Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Basement Reno - the {almost} finished product

Ok, I'm a bit late posting this but the important thing is - it's here! The basement is pretty much done, and we are SO happy with it. All that's left is to get radiators installed (we decided to go with new, slim Stelrads) and then furnish the space.

As a reminder, you can see what the basement looked like before here, and in progress here.

Behold....the finished basement...
Bottom of the stairs and the door leading to cold storage.

 A closet we added (yay extra storage!) and door leading to the boiler room, bathroom and the laundry room (none of which were updated / touched)

Stairs, painted with porch paint

Closet and eventual "office" area

Since it's a basement and the height is just over 6 feet, we had to use flat doors and have them cut to size. The Mr. had the idea to add trim to the doors to make them more "finished". A simple change that makes a big impact! I wanted large pulls instead of typical door knobs; I think the style suits us and looks much more custom than flat doors.

We are really happy with how everything turned out - from the flooring to the doors to the paint colour (you NEVER know, especially in a basement how paint will turn out). Note that we hired someone to do the work for us - with Owen transitioning to 1 nap a day it would have taken us years to be able to finish it on our own ;) Even with hiring someone, the reno was pretty budget friendly, with most items sourced from big box stores. See below for sources - now for the exciting part, to furnish it!

Flooring - Beaulieu Kamina Oak, HomeDepot
Baseboards, shoe moulding - Lowe's
Paint (trim and doors) - Designer White (Behr); Home Depot
Paint (walls) - Moth Gray at 90% (Behr); Home Depot

Friday, August 8, 2014

Basement reno progress

The basement reno is in progress - it's so exciting when they hang the drywall and you can see a room take shape! It's actually verrrryyyy near the end but I'm going to save the full details for later...

As you can see, we didn't dig down. We have about 6' clearance, and the Mr. happens to be 6', so we are good. :) In all seriousness though, we didn't really want to get into underpinning and digging down just to gain a few inches. I think it's worth it if you're gaining 6 inches or more...and we just didn't need that much more height (or cost, or work). The purpose of this space will be a play area for Owen, a TV area, and a desk. All things you will be sitting for, so the extra height wasn't worth it to us at this point.

Already with the pot lights it is SO much brighter, and the drywall makes it feel like a room. Stay tuned for exciting changes like paint and flooring!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

DIY coffee table and living room refresh - Update!

We have a new coffee table! I mentioned here that we were going to DIY a coffee table. And we did it this weekend...

From my previous post, a lot of you liked the Peony fabric option - and I did too, but it would be much better in a room with lighter furniture. Since our floors are dark and our furniture is dark AND visually heavy, we really needed something to brighten the space.

This Centro Mist fabric from Tonic Living was the perfect solution. It's also an outdoor fabric so is a bit more stain resistant and durable for putting our feet up on the table (which we do all the time...)

We changed the pillows (thanks mom for sewing!) to give the whole room a bit of a refresh. The gray fabric is Cameron in Storm, and the toile is Neo Toile in Coral (I am in looovvveee with this fabric).

 What do you think?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another reno - it's basement time!

I started my mat leave with a project (tile and baseboards) and I will lead out with a project (although this one better be done wellllll before I go back to work in October!)

We are pretty excited to renovate our basement - shortly after having Owen we realized just how much stuff these little guys use/need/get...and to keep the disaster that is currently our main floor at bay as Owen grows up, we decided we should finish our basement. Here are some photos of the space (sorry for the crappy pics - it's a dark basement so I didn't waste my time trying to make it look better than it is!)
This will be where the couch lives...

 To the back left is the bathroom...

The closet under the stairs is staying as a closet, and we will have a desk where the filing cabinet is.

Aside from this main room we have a laundry room at the back, a room where the boiler is, and cold storage. We are only renovating the main room into a rec room / play room / office. A lot to put in one space, yes but we think it's doable. Oh, and add storage. Obviously.

Here is a very very very rough sketch of what we are looking to do:

The height of our basement is a bit over 6 feet, so we aren't digging down. This will be a space to lounge and a space for kids so we don't feel that we need to go to the added cost of digging down for a few inches. I can't wait for better light down there and usable space.

This will be the first project in the whole house that we will not be touching (no demo, no drywall, etc...just painting it at the end).

Have you renovated your basement? Any must have's? Any lessons learned?

Friday, June 20, 2014

DIY distressed denim shorts

This was an easy peasy naptime project - perfect for the upcoming summer weekend!

