Friday, October 12, 2012

Mantle improvement - yes / no?

So we moved from a large condo into a small house and a lot of my stuff has been tucked away unused - but all that storage space is precious and I'm determined to use it all somewhere.  What do you think of this change - did I improve the mantle? I think so...

Is it too terrible that we just threw al the stuff onto the mantle vs. hanging? This lets me change my mind more easily.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Help choosing colour for a dresser?

Check out this dresser we picked up at the last Christie antique show.  Its 40 wide by 36 tall - a good size.  I think with a better paint job and the hardware cleaned up (they paitned it white!) it could look phenomenal. I don't know if you can see the lovely detail on the legs and in the middle at the top.
Dresser to be painted

But what colour should we paint it? Most of the painted french antique dressser pics online are white or cream.  I was thinking a grey could be nice or maybe just the white.

The dilemmna is we haven't painted the room the dresser is going in - its currently cream but may go to a light blue like the rest of the house (like the walls in this room.)

PS - the wood things on the table are the 'arms' to hold the mirror that came with the dresser - you can see the mirror peeking out at the bottom left corner of the pic.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A small kitchen update

Can you spot the difference in the picture below (besides the camera angle)?

Yup - at the Spring Christie antique show we picked up a new cut glass window in an old frame.  I like it because I always wanted a stained glass window buthave trouble committing to stained glass colours.  I think this ( ) is the website for the vendor (its not great) but I'm not 100%.

Here's a close-up:

One thing we love about the window is that on sunny days we get bits of rainbows on the kitchen floor.  That makes me happy.

Have a great day.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kitchen update (power of paint again)

So this is an update performed just before we moved in - painting the kitchen. Everyone in the blog world seems to have done it so I' not going to post instructions - just pictures.  I'm also not going to post instructions because I didn't do it myself :) I started (with the side of the cupboard in the the lower left hand of 1st pic) but realized it would take forever and I was traveling heavily at the time so we had most of the cabinets professionally spray painted.

The before (which I hated - seriously blue lowers?)

As you can see we had tons of cabinets as the light wood cabinets in the office / mudroom can be seen from the kitchen.

Without further ado the after - sorry for the quality. My camera isn't very good.

Oh and notice in addition to the new color the light fixture over the sink.  There used to be a potlight there before. 

I was going to go with dark lowers and light uppers originally but so glad that I was advised against it during a color consult my agent organized for me. It was with Lesley Till @ Design In Sight who gave amazing advice.  She said with my dark floors and dark backsplash I should avoid the dark lowers.

What colour did we use? Benjamin Moore Wickham Grey.

Friday, September 14, 2012

First time painting furniture

So we accomplished the below on the August long weekend and here I am posting a month and a half later - yes I am ashamed of myself but I'm not going to beat myself up too much.

So when we moved in we found that the owners had taken the powder room mirror with them - it wasn't an exclusion so I didn't think it was cool but I wasn't going to pay them the $100 they wanted to return it. Instead I just put up an old mirror that I owned despite the fact that it it didn't fit in.  But the internet inspired me to paint it and without further ado here is the before and after:
Before and After
 So I'll admit its not as perfect up close. I can still see the reflection of the black underside of the frame in the mirror but it matters not - I'm proud of my thriftiness in reusing an existing mirror. To be honest I even like it better than he fancier mirror that the previous owners had - see below. I think my painted mirror has more presence and doesn't disappear into the busy wallpaper.  Would you agree?

Prior owner's mirror on left and mine on right

Friday, June 8, 2012

Recent vacation

So one of the the things we were doing on the two month break from posting was vacationing.  Not for two months of course - just 10 days but was a nice break. Can you guess where we went?

Due to hubs schedule we were forced to go in April and it rained the whole time. Well almost the whole time - we had one good day at Versailles. Quite lucky we chose that day to go!

Yes on every trip I have my head in a guide book

And when it rained we spent our time in museums and shops! Recognize this museum?

