the perfect gray: bathroom painting

The bathroom is inching sooo much closer to that finish line. In a house with tools and dust everywhere, and many not-even-close to finished spaces, this room feels like a little gem. We didn’t do things in the right order in this room as we just desperately needed it to be functional, so one of the last tasks was getting it painted. Obviously this would have been much easier before all of the fixtures and everything else were up, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to pull the mirrors off, pull the vanities out a bit (we hadn’t caulked them yet), and unscrew the light bases. I wanted a really warm, light gray for this room and discovered “Runway Coach” by PARA Paints. Guys, it’s the perfect warm gray. It has a stone look to it and would work in just about any space. Gray can be so hard as it [Continue Reading…]

the living room: a fireplace built-in

Now that you have seen how we re-worked the space in our new open concept main floor, let’s get to that living room. We knew we wanted a fireplace, and I had always dreamed of having some kind of mantle and built-in’s to help anchor the room and give it some traditional character. We went with a natural gas fireplace and after browsing around on Pinterest (inspiration here, here, and here) I did up a basic sketch for our contractor. He seemed pretty confident that he could translate my drawing into reality, so we just let him run with it. I don’t have any instructions or DIY tutorials for you on this, as we didn’t do it ourselves, but here is the play-by-play in photographs of how it all came together. The fireplace installed in a basic frame that our contractor put up ahead of time… You can see the cabinets starting [Continue Reading…]

creating a basement pantry: the beginning

During our renovation, we had hoped that the basement would be relatively untouched (we renovated it in 2009 and turned it into a basement apartment), but as we sort of expected, things got pretty bad down there. The ceiling had to come down so we could run duct work, our utilities room got moved to a different corner, the kitchen floor had to come up, etc etc. Luckily one area that remained fairly untouched was the little vestibule area at the bottom of the stairs, before you enter into the apartment. It used to look like this – acting as our main interior storage spot (we used IKEA’s Algot system)…. But now since we have storage space in the new third floor loft, we didn’t need to put that all back. Instead, we envision using the area as a half-pantry, half-mud room for the tenant. This is what it looks [Continue Reading…]

project reno: the main floor layout

When we decided to build up on our bungalow, it made sense to take down all the walls in the main floor to get an open concept living space. We didn’t need the bedrooms down there anymore since we would have plenty upstairs, and we didn’t want it to feel pokey or like it had been added on to. I need to film a house tour for you guys soon, to give you a better sense of how everything flows. Here is a totally-not-to-scale floorplan of what the bungalow used to look like: And here it is on our design drawings. Way more profesh. It looks a lot more square now, thanks to the garage added onto the left side.   As you have seen, the kitchen stayed in the same spot but we moved the front door over to get more of an entryway area. What had been the living/dining room [Continue Reading…]

blogger bucket list: check

Yesterday was a big day for me. My first ever published article came out in the Globe & Mail (see it online here)! It is the first in a 5-article series I am writing for them all about our renovation. Can you believe it?! Me. In the Globe & Mail?! [For any readers who aren’t familiar with the Globe & Mail, it is the most read newspaper in Canada] Yesterday morning, after dropping Maya off at daycare, I went out, bought three copies of the paper, and took myself out for a celebratory latte at my local coffee shop. It was a real trip to see my own name staring back at me in a paper I read all the time. Even though I have written this blog for years, I have never considered myself a writer (and still don’t) – it’s just the vehicle by which I share this little world of mine [Continue Reading…]

choosing hardwood floors: our experience

Building or renovating a home is just an endless lesson in decision-making. There are so many decisions to make – pretty much on a daily basis. Some bigger, and more expensive, than others. One of the larger decisions we had to make in terms of interior finishing were the floors. We knew from the very beginning that we wanted a continuous look throughout the house. Sure the bathrooms would be tiled, but everywhere else would have the same floors – a hardwood. We love the warmth of  hardwood floors. They are a classic choice, don’t go out of style, are good for re-sale, and suit just about every kind of look you might be going for in a room. I’ll admit that we did think about a laminate or tile for a brief period – the kind that mimic the look of hardwood – because the price of those options was just [Continue Reading…]

sweet find: coconut whipped cream

Guys, have you seen this stuff at the grocery store yet? Coconut whipped cream. Amazing, right? I’m pretty sure I have loved whipped cream ever since I was in utero. I was that kid who would sneak over the fridge, take out the spray cream (on the lucky occasions when there was some in there!), and do a big spray right into my mouth. Okay, maybe still do. #guilty. So when I found out about this coconut variety (I love all things coconut), it was pretty much a match made in heaven. You can get super fancy with this stuff – I think it would be amazing on any kind of chocolate dessert – but since I’m trying to keep things somewhat healthy around here, I thought I would try it on some fruit salad. Pretty simple stuff: rasberries, orange, and banana, with a bit of lime juice to add some tang. Then [Continue Reading…]

IKEA trips with a toddler

Over the last few months, we have been spending a very substantial time at IKEA. The reasoning is two fold: 1) because, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while will know, we have bought a ton from IKEA for our house reno (our kitchen cabinetry, bathroom vanities, light fixtures, and the list goes on…. and 2) because it’s such an easy place to eat with a toddler. The food is cheap, you can get healthy meals (plain steamed veggies, salmon, chicken, etc), and they really cater to kids. Not only are there kids meals, but there are high chairs, disposable bibs, kids cutlery, play areas, and if your kid yells there is such a buzz of other people that it sort of gets drowned out. Particularly while we have no kitchen countertops or sink and are loathe to do dishes in our bathroom, eating at IKEA is a regular [Continue Reading…]

installing IKEA kitchen cabinetry: our experience

A few weeks ago, in this post, you saw the design and direction for our IKEA kitchen. We purchased all of our cabinetry and some appliances (dishwasher, hood range) during one of IKEA’s kitchen events, which I totally recommend. We walked away with about $1600 in a gift card to use on future purchases. It has come in super useful already, considering we’re at IKEA on a near-weekly basis these days. Oy. Want to travel back in time a bit? This is what the kitchen looked like, post-demo, ready to get put back together… And here is the space with drywall on the walls. Man, I remember that being such a game changer. Like all of a sudden it seemed like a house again. And a reminder of our design from the IKEA kitchen planner.. I’m going to start off by saying that we did not install this kitchen ourselves. Although we are almost always [Continue Reading…]

the bathroom design – latest happenings

I feel like we’re hoping from one room to another and back again all the time, but I guess that’s the nature of things when you build a whole house at once, huh? Anyway, let’s get back into the kids/guest bathroom (ie. the only bathroom that has a functioning toilet right now!). Remember my little mini plumber who helped Dad install the IKEA Hemnes vanities…? Well next up on that wall was to figure out lighting. We had 3 spots hard-wired for sconces, anticipating two mirrors above the two vanities. I looked online for some sconce options, but holy moly I didn’t realize sconces could be quite so pricey. Like most that I liked were in the $100-$200+ range. Yikes x3! Luckily I found a couple of contenders at Home Depot that didn’t totally break the bank. I bought two, got them home, and tested them out in the space. I really [Continue Reading…]