Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do You Have One?

Thanks to Shannon for stopping by yesterday to share her backyard makeover with us :-) If you didn't see it, CLICK HERE to check it out!

If anyone else has any summer projects that they'd like featured on LB@30, email me and let me know! Doesn't have to be a major reno - maybe it is just a backyard bbq pit, or a new fence. Or maybe a DIY version of those fancy expensive strings of lights from Restoration Hardware (please, let it be that!).

Hope to hear from  you!

(PS in other news the DIY project we've been working on is FINALLY almost done - full disclosure coming tomorrow!)


Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Projects - Featuring 8 Foot 6

Happy Monday! (I cringe on the inside when I say that, in case you were wondering ;-) I have a special treat for everyone this morning - Shannon from 8 Foot 6 is visiting LB@30 today so that she can talk about her backyard reno. It is going to be UH-Mazing I'm sure!


Hi everyone! Janice asked if I could guest post and I said 'OF COURSE'....(actually, I said 'maybe' depending if my excruciating headache gave me some peace, and we are all in luck!!!!!!!)

We have a project going on at the moment that I thought I would share! Its our backyard.

(view from the deck)

We are working with a design and build landscaping firm (they do ALL the work from design to construction. we just sign the cheques) to create a backyard that's perfect for entertaining! They have built up the supports for the arbor, and laid interlocking brick on the  walkway.

The area under the arbor, beside the garage, will be a pea-gravel patio for dining and a fire-pit (BBQ) gathering spot.

 (Long dining table next to garage)

   (Firepit under the maple trees)

The side of the garage will be clad with a semi-transparent corrugated fibreglass (the stuff they use for roofing). This wall is intended to glow at night when the lights are on inside the garage.

                                                                          (view from the back)

The three large 'pits' will be gardens, with 'blocks' of plants (each garden will feature one large block of the same plants, the garden closest to the garage, with the mud puddle and purple ball, will have an ornamental tree)

So what do you think?

If Janice will have me, I will pop in again soon to share with you the 'furniture' we have selected for the pea gravel patio! 'Maybe', if baby #2 co-operates, we can even have some lovely Toronto bloggers over to party this summer!!!!

ps. the rain is definitely slowing down progress...

pss. we will paint the garage door charcoal, and the rest of the garage will be grey...


Thanks to Shannon for stopping by - hopefully she'll come back with some 'after' pics! If anyone else has some backyard projects going on this summer, send me an email at lifebeginsatthirtyright@gmail.com and I would love to feature your project!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finished Fence Pics

Not much else to say about the fence :-) We used Firm Fence, a company located here in Toronto. They were recommended to us by a friend of a friend (who works in the industry). They were great - pricing was competitive, the installers were professional, courteous and they cleaned up after themselves. We had issues with the rain which held up our timeline, but once they got started, it went very quickly.




We were lucky that both of our neighbours were onboard with the project (I've heard horror stories). I'm so glad that it is done!

Now we just have to work at getting the grass to grow, planting the gardens and then cleaning everything up to look pretty :-) I've been holding on to some Mason Jars since we bought the house so we could make some of those awesome candle holders. I think this year is the year!

Hope everyone who went to the Christie Antique Market had fun and found some great stuff! 


Friday, May 27, 2011

What Do You Cut?

What I'm wondering is about cuts. You know the kind. They are usually inflicted by one person on another. It stings. Sometime it downright hurts. 

You know what I mean, right?

Budget cuts. 

I'm not talking about the "no more non-fat no foam half sweet vanilla lattes" kind of cuts. I'm not even talking about the "no more eating out, EVER" cuts. It's more the "babies can come next year" cuts. Serious "honeymoons don't HAVE to happen right after the wedding, right" kind of cuts.

For us, it always ends up being travelling. The only way I can squeeze in a trip when we book them before we decide on a reno project ;-) That is kind of my thing. Before we bought the house, we booked a trip to California. If I had known we were going to go into massive debt (or, more like if my husband had known we were going to go into massive debt) we definitely wouldn't have been (allowed) to book the trip :-)

We also booked Jamaica before we knew/thought of or started the basement reno.

So basically, if I want to travel, I have to get that booking done before we commit to a project! Since we have already committed to the bathroom reno, I think our summer travel plans are SUNK.

So, in the spirit of this post, I thought I would post a few pictures from my favourite trip.

Bali, Indonesia (our honeymoon)

Honeymoon to Bali and Hong Kong

Honeymoon to Bali and Hong Kong

Honeymoon to Bali and Hong Kong

Honeymoon to Bali and Hong Kong

Honeymoon to Bali and Hong Kong

Honeymoon to Bali and Hong Kong

Honeymoon to Bali and Hong Kong

So tell me - what do YOU usually cut when renos come around? 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Here's a Before and During :-)

So from what I hear, people like a good "Before and After". Today, thanks to the weather, I only have a before and 'during' to show you :-)

When we first moved into our house, our backyard looked like this:

From Life Begins at Thirty, Right?
By the next summer, it looked like this:


Not quite the same, eh?

