Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fawesome Fit: In Memory

When Hubs was in university he bought a shiny new car. A Honda Fit. We called him Mr Fit and and we loved him. He bought it for a couple reasons but my favourite was because of it's amazing storage capabilities. The backseats fold completely flat and the hatch has a HUGE opening so you can really get a lot of stuff in there.

Proof 1
2 full size interior doors - not a problem.

 Proof 2
8' long workbench materials - no sweat.

Proof 3
Bringing home 8' x 4' ply - I find this picture hilarious. Yes, those are beach towels protecting our roof.

Sadly, our time together was not meant to last. A couple weeks ago Hubs and Mr Fit got into an accident on the highway. Thank my lucky stars that Hubs is fine, but Mr Fit was not.
He looks like he's wincing in pain. Without going into all the details Mr Fit was totalled. And though another car could never replace him we couldn't really just buy a couple of scooters and call it a day (though I really, really wanted to).

We got a new-to-us Fit and call him Professor Fit and he's just as awesome as his brother. 
Proof 1

8 piece patio set all in one trip! You can see Professor in the background peeking his head over.
Don't believe me?
Oh yeah, it happened. Now I just have to wait for sunny skies to snap some pics of our 'in progress' patio!

 Here she is, all set up and ready for summer fun!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Front Room: Progress Report

Our front room took forever to come together. After we finished painting it looked like this...

And then it sorta stayed that way for a little while. Our crazy/opposite/overbooked schedules made completing this room a bit of a challenge. With Hubs and I busy at work my father was busing building us this awesome faux fireplace.
{checking out the progress on a trip home}

So, why did we want a faux fireplace? Why not just get an electric one? Well...we looked at some electric options, but in the end we didn't need it to be practical. I just wanted the look of a fireplace without the cost of an actual one. Jeff designed the aesthetics of the piece and my dad generously offered to build it.
{Kuro has decided that it isn't a fireplace, just a large cat bed}
Next I whipped up some curtains made from this awesome fabric from Tonic Living.

We snagged a couple adorable robot prints from JohnWGolden's Etsy Shop

The finishing touch was Walter {he will stay a surprise for now} who came to the house like this...
{excuse the blurry BB picture, I was so excited when he came I lost my mind a little}
It took us another couple weeks to arrange the furniture how we wanted and make it resemble a living room again. There's still a couple things we're tweaking now but it is miles away from where we started...

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Great Patio Furniture Hunt

After living in an apartment for a few years I've gotten used to small scale furniture, but with a whole house to stretch out in we've been finding that many of our pieces are a little small for the new space. Our deck is a massive 12' by 16' (well it's massive by our standards) and our tiny bistro set is totally dwarfed and impractical for all the summer bbqs we have planned.
{please ignore the spraypaint on the table...i got a little impatient with a project one day}

When the sun started shining about a month ago we started researching patio furniture and man is it expensive (again, by our standards). We started looking at conversation sets at local hardware stores like this one from Martha Stewart...
 High quality workmanship and materials, great colour and really comfy - all with a $500 price tag. Ouch.

Then we found this set for $300...
Still comfortable, but not as nice as the Martha set (and who can beat Martha?) plus it was still little too pricey for us. When you think that only 4 people can comfortably use this set and eating bqq might be a little tricky trying to balance a plate on your lap we started considering the traditional table and chair sets.

We also needed to keep in mind that our storage space isn't unlimited and stackable chairs might be a good idea when the winter hits. We want to be able to pack the set up and hide it in the shed to make sure it stays nice looking as long as possible. With  a little more research we found this set...
With a $250 price tag, seating for 8 and an umbrella I think we may have found our winner! I know it's super neutral and boring but that's sort of why I like it. It will be really easy to jazz it up with colourful pillows and accessories and even easier to switch the colour scheme when I get bored of it a couple summers from now.

Hubs is swinging by tonight to check it out and with any luck I will have a patio set to put together tomorrow, just in time for our first bbq of the season this Sunday.

Eventually this is my plan for the patio...
{Bonus Points for anyone who can tell what the heck I'm thinking of with this plan}

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Basement 1/2 Bath: The Reveal

Despite how crazy frustrating it was to paint the stripes in our basement bathroom (check out that saga here), I am totally thrilled with the results. We managed to turn a boring, basic bathroom into a chic and sophisticated powder room without spending a ton of cash.

Because this is the basement bathroom with no windows I wanted it to be bright and warm (not dark and dank). Orange and yellow seemed to be a naturally cheerful combination and the gray added a touch of style.

Just because this is a bathroom doesn't mean it has to have typical bathroom art (florals or seashells).We went with a couple unique and quirky pieces for visual interest.

Before + After
There you have it, classy style on a budget!

Cost Breakdown:
  • white paint - free! (old owner left it behind)
  • Chinchilla White (gray) paint - $5 tester pot
  • orange hand towel and facecloth - $10 (on clearance from HomeSense)
  • large painting - $40 (on sale from local decor store)
  • lightbulb print - $11 (from Etsy shop Rococco Co)
  • frame - $8 (from Value Village)
  • toilet paper dispenser and garbage can - $30 (from Home Outfitters)
  • soap and lotion - free! (christmas gift from the in-laws)
  • TOTAL: $104 (for a completely new look!)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hide & Seek

If you live in Toronto, appreciate leather goods and have never heard of Tandy Leather Factory then you are in for a treat. I first heard about them through Style North, an awesome Toronto based blog I read, and as luck would have it they were having an amazing sale at the time. $99 for gigantic hair-on hide rugs. $99! When I saw the promotion on their website I really didn't believe it and rushed down to check it out. Normally rugs this size sell for around $500. IKEA sells hide rugs for $300 but the quality is hit or miss. Luckily, Tandy had tables full of all different kinds of hides, they had the traditional black/white, sable coloured and we picked out a lovely exotic for our 'in progress' living room...
{So soft and purdy}
They seem to have sales quite often and offer so much more than just rugs. Any sort of leather working tool or kit you could possibly dream up and the girls there were super nice and helpful with all our care-related questions. There are a couple scars on the hide {which is why they were sooo deeply discounted}, but you really can't tell unless you get on your hands and knees and look for them, which I hope none of our guests ever do!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Be Brave. Be Teal.

