Plans for the New House-Kitchen/Dining Room

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Are you sick of my countdown yet? 5 days left, just in case you are wondering. 5 days until we start tackling the popcorn ceilings, ripping out the red carpet and re-painting everything. I promise this will the last of my plans, hopefully the next update will be an actual live house tour. The last room I'm planning for is the kitchen. This one is hard because it was the room we spent the most time and money on in our last house and we really ended up loving our kitchen. The kitchen in our new house-not so much. I think I mentioned it before but it seems like this new kitchen was renovated sometime in the late 80s or early 90s and they made some strange choices. Choices that involved splurging on a sub zero fridge but then cheaping out on laminate for HALF the counter-tops. Splurging on a top of the line vent hood and then cheaping out on laminate floors. The cabinets are custom as they are all irregular sizes but sadly they are wrapped in metal edging. Here is a little more detail:
While I'd love to simply gut the kitchen and start over, that is not gonna happen. The cabinets are good quality wood and the appliances are higher end. Looks like at least for now we're going to try and do some updates to bring it out of the 90s and into this decade. I've always loved darker kitchens and since these may not be our cabinets forever it's a bit easier to take a risk and test out painting them a deep shade. I also love a patterned tile so we're going to try and find a budget way to incorporate that-either a back-splash or a linoleum tile cut into a geometric pattern. Apart from how labour intensive it is to cut all the tile (sorry Chad) it mimics an expensive cement or ceramic tile at a fraction of the cost- $300 vs. $5000. A bit of inspiration below:
Via: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Forrest green or olive green kitchens have been popping up everywhere-or maybe it's just since I got it in my head that I wanted one. This is the option I'll go with if we can change the floor. I'm thinking the green cabinets will clash terribly with the beige-y laminate floor. In this option I'd have my green cabinets, a fun geometric floor (my mom says it will make everyone feel dizzy and sick but I still love it), a neutral white back-splash thanks to the trusty cheap white subway tile and then I'd replace the damaged back laminate counter with a wood, probably throw in some brass knobs/pulls for good measure. 

Option 2 is if we decide to keep the floors as is. We're not really sure what material it is. It may be able to be re-finished to match the other floors or to something less yellow. Or... Chad may decide that he is not willing to figure out how to cut a million linoleum tiles exactly the same size. In that case we have option 2- the same floors but black cabinets to pull out the black stripe in the flooring. If budget allowed I'd get my geometric fix with some back-splash tiles, maybe use white concrete counter-tops and throw in some Lucite (acrylic) pulls. 

In the dining room portion of the kitchen/dining room Chad will be building me a very large table. I'm thinking something rustic and farmhouse style to pair with the modern Eiffel chairs we already have. I don't have a picture but the far side of the kitchen has a weird low built-in cabinet that's been spray painted to match the cabinets. That will be removed because it's proportions are all off. In it's place I'm deciding if I want a china cabinet, a buffet, some kind of open shelving, or maybe just a huge gallery wall?


So many possibilities and so much painting and scraping-wish us luck! I think I'll be taking a little break to get everything done and then get settled but don't worry I'll be back with some exciting new developments. Chad's break is definitely over!

Real Estate Room Reno-Update

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Back in June 2014-yikes, a while back now- I posted a real estate room reno for a house that was for sale near my aunt and uncle's house in Ile Bizard that I truly loved. Here is what I said back then:

A few weeks ago I got an email from my aunt that said: "I know you love this house. They are subdividing the property and the price has plummeted to $495,000. Think of all the reno projects you could undertake!!! (Notice I didn`t cc Chad on the message……)."

So instead of actually buying it I did the next best thing I could think of, pretended I owned it and planned a renovation on one room in the house. You can see the full post HERE. I happened to be browsing the real estate listings, as one does when one is closing on a new house in less then 20 days, and saw that "my" house was listed for sale again. It's been completely renovated. It's obvious they didn't follow my plans but it's not too bad for a flip. There is nothing I love more then a little before and after action (except for browsing the real estate listings), so here it is:

Listing and Exterior Before

Unique 1786 4-bedroom ancestral home on large lot on Ile Bizard with no rear neighbours. Thick stone walls and historic architecture create a charming atmosphere. Large yard is surrounded by a cedar hedge, and has many mature trees. Located 30 minutes from downtown Montreal, and close to 3 Golf Clubs and Bois-de-l'Ile-Bizard Nature Park.

Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 1 full/ 2 half
Year Built: 1786
Asking Price: $495,000

Listing and Exterior After

Nested on a private 5000sqm, beautifully landscaped and surrounded by mature trees lot, this exquisite 1786 authentic stone manor was completely renovated in 2014/15. Experience the luxury of today's comfort and modern design combined with the timeless elegance from the past. An architectural 3-story treasure, only 30min. from downtown Montreal!

Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2 full/ 2 half
Year Built: 1786
Asking Price: $1,150,000 

So that's quite a jump in price! What kind of work did they do to warrant that jump? First exterior, it looks like a new roof, newly painted shutters and some landscaping but let's dig in and see the really good before and afters to find out where all the money went.

Living Room Before

Living Room After

You have to agree that is so much better. While the decor is a bit bland for me, the bones of the room have definitely been returned to its former glory. The popcorn ceilings removed (something I have to look forward to), the wood paneling removed and the floors and beams refinished. It looks like all the trim work and staircase was refinished as well. This is now such a great neutral base to come in and decorate however you'd like. Wouldn't it be lovely to have two seating areas in your living room? 

Dining Room (Porch) Before

Dining Room After

I really like the use of this space. In the original photos I envisioned this as more of a three season porch or conservatory but I love it as a dining room. It looks much less porch-like without the wooden ceilings and fans. 

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

I think you probably know if you've read this blog for a while now how much I dislike beige and taupe, regardless I'll still give this bedroom a pass. New floors, new ceiling and beige is still better then red. Oh yeah, and a fireplace in your bedroom- I could handle that too.

Family Room Before

Family Room After

While this one isn't as dramatic, it goes to show the power of new flooring and the removal of weird textured ceilings and walls. I imagined the before room had a wet musty carpet smell while the new room looks perfect for relaxing and not having an allergic attack. I've saved my favourite for last, the kitchen remodel.
Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

What do you think of this kitchen? The before was an obvious gut job. I like how it's still fairly traditional with white shaker, full height cabinets and a beamed ceiling. I think the island is a little strange with the cut away for bar stools and I don't love a small scale glass subway tile but overall I think it looks well done and not too modern for the home. I might have gone a bit more classic with a subway tile and gone with a more traditional soapstone counter. Would I take this kitchen and enjoy it? Yes! 

Overall, this appears to be a high quality renovation with attention to detail and materials. Do you think it's worth over a million dollars? What would you have done differently and who wants to buy this for me?

Plans for the New House-Living Room Moodboard(s)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


The countdown is on people...25 days left until we close on our new house! I've been keeping busy with a few fun side projects but have also set aside time to work on some inspiration, a floorplan and my painting everything black plan for the new place. This time, I've done up a few moodboards to help me decide what direction the living room should go in. To recap, here were some of my inspiration images:
via 1/2/3/4/5/6
Yes, my inspiration seems a bit bi-polar. I have to admit it's always harder for me to design my own place. I love so many different styles and colours that one day I want neutral and another day I want colour everywhere. What does help is that, due to budget constraints, I have to keep the larger furniture pieces and rugs we already have. I'd love to reupholster my vintage tub chairs but as I mentioned in an earlier post-that's not gonna be cheap. 

I ended up creating three moodboards to show three different living room styles- from what I'd have if I used mostly everything I already own, to what I'd do if I could re-do a bunch of things. The elements that stay the same are my inherited vintage white sofa, the overhead light fixture Chad is in the process of making (in addition to the large scale one I've asked him to make for the family room/open hall area) my marble and wood coffee table, and my buffet and metal wall art.  

Here is my tentative floorplan to get an idea of where the living room is. I'm focusing on the new living room (former dining room) for now. 


This first option uses a majority of items we already have (with a few new additions). The vintage white sofa and chair I inherited from my grandparents. The camel chair is a purchase from the Brimfield Antique Show I made us drag all the way home at the same time as the bingo sign. All of this furniture was residing in our basement at the old house because the large black leather sectional couldn't fit down the stairs. I'm excited to have it see the light of day. The rug is my old standby Ikea and the white side table I already have from Target. I figure I can create some similar artwork and then would only be purchasing a few new items like the sconces, side table and pillow. I'm kicking myself that we gave away two mid-century side table before we moved but I'm fairly certain I can find something secondhand. I'm surprised by how much I like this neutral room.


This option was the one I had been leaning towards the most in my head. After seeing the number 6 inspiration photo from Jessica Helgerson, I wanted to recreate the pink on pink room. I think it stops just short of being overly saccharin due to all the black accents. I also obviously love a black accent wall and have always wanted to add wainscoting. Both this option and the one below involve me reupholstering the tub chairs. These were/are my top two colour choices for the chairs-either a pink or blue velvet. I love all the saturated colour in this room and that overdyed rug is a thing of dreams. 


