Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good and Bad

Good: finishing the wallpaper last night.
Bad: realizing that we should have stirred up the wallpaper paste.
Good: not running out of paper.
Bad: trying to fit the paper into the window well (sounds random, but there is no edge - wall goes right into it!)
Good: my husband and I not killing each other.
Bad: Deciding that even though I love it, I will never wallpaper again. Unless, of course, I get around to doing my vestibule...
Good: It does look pretty amazing.

And the worst? Reading one of my favourite blogs, Vintage Revivals and realizing I could have STENCILED the friggin thing:

Oh yeah, that's right. A flippin stencil would have done the job. Ugh. How gorgeous is that wall?!

In other news, the couch has arrived and is mostly put together - photos to come once that happens!

Coming up later this week - a cool project that involves wallpaper to spice up a rental (ie. no committment!)


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lessons in Renovating - Wallpaper Edition

Like many people my age, I'd never wallpapered before. Wallpaper was something of days gone by that was in your childhood home or the outdated rental you moved into and that you immediately took down (not that it was easy, mind you!). You probably had at least a wallpaper border at some point in your life, or if you were lucky, the bottom half of your room was papered and a wallpaper border was on top.

Like this:

You totally know what I mean, right?

Anyways, back to my lesson. Last night was wallpaper night in our household. We had all of the equipment, including a 'wallpapering kit', wallpaper paste, a big cutting surface and a tape measure. We had the advice of experienced wallpaper installers (my dad) and were ready to start.

Once we got moving, I learned a very important lesson that I wanted to impart on you, my lovely readers who have been with me through thick and thin.

The lesson is this:


I am not joking. Sure, it looks nice in the homes of designers. And even maybe the homes of your in-laws. But let me tell you. It is TOUGH and FRUSTRATING and SWEARWORD INDUCING and YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH WHOEVER YOU ROPE INTO HELPING YOU AT RISK.

This is how it started. Nice and easy. J made a level line inside from the corner wall so that the first piece would be level.

Then came the 'easy' part. This wallpaper is "Paste the Wall" technology, which is supposed to be the NEXT BIG THING in wallpaper. Instead of pasting the back of the paper, booking it and waiting, you simply roll the paste on the wall and hang the paper.

Easy Peasy.

However, the roller we had wouldn't roll properly and the paste that was supposed to stick to the wall started dripping everywhere (eek! New carpet!) and the cursing started almost immediately. Lining the paper up with the pencil mark was not as easy as I thought it should have been and the edges seemed to dry instantly and wouldn't stick.

Using the brush thingy from the 'wallpapering kit' didn't get the bubbles out and only seemed to leave indents in the paste underneath and we had to lift and reset the paper a million times. I tried using my hand because it seemed to work for a bit but then I saw that the silver from the paper was getting all over my hands and then rubbing all over the white bits on the wallpaper. Ugh.

And that was the first piece.

Next comes lining up the second piece with the first. On walls that are not perfectly straight. With a self-diagnosed rageaholic wife. Not fun.

I threw away the 'wallpaper kit' for this one and started using a big yellow plastic scraper. This seemed to work better but this time it was like there wasn't enough paste. Could have been the fact it took us ages to line it up with the first piece and making sure it didn't overlap.

So we quit. At 11:15 p.m., we threw in the towel paste and went to bed. The wallpaper wasn't going anywhere (hopefully!).

This is where we are. I could leave you with just this photo that makes everything look peachy:

...but as I've mentioned before, this isn't one of those "I only show perfectly styled pictures of my home" kind of blog*** so here is a picture of reality:

So friends...take it from me. Even when you get all juiced up at Home Depot looking at a particularly nice roll of paper and you turn to your husband/partner/whatever and say "can we?!", remember this piece of advice:


*** Not to say I don't love all those styled pictures, because oh, I do! I just am not capable of doing that so I am just telling/showing it like it is. If you have one of those fancy styled blogs, please keep doing it because I need something to drool over and envy :-)

** This advice is given solely to the DIY'ers out there. If you are one of those people who 'has a guy' for everything, go ahead. Wallpaper is beautiful and makes a statement. But for the love of God/Diet Dr. Pepper, PAY SOMEONE to install it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Renovation Diaries, Part 2

Hi all! Hope you had a nice weekend. I was up at the cottage with my girlfriends and definitely had a good one! There is little better than sitting in the sun laughing with your friends, that is for sure.

