Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Random Ramblings

So I'll admit I'm still finding my groove on this blog thing. Writing daily requires thinking of topics - gasp I need to be creative! But I just know I'll be a lapsed diarist if I don't write daily.

So I'm curious - for those of you who read other home reno blogs - do you look at your husband and say "why can't you do that?"  I know I'm a terrible wife - and its not like I'm handy but I do expect hubs to be! But look at these people: over at Young House Love they just hung their own range hood.  At First Time Fancy they are doing their own washroom. Oh well accept and be mildly envious but generally resigned.

Speaking of mild envy, over at Life Begins at Thirty Right! Janice is going to be on Sarah Richardson's show! Now certainly LBTR may be my blog crush but Sarah Richardson - when I met her 2 years ago I was like a starstruck stranger who couldn't say anything. I'll be watching the show with my eyes peeled for Janice's home.

Much as I love Sarah I won't be going to the Women of Influence luncheon where she'll be speaking - not unless its free. I always find the talks at those things so much fluff.

And finally what's a blog without pretty pictures. Have you seen the New Ravenna Mosaic line? I warn you they are very pretty but very expensive. Have fun checking them out.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bathroom update

So been a little busy with work but minor update: hubs is totally in on the 2 washroom plan but now we just have to get contractors speeded up. Reminder - here is the plan - this one shows the bedroom and the 2 foot extension into it.

Ideal floor plan for bathroom reno

Remember we have to get the chimney out first to do all of this. Well the HVAC guy  is set to come in mid-Feb. Once we get a new boiler that doesn't vent into the chimney, we have to get the masonry guy to come and take down the chimney and then a roofer to fix the hole in the roof. Phew.

In another news check this out:

Hubs and I just registered for a Flash Mob! Crazy huh! Want to join us?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Where we're coming from...

So one of the first things you think about as you buy a new home is "Will my dining table fit?...What should I put in this corner? etc." So here's a post on my current apartment so you can see where I'm coming from.

I'm feeling a touch lazy so most of these are photos from the listing (and unfortunately the condo is still for sale if you are interested.)

Living room
 Is the ottoman too modern for our century home?
The sofa is a little old now - 8 years and showing it but the bathroom reno takes precedence.
Sorry you can't see the dining table too well. The dining chairs are from Crate & Barrel - super comfy but a bit big and beige.  Now I want something with pretty upholstery.

You couldn't see it in the previous pic but here's our problem child.  A TV armoire from before large LCDs became the norm. We keep all our bags and backpacks in it these days but do we take it with us to the new home.  We paid a lot for it 8 years ago which I doubt we'll get back if we consign it but is that a reason to keep it?
The nesting side tables were a sale mistake - you know how it goes "its half price!" - so they'll go on Craigslist once we sell the condo.

The sofa is from DWR - one of those ones that can be used for guests. I think it'll be fine in the bedroom that will be used as a family room until we complete the basement.

The bedroom set will all fortunately fit -yay.  Don't have to  buy anything there for now.

So I have to admit this isn't everything. When we had to stage the place we had to take our carpets and knicks knacks out.  They finally get to come out of storage once we move which is TBD. Wish us luck with the condo sale!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Call for help

I just discovered http://www.floorplanner.com/ and can finally ask for your help on a burning topic - layout of renovated bathroom:

Here's what we have now:

 I could just do a Bathroom Replacement and not change the layout but we all know that I'd be resenting that chimney for the rest of my life if Idid that! So the chimney really should go - I've priced it out and its expensive but the future resentment is more expensive!!!

So here's my ideal layout:

 This gives me a large vanity + I don't have to see the toilet when I walk in.  I could even add a door to the right hand wall and make this an 'ensuite'. 
But the contractor does not want to move the toilet and is going on about how we will have to drop the ceilings in the rooms below which is not ideal. Hubs agrees with him. "Don't mess with the poop" is his stance.

