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.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Building Rome, deadlines and stools

So everyone says Rome wasn't built in a day - take it slow Ava. But what if Rome had a housewarming deadline and an all over the place architect?

Cut to the chase. We move at the end of the March and Hubs has scheduled a housewarming for the Easter long weekend. This is his way of forcing me to action because o/w I'll procrastinate. Hey I'm procrastinating right now writing blog posts instead of packing.

So parties need seating which makes me think of this bench and stool that I bought at a Dundas antique show. Both are stored in my mother-in-laws basement right now.

Wouldn't it be cool to recover the stool at minimum? I don't know if have time for a DIY though (my first!) - so get an upholsterer?

I was thinking of the following fabrics from Tonic Living for the stool:

From top left clockwise: Theo citrine; Joy Fiesta, Gate citrine, Emilio Licorice

 What do you think? The stool is small - 12 inch diameter so the fabric has to have a small repeat. Blue is my favorite colour but the walls are blue so I think the stool has to be another colour I like - yellow or green or maybe black?  But which colour will look good with the wood of the stool?

K - take it easy - I know Rome wasn't built in a day. But I'm certainly going to try :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Liebster Blog Love

So last week Pam @ Cherish Toronto chose me as a recipient of the Liebster Blog Award. I was super duper pleased. Barely 1 month into writing the blog I certainly didn't expect one yet though I do check my follower count everyday. There are several awards like the Liebster - they are meant to recognize bloggers you read and promote readership. The Liebster works as follows:

Prerequisite: A Liebster gets awarded to a blogger with under 200 followers
  1. The recipient must mention who gave him/her the award
  2. The recipient then passes it onto 5 worth blogs also with under 200 followers and inform them
  3. The recipient tells readers five things so readers get to know them better
1 - Awarded by
So I've already mentioned that Pam @ Cherish Toronto gave me the Liebster. I started reading Pam maybe two weeks ago. She seems to have a love of bamboo furniture and is much more well rounded than I.  You'll get Toronto coverage, design coverage and she seems to have the best luck finding deals.

2 - Pass it forward
So here are two challenges with passing it forward: (a) what if a blog you follow doesn't list their follower count? Do you guess? and (b) what if that blog just got a Liebster? Is it okay to give them a second? Well I'll do my best:
  1. InteriorGroupie - Heather's in the middle of a kitchen reno and just got given a Liebster from Money Pit Love. Well now she has two :)
  2. The Bennett House - This one's going to be interesting cos Keira's scope is big. Shes practically tearing her house down and rebuilding. I'm hoping she does some posts about the permit process
  3. 365 Small Details - such beautiful pictures
  4. A Tree Lined Street - Also recently got a Liebster. Cate's bathroom reno is fantastic and look at her gorgeous vanity
  5. A Home in the Making - No bathroom reno photos but I love her style.  Check out her hallways.  I wonder if Hubs will let me?
While i was passing it forward I updated my blog roll on the right so feel free to have a look.

3 -Five random/Interesting things about me
So these are supposed to be random things about me but I just started the blog and thought I'd mix up random and important things about me.

1) Two years ago I lost 100lbs. I'm very very proud of it. But alas I'm struggling with my weight now - have gained back 20 lbs and between the house and the travel I'm having trouble even starting the weight loss process again. The goal is to lose 15 lbs. Wish me discipline

2) My 2nd greatest accomplishment (see above for the first) was hiking 150km in 10 days around Mont Blanc. There was a lot of climbing up and down mountains - not something I'd done in the past.

3) I don't start small. My first time camping ever was in under zero degree weather halfway up a ginormous mountain on the way to Macchu Picchu

That covers all the main things I think - we'll save relationship and work for another time :)

4) So here goes the random - I love swings.  My favorite thing is to find a playground without kids (I feel embarrassed when they are there). Hubs always pushes me :) Don't you love this pic? I think I'm going to use it for the blog

5) I have a very large collection of Fluevogs. Between Hubs and I we are mini-Marcos on the shoe front. Here are some of the shoes in my collection:

Hope you enjoyed this post and have a great day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bathroom lighting fixtures

We have established that I'm impulsive right?  So yes I bought my bathroom lights while I was in LA - I wanted something period to maintain a little of the house's character so Rejuvenation seemed perfect for that.

