Completed projects:

roof, kitchen, master bedroom, main bathroom (sans shower tile), fireplace, hardwood flooring, windows, office, front entry, stairway

Ongoing projects:

shower surround, dapping/painting woodwork, ensuite vanity/lights/mirror, painting outdoor trim, finishing front entry tile work, interior door painting and hardware, decorating

Monday, December 29, 2008

The kitchen island is magnificent!

This is what I got myself for Christmas. 4 gorgeous stools I found at Sandy's Furniture 2 years ago. About twice a year I'd go see if they still had them and I still liked them and if they were on sale. Yes each time! So once my island top was done, it was time to run and get my stools!

This is the coolest island topper ever. Fabricated by Dan, it's made out of metal and supported on the metal legs. The works can simply be lifted off if desired. I designed it so you could sit at both ends of it.

We do everything at this thing! So my stools are being put to the best use ever! All Christmas it had Lego, boardgames and food on it. FUN!

The metal is unique to the fact that you can't destroy, burn, wreck it. I was using an exacto blade right on it the other day, proving what a workhorse this thing is! It is the perfect addition to our artsy, productive, busy household. If desired, you can grind the top for a complete stainless look. I like the natural mottled black and stainless myself.

Ta da! We so enjoyed Christmas this year in our lovely upstairs!

Next... Cody is now at his Dad's so it's time to pull a 24/7 and work on the entryway over the next couple days. Woodwork stain for stair components is on backorder until the first week in Jan, so painting the entryway it shall be! Colour blocking with taupe and sage green. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My 2008 Lesson

I was asked on another bb on the net what I learned in 2008. This was my reply.


This year has been about allowing others to help me. My extreme reno project started in April and is still going on but we can now see the end.

I was in a very dark place emotionally in April. My house was trumping me. Things were going wrong faster than I could fix them. I didn't have the funds to make my place attractive. I spent all I had fixing. I wasn't keeping up. My moral was on its way down.

Today, with the house safer and attractive, I feel so different. In control of my situation would put it best. Rather than buried.

But I recieved so much more than a sound house. I learned to accept and say thank-you. I learned not all favors come as a loan. I learned to allow more people into my life. I learned to allow folks to help me simply because they wanted to.

Giving is easy and I love doing it. Accepting is a massive thing to learn when you are tremendously independent, extremely sensitive and don't want to burden anyone. And maybe just a little stubborn as well...

I always saw allowing others to help was a sign of the givers being taken advantage of. I suppose that can be true and I know a few that fit that description. I disliked what I saw and fought to never go there. But for those with truely good hearts and intents, it's not like that. Now I get it.

My lesson for 2008? We are worth caring about. ALL of us. Let someone care about and help you if they desire. You'll benefit in ways you can't imagine.

And, God does answer prayer. Count on it.


So, what did you learn in 2008? I'd love you to share if you're up to it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

May your holiday season be as cozy and wonderful as this picture is. Happy holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas post

I'm feeling pretty grateful these days. If my budget was there, everyone on the team would be recieving lovely Christmas gifts. I feel frustrated that I can't do that. But I have been reminded a few times over, to simply enjoy what has transpired.

So I'm writing this Christmas post about all the things I am enjoying and appreciating.

Many of you may overlook certain things in your own home that I've listed. For me they are massive, and daily, I'm delighted with function as well as beauty around here!

We've had some very low temps outdoors for the last little while. I know for a fact these new windows are keeping this house toasty warm. What reminds me daily is when I walk past my front door void of weather stripping. (oops, forgot about it!) I dash past that breezy door and run towards the nearest window instead! I wouldn't have said that last winter! I adore these windows and smile when I glance at them daily. Have you thanked your windows today for doing such a fine job lately? And how about a round of applause for the many hands installing them? Ben, Vic, Jake, Micha, Ralph, Jeremy, Zach, Janette... I know I'm missing more but it's midnight. I'm doing better than I thought I would.

