So last year I did a whole lot of condo stuff and was totally remiss at blogging about any of it. It was the result of a bunch of stuff in my place reaching end-of-life and the fact that we couldn’t really go anywhere or do anything last year (thanks, of course, to the pandemic).
Way back in February 2021 (a.k.a., one million years ago), I had to take some vacation time, because I’d carried over some vacation days from 2020 that I needed to use up by the end of fiscal (i.e., March 31). And since pandemic travel restrictions meant I couldn’t really go anywhere, I decided to use my time fixing the shelves in my closets. I have two triangle shaped closets in my condo – one that I use a linen closet and the other that is my pantry overflow. They are great closets in that they make efficient use of space in my tiny condo, but the triangle shelves were being held up (barely) by the world’s tiniest shelf supports, which were falling down every time I took something off a shelf. Some of the shelf supports were coming out of the walls from the constant falling of the shelves. And the paint in the closets was all dinged up. I hadn’t got the insides of the closets painted when I had my condo painted because I thought “who is going to see the insides of the closets? Turns out, me. I see the insides of the closets and I regretting not getting them painted ever since then.
Since I had time to kill and leftover paint from when I had my condo painted, I decided to tackle the closets. I consulted with my sister, who is much more handy that I am, about how best to improve the shelf situation, and I consulted YouTube to learn how to prepare walls for painting, how to paint them, etc. I’ve never painted walls of any sort before, so I figured that painting the insides of closets was a good first painting project, because if I screwed it up, it would be much less noticeable than if I painted a room!
The first order of business was to figure out a better system for the shelves. They were being held up by these flimsy little narrow plastic “shelf supports”:
Look how narrow they are!
And one of them had fallen completely off and left holes in the wall where the pegs had been:
We searched online to see if we could find bigger shelf supports, but we couldn’t. That’s when I consulted with my sister, who suggested screwing some wood into the wall and attaching the brackets to the bottom of the shelf and the wood, like this:
So I had to remove all the existing shelf supports, fix all the holes, sand down the walls, paint, and then install the shelves this way (remembering to install the shelves at slightly different heights than they were originally at, so that I wasn’t screwing the wood into the holes I’d just filled. I learned that I quite enjoy spackling things, and I like painting, but sanding is the seventh level of Hell.
In addition to the two triangle closets, I also painted the closet in my home office, since it was bit dinged up in there and could use a refresh. Here’s a photo from after I’d done my spackling and sanding, but before I painted. I didn’t have to do anything for the shelves in this closet, as I’d had a closet organizer built into the closet when I got the new closet door installed. For the record, I did not paint the ceiling as I had zero interest in going anywhere near that sprinkler!
And here’s the “after” photo:
The photo doesn’t really do it justice – it looks much nicer in person!
Somehow, I’d managed to get through four and a half decades of life without ever purchasing a couch. The first couch I had when I got my first place was a hand-me-down from my sister. I kept that for about a decade, until I moved into a place that was furnished with furniture that was older than I am. When I moved from that place, I got my then-boyfriend’s hand-me-down couch, which I kept for more than a decade until I decided that I was sick of the fact that the couch was not really big enough for two humans and two cats to comfortably lie down on at the same time. I also didn’t love that when we had visitors (in the Before Times, when people did things like visiting), they always had to sleep on a crappy air mattress because we didn’t have anywhere else for them to sleep. So at first we started looking for a couch that could fold out into a bed, but then Scott found a place that makes modular sofas that can be configured into a variety of different ways, including a bed. So it’s basically like if a couch was a Transformer.
We ordered the couch in January, but they are made to order and so we had to wait for it to be made and then also shipped from the factory in China (the company is in Australia and has a factory in Australia too, but our couch was made at their Chinese factory). And because of all the supply chain issues, we were told it would arrive in May, but then there were even more delays because that ship got stuck in the Suez Canal (which disrupted the whole shipping system, even for ships that didn’t need to go through the canal) and also a strike at some port in the US (and my couch was on a ship that had to go to that port before it came to Vancouver). It finally arrived in June.
Here it is set up as an L-shaped couch with an ottoman. But I can take the side of the couch and use it as a back on the ottoman to turn it into a chair. Or I can turn the part of the couch I’m not sitting on in this photo 90 degrees and put the back of the couch down and make it a double bed. Or I can split up the two pieces and make it two love seats. Or, if I had enough room, I could make it one very long couch. So many possibilities!
When I ordered the couch, even knowing that it would be a long wait to get it, I decided that it was my couch of hope for the future, because I could turn it into a bed for a future when people could actually visit me again. And I could configure it in different ways to maximize seating for when I could have parties again! I did manage to have visitors over the summer who slept on the couch (though we didn’t even up turning the couch into a bed – they just decided to sleep on the couch set up like this), but the pandemic still goes on, so there have been no parties yet. I still live in hope that that will be something I can do again someday.
Back in April, my dryer died. That is, it stopped tumbling and given that tumbling is one of its main jobs – and its other main job (heating things) isn’t useful with the tumbling – meant it was time for a new dryer. And since I have to stack on my dryer on my washer in my front hall closet, and my washer is the same age as my dryer (and thus likely to also die soon), I decided to replace them both at the same time. I looked at an Electrolux, but the dryer was ventless and I read that ventless dryers, especially when kept in small closets with poor ventilation (like mine) can end up causing mould, I decided against it. I got Samsung instead (which is what my old ones were).
