damn dogs. They also woke the whole household up last weekend by pushing the doors open so all four could get together at 3 am in the morning. This is to be rectified as well.

Ray had a concrete guy here yesterday to check out the scope of work to be done. The driveway currently is gravel. We also want a concrete sidewalk down the side of the house as well as a concrete pad under the sundeck for the hot tub. This also won't get done until the end of summer as we are late getting on that list too.

Garage door guy also here yesterday and we will only be able to install an electric opener in one of the bays.  The other contains a whole bunch of HVAC ducting and plumbing in front of where the control would have to be mounted. Of course this happened because Louise did not know anything about the build of the house and did not realize the ducting would hamper this when it was installed last spring. So, instead of mega bucks moving ductwork, we've opted for a chain pull system that will be easy for Ray to use, as this garage bay will be used mostly for storage.

Our neighbours next door own the cabinet company that installed the new kitchen this past Christmas. They built and installed our beautiful solid maple cupboards inside and out with soft close. Fabulous. Anyways, they came over for a drink last night (Friday) and checked out the work we want to be done. Other than a small 4' closet in the master the owner had installed in December, there are absolutely no other closets in this house.  So our neighbour, Roy, is putting some ideas on how to fix this problem. He will be building a closet for the master bedroom and a large one in the entryway for coats.  Currently there are old, scratched up antique tables with sinks mounted on top in three bathrooms ... not my cup of tea at all. lol.  So Roy will also install cabinets matching the kitchen cupboards in all, including dual sinks in the master.

So it will be an expensive summer ... this does not even include transom lights in the master, landscapers as Ray is incapable, concrete, finishing the basement which may have to be postponed until next year as it is a "want not a need", etc.

Before Roy and June came over Friday night, we'd invited our other neighbour Pat, over for dinner. Her husband flew to Edmonton for a family matter, so she was on her own and needed some "adult time". She's been friends with Louise, the previous owner, for 25 years so knows a lot about the neighbourhood, contractors etc. and most importantly who not to get.  I cooked a chicken on the rotisserie on the BBQ that I've not seen for 6 years ... it turned out beautiful. A nice evening on our deck with drinks for our first get together at our new lake house was a success. :) Roy and June are also a fountain of information and as a cabinet maker he has lots of contacts in the building industry and knows the subs from building his house.  Boy did we luck out. Ray and I will be very happy here for many years to come in our little community of neighbours.

Cheers!  Hi Pat


  1. Wow, that’s a lot on your plate but will be awesome when complete. We can hardly wait to see it in 2019 when the dust has settled. 🙂 We had a vinyl deck and got 11 years out of it...could have actually gone longer. Bonus having neighbors in the business and the know. Enjoy your new digs!

  2. Wow, that is a long list of items to work on! You two will be busy all summer arranging and overseeing the work. You do look relaxed however and seem to really be enjoying your time there!

  3. Wow lots of work to organize and complete but how nice to have all the local knowledge to tap into. Will be even nicer when you’re done. It’s already a beautiful property. So nice to have the water right there on hot days.