i live on the corner of grey street

7 Jul

Soundtrack: “Grey Street” – Dave Matthews Band – Busted Stuff

Ok, so it may quite possibly be one of the most depressing songs ever, but it is also one of my most favourite Dave Matthews Band songs, ever.

Sorry for the lack of posts. Things have slowed down a bit on all fronts. Burn out and exhaustion have set in… and the list of things “to do” has seemingly gotten longer. All that to be said, I have yet to move in. As my sister reminded me, this is probably the only time that I will be able to live in one place rent free while preparing the other. I’m taking full advantage of that! Instead of moving me in two weekends ago, we had a work party. BIG thank yous to Thomas, Jordon, Dad, Ian, Sherri, Peter, Lisa, and Amanda for giving up your Sunday and helping a sister out! And last weekend Peter joined Thomas, Jordon and I – we got more done. I seriously have the best friends and family ever!

I want to talk colour. When I was young I really struggled with colour. My wardrobe was mostly black, grey and blue. My mom was always trying to get me into colour – red, pink, green, teal, ANYTHING but grey! I have now embraced colour, but I still love me some grey, which has (thankfully)become fashionable. It’s new taupe in home decor. After a lot of back and forth, a million stacks of colour swatches, many sample paint pots (best invention ever),  and dinner with Thomas, Jordon, Ian and Sean, the colour selection for my new home was made, and the paint was bought before I could change my mind…again! (Insert big sigh of relief from Thomas and Jordon here).

THE LIVING ROOM

Main: "Ashes"; Accents" "Picket Fence" and "Egg Yolk"

The main living area of my place, including the living and dining room, is in Behr’s “Ashes”. Its on the slightly warmer side of grey without hitting taupe. The concern I originally had was – would all this grey make me feel depressed on the grey rainy days that Vancouver is so famous for? Its a legitimate concern, but after seeing it on the walls, I feel less concerned about it. I have found it fresh and inviting. With the white trim and dark laminate, it’s smart and crisp.

A new coat of paint!

What I love about this colour is that it goes with everything. You can change the look of a room by changing your throw pillows and vases. So simple. Thomas painted an end table in Martha Stewart’s “Egg Yolk” for me. This shows how much he loves me, as he hates yellow. But I love it! The yellow and grey combination is one of my favourites! I will also introduce blue and green and maybe even some purple into the living room. We’ll have to see what fabric I find.

THE DEN

Main: "Ashes"; Accents: "Japanese Fern" & Wallpaper

Yay for new paint.

I love this wallpaper.

The den has also been painted in “Ashes” as there is a glass door leading from the living room, and I am a big fan of continuity. The wall that has the fireplace has been wallpapered in the pattern above. The picture doesn’t do the wallpaper justice. It is less yellow and more lime green, and the grey has a warm silver tone.

THE KITCHEN

Kitchen: Main: "Elephant Skin"; Accents: "Japanese Fern"

My boys working hard in the kitchen.

"Elephant Skin"

The kitchen has been painted “Elephant Skin”. I picked this swatch out every time I went to Home Depot. I was worried that it would be too dark, but I think it works really well in the kitchen. The green will be introduced in accessories and other fun accents.

THE BEDROOM

Bedroom: Main: "Clear Pond"; Accents: "Picket Fence", "Lunar Shadow", Wallpaper

As much as I have a thing for grey, I also have a thing for blue. And I LOVE this shade of blue! It’s calming, light and bright. It also transitions well from “Ashes”. Most of the furniture is going to be white, except for a beautiful, antique dresser Thomas and I found on CraigsList that he painted in “Lunar Shadow”. It looks amazing! The wallpaper is in the closets of my room and the main hall closet. It’s a bit decadent to wallpaper a closet, but I didn’t think I wanted a whole wall papered. I do love my closets!

I SO love this colour!

THE BATHROOM

Bathroom: Main: "Hosta"; Accents: Wallpaper

Don’t worry, I am not wallpapering my bathroom. I chose the colour of my bathroom from the wallpaper, which will be in frames on the wall. The background in the paper is more grey than brown, so everything ties in well. The towels and accents are going to be grey and white. I just need to figure out how to get rid of the brass…

My beautiful sister painting the bathroom.

So there you have it. More to come!

Getting ready to hang my hat,

M.

all that glitters

25 Jun

Soundtrack: “Black & Gold (Marcussen Album Version)” – Sam Sparro – Sam Sparro

Well, we are in the thick of it. I’m so exhausted, I’m not quite sure whether I am coming or going. I am so tired that I walked into the same wall twice yesterday – both times in front of my boss.  Yeah. Thomas is so tired that yesterday morning he almost walked out of the door without pants on! I told him he probably would have noticed as soon as he stepped outside, as even in summer 4:00am can be pretty chilly.

