Just a little project I did with some extra wood from the basement. I designed it, Matt made it, and I painted it! I just wanted to put a little bit more of that turquoise from the butcher block and stool into the kitchen.
Here is the raw wood product
Little nook by the stairs - I'm going to die dye those spoons in the paint too, along with a few other colours.
Pulls from Anthropologie, Swan apron from Home Sense
My kitchen is getting brighter and brighter!
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!
Since we didn't have people over for Christmas Eve or Day, but we had decorated and cleaned, we were feeling a bit let down without playing host. We debated doing a New Year's Eve dinner, but we know that it's tricky. Most of our friends and family lay low, were out of town, or already had plans. These kind of things need to be planned well in advance. I also know, personally, that I like to have an easy way home, but be able to drink, and not be freezing cold taking TTC with a party dress. So home is best for us.
Last year's meal - braised duck poutine (leftover duck from Christmas Eve)
This year, just like the past few, we make a great dinner and cuddle up together to watch movies. A few years ago we were hooked on Dexter. Last year we watched the first two Godfather movies (how had we not seen them before?), and this year we just watched the movie "Don Jon" - directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt - it was pretty funny and well done. Not to be taken seriously but still really good. We made sea bass with creme fraiche, fingerling potatoes, and artichoke. I attempted to make a chocolate terrine, but timing was off. I started it before I realized I didn't have whipped cream, and by the time I got it, the chocolate had hardened (couldn't reheat as it had eggwhites in it), so it was pretty much a fail. Since it needs 12-24 hours in the fridge, we were out of luck. Matt went to the rescue and got some delicious mousse tarts from Bobbette & Belle, a bakery near us.
So anyway, back to the lack of hosting. We decided to invite our siblings over for a New Year's Day brunch. Jamie and Hope got back from England the day before so knew they wouldn't want to do Eve, but would come the next day if we could watch the Winter Classic. Adam and Jessica were up for it, and Meg was AT the Winter Classic so didn't come. We made easy food - tried and true which are cozy brunch foods. French toast souflee made with brioche (I made the day before and just cooked it that morning), the bacon, cheddar, potato bake we did on Christmas morning (easy and delicious), did a fruit salad with winter fruits - citrus, apple, pear, pomegranate (made this for a brunch last year), plus some prosciutto and melon. We also did a hot chocolate station, had coffee and tea, and the hangover cures of mimosas, Caesars, and beer.
The setup was fun - I was going to leave all the Christmas stuff, but Matt and I always clean it up on New Year's Eve day to start the year fresh and clean, so I cleaned up and just left a few silver and gold sparkly pieces to keep it festive but not Christmas-y. Here are the decor pictures:
Painting from Home Sense, LOVE Print from Madebygirl
Okay, I just mean the type of hot chocolate...nothing else (talking to you, Jamie).
Runner is from West Elm
Silver chargers are from The Bay, gold are from Dollar Tree (score!)
This candle from Bath & Body Works is both festive and smells delicious!
My grandma's neighbour was throwing this mirror away, can you believe it?
She asked for it and kept it for us - I love it!
Pineapples mean welcome!
Matt is smiling but probably saying on the inside "please put down the camera and help me!"
To prove to my brother that my fridge isn't just full of beer and butter
(we were going away one summer after I had made a lot of buttercream icing and bought too much butter, haha)
Mimosa & Caesar station
All in all it was fun decorating and hosting. We had some good food, some great company, and watched the longest hockey game ever, haha. Maybe we'll make this an annual tradition! Plus it gave us an excuse to clean the house top to bottom and it was a nice clean start to 2014! Happy New Year everyone!
Another March Break project was to paint the kitchen - I did the ceiling, primed, and did 2 coats of paint, then the trim. It was a big job, but I like how bright and airy the kitchen looks now, and a lot cleaner too.
Kitchen before - I didn't mind the medium greige colour, but it needed an update
Also pre-grout work!
First step was to patch all the uneven walls - Matt did that
Also a lot of sanding...I took preventative measures to minimize the mess...
...still ended up with chalky shoe prints up the stairs from my dear husband.
View from the ground after the walls were primed and ceiling was painted (ohhhh my back!)