Folks, I have GOOD news! There IS hope for my baking and cooking after all! I've yet to burn one thing with my lovely new range! I now cook with 4 burners instead of 2! WOW! And gas top cooking, it is flat out fun! I love adjusting the heat according to what the flame looks like. It's my newest hobby and I'm hooked. And the oven, oh my. The convection feature is new to me and things come out so evenly! I love cookies that are white on the bottom and this oven cooperates! I'm thinking of Rod my gas guy, as well as Dan, Peter, Phoenix and Bec for lugging the appliances in the house. And for Dan picking them up to start with! Oy... the gratefulness goes waaaay back.

This one's for Cody. He is totally addicted to the ice/water feature. And I will admit, although I wanted that feature for myself as well, it was the ultimate choice for both of us. There wasn't anything wrong with the old fridge, and I happily gave it to a friend that was in need. Thanks Gord, for taking it off my hands, AND for towing my old dishwasher and stove to the dump for me! Vic and Pete got to figure this contraption out as well.

Not much time to play with this one as yet. But already I'm loving the location and size of it! The original arrived freight damaged so I just got the new one Saturday. And naturally Vic and Bonnie came Sunday to install it! It's awesomely much bigger than my $20 special that still sits on the other side of the house. Oh, to have a full size microwave IN the kitchen in a proper place?!? Priceless.

Island top
Ohohohohoh... it is everything I knew it would be! Over the holidays I'll shoot some new pics. But trust me, this island top made by Dan is outstandingly so serviceable and cool to look at! The metal top has slightly curvy ends in the front and back like a soft hourglass shape, and is supported by exposed metal legs. We live on this thing! Today it was laptop, meals, crafts, a game played with Cody while cooking, just, everything! Getting the right stools was so the ticket. That is my Christmas gift to me. It was hard sitting on one stool too high and one too low.

Thanks to Vic and Pete, I have my dishwasher back!! Oh how I've missed it! This thing is so quiet you barely know it's running. I love that!

Kitchen sink
Betcha most of you take your sinks for granted. After washing hunched over a bathtub (where the gears are the scalding free type so you can't get the water hot enough), I am swooning over this sink! And the coolest part are the grates inside. They just came with it but now I get it. I've put my dish drainer away. My sink will now do it. With the grates, you can put clean dishes on the other side, yet still dump nearby because the dishes aren't sitting in the muck. Brilliant! I also really love the big and little sinks. I use it differently for different needs all day long. It's like changing your mind a hundred times a day and it's ok! Loving the new tap too! Thanks Laurie at Splashes! She knew her stuff and was extremely helpful. And a massive appreciation extends to Vic, Pete, Paul and Ken for all this plumbing biz!

Oh what else have I been in love with lately... the floors! Oh man, the floors! Real floors underfoot! I am now spoiled! Cody lays on them. Just lays down because they're so nice! Ron, Ralph, Jake, Vic, Cody, Rich, Pete, (remember the trenches?) you are my flooring heros.

French doors
I love these crazy things! All summer I had them wide wide open! This winter they just allow so much light in. I love how you have such a nice wide width for moving stuff in and out. Just, love them! Thanks Magnum Windows, and my brilliant installers! (same as windows)

My kitchen dream windows!
Those triplets are no doubt what make this kitchen sing! I won't forget ya, Ben! I love the wide open view of the backyard they provide. I love the openess of working in front of them. They so work here!

This fireplace makes the house feel like a cozy log cabin. Yarrow Building Supplies, I'm just so enjoying this thing! Dan, Peter and Phoenix, the look is just something out of a magazine. I couldn't imagine this house feeling the same without it. Thanks for the smiles I continue to throw in it's direction daily!

Columbia Countertops, outstanding product AND install! Not only are they gorgeous, they are so so functional! I've lived with painted countertops for a very long time. (and even no countertops for awhile too if you wana get technical) I painted my old ones to hide the ugly and buy some time. What a treat to have the real deal finally in place!

