Friday, September 30, 2011

Who Knew?

Happy Friday everyone :-) It has felt like a long week to me, so I'm definitely happy that Friday has arrived.

I met some friends for dinner last night at Bannock in Toronto (corner of Bay and Queen) and on the way there, walked through the Eaton Centre as I had a little time to kill. I was innocently walking down the aisle when I looked over at Indigo Books and stopped dead in my tracks (sorry to the ppl behind me - I also HATE when people do that!).

What did I see? A totally, beautifully, styled home decor section. In a book store. 

I know I'm probably the last person to know this, but Chapters/Indigo has come a LONG way!! How gorgeous is this display? The display makes me think that whoever is in charge for buying there is an avid blog reader. Ceramic owls? Globes? Stacked books? :-)

And check out this pillow - looks designer to me ($39.50)...


Of course, when I got home I had to do a little online searching to see what other gems they had, and OMG - have I been living under a rock (rhetorical question, my friends :-)???

Things I would buy:









Gorgeous, right? Even though I've turned into an e-reader (never go into the book store anymore), now I have a good reason to pop my head in!!

 In other news - I had my first bath last night and the tub did NOT fall through the floor (I stress about the weirdest things, I know!). It was glorious. There may or may not be a video of the water filling the tub, I was that excited. haha

Have a great weekend - next week is Bathroom Reveal Week!! Stay tuned...

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Giveaway Winner and More...

First up, thank you to everyone (all 79 of you!) for entering my giveaway!!! I don't know if it was the prize, or the fact that it wasn't sponsored by a company that made everyone come out and enter the draw in droves (compared to usual), but YAY!!

I consulted the ever-famous random.org and it told me that the winner of my $50 Home Sense/Home Goods giveaway is...


#22!!! Come on down!!

Who is #22, you might ask? None other than...



Miss Lauren Lane Decor!! Congratulations! I will email you with more info shortly!!

In other news, everything was installed yesterday (almost). In typical fashion, there was one little issue. Isn't there always? This time it was the laundry room light fixture - the glass broke on it. Ugh. Why can't anything just WORK?!

Oh yeah, I guess there was one more little issue - one of the pieces of the bathroom chandelier was broken out of the box as well - the company is sending me a new one so it isn't a big deal but you know...sometimes you just want things to work!

Otherwise, things seemed to go smoothly. Everything is working with the exception of my THUMB (and hubs's thumb) because putting the chandelier together involved squeezing very very strong metal hooks together to fit them in very tiny tiny holes. Both of us woke up and immediately started complaining about our thumbs. haha

As I mentioned, bathroom pics are coming next week (want to put up the towel bars, etc) but I did want to show you some in-progress laundry pictures.




As you can see, we went with the 'more storage, sink, less counter space' option in the laundry room. I was adament on storage, and J was hell-bent on the sink. Such is life. I think it works though - there is enough room to put a basket on the counter and I have more than enough space for towels and sheets, etc.

The sink is the cheapest one we could find that was the right size. It is the Ikea Domsjo sink. I would have loved a sleek square stainless undermounted sink, but that was about $299 and this was a whopping $129. That's right.  Good price, eh?

We still have to remove the coating on the cupboards, add the handles and put in the cover panel so that you won't be able to see all that wasted space behind the washer/dryer (SO annoying but no way around it).

And what's that faucet, you might ask? Well it is none other than the Delta Pilar Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet with Touch2O® Technology that I won at the Canadian Bloggers Meet-Up!! It is so awesome - check this out:



Don't you love my camera skills? haha

And in case you were wondering what the overall design of the laundry room is supposed to be, here is the professional sketch that was made for by me:


I know - people are always telling me to go to design school with drawings like these (haha).

Happy Thursday!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's Going to Be a Good Day :-)

The plumber/electrician (Wes) is at our house RIGHT NOW installing all of the faucets and light fixtures.

That's right. Tonight I will finally be able to have one of these:


I can't wait!!  Pictures will be coming soon (probably next week because I want to put in the towel bars, etc first).

In the meantime, today is your last day to enter my giveaway!!
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Good and Bad - Weekend Edition

Happy Monday everyone! Is it just me or is it getting increasingly hard to get out of bed in the morning? I really need to move somewhere sunnier...

