Things are ticking along nicely right now.  We have the beginning of our first wall.  It is being built in our old bedroom/dining room/living room.  It is going to be our daughter’s room and a guest room.  Each of our three kids are going to have their own bedroom, and they are going to be a massive 23′ x 16′.  I had a real problem with giving them such a large room.  It didn’t seem right, but I wasn’t sure why.  After discussing it with several friends and family members, there really isn’t any reason to be miserly with space when we have space to give away.  Are they going to grow up better people if I make them share the janitor’s room?  Probably not, but they may grow up to be better cleaners.

Our new contractor has been working with us all week and he is awesome.  If you are looking for help after my project is done you can find him at Herfst Construction.  Believe it or not he also worked with another family who bought a 7500 square foot public school.  The husband in that clan is an architect and you can check out their house here.  Let’s dampen your expectation here and now.  My house won’t be as nice as the architects, but we can live with that.  I hope you can too.


We also have a new pet in the house.  His name is Hotdog Mustard JubeJube, for obvious reasons.  His project is moving along quite well.   We are excited to meet him again soon.


My brother in law came to visit with his girlfriend the other week.  While Reya and I were on a bike ride, they weeded a whole tennis court.  It was a unexpected and excellent surprise.  They had a little help from their two nieces as well.  It was no small feat.


This is what the court next door looks like.


I even bought a tennis net the other day.  Does anyone have any tips as to how to DIY court resurfacing?  That is on the To Do List, along with designing the bathroom.  I expect I’ll be able to be a little more efficient once school starts.  I do look forward to September, especially with all these jobs to do.


Warm Me Up Quick


It’s August 22nd and summer is coming to a close.  That only means one thing, winter is not far away.  We are still without heat here but we think we may have a plan.

We have gotten a plethora of advice regarding how we should proceed.  We are desperately trying to save our terrazzo floors, which has guided our thinking.  Our first thought is that we would have radiant floor heat.  It takes 40% less energy than forced air to achieve the same degree of comfort.  The traditional method is to lay radiant tubing on top of the existing floor, and then lay a new floor. But then we would lose our terrazzo.  My husband proposed we lay the tubing on the ceiling of the crawl space, thus allowing us to save the terrazzo and have radiant heat.

But would it work?  Many say no, some say yes.  What we do know is it would be the most cost effective solution.

We currently have a 1.1 million BTU oil boiler.  The heating bill for the last year the school was operational was $38,000.  Much too rich for our blood and not green enough.  We have bought a biomass boiler from China.  We can feed it wood pellets, corn cobs, or wood waste.  We already have a standing invite to help ourselves to the giant pile of wood chips from a local arborist in town free of charge.  Every orchard burns the wood they prune from their trees.  We can use it for fuel.  The only set back is it’s arrival time.  It costs 90% less to buy a biomass boiler from China instead of Canada.  Some say not all Chinese companies are reputable.  We will see.  Our fingers have been crossed for the last month anticipating the boiler’s arrival.

Let’s hope it gets here before the snow arrives.

Another option is to get a propane tank, have a forced air furnace, and run ducts.  This is the most conventional method of heating our place.  We could set this up and then retrofit the system to our new biomass boiler.  The propane system would then be used as a back up if that is ever needed.

But don’t those radiant floors sound cosier?  What if it did work?  Warm terrazzo floors on a chilly morning, and no need for slippers, and some money left in the bank.  That’s a hard bet not to take.

We haven’t fully decided on what to do.  Although we did buy a small pellet stove as a back up in case that radiant floor thing doesn’t work out.

Sneak Peek

Several people have asked me to post photos of the inside of our school.  They wanted to know how we’ve set things up.  So here are a few shots of life inside.

The girl’s room


The kitchen


The boy’s bathroom without the stalls


Our bedroom, and dining room and sitting room



The gym


There’s a little insight into our current living space.

More soon on the technical side of living here.