Take a look at what I found on Kijiji last week!

And it has a pull-out desk top!
It makes a great place to display some of my treasures:

 And a great place to blog!

And here’s the best part; it only cost $25!! 

BEST KIJIJI SCORE EVER!!! 

In an effort to fool people who knock on my front door into thinking that we have a lovely home, I’ve decided to focus my renovation efforts on the front entrance hall. Because this is embarrassing:




During the first 10 days we owned the house, with the help of our family, we managed to tear out most of the stuff we hated, refinish the hardwood floors, repair/replace drywall and paint. 

Here’s one of the only shots of my brother drywalling the front entrance.  My entire family is afraid of ending up on my blog, so they all freaked out when they saw me coming with the camera.  I assured them that I wouldn’t use any of the pictures of them that I took. I’m smiling evilly right now.

Mike (aka Husband of The Year) meticulously sanded, stained, and sealed our original hardwood floors to this beautiful, rich, dark finish.  
Martha and I painted the walls Bedford Gray.

I purchased this little cabinet from Value Village for $12.99.

I love the woven veneer on the front.

I added a little of this:
And these…..

Then I took this lamp that I had in my basement,

and this cast iron frame that I bought from an antique shop for $25:
and this little dish from Goodwill for 25 cents:
and I added lots of elbow grease, spray paint and urethane, and ended up with this:
I still need to buy/make some sort of print with a witty/insightful/hilarious quote for the frame.
I also bought this hook for Lola’s leash from Petsmart:

Behind this door I found…..
The original 100 year old French doors that lead off of the front entrance!
Here’s a shot of how dirty and gross they were when I first brought them upstairs.  Notice the beautiful etching around the edges of the glass:

And here they are now, as seen from the front entrance hall:
The glass panels on either side of the French doors appeared to be patterned when we took possession of the house, and I fully intended to remove them. My mom discovered that they were just covered with an adhesive textured vinyl, and were beautiful glass panels with etched edges underneath!  
Here’s the view from the office into the front entrance, you know, because I’m anal retentive:
I made the coat racks that you can see on the wall with a 10′ length of baseboard trim, purchased from my local ReStore for $22, and some hooks that I purchased from Home Depot.
Currently I’m working on stripping and sanding the trim and stairs,
and making a D.I.Y. light fixture, because this just isn’t cutting it:

I’m thinking of numbering the stairs en français, like so, except with black treads:
(via)
But because I have Multiple Personality Disorder, I also like these:
(via)
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(via)
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(via)
 But until I decide, at least the front entrance looks better than it did!
We found the original trim that is supposed to be flanking the door in the shed, so we’ll be reinstalling that soon.  All of the trim will be painted white, if I ever finish stripping and sanding it all.  We’ve already bought an antique door to replace the above monstrosity with, and the window above the door is being replaced as well.  Eventually.
Well, that’s enough blog-crastination for one day.  I’m off to make things, paint things, sew stuff, and just be all-together crafty. 😀

Well, if you’re stopping by today for the sole purpose of seeing whether or not the tour of the upstairs could possibly be worse than the tour of the downstairs, you’re in luck!

Ok, so here we go, up the green shag carpeted stairs.  If you value the health of your feet, you will keep your shoes on.  You really have no idea.  I wish I had a close-up shot of the carpet so you could really get a feel for just how disgusting they were!