Today's post is about preparation for renovations. We are one week into our master bath reno and I've learned a few things so far about preparation.

1. You'll never be as prepared as you want to be.
2. Just when you think you have it all together, you'll get a curve ball that will throw you off.
3. Everyone has just enough input to mess with the decisions that you agonized over 'in preparation' and the analysis-paralisis will come back in a jiffy.
4. You will never be as prepared as you want to be.

As you know, we've been planning this renovation for a very very long time. The first 'real' post about it was on February 7, 2011 but the dreaming and the saving started well before that. I knew after a few months of planning and dreaming that I needed help so that we'd be prepared when the reno started, so that is why I hired a designer to take care of it for us. The less decisions I had to make the better!

So in came the famous Carol Reed who saved the day, provided me with layouts, dimensions, drawings and suggestions on 'stuff'. With the package of decisions made in hand, I met the contractor and thought my work was done.


Seriously people - EVERY DAY there is a new question. How much space for this? Did you want the door to swing left or right? Will it hit the toilet? We found xyz behind the wall and need to make adjustments...blah blah blah.

So with that, EVERY DAY my heart leaps into my throat when the phone rings. Is this it? Is this the call where we find out there has been an expensive oversight? Do I have to make an important decision on the spot and not have the opportunity to blog about it and get someone else to decide for me?

It is all very nerve wracking.

This weekend there was a bit of a fiasco because we all of a sudden had to pick up all of our tile. Of course it was the weekend I had the car so it was...interesting, to say the least. Sure, we should have had them in the house already, but we thought we were on schedule and it could wait till next weekend.

Even though we knew exactly what we wanted and had the store on notice, the timing was adjusted by basically one day and it threw our 'plans' into disarray! Luckily, everything worked out, although it did involve many a phone call while I was enjoying 'dock time' with my friends, but I guess that is all part of a renovation, right?!

So here is where we are today:

- plumbing is in
- floors are being re-supported (don't ask) today and closed up
- electrical is being wired
- doors are being framed

I'm not sure what is happening this week day by day, but I do know that the plan is that tiling starts on Friday. That's right. Friday.

In other non-bathroom related news - tomorrow is going to be momentous as it is when Karl will find his rightful place in our basement! Woo hoo!! The timing is perfect because the carpet went in on Saturday thanks to the fine folks at Alexanians (no, they didn't sponsor the carpet - just did a great job installing :-).

Here is a sneak, crappy iphone peek!

And yep - you can see that we've been busy building some Ikea stuff for storage down there :-)

Last tip of the day for people embarking on a major reno? Get ready for alot of phone calls. Even if you aren't doing the work yourself, it is definitely an involved process!

Wonder what we are up to tonight? Here is a hint...

Bit of a mish mash today know...that is how it is when you are renovating!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bathroom Reno, Day 3

I don't have a blog post today for a variety of reasons, but I wanted to show you this:

So, so sad.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bathroom Reno, Day 2

No turning back now!

I guess I couldn't say "I'm having second thoughts" right? haha

The good news:
1. Most of the demo is done and the garbage has already been picked up.
2. The contractors left the place spic and span. I'm not kidding.
3. Other than a hidden light switch, there didn't seem to be any major surprises. No mold, knob and tube or asbestos.

