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Living room photo

March 26, 2010

As promised, I snapped a quick pic when I got home from work tonight. It’s been a lovely, but cold day here, so it’s very bright and I’m not so sure this really does the green walls justice, but it’s the best I could do for now.

The Woodland Green looks pale in the sunlight, but deeper and more grey at night

And of course you’ll notice our nice new couch and love seat, with no pictures on the wall. I think we might hang those back up this weekend.

Next we’ll be tackling the hallway. Remember that dark wainscoting? It needs to go. I figure we will start there and see how that looks. There’s a neutral beige up top right now, the same blah colour that was in the living room, but I think that with fresh white wainscoting it might not be too bad.

If it is, we picked out an alternate green that would look fantastic…but we’ll just have to wait and see. I don’t expect much to get accomplished over the next couple of weeks, then before you know it we will be working outside, cleaning up the gardens, opening the pool and leveling out the sloping on the east side of the house. That will be some hard work, but will, fortunately, only require us lifting patio stones and getting some dirt, so we will be able to do it ourselves.

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Spring has sprung

March 23, 2010

And so has my desire to do some home renovations.

It has been a really long time since I’ve posted anything, and mostly that’s because I haven’t done anything around the house. Call me lazy, or just busy with other things, but the short, drab winter days didn’t inspire me to change anything in the house. I was kind of content with the status quo.

But a couple of weeks ago the weather picked up. Warmer, sunshiny days inspired Will and I to take a second look at that matching couch and love seat for the living room we’d been eying up way back before Christmas.

Well, the timing for us couldn’t have been better. We walked into Heritage Furniture here in Burlington the day after the floor model went on sale. So we saved a few hundred extra bucks, but the immediate availability of the set forced us to paint the combined living and dining room quicker than we’d ever anticipated.

Fortunately, we already knew that we wanted to paint the room green, and had the matting on a grouping of paintings that exactly matched the shade we were looking for. So I popped over to the local Home Depot, painting in hand, and selected a few colour swatches. We stuck them up on the wall and looked at them in all different lights (which mostly consisted of dull grey since the weather turned at that point) and settled on a CIL colour called Woodland Mystery that is now a lively spring shade of sage green on our walls and nicely compliments the Montrose Cream colour of the upholstery.

Photos of the makeover to come. Last week was beautiful and sunny, but I was too busy starting my new job (!) to think about snapping some shots, and it’s been back to dull grey this week. I promise to update at the first sight of sun.

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Happy New Year!

January 3, 2010

It’s been a while since my last post and that’s because I’ve been on vacation. I had 10 whole days off work, so Will and I planned to head down to Florida on Boxing Day to visit his parents for a week. At the last-minute plans changed, and though I was a bit sad to be missing out on a few days of sun and sand, I realized I could get a lot done around the house during the week off – but that didn’t happen either.

You see, I hadn’t slept in literally in months. I’m up every weekday morning at 6 am for work, then I had class at 9 on Saturday mornings, and that just left Sunday to sleep in. But with such limited weekend time at it was, I wasn’t really sleeping in on Sunday either. So on Boxing Day, I slept. Then I slept some more. I got up, stayed in my pyjamas, slept on the couch for the first time ever in the house. Then I proceeded to stay up all night. After a couple of days, my days were turned into nights. And you know what? I liked it. Though I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get up for work tomorrow…

At any rate, all my relaxing vacation time meant that I didn’t get anything done around the house. Until today.

It started this morning when I took down all the Christmas decorations. I was sad to see the season end, but knew it was time to clean up or else I’d end up having to do it one night this week after work, which I didn’t relish the thought of. When I emptied all my gifts from under the tree, I strategically left my new mailbox out, hoping Will would see it and offer to put it up. And I was in luck, because that’s exactly what happened!

Check out my new mailbox

The old mailbox was a tarnished old brass thing that had seen its day. This new one is black, which looks great with our white siding and coordinates nicely with the black shutters on the front of the house. Now all that’s left to do at the front door is replace the brass light fixture with a black one. I saw one today at Canadian Tire that I quite like, so I’ll go back and pick it up when it’s a bit warmer out.

After the mailbox, Will and I seemed to be on a roll. I unpacked all my boxes full of books and got them on my book shelf. Will reorganized his closet and we even got the closet door back up. We’re still missing one, but hopefully we’ll be able to get one shortly (it was missing a door when we moved in and just our luck, they don’t make closet doors that size any more. We’ve been scavenging re-use stores in the area, but haven’t looked in about a month, so maybe we will find one next weekend).

Then we decided to take on all our pictures, which Will said were getting angry because they have been living on the floors since we moved in. I was apprehensive about hanging anything until we were sure about furniture placement, but I gave in and we got the majority of them hung up. I have to admit, they look good and the house looks more like home, feels bigger and definitely looks less cluttered. So Will was right. Are you reading that, Will? You were right!