Lucky we have so many drop sheets to cover everything
2 coats done, now for the trim!
Took off the tape to reveal that the last painters were not too careful with NOT painting the trim...
All done - much brighter entryway
The cupboards need some updating - they are starting to yellow which really stands out now that the trim is whiter, and everything is cleaner. Also still have to do a bit of decor, of course.
*Insert bad "caulk" joke here...
Once I finished the grout colouring, I noticed that a lot of caulking between the counter and tile was peeling away, and in the corners as well. Despite knowing this, I had to finish the kitchen painting, and then forgot about it for a while. Luckily Matt surprised me this past week by removing the old caulking and redoing it! Gotta love that guy!
Too easy to remove, in my opinion...
We actually removed the cover to find they had caulked it to the wall - it took a bit of work to fix it.
The grout colour would not stick to the caulk in the corner either
To do this job, you need rubbing alcohol to remove the old caulking, and maybe an exacto-knife and sandpaper, some painters tape to line the edges (crucial in getting a nice even line), and of course a caulking gun. It doesn't take a lot of work to remove it - the alcohol makes it nice and soft and easy to peel away, and then just clean the area, scraping away any excess and smoothing it out, plus wiping it clean and dry. Line both the top and the bottom with painters tape, caulk the lines, and immediately remove the tape before it hardens. Let it sit 24 hours before getting it wet (although the caulking says it will be ready in 2 hours), and voila!
Caulked edges - you can be a bit messy with the painters tape
Peel away to a nice clean line
If you don't use the tape, you won't get a smooth and even line above and below the edges
All done and cleaned up!
Next post? Kitchen painting job!
This project actually took place while I was on March Break...just forgot about the pictures and project until Matt started doing the caulking this past week. Our grout was originally white I believe, and it turned a gross yellow over time. I tried cleaning, scrubbing, and everything to get it back to white, but nothing would help. So here's what I did, in pictures:
BEFORE: Also before I painted the kitchen, was just prepping the walls
A close-up...very dingy yellow
Chose a gray as I figured if I did it white, it would just go back yellow again.
If you read the ingredients, it's pretty much just paint. Squeezed it into a bottle and applied it with a foam brush
Wipe the excess from the white tile with a slightly damp towel. Some grout lines will required two coats.
It took me 8 hours over 2 days to do this whole room. You need to go slow and be patient.
Did around the stove on Day 1, and around the sink on Day 2.
Finished work - I like it!
Crisp and clean!
Coming up next? Caulking around the counter and tile, painting the kitchen, staining the living room TV unit, and of course, or backyard furniture project!!!
So here's what I accomplished over the month of January, and my future plans:
2. Cleaned the guest bedroom mirror
3. Organized the guest room drawers
4. Got the ProActiv frequency to the longest time
5. Decided to leave the picture on the floor - I like it!
10. Stepped on the scale (and promptly stepped off)
Did not figure out ways to dry towels better (sticking to over door knobs and frames), find art for the walls, spray paint the lamp base or the chandelier
Cleaned with a new light
Cleaned mirror and organized drawers
11. Organized the shower stuff
12. Replaced the turquoise pouf
82. Ripped out the basement medicine cabinet
83. Ripped out the basement toothbrush holder
Did not replace the shower mat, buy more white towels, or paint the basement bathroom
BONUS: scrubbed the bathroom floors!
Scrubbed bathroom and organized cabinets
Cleaned and some easy demolition
15. Storage solution for the saw horses (threw them out and got metal ones that collapse)
17. Donated the mirror
Did not spray paint the bird cage, put together the light, remove the sweater (why oh why?), patch and sand the walls, figure out the parquet
Got rid of sawhorses, donated much of the clothing, and got rid of the wire hangers
22. Made the bed (repeatedly, haha)
23. Did the laundry (also repeatedly)
25. Dusted the blinds
26-28. Organized the closets
Did not cover the yellow storage ottoman
BONUS: cleaned this room really well, including the mattress
Added some purple decor and cleaned
Also cleaned out every closed and cleaned the mattress with baking soda and fabric softener
32. Touched up the stairs
33. Put away some coats and accessories
34. Organized the shoes
35. Got a welcome mat for the hallway (not a runner, though)
36. Got a new light for the main entryway
Did not organize the upstairs hall closet, put a gallery wall down the stairs, get a new light for the hallway (although planning to use the old hallway light after spray painted silver)
Got a new light and organized some of the storage
Touched up the paint and stain on the stairs
39 & 40. - Used my new tripod and lens
Did not prime and paint the trim or update the sideboard decor
BONUS: cleaned this room really well
Washed all the linens from Christmas and dusted everything
Got some inspiring ideas from my YHL and D*S books (more to come on that!)