Main bathroom
I'm still in dreamland that the bathroom was worked on. I love that room and everything in it. The deep bathtub, the pedistal sink Vic had in his barn, the new toilet with soft closing lid, the tile, it's all just so lovely! From floor repair, ripping out the tub and tile, installations of toilet tub and sink, and install of tile (hey, thanks me!) I think everyone attacked this room.

Dave, you da man! This guy cuts moulding like we cut butter. Outstanding quality workmanship.Thanks Vic for carting the wood around for Dave too. The mouldings are breathtaking!

He answered my prayers, many times over. He brought the entire team to my doorstep to help with things I couldn't do myself. I am SO blessed.

I think you guys get the picture. There's so much more. But more importantly, I want all of you to know, I'm so happy and so enjoying my surroundings! Cody is delighted to see things just so nice. I keep stopping and staring when I realize I'm suppose to be doing stuff. And stuff I will do. My plan is to stain and varnish the stair woodwork during the holiday season.

But for now, it's Christmas time. I wish for all of you the most wonderful holiday season with family and friends. May this season bring you extra special memories in some small way as it will indeed do for Cody and I in a BIG way.

Just know, we couldn't be enjoying this house more! Thank-you, Merry Christmas, and God bless you all.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cody cooks in the new kitchen

For the last three years, we've been functioning with a kitchen too cramped for two cooks. I always felt ansy with another in such close proximity when attemping to quickly cook up a meal. I talked often about Cody helping cook when we finally had some room to move.
Now that the kitchen is finally functional, there's no further reason to delay! Cody's now older and more responsible. It's time.

Today he wanted breakfast. I was still in my morning fog and in no rush to go go go this fine Saturday morning.

"I'm hungry mom."
"Cool. (yawn, sip of coffee) You know where everything is."
"OH yeah! I can cook!"

So off he went. I oversaw the gas stove part and he passed with flying colours. All of it. He wanted me to take a picture of him cooking but was too lazy to get dressed properly for the pic, so this round we went without.

I love this kitchen! It's beautiful AND functional! I started adding my own touches to warm it up, make it familiar but have to keep things minimal as more work is being done next week. But it's starting to feel alot more like home every day.

In some ways, I miss the old country bumpkin-ish feel of the old kitchen. But only because the familiarity is comforting. I've talked to my friend Dawn about her new home and she went through the same thing. This new gorgeous shiney eliteness grows on me daily. Today I have taken the time to sit at this laptop midday (when I should be doing something, anything really) to enjoy my surroundings. I love this place!

Life with my new kitchen? Amazing. Isn't it gorgeous?!?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas decorating - check!

Cody was getting ansy for the Christmas tree to go up.

Most know we've been in high gear for renos of late, and there's still dust kicking around, so I hesitated as to when a good time to decorate would be
What finally motivated me? The Chilliwack Christmas parade. No, we didn't go. It was raining that night so I threw Cody an option. Go to the parade in the rain for stay home and finally decorate for Christmas. No brainer!! LOL

So I made this promise but the livingroom was in no shape to accomodate more stuff. So I got busy and got rid of some. That took a long time, longer than I anticipated, so I cut a deal to throw on the tv for Cody instead so we'd be ready to roll Sunday if I kept at my task. The deal was made.

As promised, when Cody woke up Sunday, we had floor space! So we got to work.

I had been playing with the idea of a real tree this year, but when I priced out a nice tree stand that spun, plus the price of a cut tree, plus attempting to haul the thing up the stairs myself, Cody and I both agreed that our fake tree would do just fine again. Maybe next year...

So up the tree went, along with decorating the massive new mantle on the fireplace. It's oversized, so I took 6-7 garlands I had and twisted them all together to puff it out. Ahhh, that was the perfect scale! Any less would have been too weak. Threw in some lights, ribbon, raffia, bird houses and a woodsy wreath and it was done!

I got the idea of a beefy garland from one of my favorite home decor blogs, Nesting Place. You must check this link out!

So today, new countertops went in the kitchen. I was on dust patrol high alert so I quickly found the nearest sheet and draped it over the tree. All went well!