I was fighting a cold this weekend so we didn't get up to much that was 'exciting' but we did get quite a bit done. Par for the course, we had both good and bad stuff on our plate.

THE BAD:

Our roof leaked. Yeah. Awesome. When the bathroom was being constructed, our contractor pointed to the place in the roof where the venting pipe exited (maybe it is called a stack or something I have no idea). "See how you can see skylight there?" Josh said. "Yes", I replied.

"Well it shouldn't be there. You need to fix that, STAT."

Well, I guess our version of STATand Mother Nature's version of STAT are different, and on Saturday morning I heard my favourite phrase coming from J's mouth.

"You'd better get in here...we have a problem!"

Where was he? IN OUR NEW BATHROOM.

That's right - the roof problem leaked into our new bathroom.  MASSIVE fail.

Rusty water dripped down our wall and pooled onto the floor. There was no drywall damage (thank goodness) but our unsealed grout didn't fare so well. Have you ever seen a rust coloured grout?

I have. It ain't pretty.

Luckily I have a handy (and fearless) husband so while he was up on the roof trying to fix the issue, I was inside washing down the walls and figuring out the best course of action for the floor. While the Magic Eraser did its job on the walls, it stood no chance against the rusty grout.

So what did I do?

I re-grouted it of course! Since our house is still a construction zone, I just mixed up a little more grout and re-applied it to the rusty zone and voila! It worked!!

Part 2 of the leak had my husband up in the attic to 'reinforce' his handiwork. I have actually never been in the attic so I popped my head up.


Kind of creepy, right?

And now for THE GOOD:

1. We bought the accessories for the bathroom. After much debate, we went with the Mercer collection from Pottery Barn. I had always thought I'd go with Restoration Hardware but the price on the most expensive item at RH (the train rack) was more than $140 MORE than at Pottery Barn!!  Here is what we went with:









The only thing I didn't *love* about the collection is the toilet paper holder but figured that I'd just go with it to avoid having to search to find something that 'worked' with the rest.

2. I'm not even going to introduce this one...



That's right - we finally put together our bed!!  Don't judge the bedding yet - I know that still needs work :-) I just wanted to show you guys the finished product!

As a reminder, this is the Skyline Furniture Arc Notched Nail Button Headboard in Buckwheat that I purchased through the awesome HomeSav for a steal. I am super happy with it! Skyline sent out a new headboard after the first one came with a mark on it (no questions asked) and this one was perfect. Building it wasn't too bad (I only cursed a few times when I would step on a staple) and it is sturdy as heck. The headboard attaches by black legs (you can see them in the photo) and that is probably the only bit that makes it feel less than luxurious because it has a slight wobble (and you can see the legs!) but other than that, I am REALLY happy with the bed for the price. 

Once I get the room totally set up (well, maybe not totally set up) I will show some more pictures.

3. We booked our plumber to come back on Wednesday to finish the rest of the installation of the faucets, etc. :-) YAY.

How was your weekend? Anything exciting?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Special Thank You Giveaway!

I know it has been a while, but after the really interesting discussion that got going after Monday's post, I thought that it was high time for a GIVEAWAY!


Yay!!

This is not sponsored by anyone other than ME :-) This is a special thank you from me to my awesome readers for visiting this blog and joining in on discussions whether they are intense or lighthearted.

So, this is it - one lucky reader is going to win a $50 gift certificate for either Home Sense (Canada) or Home Goods (US). Isn't that fun?! I figure that it will help someone get a few accessories like this:


Or maybe put it towards something bigger like this:

(Both images from Tim at Design Maze - Home Sense hunter extraordinaire)

What do you have to do to win this? Not much - just be a follower and leave a comment saying hi, or telling me about your day or what you want to do in your house next. Just have a chat!

Contest will stay open for one week - so I'll use one of those awesome random number selectors next Thursday :-)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

House Envy

I'm not sure if any of you read blogs other than house/decor blogs, but I do. Before I ever started the blog, I actually read a lot of the "OOTD" (outfit of the day) and "What I Wore" blogs. I typically enjoyed them and actually found myself pulling a lot of style inspiration from the stylish women who posted their pics. Sometimes I even found myself going out and buying what I saw on them. Ahem. Like this dress from the Gap:


Source: Kendi Everyday (isn't she gorgeous?!)