41. Took down the overhead light
43. Mounted the speakers to the wall
44. Read some decor magazines (but there are so many more now that I haven't read yet!)
46. Made the gallery wall
Did not figure out how to hide the wires, sand and stain the TV unit, figured out the lonely vase
BONUS: cleaned this room really well
New lighting and cleaned up space with mounted speakers
Need something for that far wall...
Got pictures for the gallery wall
48. Organized the change
49. Re-oiled the cutting boards (Matt is actually doing this as we speak!)
51. Bought milk
54. Cleaned the chalkboard (but didn't figure out something fun)
55. Shoveled the snow (multiple times, unfortunately)
56. Found a place for the cookbooks
57. Threw out the lavender
58. Threw out that orange
Did not organize the kitchen spices (although did rid myself of many of the ones in the basement), regrout tiles, paint the kitchen, figure out the top of the shelves, take down the ceiling fan, pulled out the plugs, fixed the wall bulge, or fix the clock
Florals to brighten up the kitchen
Spic and span kitchen, organized cookbooks, and a meal!
Dinner - Rosemary Chicken Lasagna
64 Dusted the shelf on the stairs
65. Put away laundry
66. Found a shop-vac space
67. Organized the bookshelf
69. Played the piano (Joseph Act 2!)
70. Used my office space
72. Stored the miter saw
73. Organized the wrapping container
74. Organized the storage pile (and threw a lot out)
75. Donated multiple items
76. Took back the empties
77 & 78. Organized the storage cupboards
81. Got rid of the old paint cans
86. Got the stuff out of the dryer
87. Washed the Christmas napkins and runner
88. Washed the stored the drop sheets
89. HHW disposal
90. Got rid of/washed some of the rags
91. Sorted the random wood
92. Dusted the laundry room rafters
93. Organized the tool drawers
94. Stored (but not cleaned) work shoes
95. Stored the towels (although not exactly where I want them yet)
96. Put away Matt's Queen's stuff
98. Covered the AC unit outside
Did not do anything with the chalkboard, get more ink for the printer, learned to golf, go on a picnic, called to service our AC unit
Organized files and bookshelves
An incredible amount of decluttering and organization
Wood gone, and a new home for the shop-vac
Tool area cleaned up and a little bit of love
And # 100 - Loved my home (a lot!) 63 of 100 things? Pretty good! Most of these things I didn't plan to finish in January in the first place, but it was a good list to get organized from. Matt says "ohhh...so that's a C" to which I promptly hit him. So supportive. It was a great month, and can't wait to do more!
Plans for the next few months?
1. Organize the linen closet
2. Paint the kitchen, dining room trim, and basement bathroom
3. Spray paint crazy - chandelier, hallway lights, birdcage
4. Plus some of the easy missed organization from the above list.
Longer term, we are planning to build a storage area underneath the stairs, along with reinforcing the stairs themselves and tearing off the carpet on it.
Day 3 Recap - Weekend Chores and Buy Flowers
Uhhhh....yeah. I was supposed to hardcore clean every floor. I did vacuum and swiffer wetjet every floor, but I did not scrub. I bought hardwood cleaner this past weekend though, and I'm going to tackle each room as I go through the cure this month. I know there is a day for bathrooms and bedrooms for sure. Matt bought me some flowers, though!
Pretty and feels like Spring (let's just skip Winter!)
Day 4 - Get a Fresh Perspective
This pretty much means pick a room or spot in your house that seems to be problematic, sit where you can clearly see that area and think (for 10 minutes) about the issues - could be clutter, flow, etc.), and think about how you want it to be, and ways to perhaps get it that way.
