I Can See Clearly Now

**HOUSE UPDATE !!!!!!**

I’ve been waiting a long time for this.

This piece of the puzzle has been the biggest hold up in ‘finishing’ our kitchen renovation.
And now – it is done!!


Our kitchen was installed over a year ago and Lee and I had poured over tile samples for our backsplash for a long time. We then had our tile guy, Derek, come over to quote the work and a small little question that he asked made everything grind to a halt.

“You’re planning on replacing the window, right?”
“Yup!!” [With big smiles turning slightly less toothy]
“Good – when? Because it would be a bad idea to install the tile before replacing the window.”

[Cue head smacking]

Of course. The window. We knew that all of our old, leaky, single pane windows would need to be replaced eventually but for whatever reason we didn’t think about the order of installs. Duhhh.

Or the dolla dolla bills associated with window replacing.

[Cue wallet clutching]

After a bunch of window quotes and style changes, we realized that this pricey endeavor would put the entire kitchen on hold for a bit.

And a bit ended up being over a year.

The initial quote we got was $1200 for supply and install of a new window. It blew our minds. We were scraping bits of our jaws up off the floor for weeks. We realized windows were pricey but the install was going to cost us even more than the window itself!!!

So, we decided we would tackle a window install DIY style instead, so we could “pocket” the $700 plus instead of throwing it out the proverbial window.

But $300-500 for a window was still no chump change when budget cuts had recently been made due to an addition in the fam jam and curveballs that life throws our way sometimes – so it took a long while of saving pennies for them to finally add up to somethin’ somethin’.

Which brings is to March 2014.

Kitchen window before

On one of the sunniest weekends we’ve had in the great white north lately, my dad and my man went to town removing the old window and installing the new one.

My nerves were going – quite fearful that the window we had saved for would accidentally fall and shatter – but lo and behold, all went so well you’d think they were pro’s.



I don’t even care that I have yellow spray foam as part of my kitchen decor right now. It serves as a reminder that the step I’ve been waiting for for far too long is just around the corner!!

Bring on the marble backsplash, baby!!


Down to Earth

It’s coming together.  Slowly but surely.

We didn’t find out ahead of time what gender our baby would be, so I couldn’t narrow down little details.  But now that Miss Brinley is here, piece by piece, our gender neutral room is becoming a wee bit more ‘girlie’.

I’m a sucker for classic nurseries and not super keen on cartoon themes.  My eye is always drawn to rooms on Pinterest that the little person can grow into rather than having to fully change out the decor over time.  I decided on a colour scheme ahead of time, based on the owl artwork I found at Winners / Home Sense.  The gray from the owl pic matched the walls perfectly and incorporated navy and teal, which could easily be in a girl or a boy room.  Once little miss was born, I added in a touch of pink in the room.

Owl in the closet

Truth be told, I typically despise pink.  I’m not exactly a girlie girl.  I enjoy wearing jeans and a t-shirt and my hair is almost always in a pony tail.  I didn’t even plan on putting any pink anywhere.  I thought “how cliche”.  But now that Brinley is here, something about having a girl has changed that.  Just slightly, mind you.  I haven’t gone overboard by any means… but I’m not vehemently adverse to a little pink here and there anymore either !

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I found the cutest pink fabric antique chaise at a garage sale for $30 (it was actually already sold and … well, I managed to talk the owners into selling it to me.  Long story !).  I just love it – although I’m still figuring out the layout in the room – so things may move.  Add in a beautiful bird cage (another garage sale find! Score !) and the chandelier (that was an original light fixture in our house … from our dining room) and there is a nice, feminine feel to the room.

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I tried my hand at making two terrariums to bring in some greenery and life to the nursery.  Love succulents instead of love ferns, perhaps !?

The only thing I bought were the succulents… making this an inexpensive addition as I used vases I already had and pebbles and dirt from my yard.

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I also made a mobile out of … wait for it … pine cones !  This room has a down to earth kinda feel and I wanted a little less consumerism in it and a little more creativity thrown in.  To make the mobile, I bound two pieces of drift wood together and then strung up some pine cones with fishing line.  I am contemplating painting the pine cones but for now they are maintaining their au naturel vibe.  B just loves staring up at them when I change her.  So I guess it passed the bosses test!

Pine Cone Mobile

A little bit of sentiment and older pieces are currently in there.  Like the distressed, vintage cabinet that the succulents are on, Isaac’s old crib, Lee’s grandmother’s La-Z-Boy that i happen to fall asleep in at least 5 times a week during the night time feed, and the dresser/change table that my dad built when I was born.


I thought it would be cool to incorporate the dresser somehow (plus our budget was too tight to buy anything else!) but it was a orange-y yellow stain and needing a bit of an update.  I painted the sides of it with Cowboy, which is the darkest paint on the swatch that the walls are painted (Skeptic and Turbo by General paint are the stripes colours) so that it still ‘matched’.  And then I painted the fronts of the doors and drawers with a plain ol’ white that I had sitting in the basement.  It’s not perfect.  It’s not consistent.  It now has a weathered look – done by accident – but I love it.  Now begins the hunt for new knobs and pulls !  I’m thinking crystal knobs… an Anthropologie shop will be needed but for now, I just spray painted the knobs so they weren’t totally in yo’ face.