I'm glad Cody coaxed me into decorating for Christmas. We've had our beautiful fireplace lit nightly since decorating. There is simply nothing more beautiful than enjoying a real crackling fire amid the glow of enchanting Christmas lights.

I can NOT wait for my stove to be hooked up now. It's time to bake Christmas cookies! Cody, you have just created a Christmas (cookie) monster!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cody's dream fridge

For about a week, Cody has been badly pining for the install of the new fridge. I foolishly thought it was because of all the food that it would hold, but no. I was corrected promptly. It was about the water and ice maker. If the new fridge entices him to drink more water, that certainly works for me! I'm finding just HOW to do it makes a world of difference for your floors though. We have some training in progress.

Here's Cody with his new best friend. A massive thanks to Vic and Pete for getting it set up today! No more up and down stairs for food!

It's gorgeous, and we love it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The appliances are here!

What's this you ask? Noooo, this isn't a new fangled landscaping feature. Why, it's a sign that a dollie has been hard at work!

Dan graciously hooked up his trailer and we head out to pick up the appliances this AM! The appliance place I shopped at didn't offer delivery service so I was very grateful when Dan offered his help.

Now, riding alongside Dan is always a bit of an adventure. The height of this story would have to be when the fridge didn't fit into the trailer so it rode towering like about 80 feet straight up in the back of the pickup. If you've never driven with an object taller than your vehicle, DO NOT START NOW. Dan immensely enjoyed watching my blood pressure rise with the smallest bump we hit or curve we took. I got him back for I had him driving in no time like those slow movin' RV folks in the summertime.

Peter and Phoenix and Bec joined in to lug these things into the house.

Note: no silly dollies for these guys. Woa... looks a little heavy there...

Ah. Could this be why? No worries, I was gracious enough to cover any and all physio appointments. Bulk discount rate perhaps?

The appliances are gorgeous! I called Vic to let him know of our newst addition to the project and I'd guess he was here in about 5 minutes specing installation needs out. Pete joined him abit later. Rudy came and peeked in too.

Cody was most anxious for the fridge to be in full working mode upon his return home from school. I figured it was for food reasons, however he explained in his own way that it was high time to get some modern water and ice access into this house! (that may have something to do with no sink currently in the kitchen and the fridge downstairs)

No matter, in a few days we ought to be fully operationable in the newest kitchen in Yarrow! (Corinne and Rudy are a close second, but then again The Amazing House Race isn't quite over yet)

Thanks to all that helped make this day a reality! Now for some intense reading of manuals... I haven't found the chapter on how to boil water yet. Think I'm in for some fun?!?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The cupboards arrive!

I am well on the way to having a real kitchen!

The cupboards arrived a couple days ago and things got put together pretty fast. I didn't catch the delivery guy's names but Frank was the installer and WOW doesn't cut it. What a fabulous product, meticulous delivery AND install! Thanks Progressive!

I was attempting not to get in Frank's way, but it was awfully hard to stay put elsewhere. I kept peeking to take in the beauty that was MY kitchen.

A couple of features I love about these cupboards are the soft closures to the doors and drawers (it's like a quiet hush when you close something up, no bams and slams!) and full drawer extentions, allowing you to pull out the drawers ALL the way.

Aside from the features and top notch install, the look is flat out gorgeous for this house!

As soon as Frank left the second day, I dropped my work and started packing those lovely drawers and cupboards up. It was so so so nice to remove some disfunction and regain some order and sence to this place again!

And then the sun came out. What a lovely open space this kitchen turned out to be, and so bright when the sun peeked in. Just a great day to bond with my new surroundings.

Dan stopped by later to help with some ceiling panels and got Cody to give him a hand. Cody's always thrilled when there's a guy plus a power tool!

This last picture shows the kitchen at the end of day one. Day two, Frank added crown moulding and hardware, which you'll see in the post about the appliances.
Yes, appliances next! Whadda week... thanks guys!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A new appreciation for mudders

Vic hung this lovely new drywall up in my kitchen for me to mud. No problem, I've tackled lots of areas in the house and they appeared to turn out just fine. What's one wall, in a nice straight line no less?!?