I had a pair of jeans that I held on to after my last closet purge (ok, the last 3 purges), but I hadn't worn them.Which means they had to go...ORRRR become useful. I chose the latter. I figured I could chop them into shorts and see what happened - if I hated them no harm done, right? So I chopped them, distressed them and here they are:

I used a few online sources to guide me - for the basic cutting I used the guidelines here and for the distressing I used this video (which is probably done by a 16 year old girl...who better to teach me how to be cool? ha. At least she understands the value of DIY!).

I started by measuring 18" from the waist band and using chalk to mark where I wanted to cut the jeans (no pics, sorry). Then I chopped them!

Here's how they looked then:

The general consensus on Instagram was that I definitely needed to distress them. First I practiced on the legs that I cut off, then I went to work on the shorts. It's a bit time consuming but made for a little project during one of O's naps.

You make two cuts to where you want the distressed section:

Then you use tweezers to pull out the vertical blue threads (this is the time consuming part...):

You end up with a section that looks like this:
I did a few areas of this style in different widths and heights. Then I scuffed up the jeans with some sandpaper, put in some tiny holes and tweezed the edges to soften them and they were done!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Coffee table conundrum - SOLVED!

Exciting news, my friends. I FOUND a coffee table this weekend. One that will work and replace our old rickety one!

The funniest part of it is that I litterally found it...in my basement...

I've had it for the last couple of years (at least...) and when we originally got it I had planned to turn it into a bench for our guest room like the one I made for our master)...but then we redid our bathroom and stole 20" from the guest room...which wouldn't leave enough room for a bench. At the time I didn't think the table would work as a coffee table because it didn't have storage / a shelf. However...since Owen has started motoring around, pawing at everything, and deciding his favourite toy is anything that is NOT a toy, I've realized (and thanks to your comments on this post) that I won't be able to store things out in the open much longer anyways.

So, the plan is to get some foam, some batting, and some fabric and upholster it ASAP. A few comments said not to have an upholstered coffee table if we like putting our feet up on it...we do, but I'm not too worried about the fabric - if it gets grimy (which I'm sure it will with Owen pawing it every day), we can just recover it in a year.

I went to Tonic Living today and picked out some fabric samples - here are some contenders:

Secret Gate - Pewter from Tonic Living


A New Twist - Caviar from Tonic Living

Centro - Mist from Tonic Living

Leda Peony, Midnight

Leda Peony - Midnight from Tonic Living

Any favourites? I know which one is leading the way for me...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's the most elusive item for your decor? Find out mine...

In my recent post I said we were looking for a coffee table and a rug. You wouldn't think this would be that hard - after all, I live in Toronto where home decor shops are abundant.


I have brought home 5 rugs, and have returned 5 rugs. They have come from Homesense, Ikea, a rug store, and Home Depot. With NO LUCK.

I've tried pattern, colour, neutral. And nada. We have a brown leather couch and mid-dark hardwood flooring and I'm having a hard time finding something that fits our room. I think a flat woven rug would be the right weight but I want it to be soft to the touch (for Owen's soft little knees!) and that is proving hard to find.

I would love to have a rug like this in my house:

But I can't find one. Believe me, I stalk ecarpetGallery like it's my job to see when they will get brighter rugs in the size I need (at least 6x9). Ideally I would love one with no red and more blues, teals, corals. Think I can find one? Nope....

The other option I like is the morrocan rug that is popping up everywhere...
This one is a deal and a half at costco.ca of all places

While I love the look of a Beni style rug, I think it's just too heavy for the furniture we have in the room.

I think what we need is a gray and cream rug in a flat weave that's soft. Budget friendly and Kid friendly, please. Is that too much to ask?? Where is your go-to for rugs? (I'm stalking Homesense as much as possible too)...

Monday, May 26, 2014

HI and...Where do you put your STUFF?!?!

Taking a quick break from the arrival of summer and the cutest guy on earth (who, PS is 8 MONTHS OLD NOW!!) to get back to my roots and post about decor..a dilemma really.

The Living Room has been on my to-do list for a loonnggg time (i.e. this post from a year and a half ago...woops). There were a lot of little bits completed here and there (gallery wall, map artwork, media stand, chair)…but the coffee table and an area rug are still the bane of my existence. The Mr. has given me a deadline of the end of my mat leave to GET.IT.DONE.

Maybe if I keep hemming and hawing I can extend my leave?!?! Kidding. 

Sort of.

First things first…the coffee table.

This is what we are living with…it came from my old apartment, to an apartment we shared, to our house. It’s beyond time to get rid of it. It’s IKEA and it’s been with us for over 7 years - definitely reaching the end of its lifespan. 

 (this is a photo before the floors were done...but sadly aside from the addition of curtains, a few playmats and a LOT of toys, the room hasn't changed)

The coffee table shelf doesn’t realllyyy stay up all the time (and it’s terrifying when it slams down)…with Owen pawing everything it’s really not safe to keep it, and it’s not right for the space. BUT it provides storage (obviously we have stuff all over the top of it too in real life).

