Monday, July 26, 2010

Pregnant, with power tools

I've been trying to figure out how to get some book storage into my older daughter's new big-girl room, with limited success. It's a slightly awkward layout, with either a doorway or a window or a bump-out on every single wall, in a room that's not particularly large to begin with. Well, lo and behold, I came across the perfect book display at Pottery Barn:

Unfortunately, I fell in love only to discover that there's no way I can get my hands on one of these beauties. They're only available online through the US website, and the Canadian stores can't order one in for me. Booooo.

So, on to my next brilliant idea: let's make one! I searched online for inspiration and found a ton of pictures on ohdeedoh . . .

~ Image courtesy of

~ Image courtesy of Julie, owner of

~ Image courtesy of Helena Schaeder Söderberg, as viewed on

So I sat down and did some sketching, then off to the lumber section of Home Depot I went, stepdad in tow for both expertise and heavy labour. We ended up choosing pre-primed pine for the frame and shelves for the books to sit on, and then some hand-jointed pine and hardwood dowelling for the finishing details. All in all, cost was about $45 for all the materials, so I saved more than half the cost of the Pottery Barn original.

Now comes the fun part. Picture a heavily pregnant woman trying to measure and cut lumber squished onto the front porch because it's pouring rain. Not pretty. So stepdad stepped in and whizzed through all the cuts in about a half hour!

We managed to assemble about 75% of the pieces on Saturday afternoon, and we're planning to finish tonight, followed by puttying the cracks and countersunk holes. Then a quick sand, some White Cloud paint to match the trim in Sophie's room, and we'll be ready to hang!

Stay tuned for pics of my finished product . . . hopefully by this weekend!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Say what!?!

After nearly 3 months, tons of broken promises, and little communication, our contractor quit. His own self-prescribed "drop dead" date of the end of this week wasn't going to happen, and when we asked why/ how much longer it would take, he said:

"I don't have the inclination to deal with this, maybe in the next lifetime. I'll be by tomorrow to pick up my tools", and he hung up the phone.

Seriously?? Who does this?

Anyhoo, we're now scrambling to finalize with a new contractor, and madly hoping that this project will be done in time to get ready for our new arrival. Ugh. I so don't need this stress right now. Bottom line for you readers is that we won't have any pics for a while. Unless, of course, you'd like me to share the pictures I took to document the work our old contractor left uncompleted. I've got lots of those . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Has it really been months since I posted?

Yes, apparently it has. What can I say? Life has been busy.

Most of my attention has been focused on a personal project: I'm pregnant with our second daughter. A bit of a surprise early in the year, but hubby and I are very excited about this latest addition, and can't wait to welcome her in the late summer.

Of course, with the baby being construction project #1 in the last few months, we've still managed to squeeze in a few changes around our home! We've had a moderately-sized reno going on in our home for the past 12 weeks. Yes, that's right, 12. BRUTAL. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and our contractor assures us he'll be out of our hair by the end of next week. I'll believe it when I see it.

We're 90% finished our main (read: only) bath rebuild, and it's looking great. I'm very happy with the choices we made on materials, and the layout change makes the room feel much more spacious. Still not a huge bath by any means, but functional. Pics to come, once we get the finishing touches completed! We also ended up taking down our vestibule on the main floor, and pushed the entryway wall out to line up with the bulhead we have running front to back in our living space. It makes a huge difference when you first walk in, and we're pleased with the effect.

I promise to do better, to anyone who's still out there reading, but I'll leave you with a wee pic of project #1 in the meantime. Wave hello to the world, baby girl!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let the buying BEGIN!

So fulfilling my dreams of a new master bath may be closer than I thought! I've started planning a new and improved layout, and I think we can do some small changes that will have major impact. Simply switching the toilet and sink locations will dramatically increase our useable space, and allow for a much longer countertop.

I've got a couple of inspiration pics to share, and funny enough the first one above shows almost exactly my idea for cabinetry. Since we don't have a linen closet, and storage space is at a premium, I really want a high tower to store our towels and various bathroom accoutrements.

This bathroom is divine! Love the split sinks with their own mirrors, and the carrera counter that runs the whole way along. I also really like the ledge under the mirrored cabinets, for extra storage space. Can you tell I'm agonized by my teeny-tiny bathroom?

Because of the tight fit for our family, I'm going to, ahem . . . borrow . . . some space from the back bedroom. Essentially, I'm stealing the closet in that room and claiming it for the bathroom. I figure the bedroom is large enough to build another small storage space somewhere else eventually, and I really could use the square footage in our bathroom.

Hello, demolition!

I've started purchasing some materials and fixtures, as I find things we like that are on sale. Ideally, if I can eat up a large portion of the materials budget in the next six months, we might find the renovation/ labour part more palettable in the early spring or summer.

Here are my finds so far , in no particular order:

the Leland faucet by Delta. Good brand name, quality product (I hope), and an amazing steal online from Home Depot.

No matching shower set, but I'm confident I'll find something that works well and that I'll probably like even better than the matchy-matchy look I'd get from buying the same collection.
This is the tub I'm eyeing. It's from Sears, of all places, but a fellow renovator pointed me in this direction for some other bathroom items, and I spied this beauty.

I normally don't like built-in bath tubs with aprons, as they have all this swirly stuff on the side, but this one is clean-lined and squared-off, and I really like the effect. We also have some pretty serious space limitations, and having a stand-alone is not going to be an option.

Which leads me to my next purchase: a curved shower curtain rod.

We had one of these in our teeny seaside cabin this past summer when we went out east for a family vacation, and it did wonders to make the otherwise squishy bath area feel just a little bit more airy and spacious.

Yes, I've got high hopes, but for less than $40, I think it's worth a try!

I've also been checking out some lighting options, and I've found this one (also at Sears) that I think I like. I'm debating with myself whether it's best to put one bar over the top of the mirror, or do two sconces. In terms of the look, I think I like the sconces better, but in terms of function and practicality, I'm not sure that will be enough wattage for the master bath. Anyone have any tips to help make this decision?