Here are some Instagram pictures from the past year of him (as I still have yet to recover my hard drive!)
I looked back to see that though I did a post for Adam in 2012, I did not in 2013. Sorry little brother! Wishing you a great birthday! I love you, despite your annoying habit of buying everything you want and having absolutely no ideas for birthday presents, and despite the fact that every time you give ME a present, it is sealed with hot glue and impossible to open without using my teeth like a savage.
Here are some Instagram pictures from the past year of him (as I still have yet to recover my hard drive!)
Our joint birthday/Olympic party celebration a few weeks ago
This past Christmas
Eating smoked meat in Montreal this past summer
A bit tipsy with balloons in April
Plus some older ones...
Oh his wedding day in July 2012
UOIT grad (him commerce, me education) in 2007
His prom! 2003?
Haha, Halloween...probably 2003 or 2004?
Birthday...not sure what year. 2006?
Punta Cana in Spring 2004
Last gem - Fall 2001. First day of school. I did that to his hair...
Many people lately have commented "Wow! Do you guys ever just relax?" I know it seems like we never rest and are constantly doing projects, but really, the last time we did anything major was December 2012, when we did the upstairs stair guard and stairs. Matt travelled a lot this past year and I'm not versed well enough in tools to do a reno on my own. Plus we love doing projects together. This was the first Christmas where we didn't have any new home project to "show off" to our family which got us itching to do some projects in the new year.
So, we just finished the stairs on Family Day last Monday, and we decided yesterday (Saturday) to start on the storage, was the second half of the basement project. The first thing we had to do was unpack all the cupboards. We also went through everything and threw out stuff we didn't need, moved a few things to new locations, and found temporary spots for everything else.
The before. Tidy work area from the stair project.
Even all the extra wood is organized!!!
The first cupboard held all our paint, stain, patching and sealing supplies, drop sheets, and then random stuff like bug killers, a few strong cleaners and light bulbs. Here is their new temporary home in the laundry room.
The closet was next up. It contained coats, extra scarves, hats and gloves, old shoes, and golf and snowboard stuff
Since the golf clubs and snowboard were already moved here when we removed the stuff from under the stairs, I just decided to keep everything together. That duffle bag is filled with all the coats. We obviously use this bathtub a lot...hmmm...maybe we should the bathroom as basement project round 3???
Another cupboard had a shelf of extra baking supplies and spices. This is where they live now, haha. I plan on making myself a lovely ombre layer cake with some fancy icing for my birthday over March Break.
All the serving stuff that doesn't fit in the sideboard upstairs was in another cupboard. Here it all is (plus a lot of stuff from under the stairs that was already hanging out here, preventing me from doing Wii Zumba).
Of course there was a shelf filled with different liquors and whisky, plus a whole lot of empties. That conversation went like this: Kat: "I thought I asked you to take those back at Christmas!" Matt: "Yep, and I've been ignoring you since Halloween!" Then he dropped some and made a mess - sweet retribution!!!
Are now back to the Beer Store and a tidy sum in Matt's pocket.
*Sigh* So much stuff.
Our second step to this project was to actually remove the cupboards from the wall and take them apart. This actually only took just over an hour. As long as you have a power drill it makes life easier. By hand would be very annoying, but still possible. We had three big shelving cupboards and one closet system. Who knows what the walls would be like behind them! I was hoping for the original exposed brick!!!
Removing the doors
Hmmmm were they even bolted to the wall? The answer is NO!
A sweet surprise! A note from the owners who did the basement reno. There is more but it's the name of the owners. I won't show the whole message to protect their privacy. I do intend, however, to photograph and frame the note so I don't feel as bad painting over it! No luck with the brick - it was painted white behind.
Looks so empty now!
Since we don't have extra tile, it is lucky that our new cupboards will be a bit deeper than the original ones, and will be build right over top and beyond the edge of tile. It's pretty gross, though!
The next step will decide how exactly we want to organize the new system. Roughly we will have cupboards on the bottom half, similar to the sideboard in the dining room. The top half will be open shelving. The triangle under the stairs will be all shelves. It will all probably be painted white, and we'll use Ikea doors on the bottom half, but build the cupboards ourselves. We want to make sure we will have a long closet on the end for all our extra coats and shoes (as we don't have a main floor closet), and we also have to be able to store our suitcases, golf clubs, snowboard, Matt's guitar, all our Christmas and holiday decorations, and all the random house stuff you've seen spread around my basement!!!