Oh and did I tell you that I let Hubs choose his own light fixture. In fact I've been an angelic wife and have let him make all the decisions on the hall bathroom while i made all the decisions on the en suite. Yes - those of you who know me are really in shock (he is too) - but it was only fair!

Btw Rejuvenation lets you choose the finish and mix and match shades so the following are digital images from their site.  Also, I was not paid in any way for this or prior posts.

Hall bathroom fixture - chosen by hubs

En suite light fixture chosen by moi
Btw - they are both the same width approximately - just odd sized pictures...

Oh and story learnt from light shopping - always measure out any plan.  We went into the store with a crazy plan to get sconces. Then it occurred to me to try to visualize what two sconces would look like above a 36 inch vanity and realized I was left with a 18 inch mirror.  Now I've attached a mini measuring tape to my key chain :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Liebster Love + Eye Candy 003

That was me last week when I saw that Pam over at Cherish Toronto picked lil old me as a Liebster Award receipient.  So there are rules to obey when you receive one of these but I'm going to have to give it a little thought - its like an Oscar speech...I'll have to write mine.

Meanwhile here's the final in my series of photos when I was home shopping in LA - especially for Pam who is going there in March.

You may have seen mention of Rejuvenation in Canadian House & Home magazine.  Its a reproduction lighting and hardware store with absolutely beautiful goods.  In LA the store is in the 'Helms Bakery District' which is a home store district. They have plenty of pretty stores there including Room & Board.  However I spent so much time (3 hours) in Rejuvenation I never made it to the other stores.

I have a penchant for taking slanty photos

Later, I am so changing out the hardware in the house

We really wanted one of these fancy doorbells but the chimes you need to buy are way too bulky looking
For better pictures go to the House & Home blogs - Decorating Finds - Jan 19, 2012 (sorry no easy way to link) or better yet check out the store's website.  I'm off to it right now to find pics of what we bought to share - tomorrow :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Backsplash challenge - Ensuite (updated)

So the current dilemma is a backsplash for my vanity. I struggled a lot with the decision because I wanted a vanity made from a dresser like this:
via An Oregon Cottage
But my wish list was too long (white or cream; with legs; deep drawers; 36 inch wide; 22 inches deep) and time is too short so Hubs said I had to be practical and buy a pre-made one.

So this is the one we just purchased- it meets all the specs -the two drawers on the bottom are really one deep one:

 But I got a simple ceramic top because on the floors we want a 1x1 milky white marble tiles (which is white with light cream veining) and the manufacturer of the vanity only offers white marble (which has tons on grey veining). Here's the top we get:

The ceramic countertop we are getting standard with the vanity - minor lip but no built-in backsplash

Here's the challenge:
  • I think a backsplash is good for protecting my wall.
  • However, I definitely don't want to tile the whole wall because I want wainscoting
  • I also don't want to have a two-row tile backsplash that just is behind the vanity. Since the vanity is floating in the middle of the room I think that'll look odd
So are  my only choices no backsplash or a custom counter with built-in backsplash? I have like no time to change my order if I go with the latter. Also its supposedly hard to find milky white countertops according to this shower enclosure person i spoke to but I don't believe him,

Hubs thinks I should do this:


 My reaction was "What!"  but of course he meant with my milky white marble tile between the moulding.  I'm still not sold.  I was hoping for something simpler. The other suggestion was a mirror that started at the vanity and went all the way to the ceiling and acts as a backsplash.