At the top of the stairs is the big beautiful landing.  This is one of my favourite spots in the house.
This floor grate is to allow the hot air to rise from the main floor. You can twist it to close the vent.  
Ok, so trying to see the cup as half full here….. the toilet, sink, tub, and tile are all new.  That means that we’re avoiding contact with bathroom facilities that have been used by disgusting frat boys, and therefore minimizing the likelihood of contracting any communicable diseases.  However, (and this is a big however) it is cheaply done, and altogether ugly and horrible.  
This window is nice, though.  The bottom half is frosted to protect our 60-something neighbour from having a heart attack.
My first thought when I saw this strange built-in was that it makes me kind of wish I still had a baby in diapers, because it sure would’ve been cool to have a huge change table in the bathroom!  On the other hand, I changed diapers for about 13 years straight, so I think I can live with using this cabinet for some other purpose.
This is Hayden’s room, and the smallest bedroom, at 9’6″ by 9′ 1″.  
I thought we’d never hear the end of it.  
I threatened to leave her room “as is” (and urethane over the chalk drawing of the Zig Zag man so that it could not be erased) if she didn’t stop complaining about how unfair it is that she gets the smallest room.  The choice was between having her own small room, or sharing a larger room with her 6 year old sister.  Not much of a decision!  
This is Abigail and Isabella’s room.  It’s 14′ by 9′ 6″.  When I first saw the upstairs windows, I figured I’d have to put bars on them to keep Isabella from pushing on the screens and falling out.  But then I realized that the screens cover the entire window, and the top portion of the window opens completely, so the bottom portion can remain closed.  
This is our room, which measures 15′ by 9′.  The real estate agent (who we later found out was also a part owner of this house) tried to tell us that the carpet was new.  Mike laughed and said, “Really? How many years ago was that?!”  Seriously, SO DIRTY!!
Now up the attic stairs, which are narrow and dangerous, but not nearly as much as the railing that Mr. Previous Owner built.  With no newel posts, the entire thing sways back and forth like a sheet drying on the line!  Stick to being a slimy real estate agent, dude, because you’re no carpenter!
In case you can’t tell what this shot is, it’s the two attic bedroom doors opened into the hallway.  Behind the doors is quite a large space (which I know, you can’t tell from this picture).  We tossed ideas back and forth about what this area could be used for, when suddenly it hit me; my office!  I always have to sew at the kitchen table, and blog in the living room, so this way I’ll have my own little space that’s out of everyones way.  And more importantly, everyone else will be out of my way!  
This is Ewan’s room, which is 15′ by 11′.  Inside his bedroom closet a lot of the students have signed their names, the dates that they lived in the house, and some messages.  I’m wrestling with whether or not we should cover the messages.  On one hand, it’s kind of a neat little bit of the house’s history.  On the other hand, messages like, “Smoke as much weed as you can, as often as you can,” are not really appropriate for a 9 year old. 😀

Across the hall is Liam’s room.  It’s also 15′ by 11′.  The carpeting upstairs was like what you’d find in a boat; like thick felt.  Also, every inch of it was covered with stains…. don’t even want to think about what they might have been from. 
Not sure why Liam brought his paint ball gun when he toured the house for the first time, but it reminds me of an entertaining story that our new neighbour told us about the house.  Apparently before the last group of students were evicted, they had a huge paint ball fight INSIDE the house.  They also told us that they threw a huge party with over 300 people at it last New Years Eve, which the cops broke up. Needless to say, they are thrilled that a family has finally moved in.  
The outside of the house needs just as much love as the inside, which hopefully we’ll begin to show it this Spring.  We plan to re-build the rotten front veranda, re-seed the lawn, lay a flag stone walk, and plant a garden.  Hopefully the following Summer we’ll paint the brick, install window boxes and replace the siding at the top with something a little more classic.

Here’s the back of the house.  The back porch is also rotting, and needs to be re-done, though what we’re actually planning to do is build on a small addition, which will then house Mike’s office (freeing up the dining room), and possibly a small mud room.  For now, I think ripping off the chip board “walls” and re-supporting the sagging post on the left of the picture will help us hold off until we can afford the addition.

Maybe some new steps as well.  Careful, midget!

I think I’ve been held captive by a serial killer in this shed in a nightmare before.  It was FILLED with garbage!  My parents gave us a door that they weren’t using, and I’m planning on giving the entire shed a new coat of paint and maybe some cute window boxes for the little windows. 

So there you have it.  Now you know what we’re dealing with.  Maybe some people would look at this place as no big deal to fix up.  Those people are not perfectionists like myself.  I don’t settle for less than what I want, and I would rather do something right and have it take a really long time to complete, rather than rush and not be satisfied with the results.  
Therefore, I think it’s only fair to inform you that this is going to be a long, long, LONG journey, which I can only hope will be worth it in the end.  I hope you’ll all visit often and share it with us!

I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging for a while now, but I have been extremely busy working on our new home!  

(Sorry honey…. this would’ve been a lot easier 15 years and 25 lbs ago!)

The initial list seems to be growing by the day, and while we’ve been making progress, we don’t feel as if we’re accomplishing much. We have the enthusiasm, now if only we had an endless supply of time and money to accompany it, we’d be all set to go!  