The bad news:
1. We think there might be some issues getting the tub upstairs. Not because of dimensions (I measured a billion times to ensure it would fit up our narrow stairs) but because it is really f'n heavy and once you put it on its side (the only way it will fit), it is super awkward to carry.
2. Our family room light fixture met a sad, untimely death. Thanks to a 2x4. Let's all take a moment to say good bye, to....THE GLOWING DONUT.
Josh of course called J and said " you remember where you bought your family room light?" haha poor guy. It was an accident and Josh said he'd replace it so I'm not so fussed. At least it wasn't the TV right?
3. Last bit of bad news - the neighbour complained about the noise. What neighbour? THE NOISY ONE!! She talked to the contractors and said "I wish I had known". I don't disagree - I should have gone over to warn them but it slipped my mind. However, the contractors didn't start the really loud work until just after 9 a.m. so I can't feel TOO bad, right? Should I take over a bottle of wine and apologize? As much as I think they are noisy, I don't want to make enemies...

So there you have it - reno diaries, day 2. So tell me this - do you have any advice for how to carry a 360lb tub up the stairs? On its side?

And what would you do with the neighbour issue - just give a bottle of wine and forget about it? Leave it alone? Take them some earplugs?

Let me know!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'd Like to Introduce You to Someone...

Remember my previous post about hobbies?

Well I followed through and would like to introduce you to....


T and I met shortly after my post about hobbies. A few of you were pretty smart with your comments - figuring out right away that I was a rider! Anyways - I did some sleuthing and found T and her owner L who were looking for someone just like me. Someone who had experience and wanted to ride 2-3 times a week.


So now T and I hang out twice a week (three is a bit much coming from the city...) and it is amazing! It is so nice to be in the country and around animals. The other riders at the barn where T lives are so nice and kind and have welcomed me like a friend and not like 'that non-owner who doesn't have her own horse'. It feels good to be around that place.

In the midst of all this reno-chaos, it is nice to know that twice a week, I'm doing something just for me and my state of mind. Sure, I sit in some traffic to get there, but I don't really care! Once I'm there, breathing the fresh air, I just relax and enjoy myself. Totally worth it!

Hope everyone is having a great day - a huge crew of guys showed up at my house right before I left ready to tear our bathroom and laundry room apart! So more pics tomorrow morning of what is left.

Cross your fingers for no (expensive) surprises please!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Bathroom Reno, Day 1

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  Hubs and I went to the wedding of a girlfriend of mine from school  this weekend in London, Ontario and it was SO beautiful. You know the kind - incredible food, elegant decor...but the best part, by far, was that the room was so filled with love for the bride and groom. Even if you didn't know everyone in the room, there was an unspoken bond between each person because of the fact that we were all there for the same reason - because we loved the bride and groom and their families and wanted to support them and celebrate their marriage.

It really was so lovely.

Of course once it was done it was back to our house and the reality of our impending reno. I don't have a lot to say other than show you a few pictures that I took before I left. From what I understand the big demo will be tomorrow...

Vanity gone!

Some walls coming down.

Washer Dryer New Location
Washer and dryer relocated to my (now empty) dressing room.

Yes, that is a bathtub in my backyard. And a toilet. All we need now is this:

Of course, those who know me will be asking "where did all of your clothing go?"





Friday, August 19, 2011

Preparing for a Total Takeover

That's right - bathroom renos start on MONDAY. In preparation for this, we had to unload the dining/living room because it looked like this:

What happens during a reno

What happens during a reno

I know - gross right? This is what happens when you have to empty out your previously FULL basement (that used to look like this):


So that eventually it could look like this:

We had been hoping that the carpet would be installed so we could properly set up everything before the main bathroom reno started, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

So we grabbed some plastic bins, and I got to organizing all of that junk. Lots of stuff was either sent to the garbage or is being sold/donated, and the rest was organized into piles such as "Christmas" or "Photos and Wedding Stuff" (yeah...I'm not ready to let go yet).

So after a few hours of hard work, the room now looks like this:



Not a massive transformation, but we made room for the delivery of the tub, etc and covered up what we could to prevent the onslaught of DUST that is certainly coming our way.

I would have loved to move some of the furniture down into the basement, but with the carpet coming in a week, it didn't make much sense.