So here's what the contractor wants to do:

 So I wil still see the toilet when I walk in. I get a smaller vanity and we probably won't be able to have sconces with that evil stack there. He says I can have my ensuite door if I want. Btw realized via the 3d feature in floorplanner that I don't like the wall near the entrance but we can make that a 1/2 wall

A friend suggested the following:


It gives me a bigger shower than contractor's plan but I don' think that it will be easy / fun to use the tub. Also no 'ensuite' option.
And finally there is the compromise - should I leave the chimney and do this:

 To me it feels a little cramped and has no real storage room but I do like that the chimney feels a little less obvious with the T-layout

 This is the only washroom on the floor so another option is to try something drastic like taking space from the master (its 13x13) and creating 2 washrooms. I don't mind a small ensuite and it'll save me putting an addition on the house (in my dreams!) to get one.


Do you have other suggestions I can model?
I haven't yet figured out how to setup voting...and don't think I have enough readers yet :) ....so please leave me a comment.
  1. Simple Replacement
  2. Ideal
  3. Contractor
  4. Friend
  5. Compromise
  6. Radical
  7. You suggest a different layout
Thanks in advance


So since I don't love the colours of our current walls, hubs has offered to paint the house for me. I want a serene look that opens up the space so a light neutral. Now I don't seem to like any colour but blue (I do try) but am worried about being too cheery blue vs. "i'm light and bright but sophisticated" so we've bought samples of all the colours below. If you have colour suggestions do please let me know!

Source all pics: F&B website
(note all colors are F&B but we likely colour match):

Upstairs hallway and mudroom (ie darker spaces): Borrowed Light

Living room, dining, room, entry way and front bedroom (ie lighter spaces) : Skylight

Master Bedroom (going for darker): Parma Gray

Found some of the above colours painted online and they seem to be on the right track:

Borrowed Light
Source: Forum

Souce: Forum
Parma Gray (seems the least likely to be what I want so far although I'm looking for a darker blue-grey since this is for the master bedroom)

Source: Photobucket

Monday, January 23, 2012

My new sink faucet

So anyone who knows me knows I love a deal.  So I just couldn't resist buying this faucet at ~ 60% of the price I saw in a  bath store. Don't you just love it?  It'll take a little getting used to since I'm used to the single lever modern faucets which are so much easier but for this much beauty I can sacrifice convenience!

Graff Canterbury faucet
 I have Jennifer over at Rambling Renovators to thank on this one. I'd never seen a bridge faucet till I saw one in her washroom.  Here's her Kohler Lyntier faucet, however I regret to say its been discontinued.  Bathroom Galleries in Mississaugua has one left in brushed nickel at time of writing - for anyone interested.

Bathroom pics before renovation

Did I mention that a bathroom renovation is on the horizon - less than a month away. Here's some real before pics - i.e., not staged.

 Notice the octagonal sink.

I love storage space but not at the expense of aesthetics :)
And on the right you see the most painful part of this reno. A chimney that's been covered by drywall. The width of the wall is 9ft - give 2.5ft to a door and that leaves 6.5 ft. To then give 2 ft of that upto a chimney hurts. Next time a floor plan but here are more before pics

This is the view as you enter. There's the chimney on the right. Because of it the entrance is ~ 27 inches which is a few inches smaller than the standard doorway. That thing next to the toilet is electric heat. Turn it on when using the toilet and be prepared to be roasted!

On the same wall as the toilet is the tub. Its fine but like everything else here just a little dated and basic

There is a rather cool window betwen the toilet and the tub.

And then across from the tub is the vanity and the beloved chimney.

Here's a better shot of the blue tile :)

So if this was your washroom what would you change in the reno?
- New vanity?
- New floor?
- New tiles around the tub?

We have 2 options here:
- just a replace everthing in the same option
- remove the chimney and redesign the layout

The latter gives us a 9x9 box to play with:
- add a stand-up shower? but perhaps a smaller vanity
- have a 60 inch 2 sink vanity but no stand up shower

What do you think?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The before my befores (Part 2)

So a true giveaway with an online house tour is if they show 6 pictures each of the Living Room, Dining Room,kitchen and master but then only 1 picture of certain rooms. And I don't mean the little bedroom where you wouldn't need more than one picture. No I mean the bathroom and the basement. Here are those pics from the online house tour.