Hope you enjoyed the pics!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

While others were at Blogpodium - Part 2

So in my last post I told you about my recent shopping trip to the Christie Antique Show and my lovely kitchen table. I've been to the show in the past and picked up some cool stuff - the best of which is the carpet in my family room.  I love it because its a Persian with very little red but its not dark either - here's a close-up:

So once I had my kitchen table paid for I couldn't resist looking up the carpet guy. "Do you have any Persians with very little red under 5ft wide?"  "Yes - here you go and check out the quality. I'll give you a great deal on it."
Then overcome from the heat and carried away by the price I bought it. What do you think?

Overall I like it - its soft as silk - truly good quality. But I do wish I'd looked at it a little more closely. I'm not too fond of the two buildings (mosques?) in the middle.  Hubs likes it he says - he says the room needed some darkening. They say you win some and you lose some - but what about when you just can't decide?

Monday, June 4, 2012

While others were at Blogpodium - Part 1

So May 26th was Blogpodium and almost every blogger I follow was there. But I was elsewhere on a mission - the Christie Antique Show.  Hubs and I had decided that we needed a kitchen table so we rented a cargo van and made our way there early in the am - left home at 6:30am because the show opened at 8am. Well too much traffic (and a stop at MickeyDs) made us a little late but we made it there by 8:30am and ran around every stall looking at tables only.

We couldn't find the 5ft long 30in wide table we wanted but then we saw this one - its 6ft long and it was so handsome. We debated it a little but then decided we had to make the leap and now we have a kitchen table. Yay!

That wallpaper isn't me but it was FandB so I was reluctant to remove it when we moved in.  I'm increasingly thinking I need to.

The table is circa 1900 and has been restored which is fine by me because while I have dreams of being the blogger who paints all her furniture the reality is I never have time + am fairly lazy.  Se how the end bits are thinner are than the main? That's because the restorers built in storage! Cool huh?

Next step is finding chairs. We are currently surfing online!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Out of hibernation

When I first started this blog I looked at other blogs and saw a few that were fantastic and yet they had stopped blogging.  When that happens you know its likely because their lives got really busy or the expectations and demands of blogging got too much or the blogger just developed other interests.  Well I have no such excuse - its been two months since my last post and I've thought about posting almost every other day but just haven't been able to make myself do it.

I've been tired yes but I've also developed an aversion to my computer - after a long day working from home reading and answering emails the only way I can disconnect is to put the computer way entirely - no surfing, no research and no blogging. But I do owe you several updates so I will at the least make those and then let's just go from there. Here's a pic of how I feel - emerging from a rest..

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Master bedroom post-move-in

So the next few days will be a short series of what the place looks like now - post renovation and moving in with my possessions.  We already did the family room which I absolutely love.  Today is the master bedroom. Its nice but I can't claim love.

First the before - this is with the prior owner's possessions and a professional fish eye lens or something. I am really envious of the panoramic shots they take for real estate listings. I hated the wall colour.  I love brown in furniture and even more so in chocolate but on the walls it looked like poo in this room - no offense intended for people who like the colour.

So we did two things:
1) the room is now 2ft narrower because of the bathroom reno we did. The before was 13ft and the after is 11ft
2) We painted the room F&B Skylight
We didn't mess with the closets so no new pics of those
Excuse my husband's bed making abilities and the tattered blanket - its so hard to find a decent priced washable blanket!

After painting + moving in with my stuff 01

See the en suite door!
The room is quite serene now - good for sleeping. But I think I'm bored.  I have had that headboard for years and years.  It was cheap because it was a mistake - not queen and not king either.  But its so blah and a bit too beige.  So I think I need to Craigslist it and get a new upholstered headboard in a cheery fabric. And maybe curtain panels.  Doing these two things will make me happy. but alas I have put myself on a spending moratorium.