So there you have it - this is what happens when you are in (or are preparing to be in) a reno-zone. Slowly but surely, the reno starts taking over and you start losing livable spaces in your home. It will be worth it (I hope!).

Oh and it is going to get worse - my dressing room is turning into a work space for the contractor!

Happy weekend!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

This One's For the Boys

After yesterday's lighthearted post about man caves, I thought it only seemed fair to give you kids the whole picture.

If you've been reading LB@30 for a long while, you will remember that last summer, my husband built our garage. He had assistance with the framing, but that is about it.


He took it from this:

to this:

(not the greatest pic - but you get the idea)

Since this garage is J's baby, he spends a LOT of time planning out what he wants to do with it and how it is going to be organized. And today, my friends, I can finally show you what the inside looks like. (This is the point where you should turn your laptop to your husband/bf/mechanically inclined partner and say "here honey - this one is for you")

Source List
Tool chest: Canadian Tire (60% off at the boxing day sale)
Peg board: Home Depot, spray painted black
Shelving: I think they are rubbermaid purchased at Home Depot (originally bought for the condo we rented - this is round two for them!)
Large cabinet: I'm guessing Ikea, but used to be in our laundry room.
Garage door: Open Sesame
Epoxy floor: Engrave-A-Crete purchased from Concrete Designz in Stoney Creek, ON.

If you've made it this far, I need to ask a favour of you. Last year J and I had an ongoing joke about how whenever I posted something about his garage, he'd get NO comments, but I could post about a pillow from target and get a bunch. So please. For his man-sized ego - if you have a second leave the poor guy a comment on all his hard work!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's a Man's World...

The whole concept of the MAN CAVE isn't foreign to me. I have seen it on tv (I think there is a whole show about it on the DIY Network) and read about it in magazines. Men turning their basement into a beer drinking, sports watching, male-only zone. And if they didn't blatantly ban women from visiting the cave, they'd make it so un-female friendly that nary a woman would dare to set foot in it.

Case and point:

Yep - not going in there. Of course, there are classier versions of the man cave:

Leather chairs, massive movie screen (with what looks like theatre-style curtains), pool table, bar/kitchen with an additonal tv so that you won't miss one second of whatever Pirates of the Carribean is showing.

That photo is actually from a website called "Man Cave Day". According to that site,

Man Cave Day is simply a day for Men to celebrate with the guys in their man-made sanctuaries to kick-off the official start of Man Cave season. Celebrations start at Noon on Black Friday as Men raise their drinks as the countdown to a jump ball, puck drop, kick-off, tee-off, starts parties in Man Caves across the nation. Most of the country is cold in late November, which prevents men from enjoying their outdoor hobbies. So we retreat to our basement, garage, or shed to enjoy the stuff we love to do while women are out shopping in the busy malls. goal is to keep owners informed of the lastest gadgets, sports, and news that will enhance the man cave experience. (Italics added).

Blatant sexism aside, is this for real?

Another man cave accessory (just in case you didn't think there was some kind of gender bias in man caves):

That's right - a support stripper pole. Not just any stripper pole, but one with a SPOTLIGHT on it. This photo came from an article called "12 Man-Tastic Man Caves"
Of course, I would never let hubs turn our basement into a man cave like this. First up, our ceilings aren't high enough for a stripper pole projector screen. Second - if we built a bar in our basement, there would be no room for anything else. Thank goodness our basement is small.
How small? 306 square feet. Not big. And a good chunk of that is taken up by bathroom and furnace room. However, as of last night, our basement is starting to turn into one of these fabled man caves. How?
Hubs bought a JUMBO tv.
Not quite this big:
But pretty darn close.
I hope this isn't the beginning of the end. For me. And my ability to use the basement (or even step foot down there). I'll have to counteract the jumbo tv with pretty wallpaper:
So now tell me - does your house have a 'man cave'? Jumbo tv that you can't help but stare at? A bar with beer taps (and kegs underneath)? Or have you managed to keep the allure of the man cave out of your home?