September 28, 2012

Inspiration ~ Window Seat

This weekend is going to be a whirlwind of last minute cleaning, repairing and organizing. We hand in our keys at the townhouse and the shop on Sunday and we still have things to get rid of at both places.

I'm not going to have time to do any more work on this mini makeover so I thought I would post some inspiration photos for our window seat area in the meantime to give you an idea of what's to come.




Source List: Left to Right 

September 24, 2012

Weekends, Weeds & Window Seats

I had mentioned on Friday that D and I would be putting the finishing touches on a small project over the weekend but alas it wasn't meant to be. The project was to give our front porch a mini makeover and one of the final steps was to repaint the concrete steps. D works on Saturdays so I set out to Home Depot bright and early to buy what was needed. The stairs do need to be repaired at the bottom so we didn't want to spend a lot of time and money going through all of the proper steps to refinish the porch at this time...stripping, acid washing, cleaning, sealing, painting, sealing again. We just wanted to quickly slap some paint on them to give the porch a fresher look until we paint the exterior of the house next year.

So after convincing the salesperson at Home Depot that we didn't want to spend a fortune and yes we knew that they wouldn't hold up for the long haul, she recommended we use a product called 'Restore'. It goes on thick and covers all of the imperfections in the concrete. You do still need to use the 'Restore' cleaner beforehand though and then wait 24 hours before applying the paint. Reducing the steps from 6 to 2 and only needing to buy 2 products instead of 5 definitely seemed much more manageable.

The salesperson also warned that the paint needed to be applied when no rain was expected for at least 48 hours. Driving home the sky was clouding over and the air felt damp. By the time I had gathered up the necessary tools I realized that painting the stairs or at least cleaning them just wasn't in the cards for the day. To be honest I had also starting losing interest and becoming a little disheartened in the project on the drive back form Home Depot.

All is not lost, I started on a different mini makeover indoors that seemed much more enjoyable than scrapping and cleaning concrete steps. But as to not leave you in the lurch on the outside mini makeover, here is a pic of the work that has been done to the front of our bungalow so far.

So far we have:
  • Removed the screen door.
  • Repainted the house number and hung it higher.
  • Painted the mail box black and fixed it to the side railing.
  • Hung some fall hanging baskets.
  • Removed the weeds from along the front.
 We still need to:
  • Repaint the concrete steps.
  • Plant some greenery along the front and add river rocks as a border.
  • Put new trim around the front door.
  • Maybe paint the door handle (still in discussion).
  • Add a couple more fall planters to the porch.
It doesn't seem like much but when you compare it to the before pic it's quite an improvement.

Pulling out the weeds along the front was a tough job. Firstly because they were 60% thistles and secondly because the ground was as hard as cement. D's sister and mum very kindly worked on the left side the day we moved in and D finished off both sides, broke up the soil and leveled it off last week.

Speaking of weeding...D and I spent all of Sunday afternoon pulling out the weeds (again mostly thistles) along the front of the property line in front of the chain link fence where the front hedges used to be. I don't have any photos of this part of the yard, but trust me it was pretty horrible looking.

Back to the indoor project that was started on over the's soon to be my favorite seat in the house....Yep the window seat :)

Here is a before photo as a reminder.

The wood paneling was covered in scratches, marks and quite frankly looked ugly. Too much wood paneling gives me a headache. So I started out by sanding it down and painting it white.

Such a huge improvement already. I will keep you posted on the progress of this little space that brings me so much joy. Or at least it will when it's done ;)

September 21, 2012

Friday Funnies ~ A Dog's Dilemma

This is what may happen if we cut down too many trees! Global warming is one thing, but the dogs of the world may run into a crisis if we continue to clear our forests! We have to stop cutting down trees! This could turn into a serious problem!
*(this was forwarded to one of  my bosses. I had to share it because it made me laugh out loud).

This weekend D and I are putting the final touches on a mini makeover we have been working on. Looking forward to showing you all.

Happy Friday Everyone!

September 19, 2012

Inspiration ~ English Country Cottage Gardens

With the warmer weather sticking around and the sun continuing to shine, we have been spending as much time as we can outside weeding and tidying up the yard. We still have a LONG way to go but we've been working on some projects that will add a little more curb appeal to our diamond in the rough.

All along I have envisioned what our bungalow has the potential to be. Call me a dreamer but I can see a warm cozy inviting abode through all of the grime and disarray.

True to my British heritage I am in love with English country cottages and gardens. Here's a little country cottage inspiration for you all......

Do you notice a exterior colour scheme going on in the above photos? Call it a preview if you will ;)


I would love to plant a small hedge along the front with a little country gate. Plant a veggie garden on the side and fill the perimeter with wild flowers and flowering shrubs including Forget-me-not, Foxglove, Lavender, Viburnum, Kerria, Grape Hyacinthand Daisies. Soon I hope, but I know slow and steady wins the race.

Can you guys envision it as well???!

