Monday, March 14, 2011

Stair love

We're also getting the new treads and risers put on the stairs in preparation for sand-and-stain-athon '11. Here's a fun fact: the treads and risers we bought for both sets of stairs (the ones you see here, and eventually the ones going down to the scary basement) cost more than the entire bunch of flooring that we bought for the whole house. Shocking, no? Don't even get me started on the stair railing that we're looking at. Man, stairs and safety and all that, they're an expensive combination.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Adventures in stain

The top row in the photo above is an oil-based gel stain. Very stinky, and the dry time is long. The bottom two rows are all water-based stain that are also low-VOC (nice, because we'll be living in the house while we're staining it). 

Now to get the guts up to start sanding. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I wish this were a post about groovy cool containers that sit in my kitchen or something a little prettier, but I present you with the holy trinity of mega storage: our shipping containers.

Pros: They hold just about everything. They're weather-tight. They've got big locks on them.

Cons: There's a jungle of stuff inside each one. Opening the doors to them can be a major pain. (Also, if you leave a box of Pelligrino in there that you forget to use, when it gets cold out they shatter and make a big mess.)

Behind door number one is our working/holding area, that houses our gigantic bundles of plank panelling, tile and whatever else is in there so it's out of the way until we're ready for it (like the washer and dryer).

Door number two mainly has boxes, and our kitchen table.

And door number three is where the furniture sleeps, all wrapped up and waiting for their turn to come into the house.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Little bit of spring

I didn't buy many bulbs to plant last fall (I couldn't find alliums anywhere, those are some of my favourites), so I went with a paper bag full of mixed crocuses and scattered them next to the walkway. This time last year there were daffodils almost ready to pop open because it was so warm -- I'm kind of hoping it will stay colder longer just so I don't have to get back on garden duty just yet.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ceiling in the living room

We had a big push to make our deadline for the government eco energy program, and had to have all of our ceilings up before they came to re-assess the house (air tight testing nonsense, phbbbbt). One of the major rooms left was the living room (family room? I never know what to call it).

So here it is, done and done. I must admit, I thought it was going to be more terrible planking all of the ceilings in the house than what it was. It could be the fact that we started with the hardest room: the kitchen, where super long pieces had to be put up. These pieces meant that wobbly jelly arms had to stretch to hold planks like agile monkeys. It also meant a few snippy snappy remarks between certain monkeys. But, this monkey has to admit she's learned some badass nail gun skills along the way.

Enough primate talk, let's admire those planks (that still need to be painted, oh the suffering).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Just because


Shocking that this isn't a post showing something being constructed in the house. This isn't a food blog, but I think it counts that these were made in the kitchen, which is something I didn't have this time last year. All hail kitchens!  They make life good.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mudroom light

One of my favourite things is having new lighting installed. It's like putting sprinkles on a cake (or maybe a candle, since it gives off light...oooo relevancy!). It is also something that throws me for a bender since I'm horrible at committing to light fixtures. They need to make me happy every time I see them, but they also need to be practical (I'm looking at you, dust). And no, I'm still not decided on the entry light either, which is like slow torture.
Look up, waaaay up.
I'm really satisfied with this light, even though Trevor has a few beefs with it (pokey bit of metal, slight paint blip in the power-coated finish on the inside). I'll pass it off as character since I'm not in the mood to nitpick with it and have to return it.

I'll also fess up and let you see that the white desk chair in there is mine as well. I had to move my office inside the mudroom so that the planks on the living room ceiling could go in. So far it's the nicest place I've had my my desk in a year and a half.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Things that keep doors closed

So here's a funny thing: all of our doors, with the exception of one, are stacked in a pile just around the corner from me. The only door that's been hung is this one to the basement (where all of the scary things are, it's true). It's so the cats don't wander down there and never come back.

I had been looking for the perfect door knobs for months. I wanted an old-fashioned looking set that would go with our whole modern meets farmhouse deal. Finally, I came across the the New York set from Nostalgic Warehouse that fit the bill -- but the price was better here, so don't be throwing your money away. If you're like me, you need all of your little pennies at the moment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The barn in the winter

Way back in August of 2009 we were left with a small landfill in this field after the previous owners did a hoarding blowout with all of their 'stuff' in the barn. They literally went inside of it and threw bits and pieces out of it that were in their way, or in my view, did a lot of dumping just out of spite.
This is what the barn (and surrounding area) looked like when we came to do a house inspection.
And here's what was left for us less than 2 months later.

Strange that the urge to run away from this place has never really hit me -- maybe it's denial or I have a super power?