I chose my kitchen, because honestly I am pretty happy with most spots in my house that we've done. So I sat by the chalkboard on the floor in the kitchen and looked around. Honestly it is an issue of size and layout. The only way to fix this is maybe tearing down the wall between the kitchen and living room, so we could do a bigger counter and a breakfast bar, but would sacrifice an entire wall of cabinetry. The other way would be actually extending our house back, but that would require huge structural changes (expensive) and a permit (which we may be rejected for). So I've been going back and forth between updating the counters and cabinet doors, or completely changing the layout, getting new appliances, floors, etc. Obviously is cost was no issue I would go with the latter, but in the end I didn't really have any concrete answer. So yeah...fresh perspective fail.
Kitchen as you walk in from the living room.
View from the back door of the kitchen.
Day 5: Pick a Project from the List to Complete this Month
So I first wanted to complete the little gallery wall in my living room, but then Day 6 is frame something, so I changed it organizing the basement shelving. So that's my big plan - organize, toss, clean, even pour all those 1/4 filled paint cans into mason jars and even figure out a tool cork-board. Remember these pictures from my Day 1?
Under the stairs storage
Random kitchen extras
Winter stuff and extras
Ohhh the paint cupboard.
The tool area of the laundry room...
Day 6: Choose a Piece of Artwork to Frame
So I twisted this - I have the frames already from the gallery wall, but no pictures, so this week I picked pictures and got them printed. On the weekend I framed them. Turns out later in the month I am supposed to hang it, so really I got two days done in one - yay! I haven't taken photos of them yet (except for one instagram one), so I'll post them later this week.
Here with Christmas wrapping paper for the holiday
Day 7: Get Your Get-Together Together
I'm supposed to have an end-of-cure celebration near the beginning of February. I have not figured this one out at all - who to have, what to serve, when exactly to have it, etc. Fail. I will think about it more this week I promise!
Who wants to come eat and my pretty new dining room table?
Day 8: Weekend Chores, Cook a Meal & Buy Flowers
Specifically, the kitchen - inside and out of everything!
I went hardcore on this one - took everything out of each cupboard, cleaned it from top to bottom, tossed some stuff, threw some stuff in the outbox, and then organized it back onto the shelves. This went for kitchenware, food, under the sink (it was gross), and even the fridge and freezer. Plus I pulled out the oven and cleaned behind it (more gross), and even scrubbed the floor (our tiles are actually just gray...not gray and black. Who knew?)
Updated the little storage cupboard (formerly housed dish towels and napkins).
Chalk jars from Anthropologie (thanks Hope - now I want wide ones for tea and coffee!)
Took my last weekend flowers and added them to the kitchen decor
This all somehow fit in a tiny corner cabinet.
Oh, and the red silicon bakeware is in the outbox - does anyone want it before it is donated?
It works really well, especially when you want muffins without wrappers - I just stick to my metal when baking - just out of routine. There's a bundt, 6 cupcakes, a 12x8 pan, and a cookie sheet.
Behind the oven...before...(so gross)
After - MUCH better!
Freezer before - actually not that bad but yes, those are paintbrushes in the side part at the top...
You can never have too much edamame. You just can't.
After - I don't know why we have so many pizzas...I don't eat them very often.
Oh and that container is duck fat. It's like semi-liquid gold.
Mmm fresh bread.
So although cleaning is not a crazy transformation and so many pretty pictures post, it feels nice that things are so squeaky clean!
Once my kitchen was clean, I messed it up making this - Rosemary Chicken Lasagna. I got the recipe via Pinterest from Feasting at Home. It was delicious - I've also eaten it twice this week at school for lunch. Yum. Also felt nice to make dinner for Matt for a change! Going to do this much more often!
This weekend's flowers - I picked up two bunches of yellow and red mixed tulips at St. Lawrence Market
(also where we got a lot of the fresh ingredients for the lasagna!)
Here they are today - turned out a nice peachy colour
What? Am I a photographer? Haha...just for a moment.
Day 9 - (Monday) Create a landing strip (yeah....I had to look that one up too. It means organize your foyer).