There is a lot I still want to do in this room.  I would love to do some sort of a patterned paint on the plain Jane white curtains and I really want to do some sort of a gallery wall above her bed.  We shall see.  Like everything else in our house, it is a work in progress and will forever be changing.

Brinley's Room

Brinley's Room 2

Brinley's Room 3

But for now, it’s exactly what it needs to be !

Overdue Updates

Yeah – we’ve been off the grid as far as updating the ol’ bloggy blog goes.  Apologies.  I’ve been focusing my spare time mostly on completing my copywriting/content writing projects, which are paying projects, so the blog has suffered.  And man, have I missed writing.

With a lack of writing, there has also been a lack of renovating though… sadly.  We accomplished so much before January that we were feeling a little tired.  And our pocketbooks were feeling the burn too.  So basically, we’ve been doing little projects to keep us moving forward but nothing crazy drastic.

We painted the entire main floor in January – covering up the aged taupe walls with a fabulous brown gray called Turbo from General Paint.  The first swipes of paint caused a little swoon in me.  No joke.  After having some painting … experiencesthat caused me to never want to paint again, this paint totally excited me all over again.  The picture looks a little purple… it isn’t.  But it’s definitely a colour that transforms in different light.

Turbo Wall Colour

Yes, I am slightly nutty… a beautiful paint colour makes me sigh and causes a bit of giddiness.  Judge away.

In February, we started the hunt for our future tile purchases.  Frankly, we wanted to take our time and not rush into a decision because our kitchen has a lot of layers, what with a two tone off-white perimeter cabinet colour vs. chocolate brown island combo, a black perimeter granite vs. a fabulous eye catching island granite.  I really wanted something that would blend but not be lost.  And I reaaally really wanted something marble for our backsplash.

While tile hunting, we were also keeping in mind our front entry tile, back entrance landing tile, and the in-lay tiled hearth by our fireplace.  All things to consider.

Lo and behold, heading to our favourite tile store, The Tile Shoppe, proved to be an inspiring trip.  I found so many options that could possibly suit our kitchen.  Isaac was my little tile helper.  He followed behind me, examining every tile sample after I had, arms crossed.  Touching the ones I touched.  Mmm hmmming options.  Nothing but hilarious from that kid.

I took a butt load of pictures so that Lee and I could mull over the options together.  The Tile Shoppe only has so many take home samples, so pictures would have to suffice until we could go together.

Tile options

Tile Options


Tile options

The next trip was when we pulled our favourites together.  Lee and I had somewhat differing tastes for our tile selection but thankfully we were able to narrow it down to one favourite each and they had samples that we could put next to our cabinets.

Tile Combos

And yes, my favourite one won !!  It was a no brainer once we got home that my first choice (and his second) was the clear winner.

Marble Backsplash Winner

However… that specific tile was on back order until who knows when.  With one exception.  The Edmonton store had just enough stock.

So, yeah.  I begged my sweet momma to go there as soon as she possibly could to snatch up 45 square feet of the absolutely stunning marble back splash.  Seriously, thanks mom !  I was freaking out when I had heard we maybe couldn’t get it because it felt like this tile was calling me by name.  Like, first, middle, and last name – I HAD to have it.  Does anyone else get these weird ‘connections’ with renovating materials !?  No ?  Just me !?!  Hmm… embarrassing…

We have a meeting with our tile guy this Friday to get a quote for the back splash.  At this point, that’s all the tile we’ve ordered, but we’ve also picked out the tile we want to do in the entrances and on the in-lay hearth.  And they aren’t going anywhere stock wise.  Don’t worry – I checked and then double checked !  The name of this renovating game has been to save our pennies until we have enough for each project and to not get ahead of ourselves.  Which is super easy to do.

Now, for the handy motivating To Do List based on things that we’ve been putting off/have the materials already purchased:

  • Fawn over back splash tiles tonight
  • Confirm Friday’s appointment with Derek from Bosch Tile for tile install quotes
  • Hopefully book an install date
  • Price out new shingles for the garage as sadly, this is their last season with us and has become an ASAP project.  Boo.
  • Finish painting the closet doors from our walk in closet and the baby room/guest room closet – yeah, they’ve been up for months primed but not painted.  Tisk tisk.
  • Finish dapping and doing paint touch ups on the master bedroom and baby room/guest room baseboards.
  • Do paint touch ups throughout
  • Install baseboards and door casings and door headers
  • Do second coat of paint in living room

Then there is the Impending Project List once our wee To Do List is completed, which really is a list that goes on and on:

  • Repair brick mortar at the bottom of the fireplace (Lee ripped out the raised tile hearth last week and there are 5 bricks that need some love).  Oh, by the way, we are keeping the bricks and the wood burning fireplace.  $6000+ for stone and a gas fireplace was a wee bit stiff… so we’re updating what we’ve got instead !
  • Paint the brass fireplace trim
  • Stain the bricks with a concrete stain
  • Finish the hardwood in front of the fireplace and install the tile in-lay hearth
  • Find/build a mantle for the fireplace.  Do we ever have some cool ideas !!
  • Texture the main floor living space ceiling
  • Install pot light covers
  • Etc etc etc !!!

So – stay tuned.  I have so many posts that I want to write, so hopefully I can pull them out on a weekly basis !  Writing about reno projects, big or small, have gotten me excited again.