Option three to me feels like a mix of both other options. Still some pops of colour but also calming and neutral. The blue velvet was, or still is, a top re-upholstery choice. This room also includes a beautiful beni ourain rug- which is modern but classic. I also added in the DUO wall paneling I saw at the CHEO dream home.  I love how both the rug and wall add pattern and interest without being too loud. This option also calls for a whole bunch of new throw pillows (sorry Chad!) so it would obviously be a "down the road" option. 

It looks as though some variation of option one will be what I start out with. Which one is your favourite option 1, 2, or 3? Do you ever plan out your decorating in phases?

CHEO Dream Home Tour

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


photo: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen
This past Sunday, on the recommendation of several people, I made Chad come with me to the Third World Bazar. Now that he works and lives from my parents' house he is much more agreeable about going on "ridiculous" outings with me. We didn't last long at the Bazar because "someone" called it "the place where all the tourist crap goes to die." Please ignore Chad, it was actually quite good and I could have spent at least an hour in there, especially with the beautiful Turkish rugs they had. In order to get me to shut up make the most of the drive out there, we decided to drop into some model homes out in Manotick because I love a good model home. Not only did we find model homes but the model home of all model homes- the SHOW HOME (Imagine me saying that with a full choir backing me up)!

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) dream home is the largest part of the $1.7 million top prize and is a departure from the homes designed by Minto for the lottery in the past. I always imagined these lottery show homes, especially in Ottawa, to be a bit formal and stuffy for my liking but designer Donna Correy has created a modern interior that made me buy a ticket (well, made me make Chad buy a ticket). In case you can't make it out there yourself, here are a few photos. Some I took and some I grabbed from the internet because the house was pretty crowded and I thought you may not be interested in looking at a bunch of strangers. Exhibit A:

I think his face says it all. Doesn't he look super excited to be visiting the show home? Okay back to the good pictures...

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
The entryway had modern glass paneled doors and was the first of many interesting light fixtures.

While the furniture wasn't my favourite-I think La-|Z-boy sponsored that-I loved the artwork, the walnut flooring, and the lighting. All the lighting was from Living Lighting.

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
I liked the idea of using a bookcase/shelf in the dining room. A great alternative to a buffet and a great way to showcase all your pretty dishes. I'm also enjoying the art placement above the shelf. It balances out the height of the artwork on the opposite wall. Not enjoying the weird snake flowers and the pot of sticks.

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
Yeah...and then this! While a lot of visitors (like our friend in the first picture) seemed most impressed with the hockey rink in the basement, this was my version of an indoor skating rink. I'm not going to show you the hockey themed basement because I obviously couldn't care less, but this staircase, glass wall, light fixture situation was perfection. If only we had the small fortune it would cost to install this.

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
The only potential downside I could see would be how to clean this glass wall? I imagine if you can afford to have this installed you have the money to pay someone else to clean it. I think the grand prize also comes with a cleaning service-they thought of everything!

My second favourite part was the kitchen and butlers pantry. My obsession with geometric tile continues and this backsplash tile mixes it with my other obsession-marble. 

Again, great light fixtures! The integrated wood and quartz top island that also serves as the eat-in kitchen was an interesting idea. 
photo: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
Gahhh...tile close-up. I also liked the wood framed cabinets. Wasn't such a fan of the single pendant over the sink or the vent hood but.....marble geometric tile!

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
The main living area, or family room I guess, was just okay-y for me. Is that even a word? Oh well, that's how I felt-underwhelmed, especially after the kitchen. I like the idea of a concrete clad fire place but it looked a bit like foam covered plaster. The office behind the fireplace seemed like an afterthought. Also another damn planter full of sticks, I'd rather see a real plant. Also, beige... you know how I feel about all the beige.

photo: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen
Ahhh... back to the good stuff. Glass partition wall, fun light fixture and an interesting wall paneling idea.

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
I spy some more geometric tile. I'm hoping our DIY chandelier will have the same presence as this one.

The 3-D wall paneling is actually a product called "DUO" and comes as a package. I'd seen it displayed in a big box hardware stores before but it never looked very convincing. It's basically thin wood panels so may be easy to make yourself. Add it to the project list.

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
This was the Master Bedroom. The only things I liked were the wallpaper and the light fixture. I know, on and on about the lights- I feel like I'm obsessed with lighting since we started building our own. Oh yeah and the side table lamps aren't too bad either. 

photo: Fred Chartrand, Ottawa Sun
Finally the bathrooms. I'm only showing you photos of two.There were more but I found them boring because they didn't have geometric tiles or a shiny silver bathtub. 

What do you think? Would you buy a ticket? It goes to a good cause and you could be the proud owner of a house filled with marble and geometric tile-oh yeah and a weird indoor faux skating rink, if that's your thing. Check out the show home at 800 Percival Crescent in Mahogany, Minto’s community in Manotick or save someone you love from having that look on their face by doing a virtual tour HERE

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