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, June 30, 2008


So we are in ultimate vacation land. (campsite) Weather is perfect, my flowering baskets are glorious, smores around the firepit last night exquisite... And what am I feeling?!?

I miss my new bathroom. I have ONE room looking kinda cool and I end up mourning leaving it. What will I feel when the entire house starts looking nice?!?

I clearly haven't morphed into the leisure mode yet after being so busy. Either that or I have much bigger issues to deal with... LOL

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lessons in paint colours and surprise bathroom outcome

I have had my trials with paint colours lately. My ultimate goal was to run one shade of the perfect taupe throught the entire house. I've only done that once before and loved the blending factor of how the house just pulled together, plus for touchups, it was a breeze, one roller, one brush and you could go to any room!

Well, the trouble with that theory is, the darker rooms, especially facing north with only one window, tended to appear cavelike while other rooms with lots of light washed out. But naturally there was ONE room in there that was always perfect...

After 5 colours, I've figured out my pallet. (crazy, I know, I don't begin for anyone to understand what my eye sees...) It's one undertone, but will be three different intensities throughout the house. I just have to remember what I painted where. (btw, all the crazy colours I've tried and failed with are undercoats so not all is wasted)

This is the email I shot off to Vic this fine AM:


Good morning Vic

Just to let you know, the office downstairs is now complete and ready for the finishing carpenter.

The bathroom has one coat of paint on both ceiling and walls, and I'll finish it upon my return. (ran out of paint for both) It looks amazing.

I LOVE the pedistal sink upstairs! You will see what I mean when you see it. I'm incredibly pleased to report I have no desire for a large vanity in there! Thank-you for helping me save hundreds of dollars.

Once a room I dreaded, I now love. I'm so grateful to all of you.

Have a wonderful vacation! And please thank Gina for the lovely sink.



I can barely stand it! That ruins room has turned out to be better and different than what I even anticipated.

Vic has been coming daily lately to tinker with the tub taps and gyproc to get it done. Yesterday he brought over a pedistal sink he had stored in his barn. He doesn't like to see me going without and was concerned about me not having a vanity upstairs for some time so he brought the sink over for a temporary substitute. I had never considered a pedistal before, so my mind started working.

The bathroom is on the smaller side and I've never liked the long skinny profile. And I knew the exsisting vanity was an issue as it sucked up most every square inch of the room space. But it was there, came with the house and it stored lots of stuff. So I just assumed I needed another just like it one day.

Once the vanity was torn out, I was stunned how the room transformed. And I had made up my mind to not purchase a new one right away because of funds and not knowing what my gut was saying on the whole big vanity issue. So it was easier to just decide not yet.

After painting the room last night, I had to try the pedistal sink in the bathroom. I propped it into place. And couldn't stop there. I grabbed an oval black mirror I had purchased for the ensuite and placed it over the sink. Next was the old antique distressed black and taupe ladder to hold towels. Then a long area carpet.

I smile whenever I walk past my favourite room. I don't have to flick on the light because the colour isn't dark, yet it's warm and inviting. The visual space in the bathroom with the pedistal makes the room look amazingly much larger than it was. I am so pleased with the results!

And it's unique. My most favorite passion is creating something new out of odds and sods. The room works and I incorporated my unusual antique finds to boot! It's casual, yet elegant. It's perfect. And the tiling isn't even done yet! (that and a new toilet is next)

And yesterday while shopping for (ahem) PAINT, I came across a patio set at an amazing price. As the set came with 6 chairs, I could take two chairs to the campsite and still have four at home! And the umbrella could go on my campsite picnic table! So when I came home, I had Sonny my neighbour help me remove the boxes out of my truck. Jake then wandered over and viewed my latest find. But I had plans to paint, so in the house I went, leaving the box outside for me to get to later. While painting, I heard Jake and Zack outside, peeked around the corner and saw them pulling lawn chair components out of the boxes. Oh my goodness... I was so grateful! And the set looks amazing on the newly covered patio. Wowwowwow.