Matt and I don't really do a lot usually for Valentine's Day. We don't do cards or gifts. In the past we've gone to Leaf games, but mostly we just cook a good meal and enjoy each other's company. That's exactly what we did this year. I did a bit of prep work this time - I made a chocolate terrine for dessert (since I failed on New Years) on Thursday evening - it has to set 12-24 hours. I also made one for my work wife, Marta! Other than that, I just set the table when I got home on Friday, made a little garland (honestly took me 10 minutes) and Matt cooked dinner (pomegranate balsamic glazed sirloin steak with kale and tricolour quinoa).
Cut strips of scrapbook paper, staple 2 ends together, pinch top of one and staple.
Connect by the bottom staple of one heart with the top pinch of the other. Simple and quick!
Heart napkin fold link HERE (there's is better than mine...)
Final delicious product, along with a pinot noir!
Chocolate terrine! Recipe from HERE.
Added some toasted almond slices around the edges, plus a dash of icing sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Served with fresh whipped cream. Let to cool in my grandmother's heart shaped baking pan.
I cut the recipe in half as it served 12, and this did serve us 3 times, but with big pieces. It should be served in small doses - probably could have lasted 4-5 nights, haha, but it was just so good! Just as good as the one at our favourite restaurant, Goods and Provisions.
So the ??? was actually until about Day 21. But really there were some drying time days in there too, but so far I've really only included days where we (who am I kidding, Matt) did work. Not all of them were full days, but again, with painting and staining, patience is key. Also balance and flexibility so you can take stairs two at a time holding a giant basket of laundry without falling down.
Okay so I could go through all the painting and staining progress pictures FIRST, but we all know you just want to see the final product, so here's one for you before I launch into the details:
Sorry it can't be any prettier. The tools are not disappearing any day soon!
Step 13 - Priming & Painting the Stair Guard & Risers
Day 10 - Basic priming of the stair guard, posts, and risers. Nothing crazy - just primer and paintbrush!
Taping was very annoying...but necessary.
Day 11/12 - 2 coats of paint on the same parts. We used the same paint that is on all of our trims,
Benjamin Moore White Dove semi-gloss latex.
Very pretty. There is also a big puddle of paint just out of sight that Matt spilled, haha.
Step 14 - Gluing the Stairs
Day 13/14 - We had to attach the stairs over two days because we wanted the glue (construction adhesive) to be completely dry before stepping on them. It was weird to step on them because with and without the stairs they were different levels - it really throws you off when walking down them!
Step 15 - Staining the Stairs
Day 15-21. Since laundry and storage were in the basement, we had to do every other stair like we did upstairs when painting and staining. The stairs started with pre-stain to help the stain soak in, then we did 2 coats on stain using Minwax "Golden Pecan" and followed by 3 coats of glossy Minwax oil-modified (more water-based) polyurethane. There were some days where Matt did a coat in the morning and a coat at night, so it took 3 days for each half set of stairs, plus 24 hours to dry between. After the 24 hours we pulled off the tape and did some touch-ups on the paint.
Zebra stripes of stain!
With the polyurethane coats
Matches the rail perfectly
Nice clean lines
Now if only the tools could get put away...but no such luck - we're tackling those cupboards soon.
So much better than the gross dingy carpet!
After a bit of tidying just this morning - basement is very organized...in its own way.
Gotta love the before and after!
Project Done. So Next Up?
- take everything out of storage cupboards (actually did this this morning!)
- tear down the cupboards (may do that later today or tomorrow - excited!!!)
- paint (may possibly need to prime) the brick wall behind the stairs
- plan the storage cupboards and open shelving system
- build the storage system (and a million more details go into this)
Another of my January Cure projects was to (finally) paint and stain our butcher block island in the kitchen. I have a few Pins saved with stain on the top and paint on the rest in various colours. Took me a while to decide on what I wanted to do, but here is what I decided:
Ahhhhh it makes me so happy to see the bright colours all done! This is the Bekvam Kitchen Cart from Ikea by the way. I decided that I would also do the step stool (Bekvam from Ikea as well) I had yet to assemble as well:
So here's the project, in pictures, of course!
Day 1 - Disassemble the island and open up the step stool package. The parts to be painted I left to the side and all the parts to be stained I laid out and raised up. I was forced to the upstairs guest room since the basement work is already taking up all that space down there.
I applied a thin coat of Minwax Pre-stain to the side I was staining. You only have to wait 20 minutes and then you can stain within two hours. It just helps the stain adhere. I used Minwax Polyshades in Classic Oak with a satin finish. It will end up being a bit shiny but I didn't want it glossy.
This is after one coat of stain on the top and sides. I used a small foam brush. If I did it again I would have sanded the pieces first - they were more raw wood than I thought they would be.
Just to compare - here's the bottom side before...
...and the top I just finished.