After staring at this image for a couple weeks I convinced myself that we could pull this look off...
...but I wasn't content with 4 taupe walls, I wanted a bit more *pop* from my living room. So, we threw caution to the wind and bought a gallon of Embellished Blue...which is actually teal, just with a fancier name.

I must be super convincing because Hubs didn't really flinch when I showed him the colour chip and explained what I wanted to do. He's either really trusting or totally colourblind.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why I'll Never Paint Stripes Again...

I suppose this post could also be called "How I spent All Weekend Crying into a Bucket of Paint".

It was no secret to us that the dude who lived in the house before us was no Mr Fix-It, he's probably closer to Mr Cover-It-Up-So-No One-Will-See-The-Mess-I-Made (but that's too long to say). The small basement 1/2 bath was begging for a little personality so we decided to go stripey, which wouldn't have been a problem if any of the walls in this place were true. And I'm not talking just a little bit off, these walls and ceiling and floors are insanely crooked. It's like the guys who finished the basement just eyeballed everything. Sigh.

Here's a quick recap of what we saw when we toured the house for the first time...

I used plain old white paint that the old owner had left behind and a tester pot from another room (more on that to come). The white was the lighter colour (duh) so I roughed in where I wanted the lighter stripes. At this point everything was going smoothly and I was pretty confident this would be a quick job. I was wrong.

The crookedness of the walls isn't immediately obvious when everything is the same frickin beige colour, but once I started taping it all became apparent.

I first started measuring from the floor, when I got to the ceiling I realized that something was 'off'. So I started using a level, but that didn't help either because when I got to the floor or ceiling it was super obvious how ridiculous the lines were. Then I started sweating and just decided to 'eyeball' it. Yep, I gave in. I decided to initially use my measurements from the ground, then when it started to get obvious that the slope was off I manually corrected it to be 'straighter' (which I guess in this case is a relative term). I got to perfect my 'eyeball' technique on the other 3 walls.

I'm probably just being a perfectionist when it comes to these lines but in the end I am totally happy with the result and will be back shortly to share the complete room. Until then, enjoy these crisp semi-straight, tear-inducing stripes.

 Oops...ran out of painter's tape (my bestfriend and worse enemy in this process)

Monday, May 16, 2011

First Major Overhaul: Master Bedroom

One of the first rooms we knew we wanted to erase the 'blah' from was the master bedroom. We wanted a serene retreat, someplace relaxing, comfortable and personal. Coming from years of renting we had trained ourselves to not make permanent design choices so deciding just what we wanted to do was sort of a big deal.

Here's a reminder of what our master bedroom looked like on closing day...

Bland, boring and beige...

Wallpaper. Yeah, I said it. Wallpaper...just one wall though...this wall...
Convincing the hubby wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. He's pretty open to new ideas and trusts that I'm not completely out of my mind when it comes to design choices. We went to a couple different wallpaper stores, but surprisingly found a couple great ones at Home Depot. We snagged a couple samples, brought them home and taped them up. We decided on a black/green grass cloth combo and lo and behold I come home from work to find the job already done!

The hubby was uber ambitious one day and decided he wanted to put up the wallpaper all by himself and apparently he will never do that again. Not only was it a gigantic pain in the butt, but he's also a bit of a perfectionist and working solo made it all really difficult. The good news is that it looks frickin awesome!
We received a gorgeous duvet cover and throw from my aunt and uncle for our wedding so we were working with a natural theme; dark browns and apple green. 

We replaced the gross white blinds with some more natural bamboo ones and some simple IKEA curtains.

I created a 'where I dry and straighten my hair' nook. All our miscellaneous bits and bobs are in those file folders and baskets. It keeps the bathroom clear of clutter and all our junk out of sight.

Fun fact: the dresser has been with me since childhood. It just keeps getting new hardware and paint to suit my fancy. I went for a 2 tone look this time just to try something different. The space above the dresser looks a little plain right now - hoping to add new art soon. 

Before + After
Not too shabby for a gallon of paint and couple rolls of wallpaper. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sweet Siding!

One of the projects we knew we were going to have to tackle right away was the exterior on the right side of the house (it's attached on the left so that's not a problem). The exterior wall was covered with a material called Insulbrick - a material that was super popular back in the day. Basically, Insulbrick is a fibreboard sheathing coated with tar and a granular material (like shingles), then stamped to look like bricks. And it's gross.

{during the home inspection, taken from on top of the neighbour's roof}
Our Insulbrick was quite old and you can see the holes in it so we really wanted to get rid of it before it snowed. Luckily, hubby knows a guy through work who came out and installed beautiful siding for us in about 5 working days. And let me tell you, it was NOT an easy task. See how close we are to the neighbours? We can barely squeeze a bike through that laneway nevermind scaffolding or extension ladders. What the guy had to do was climb a ladder off our back porch onto the neighbour's roof, then create a platform (no one lives there) to reach up high.

The siding is gigantic improvement and we've actually had a couple neighbour's comment on how much they like it. Point for us!
(Fun Fact: if you look through the laneway to the backyard you can see that the first picture was taken in the summer when we bought the house and the second was taken in November when we acually completed this project)