In the bathroom what you don't see are how:
 - overwhelming the blue tiles can be on the floor
 - that he formica (I think) countertop is more blue than grey
 - that the octagonal sink is pretty dated
 - that the washroom has an odd layout
And that last one is the most important. Its a really big room (9 x 9) with an awkward layout and so this is where my reno dreams get fulfilled.

And then there's the basement. This is why we got an our of our price range home in our price range. The basement is only ~6ft high and because there have been 2 additions to the house over time its broken into 3 room. So there is a basement dig down in our future (but maybe in a few years). Oh and don't be fooled by the basement pic here. The previous owners roughly finished 1/2 the basement on the cheap to sell and didn't even add electric heat.

So there you go - you've seen what i've gotten myself into.  The bathroom reno starts in a few weeks so that's all this blog is going to be about for the next little while.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The before my befores (Part 1)

I mentioned in the last post that our house is pretty much turnkey - so its only fair for you to see what we saw when we bought - here are pics from the online house tour. Hubs doesn't want me to post these as some (but not all) of our furniture is not as nice as the previous owners. And our taste is different so he's concerned that the befores won't be as nice as the afters. So going forward the befores I'll use will be the empty room shots that hubs has yet to take. I think that's a much fairer comparison - but I also want to be honest here just this once I present the 'what we bought' look

Living Room - the walls look a lovely grey but they are really a F&B green

Dining Room - I love the ceiling height and the wide staircase. (Still want to repaint the green)

So, so far I clearly bought an old home right. Yes I love old homes. But here's where it becomes us - a mix of old and new. There's been two additions to this house in the past so leaving the dining room you now get a mud room/office, a powder room and a large eat-in kitchen.

A peek from the dining room into the addition
Powder room has F&B wallpaper that I like! They took the mirror so that needs to be replaced

Heads up - now moving into spaces that I'd like to change but don't need to.
Mud room / office - love the space and heated floor but not the laminate cupboards

The kitchen is ~11 years old and I like the space but not the design:
  • First are the blue cupboards. I HATE them.Those will go grey.
  • I'm not sure about painting the uppers. I don't like the laminate but they are so tall - will they look good painted - say white?
  • The black blackspash I don't love.
  • You can't se it but the counters are stainless steel and let's just say they have patina! Hubs says they remind him of his high school job at Taco Bell. He hates them.
  • Long term I'd like French doors instead of sliding doors
The bedrooms are up next and they are fine but need repainting. One thing about me: I hate brown. Its my least favourite colour. Guess what colours 2 of the 3 bedrooms are?

Master - its 13 by 13 and I love the closet space
Front bedroom - we'll use as family room for now too

So there you go - seems pretty turnkey right? Yes some work to do on the kitchen and I'll have to try hard making my real rooms look better than these staged ones but where 's the challenge? Well that will be Part 2 of course :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beginning of the road!

WooHoo! So first off I've wanted to start this blog for over a month. Since we bought the house. But it took me this long to think of a blog name that was us. You should have seen the doozeys I contemplated but here we are with a name that is us! And a house that is us too.

It was a long road to this place. We first tried to buy a house in 2008 but after a year of hunting and 6 failed offers we gave up and settled for a nice easy to buy, easy to maintain condo. This year I got bored - yes as my colleagues will tell you big things end up happening when I get bored - and we went house hunting again. Four months and 2 failed offers later we found IT. Well actually we'd seen it once before but it was out of our price range and we thought it was overpriced (isn't everything?). Well turns out it was overpriced because we got it for below asking after the 2nd price drop - Yay!

So is it a fixer-upper? My two blog crushes are Jennifer from Rambling Renovators and Janice from Life begins at thirty right? and I do sort of wish I could renovate to the extent they did. But no we bought a technically turnkey house. Note the caveat! Its fine for now but I seriously intend changes and you'll hear more in upcoming posts - with pics!