Sorry there hasn’t been much in the way of updates. I promise that they will happen more regularly once I am in my place. I won’t have cable TV, so it will be me and my computer – lots of time for blogging (and card making) once I get settled.

This weekend is the big move and there is SO MUCH left to do I’m kind of freaking out. This morning I came to the conclusion that it will not all be done before I am moved in… and that I have to be ok with that. The big jobs are almost done. I keep reminding myself that it takes time to build a house a home. Also, I have to think of Thomas. He will be bored if he doesn’t have some projects left to work on… right?

The laminate and baseboards are in – and they look AMAZING. My dad is working hard on the kitchen back splash – its going to look stellar. Again, I am getting ahead of myself. Its not right for me to tease you like that!

That's a lot of brass.

So brass… it’s everywhere. I hate it. One of the very first things we did – something  my agent made me promise I would do – was get rid of the lovely brass hardware on the kitchen cabinets. We went to Home Depot – lovingly referred to as “The Candy Store” around here – and picked up 2 value packs of stainless steel (or whatever metal they are, which is not brass and that’s what counts) knobs. Phew! What a difference that made. We are slowly exercising the brass –  changing out all the door knobs, bathroom cabinet knobs and closet door handles. It’s amazing how something as little as a knob can change the look of something!

So much better, don't you think?

Another area that desperately needed work was the fireplace. The mantle is not my favourite, but for the time being we will make it work with a fresh coat of white paint. Again, brass was an issue. Hooray for Thomas and his cans of black spray paint. Though it came with a price. Jordon, Thomas and I must have collectively lost thousands of brain cells. But it was worth it – it’s amazing how a fresh coat of paint makes everything better!

Thomas - The Foreman - working on the fireplace.

Bye bye brass...

That’s all for now. Not much of an update, I know. But good things are coming. Hopefully sleep is one of them.

Getting ready (whether I actually am or not) to hang my hat,

M

ugly duckling, part 2

21 Jun

Soundtrack: “Can’t Go Back Now” – The Weepies – Hideaway

Wow – we worked hard this weekend! I can’t wait to show you all the progress that has been made. The paint is on the walls, the tile has been picked and bought for the back splash and the floors start going in tomorrow. It already looks like a totally different place. I have had a few of my neighbours come by, check out the work we’ve been doing and comment on how different – how much better – it looks. I am so thankful for Thomas, Jordon and my dad for giving up their free time – and Father’s Day – to help get my place ready.

I am so excited, but I am jumping the gun. I still have to introduce you to the rest of the place.

It's a thing of beauty.

One of the very first things I did on the day I got possession was begin to rip down the wallpaper from the bathroom. I wanted to see if it would come off easily, and then it became an obsession. Unfortunately, in my haste to rid the place of forest green sponge painted wallpaper, I never got to take a photo so you could understand the beauty in its totality. Oh well, at least you get the idea.

The bathroom from the hallway door.

The bathroom has two doors – one from the hallway and one from the bedroom. It’s pretty small and needs some work (for example, the walls are disastrous, the linoleum needs to come out and be replaced with tile, etc.) For the time being I am going to focus on the things I can afford to change. This room will be a long term project. Thankfully the tub and sink are all neutral in colour. For now we’ll just work on making the rest of it look good.

The bathroom from the bedroom door.

The kitchen is a pretty good size for the space. However, it is lacking counter space – something Thomas and I are trying to remedy. There’s a lot of things that could be done with the kitchen to upgrade it. In a few years I will probably do some more renos – new countertops and appliances, etc. However, right now I am only doing what I can afford. The cabinets are in good condition, the appliances are fine. There are a few things that we are doing to make it nice. Dad is going to tile in a back splash, I will get a new faucet, we’ll clean up the cabinets, change out the hardware and get some paint going.

The kitchen.

The kitchen from the hallway.

In the floor plan there is a place for an eating nook (the the right in this photo), which I will use for extra counter space and a pantry.

Well… that’s it.  Except for the patio, you kind of have an idea of what my place looked like when I bought it.

The next part is where this becomes fun – showing you all the progress that has been made.

Getting ready to hang my hat,

M

ugly duckling

18 Jun

Soundtrack: “Belle of the Boulevard” – Dashboard Confessional – Alter the Ending

Ok, so I can’t really liken my new home to a “lady of the night” but as previously mentioned, she is currently a bit of a hot mess.

