Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ok seriously we are not dead. I swear to you. We just have day jobs. And reno burnout. And and and. The last thing we worked on was a leaky wall and we had to pull out a lot of rotting wood.
See?! What a mess!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Has it really been that long??

LL says:

Wow. Has it really been that long since we posted? Yikes. Well, life takes over and renovations take a back seat. Sort of. We have taken a break from breaking our backs renovating. It's hard!! Especially when we have jobs to do and bands to play in (more on that later). 

In the spring, it came to our attention that the side of our house needed repairing. Which meant ripping the siding off, reframing, re-insulating, replacing the windows, laying concrete and ignoring the problem for months on end. Ha. I would rather go swimming in lakes, hang out with friends on patios and go to rock shows. We managed to have a fun summer, but the side of the house was open to the elements for a long time. We finally boarded it up and are still on the daunting task of re-siding. It is winter here in Vancouver, therefore copious amounts of rain. Which means, who the heck wants to put up siding in the cold rain, and not get paid for it?!! Not I butterfly. Which is exactly why I went to rock shows. Well, my own rock shows.

This year I decided to focus my efforts towards reclaiming my youth and started a 90s alternative rock band called Dating Myself. We wrote/recorded/released an album in 10 months, and played a couple great shows. You can listen to/get the album (on cassette too) HERE.

So with my attention focused towards rock and NOT concrete, the renovations have taken a back seat. But have no fear, we have plans to continue with Lez Renovate, posting videos and keeping you updated in the new year. 

One fun thing of note is that we have been featured in Home Decor & Renovations! You know, that magazine you can find everywhere at transit stations and home reno places? Yeah. You can also see the article on the e-zine. Click HERE and follow these directions to find us on page 32!

1 – Select Home Décor and Renovations

2 – Select British Columbia
3 – Select Home Décor and Renovations

In the meantime, Christmas is around the corner. We have decorated the house, the gift shopping is underway and I find myself reminiscing about the holiday videos that we have made in the past. Like the time we chopped the tree down in our front yard. Lets go down memory lane together!

Have a fantastic holiday and we will see you in the new year!!! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bathroom reno after shocks

We swore up and down that we were 'finished' the bathroom several times. Then the mirror fell off the door. Then the toilet paper holder pulled out of the wall. Then CoolJ swore mightily and finally caulked around the base of the tub. And patched the paint with feathery strokes. And finally took some AFTER pictures.

A reminder of the before:

18 months of hiding rot with duct tape, doubleyuk

east van's ugliest plywood/tile vanity

We started demolishing our bathroom at 11:44 am, June 17, 2011.

Luckily you can't see CoolJ's behind smile

I hoped it this bathroom reno would take about 30 lesbian working days. I think hanging the frigging toilet paper roll took me 10 lesbian days. Did I mention we started June 17, 2011?

I hoped the budget would be about $1500. tells me I recorded
$4,792.79 in category "Home Improvement - Lez Renovate Season 3"

To be honest, we do not keep the sharpest of records of what all we spend on every trip to HomoDepot. So of the 38 (!) trips to HomoDepot in the last 51 weeks, not all was spent on Season 3 bathroom (we did buy some lightbulbs, garbage bags, and bbq rocks after all). But, in short I am haemorrhaging money into this house and I won't really work out the painful details until I do my taxes. Late. Did I mention we could use a sponsor?

Here are some of the highlights of actual inputs to this bathroom reno:
  • $89 on a new toilet after someone broke the previous one by not following directions
  • almost $500 (!) hauling away the garbage. Plaster and lath is very heavy and we pulled out the ceiling & 3 walls of that junk. God knows that poisons we inhaled. We did carefully sort all our garbage into the categories required by our local dump, saved some in my junk pile, and used both craiglist advertised haulers and a friend with the local Modo Car Co-op membership
  • $1059 on plumber and the fixtures. Given that the mild-mannered plumber sweated and swore  for hours to get the corroded toilet drain pipe out, and that it is no longer flowing uphill into our bathroom, and that we replaced a good chunk of plumbing stack, and he had to build up the tub so it would be level, I thought this was a bargain
  • $509.66 at the tile shop, including about $250 in tools that we have already used again in helping our friend. I will have you know that I only paid  $2 /square foot for the gorgeous tiles on the floor, marked down from $13.32/foot
  • $535.36 on the NuHeat in floor heating. $0 on electrician because NuHeat has a good customer service hotline (which I called 3 times) and we have a dear friend who is an electrician who helped us finalize the electrics
  • $400 something on roof refactoring by the bicyling roofer at time of installing a bathroom exhaust vent
  • lots of nickels and dimes to death
I'm sure you have already watched the Bathroom Guts and Glory Seaon Finale Video:


In any case, here are the after shocks showing what we got for 51 weeks and$4,792.79. A pretty sweet 26 square foot Peachland Beach Bathroom.
If only I had a long ladder I could take a shot from outside

Cabinet from Jacks Used Building supplies ($25)
Mirror from a loading dock junk heap

Who needs storage for anything more than magazines? (Craigslist sink & faucet $50)
ValueVillage magazine rack ($2.99)

I picked these flat river rocks one by one from a heap at the landscaping yard. $2.31

Recessed medicine cabinets in the wall with shutters from Restore ($5each)
Vinyl tablecloth from Dressew for the liner

Anyone recognize the 'barnwood' ?
 It's cedar I grabbed from an emptied storage locker

Thanks Lou for the help to make this dream come true

Just like at the beach

An Ikea hack. This is my family boating near Peachland Beach, circa 1980

Thanks a lot for following our (mis) adventures in bathroom renovating. As our pal at the tile shop says "it will get a lot faster next time." Is it true? Does it get faster? How about cheaper? Promise me it gets cheaper next time!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lez Renovate On Location

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was swell. I got to mow the lawn in a tank top and shorts, which is always nice, followed by MANY tasty sangria's. Fun times had by all.

But this past weekend is the not the topic of conversation for this blog post. No. It is the fact that I, LL, took my renovation knowledge on the road and helped artist friend, Louise DeGagne, surprise her girlfriend with a brand new kitchen back-splash. You may remember Lou from Season 3 of Lez Renovate. She helped me build some acoustic baffles:

Remember that? Awesome.

Anyways, since I have tiled a few things now on Lez Renovate, it just goes without saying that I would be the perfect person to help Lou with what she needed. We had everything handy in the tool shed, so it was easy to begin the process.

This is the original backdrop, a piece of artwork that Lou made. It wasn't doing the trick so it needed to go.

Remove everything off the wall and move the tiny stove. Tiny gas stoves are so cute!!

Here I am putting up subway tiles (they are so IN this year!). And we had to screw a piece of wood on the wall before the cabinets to hold up the tiles, sans slippage.

We decided the top should have some accent tiles so in classic Lez Renovate fashion, we raced to Lower Mainland Tile to receive a miracle. And miracle receive we did. They stocked just enough little square glass tiles to do the job. Thumbs up!

Accenting the tiles with a metal border really makes the glass pop wouldn't you say?

Then we had to wait for the thin-set mortar to dry. The next day we just whipped some grout together, smeared like crazy and voila!!

Make sure you accessorize!

New cabinet gives the wall a fresh new look!

Close up of the beauty.

So there you have it. Lez Renovate, on location. In classic Mike Holmes form, you are supposed to shake the hand of the man client and kiss and hug his wife. Since Lou's girlfriend wasn't home (and that would of been weird if I kissed her) we just gave each other high fives and scheduled a beer night. 

That's what I call teamwork!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lez reflect: bathroom reno before and ... before

Dearest readers, 11 months and two celebration parties later, we were about to share the bathroom renovation before/after pictures to the blogosphere.

We hoped you would by now gawking at our skillful tile work that repaired the rotting shower surround, and scheming how to create your own recessed shelving bathroom cabinets. We hoped you would be spotting us on other reno blogs like Better After and Bath Tastic on DIY Network. We want you all to come over and take the virtual tour of our Peachland Beach theme bathroom.

But no. Because we are back to the BEFORE stage when CoolJ noticed that the mirror slid off the hollow core door of our bathroom. Another curse on the previous owners who removed all the solid doors from this house! Luckily it slid slowly.

I was peeved. Because the confidence of the sales person was great when he promised the best way to attach a mirror to a hollow door was using 3m exterior grade double sided tape. Wrong. Managed to peel off a good chunk of the blended garbage that hollow doors are made of.   I even WEIGHED the mirror to be sure it did not exceed the load limit. Harumph.

So back to the Before of the only mirror where these 2 lezzes can check our faux hawks and pixie cuts (respectively) and inspect our outfits before leaving for the coffee shop or food co-op.
Every simple job requires dozens of tools & parts
Had to find a new way to get the mirror to stay put. Three hardware stores later, 7 trips to my shed later, I am smiling at my own  groovy nerdy lesbionic reflection again.

Here's the trick to hanging a framed mirror on a hollow core door.

First, get some of the appropriate toggle anchor bolts. We first bought the wrong ones (classic) - they are different lengths, for different thicknesses and types of material. I found a great article at a website whose name I both hated and loved, where the "natural" (love) "handyMAN" (hate) explains with good humor the differences between different types of molly bolts and anchor bolts. Clearly I am not a natural handyman, but at least this handy dyke managed to get the g.d. mirror to stay

Next we used LL's custom approach to the hardware isle -gazing around for a Miracle Product while I, CoolJ claim it could not exist. She found it in the flush mount hangers. Perfect. Screwed one side into the anchor bolts in the hollow door (after much pounding, grunting and pressing to get the g.d. anchor bolts to go in and flip open). Then screwed one upside down onto the mirror frame. Oops.