I get that we probably won’t want open storage in a month or so when Owen is really on the move. We also need something that is friendly to his adventurous self, probably something round or an upholstered table so he doesn’t bonk his head a million times on sharp corners.

via Alanna Cavanagh (via Globe and Mail)

But here's the question: If you don’t have storage in your coffee table where do you put your STUFF?? 

Where do you put mail? Bills? Things that need your attention but you’re too lazy to get to it right now? Paper and pens for writing out to do lists or sketching basement reno’s?

Where do you put all the STUFF??

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

6 month thoughts {they grow up so fast}

Owen turned 6 months on Sunday.


That’s half a year, people.  Half a year is a LONG time. It’s amazing how quickly this past half a year flew by. 

“The days are long but the years are short”. I want time to slow down. I want to be able to soak in all of these moments with Owen – firsts only happen once and I don’t want to miss a thing. 

These past six months have been a combination of joy, a huge amount of love, tears, laughs, hard work, and a sense of accomplishment, pride and love I never knew existed. I think most of the time I have been trying to figure out our little bean, just in time for him to change and move on to a new phase. I need to stop trying to figure everything out, wishing away the current phase, and just be in the moment.

Owen is so much fun – it’s amazing to see him learn – he’s into looking at his hands and you can see the wheels turning in his little head that HE controls THESE things. So cool. And then he invariably grabs something with the utmost precision (usually my hair) and rams it in his mouth. Success. :)

He has changed so much in the past six months, but still looks like the little guy we brought home that sunny day in September. His hair is lighter (and longer, we’ve had to give him 4 trims already!), he’s bigger, and he has a whole array of expressions, sounds and movements. I love seeing his smiley personality shine through. 

I can’t wait to see all the new changes the next six months bring, and at the same time I want to pause everything to really soak it in.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The ugly (do-it-or-else) reno

We had a case of the uglies here last week.

Well really it's a problem that's been going on for a little while but we finally decided to do something about it. Our drain in the cold storage had backed up before - we called the city, got it plunged (thanks, property taxes at work!) and it was good for a couple of years. Until this year...this year it happened 3 times in about 2 months, and a city worker who was plunging it on episode 2 said - You should really get some quotes to get this fixed.

Ok, Ok. So we did just that. Last week we had Toronto Drain & Plumbing here digging up holes, working through that crazy snow storm we had, and fixing our drain.

It started as just a back flow valve installation, and then expanded to replacing a portion of our pipe due to tree roots (we have a silver maple out front...which while beautiful is notorious for root issues), and replacing the waterline from the main line. It was one of those things where we figured, while they were here and everything was dug up we might as well get it all out of the way.

I really wish I was spending that money on a rug, coffee table and other goodies for my living room. Or on fun clothes for Owen (that he grows out of in 2 weeks), or anything else really. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. At least we won't have to clean up sewer back ups (thanks Mr.) for a while!
This is a DEEP hole. They were not kidding around, this is NOT a DIYable project :)


On to prettier things... 

*I get no kick back (unfortunately) for naming the company that did the work, but this is work that you tend to only do once, and if they did a good job, why wouldn't I recommend them? We were happy with their work and they worked hard to get it all done in a reasonable time frame.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring, where art thou?

I want Spring. Today, is not spring-y. Blustery is how I would describe today. Snowy. Windy. Cold.

It's MARCH. Yesterday and Monday were glorious days with highs not only on the plus side of the thermometer, but up to 9 yesterday. 9!!! I was way too warm in my winter coat while out for a walk. Owen and I soaked it all in yesterday because we knew today would be gross. What a tease.

Here are some images that are making me happy and willing (in my mind at least) winter to go away. Join me, will you?
Flower market in Paris (Our trip, 2011)

 Cherry blossoms in High Park (2012)

Loving how the LCBO suggest displaying tulips! (Spring 2014 issue of Food & Drink)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Flooring reveal!

Remember back in 2013 (wayyy back then), one of my goals was to redo the flooring on our main floor? It's done..it was actually done in 2013...and baseboards / tiling were being finished when that gorgeous little bean Owen arrived, so I haven't posted anything about it...but without further ado:

We are soooo happy that we did the flooring and have it throughout the main floor, with tile in the entry and kitchen. I was worried about the darker tile showing watermarks, but it isn't too bad, and I love how it grounds our kitchen. 

Now of course, what do you do when you have hardwood in your living room? Put an area rug over it :) I am still on the hunt for a rug, any tips let me know!

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