Other ideas are something like this:
Both are sensational but I have a lovely tile I'm going to use on the floor as a carpet (inside the milky white 1x1 marble) so I don't see myself going with another pretty tile as it may distract

Any ideas? I have a sense we are going to end up with no backsplash at this rate and maybe that's fine - right?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bathroom update

So there is good news, not so great news, and decisions:

Good news: The boiler has been replaced. Recall, this is step 1 in Operation Chimney Out! Recall that the chimney is running through the washroom and needs to come out to so that we can open up the space.

This is the old boiler and hot water tank

Interior Groupie kindly recommended her boiler person to me and he installed the following for me:

New Viesmann boiler and hot water tank
So I know the new system still looks messy with all those pipes but it does take up a lot less space. See how that platform is all clear now.  Long term this is good as we are going to be digging down the basement.

Oh and see the difference in pic resolution between old boiler and new boiler? Well the former is from my cell and the latter was taken with Hubs BB.  I've designated him official blog photographer (he really is a very good photographer) but he's not taking his responsibilities very seriously - perhaps some reader encouragement would help?  Wifely nagging is not helping.

Now the not so great news: The masonry guy went to take a look at above mentioned chimney again. He discovered a lead pipe running out of the bathroom  and into the chimney.  The pipe needs to be disconnected before he takes down the chimney. So the chimney has to wait until the bathroom demolition. Time delay + additional expense. Sigh

1) We have committed ourselves to this floor plan. Yes the vanity is smaller but it feels like a more natural layout.
2) Heating: Well this one is an almost.  I think (unless I act very quickly) I have agreed to in-floor electric heating. Yes I know I did all that radiant research but every contractor that ever came in - including HVAC guy - says the two washrooms are too small to be worth it.  So for now I've said to the contractor electric is okay but I am having second thoughts. If anyone has any opinions please let me know.

3) Fixtures: We just went to Roman Bath Centre and ordered everything yesterday.  I made one small compromise that is still nagging at me but more about all that in a separate post.

4) Tiles: We even bought and picked up 1/3 of all our tile. Progress. 

Demolition starts Tuesday!

Hope you are having a great weekend :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eye Candy 002

So yesterday I posted pics from my recent trip to LA (what you wanted the Hoolywood sign!)  One stop I always make in LA is the Jonathan Adler store.  I have yet to buy something (1- I'm cheap and 2- its hard bringing stuff back on Air Canada).  I love the Adler style:

Love the coffe table
Those lamps are scary!

Love the mirror

Hubs loves the art. Me not so much.
Sign in store. I agree

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eye candy 001

So Hubs and I were in LA this past weekend (work thing) and so of course we indulged in tourism - retail tourism!

First stop: Kelly Wearstler's store. It was a bit of a disappointment to me only because the store's focus is clothing. But here are pics for your viewing pleasure:

The coolest thing for me was probably this dresser in the window:

Across the street from Kelly's store was this infinitely cool tile store (Check them out at Here are some general pics:
Bottom left - chevron is cool
Rather cool mosaic - if you're brave enough for colours

And here's what I really loved there: ONYX. Onyx is more beautiful than marble (you can see such a beautiful reflection in it) but requires more care. It was like $45 a square foot for the beige and green. The blue sandblasted was $100 per s.f.  My favourite was the beige.  Btw - am curious do you ever play "I'm richer than I am"? Like when you look at something that is 10 times what you can afford and say "that's exactly what I'm looking for." We do :)
Beige onyx
Aquamarine onyx - they mixed sandblasted and polished in the display
Blue onyx - but you really need onyx to be polished to appreciate IMHO

Another cool sighting was this marble that looked like hardwood flooring. Sorry if my pics aren't great - I wanted to look like a casual shopper not an eager blogger in the store.
Marble that looks like hardwood

The saleslady was really practical and told me that with onyx being the feature wall I should go for simple flooring like these basalt planks. These were 'only' $12 a square foot. Basalt is apparently stronger than granite and non-porous. Again - sorry - sunny LA as you can see
Basalt planks

 Hubs loved this glass tile - each one is rounded and has a bamboo feel.

Oh and check out these mirror mosaics. They are over a $100 sq ft!

That's it for me today. More eye candy from LA coming soon.