The bench at the foot of the bed is my favorite thing in the room.  Its a Christie's antique show find and I can't tell if its really old or just 20 years old. So I can't decide if I should repaint the legs to freshen it up or leave it looking battered.

That's it for this room - I think next will be the dining room.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Back with pics

Sorry I've been away for so long. I don't know if I mentioned but I travel for work so in the two weeks since I posted last I've been in 4 different US cities + Toronto. And we moved which was crazy because we had to pack over half our house in a day. And we unpacked all the main things so the house is at least half done.

But enough excuses - I just wanted to share what is probably my favourite room (bathrooms excluded!).

Its our current family room - the prior owners used this large bedroom for the same purpose. Here is the before from the listing. I hated the color on the walls - we called it baby diarrhea and it was high on the to-paint priority list.

Before - from prior owners - family room
And here's where we are now:

My favorite part is the rug - we picked it up at the Christie's antique show last year. It doesn't have a lot of red in but there's enough to tie into the accent wall. The rug is an odd size 7x10 which I didn't realize when I bought it. I also love how its one of the few traditional elements in the room but looks good (to me) paired with the modern ottoman, daybed and art.

Btw if you like the daybed / sofa it can sleep 3 when opened out.  Its from Design Within Reach.  As are the two standing lamps near the TV.

As for paint its F&B Borrowed Light for the blue and F&B Incarnadine forthe accent wall. We did colour match with Benjamin Moore but I hink it was a good match.

What's next for this space? I'm open to suggestions but I think the side tables need changing /  upgrading.  I'm not sure what look I need instead but I'm hoping it will just strike me - perhaps at the next Christie's show.  I also think I need to change the pillows and throw to a red and white scheme but I'm afraid to be too matchy.

More soon :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mirror Question

En suite sneak peek

So I think the picture speaks for itself! We are almost there.  Sorry I didn't visit the house today so we only have hubs bb pics. And typically he didn't put the cover down!  But here's the big question - what shape and size of mirror?  It can't be too big because of the dainty light fixture (missing shades currently). I considered a medicine cabinet but think it would be unbalanced (I can't recess).  Round / oval is too small; rectangular will look disproportionate against the light fixture 

I'll try to draw on the pic tomorrow but what do you think of this:

Its for sale by First Time Fancy on her facebook page. I'd have to detach the medicine cabinet back and attach a wire to hang it. I'm worried it may be too small but do you agree that it should be a shape like this? Wider on the bottom and narrower on the top?

Have a good night.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bathroom Update + Giveaway!

So I dropped by the house today and it is looking good.  In my last post I expressed Bathroom Worries. Well no more. With grout the tiles look so much better and the ming green marble is looking cool - to me at least. My key worry now is how to take good pictures for you given the space is so small. I couldn't take pics today because there was too much construction stuff all around. The showstopper so far is the paint - its so amazingly beautiful but so hard to see in pics.  Here's the cleanest shot I could get today. Its the hall bath (yes Hubs chose a floating vanity) painted in BM Whirlpool - see the ceiling corner to get a sense of Whirlpool color.

Main reason for posting though is the National Home Show. I bought tix the day after I bought the house but just got 2 tix as a gift.  The show is in downtown TO from Mar 16 to 25th.  Anyone want? Gotta be a follower (yes I'm trying to build a cult) and leave me a comment - I'll do some fancy random number thing to pick the winner (yes I'm hoping there's more than two of you!). Sorry tix gone. My contractor wanted them!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bathroom worries

So I've shared one of the two bathrooms with you and its looking promising I think.  We went with a safe tile choice there on the carrara herringbone.

On the other washroom I was more daring and I'm worried I may have missed the mark - but I'm not sure. Here's a bit of the history:  I saw the following ming green 'illusion' tile when we first started shopping and fell in love.
Ming green illusion tile
And when I say love I mean real love. I'd meant to buy a white carrara 1" hex tile when I went in but I couldn't shake this tile from head.  I slept on it for 3 weeks because I knew this wasn't a traditional choice.  I didn't even post about the tile because I loved it so much and you know how hurt you can feel when someone advises against things you love.

