life lately: work, events + a giveaway

Time for one of those posts where I blab on about a bunch of things that have been happening around here of late. It’s Friday and I don’t have any project updates, but I do feel like there are a bunch of life updates… so here goes. Things have been a bit all over the map. In terms of work, I’ve got a bunch of things on the go — new product lines for THE SWEETEST DIGS CO. and branching out more into retail/wholesale, a short term contract in my “day job” realm of work (public health + development), writing my 5-article series for the Globe & Mail newspaper (last article published yesterday!), doing some website and decorating work for a few clients, and (slowly) trying to chip away at finishing up more of the house (remember how I’m doing ALL of the painting myself? Yep, well… it’s a lot). You [Continue Reading…]

kitchen reno: choosing quartz countertops

Let’s chat kitchen countertops today. Specifically, quartz countertops that look like carrara marble. Warning: this is a seriously long post and if you have no interest in countertops and kitchen reno’s, I suggest you just close’r down now. Or take a shot for every time you read the word “quartz”. That’ll make things a whole lot more exciting for sure. Just don’t  play a blog post drinking game and drive. Some of the decisions with our house reno have been made quickly, and others have been laboured over for a long while. This was the latter. Here we are, countertop-less… First step in any kitchen counter decision is material choice. There are so many options these days when it comes to counters – laminate, granite, quartz, quartzite, corian, marble, butcher block, concrete, soapstone, etc – and each have their advantages and disadvantages. We were constantly weighing looks vs price vs longevity and maintenance. Depending on [Continue Reading…]

saving the date

Dan and I didn’t have a long engagement – just under 4 months – since we had a pretty clear idea of the wedding we wanted and it didn’t take too much organizing to plan (it was held at Dan’s family cottage in upstate New York so there wasn’t major venue and catering bookings to do). We wanted to get word out about our wedding date quickly once we had nailed it down, so sent out a pretty basic save the date via email, followed up with a postcard style invite. Us two, engagement day in St James Park in London… Having missed out on the fancy save the dates and invites train, now that I see these beauties from Shutterfly… I have to admit, I’m a little jealous. They are all kinds of pretty. Don’t you loved the one with scalloped edges? And the one with the couple in [Continue Reading…]

transitions

With all of this moving and renovating that’s been going on in our household of late, it’s definitely been a time of transition. Not a huge deal for Dan and I, but I wonder about Maya. I have to imagine that our moving out of our own home, in with my parents an hour outside of town, and then moving back into a totally different home, must have been confusing for her. At a year and half old, it’s a bit hard to explain all of it to her. She seemed to go with the flow more or less, although there was some extra clinginess in the first few days when we recently moved back into our house, and I do think she has missed having my parents around every day (those guys are great entertainment!). And now… we are in the midst of another change for our little lady. [Continue Reading…]

a budget friendly moroccan rug & giveaway

You probably noticed in the post about the fireplace built-in’s earlier this week the new rug we have in our living room. Let me back up and tell you a little about it, m’kay? For a long while now I have lusted after those Moroccan style rugs that we’ve all been spotting all over design magazines, blogs, websites, etc. You know, the ones that are a bit shaggy, are creamy coloured, and have some dark diamond style pattern on them? Gorgeous, right? I nearly pulled the trigger on more than one occasion when I saw a good deal, but knew that I really needed to wait to see how our living room panned out. Maybe the size would be wrong, or the whole style wouldn’t work as I thought it would. As our living room started to come together with the white and gray built-ins, brass accents, and our gray couch (our [Continue Reading…]

the living room: styling built in shelves

OK so I took you through the more nitty gritty of the fireplace built-in in this post, but now it’s time for the pretty. Getting to pull my decor stuff out of the boxes they were packed in and get my styling on was such a fun feeling. Hello, beauties that I haven’t seen in almost a year! This is my happy place, guys. A reminder of where I left you off with the built-ins… And here are things today. Kindly ignore the chairs, rug, coffee table, etc as I’ll get to those in a post later this week, k? Promise! So after Dan installed the shelves (we made them evenly spaced at roughly 12 inches apart), styling them took me a while. I would put a few things up, move them around into 15 different spots stepping back each time to get a good idea of how it was all looking, removed, added, and [Continue Reading…]

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…]