Matt snuck a photo. Only fair as I snap them all the time. Yep, I look super attractive with Matt's baggy old sweats and t-shirt. It's the weekend, okay? Oh yeah, I'm also wearing gloves. This is not at all necessary except if you get expensive manicures that you don't want to ruin!
Once each side had a coat of stain I brought them to the basement to go over with very fine steel wool. This gets off any of the thick drip marks and makes things nice and even. Do this away from your work area as the steel wool sheds and leaves dust everywhere. Wipe everything down with a damp cloth before you start the next coat so nothing is left sticking to it.
Once all the coats are done (I did two one the bottom side and three on the top sides), it is time to buff and polish. Matt taught me his full polishing method that I doubt is completely necessary but they looked great in the end!
First step - super fine wet sandpaper and baby oil. Again takes off any excess stuff and smooths it out.
Second coat is the heavy duty cleaner. It's orange and looks like stain but rubs off with a dry cloth. Third coat is the turtle wax polishing compound that makes everything all shiny and smooth.
Left is the scary red rubbing compound, right is after it was polished off.
When you are covered in stain and layers of polish, you are banned to your work room to eat dinner.
Time for the paint! This was easier. I'm familiar with painting.
Anyone else see a Glockenspiel? (Sorry, "xylophone" for those non-music people)
Prime first, of course.
I picked Valspar's "Bayside" (Go Tigers!) as my paint colour. I used a satin finish but you could go more glossy just as easily. Typically the more sheen, the easier to wipe down, which is good in a kitchen.
Ohhhhh - Prom Dress Blue (I should find a pic of me from prom to post), or "Robin Egg Blue" as others would say.
2 coats on each side and you're good to go!
Assembly!!! This should have been easy but some of the paint gunked it up and it took more strength than I thought but in the end I got it done! Note to self - tape holes beforehand.
Yay! Yes, my floor is dusty. The basement stairs are just to the right. There will always be dust on the floor until that project is done.
After I yelled at the step stool for an hour while working, I got fed up and asked Matt to put the island back together.
He did good!
Double yay! That's a speaker on the bottom, linked to our sound system in the living room.
See? My David's tea goes perfectly. Have cobalt blue already in the kitchen the form of TWO teapots (can you tell I heart me some tea?), so I was glad to have a vase that links the two together. I love the sheen to the top.
I'm going to put a shelf on the wall above this that I will paint the same colour. I'll hand that apron along with some other things from it (got the apron from Home Sense).
Those are my shelf plans, from my engineer husband! We will use some of the extra wood from the stair project. There will be a few hooks on the bottom half.
Also got this drying mat that matches too. I'm going to probably do some colourful faux roman shades to bring the colour up a bit from the floor, and maybe a doormat too.
So bring and colourful! Makes me smile each morning when I make my tea!
It was a time-consuming project in terms of number of days (multiple sides, multiple coats) but not in terms of time each day (about an hour max).
Proud of this project - hope you like it!
Last weekend Matt worked on building the stair guard and we left off with this photo:
Step 10 - Filling & Smoothing
This week was all about touch-ups. Using wood-filler and poly-fill to fill gaps, sanding, cleaning, etc. I assigned that as "Day 6", though it was probably done over 2-3 days just for an hour each evening getting things perfect. At the end of last weekend
All the screw holes filled, sanded, filled again, sanded again before painting next week.
Notice the empty light switch box? Matt moved that last weekend too!
Step 11 - Cut & Attach Risers
Day 7 - I'm using the term "risers" for the vertical parts of the stairs. We bought riser and stair kits (stair refinishing kit?) from Lowes that go right over plywood. You only need to cut to size. The good thing about them is that they have a lip that goes in the front. These pieces are also thin and have a good finish. Also the biggest thing? WAYYYY cheaper than buying oak and cutting it to size.
Each kit was normally $40 but we got them on sale for $20 each!!! Needed 12 kits.
The outer piece is the new riser (the other the original plywood).
As usual this boy works incredibly fast.
Had them all cut to size and screwed in (we need to invest in a nail gun!) in an hour!
Step 12 - Cut Stairs to Size
Day 7/8 - The flat pieces to the stairs I'm just calling "stairs". If I called them "risers" for the vertical, does that make these the "runs?" That's a little math humour for you...yes I am a geek. You should already know that. The reason that cutting to size and assembly are not lumped into one is because we are going to paint all the risers and wood at once and stain the stairs separately before attaching.
Stairs are just sitting there to ensure the correct size. Matt numbered each stair and piece to make sure he knew which piece was for what. He cut the length (left to right) for all the stairs when he did the risers, and this cutting was for depth of the stair.