Our next door neighbour wants us to tear the barn down, but it's simply not in the budget at the moment. Besides, it seems like it's doing a good job of self-imploding in areas, so give it five years and it will just knock itself down.

It has a few pretty areas to it, like the neat little square windows where there are horse stations (if that's what you call them, I'm not a horsey person, so I have no clue). Mainly the barn just holds a bunch of junk still, the odd raccoon family and bird nests.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What a walk to the mailbox looks like

A roundtrip wander to my mailbox (we have one of those group-style boxes) is around 1 kilometer from my front door and back. Lovely when the sun is out, not so great when it's raining like mad, which is seems to do a lot here lately. 

This day, it was sunny. Sometimes you need to take a photo of the sun to remind you that it exists.
Corn field! Much more exciting when it's growing, but in a few months the seeds for this year will be planted.
Horses. Always nice to visit.
Shelby, the neighbour's dog. Very friendly and never barks. She loves to try and eat the cat food we put out on the porch (sometimes she's successful, I think that's why she keeps coming back).

And speaking of cat food, here's outdoor Kitty waiting for a refill on the porch. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

The treehouse

No, this isn't from my yard (I wish), it's down the road from me. It's the quirkiest little treehouse that kind of looks like it was built years ago, but the tree has grown around it and just lifted it up. It comes complete with a little window (sad photo I know, I'm thinking I might look a bit dorky standing on the road with the big camera instead of the iPhone one).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The mudroom light

Well, there was one light I was able to make a decision on (and Trevor managed to like it as well -- miracle!): it's the Barn Light Flush Mount Warehouse Pendant. I've liked it for a while, and that right there passes my test.*

It's going to be in black, even though most of the fixtures I've got in the works are oil-rubbed bronze. Living dangerously here. (Plus it comes in every colour under the sun other than oil-rubbed bronze.)

* It's the 3-day test. After I see something I like, if I still like it after 3 days, we're onto something.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bringing the planks to a bedroom ceiling

Here we are, back on plank duty again. This time, we're starting on the ceiling in one of the bedrooms. I'd like to say that this is my favourite of the two spare bedrooms, with it's slanted walls and dormer window -- but I'm torn. The other bedroom has a larger window that looks straight across the ravine, where you see nothing but trees galore. I like to call it my treehouse room, because that's what it feels like, plus that one will be my future office.

But this has a good feel to it. Warm, friendly, inviting. It used to house two cats that peed up a storm in the closet (and other places), but those days -- and smells -- are long gone. We reworked the walls of this room so where you walk in is actually where the old closet used to be. Confused? Stop by sometime and I'll give you the guided tour.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stairwell lighting

Just in case any super-spies had noticed the odd ankle-height loops going up the stairs, I can explain: we're going to get all crazy up in here and have lights shining down on every other stair tread.

They're little LED mini lights that are hardwired in to switches, and will look groovy-doovy when it gets dark around here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

So what is this v-groove plank panelling you speak of?

A long, long, time ago, when my brain cells were still firing and I was unaware of the fact that I could humanly lift a 237 lb. washing machine with my partner in crime, I had a mad idea that wherever you entered this house, there should be panelled walls. I think it came to me late at night, when you're laying in bed and these sort of ideas sound (and look) so great in your mind.

Not to make it sound like I'm doing this all on my own here...Trevor is master carpenter/plumber/tiler/minor electrician extraordinaire. I just seem to come up with all of the labour-intensive ideas -- like plank panelling.

To put the planks up, you have to have your ducks in a row (no, not the ones outside splashing about in the pond -- although I do have thoughts on how I can attach little harnesses to them and have them walk planks into the house). You need to think ahead with things like, do my ceiling joists run the right direction? 'Cause if they don't, you have to put supports in between each and every joist. Is there plumbing/venting/electrical behind this that I might puncture with my air nailer? If the answer is yes, you need to avoid those land mines. How are you going to cut the holes for light fixtures/switches/plugs? Get yourself to the hardware store (or the internets) and buy yourself a Fein, it will become your best friend. (Ask Trevor, he sleeps with his.) And beyond all of those, possibly the most important question -- where in the heck are you going to store all of these 16 ft. long planks? My answer: buy yourself a fugly shipping container (or three).

Once you have all of your bases covered, mentally prepare yourself for endless nailing, cutting and carrying of these planks. And then grab yourself a few gallons of Benjamin Moore's Oxford White paint, and trim the v-groove joints first, then roll until you can't roll anymore.

Then, and only then, stand back and admire all of the amazing plank-y-ness you've got going on.