September 17, 2012

DIY ~ Adding Drawer Liner To The Back Of Open Cabinets

Before we moved the furniture into the bungalow we decided to try and get a head start on painting the kitchen cabinets. We got as far as removing all of the cabinet doors and hardware, giving then a couple of coats of Behr's Pure Ultra White paint, and getting one coat on the uppers. Painting cabinets definitely takes longer than we anticipated! So we have now decided to continue chipping away at them when we have a free minute here and there between other projects.

Over the weekend we finished painting the open cabinet (the one on the right in photo below). True to the nature of everything else the previous owners had "DIYed" around the house, this section looks like it had started life out as a two sided open cabinet over a peninsula in another kitchen. The top and bottom edges have plastic runners where glass panel doors would have slid back and forth on either side. We know they were glass panels because we found two of them in the basement and the other two out in the yard.

I had initially intended to paint the back of this cabinet a dark grey (the kitchen walls are soon to be light grey) but whilst I was at Walmart picking up some drawer liner for under the kitchen sink, I found this absolutely perfectly patterned drawer liner. On the spot I decided it would be a much better way to liven up our open cabinet than to paint the back. I snatched up 2 rolls and beelined to the checkout (grabbing some double sided tape on the way).

As I'm not that great with commitment I didn't want to glue the liner to the wall behind the cabinet. Instead, I chose to use the double sided tape as that way if we get sick of the pattern it can easily be taken down and replaced with something else.

Installing the liner was super simple and took under 15 minutes. We roughly measured the width of the cabinet and cut the liner to size. I knelt on the counter and positioned the liner in place whilst D cut 1 inch strips of double sided tape and passed them up to me. I started on the left side and placed a strip of tape about every 5 inches. When I got to the other side I just creased the liner into the corner of the cabinet and trimmed off the excess with an Xacto knife.

I love it so much I'm thinking of doing the same to the rest of the upper cabinet with doors to give us a pleasent surprise when we open them up.

Definitely a great, easy and inexpensive way to add some colour and interest to open cabinets without committing to anything long term or spending a ton on a roll of wallpaper.

2 rolls of drawer liner from Walmart - $6.97 each
1 roll of double sided tape - $2.97 each
Xacto knife
Under 15 minutes

September 14, 2012

Kicked To The Curb

Then taken out back and shot to the dump!
Here's a quick run down of what we ripped out and evicted from 9808 last week.

Day One

  • The carpet leading to the basement. I didn't even want to walk on this thing in shoes it was so gross and smelt like a big wet dog.
As D and I were walking up the stairs to call it a night after sweeping the basement, I wondered out loud how hard it would be to pull up the carpet. "Let's see" said D and within 15 minutes the gross stair covering made of dog hair was history.
  • The weed garden along the front of the house and attempted to tackle the weeds on the right side of the front door. The ground is as hard as cement which makes for back breaking work.
  • The mailbox on the front screen door.

Day Two

  • The front screen door.
  • The ceiling fan on the deck.
  • The leaky kitchen faucet.
  • The leaking pipes under the kitchen sink.
  • The carpet in the basement.
  • The random fence panel in the front yard.
  • Attempted to fix the leaking bathtub faucet (we need to order a new part).
  • The gross discoloured Plexiglas panel above the bathroom counter.

  • And lastly the carpet from the main staircase.....

Those of you who have been paying attention may remember that I posted about our Stairway To Heaven a few weeks ago. The main floor staircase in the house acts as a focal point. It's steep, original and worn from years of use. The risers are high and 80% of the stairs creak underfoot. It  definitely needs to be sanded and re stained in the future but for now I love it just the way it WAS!

For reasons we can't begin to imagine, the previous owner decided to carpet the staircase before we moved in. Please note that this was done AFTER we closed on the house. So the last time we saw the staircase it was happily carpet free.

The weird thing is they went to the trouble and time to do the installation properly. Well as "properly" as everything else in the house has been done. By doing this they have now shortened the timeline in needing to refinish the staircase. They took the time to nail in tacking strips and glue down underlay. They didn't take the time to remove any debris from the stairs before fixing the carpet down though. D found used Xacto blades and strips of staples sitting on top of the underlay under the carpet. Oh Jeez! In all fairness, they may have wanted to carpet the stairs in order to protect them when moving the furniture down but I would imagine using a piece of capeting or blanket would have worked just as well.

So my once beautiful (to me) stairs are now marred with nail holes and glue residue (and the odd missed staple here and there). But at least they are back to being carpet free.

September 12, 2012

House Tour ~ Before Part 2

I will warn you that the photos of the top and bottom floors are quite boring but they are necessary for the sake of documentation.  These floors are examples of a DIY disaster.





To give you an idea of what you are looking at the basement is made up of 7 thrown together rooms (8 if you count the makeshift kitchen area). The previous owner seemed to have a method of finding a scrap piece of wood or building material and haphazardly screwing it up here or there. Not one single square inch of downstairs has been finished properly. The same rings true on the top floor. More on this phenomenon later.

The basement is definitely our diamond in the rough (with rough capitalized in bold and underlined a few times)! I envision a beautiful 1 bedroom basement suite in our future though. First I need to track down Scott McGillivray from Income Property and HGTV Canada ;)