Sunday, January 31, 2010

Always scheming

We have a house guest staying with us for 2 weeks (a student of the husbands) and its sparked some rethinking about the way things are organized.

I am a big believer in having things set up for the way you live 90% of the time, but we have more and more guests lined up for the future, and it feels like we could improve the bathroom situation.

The house has 1.75 baths (is that the technical term? one full bath and one bath that just has a shower, no tub). the 3/4 bath is downstairs in the lower level. Its not quite a basement, it has a full size window, but it is half underground.

This is currently where the cats sleep/stay when we are not home, thus rendering the second bath not very much used (we have the kind of cats that like to get into trouble with whatever you leave laying around).

So the wacky idea we came up with this weekend is to change things all around. Turn the downstairs into a master suite of sorts, its a HUGE room (14 ft by almost 20 ft), with the attached bathroom. Use what is now our bedroom as the guest room, which will then have its own bath just around the corner (and the bathroom we will use most often during the day), put the cats in what is now the guest room, and turn what is now my room (which has all my clothes) into the sewing room/office.

The master could turn our really nice I think, has enough space to put in some big IKEA wardrobes or some kind of open clothing storage, it has the laundry room just off the side, and due to some weirdness with the heating vents, is actually the warmest room in the house.

The wacky part is the cats would have the master bedroom, but I'm sure they will enjoy it :)

As far as things to do, I would need to put down a new floor downstairs (thinking about a glossy white laminate), and do some painting. Otherwise possibly tile the downstairs bathroom, the sink and toilet are in great shape, there is a nice sized closet, and a very nice floor to ceiling tiled shower.

So... watch this space!

Monday, January 18, 2010

can you love cabinets?

it sounds silly. but if you can, i sure love these

They are from Viola Park, the slightly less expensive little sister of henrybuilt. I've been googling for mid century modern-ish cabinets for a good 6 months and only now found these. Apparently they came out about 6 months ago (ah, lame google skills). They are just what I want for the kitchen and bathroom. A little bit MCM inspired (in the pigment laquer) without being over the top.

I've contacted them to see if they recommend against using them in the bathroom for any reason. If not I'm thinking a single sink cabinet will solve my vanity woes.

Of course then its time to pick the color. They have a range of whites and grays (more love!). I do like the super duper dark walls as is, but I'm thinking of going back to something a bight lighter if I do replace the tiles/toilet/vanity. But I can't decide if I want a combo of whites (tiles, walls, vanity, sink) or more something white/off white/light grey (and if so, which elements which colors). The other undecided pieces are the bathroom lights, faucets, toilet, etc.

If all goes well I would like to use them for the kitchen as well. I had always had a plan there to do dark cabinets plus white solid surface countertops, but I do like the whites and lights they have as well. This is a longer term plan though so only thoughts there.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

closet, again

I was digging around in the hall closet again and noticed that there was a lot of cold air right by the old mail slot.

The slot was closed off from the outside, but they left the metal tube in the closet. This basically meant there was a 10"x4" hole to the outside. And when the outside can be -30, this is a big deal.

So, excited about a project, off to home depot I went. I had some leftover styrofoam block insulation from insulating the attic door, but I splurged on the x-small roll of the pink fiberglass stuff. It was only $8, and it makes it easier to get into all the nooks. Plus it is pink ;) And oh so fun when you are trying not to inhale the fiberglass bits.

With the supplies it was really quite easy, I cleaned off the little bits of glue that were around the opening. Then cut squares of the pink stuff and stuffed it up in there. Instantly I could feel the difference and the lack of cold draft.

Next I stuck on 2 drywall patches. One was too small so I just layered them.

And finally applied the spackling stuff. This took a little while as it was hard to get a smooth layer that didnt leave holes. It will dry and then I will apply a second coat. And eventually give the closet a good coat of paint.