See the clever hanger thingo at the top
Finally got the hangers hung.  Then had to scrape the old tape off the door. Sand. Prime. Paint. Because of course I had to move the mirror up a smidge.
I used some of the tape for good measure, to prevent the mirror banging around. Whew. But now the long weekend is over and it's too late to get all duded up for the Sunday night grrl dance party. Better look sharp for work tomorrow morning.
See the clever thingo who got the g.d. mirror back on the door

Canadian renovators - did you spend the long weekend making repeated trips to the hardware store? What if you live in a small town like my sister - it is a 140Km trip to the nearest hardware store! I would be in trouble!  Anyone have a better way to deal with hanging a mirror on a hollow door? Have you just used PL300 construction adhesive and called it a day?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lez Finish Season 3 - VIDEO

Holy crap-a-doodle! We are finished the bathroom renovation. Yep, actually finished. Season 3 of Lez Renovate is coming to a close. But have no fear friends, we have plenty of headaches ahead!

In the meantime, check out the season finale!

So what is going to happen now? Well, we are going to lay around in our bathroom for awhile and then we have to get started on one of 2 things. Fix the hole in the side of the house or the dilapidated porch. Both nervous making. We'll keep you posted.

And thanks to everyone who has followed us on our journey! We would be nothing without you folks. Have a fantastic weekend!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Are we at Peachland Beach yet? Or is that just grout in my eyes?

Hey friends
You may be wondering where we have been for the last month. We have been in our EFFING BATHROOM, that's where.

Sheesh. We started this bathroom reno in June 2011, with the design goal to make it feel like you are visiting Peachland Beach. And to finish during the summer. I won't lie to you. It has been TOUGH. And taken 10 months. A few highlights:

In July we stayed up til 2 am several times to finish the shower tiles, but couldn't get the tiles up in time to have the plumber comeback to install the taps.  DIY minus points, as my mom, sister, and our beloved toddler nephew came to visit us that weekend and had to birdbath in the kitchen sink.

In August, we had the toilet in and out a few times, including while LL had the flu. DIY minus points.

In September...CoolJ had to consult video footage with our electrician friend saying "ok forward, stop. Is THAT the wiring you ran" because of some misunderstandings regarding how to power the in-floor heat and the additional art/lamp. DIY BONUS points for figuring it out, getting up in the attic with an actual electrician, and hooking up the fan and light fixture.

In October, it was a near miss with the in-floor heating. Hooked it all up 3 months after installing the gorgeous bathroom floor tile and river rock (and resolving the afore-mentioned electrical confusion).
Nearly a DIY crisis: the thermostat immediately flicked to Ground Fault Interruption Mode to save our lives. Removed and checked the wiring and discovered the error! Huzzah! The heat is on.

Come November, we were onto decor: faux-finishing some recycled lumber to resemble the weathered dock of Peachland Beach,  installing shelving and mirrors, and started on the recessed shelving for the bathroom cabinet. Managed to refrain from smirking when the "I'm New!" hunk at homo-depot paint department kept calling it "Fox Finish," without irony.

For New Year's Eve we had a celebration of the finished bathroom. But we hadn't quite dotted the i in "DiY".  As one guest succinctly put it - "I thought it was done. You still have the toilet paper on the back of the toilet."

Through January - April 2012, we've started planning another MAJOR project (probably to kick off in 2014, at this rate, but I think it will be right up your alley hint hint).

Sheesh. Tough crowd.

This week after getting 2 of the wrong size plexiglass cut, I finished a cool Ikea-Hack that I learned about from local Vancouver artist Louise deGange.  Seeing her gorgeous "Birch" pieces at the EastSide Culture Crawl 2011 showed me precisely the technique to realize one of the design visions I'd had from the outset. Behold her gorgeous acryclic painting on an Ikea Glyllen lamp! My piece is like this only in that it has a lamp...
birch lamp. mixed media (lx on) (private collection) from

But listen. We did it! The memories are already starting to fade away and we've (pretty much) finished our bathroom. LL is preparing the final video for you to enjoy and we are (soon) ready to hit the Peachland beach!

Thanks for sticking with us! Coming soon: a full budget, before and afters, and the big reveal video.

As our friend from Lower Mainland Ceramic Tile said "The next one will be faster and easier." So if you live in Vancity, get in touch. CoolJ is going to be spending some of summer 2012 helping a friend with her bathroom lezrenovation. Isn't she lucky to have access to my precision measurements and time management?

One final question for you all: which shower curtain do you think looks better with the white tile,

What DIY bathroom renovations would you now take on? What do you think should be left to the pros?