Anyways - my interest in those blogs have waned somewhat (with the exception of a few faves like Kendi's), but I was shocked to hear that one of the top bloggers in the Anthro-Blogging community (that is ppl who blog about and love Anthropologie clothing) got herself into a bit lot of hot water for allegedly taking money from her readers for a personal shopping service and then often not sending the item that the reader pre-purchased and/or not refunding the money. I wasn't affected by this so I don't want to go into too much detail but if you do a quick google you can probably find all the details.

The general consensus in that blogging community from what I gather is that she didn't go in with the intention of defrauding her readers from the beginning - but that she got in over her head - receiving the money, buying clothing herself and then not having the funds to perform her personal shopping services or refund the money where necessary. It seems like the shopping just got out of control and she couldn't get her head above water.

The point of telling this story is that I think it is important to discuss and talk about managing money and not getting ourselves into situations like that. We in the house/decor blogging community are just as susceptible to the impulsive purchases based on another bloggers recommendation (i.e. "so-and-so bought this so I also have to have it") or feelings of envy/jealousy over perfectly designed rooms that we want to recreate (i.e. "every other blogger has a perfectly wallpapered powder room so must I").

It is so easy to get wrapped up in what other bloggers are doing. What they are buying, what they are renovating and how we *think* they live. House envy is everywhere. I won't deny it - I've definitely felt it. I often find myself wanting to buy certain things or decorate in a certain way because of what I see on the web, but I do my best to keep myself in check and work with the budget that my husband and I have set for ourselves. We don't have a lot of impulsive purchases - we pretty much save up in advance and then buy when the money is there.

As an example, that is what we did with the bathroom. As you know, we started planning the reno out ages ago. The first 'real' purchase we made was the designer package from Carol Reed. The reason we ultimately did that was because we wanted an expert opinion on the budget and how we should be spending our dollars.

When Carol first sent through the budget, we shocked at first. I even emailed Carol and disagreed with some of her numbers. Oh no - we can get that for cheaper, I said. Carol probably lauged on the inside but calmly explained why her budget was the way it was.

Then the project sort of went on hold. We hadn't budgeted enough money so our account wasn't topped up to where it needed to be. So we saved. And saved. When we started the reno, we had an account with our bathroom money in it. We kept track of what we spent and when we went over on one or two things (ahem, the tub), we made sure that we cut back in other areas (i.e. the tiles).

I tell you this so that when readers come across my bathroom or my blog - they understand that no, we don't have tones of money and no, we don't throw it around willy nilly. We plan, save and bargain hunt.

Sometimes what I think is missing from the blogging community is a little bit of honesty. I know I've talked about it before but I think now, after seeing what happened with the above-mentioned blogger, it is important to really address the issue. There will always be someone out there with a nicer house than yours (but have you seen their debt-load?), a hipper decorating style (but did you know she is going through a divorce?) or a seemingly endless supply of money for fancy purses or designer couches (maybe her husband is never home?). Everyone has their 'stuff' but we rarely show it on our blogs. We stage our pictures and won't show our hard work until it is perfectly in place. We don't discuss budgets (how crass) and we certainly don't talk about when/if we get in over our heads.

So from the outside - everything looks perfect. Perfect job, perfect clothes, perfectly made lunches for our kids and dinners for our husbands. We think of stuff we can do to post on our blogs and then feel anxious when we don't have anything 'blog-worthy' to show.

It's sick, right?

So I'm asking you this. Let's all be a bit more transparent going forward. Let's talk about some of the issues (I want that wallpaper but just can't afford it right now) and some of the solutions (I'm going to cut out Starbucks for the month to add to my bathroom reno fund). Let's help others figure out DIY options and encourage them when they work on their reno/decorating piece by piece. Readers don't only like big massive reveals of huge renos. Some of my favourite things to read about are the small updates - painting the fireplace, adding colour to some french doors, etc.

So that's that. Long post, I know, but I think it is important to address this stuff because I'd be crushed to find out that one of our own was struggling with $$$ because she was so busy trying to keep up with the proverbial Joneses.

As a thank you for reading such a long, drawn out post, here is another (brutal) picture of my bathroom. Still waiting for taps, sconces and the mirror :-)


If you have some time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject of transparency and envy in blogging. Is it a problem? Do you struggle with it? What are your suggestions to help?

annnnd....discuss!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Gift

My dad and I were talking this past weekend about getting older and he made a really great point (he tends to do that). He said that kids are what make parents feel old. No, not because they are hard work and they tend to 'age' the people around them because of all of the stress/activity level.