It's like Christmas morning everyday in this house. I can barely get use to the changes before other ones are before me. It's overwhelming and very exciting! Oh.. look at the time! I have to go now to make an excuse to walk through my pedistal sink bathroom. Again. :)

Thanks to the paint store lady for her incredible patience with me (and for finally giving me a contractor's discount due to sheer quantity!) and to Vic (his daily help) and Gina (for her sink) for helping me create a bathroom I adore. And to Jake and Zach for helping create a wonderful place to sit and rest from all the daily work that goes on here!

It's getting hard to stop now...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kitchen decisions made! Finally!

The kitchen has been one long stretch. First cabinet choices, but that one was fairly easy as spotted what I loved right away. Appliances tricky, alot out there and you have to become a pro in a short timeframe. The hardwood floor was chosen and bought 2 years ago being stored in my basement all this time. Paint colour has been my biggest hurdle. I like taupes but they have to be the right undertone. I make it hard on me simply because I see more than what others may. Let's just say, when you start correcting the paint gal at the store, you're in DEEP. It's hard to be me at times.

But it's working!

Cabinets - check!
Countertops - check!
Island size - confirming and still tweeking to suit
Appliances - I have choices to work with but I haven't purchased yet, will wait closer to fall when the kitchen would be installed. I have a wonderful contact that will notify me when my favs go on sale.

Cody and I will be camping all next week so I'm going to work hard and get that office painted before we leave!

Vic showed up last night to check on things. I've slowed the progress down some due to my stall in painting. So it was nice to see Vic.

And tonite Pete and Erna stopped in. Then they suggested I tour their place so Cody and I jumped in the truck (as Cody exclaims, 'But mom, it's bedtime!' Since when did he care so much?!?) It was alot of fun to see how they set up their kitchen and gave me a few more ideas to mull over.

I have just made some of the best friends over the last couple of months. It doesn't get much better than this.

Ok, well, maybe ABIT better once the kitchen is beautiful and complete! I have soooo much to look forward to! And be thankful for!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My campground getaway.. leisure or work?

So I escaped to the campground this weekend.

This season is playing out very different from other years. Cody is with his dad on most weekends so that leaves me with some total solitude. It's different, but still nice. As always. I love being here.

My trailer is smaller this year too as I downgraded my 24' to a 17'. But it's newer and nicer inside so the tradeoff has been a good one. I'm happy to report, I'm starting to bond with my new 2nd home.

And how does this translate into work you ask? Trust me, I find something to work on.

Most others have personalized their spaces by now. I haven't spent enough time up here to do that as yet. But after visiting my neighbours and seeing their beautiful setups, plants and such, I walked into my spot and stood on my bare little cement blocked patio and decided it was time.

I did my homework. I walked the entire site peeking in on other's setups. Some had gorgeous wooden patios (not in my budget by any means) and others, beautiful gardens. (wow..) So my first stop was the campground boneyard.

I LOVE boneyards! For those not familiar with the term, it's a collection of unused crap. And if you're a flea market queen such as I, you love to go through it and create new and wonderful stuff out of special finds.

I found some cool stuff. I found two longish small benches that I set on the left and right side of my cement patio. I found a picnic table top only (no benches attached) that I placed to the right side of the patio for the table top bbq and campstove. And to the left, I found the perfect stripped picnic table (took alot of searching!) with no stain left on it that a campground friend helped me lug over.

And I started scrubbing. Lots of green on this lovely wooden stuff. Once the green was off, it revealed a really nice weathered putty colour stain, that matched my trailer! SCORE!

So I visited the campsite owner and inquired if they had the same colour leftover paint. She laughed at me and explained this was 20 yr old paint I was talking about! But she was curious as to what I was up to so I showed her my new setup. She then led me into the boneyard paintshop. We found the can! And it wasn't dry!

So I started whitewashing the wooden stuff, piece by piece. This wasn't work. This was cool. Where you forget to eat kinda cool.

I looked at the time. I HAD to dash out and look for a couple of flowering plants. I found a place in Agassiz that had stuff on for a fraction of what it's worth due to the time of year and got two flowering baskets, one for each bench top. Came back, tried it out, perfect! Continued with painting.

Jenna was NOT very impressed with my long day at the site, for she was missing out on her beach walk. Ok ok... I reluctantly put down the brushes and rags, whipped up some dinner (a baby steak, corn on the cob and Vic's delicious baked potates) and then we did our beach walk.

