29 September 2015

Phase 1 office reveal

Now, I'm going to preface this post by saying: the office is one of the plainest rooms in our home. It's Justin's space, and he could not care less about decoration in there. But, that doesn't mean I couldn't inject a bit of life into an otherwise beige box. It's the first room in the house that feels somewhat pulled together, and for that, I am very grateful.

Here's where we started:

Office before

Office before

Not great. Very blue. Up close, the walls were...not pleasant. This had been a nursery for the previous owners, and I prefer not to think about what was on there. They were also in terrible condition - nails and screws and holes and peeling paint galore. So, step 1 was paint the place. It's Para Lifestyles Comfortable Chinoise. It's the paint we used in our last house, which means this little update was a freebie. 

Remember, we're leaving the trim and doors as-is for now since we'll be replacing them along with the rest of the trim and doors in the house within a couple of years. It's not cute, but I'm not wasting my time temporarily fixing it. Painting baseboards against carpet = the worst. If you're wondering about the too-short curtains in the progress photo above, I've already addressed that little oops

Once it was painted, the fun could begin. I was working with what we already had. We didn't buy any new furniture (with the exception of the hamper), which meant sticking with the black, white, and light wood we had in our old office. I tried to use blues here and there to add colour without competing with the trim. 

These are some of my favourite things in the room:

The hat belonged to Justin's grandfather and was given to us by his mom a couple of years ago. The blue beer bottle is from a brewery we visited on our honeymoon - QidiVidi

This tape measure was gifted to Justin from one of my uncles. It belonged to his father-in-law, and I think it's super cool (Justin just thinks it's practical). 

I hung a picture of each of our pets when they were babies above the dresser. This may be my favourite detail of all, since I see it every time I walk past the room. 

I am still working on the curtain situation. I don't love these black ones: they're flimsy and I think they look cheap. I bought some great blue and white patterned canvas on sale on the weekend, but while I was sewing the machine started making the worst noise, so I've had to take it in for service (womp womp). 

Overall, I am really loving this room right now. It looks a bit empty in photographs, but in person, it's a really comfortable work space which is really all we can ask for. 

24 September 2015

Progress on the knee wall

After a week of having a wobbly piece of drywall hanging in space, Justin got it framed up this weekend and it's SUPER sturdy.

You may recall, we left off here:

Then Justin did this:

It's just standard framing, and wasn't super sturdy at this point despite being well attached to the floor. So, Justin did this: 

And what a difference it made! It's just a 1/2" thick sheet of plywood that's attached to the framing with construction adhesive and screws. It prevents the wall from bending at all which decreases the wobble. He screwed the drywall back onto the other side and called it good-for-now. 

The next step will of course be drywall, trim, and paint. It was really important for us to get this wall as sturdy as possible because the handrail for the stairs attaches to it on the other side. Even though it's far from finished, it feels a heck of a lot better! I think the plywood may even be an improvement over the blue walls and trim we started with...

20 September 2015

When you assume...

Nothing good happens when you assume. Nothing. Which is precisely why I'm writing this post right now, instead of a pretty, shiny, office reveal post.

With the house, we inherited a few window coverings. Mostly only on the front windows, and pretty much nothing that was actually our style. The living room had 4 fairly neutral grey curtains, that, while nice, just don't suit what we plan for that room and don't match our furniture.

In a moment of genius, I decided to move 2 of them to the office once it was painted. It made sense: the colour scheme in there is incredibly neutral and they're nice curtains that cost us $0 - what a win! Ya, no. See, here's the assumption: 84" curtains fit in the living room, and therefore, they would fit all the other windows. They do not. Exhibit A:

And Exhibit B:

I have since been able to solve the problem with curtains I like even less, but I still really love how the room is coming together (despite the blue trim...I KNOW) and I can't wait to show you!

16 September 2015

Why we ditched cable and how we feel about it 3 months later

Minimalists we are not. Frugal, mindful of how we spend our resources, and keenly aware of what we consume, yes. So, when we started considering life in our new home and planning the move, we took a hard look at some of the "extras" we'd had in our old house. Cable television came out on top as something we really didn't need, or really even want. We cancelled it when we called to change our address with our TV and internet service provider, and instantly, it was gone. Just like that.

We'd planned for this. We subscribed to Netflix a few months before, and ramped up our internet service at the same time. We also have Shomi since our internet is with Rogers.

In the 3+ months since our TV went dark, so to speak, we really haven't missed it. Sometimes I miss the 6 o'clock news that I used to listen to while I made dinner, but that's really it. Netflix has more than enough to keep us entertained, and in case it's not enough, we can flip over to Shomi. A couple of months ago we bought an Apple TV to make streaming easier (previously we were using our old Playstation), and it comes with some of its own content as well. It's super easy to use, and for $89 I highly recommend it! We were not watching enough TV to justify the $70/month cable was eating up. Ditching it was the right choice for us. We don't want staring at the tube to be a mainstay in our lives, which is also why our TV will probably always be tucked in the corner rather than prominently hung on the wall.

For what it's worth, we also don't have a home phone. Aside from internet, we don't have in-home services at all and we don't want them.

This is our view now. This is what we gaze at out our front window every morning and where we spend our time. It's so much better than TV.

15 September 2015

Building in a new knee wall

This weekend, we got started on our first major (?) project in the blue house: rebuilding the knee wall that separates the entry way and living room at the top of the stairs. This poor-quality photo shows the wall I mean:

Knee wall

It’s wobbly and covered in blue trim with peeling paint. Initially, we were just going to fix it, paint it, and call it a day. BUT, then we thought we could do built-ins here and we decided we might as well just replace it instead. We've since changed our minds, kind of, and now we're just going to rebuild the wall entirely, trim it out to match what we'll eventually do throughout the house, and probably build-in a TV stand on the left. We considered replacing it with a railing to open things up, but I didn't want to see the TV through the railing the minute you walked through the door.

Partially ripped apart wall

This photo sort of shows what was keeping this wall stable: a LOT of nails. I'm sure it was solid when it was first built, but over time, things loosened up - a lot - which was sort of problematic since the hand railing for the stairs attaches to this wall. 

Justin taking things apart

I wish I had a beautiful after photo for you, but I don't. This is real life, which means that sometimes things don't happen quite the way we imagine. In this case, quite truthfully, the weather just sucked and we weren't motivated enough. The cold I seem to have come down with didn't help either.

The pulled apart wall

BUT, it's still progress! Do you have any idea how exciting it was to take the first bit of drywall OUT of this house! Ah-mazing! Things are starting to happen. Very, very slowly. 

2 September 2015

World, meet Nemo

Our family has expanded. On Friday, we picked up our newest member: Nemo.

Nemo, our puppy.

We love this little guy. Nemo is a Pugapoo and weighs all of a few pounds right now. He was born on the same day we closed on our new house, which somehow seems really perfect. It's SO fun watching him learn everyday. We haven't even had him a week, and already he's completely different from the pup we picked up. He's getting so big and strong and smart! 

Nemo, our puppy.

The cats are...so/so on the whole thing. Jelly isn't too sure what to think and has spent a lot of time in the basement avoiding him, but she's starting to get braver and comes upstairs again. Peanut likes to watch him and plays "the floor is lava" in order to avoid him when she wants to. Other times, she meows so he chases her. I think it's a classic cat-dog relationship, and I hope Jelly will get there too. 

Here's to many new adventures and experiences with our new little buddy!