Oh, and for anyone who goes out and buys the pine planks that aren't pre-primed -- don't ever invite me over to help you paint.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Now with less scaffolding

I became possessed at the beginning of this week. The scaffolding was still in place, and my time reenacting monkey moves was over, I was done with this yellow THING that was always in the way. (And let me tell you, if you've really got to go to the bathroom, you can dodge, swivel, pivot and wrench your way up that thing faster than you think.)

Monday was relatively quiet (working from home has some perks), and with Trevor out of the way for 9 hours I was free to bust a move with the paint roller.

And paint I did.

Trimming the little v-grooves? Check. De-fuzzing the roller for the 1000th time and slapping oxford white all over this joint? Check. Only waiting 90 minutes between coats? Check. (What can I say? When the painting moment strikes, one must take hold of it and go go go!)

By the time Trevor was home from work, the yellow beast was taken apart and civilized stair life returned.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Options for the entryway light

So I'm officially peeved at the selection of lights there are for semi-flush and flush fixtures. Either that, or I'm just not looking in the right places.

I've managed to short list a few from the hundreds (probably verging on thousands by now) of lights that I've looked at. The fixture needs to have a bit of a farmhouse feel to it...or something that could fit in with that sort of vibe. Maybe I should hold back on making up my mind until there's new spring stock available, so I don't end up settling on something now.*

*That common sense may be waived if an ├╝ber sale suddenly breaks out.

Cottonwood Flush Mount Ceiling Light - Barn Light Electric
Pros: Nice detail with the screws on the side / Cons: Looks a bit 'humpy' with that glass bit hanging down
Rutherford Flushmount - Restoration Hardware
Pros: Has etched and clear glass / Cons: Looks too cylindrical (like a popcorn bucket)
Spokane Flush Mount Light - Barn Light Electric
Pros: Cool metal tabs on the top sides / Cons: Trevor thinks it looks like some sort of porthole

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sometimes, really pretty things happen around here...

...and best part is, this didn't need any paint, filler or nails!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yes, there is a laundry god

With scaffolding playground still in full effect, I'm glad to have my shiny new washer and dryer sitting away happily in the mudroom to distract me. The machines we had before (wait, still have...they're sitting outside on the porch, CLASSY) used to eat buttons and twist pant legs into knots, so I feel extremely spoiled to have the Ferraris of home laundering at my disposal.

Clean underwear for everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Welcome to my week

On deck for this week is a push to get the planks on the walls and ceiling of the entryway and up the stairs. Oh, and we're painting them as well -- neither of us wants to reassemble the scaffolding for a second time.

The big pain with this plan is that the bathroom (the only working one in the house right now) is right up at the top, and you have to get in touch with your Cirque de Soleil side to shimmy and twist your way through the scaffolding to make it up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bonjour mudroom

I realize that I haven't posted a photo of the floor in here yet, you'll have to forgive me on that one, it's been grouted but it's covered in sawdust, and the grey rainy day isn't making for happy photographs of it. Feast your eyes on the panelled walls instead!

We're halfway done installing the planks, and then it will be filling and painting the ceiling (also planks) and the walls. No trim in this room for a while yet, but with a little luck, the shiny new washer and dryer will be moved in soon so we can break our 17 month streak of no home laundry services.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Now with more countertop

We had our countertops installed right before Christmas (not without a few screw-up's, one of the pieces that fit around the sink was cut wrong). It was quite a treat to have a level surface to work on after 2 weeks of balancing everything on the cabinet tops.

We went with soapstone because we wanted something a little different -- so different that all of the installers mentioned 'oh you'reeeee the soapstone people'.  Caesarstone was on the list of finalists, but we couldn't get past the super shiny bling finish of it. (It does come in a honed finish, but with that it only comes with a 2 year warranty, and has horror stories of permanent staining.) Soapstone seemed to fit the bill as it won't stain, but it will scratch and chip here and there. You can buff out the scratches with mineral oil (also used for constipation, as we found it in the pharmacy section!) and it looks good as new. We won't talk about the pair of pliers that Trevor dropped onto the counter at ceiling height working on a light overhead...that one was a bit more than a scratch.  But we'll all chalk it up to character, right?

Speaking of overhead, here are the Harmon pendants that we bought on sale at Restoration Hardware. They took forever to arrive, but well worth the wait.

I'm not posting any super-styled up photos yet...we're still in the middle of things, and it might give the impression that we have nothing else to do but decorate around here (far from it). Eventually the kitchen will be getting a tiled backsplash and trim moulding, but we're attempting to do things in some sort of order (mudroom, then onto finishing ceilings, then finishing wood floors, then trim).