So let me start by showing you what we saw on our main and basement floors on February 18th when we got our keys, and why we almost got back into our car and drove off into the sunset.

 You’ll understand when you see the pictures!  

 Inside the front door you’ll find some terrible patterned frosted glass panel windows, and of course, a city bus map.  No house is complete without a city bus map taped to the wall!

For some reason I didn’t take a picture of the staircase from the bottom, but here’s one looking down it.  And  just in case you’re thinking that the wainscoting is lovely, let me clear that up for you.  It’s plastic exterior siding.  And it’s also on the ceiling in the entry, upstairs hallway, and pantry.   Not even kidding.   
Behold, the antique railing and lovely green shag carpet:
To the right of the front door, is Mike’s office (a.k.a. our future dining room).  Once upon a time, there were French doors here.




And here’s the view from the office, into the main entrance:



The living room with it’s huge antique cold air return vent cover, and an old electric fireplace destined for a new home:




The kitchen, with it’s beautiful plywood cupboards, laminate floors, wood paneling and multiple appliances, all of which do not function properly:






Check out the sexy gold-flecked laminate counter tops!  They come complete with stains, scratches, gouges, and even dry-wall screws through the top to help to hold the peeling laminate on!




This house has been a student rental for the past 20 years, and apparently, one of the students’ favourite pastimes was having knife-throwing competitions….. using the cupboard doors as their target.  Not even kidding.




Here’s the adjacent pantry, which is also the walk-through to the basement.  This is the view from the kitchen.  This window doesn’t look big in the picture, but it’s actually 6′ tall, including the casing!  The windows are one of the best features of the house.  They are all new, and all 6′ tall!




View of pantry from basement stairs.  Note the original built-in pantry on the right, complete with original hardware:






The downstairs bathroom, which will eventually be losing it’s shower and becoming a powder room.  I mean, seriously, who wants to shower in an itty-bitty bathroom, and then walk out into the kitchen, and traipse through the entire house in a towel?!  




Now cue the horror movie soundtrack, and I’ll take you down to the basement….. 

Watch your step on the broken, twisted, rickety staircase….please avoid stair # 5 altogether, unless you weigh under 60 lbs.


Wow, 2 broken dryers and a broken washing machine to go with the 2 broken fridges and broken stove you sold us with the house?! You are just too generous Mr. Previous Owner!  The only thing that made this better was when  I discovered that both of the dryers were stuffed with hockey skates, a smelly old tarp, and a collection of nasty smelling clothes.  Free lacy panties?!  SWEET!  Anything else you’d like to leave behind, kind sir?


A broken television too?!  What is this, my birthday?!


The only good thing Mr. Previous Owner left behind was this original 5 panel door to the attic, and what was behind it.  But you’ll have to visit back to find out what I found!

So that’s the big tour of the basement and main floor of our new home.  What the photos may or may not depict to you, the reader, is the amount of damage done by the students; the poorly repaired walls, worn floors, chipped trim with 100 years of built up paint, and numerous “fancy upgrades” (ie siding for wainscoting, a shower off the kitchen, and cheap baseboard molding used as crown molding, to name but a few) that will only take us a lot of time and money to put right.
But we’re in it for the long haul, and one way or the other, this house will someday be beautiful again.  Because one thing has been decided.
We are NEVER, EVER moving again.  EVER.  Mark my words, I will be taken out of here in a body bag.
With those cheerful words, have a great weekend, and check back on Monday for the tour of our second and third storeys!

Today might quite possibly be my best Friday ever!  My littlest boy (Ewan) turns 9 today AND we get the keys (finally) to our new home! We have a tradition in our family that the birthday boy or girl can go to school if they choose, but have the option of staying home with Mike and I if they want to.  And who’s kidding who… no one has ever opted to go to school on their birthday!  Besides taking Ewan over to see the new house, we’ll be spending the day doing whatever he feels like doing.  I predict that today’s activities will include a trip to McDonald’s, Netflix, and Leggo.

So while I’m helping Ewan to build the Harry Potter Leggo castle, check out some of the posts that I enjoyed this week:


These mustache pops are so adorable, I might just send them to school for some other random classroom celebration!




