Getting to Know You… (Reno Update on Piper’s Peak)

Over the past month, in addition to intimately getting to know the inside of our home through the process of gutting it, we’ve also come to better know our new, quirky community…

So today, in addition to a big renovation and design update on Piper’s Peak, I wanted to share some interesting facts about our new home/village that are bound to surprise you and make you chuckle.

For those who have yet to see the home or our plans, below is a general big-picture look at the home’s design and layout. Our home, (which was originally named Vegas—and there’s interesting fact #1, folks) was originally built for use as a summer house for a doctor and his family in 1988. And while we gutted it top-to-bottom, we maintained all the original posts, beams, and wood ceiling, making small changes to the layout.

In red are the changes we made to the actual structure of the home

Our home is located in Whistler, in a small gated community comprised of just over 150 homes. The first cabin to be built on the land on which our village sits was done in 1968 by Wilf Adlington, and over the years that followed, he continued to build and sell his visionary cabins. He loved the look of A-frames, but disliked that they compromised floor space, so he designed A-frames with higher walls and dormers to allow for more usable space. He also strongly believed in maintaining views of the area’s beautiful river canyon, lakes and mountains, so his designs included big, private porches off the back of the house, never to the front or the neighbours. In the decades he lived and worked on building his village, another community was also developing just a few kilometres southeast. Roads had been laid and 25+ homes had been built when a geological report was released that indicated the community was at risk of flooding. Apparently, a large barrier rock that separates a handful of lakes just north of the estates threatened their stability, and so in 1982, the estates were moved to the land just south of Adlington’s cabins. There’s also apparently a small village (post office, a few cabins, roads, etc.) underwater at the bottom of Daisy Lake, but I digress…

Needless to say, a lot has happened between 1915 when the area was first founded, and now. But one thing that remains is the landscape, which we are grateful to get to enjoy. Our community has three lakes: one is a dedicated dog beach, one is reserved for fresh drinking water for the residents, and the last one is for human use and enjoyment! There is also a community centre (where the old photo I stumbled upon below was taken!), a horseshoe pit, and a sandy kayak/canoe launch. In fact, we’ve been told that from our property, you can technically plop in a canoe and paddle down the channel along the tennis courts to arrive at the lake… The previous owner left us a yellow canoe, and one day soon, we will give it a shot!

Of the village’s residents, half are seasonal, half live there full-time, so our neighbourhood is generally quiet. That said, most of our direct neighbours are full-timers like us, so we have a nice little feeling of safety and entertainment while also getting to feel a little removed and tucked away in our nest in the woods.

We’ve stayed a handful of nights at Piper’s Peak now, and especially after learning more about the history of the area and in talking to locals and neighbours, we are more in love than ever with our new home and its rich history. I feel so lucky, so grateful, and also so tired. It’s just been a lot, this April! With covid and renovating and change… It’s a lot of good, a lot of work, a lot of info, a lot of fresh air. We’re beat by 10pm, sleep ’til 7, and begin again! Whatever we get up to in a given day, be it installing a hydro pole like we did yesterday, or sheeting the garage in birch plywood, or sitting on the couch after a long work day, life, in a word is right now is satisfying.

Back on the home renovation front, we’ve done a ton in the last 14 days!

We wrapped up electrical, plumbing, and insulation. We officially removed every original fixture in the home (including our heinous white ceiling fan, woo!), prepped for all new lights to be installed, and removed all nails in preparation for drywall to come (but you never can be too sure)… Our home is warm and sound-proof and ready for drywall, flooring, tile and finishes. We went with R24 batt on the walls, and R40 in the ceilings. Then, using leftover Safe N’ Sound insulation, Mike and I filled interior walls. This step is not necessary, but there’s nothing worse than a house that sound travels in easily. And with it being small, we don’t want to hear the bathroom in the bedroom, or the dishwasher running when we’re watching TV. So we stuffed that batting even in every crack and cranny. The below photos were taken last week, right before insulation went in. The home at this stage was fully plumed and wired, awaiting insulation.

The window will be our new entry door. We built and finished the winder box, which originally was flipped to the other side.
The view from the garage entry door, with the front door on the wall to the right. Bathroom is to the direct left
As if you were walking from the front door into the kitchen. A sliver of the bathroom is seen on the left.
The longest wall of the kitchen ft. Piper’s dog door (right)
The view from the kitchen back to the front entry
The view from the sitting room by the wood stove, toward the kitchen. That big rectangle will be a fixed window.
The view south.

With a clean house top-to-bottom, and utilities finished, we were ready to insulate the place. And the transformation was one that took me by surprise! The home doesn’t ever really look like it underwent a transformation, but it sounds like it… It’s quiet and warm and safe and sealed. And starting to look and feel like a home! So here are some more photos of the insulation process and the home now, fully insulated and ready for drywall!

So proud of our little winder box (above). Originally, the staircase exited on the other side, where the entry door used to be located (beside the wood stove). In a few weeks, we plan to re-design and build the staircase like we did in the garage using thick slabs of local lumber. Our vision is open risers, chunky wood treads! More on that later.

After insulation was installed, so was vapour barrier, sealing the batting inside the walls, protecting future drywall from ever having moisture touch it.

Freshly insulated! The view standing at the window peak on the main floor, up.
In the loft, we had 24R batt installed in the walls and fluff insulation blown into the ceiling, atop baffles.
Processed with VSCO with u3 preset

What’s next, you ask? Drywall. Siding. Replacing an area of the roof. And beginning to pine the ceiling in the basement and loft!

Keep following me on Instagram (below) for daily stories at the house, and enjoy these random photos I enjoy, taken over the past month:

Our electrical panel is art on its own.
We had to notch into our loft subfloors to run new lines to the ceiling lights in our kitchen. Always so much fussing.
I just love the colours and textures.
Our bed when we stay overnight 🙂
Patching subfloor
Mike fussing with Piper’s dog door.
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