Now, if only we could get this much done every weekend…

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Digital Thermostat Sale

December 19, 2009

Good news, Canadian Tire has the Noma brand of digital thermostats on sale this week. At 50 per cent off, we can  get either a seven-day, five plus one plus one, or a five plus two digital thermostat for $20 to $30. And of course, they’re all energy star rated. The best part? We have a balance on a Canadian Tire gift certificate we got as a wedding gift that will cover the cost.

Good deal, huh?

So I’m going to stop on my way home today to pick one up, and now Will’s got his work cut out for him this afternoon.

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Reflections of 2009

December 18, 2009

As 2009 nears its end, I can’t help but look back on the year to reflect and evaluate how my life has changed. To say this was a life-altering year would probably be the best way to describe it, and it was buying our home that made it that way.

At this time last year I was just humming along. We’d been married just a few short months and as I usually am at this time of year, I was quite focused on the beginning of the competition season at skating, and trying to get everything done before Christmas. Boy, what a difference a year makes! I’m still focused on skating, but this year I’m trying to get the house ready for Christmas, which feels like a huge change.

And when I look back on the past few months, I can’t help but think of all the things I would have done differently…

First, and foremost,  I think I would have hired someone to do the bathroom. This blog has helped me keep my frustrations in check, and has helped me keep upbeat about the whole thing. But the truth is, that it’s been very frustrating. I’m happy that is almost done now and looks fantastic, but I can’t help but feel a pang of anger every morning at 6 am when I have to trudge down to the basement to have a shower. I know Will reads my blog to, in his words, “see what I have to do this weekend,” and if you’re reading this, Will – please finish the bathroom this week so we can move on to something else.

Plus, if we’d hired someone to do the bathroom for us, it would have freed us up to paint the wainscoting in the hall. If that was done, I wouldn’t have to think about doing it over the holidays with my time off.

And finally, I think I would have ordered new furniture before we moved in so we didn’t have a messy, semi-furnished basement now. It’s annoying to go down there every morning, on my way to the bathroom, and see the random stuff all over the place. The first thing I’m going to do in the new year is order that sofa and loveseat we liked so we can start getting the house in better order.

Ultimately, none of this stuff was done because of money. If there’s anything I learned in all this, is that home ownership sure does cost a lot. In fact, it’s kind of sucked me dry.

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Baby, it’s cold outside

December 17, 2009

And I’m looking to save money on my heating costs – up to 33 per cent, that is.

As you can see, we have an old school, manual thermostat that’s a bit of an eye sore to say the least.

So I think it’s about time we worked on an upgrade -preferably a digital, programmable thermostat, though I do have a few reservations.

I know that digital thermostats are notoriously difficult to program, so we’ll need to find something that we can actually get to work for us. I’m also looking for one that has  the energy star rating and, shallow as this may be, it has to look better than this old clunker!

I’ve done some looking online, read reviews and compared prices. Seems to me that Honeywell is the brand leader, though from what I’ve seen the prices really vary. Maybe we only need something basic? Ultimately I’d like it to have a “five and two” option so that we can program the weekends differently than weekdays. But if we go with the cheapest model, is that sufficient?

Any feedback or recommendations are greatly appreciated!

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My own top 10 list

December 16, 2009

Over the last couple of weeks, everywhere I look everyone’s compiling some kind of top 10 list of things from the last decade. And it gave me the idea to do my own top 10 list with a twist.

The following is the list of things I’d like to accomplish in my house over the next decade:

  1. I would have someone else deal with my dark wainscoting in the halls.
  2. I’d like to refinish my hardwood floors. They’re in great condition as they’ve been covered up for the last 40 odd years, but there are spots that could use a little buffing and varnish.
  3. I will replace my kitchen sink. Now it’s a dark, ugly black. Actually, I shouldn’t say it’s ugly, it’s not really that bad, but I don’t love it and look forward to changing it out one day.
  4. I will furnish my basement. Currently our old dining room furniture lives down there as a desk and while that’s ok for now, my plan is to order a new couch and loveseat in the new year and move our old stuff down there. I don’t know what that’s going to mean for the makeshift desk, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.
  5. I would like to change out all of our light fixtures. This weekend I’m going to take the two hall ones down and spray them white to freshen them up, but ultimately I’d like new ones.
  6. Speaking of changing light fixtures, I’d also like to replace the one outside. There’s nothing wrong with it other than it’s old. In fact, maybe I’ll spray that one (black) while I’m at the indoor ones this weekend.
  7. I will open up the backyard to make it more useable. Currently, a fence divides our backyard into two sections, the pool and a long, narrow strip of grass. I’d like to better utilize the space by removing the fence, building a patio and creating an outdoor living area.
  8. My dream is to install California Shutters in our living room and dining room. They would look so sharp! But they have to be custom-made, so we’ll need to save up for that.
  9. Eventually, I’d like to re-do the bathroom in the basement. It’s a small space with a weird shower that really should be replaced – hopefully by one with jets up the wall.
  10. And finally, the one you’ve all been waiting for – I hope to one day have our main bathroom complete. We’re so almost there! I know I’ve said that a lot, but this time I really mean it. We just need to hang the light fixture and mirror and we’re set. This weekend? Maybe…or maybe not!