As I am new to this whole situation – home owning and blogging – I am finding it difficult to know where to start with the process. So, I’m thinking that I’ll just start at the beginning and walk you through step by step. I bought a condo in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s 855 square feet and on the ground floor allowing me a bit of a patio (last on the list of things to work on). I really like the location of my place as I am right by walking trails on the Coquitlam River and a short distance from Downtown PoCo (which is being renovated).

I bought the place from the original owner who did zero upgrades in the 16 years she lived there. Its a massive undertaking, since we (me and my crew of Thomas, Jordon, my dad and others) are doing all the work ourselves. We are not doing any major structural renovations – they are all cosmetic – paint, flooring, back splash, lighting… The place needs a LOT of work. Right now I am doing what I can afford to do and will go from there.

Here are some before pictures I took the day after I got possession. This is a quick tour to introduce you to the space.

View of the living room from the kitchen.

Here, you can see the patio where I plan to drink my coffee on Saturday mornings. The fireplace is double sided and goes into the den – the door on the right. The mantle facade is a bit of a nightmare. One day I may invest in a nice wooden surround and mantle… but for now we will just paint it and “make it work” as Tim Gunn (Project Runway) would say. Note the lovely shade of peach in the living room and hallways. The feature wall by the fireplace is one of my favourite colours – salmon pink. Its a shame that I will have to part with both of these colours. Another aspect that I am in love with is the stinky, smelly, gross carpet. That, too, will be hard to part with although it is serving its purpose as drop cloth with great dignity.

The living room facing the kitchen.

This is the living room/dining room facing the kitchen. I do like the cut outs between the living area and kitchen. I reckon that there’s nothing worse than hosting a dinner party (which I plan to host many of) and being cut off from your guests by being in the kitchen. Note, also, the awesome track lighting. That’s already gone.

The den from the door.

The den side of the fireplace.

Here’s the den. This is going to be my creative space. I have a small business, Inspire,  making greeting cards, invitations, journals and decor. The business will be properly up and running by the end of the summer (with an Etsy store and launch party), and this is where the magic will happen. I am really excited about this room.

There are some crazy angles in my home which give it character… but also make you work! The den is one of those places with lots of cut outs and angles. The vision that Thomas and I have for this place should utilize all the nooks and crannies to their fullest potential.

The massive master bedroom.

So, the master bedroom is… well… HUGE. It’s one of those things where you wonder, “What the heck were they thinking??!!” The living room could be so much bigger if the bedroom was a lot smaller. I’m at a bit of a loss as to how this space will work. Ideas are afoot, and once all the furniture is in, I’m sure that it will look grand. Gone will be the orangey-yellow colour painted over the hot pink that once lived on the wall. For serious.

The bedroom looking to closets and bathroom.

In this picture you can’t really get a good feel for the intensity of the pink. Needless to say, it’s got to go. There are two closets, which is awesome. I like storage.

Ok, that is all for now. Tomorrow I will share with you the bathroom, hallways and kitchen.

Getting ready to hang my hat,

M

to hang my hat

16 Jun

Soundtrack: “To Build a Home” – The Cinematic Orchestra

I have just bought my first home.

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit nervous about the whole thing. Scratch that – there have been moments when I have been downright petrified. On a single income, a mortgage – even a small one on an 855 square foot condo – is a scary endeavour. I envision a lot of Ramen Noodle dinners in my future.

However, I have been incredibly blessed in this process. I have never been alone. Among the many that have stepped in to help, I would be nowhere without my “foreman”, Thomas. He is my right-hand man. Not only is he is the King of Craigslist, but without him I would own an empty condo and still be living at my dad’s. It would be a bit of an understatement to say that Thomas is more excited than I am about my new home.

Finding a condo was an interesting process. I am the kind of person that feels deeply. As I went from place to place with my agent, I always tried to gauge how the place felt. I did not want to make a solely emotional purchase, but it has to feel like it could be home, you know? The place I bought felt like it could be home – my agent picked up on that right away.

However, it is a bit of a hot mess. My friend, Jordon, likens it to the ugly girl in a chick-flick. You know the one – with the coke-bottle glasses, unkempt hair, bad or no makeup. The peach and salmon pink walls, cigarette burns, and layers of grime in my new home did instill some level of fear in me. But, as Jordon reminded me, that girl inevitably becomes the hot chick… the one that all the guys fall over. That will be my home.

As I venture into the world of “blogging” and virtually journaling the adventure and process of building my home, I will include a soundtrack. Music is a massive part of my life, and mixed CDs are my favourite things to give my friends. Please feel free to share your favourite tracks with me – I love hearing new music!

Pictures coming in the next few days.

Getting ready to hang my hat,

M

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.