Then it became dark so I visited some campsite neighbours instead, borrowed a movie to watch, and forced myself to wait until today to continue.

My 'new look' isn't quite complete yet but it's turning out awesome! And very personalized and best of all, FREE! With a little creativity... So much so I'm curious if they'd release some of that boneyard stuff so I could do a set of something or other for my renovated home too. Like I don't have enough to do at home already...

My thoughts have most definately been on the house and what I ought to be doing there. But I'll be there soon enough so I'm trying not to immerse myself in it. Chill out, diversion is the survival technique for me it seems.

I'll post pics of my little hideaway when it's complete. As for now, time to get back to wor... leisure!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thurs June 19 - moving forward

It's been waaaay too long since I've updated. I've been working, missing some of the action done at the house so I'm not always up to date on what's transpired. But looking around, there are new touches. EVERYWHERE.

Let's see how I do from total memory here...

Stucco pro Chris has now finished the stucco work! It's fabulous.

Dave did a demo and started me off with caulking around the outside of the windows. No excuses now for me! He also covered up some not so pretty support beam by the stairs. What a difference!

Vic has been coming by to finish up around the tub area with gyproc and is fiddling with the taps. He also installed some gorgeous heavy duty shelving in the office downstairs.

Jake installed the last bathroom door. It's a gorgeous door and the install is perfect!

Janette and Ralph finished up the outdoor siding around the windows! I'm in the company of alot of pros here.

Vic was generous enough to come and pick up a whole lotta garbage.

Someone's been tinkering in the garden. It's really growing!

Josh finished up the mudding in the office, so I primed it the next day. It's beautiful, Josh! I can't believe that's the same room...

Ralph has finished painting ALL the trim mouldings, casings, baseboards and window sill boards (whatever they're called). It's quite a sight stacked in the garage! They look awesome!

Pete picked up a fuse box thing in preparation for the electrical continuing.

I've bugged Gina here and there for some quick awesome decorating advice.

I apologize if I missed anyone and their tasks they accomplished. My memory isn't quite what it use to be.

K, so for some comedy relief, here's what I've personally been going through... note how it's abit fiasco-ish when it comes to me in charge of something...

I started crackfilling in the upstairs main bathroom when the paint 'much too easily' started peeling away while I attempted a corner with a putty knife. So I kept on going. Some places stick, others don't. Ugh.. what have I done... I've created a look alike old historic building with cracked plaster showing. May suit Italy but in here... well...

I have a lovely tub and toilet ensemble sitting on my driveway with a story to go with it. Vic has been asking me if I wanted that toilet out by the road. I didn't really give him an answer so we left it in the bathroom. Well, Cody forgot that it wasn't functionable... so you get the idea. I was working away in the bathroom when the 'fragrance' hit me and continued to grow. In a frenzie, I looked EVERYWHERE. I mean, new plywood, new tub, no dirty laundry, WHERE on earth is that smell coming from?!? I then froze and slowly lifted the lid to the toilet. Sigh... did what I had to do but couldn't quite reach the trap I guess because things only improved for a short while. That night late, I called Jake to help me get that toilet to the roadside PRONTO.

Still on the search for the perfect lights that I can simply say, "I love it!" to. Didn't realize just how picky I was. Oy, I'm picky. I'm getting tired of myself. So are the stores and security cameras. I go open boxes, can't put them back together and I leave. At times I've had stuff in buggies and have LEFT the store, only to return 2 hours later and there the buggy still waits for me. I buy, hold it up and bring it back. I need a fulltime decorator/bookeeper/shopper here.

Today I picked up some paint and have been running room to room experimenting with colour. Lookin' just like a patchwork quilt I say. I'm working with a sample board from the kitchen place. Have I chosen well? I'll wait till daylight. I'm going to remain somewhat optimistic till then. If I messed up, I just purchased basecoat for my final coat, right?!?

Samples of rock for the fireplace are all over the living room. Working with paint, cabinets, floors... you know how it goes. Why not trip over that stuff along with everything else just to make things interesting?