What he meant was that when you have kids, you have a constant benchmark with which to compare yourself to. When your child turns 5, as a parent you truly realize that 5 years have gone by. You can't ignore the days/weeks/months that tick by when you have a child. Look at the trend of baby pictures - 1 week old, 2 weeks old, 27 weeks old. Graduating from high school? You are really getting old (according to him). University? You're not just getting old - you ARE old.


I don't have kids. That shouldn't come to a surprise to any of you who know how we spend our evenings and weekends (sleeping in and eating out). So while I don't have a child with which to use as an age benchmark - I do have a baby.

My blog. It's a girl.

Once a year, I CURSE myself for naming my blog "Life Begins at Thirty, Right?". Clearly, I was staring down 30 when I started the blog. I thought 30 was old.

Boy was I wrong.

Last year I realized I had to change my description in the "About" section (top right of the page). 31. Yep, another year down.

Now this year - I am again kicking myself for focusing the name of my blog on my SUPER YOUNG age of 30. Because now I can't just ignore the passage of time. I can't pretend that I stopped getting older once I hit 28 (wouldn't that be a dream come true?). Every year, on September 15, I have to edit my description and change the number. Puke.

I could save myself a lot of angst if I just changed it to "30-something" but that seems, well, OLDER than 32. You know?

So there you have it. I'm older today than I was yesterday, which I can handle. It is the concrete recognition of it when I look at my blog that is really like salt in the wound.

So as a bit of a birthday gift to you for suffering through this post - I give you this. A picture of my new shower :-) All the pieces aren't in there yet, and the glass clearly isn't up, but this, my friends, is a real life picture of part of my newly renovated bathroom!



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Reason #1 the Bathroom Isn't Done

We're getting there, all right! I can't believe that the reno went so quickly (3 weeks total) but of course, as is our M.O when it comes to renos, it is the final details that seem to be holding us up!

The biggest (but not the most frustrating) hold up is our shower glass. We knew that there would be a wait for the glass so this wasn't a surprise, but now that we are ready to order, I'm having issues (I know, surprise surprise!).

We've met with a few suppliers - each of whom had different opinions on some of the details. Corner hinges? Doors swinging in or out or both? Silicone strong enough?

Lots of questions but the one that neither of them brought up but that I read about in the interweb on a regular basis is what type of glass to buy.

I had no idea there were different glasses. I also had no idea that 'regular' glass has a green tint to it. It's like I've been living under a rock (when it comes to frameless shower glass). Who knew?!

For those of you who also had no clue, here is a photo idea:


The small bit is 'regular' glass and the glass behind it is called "Starphire" glass. From what I understand, it has a lower iron content than regular glass which makes it clearer.

The general consensus is that if you have the money, you should splurge for the Starphire. Especially if you put any effort into your tile work because the green tint of regular glass will interfere with the overall 'look' of the space.

Does anyone have any experience with either types? What did you decide to do? How much more expensive was the Starphire if you went with it? Do you have regrets either way?

Lastly - who did you use for your shower glass? Would you recommend them?

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sneak Peek

I know you've all been waiting patiently to see pics of our bathroom reno. We are in a bit of a holding pattern thanks to a few screw ups (not ours) and our indecision on the laundry counter (definitely our fault).

Because I feel so badly about making you wait, I thought I'd give you a little sneak peek of what we've got going on!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HALLO FASHION LOVERS

I know I've done this before, but I get such a kick out of seeing what people search to land on my blog.

Today's fun search:


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That's right - "HOW TO DRESS WHEN ENTERING A CRAWL SPACE". I'm not sure what that person was thinking when they searched that.

...Hmm...I have to go into the crawl space to see if there are any dead cats down there. What should I wear? I mean, what is the appropriate outfit to get on my hands and knees and try not to hit my head on the beams above? White? Nah - it's after Labour Day. Problably more appropriate to wear jeans. Skinny jeans of course - they are trendier (right?). But what about my top? Now that's a toughie...I'd better google this problem. Google has all the answers.