Anne Marie of 10 Rooms explores photographer Anita Behrendt’s colourful photographs of Children’s rooms




I wish that I could talk my husband into marrying me again so that I could copy these fantastic wedding invitations!




Check out the absolutely beautiful bedroom makeover that designer Danielle Oakey completed for her daughter, Emory!




Holly Mathis blogs about some beautiful pillows




Visit House Tweaking for inspirational photos and DIY ideas




Aubrey & Lindsay blog about their favourite booth at the Interior Design Show




Want to make a diamond tufted headboard?  Read on.




Tart House.  One of my new daily reads.  




These floors! I could die happy if I had these floors in my house!




And also these floors, which I’ve been thinking of for our bathroom for quite a while now, and am therefore not a copycat.




I don’t need Valentine’s Day as an excuse to try this recipe for chocolate peanut butter cups!




What a transformation!!  I wish my kitchen looked like this!



Hope everyone has a great weekend!
See you on Monday!

Lola, our new puppy is growing like a weed!  She now weighs a whopping 40 lbs, and is only 5 months old!  Since we brought Lola home, a strange thing has happened to me.  

I’ve turned into “The Crazy Dog Lady”.

Every time I see my sweet puppy’s face I melt into a gooey puddle of love.  When I’m away from her, I can’t wait to get home to see her.  In the evening, I cuddle on the sofa with her while I watch T.V.  When I’m out, I look for little treats and gifts I can bring home for her.  In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m treating my dog like I used to treat my husband when he was new.  I should probably do something about that. 
Anyway, recently I began looking for some new food dishes for Lola.  All of our local pet shops had the standard collection of boring bowls.  You know, the pink ones that say “princess”, the coloured plastic ones, and the stainless utility variety.  None of these bowls particularly appealed to me.  Was it too much to ask for a dog dish that would fit in with my home’s decor?
Apparently not… I was just looking in the wrong places.  A trip to “THE BIG CITY” turned up these options…

……but, I’m cheap.  And both of these options would cost me about $40. An internet search turned up even more  options, though the price tags reflected the increase in style.


What was a cheap, dog obsessed woman to do?  Finally, while I was walking through my local Zeller’s store (which is like Kmart, only crappier) I found my solution!  Open stock serving dishes!  

These beauties are big enough to hold a huge amount of food, so I won’t need to buy bigger ones once Lola is full-sized.  They cost a grand total of $6 each, and they look great in my kitchen.

Lola approves.

And just for giggles, here’s a shot of Lola doing our version of “shake a paw”.  We’ve taught Lola to “fist-bump” when we say, “Props.”  
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go snuggle my widdle doggie woggie. 😀

I’m guest hosting the Follow Me Back Tuesday blog hop today, so click on the pic below and link up your blog!


Please leave me a comment with a link to your blog, and I’ll follow you back!

BWS tips button

I have been procrastinating about making a to-do list for the house since we bought it, and figured that with only three days left until we get the keys, I had better start doing some planning! We only spent a short amount of time walking through the house before we purchased it, so I’m sure this list is going to grow once we get into the house and take a second look.

TO DO

KITCHEN
Short Term:

  • paint inside of cabinets
  • face cabinets with wood to make them look like Shaker style cabinets
  • paint outside of cabinets
  • replace cabinet hardware
  • rip out drop ceiling and replace with drywall
  • rip out wood paneling and replace with drywall
  • paint walls
  • replace lighting
  • paint trim
  • paint back door
  • hang curtains

Long Term:

  • replace cabinetry
  • replace counter tops
  • install wall of open pantry shelving
  • add island to kitchen
  • purchase new appliances
  • replace flooring
SMALL ROOM LEADING TO BASEMENT
  • remove wallpaper
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • paint original pantry cabinets
  • replace lighting
  • install roman blind
  • replace flooring

LIVING ROOM

  • re-finish hardwood floors
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • re-finish ceiling

OFFICE

  • re-finish hardwood floors
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • re-finish ceiling

POWDER ROOM

  • rip out stand-up shower
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • hang roman blind
  • replace flooring
  • install a new vanity and mirror

FRONT ENTRANCE HALLWAY

  • rip out wainscoting and fascia on ceiling
  • drywall work
  • re-finish hardwood floors
  • remove carpet from stairs
  • re-finish stairs / railings
  • paint walls
  • paint ceiling
  • paint trim