Not having used tape before, I felt it must be the right way... I think anyway. So I go about my business getting it done.

The next day, it does not look so hot. Puckery like. So I load it with more mud. And the next day, ok, just a little more. Tape puckers more after it dries. I rip the tape out and load it on. Whadda mess. This might work though.

The next day, I think it's ok. So I proceed to coat it with sealer.

And then the next day, I paint.

Well, the next day, although the lovely paint in my kitchen had me saying, "Oh my... it's high end in this house!", the mudding part was not.

Let's just say, I'm outa time. But yesterday, I bought a massive tub of mud and an 8" thing to apply it. I have one last chance to make this right!

I'm a perfectionist at heart, but as I'm getting less anal about all things affiliated with this house every day, I have to give this one last shot.

I don't think I like mudding. At all. But I know that's because I haven't mastered it. Becoming proficient at all things reno takes alot of time and patience. Guess I need a mudding book to join forces with my plumbing and wiring books.

I hope my wall turns out. But if it doesn't, I may be tiling to cover it up sooner than later, always a way out! Plus I have plenty of opportunity to practice downstairs yet. Oy.

Professional mudders or whatever your formal title is called, I salute you!

Striping a simple firetruck is just way way easier... try it sometime! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A cool ceiling and dinner!

A couple cool things transpired today.

In the kitchen, I needed to come up with a plan to cover up missing ceiling stucco from removed valances. I approached Dan with some funky panels of some sort but I hadn't completely solved the mystery. He grabbed my drawing paper and with a few flicks of his wrist, came up with some MDF fabricated 'rusty' panels complete with rivets. Cool... these will attach along two ceiling walls, against the windows and cupboards.

So for the past two days we have been creating some pretty unique touches for the kitchen. It was a must as this needed to be installed before the cupboards arrive Tues. Dan fitted them in place today while I added rivets (wooden plugs) and a special paint that goes on black but once you add acid, it rusts. Not done with it all yet, but should be tomorrow.

This kinda stuff makes me tick! Thanks Dan, for the added funk that makes me smile everytime I look up!

The 2nd cool thing is how dinner arrived on my doorstep tonite. Allowing renos to take over lately is abit of an understatement so as you can imagine, not a whole lotta home cooking is being accomplished. Elizabeth wanted to help in some way and invited Cody and I for dinner, however when she got a taste of our crazy schedule of late, she brought over a wonderful casserole for us to enjoy! I am telling you, that is the way to renovate! Stay dirty and get served in grand style! It was so delicious! Thanks Elizabeth!!!

It was a productive and very cool day. I'm off to slumberland so I can do it all again tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2008

'Rover' approves!

Someone approves of our new kitchen drywall and floor. And here's proof. Today after the floor in the kitchen was put down, Jenna promptly took advantage of it.

Fancy dancy diagonal floor in the kitchen! Drywall on the kitchen wall! We are getting there!

The 12 foot drywall was tucked into place. Ralph and Ron gave Vic a helping hand. These sheets were BIG and heavy! Awesome outcome! And ready for me to mud up and paint.

Vic continues to display many talents during this reno phase. Today he moved and refitted the furnace vent in the kitchen floor in mere minutes just like the big shots do on HGTV. (he was moving way too fast for pics) Little do those outside of Yarrow realize I temporarily have one of those do it all handymen right in my own home, but believe me, I sure know it. And appreciate it. BIG.

Ron worked hard on this crazy floor getting the angle and cuts just so. And the finished product is exquisite! I keep looking back at the floor, just shake my head in bewilderment and repeat, "I LOVE this floor!" every few minutes. This stuff is from Costco and it is incredibly beautiful and ohhhh so nice on the feet! (compared to rough plywood especially) But I really do have to emphasise, the quality cutting and fitting is perfect, and I mean dead on. If anyone requires a good hardwood floor layer, I know thee guy to get.