I picture my answer going something like this, in the vein of the Reitmans commercials. "Hello Fashion Lovers! Today we look at the DOs and DON'Ts of what to wear in the crawl space.":


For real! People are crazy. Unless the person who is looking for fashion advice upon entering a crawl space, read a bit of my blog and decided to stay - because in that case, you are NOT crazy. :-)

Now - if you are a blogger and are trying to figure out what people are searching to find you, I suggest using www.statcounter.com. It is super easy and free - install it as a html on your blog and then you can find out more info about the crazy nutters who are searching for what's hip and hot on the runways to wear in a crawl space.

This does prove what I've been saying all along. You can find the answer to almost ANYTHING on the interweb.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Laundry Room in Progress

Happy Monday, everyone!

Hope you had a great weekend - I had to go up North so I missed the 'last' day of our contractor working on our bathroom but hubs was sending me pictures to oogle, so it wasn't too bad :-)

As I'm sure is always the case with bathroom renos, we still need a few more things to be installed (tub faucet, sink faucets etc) but we were waiting on a piece to arrive (LONG story with that one that I will have fun telling you about soon!) so we'll have to call the plumber back soon to get it all done.

In the meantime, I thought I'd show you our laundry room progress!! It is still pretty rough because we are building the cabinets, but it is starting to take shape.

Remember our unnecessarily huge laundry room before (which doesn't help that much since we moved locations):

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And now:

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Yes, I know there is a hanging light fixture haha.

Cupboard-wise, we went with a 24"x88" inch tall linen cabinet, a 24" sink cabinet (hubs won that battle) and a 12" pull out cabinet to hold our detergents etc. Plus it is all that would fit.

The only 'hiccup' was that the venting for the dryer wasn't put as far back as it could have gone, which means that to fit all of the cabinets in (we'd already purchased and put them together), the washer/dryer has to be a bit farther into the room than I would like. Ah well. It's a laundry room, right?

We did buy one of those tall panels that should cover most of that up so hopefully it won't be such an eyesore once the room is complete.

Here are a few pics from the build:

The floor, pre-grout:


Drywall up:


Once the cabinets are finalized, we need to find a countertop for in there. Ideally, I'd love to find a solid surface or a stone countertop since the space is so small (36" with a huge hole for the sink) but I am hoping to find an 'end' or something cheap-o. Do you have any suggestions on where to look? The counter is what is going to hold up the rest of the bathroom because we don't want to call the plumber back until everything is ready to install, including the laundry room sink.

Worst case scenario - we'll get a wood countertop from Ikea and just DIY the installation but that isn't my first choice. I'd love any suggestions you may have!
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'd Like to Introduce You to...

my FINISHED BASEMENT!

First up, Readers, meet Karl.



Karl, meet Readers :-)

Karl was way easier to put together than we expected:

and no fights were had :-) The hardest part was putting the cushions in their covers.

I haven't had much time to put the basement totally together for a proper reveal (I'm SO not that girl haha) but I did promise a photo of Karl and even a stacked book or two:


The MASSIVE tv sitting on Ikea "Torsby" sideboards:

Yes, it is so big that the Torsby is bending a bit in the middle. Hubs is going to put the tv on the wall so that the 'sway' isn't permanent :-)

It is really hard to take a pic of the wallpaper without a reflective ring - the paper isn't a foil paper but it may as well be!

So there you have it. You've met Karl and have absolute proof that we finished wallpapering the wall and didn't give up after three strips. We have a little more 'decor' stuff planned for down there but for the time being, it is nice having a room in the house that is clean and not filled with bathroom/construction junk.


We also followed someone's (very smart) advice and finished the job off with a glass of wine. Well worth it, don't you think? A little dusty, a lot tired, and very happy that the job is DONE.


So that, my friends is THAT. The END of the basement reno :-) Thank you for sticking with me through this long process. Your encouragement to hold out for perfection (ahem, the bathroom tile) and to do everything in the right order definitely paid off and kept me focused and on track.

Sources:

TV Stand/Storage: Ikea "Torsby" (x2)
Couch: Ikea "Karlstad" corner couch with the dark grey Sivik cover
Carpet: Mid-level berber from Alexanian in "Sebastian's Beige"  with upgraded underpadding (highly recommend)
Wallpaper: Raymond Waites Resort Collection (link) sourced and purchased from Home Depot
Patience to Wait this Long: Deep, down in my innards.

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