the pint-sized finale

Well, the last few weeks have felt like molasses, only because when you’re this close to having something – time slows waayyyyy dooowwwnnnnn. That said, I see now that heaps has happened since my last blog post, so clearly things were not moving that slowly at all. The little details matter so much though! Smallworks has been polishing up our place nicely, and we’re just days (perhaps hours!) away from being able to move in. What we have managed to get ‘in’ the house however, is our edibles in pots on the balcony and also our balcony furniture! We’re anticipating many a mojito this summer on that balcony, and many weekend breakfasts in the sun.. whenever the sun shines in Vancouver, that is. We ended up planting romaine and red leaf lettuce, cilantro, rainbow sage, variegated oregano, basil, chives, kale and sugar snap peas. We’ve also planted some arugula and nasturtium seeds that should be sprouting in a couple of weeks. Not bad for a first shot at edible balconies, I think! We’re easing our way in and hope to plant a few things for the fall too.

Other than that, I don’t have much to report in words, because I think the pictures say it best. Below you’ll find our finished product, as a slide show. We’re so pleased with our new home and are just dying to move in!

Although our journey with Smallworks and laneway house construction is nearing an end, this isn’t really the end… it’s only the beginning. The Pint-sized House blog will be a place for us to share ideas on small space living, healthy living and eating, and other things that we come across that we’d like to share with others. Not to mention the fact that we haven’t moved in yet and will want to share how we add our own finishing touches. I can’t wait to see what the industrial furniture we bought looks like in there.

Until next time! (when we should be living in our pint-sized house)

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the rain rain rain came down down down

Perhaps some of you know this classic Disney Winnie the Pooh Song. It jumped into my head today as I stared out the window at the torrential downpour from our basement suite. It’s been like this all day.  I used to work in landscaping,  so I can sort of empathize with the guys working outside on the laneway house as it pours down with rain.  It’s pretty amazing to see what can still be accomplished in this kind of weather though.  I suppose it’s still better than freezing rain and snow we had earlier this month (which thankfully I never had to experience during my spring/summer stint as a landscaper!)

The framing is nearly complete, so we’re getting a good sense of what the place is going to look like! It’s kind of crazy seeing this little house right next to my parents’ house now. We’ll be able to wave at each other through our kitchen windows. As close as that sounds,  there is actually a fair bit of space between the two homes, where a lovely patio and garden beds will no doubt reside one things are finished.

the front of the house, looking across the street.

In the photo above you can sort of begin to see the front design. The builders are starting to put in the hip-roof that surrounds our balcony. The opening peaking over the edge is our balcony doorway. We’ve got a nice big window in the front and our front door is on the right there. Since we’re a corner lot, we can have the entrance off the side street instead of the lane which gives us a great opportunity to have some nice curb appeal!

This is the side facing the lane.

In the photo above we have the lane-side view. Garage door on the left, living room window on the right, and the bathroom dormer on the top. Those pre-fab walls really make the house take shape in what feels like the blink of an eye. Smallworks builds most of the house offsite and then puts it together like a big puzzle, to ensure the weather doesn’t have it’s way with the exposed structure for too long.

The messy work is still going on at the side of my parents’ house with the sewer line trench getting deeper and longer and no doubt muddier during this rain storm. The excavators were quite amused to find that we still have a steel water pipe (which haven’t been used for decades) going into the house. Turns out we need to get it replaced due to it’s ancientness and corrosion, so the house is without water for a few hours today in order to install a shiny new water pipe.  Things sure get interesting once you start digging!

our basement suite door usually exits here.. not so much right now.

As you can see from the photo above ,the trench goes right against the side of the house, and currently blocks our exit from the basement suite. I haven’t had to come home through my parents’  front door after a weekend night of being out until 3 a.m. since I was 18 years old.. it’s a bit of a flash back to say the least.

I will wrap things up with a slideshow of progress over the last week or so. I think the photos probably illustrate how Smallworks really is a well oiled machine… and a very pleasant and friendly one at that!

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how do i look? (outside and downstairs)

We’re at the stage in our laneway house planning where we’re getting a pretty good sense of how things are going to look inside and out. I’ve had a hard time resisting collecting new furniture and other things for the place now that we have a vision for the overall vibe of the place.

I’ve had a love for all things old and worn for longer than I can remember, and after several years of living in a place with new, modern furniture I am taking this project as an opportunity to start fresh. Much of our current furniture will not fit in the smaller lane house layout, so that makes a good excuse for finding new things…hehe.  Although, “new” isn’t the right word.. since we’re going for a bit of a combination of new with old. Original antiques meet reproductions and new materials. It’ll look good- trust me.

So, what is it we’re doing?

The outside of our home will be on the traditional side, to fit with neighbouring houses, but also because we just like the cozy look of a craftsman style heritage house.  Red is the colour of choice, with natural stained cedar and black detailing.

Smallworks has figured out a great deck for us, that is the largest you can get on a laneway house. It’ll have a short glass railing with cedar to frame it, and an interesting composite decking product that blends waste wood fiber and recycled plastics, adding in waxes, fiberglass, and preservatives to form wood-like boards. It’s durable and looks great. I’ll have to get the name of the product and update this post, because it’s something more people should be using as a sustainable product!

As for the inside, here are some basic floor plans showing our layout.

We wanted our kitchen to be all along one wall, as we don’t generally like corner kitchens or U-shaped ones. Scott and I both like to cook and often do so at the same time, so having a galley style kitchen will help keep us from bumping into each other. We bought a pretty kick-ass wheeled island from Antiques Direct. It’s not an antique, but it’s modeled after a vintage french industrial utility cart and has a really great gritty look about it (i’m a huge sucker for this stuff). The company that makes them seems to know what they’re doing, as it seems this piece of furniture will outlast everything we own, and probably us as well. We also got a creepy locker to use as our pantry. As you can see, we’re going for a bit of a vintage industrial look.

Our rolling (extremely heavy) kitchen island

Davy Jones' pantry

The living/dining area will involve a fair bit of custom mill work in order to make best use of the small space. The built-in TV/Gaming/DJ booth wall sits across from a built-in couch that’s comfortable enough for lounging, and high enough for dining, with an adjustable-height coffee table. It’s been pretty hard to find an adjustable table we like (or one that’s even in production) so we may get creative and build our own. Here’s an example of a basic wood design that can be raised to dining height and has a leaf that opens to make it seat four or perhaps six with a squish. It ain’t cheap..coming in at $1400 after shipping and taxes, unfortunately. But I suppose it is two tables in one. We shall see…

Well, I’m going to leave it at that for now. The next post will be about the top floor: bedroom, bathroom, and balcony! I’ll write something on small space furniture options soon too, because we’ve found a lot of interesting stuff and it still seems hard to find it without a lot of research.. so I hope I can help some visitors to this site from spending as much time on it themselves by sharing what we’ve come across!