This was a really fun project, not too complicated and gives instant results AND saves energy. It is also nice not to have that funny metal thing sticking in to the closet.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


There are 2 pretty nicely organized closets in this house (the ones we use for our clothes), but some others need work. The front entry closet is pretty large (and tall, it goes to the ceiling) but other than a bar and shelf it has no storage and its a mess. I made a list of what I want to be able to fit in it:

~20 pairs of shoes
~6-8 pairs of boots (what, i live in Canada, even my husband has a pair of boots)
~6-8 coats
2 computer bags
1 purse
shelf for mail
+ assorted hats, gloves, scarfs, face masks, etc (again, see Canada comment)

I dont think that it is crazy, but I'm not sure what the best approach is. I know I need to use the height for storage, and some kind of shelfs or cubbies for the bags/purses/mail. im not sure what the best way to store boots is (i dont want them in boxes that you have to open as they wont get used that way).

ive been looking for pictures of closets and organization systems, but havent found the perfect thing yet. if you see anything, send it my way!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Saw these on a blog recently (cant remember where, sorry if it was yours). Love them, they are paired with very country furniture here, but i think they sort of have a midcentury vibe to them. I ended up taking down the bedroom lights I had picked out, the swing arms were just too big for the space (our master bedroom is not the "official" master in the house, just one of the other bedrooms, so its on the small side).
the swing arms will find a new home elsewhere (maybe one over my desk and one over C's?) For now I have some simple IKEA table lamps in our bedroom, but I think these would look kind awesome with the bed.
Now to plan how to get my hands on a pair of them.


I saw this sink at IKEA the other day. I've never really given it a second look because it is always displayed on a kind of country looking vanity (with old fashioned faucet), but really it has a kind of softened version of the large square sinks i've been looking at. You can't tell from the picture but it is also oversized. It has a slope to the sides to help prevent the problem Liz mentioned. Of course it only has the one tap drilled. It is also approx 10x less expensive than the Duravit sink.

One thing I wonder about is the size, is it a standard size so I could put it on top of a different vanity?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Living room

The interior designer came over to take photos! They are her pictures so I don't want to post them here, but you can see them on her flikr page at:






Sunday, January 3, 2010


i started looking at different tile options, im sort of leaning more towards hex

or my current favorite octagon and dot than penny rounds.

I'm also leaning towards white which I think will work better if we decide to change the paint color one day.

For the sink I havent found anything I like more than the Vero

Still not sure about the vanity, I love the Vero with chrome legs

but having almost 0 storage in the bathroom, while we don't actually use it, seems like it would be killer for resale. not to mention the fact that it could be nice to have.

While I love and drool over super modern bathrooms, I've convinced myself it would look out of place in our 50s home (if we ever move and get one of those modern pre fab homes then I will have one). But I don't want to the "recreate the 50s bathroom down to the avocado green tiles" look either. (or are black walls already super modern?)

Maybe the simple wall mounted vanity would work (lighter wood perhaps?)

It is more on the modern side but I don't think it is over the top.

Pair this with simple streamlined modern fixtures.

Still some thinking and planning to do...

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I decided at the paint store that dark grey wasnt dark enough, and picked out a very very dark grey (Benjamin Moore Soot). I freaking *love* it! Somehow the dark color makes the room look twice as tall (so much so that its kind of weird when you walk up to it and someone is in the room, they look like a midget). And the bright lime green inside the medecine cabinet turned out super fun looking (It still gets its white cover put back over it, at least thats the plan).

I'm glad I gave the black a try, even the husband who usually doesn't care about paint says it looks great. I think it will look even greater when we get a new floor (white penny rounds?) and a new vanity/sink/mirror/lights, but I'm glad I did the painting first, and I'm happy to live with it until we get around to changing that stuff as well.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bathroom - before (ish)

The colors don't come out quite right in the picture but I'm getting ready to paint (decided that I dont have the energy/time to deal with changing the sink/tiles/toilet this month, plus this will give me a chance to try out a color first)

So while the walls are yellow compared with the freshly painted (decorators white) ceiling, they, and the shower tiles, are not quite that yellow. But I'm getting ready to go crazy and paint it all a dark grey (Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal to be exact, the color on the right. it looks black here but is really more of a dark grey).

So on the one hand im kinda chicken, but on the other hand its only paint, but on the third hand it is a dark paint and will be a PITA to paint over, but on the fourth hand i already painted over a bright pink and survived, plus its a small room so it wont be a huge task.

my other thinking is that painting the whole room white will highlight the not totally bright white tiles and floor in a not so favorable way.

so if i havent talked myself out of it by tomorrow i will be at the paint store picking up the paint. plus as a surprise for my husband, who when i asked him what color he would paint the bathroom showed me a bright orange swatch, im painting the inside of the medicine cabinet (on the right wall you cant see in the picture), bright orange. i think it will look nice with the dark walls and white cabinet. or not. but then i can paint it again right?

the one other option would be to paint the medicine cabinet outside in the same grey (but a more glossy finish) so it blends into the walls more and the orange is more of a pop.

thoughts? or am i crazzzzyyyy on the whole grey thing?