For a sanity saver, I've left for Harrison the odd Saturday after renos for the day are over. It's been a nice break and leaves me refreshed to get back at it again come Monday. One weekend all I did was read about renos and felt like I never left the house. Big mistake. Last weekend I read lah lah land stuff and enjoyed the sunshine and going for walks. That really did the trick!

Anyway, I'm really enjoying the process as things progress. I sure appreciate everyone's help but feel for them. I will miss them when the project is complete but at the same time I want them home with their own families. Just know, I feel so very very blessed. Thank-you all! I feel like I have a family taking care of me. And that's just a very nice feeling to have.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cody and the tub

Someone was even more eager than me to try out that tub no matter how! 'Nuff said!

(no, he didn't really sleep there, but it was a fun place to wake up in)

How magnificent is this?!?!?

Wed June 11 - New tub install!

A big big night was about to embark tonite! The new tub was going to make it's appearance!

In the AM, Chris returned to do the mortar part of the stucco treatment. And we had a chance to talk abit more before I took off for work.

Vic, Jake, and plumber Ken all came to pitch in for the tub install later on. This is a previous shot of Vic and Ralph doing away with the tile. I was so happy to see that go!

Ralph is a pretty fast worker as you can see by the blur in the photo...

Gone, just like that. And yeah, that's pretty accurate. These guys are just really fast and that old tub was beside the road in a flash!

Vic, Jake and plumber Ken got to work figuring out how to change over all the new fixtures. I'm convinced this entire group of guys fear nothing and tackle everything. I haven't found one thing they can't do yet within the reno world.

There's the new tub! Nintendoing Cody and Kenny didn't appear to mind sharing the room with that big ol soaker tub. The tub is so white, and so deep! While it was being installed, Cody kept yelling, "Don't go in yet mom!" No prob! I love surprises, especially when it's something I've been waiting what seems like an eternity for.

And I was. So pleasantly so!! I walked in the room and it appeared like that tub took up half the alloted space! Ohhhh this is so cool... Cody was just beside himself asking every few minutes if it was bathtime yet. LOL! Parents, this is IT! Get a new soaker tub and your kids will be lining up in droves for their time with it! We'll see how long that lasts...

Oh, and here's a tub tip. I knew I had insulation in the garage and asked the guys if they'd oblidge me in a request that was finally (LOL) relatively easy. I dashed for the insulation and we packed it inside and around the tub. They all made me smile because they simply went for it without question! Later when Ben arrived, he caught the insulation process and commented that it was a great idea so your tub water stays warmer longer. Yeah well, this girl's been around for awhile and has learned a trick or two.. heh..

Dave stopped by later to assess what's next. Dave is a very cool guy with a wonderful sense of humour and is our finishing carpenter. It was a pleasure to put a friendly face with the name Dave!

Guys, it was quite a big night for Cody and I. We've been waiting a long long time for that new tub. I can barely fathom it being in place.

The taps will be installed Saturday, so updates and pic to follow. I may as well keep you all in suspense until it's complete... :)

I LOVE MY TUB! Thanks guys for turning yet another page in my wish book!

Tues June 10 ~ Stucco pro Chris meets Vic's garden

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris on Tuesday. He came by later in the day to mesh up the areas that required stucco repair.

Funny thing though... I left to brew him up a pot of coffee and when I came back out, I noticed he was digging around in the garden. I yelled out "OFF TOPIC! What are you doin'? Aren't you suppose to be stuccoing?!?"

"This is something I really love doing", he replies. I now have two, TWO gardeners on staff.

Chris then proceeded to show me how to separate the lettuce. "Man, I just love doing this stuff." I asked for much more elaborate gardening instruction but he caught on pretty quick. Oh well, a girl's gotta try.

And how cool.. my stucco guy loves his Tim Horton's. He was just talking about that coffee thing when by fluke I handed him a glass mug with the TH logo on it. Chris shook his head and said, "That's sick..." But in a good way. :)

I let Chris get to work so we didn't chit chat too much the first day. He was due again soon so I knew I'd catch up with him again. Thanks Chris, your work is just awesome.