BATHROOM
Short term:

  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • paint existing vanity / shelving
  • make / hang shelves
  • hang roman blind
  • install new light fixture
  • install new mirror
Long term:
  • re-tile floor
  • re-tile shower stall
  • plumbing work (hiding exposed pipes inside wall)
  • new vanity
  • new tub

MASTER BEDROOM
Short term:

  • tear out carpet
  • sand floor
  • paint floor
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
Long term:
  • tear out ceiling / drywall / paint
  • install new hardwood floors 

HAYDEN’S ROOM
Short term:

  • tear out carpet
  • sand floor / paint
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • hang wallpaper
Long term:
  • tear out ceiling / drywall / paint
  • install new hardwood floors
  • create built-in desk

ABIGAIL & ISABELLA’S ROOM
Short term:

  • rip out carpet
  • sand floor / paint
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • wallpaper
Long term:
  • rip out ceiling / drywall / paint
  • replace hardwood floor

EWAN’S ROOM
Short term:

  • drywall work
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • rip out carpet
  • lay sub floor
  • install closet door
  • paint sub floor
Long Term:
  • replace hardwood floor
  • install new sky light OR build dormer window

LIAM’S ROOM
Short Term:

  • drywall work
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • rip out carpet
  • lay new sub floor
  • paint sub floor
Long Term:
  • replace hardwood floor
  • install new sky light OR build dormer window
ATTIC HALLWAY
  • rip out carpet
  • lay new sub floor
  • paint sub floor
  • replace railing
  • paint ceiling
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • replace hardwood floor
  • paint stairs
  • hang new hand rail

BASEMENT / LAUNDRY ROOM
Short Term:

  • frame / drywall / paint laundry area
  • build storage unit to hold laundry baskets
  • new flooring
  • replace staircase
Long Term:
  • replace furnace
  • dig basement out a few more feet / lay new concrete floor
  • frame / drywall / paint basement
  • create work / office area for myself AND rec room / guest room for kids
  • install flooring

OUTSIDE OF HOUSE
Short Term:

  • replace front porch
  • seal driveway 
  • install stone walkway
  • plant garden
  • replace grass
  • install new front door
  • re-finish new front door
  • have antique locks re-keyed
  • replace fence
  • install new door on shed
  • clean out shed
Long Term:
  • paint brick
  • paint trim
  • install shutters
  • replace shingles 
  • install window boxes
  • paint shed & re-shingle
ADDITION 
  • built to house office and a mudroom which will free up the dining room, and the kitchen

OH MY GOD.  WHAT HAVE WE GOTTEN OURSELVES INTO?! 

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go breathe into a paper bag now.

Only four days left until we take possession of our new home!  
I feel as though I’ve been packing non-stop for the last 2 months!  On top of packing, I’ve been planning a total re-design of the entire house, and have been putting lots of mileage on the new sewing machine.  
I’ve missed blogging so much, and cannot wait to be into the new house and working on design projects again!  Here’s a little sneak peek of what I have in mind for the living room, office, and front entry hallway:

The living room is going to get a fresh new look with Martha Stewart’s Gabardine on the walls, Popcorn on the trim, and dark hardwood floors.  The mid-century modern chair that I found on the side of the road last summer and upholstered in Houndstooth will get a fresh coat of green paint.  An existing side table will get a coat of  bright yellow paint, and my handy hubby and I will attempt to diy a coffee table.  A new light-coloured cow hide rug, and punchy throw pillows complete the look:

Living Room

Mike’s office, which opens into the living room and front entry hall will get a fresh coat of Martha’s Nimbus Cloud on the walls, and (finger’s crossed) a cowhide as close as possible to the one in the living room will be laid on the freshly stained hardwood.  The arm chair will get new cream-coloured upholstery, and there will be DIY projects galore:
Office

The front entry hallway will get a coat of Martha Stewart’s Bedford Gray, with the painted wallpaper technique featured on the blog Jones Design Company. A yet-to-be found dresser will get a coat of bright red paint, artwork will be hung, Ikea will be visited, and even more DIY projects will be undertaken:
Front Entrance Hall

Stay tuned for more Russell Manor mood boards!