My building is getting a new roof. It’s something that we knew we were going to need for some time – it’s a 23 year old building and our depreciation report told us that we’d be needing a new roof around now, so I’ve been squirrelling away money for the past several years for what I knew would be a special levy, because roofs ain’t cheap. It was pretty hard to part with all that money, but I was lucky that I was in a position where I could save that all up rather than needing to finance it.
It was supposed to have been done last summer, but there was trouble getting permits because it turned out that Metro Vancouver decided to dig up our street for a sewer replacement project right at the same time we wanted to have a crane and scaffolding to get stuff up to our roof. So we had to wait for that to get sorted out before we could start, which mean we started right when the rain started. But at least it’s being worked on and then we will have a good roof!
Here’s a photo of the scaffolding to get stuff up to the 4 floor roof/deck. We are re-doing that, as well as the roof at the very top (above the 11th floor condos).
The City of New West had a promo where you could get a discount on smart thermostats. So I got some
Now I can control my heating from my anywhere in the world using an app on my phone!
Fridge and Dishwasher
At the end of the year, I had to buy a new fridge. My old one is on its last legs, and given that it was 13 years old, that was probably to be expected. The fridge door did not really want to hold a seal, which meant food was not being kept as cold as it should be and thus was going bad faster than usual (and I was probably wasting a tonne of energy to boot). At first we had to shove the door really hard to get it to stay closed. Then it required a hip check. And by the end I literally had to kick to fridge to keep it from popping back open.
So I decided measured the spot where my fridge was so I know what size of fridge I need and explored what options were out there before Black Friday in the hopes that there would be a good deal. Sadly there was not. So I waited until Boxing Day and then found a sale on something I would be happy with.
At first I thought I’d get a full set of kitchen appliances (fridge, stove, and dishwasher) since they are all the same age, so I anticipated the stove and dishwasher would go sooner rather than later. I thought there would be package deals where you get a discount by buying all three appliances together, but I looked around and that did not seem to be the case. So I thought I’d maybe just replace the fridge and replace the other two when I need to. But then Kalev reminded me of a friend of his who let his dishwasher get too old and it caused a flood when it died, so then I started thinking perhaps a new dishwasher might be a good idea.
Given that I live in a condo and have a small kitchen, my options of what could fit in my space were limited. Here’s the set up of my kitchen with the old appliance:
To the left of the fridge, there is a kitchen counter. To the right of the fridge, there is a pantry closet that is a bit deeper than the counter. My old fridge was 30″ deep, so it stuck out about 2″ past the counter and maybe 1″ past the pantry closet. When I started looking at fridges, I discovered that no one seems to sell a 30″ deep fridge – they tend to be 36″ deep. Typically, a kitchen like mine would have what’s called a “counter depth” fridge – one that is only as deep as the counter so it doesn’t stick out. But most counter depth fridges are ~36″ wide, to make up for the fact that they are so shallow. But the spot in my kitchen for the fridge is only 30″ wide. And the options for 30″ wide, counter depth fridges are the worst because (a) there are very few options, (b) they are more expensive than comparable fridges that are regular depth, and (c) their capacity is tiny, what with the narrow width and shallow depth. Our fridge is constantly packed full as it is (we eat a lot of fresh produce and also usually have beer, wine, and copious amounts of diet cola being kept cold), so having a small capacity seems pretty untenable. But then on Halloween I was at my friend Amy’s place and she has a kitchen that is similar to mine and she recently got a new fridge and she didn’t bother with a counter depth one – she got a regular depth one and despite the fact that it sticks out 6″ past the counter, it’s totally fine. I thought it would look weird, or make the kitchen feel very small, but it doesn’t! This made me very happy, as it opened up a whole bunch of options that I had been ruling out!
I decided to test out what a 36″ deep fridge would be like in my kitchen by pulling my current fridge out 6″ from the wall. It seems totally fine to me, so that gave me even more confidence to buy a regular depth fridge!
I also decided to only look at stuff that was in stock. Because with all the supply chain issues lately, I knew if I ordered one that’s not in stock, it might be a much longer wait that I could afford with the failing fridge.
I managed to find a fridge that I liked that was in stock and on Boxing Day sale. And there was also a deal where you could get $300 off another appliance of the same brand and they had a dishwasher I liked in the same brand and it was also in stock, so I ordered that and now I have fresh food and clean dishes and all is right with the kitchen. Except that my stove doesn’t match, but it cooks fine, so whatevs.
Here’s the fridge on the day it arrived. I like that it has the freezer on the bottom!
And here’s the dishwasher. I bought the magnet (which says “Dirty” on the other side) so that I always know if the dishes inside are clean or dirty on Etsy.
The best part of the dishwasher is this top rack that you can put utensils on. In my old dishwasher, I used to have to waste valuable space on the regular racks for things like!
The next thing I want to do around the condo is put up some shelves on my walls. We’ve got too much clutter on the few places that we have to put things (a bookshelf in the office, the shelves on the bottom of the TV stand, and the little mantle of the plug in fireplace), so I figure I could make some better use of my wall space. So stayed tuned for that!