We finally took the plunge for the tile but decided we'd do it as a carpet with a white border.  I made the decision because I love white and loved the carpet idea and was trying to get the best of all worlds. Here's what we were supposed to have:

Ming green illusion with white thassos border

I though the above looked sensational but that's when we ran into problems.  Big problems. The green tile didn't look good when it was cut to have a straight edge and the grout lines were too big if we didn't cut. This was a big Friday drama - we had 3 options:
1) stick with original plan but go with big grout lines
2) return all the tiles we'd bought and settle for an easier, safer tile like the 1" carrara hex tile
3) stick with my first love and keep the green tile but put it all over the floor

I've never been know to settle so I took the plunge - green throughout.  Its gone down and I still love the tile but something feels off...

Tile on floor - still needs grout
Don't worry about the squiggly lines at the edges.  Grout / caulk / baseboard will take care of that.  My theories about the 'off' feeling are:
  1. The shower jamb and wall tile were both chosen when I had white tiles as my carpet border.  They were already in by the time we ran into our troubles.  Are the wall tiles too white against the green? Is the white shower jamb too creamy white against the wall tiles.  Its almost like I need a creamier white wall tile - but I don't know
  2. The washroom wasn't bright enough when I saw it.  It has no windows and only one of the 4 lights were on when I took the above pic.  Once all the other lights are set, maybe everything will be whiter and shinier
  3. Not enough is in the washroom yet - once the glass shower doors are in the light will reflect off that onto the white tiles and look OK. Also the vanity will cover some of the tile bringing more white into the space
Hubs thinks the whole thing looks great - spa like. But is he saying it to make me happy and less worried?

Hope things are going well for you out there.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bathroom sneak peek

So I shared the hall bath with you the other day. Want to see the tile we picked? 

Hall bath before tie with ditra + carrarra herringbone tile
I haven't confirmed but I think I've learnt a lesson - herringbone is not the best tile for $ savings.  I know I bought enough based on the room measurements but the contractor tells me I'm short a couple of tiles.  I think its all the waste on the edges

Oh and this is the paint we just chose:

Benjamin Moore™ 1436 Whirlpool 

It looks really blue but here is a picture at Color Me Happy of what I think it looks like.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bathroom update

Just got the above from hubs - isn't it lovely! We're less than a week away from being done

Monday, March 5, 2012

A new appreciation for renos

So I think I'm at the end of the 2nd week of the reno and the end of the 2nd month of planning it and I am exhausted.
  • I never want to go into another tile store (or at least not for a 6 month period)
  • I dread the thought of going to pick out the accessories
  • And 'giving feedback' to the contractor has exhausted me
I truly have a new appreciation of renos and even more for the people who DIY - its a lot of work and so much to learn. But enough of the general and onto the update.  I travel for work so I didn't get to see it all week and returned to the following:
  • all the framing got done
  • all the electrical got done
  • all the plumbing got done

Hall bathroom - has a tub!

    You can't see it in this picture but a potlight had accidentally been put right above that knee wall. "Um, we are going to have a sheet of glass there." The contractor said "Good catch" and moved it.

    He's not as keen when I give him feedback about the drywall.  See the red X in the pic? That's in the tub area but is old greenboard (presumably).  Should I push him to replace it with cement board. Hubs says its OK because we bought a product called Hydroban at The Tile Store. Since Hydroban is waterproofing used in pools he figures its okay to just paint the boards with it before tiling.

    Also one thing you don't see in the pic is the hole for my handshower.  Contractor says piping is there but he hasn't cut the hole in the drywall.  Really!

    Onto the en suite:

    En suite shower area

    So same comment of hand shower applies here. I was on the phone with the contractor who insisted it was there and I was like 'Where?'  Oh well I'm sure he'll fix it.  For those of you wondering the flexible piping is Apex bringing the water in. The black pipes are the vents for the drains.