So as you know, last summer my handy husband did a little something in the backyard:

From Life Begins at Thirty, Right?
Can you see something...wobbly? in these pictures?

Um...yeah. The fence.

Here are pics of the fence from last week.

(not too bad, right?)
(still not so bad)
(this is where the cats in the neighbourhood go when they are too lazy to jump the fence)

The fence had clearly seen better days and it was time to do something. We hooked up with our neighbours on each side and hired a fencing company to do their worst.

And boy - they did!

The fence came down and new posts were put up:


And they started to put up the boards:


From what I understand, more wood planks will be put up on our side of the fence so that each of us has a nice looking side. I'm guessing with the weather there might be a slight delay, but things are moving along!

In an ideal world, where I had oodles of money and no neighbours to deal with, I'd get a fence that looked like this:

or this:

or this:

Sometimes you just can't have it all, right? I'll just take a nice, standard fence that both looks decent and keeps the cats in shape by making them jump over instead of through. You know. Cuz I love the cats.

More photos to come when this damn rain goes away. Apparently, fencing guys can't use power tools in the rain.



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Do Bloggers Do It?

I've always looked at the professional bloggers with a bit of awe. To say I'm impressed by the people who have turned their blogging hobby into a full time gig is to seriously under-exaggerate my feelings.

Imagine doing exactly what you love every. single. day? And having a bazillion followers reading and responding to everything you do?

Pretty cool, IMO.

However, I'm not sure how professional and seemingly-professional bloggers do it. How do they keep up? How do they keep their readers interested? Commenting? Conversing?

I'm in a bit of a blogging funk and thanks to a suggestion from a good blogging friend, I figured I should turn to you, the people who make this blog work, to find out!

So riddle me this:

1. What is it that makes you read one blog over another?

2. Do you find yourself in blog-reading funks and get tired of hearing about certain projects (ahem, the bathroom)? Or find yourself doing the 'quick skim'?

3. Do you wish that certain blogs (ahem, mine) had more variety?

I'd love to hear your comments on this - but if you have none, maybe take this handy dandy poll:

And since a blog post is nothing without pictures, here is a photo of what is going on in my backyard:

Long Weekend=Long Post

I don't know about you, but I was definitely excited for this long weekend. The weather forecast was grim for the most part, but Saturday was going to be glorious so I was pretty pumped.

Saturday was spent running a bunch of errands, the most exciting of which was.....(drumroll please)...


I am not going to kid you - it has been a LONG road to get here. Here's a recap to show you just how long that road has been:

April 11, 2010 - First mention of the tub hunt.

February 20, 2011 - Tub hunt takes us all across the city and I fall in love with Victoria + Albert's "Ios".

February 23, 2011 - Checked out a bunch of tubs at the Toronto Home Show.

March 15, 2011 - Offered up a few choices to my awesome readers.

May 16, 2011 - The hunt continues with the intention of a purchase, but ends up with price change and a frustrated shopper.

This doesn't even include the hours of online searches and many random pictures taken like this:

Tubs and Tiles

It's actually pretty embarrassing when I look back and realize how long I've hunted and himmed and hawed over this darn tub.

So up until last weekend, I was between two tubs, neither of which were perfect.

Option 1:

Tub Shopping at Tubs

Acrylic, in our price range. Might have to go in a window.

Option 2:


Solid surface, will fit up the stairs. Wish it were symmetrical.

However, after an episode dealing with a price issue between two stores, I started to feel depressed about it (not seriously - I know it isn't a huge deal - it is a TUB after all :-)

I'm not sure what you do when you get depressed...eat chocolate? Drink wine? Well for me, I turn to my biggest vice.


I don't know why, but in one of my random "solid surface bathtub" searches brought up a reference to a page from the Toronto Interior Design Show. One of the vendors at the show was a solid surface tub company. I actually remembered seeing it set up on the back wall of the Toronto Convention Centre.

Anyways - that sent me on a crazy online search to find those tubs and where they are sold and you will NEVER guess what I found.

Remember this tub that is sold by Signature Hardware in the States? Our friend Winnifred?

She was part of the March 15, 2011 post listed above, and she received a lot of votes! Anyways, my Lockert Canada search brought me to a store in Mississauga called "Bathroom Gallery" and you will never guess who I found there.


But her name isn't Winnie. It is Marcella. 

Hiiii Marcella :-)

So I emailed the company and received a reply the next morning. They had the tub. They gave me a good (actually, great) price. I finally started to get excited :-)

So hubs and I trekked out to Mississauga on Saturday (of course on the day the Gardiner Expressway was closed) and met with a great salesperson (hi Patrick!) and we finally placed an order. For real.