I think it's safe to say that we as a group are getting tired. When a deadline looms ahead, it really does take a team to dot all the i's and cross all the t's. With less than a week for the kitchen to arrive, there's still important details to tend to every day. And I say this with a great deal of pride, that I am immensely proud of all these fine folks and their skills and for also offering their friendship as a bonus. I am seeing the house improve by the hour now and we are sooo close to being near the end! And what better way to go about all this than by the company of friends.

Time for some shuteye. Tomorrow morning will come very shortly again. I can't wait to see tomorrow's transformation. Everyday is like Christmas morning lately.

Thanks again all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We are officially 'Open for PLAY business!"

I knew I had to sand drywall today, but I also felt a need to set up Cody's playroom. And with the painting, floors and moulding complete, it was finally time!

But not just for aesthetic reasons.

I've been working so much on the house lately that it's been really nice having friends over for Cody to hang with. But lately with so much ripped apart and piled up high, the last week it just wasn't feasible. There was no room left to play.

And Cody missed it. And I felt bad. So today it was time to find his toys again and get them set up.

The mantra I've tried to instill with his toy collection is, he can keep it if it fits in the bins. If the bins overflow, something has to go.

And honestly, I'm the problem. If I'd gut half his toys when he was at school, he'd never notice. But note I said when he's IN SCHOOL. He can't stand to see something of his go even if he hasn't seen the fantastical object in a year. (sounds familiar...)

But I want the new playroom functional AND attractive, so I was good and accumulated a pretty good sized pile to take to the local thrift.

While emptying and washing out storage toy bins, I had to stop when I went through Cody's Thomas the Tank set. No he doesn't touch it these days. But I remember buying the glorious wooden set with all the trains and cool tracks and how he played with them for nearly 2 years straight without ever just putting them away. We'd attach the tracks creating long long railways linking different rooms together. (yes, we had that much, no-name additional tracks were the way to go!) And the trains Cody actually earned while being potty trained. I admit, it thrilled me when I saw a new train come out and I made an excuse for him to get it! (so I could play with it)

When my mom moved from the farm after dad passed on, it was house gutting time. And that's when we found all the toys we use to play with when kids. Mom hung onto cherished items we loved. Chrissy, Clackers, Footsie, Gumby and Poky, barbies and their country camper, my mint green Easy Bake oven, original Lite Brite, my Disney yellow bus metal lunch kit, and more. It was neat to go through and now it's put away in my house. There is a quiet comfort in holding on to some cherished items from your past.

There were other toys of Cody's that sent me back in time as well, but they didn't hold the memories the Thomas set did. I plan to eventually put Thomas up and out of the way in the attic and just hold on to a little bit of Cody's childhood. One day he'll be thrilled to hold them again, possibly with his own kids. But for now, Thomas is still accessible for any visiting kids just wanting to have some fun.

Aside from my side trip down memory lane, I am proud to say, the playroom looks wonderful! One wall is lined floor to ceiling with pine Ikea storage filled with transparent bins of Lego, cars, etc. The wall unit also houses a TV for Nintendo opportunities. On the opposite wall a twin bed is there waiting to be used for comfy Nintendo play as well as sleepover opportunities. The walls are soft taupe with a nice deep red behind the storage wall only, making the pine pop. Line the floors with hardwood as well as nice thick white moulding, and you have the makings of a room that is really attractive and fun, plus can morph into an office or, well, anything. I'll take pics as soon as the bed is set up right. (truth be told, morelike when I find my camera. Again) I'm on the hunt for a drawer storage of sorts for the mattresses to sit on. Can't waste that valuable under the bed storage!

To the many hands that joined forces touching his room, we sure appreciate you helping to change what was one of the most unattractive rooms in the house (pepto bismal pink walls, yellowed ceiling, with a very worn blue carpet) to one of the most beautiful rooms ever!

I go in that room a zillion times a day just because it's pretty! And Cody suits pretty rooms. I'm glad I can finally give that to him.