See how the bottom stair has that teeny space on the left between the riser and stair?
Yeah that's driving Matt crazy. He measured perfectly but our house is never easy so that happens some times.
Hopefully nothing a little wood filler can't fix!!!
Screws for the risers were strategically placed to be covered by the stairs.
Nothing like a man covered in saw dust using a saw on a stand with another saw.
Explaining to me how to make the top flush with the floor.
It's the connection piece between the tile and wood so that you don't trip.
**See my turquoise step stool??? Post to come!!!**
Admiring his work. Sad to take them off moments later as they all need to be stained! They look so pretty!
- Prime and paint the risers and all the stair guard - using our go-to trim white - Benjamin Moore's "White Dove". It's the colour of the risers and balusters upstairs too.
- Touch ups to the wall paint where any filler went. The basement colour is BM's "Moonshine." It's more from moving the lighting than the stairs, but it will be done while we are painting everything else.
- Pre-stain, stain (x 2), and verathane (x 3) the stair pieces
- Attach the stair pieces to the, well, stairs.
- Touch ups (there is always touch-ups)
- Admire briefly before starting the basement storage project!!!
One of my January Cure projects was to replace our thermostat with a more energy-efficient one. We had a digital thermostat, but it was not at all programmable. We turn it down every time we go out and at night, so it's not like it was heating our house unnecessarily, but we wanted to have a little bit more control over it (and possibly save some money in the long run). I first read about the nest thermostat from this post on Young House Love and looked into it a bit more. Matt wasn't sure it was the right away to go until he heard Apple bought nest, haha, so then he decided it must be good.
He surprised me one day this week when he came home from work.
I was very (too) excited!!! I even instagrammed it!
Here was our original guy
First step was to loosen and patch the area behind it - it was in rough shape. You can get it with a base, too, if you simply wanted to cover up a larger hole from your previous thermostat.
Matt hearts him some Poly-Fil!
Then some sanding. He vacuums as he sands (this is why I love him).
Then pretty much pull the wires through the centre and screw into place.
The best thing is that the instructions are really clear, and if you can't figure it out, you can take a picture and the nest tool will help you out! But for us it was pretty straight forward.
And just like any other technology it's a bit slow moving at first.
You can download the app and control it from anywhere!
Hmmm...I see fingerprints. Will need to clean.
Well hello nest! It has a motion sensor so it lights up when you get close. This makes me happy.
I heart the nest. I call him Ryan. In my head he sounds like Ryan Gosling.
When I get home each day he's like "hey girl, hope you had a great day at school teaching."
You can schedule everything on your phone, and even if you don't it will anticipate your schedule after a few days. When you make adjustments it notes the time and day of the week and figures it all out for you - it's pretty cool. It's nice if I get home early from work that I can turn it on from my car. That way we can turn the temperature a bit lower in the day than we normally would because it will be warming up when I get home, even if its before its scheduled time to turn on. We'll see what the savings are like after some time. Does anybody know if I can get a eco tax credit for this? I won't need it until next year and the research I've done has had both yes and no answers so far.
Next post? My painting and staining of the butcher block island and step stool! Plus another stair project update.
When we last left off, we had removed the basement stair carpet, sawed off the sides that stuck out, and reinforced the top to the joist. Last weekend (and one weekday this week) we tackled sawing off the fronts that stuck out, building the stair guard, including the newel post and balusters. Here's what it looked like shortly before that:
Last Saturday morning, right before the work began
Need to saw off those edges to fit on the new wood on top properly
Step 5 - Cutting the Stair Edges on the Front
Day 3 - Measuring and drawing straight lines
And cut away! Couldn't circular saw all the way to the edge so had to hand saw a bit too (hard labour!)
Step 6 - Paint Touch-Ups
I offered to do this but he was in the zone - just a few touch ups from when we took the carpet out and there was missing paint (well it was a different colour) - if only we could see the original brick!!!
Step 7 - Cutting & Securing the Newel Post
Day 4 - Preparing the newel post. We used pine for all the stair guard.
I realized that I probably should not be down here if Matt was wearing a mask to avoid the dust, haha.
An hour later it was installed!
It was attached to the stairs and there is a bit of glue underneath so it won't slide around on the tile
"Matt? You're not dead, right?"
Step 8 - Cut & Assemble the Stair Guard
Also added wood to the side - this is piece one of two.
"Matt are you sure this is level?"
"Matt, you're an engineer right?"
..."but I can see you through this crack!!!!"
Oops! Will need to fill that. Then I continued to mock him until he kicked me off the stairs, haha.
Second side of wood in, and top stair guard too.
