Monday, March 26, 2007

Sitting by the fire....

Okay, I know I am getting silly but I love my fireplace and writing about it is sillier still! It is one of those things that I always wanted in a home and only one other time when we had a rental did we have a working fireplace.

When you are selling your home you never know what one thing will sell your house...create that emotional attachment. For me in this house it was the vintage turn key doorbell and the fireplace.

Since we moved in, I have since repainted the fireplace to a crisp white to help balance the funny green colour I picked for the livingroom walls. Naturally, the first person to damage my nice newly painted fireplace was Andy but that was to be expected as I have a cupboard full of damaged crockery that he has broken over the years....he let a couple of logs roll out onto the tile and they burned a mark into the paint that I had to sand down and repaint. But, since problems!

There is something so cosy about a fire and you can't help but gravitate around it. When we light a fire we tend to all hang out and drink some tea and watch television or talk or blog with my laptop.

Later on we plan to add some more moulding to the fireplace and reface the fireplace with tile. But for now, painting was a quick, fun fix.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring is almost here....

As I am sitting here enjoying my morning coffee in the diningroom, I can't help but feel excited at the promise of spring. I am itching to get outside and check on the garlic I planted last fall....the whole time nervously planting and turning around to make sure a bear wasn't creeping up behind me....but that garlic is symbolic of a long road to finding my home.

Many years ago my husband and I rented an old house with the most spectacular views of Duck Cove Beach. Duck Cove was my stomping ground when I arrived in Canada and I love being next to the sea.

At the time we had been struggling with infertility for seven years and we had been told that there wasn't any hope. So, Andy had almost finished school, we were in debt, and I was miserable because I was trying to come to grips with never experiencing motherhood. I was however busy with my new job as a hotel manager and training new staff and opening new hotels for the company.

When I would get to stressed or frazzled, I would slip home and garden. I might weed a flower bed or plant some seeds....or one of my favourites was attacking the beds that were on the backside of the house overlooking the water. From spring to fall I watched these odd plants growing that were so cool and smelled delicious....I figured they were garlic but I was such a new gardener I couldn't be sure. But, I nurtured them, pulled all the weeds away and watched them grow and produce garlic. I enjoyed this so much that I said to myself at the time that when we found the home we would settle in, I would plant my own garlic and hopefully have it forever.

Well, it only took 14 years and four houses later to know that I am here and settled for a long time. This year I hopefully will harvest my first crop of garlic....If I am really lucky, maybe I can find a sunny spot to try growing roses.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


This is a photo of our mudroom closet. It is a huge closet with two solid wood colonial doors which is the first thing you see when you come into our mudroom. The closet is spacious and it already had a closet organizer inside though the inside walls needed a lot of work and the wooden shelves needed paintingBefore we began renovating this room there was very old cushion flooring in white of all colours, along with walls that had the most ugly wallpaper. It is a nice spacious mudroom about 8x10.

In this room we did everything half-assed backwards. Rather than stripping the walls and painting them first, we stupidly laid our new slate floors. This happened because my husband offered to lay the slate during the weekend I was going to visit my sister in NS. I didn't hesitate to take him up on his offer. It could be months till he found the motivation to do it again! I did a mental checklist of what could go wrong doing the floor first but my desire to get something, anything done...won!

I chose a less traditional black slate tile which is rough hewn and somewhat imperfect. Part of the reason why I chose a rough hewn tile was due to memories I had as a kid visiting an old abandoned house that had slate roof tiles laying on the ground in amongst the grass. I would drag home the old slate and use it as lap style chalkboards with my sister or friends while we played school! Plus, I wanted a bit of a scullery feel to the mudroom...nothing to fancy or perfect...rough and suitable for a house with three growing, messy boys!

I chose a cocoa brown grout which I love....but that has a story to go with it also. My husband had never laid slate...and in particular one that is imperfect and takes a loving hand and eye to get it right. It was a big job and quite frustrating but all in all I think he did a pretty great job! My only regret, is that we couldn't afford to lay the infloor heating which would have made the floor far more comfortable in the winter as I tend to not heat this room unless it is absolutely freezing! So, the tile is very cold!

My hubby used to much water in the grout and instead of having nice cocoa brown grout I ended up with white. I solved the problem by using tea bags dipped in water to stain the grout and in my humble looks marvelous!

Before we could paint the walls we had to remove layers of wallpaper. Well, why not make the job harder. Andy some sort of sharp object to score the paper instead of the proper tool....well, once the paper came off so did some of the gyprock and he had damaged the walls with his heavy duty scoring. So, all that had to be patched and sanded!

We ended up painting the walls twice. The first time it was a lovely green colour which looked really pretty. But, the look was more pottery barn and I felt it was to safe and predictable. What I really want for this house is my own look...I have always had to consider resale and keeping it buyer now I want my own somewhat eclectic taste to show through, I can show off all my bits and pieces that I have collected over the years! Most of all....I want people to smile when we open the door. I don't care if it is because they roll their eyes because they hate the colour or because it makes them feel happy! So, I chose a very bright almost tacky orange...and we love it! It is a small room and I will change the colour often I am sure...but for now....we get a kick out of the jolt of colour when you open the door.
In this photo you can see a small sampling of my vintage wicker bag collection. I have collected these for about 20 years now and my favourites are on display here. One isn't a wicker purse but one that my friend knitted and felted and the other favourite is one given to me by my friends Shane & Alli.

The light above is new and it is the rubbed bronze as are the new hinges and door handles. I really love changing out hinges as much as I do door handles. It is a small detail but it is something I notice and appreciate.

This room turned out to be
a lot of took us over a
month to complete this job. But we are really satisfied with the job so far. We do plan to replace the back door with a new one when we can afford it. But first we will replace the steps and build a small deck leading upto the entrance.