Day 10 - (Today) Work on your goal project (so I need to stop blogging and start tidying the basement...*sigh*)
Since Matt has a huge hand in our home projects, I thought I would give him a voice (whether he wanted one or not) to talk about our house and life in general. I did this as an interview, as there is no way he would just ramble on the way I do about stuff. So one New Year's Eve day while he watched a hockey game, I asked him questions on commercials and intermissions about our home.
Matt last June
1. How do you feel about being interviewed for the blog? Be honest.
Ummmm, it’s not how I intended to spend my morning (he’s watching the world junior game versus Russia). You have 20 minutes for intermission time.
2. What was the first home project you remember? Doesn’t have to be for our house. *Reminder that my husband has a bad memory so this may not actually be the first one*
I did the bunkie at the cottage when I graduated university.
What did you do?
That one was pretty easy – everything was pre-bought – the carpet was torn out of another room, the plumbing was done, and the fixtures for the bathroom were already bought, so for that was mostly just tearing out an old laminate floor, putting down a new subfloor (I didn’t know you did that much), painting – painted over the wood panel walls, tore out the wood covered doors, and replaced the trim. Painted all the windows (old fashioned window panes – ranch style), and then it was all the finishes – put in the padding and the carpet, put in new baseboards, new light fixtures, and blinds.
How did you know how to do all that?
Ummmmmmm….most of it was just instructions, my dad told me what he wanted done and I went and did it.
Yeah but how did you tear it out without damaging?
Ohhh I damaged a lot. The floor needed to be chiselled out, and it was rotted so I had to replace some of the subfloor. There’s probably a bit still there…but it’s all finished over…so you can’t tell, haha.
Any more recent projects in your own place?
Trying to hang a shelf in my first condo. Unlike the bunkie, I had access to very little in the way of tools and had no idea the difference between drilling into drywall versus the concrete fire walls in a condo. So I started by using the drill that I had (probably from 1960 given to me by my dad and shocked you every 30 seconds or so), but it only made it about a ¼ inch through the plaster before it stopped and started smoking. So my first idea was trying to hang it with short screws into the plaster, and after the shelf fell down once I learned you can buy special drill bits and screws that go into concrete. Problem solved!
Bunkie on the outside
Bunkie on the inside from the bed- the only picture I have of the inside when I was trying to take pictures with my phone for the first time last summer...it didn't turn out so well.
3. You moved around a lot as a kid, and your mom is very crafty and your dad is pretty handy too – do you think you get all this home project desire from them?
Maybe, my dad was a lot like me in that he has no real experience in any of this, just figured it out as he went. He did work a few odd jobs in landscaping and contracting stuff when he was in high school, so probably knew more than I do. He’s also a better electrician because my grandfather was one.
So what do you get from your mom?
I believe the phrase “queer eye” comes up. I think just a sense of style, and knowing what I like in a house.
4. We lived in a condo before we bought our first house – did you know that you wanted to buy a fixer-upper then?
I think this place is pretty live-in ready – we just had to do little things. Remember that one place on Coxwell I wanted? That one was detached, triplex, that could have easily been opened up but would have required some professionals to remove 2 of the 3 kitchens and the place needed a complete gut from top to bottom.
And the basement was scary.
Then there was that other place that had the cheap kitchen reno.
The one that smelled like mothballs?
But it had a lot of potential – it was pretty big for a semi, but needed a lot of work.
Our first condo together
5. What made you want to buy our current house?
The more we thought about it, the idea of a COMPLETE reno seemed a bit daunting, so we wanted something not necessarily finished, but liveable. This one had a finished bathroom, the kitchen worked (although tiny). It had a lot of character – the original wood floors, the beautiful backyard, and it was a good size (3 bedrooms, in the city, finished basement).
Our current house on the left way back in November 2010
6. What are some challenges with working in an older home (90 years this year!)
Lath and plaster walls – it pre-dates drywall – it’s hard to drill into and secure things too. You have to be careful not to crack them – one crack and there goes a big chunk of your wall. Almost every fastener at Home Depot is for drywall, so you have to get special hollow wall plugs that aren’t exactly easy to work with.
Nothing is square. It looks it, but there are no 90 degree angles anywhere – either on the floor or the walls or anything.