And here's a major highlight. After Chris left, this is what I found around Vic's tomato plant. Stucco metal lathing or whatever it's called. Nice touch!!! I smile everytime I walk around that tomato plant.

Look how this garden is coming along! I found Chris had hilled the potatoes as well. Dunno how he found time for the stucco work but it all got done.

And another little hidden gem of a story is beginning to take shape. Chris mentioned he'd like to take some of my lettuce and he bring me some of his red variety. Cool!

I told Vic about the growing interest for the garden. And what does he do? Wednesday he brings by potatoes from HIS garden and says, "I gotta keep up with the stucco guy!" Oh, I'm so loving the way this is all unfolding...

Thanks Chris and Vic for this lovely little garden!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mon June 9 ~ those precious bathroom doors and other cool stuff

There was quite a rain storm tonight. I love the sound of heavy rain when indoors. And not only do I get to hear it, I have a great view of it! Through my beautiful kitchen windows of course! Even Cody exclaimed, "Mom, I LOVE it when it rains! Look at the hurricane!" as he watched lots of tree movement.

I love it too. And I also love all the new changes that took place today.

Vic and Ralph came in the AM and before I was out the door to work, 1/4 of the tile around my tub was sitting IN my tub. It was the most beautiful crashing sound I've ever heard! I've now figured out these two flat out like 'wrecking' stuff. They sure make me smile watching them together. :)

When I returned back home, I was nervous to see how much water damage was around the shower from old leaking issues. I peeked in and it was perfect. Dry, not a spec of dust to be seen.. amazing. Was Janette here?!?

So I ran downstairs because Vic really wanted to move the hardwood flooring out of the basement and in another room so we had room to paint. WOA... basement looks huge! And so clean!

Josh had been working on the gyproc again and it's looking incredible. We are getting there! By week's end, I'll be slapping around some paint me thinks...

And the plan was for Paul the plumber to come by and peek at things.. if not today, another upcoming day soon.

And YES, that silly pocket door in the ensuite that's been dragging on the floor for who knows how long is hanging on a beautiful new bracket! This is a VERY big deal around here. Cody is so use to things in limbo, he ran into that bathroom and I had to smile. I yelled after him, "Cody, you can CLOSE the door now!" "I can?!? Ohhhhhh!" Doors on a bathroom, just a great great concept.

Seems we have a dilemma with bathroom doors...

~ main bathroom door knob fell off and locked me inside. I removed the entire handle.
~ whatever I taped over that door knob hole kept falling off. See-through door! (what a waste of door)
~ bathroom downstairs has NO door - it was an ugly old brown one loaded with dog scratches and a huge hole from a previous owner so I decided to ditch it rather than live with it, forcing myself to get it replaced one day. No door is better than ugly, right?? heh..
~ ensuite had a broken door - pocket door fell off track and door was trapped inside wall (as far as I was concerned, a nearly impossible situation until the guys saved the day)

So today, pocket door was fixed, AND I put a door handle on the main bathroom door! Two down, one to go.

Never, NEVER take a bathroom door just for granted...

Thanks so much guys, for your help today. With it all.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The bathroom continues...

This fine AM Vic and Ralph came to dismantle the bathroom. Allow me to attempt to explain the bathroom, other than simply 'ewwww'.

This is one of two rooms in the entire house I have not laid a finger on yet. When I got locked inside with the door handle falling off (another story), that was the day I started taping stuff up against the hole.

When the shower curtain rod kept slipping off the tile, (ouch) I did a Red Green (he's a fix it guy that likes duct tape, 'nuf said) version of a fix it job by bunching up the ends with some non skid shelf liner. When a drawer end decided to stay with my hand instead of on the drawer, I just left it off and it instantly became an open concept drawer with stuff falling out of it daily. The vanity was totally 70's.

There are these snow globes that someone chose for lights way back.

I have a whole lotta swirly wirly going on with that thing that's holding up the toilet paper. The floor is yellow when once upon a time (according to the removal of the vanity) it use to be off white.
There is no finish on the tub floor.

The tiles leak. The tap continuously drips when it feels like it.

The room has become a joke of sorts to me. The more that went wrong in it, the more hilarous I felt about it and totally desired to spend not a penny on it until I could do it right! So I just continued to Red Green it every chance I got.