    Here's a wide view of the en suite - oh and this is the only time it will be this easy to see. I hate how hard washrooms are to photograph.

    En suite
    On the left is the shower and the pocket door (I didn't think we had space for a swing door).  The middle is the vanity and the right is the toilet.

    The hiccup on this one was that the shower piping was too high and wouldn't accommodate the gooseneck.  They moved it.

    Outstanding issue are:
  • Above mentioned issue of handshower that will be fixed!
  • See the X on the right.  Old bedroom drywall.  He says it was greenboard so fine to stay.  I'm dubious - should I push? or is it less important since its far from the vanity / shower?
  • I had insulation put in behind the vanity - but should it have a vapour barrier?
  • The doorway measures at 33 inches but the door I bought is only 32 inches. Is it okay d you think because of the drywall.
Speaking of the doorway that was one of the week's hassles that I had to deal with from a country away:
  • On the weekend we bought a 30x80 pocket door frame from Central Fairbank. However when the contractor went to pick it up they didn't have any in stock.  Um it was there when I bought it. Talk about careless. So we had to go with a 32x80 door. Oh and later found out it would have been cheaper at Home Depot. I'm not a Central Fairbank fan, I'll tell you.
  • Even the door was a somewhat compromise because there was limited stock in what we wanted. So we got this Milette door but instead of primed we ended up with knotty pine which we'll have to stain and instead of tempered glass we got something called Morocco glass which is much more textured

    via Home Depot / Milette
  • Worse than the door were the fixtures for the hall bath. They were supposed to get to TO the last week Friday. But they never got on the truck from the US. Um - you could have told us before.  So I had to pick 'settling' things on the phone. Was not a happy camper.
I think that largely covers this week. Oh and we haven't started packing either because this bathroom seems to consume every weekend. We move in 3 weeks - wish us luck.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bathroom demolition update

Last week the demolition started on the washroom. I knew the washroom had likely been renovated in 2001 when the addition was put in. My thinking was that since additions are largely big jobs that it would have been done right. Well no such luck. My contractor's favorite phrase is 'hack job'.

Here's the bathtub area:
Look at the pipes at the bottom.  You're never supposed to cut into joists - you can bore a hole selectively but not 'hack' into them like that.  Any those are new joists from the addition! Now these have to be reinforced. Oh and they were missing support right underneath the toilet, which we've already added.

This is a tub area - so there should have been a vapor barrier between the cement board and insulation. As far as I can tell no vapor barrier and likely no cement board either. We'll be replacing this insulation.

Now onto the chimney - so so glad I had this removed:

Top right is the before. It was all drywalled in and made the entrance tight.  Bottom right is after removing the drywall. At one time I considered leaving the chimney in because I thought an exposed chimney would be cool. Not this one.  It has two different kinds of wallpaper on it plus some subway tile. Final and largest picture is the area without the chimney. Original plaster and lathe wall back there - the rest is the new addition.

Oh and see all those wires hanging around. That's the way they were in the drywall. That's also bad.

The ceiling of the washroom was lower than any other ceiling because they had not bothered to remove the old plaster ceiling. We decided to get rid of it. Left shows the plaster ceiling and right is after.

There are other problems that are harder to show:
 - non-level floors: the addition end is an inch lower than the old house end
- when they put up the addition the studs weren't put in evenly so now we'll have to strap them to try to get them level.

That's the one week update. More next week.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pretty pictures

So I'm sure you're keen for a break from the neverending bathroom thoughts.  How about instead  some pics taken by Hubs:

Disneyland 2011

Laguna Beach, August 2011

Also Laguna Beach, August 2011

BlackBird - Kauai 2011 

Coming back from Hana - Maui 2011 - I took this one - a girl can get lucky!

2010 vacation - Syria - which was really beautiful

Flowers Hubs buys me some time :)
Hope you enjoyed the pics.