So what do you do?
Most cuts are trial and error with wood – to get the right fit. Filler and shims to fill gaps - you just have to work with it.
Troubles with lath and plaster walls...
7. We’ve done a lot of projects over the past few years – which one was your favourite and why?
I think the guest bedroom.
Yeah, getting that rounded moulding around the corner was a lot of work and I like the way it turned out.
I also like stair guard, because it was the most structural work I’ve ever done. It went from a rickety not-to-code post to a strong solid rail. (Pause) Oh wait, I forgot about the side board (in the dining room). I really like the way that turned out.
Do you want to develop on that at all?
Oh, well, even though most of it was from Ikea, finding a good solid piece of wood that big, and staining it and polishing it to what it looks like now really makes the room come together – it looks good. Wiring the light into the staircase was good – I don’t know about electrical work, and it hasn’t burnt down the house yet, so it’s pretty good.
Curved chair rail on the left
Stair guard project
Wiring this little light to turn on with the regular basement lighting
8. Which project drove you crazy the most and why?
Stripping the stairs was a terrible task. It was monotonous, physically exhausting, and very dirty. Plus, after about an hour of those fumes you developed a pretty bad headache. (Pause) The shelving unit in the basement made out of plywood was pretty difficult – it had to be built into a wall where nothing was square, so every cut was custom, and made it very difficult. In hindsight, I would have purchased a unit that was close to the size, and made it look like it was built into the wall. Live and learn. But we did do it for a quarter of the cost if we had bought one, so there was one benefit to it!
Refinishing the stairs
Working on the office shelving unit
9. There are never any pictures of me doing things. Can you please explain how I contribute to home renos around here?
You…..ummmmmm….what do you do? You paint. Because I hate it. You are generally the chief designer….and you’re also the, haha, chief photographer and documentarian, hence you are always behind the camera and not in front of it. Documentarian’s a word right?
I don’t know. You’re generally opposed to anything Ikea or anything that involves an allen key. Seems to get the better of you.
I helped with the Pax wardrobe.
You did, you assembled two drawers, one of which was backwards, so you had to do that again.
I’m trying to think of other things I did.
You’re a level when I’m trying to hold things – like hanging a painting or mirror.
So you don’t really need me?
No, I need you. (Pause) Yeah you do a lot of the painting. I don’t know if you’ve ever picked up a power tool.
I stripped the first stairs.
You did – you stripped the first four stairs. You came up with this wall thing (points).
That would be called a gallery wall.
Yes, that thing. You’ve selected all the paints and painted most of the rooms.
I did the entire basement without you at all.
How would you want me to help in the house?
That’s a good question. I actually prefer doing a lot of these things. Because I typically learn by doing, it’s hard to give instructions. I’m also…selfish, and I don’t like giving up control on projects.
That’s funny, most people would say that about me.
The little evidence I have of me doing work...
10. What are some projects that you are looking forward to for 2013 (short-term)?
What’s on the list?
No, I have my own post for that. What do you want to do?
This summer I want to build a big table and bench for the backyard to custom fit the deck. I’ll purchase chairs – I won’t try to build those, haha. With my new compound mitre saw!!! And a big chunk of cedar.
Anything in the house you want done?
I want to sand down the floors in the middle (unmentionable name - *cough* - baby) room.
Well right now it is a construction area and it needs to be well cleaned up. I may have also put a hole in wall when I was doing the railing.
Yeah…there’s a hole. When the saw piece broke it shot a piece of wood next to the dresser right into the wall. A perfect little square. Haha.
It’s also parquet flooring.
Yeah, but I still think I can strip/sand it down. Rent a big floor sander for that. Make it a lighter colour to match the floors. Won’t change the floor completely. I still don’t know why it’s parquet though. So do you think it’s worth redoing it with hardwood?
I’m more worried about how it will be to pull out the parquet.
It’s glued down – you’ll have to chisel it down piece by piece.
Something to think about.
Current backyard furniture
The "baby" room
11. What are some longer-term projects you want to tackle?
I think we eventually want to do the kitchen. Knock out the wall between the living room and kitchen to open it up a bit.
My mom’s worried that we’re going to put a lot of money and time into the kitchen and then move.