Seriously, I leave for a half hour and things go very quickly downstairs. Sorry I don't have more pictures!
View from straight on I like the very clean look.
Okay, end of day 4!
Step 9 - Adding the Balusters
Day 5 - More engineering plans - oh Matty I love your clever but geeky style!
I didn't take pictures of measuring everything out, and again after an hour he was half done already!
This perfectly captures Matt at work.
Still very clean looking. I'm not a fan of curly curvy balusters.
This assembly was a lot easier than upstairs when they had to be put into the ground.
I didn't think I would like the balusters on the outside look, but I really don't mind it at all.
Here's a shot of the bolts attaching the post to the stairs that I took later.
Wow I really need to clean and grout renew!!!
Matt didn't like that the top one was a bit closer than the rest. So he removed a little angled piece so the last baluster would be evenly spaced. Perfection!
Before & Progress!!!
Doesn't look like much but at least it's a lot safer so far!
Matt hasn't done any work on the stairs since Tuesday, though he did spend two hours at home depot today getting a few things he needed. The light switch for the basement is going to be moved higher (right now it is about half-way down the stairs), plus we got a nest thermostat (!!!!) that he's going to install, and switch out a few of the un-matching light switches.
See how the light stairs at stair level instead of at eye-level? Very annoying when you have your hands full with laundry and you have to balance half-way down the stairs to turn it on.
Next Stair Project Goals?
- Wood filler where needed
- Cut and install the rise pieces - vertical parts to the stairs
- Paint the rise pieces
- Cut and stain the flat stair pieces
- Paint the stair guard
- Install the flat stair pieces
We'll probably get this project done by the end of next week because I can help with all the painting. And don't think I've been doing nothing! I've stained the tops of the butcher block island and started painting the sides. Still have one more coat, then I'll assemble. Can't wait to share this project!!!
One of the projects we decided to do in 2014 was to fix up the basement stairs and create a new storage system underneath them and along the length of the wall. The first step to all of this was doing the stairs. Specifically tear off the old carpet, create some sort of barrier along the open side, stain the tops and paint the risers on the stairs, and secure the stairs a bit better to the joist.
Step 1 - Remove the Carpet
Before picture - taken a few days before all of this started
Mostly was just pulling really hard to remove the majority (taking some of the staples with it)
Hmmm plywood. That's going to change our staining and painting plan a bit...
The little bits of carpet on the corners were stapled a billion times...
Took a bit more work to get them off. That's okay - they'll be gone along with the food they're attached to soon!
Step 2 - Removing the Stair Edges on the Side
We cut off the edges sticking out from the side because we want the barrier we build to be flush against the stairs
We'll have to figure this out too...I think they'll end up being covered in the end.
Looking at least much cleaner!
Step 3 - Secure the Stairs to the Joist
We noticed that the stairs are not exactly secure to the joist above. There was a foot gap between them. Not really an issue in terms of us falling through, but not exactly to code.
Matt built this box to secure the two together. We'll eventually drywall over this so its flush with everything else.
Step 4 - The Railing Plan
Always an engineer!
We're going to build a guard with balusters like we did upstairs. Originally we were going to just use a 30 cm wood guard along the side, but I looked up code. The building code says the stair guard must be 90 cm, hence the change. We considered just drywalling it all in, but that would really limit the amount of right and close off the space. This was a good compromise.
The list. We also bought oak stair refinishing pieces - pieces of wood that go over the existing plywood which will be stained and painted.
He's saying "are you done taking pictures of my lists so I can go and actually get the stuff?"
Now my basement looks like this...
...and this (we removed everything from under the stairs. And it's laundry day...)
- Saw the front edges off each stair (actually happening right now)
- Touch up the brick wall (paint the parts that used to be covered by the stairs)
- Cut the stair overlay wood to size
- Stain the overlay steps and paint the risers
- Attach the overlays (I'm not sure overlay is the right word...but I'm going with it)
- Cut the stair guard rail and balusters and newel post to the correct sizes
- Paint all stair guard components
- Assemble stair guard
- Drywall in top piece
- Plus probably about 100 other things involved in this project that I'm forgetting.
When all that's done, then we can start on all of the basement storage stuff! Wow this is going to be a big project - but I'm excited! Stay tuned!!! Oh yeah, and I haven't forgotten about the January Cure - I will post this week's projects soon!
Every year we go to my uncle Sean's house (on my dad's side) for dinner and to see all the extended family. Didn't take a lot of pictures, but here are a few:
Ice storm beauty
I made a friend...
His name is Lucky!
Cousins and uncle singing?
Most of my pics are of other people taking pictures...that is bound to happen with such a large family!