I lied. I had one attempt on that room. I actually had a plumber come in to lift all the toilets in the house and reseal them because they ALL leaked. But he refused to do this toilet because the floor was soggy below and felt once he lifted it, the toilet would NOT be going back down until the floor was delt with. So the wait was on.

Vic and Ralph are the two fastest dismantlers I've ever seen in my life. That toilet was yanked out and the floor fixed in under an hour. Awesome...

So next was to be the tub. Little did I know about the wonderful world of drains. When you get a nice tap set, you actually need to hunt high and low for a nice matching drain. Who knew? So I'm off to shop yet again to find everything. That beautiful new glorious tub looks sad in my cold garage. Cody finally took a good look at it today and yelled, "IT'S SO DEEP! I CAN'T WAIT!" He sure deserves a nice bathtub, I'm so happy for him!

Being that the tub couldn't be worked on, the guys wandered through the house itching for something else to do. Yes, every woman's dream is to have a crowd of renovators at their beck and call. I am very blessed! So they found a closet that required shelving and took note of the pocket door to the ensuite that has NEVER worked since the day I moved in. You have NO idea how many times I've muttered under my breath about that silly door. Got stuck in there one time as well.

Later in the evening, Vic came again and brought Pete along. Together they finally got that pocket door out of the wall so they could address the hinge.

Vic insisted I get to work, the kind that earns you money. But since sports day was cancelled last minute for Thursday, I have a morning to go shopping instead. Cool... you know, to keep the guys happy and all.

Thanks BIG TIME for today everyone!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mon June 2 ~ rambling updates

Last Friday, Janis and I went power shopping. My mantra was to pick out a tub for Monday morning. So we made a full day of it and managed to fit in some time to look at lights as well. The tub didn't come home with me that night. We ran out of time, but at least one was picked out. Thanks so much Janis, for your awesome advice and company! And for introducing me to the 'lady in the box.' (one of those talking "go this way, not that way!!' direction things while driving. I'm so not 2008 here..)

And total fluke, I got a call from the kitchen cabinet place to come in and make some choices and to glance at the floorplan. Whooohooo! That went REALLY fast as I saw my dream cabinets as soon as I walked in. Next step - waiting for the quote.

I then did a little campsite escape over the weekend (Cody went to his dad's) and ended up going to garage sales and finding a consumer book and decorating books and continued on my research. What better place to read up on renos away from the renos.. On my way home, I went past Garrison area and visited two open houses plus took pictures of wonderful trim colour combinations. I have done my homework!

Totally geared up to fly after all that inspiration, I returned to find more mudding and gyproc prep was done as well as some metal siding being put back on the house. I've heard through the grapevine that Micah, Josh and Jeremy have been showing up. Thanks guys!!

So here Monday rolls around, so off I go with this huge list of to-dos to get covered. I looked at appliances, wood stains, paint, tiles, found some cool lights, tub and tap shopping, cabinet place... the day sped by much too quickly. I HAD to bring that tub home today or else! So I got the tub.

The new tub is DEEP! And acrylic! And a beautiful non mouldy non scratched lily white! Looks like I'll be brushing up on my tiling skills again as I couldn't locate a nice surround for this beauty. I can barely contain myself that this thing will live in MY bathroom! You know all those pics we love to take of our kids? I have a few with cody in a big deep bubble bath and I've always looked at those pics with the broken tiles and finish off the tub and thought "Ick.. poor kid." Not for much longer now!

Good thing I obeyed! Vic and Ben showed up to look at the tub. And then worked on some wood trim around windows.

But more! Vic and Ralph were here in the AM and they cut some moulding and installed a toilet downstairs and ripped out my old vanity that now graces my front door area.

Even more! Jon and Rudy were here and put on some new heavy duty coating on the deck, to seal in against the house and protect the living space below. Had some major water leaks in the past from no flashing against the house plus leaky windows, and now it's all been addressed! I cannot wait for the next wind storm with heavy rain! No more indoor puddles around here.

It was an incredibly productive day. And I have a feeling the ball is really starting to roll now...

Thank-you everyone. Very, very much.