That’s something to consider, although they say that the kitchen is the place where you get your money back on the investment, if we do sell. You always have to consider in any project if you’re doing it for yourself or for resale. I don’t know about you, but I’m not planning to pack up and leave in the next year or so.
Yes, but we won’t get around in the kitchen in the next year either. Any other projects?
There’s talk about expanding the bathroom downstairs and refinishing the wood floors throughout the house.
How long do you think we’ll be in this house before you get the itch to move again and start all over?
I don’t know, haha. It’s hard to put a date on that. 5 years maybe? 10?
Well you’d be surprised at how quickly 5 years will go by!
Current tiny kitchen
Basement bathroom (well before we moved in)
12. What things would you be looking for in our next house that you may not have considered in this one?
A bigger kitchen for sure – this one is quite small. Less creaky floors? One of the things I love about this house is the character of the old floors, but one thing I hate is how creaky they are. I don’t think there’s a way to fix that, though, without tearing them up.
I can think of a million things I would change.
Really? I don’t know. A fireplace – preferably wood, but gas would be okay too.
I want a mantle – so many décor magazines decorate mantles.
Does the fireplace matter at all?
I can put in a mantle for you if you really want.
What about detached?
Ummm, I don’t mind the semi-detached because we’ve always had quiet neighbours. But detached would be better for more natural light in the house.
Agreed. Would you consider getting a house that needs more work next time?
You mean, like, gut the main floor?
I don’t know.
I don’t know if I’d want to do something with more work, I think we would need help – hire someone to tear out walls and major structural stuff requiring a contractor.
You don’t think you could tear a wall out on your own?
I think I could tear out a wall on my own, I don’t know if I could put back a wall on my own. There’s very little room for trial and error – it’s not something you want to get wrong.
My brother has a mantle...
13. So you also have a pretty good eye for décor. How does it make you feel when I call you Martha Stewart?
Laughs. I think I get a little smug satisfaction because I know you’re just saying it because you’re jealous.
Why am I jealous?
You wish you had the same eye.
Matt painted that...
14. You’re also a really good cook – what’s your favourite thing to make?
I really like doing pulled pork or slow-cooked lamb. The dutch oven makes cooking easy and delicious. Add beer/wine/some sort of alcoholic beverage to meat, and cook for hours.
What’s for dinner tonight (New Year’s Eve)?
It will be a beer-braised duck, pulled, served over homemade duck-fat fries with cheese. A pulled-duck poutine if you will. Not exactly healthy, but New Year’s Resolutions start tomorrow.
We’re having salad too.
Although the salad contains goat cheese – pomegranate and apple and goat cheese baby arugula salad.
Frozen chocolate mousse trifle.
Which I made.
There you go.
Lamb + veggies + wine = awesome
15. Are you sick of answering questions yet?
I was sick about 20 minutes ago.
16. How do you feel about the blog? About being on the blog?
It’s always weird when friends and family are so familiar with stuff I’ve done around the house, even if I haven’t talked to them in months.
How do you feel about me writing a blog?
It’s kind of like your diary – I don’t have a problem with you writing it, but publishing it is odd.
I don’t put anything too personal on it.
No you don’t. I find the whole blogging, facebook, and everything else - the whole concept, way too much information about people.
17. Do you love me?
Of course. Always.
I have to quantify this? Like on a scale from 1-10? I feel it's unquantifiable.
18. Anything else you want to say to our 10 readers out there (9 of them being my family)?
Laughs. Whose the 1 who’s not your family? Some lonely guy in Russia?
My coworker, Mike. Tell him you’re not a slave in your own house.
Can I go back to watching the hockey game now?
So I have a lot more time on my hands since I finished summer school so I looked to all my blog stats for the past month to see what people were creeping on or searching to come across the blog. Here are the most popular posts (PS - I wrote "hottest" post and then I thought I sounded like a nerd so I deleted it...). The titles link back to the original post if you want to see more!
1. Highlights of Joni's Wedding - I found out that if I added titles when I linked my posts to Facebook, and added "with" - it was posted on other people's walls and more people saw the post. So Joni and Blair, you have so many people who love you. You are BY FAR the most clicked people on my blog this month, haha. If you really love these two, I also did a post on Joni's Tea Shower, and her Bachelorette Weekend.