They funny thing is that after all the posts, after all the tubs, after sitting in so many empty bathtubs that I started thinking wearing my boots in a bathtub was normal, I did the unthinkable. I bought a tub that I have a) never seen in person and b) never sat in. How crazy am I? But when you know, you know, right?

There you have it. We have finally placed an order for our tub, toilet, tub filler and shower 'stuff'. The reno is getting real now!!

So as a help to other bathroom renovators, here is a brief overview of the Toronto stores that we visited:

Taps: Taps is often mentioned in local blogs and websites. I think Sarah Richardson uses Taps a lot. We never sat down and had a 'serious' quote from them, so I don't have too much to say on that front. Selection seemed good and I've heard that they are good to deal with, but I can't say for sure. I did email someone there with a question and I received a prompt and helpful reply.

Canaroma: We were introduced to Canaroma at the Home Show. This is actually a great store outside of the regular design district (have to trek to Vaughan to get there) with a very good selection. Pricing was (generally) competitive, however they mispriced the tub we were interested in and weren't willing to honour the original price. Ultimately, that is why we walked. However, we have had great service there (with that slight exception) and I would still recommend people to check it out.

Ginger's: This is a division of the fancy-shmansy home store, Elte. The store is gorgeous filled with tubs that are all out of our price range. If you can afford it, visit. I had a run in with a snooty sales associate, but that can happen anywhere. Didn't help that I wasn't willing to spend those prices (maybe it was obvious?).

Tubs: Tubs is the place I've spent the most time, sitting in...tubs. They have by far the biggest selection of bathtubs. Wonderful service and excellent and agressive pricing. By far the best priced toilets in Toronto from my experience. They constantly have great sales on high end Toto toilets. If we hadn't ended up where we did, we would have gone with Tubs for sure. Highly recommended. If you go, ask for Peter. A++

Roman Bath Centre: In the design district - also worth a visit. Tub selection was limited IMO, but nice vanity options and a number of Victoria + Albert tubs. I thought the pricing was high but to be fair, we never sat down for a proper 'bottom dollar' quote.

Bathroom Gallery: So we know this was the winner, so my review is obviously good. Definitely out of the way, but worth the drive IMO. Selection was good and they beat every price I received from other stores. The salesperson was knowledgeable and gave us good suggestions and has followed up promptly since we placed the order. If you like good service and saving money, definitely give Patrick a call.

The bathroom reno better happen now, eh? We are firming up the timing later this week so I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This is Not a Before and After

Bentwood Chairs

I hadn't meant to show pictures so slowly - but the weather this weekend meant that the job isn't totally done. One more coat and then I can show you what we did to the cheap-o bentwood chairs I bought from Craigslist.

Hope everyone had a very nice long weekend! Full details on what me and the hubs got up to tomorrow! Today we are dealing with fence issues but tomorrow should be better. Promise (I think). :-)


Monday, May 23, 2011

A Holiday Teaser

Today is a holiday in Canada so I don't have a big post ready to go, but I do have a very small update for you...

A little something special has happened to two of these:

Any guesses?


Friday, May 20, 2011

You'll Never Guess What I Found When I Came Home Yesterday

I was suffering from a migraine yesterday and came home a bit early and you'll NEVER guess what I found in my house.


That's, right.


I am rarely (if ever) home during the day where I've seen any kind of considerable sunlight in my house. That is what you get when you live in a long rowhouse surrounded by trees. I get sun in the morning in the bedroom, sun for a few hours (if the weather is AWESOME) in the kitchen/backyard, and now, sun in the basement (of all places).


Can you believe it? What a nice treat!

In other news, my garden has a) been taken over by some wild spreading ground cover that is fugly and makes it look like a provincial forest (just missing a trillium or two)


(I took the photo at night so you can see how "Enchanted Forest" it is)

and b) all of my tulips disappeared. I don't know where they went. The leaves came up, then they flopped, and no pretty tulips made their appearance.

I think it has something to do with this guy.


That's right. It is a dandelion that is taller than any tulip I've ever seen. I think he ate my tulips and is now trying to trick me into thinking he's just as nice.

Good try, Dandelion.  Good try indeed.

You can also see that the wood retaining wall is rotten. Like crumbling to pieces rotten. Yes, this is on the list to fix but we've been sort of preoccupied with every other area of the house so it has deteriorated past the point of concern to absolute embarassment. I hope the neighbours don't stop and gawk.

We are planning on ripping it out and redoing it (which is why we haven't dug up the garden properly and planted something pretty), but it is on hold for a little while. So...apologies to my neighbours who are embarassed by my dandelion garden. :-)

Happy long weekend!