Not only is it a cool room, it's time to invite friends over once again! And we BOTH really thank you for that! Zach was over tonite and tried it out and he fully approved so looks like we are once again, open for play biz!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The fireplace story

Once upon a time my fireplace looked like this.

Dan came through the house one day to spec out the progress with the renos in the beginning. He asked me what I felt the focal point was in the house. I figured it was the fireplace. So together we discussed what we could do to really enhance the feature. We were going to cover the brick with cultured stone reaching the ceiling and enhance it with a beefy rustic woodsy mantle.

After several months, it was finally time to flip our dreams into reality for the floors were about to go in the house. A deadline was set and we went to work.
First the mantel was worked on. Dan routered and handcarved the woodgrain effect. I followed with the drill and wirebrush. Bec and I painted 4 layers of paint to achieve a beautiful warm rich woodgrain to tie in with my new kitchen cabinets and hardwood flooring.

Next, Dan and Peter came to deliver the freshly painted mantel and spec out for supports.

The mantel proved to be alot beefier than the last wimpy one, so in order to properly support it, massive unique metal brackets were styled to suit the size of the mantel. Suddenly the mantel was no longer just massive. It looked awesome and to perfect scale with the room!
They also fabricated Dan's signature riveted style enclosure to soften the square opening. This panel is removable at a later date to accomodate upgrading from real wood to gas if desired. Isn't it cool already?!?

Then the real work began. The next day, Dan, Peter and Phoenix started working with the cultured stone to achieve the desired style. First came the fabrication of the framework to hold the rock in place above the mantel.

Once the stone was in place, Phoenix hand carved the base from fiberglass reinforced concrete to simulate a solid rock. It's incredible.

Phoenix then applied an acid treatment to the concrete to achieve a realistic rock replica. He followed it up by lightly airbrushing the colour of the stone on top, allowing the base to remain abit darker to ground the look. It is dead on!

This is what now graces my livingroom. It's a showpiece that everyone stops and stares at. Many go up to the mantle and squint trying to figure out what's this, how's that done... the questions follow and I happily fill them in on the details to this story. (this picture was taken at night so the colours don't pop like they do in daylight.)

I'm incredibly proud to say my friends, the Sawatzky team, created this project. It offers the room such warmth. You truely gravitate towards the fireplace, wanting to sit down and just gaze at it. See? It was used today for just that! Ron the floorlayer helps to portray the scale of the fireplace.

When I look at the new fireplace, my first thought is it's magestic. It's got such a presence in the room and is truely a magnificent focal point. I love the Sawatzky touches to it and the strength the materials and colours portray. It's no cute girly look. It's a funky eclectic bold look that's just flat out awesome! It's the right scale to this house and looks perfect against my rustic decorating tastes.

Many thanks guys, Janis and Bec, and Yarrow Building Supplies for this incredible project I get to enjoy every moment I'm home!

Thurs Nov 20 update



The floors are to die for. Ron worked past suppertime to complete the last bedroom and living room. The quality workmanship alone is incredible. And throw in some gorgeous oak hardwood flooring and you have the makings of one awesome floor.

'Poor tired' Dave was punching up new mouldings as fast as Ron was laying floor. Vic was in and out and doing everything from shopping, to drywall repair, to moving furniture and wood around. I was carrying wood up and scraping the old kitchen floor off the plywood. Cody was trying a little of everything. There was alot of ptchoo ptchooing from two compressors going at the same time, dust kicking up, hammering, scraping, shop vac blaring, Cody taking pictures of (eek) mom... (I'm so brave to post this)

However there's always some time for coffee, silly pics, the dog...

And for those interested, my current kitchen decor is below. It's called EarlyReno. Note the unique bulletin board windows. This simplistic version does it all on one Costco fold out table. (sink is located in the bathtub) Do you like the all modern colour blocking on that one strip of drywall left? Note two garbage cans. The one with the lid is for food scraps so the dog can't get at it. (lesson learned the hard way)

Is everyone else as tired AND having as much fun as I am?!?