2. Dining Room Curtains - This is also related to the most searched term which was "Emmie Kvist Curtains" which are the ones we have from Ikea in the dining room. There were also a lot of searches for navy blue dining rooms, and I got a few comments on liking both the colour and the curtains from multiple people, which was nice. I wrote this post way back in October so it was surprising it was so popular this month - usually the ones I post most recently on Facebook make up most of my stats.
3. Bedroom Posts - this one was more from people clicking the tag "bedroom" on the sidebar, and the main posts in there this month were about the guest bedroom painting and decorating, Other than that, there were only posts from the end of the year last year in January about upcoming projects, and way back about our master bedroom decor.
4. Adam's Wedding Posts - all of them! This took over most of the stats, which again, is probably due to the fact that I tagged the friends and family who were in the posts on Facebook, and I did so many posts about the wedding in general. The first one was the wedding outtakes, then the father-daughter dance, followed by the ceremony, the reception, and even their launch party from before the wedding. Even did posts about the showers - one at Great Cooks and one at her Dad's House.
5. Shopping - again another tag search - I had to actually go back to the blog to find out what is in this category. I do quite a bit of shopping, but never remember to take pictures or post about it. Maybe I'll do that this week with all this time. Anyway, some posts covered shopping in Vancouver, and buying stuff for the house. Nothing exciting in this category, but if you want some great outfit and shopping posts, visit my friend Veronika's site at Veronika's Blushing!
6. Basement - Again, haven't done much to the basement for a while, which actually requires a post itself - it is a disaster, haha. This is good, I'm thinking of more posts to write. So the first post is about free house projects, of which I have done one, so I should get on that! If you go further back, there are a few posts on the progress here, here, here and here. By the way, the shelving no longer looks like this because it is overrun by books - new organization will have to happen because colour just isn't working for me anymore!
7. Sideboard Project - probably the one I am most proud of. I think it really makes our dining room look great. This was done in December and it took a while to do everything. The Ikea cabinets were first, then the base, and then the stained poplar top. The decor changes quite a bit (it's much different than the picture to the left and that was taken in May), but overall I still love this room. Now for more dinner parties so we have an excuse to use it.
8. Painting - another category search - we have definitely had some painting adventures both in this house and in the condo. I do most of the painting, although when Matt helps, he does the harder stuff - all the trim and edges - because I can't stay in the lines very well. Here are the posts: painting the basement, the master bedroom, the dining room and living room, the linen closet, the HBC painting, and the guest bedroom. Up next for us are all the hallways and the kitchen!
9. Kitchen - in this category we have the little butcher block island I built from Ikea, the kitchen chalkboard, and the some painting projects for spring and summer (of which the kitchen is one!)
10. Decor - lots of posts in this category, and besides a few mentioned above, there was one about spring and summer decor, and even all the projects from 2011. Way back was all the Christmas decor, the dining room mirror project, and just some mini-projects here and there. Most of my inspiration now comes from Pinterest, so I need to do more posts that link to my boards there, and I need to look at them more often to keep inspired!
Search Terms: Emmie Kvist Curtains, Science of Married Life (probaby one of my coworkers navigating), West Elm Tangle Rug (we have it in our living room), Paint Colours - Moonshine vs. Revere Pewter (both Benjamin Moore), Yellow and Grey Decor, Unfortunately I Married to Science (this one made me laugh), Peter Fallico - Married (don't know if Peter is married, although he is gay, so probably about 50% of you readers are out of luck trying to snag him), Finger Numb - Spraypaint (ohhh yes, so many people have had similar experiences! - *Update - it did eventually get feeling back in it, but it took over a month!*), Pax Wardrobe (ohh geez, what an ordeal!)
Referring Sites: Google (obviously) - so many countries - but the main ones are the US and Canada, Facebook (and Mobile), Pinterest, My Wedding Planning Site (probably still linked from The Knot), and then other search providers like Bing and Yahoo. By the way, that picture on the right is my most recent Pinterest desire - peanut butter chocolate cheesecake...wow.