Thursday, August 30, 2012

The laundry room is done- almost!

Like many other projects in our home, the laundry room was put on the back burner while we worked on more important projects- i.e. the wine cellar, walk-in closet, etc! Yes, our priorities were (are) all mixed up:)

The gutting of what would become a laundry room began after our basement flooded during a strong rainstorm in the summer of 2008. It then remained in that state until we sloooowly started putting it back together piece by piece in 2010 until 2012.

I unfortunately can't find the flood pictures which would give you a good idea of what the room actually looked like. Here is a description: The room was originally part of the garage but was separated to create a laundry/work space, the walls were shiny varnished wood paneling, the ceiling was stuccoed, the flood was covered in blue, black and white mosaic tile, one wall had a bathtub held in place by a bed of cement (Yes, a tub!), the washer was in one corner of the room while the dryer was on the other corner about 17 feet away, and there were countless exposed electrical wires hanging from the ceiling. Maybe it's better I don't have before pictures since it may cause nightmares!

The original room was divided in two so as to create a laundry room and a playroom. The laundry room is small but it works.

The room is now almost done. Here are some pictures:



  This side of the room is used for storing laundry supplies but also the outdoor spa products (hence the beach towels) and craft supplies.
Cabinetry: $400 at Home Depot
Stool: $18 at Zone on St. Denis Boul.
Clock: $10 at Home Sense
Rug: $19 at Ikea
Looking for a mate sign- DIY

Here is the actual laundry side of the room:

The baskets are from the dollar store ($2 for the large baskets and $1 for the small ones). Much less expensive than any of the other options I looked at. The floor is the original tile that we decided to keep. The artwork is from Home Sense ($34). I find it kind of kitsch but fun- a great option for a laundry room.

The room is bright and cheery. I decide to go with this look after purchasing the clock. I figured that since there was no window in the room, why not brighten it up with color. The rest of the house has a mature and sophisticated character so this was a great place to have fun.

What's left to do:
Caulk and paint the crown molding
Install the baseboards around the cabinets
Install the door into the room
Install a light fixture

One day, soon I hope, it will be complete!

 Smiles,
Nancy

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Landscaping part 3: The Reveal


As previously mentioned, we had no intention of re-doing the pavers when we first bought our home (See part 1 of landscaping). That was, of course, until it all started sinking, tilting and simply looking horrible. In an effort to save some money we decided to keep the original pavers in the front of the house. But a little change was done by adding a border of new cobblestone-like pavers along the edges.

Here is the before and after:
You can see the retaining wall tilting in the before picture and the straight wall in the after picture. Also check out the add border- I find it calms the busyness of the pavers. Also notice that the driveway on the left side of the image is paved in the original pavers. Since it did not need repairing it only made sense to keep the original pavers in the front of the house so as to not have two different patterns.


Close up. Now if only I could get the city to fix the sidewalk!



The walkway on the side of the house was changed to the new cobblestone-like pavers. This is why we added the border around the front part of the house, we wanted the two types of pavers to blend. And of course, the great part is that the slope is perfect- no water accumulation along the foundation walls.


Another change was the addition of a black iron fence. I love the way it looks!

As for the backyard, we decided to get rid of the outdoor storage shed- I sold it on Kijiji. The yard looked so much bigger without it! We wanted a place to chill and the shed just took up too much precious space.

The yard went from this:


To this. Look at all the extra space without the shed!

To this:




See other landscaping posts: Part 1, Part 2


 Smiles,
Nancy




Monday, August 20, 2012

Landscaping: getting it done - part 2

The freeze and thaw experienced during Montreal winters means that there is lots of movement in outdoor landscaping. This also means that when laying pavers, the excavating and compacting is key to ensure that you won't have to redo your landscaping the very next year (I've seen this happen- what a mess!!).

As with any renovation, it's important to check on the progress. Here I am (9 months pregnant) verifying the work. The workers were extra nice to me but I think it's because they feared I'd go into labour if stressed.

In our climate it is necessary to excavate at least 12 inches (approximately 3 inches for the pavers and the rest is for rock and gravel).

Excavating for the walkway: 

Check out that belly!
Excavating for the backyard tanning pad:

Once the excavation was done, 2/3 of the area was filled with 3/4 inch crushed stone and compacted with a plate compactor. Gravel was then added on top of the 3/4 inch stone and also compacted. Tip: the compacting is done when you can walk on the gravel without causing an indentation.  The surface must be slightly sloped (3/16" per foot) away from the house for water drainage.

Here is the backyard pad filled with gravel but not yet compacted:



 Check back soon for the final reveal. It's a huge improvement from the before (See the before post)

Smiles,
Nancy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Landscaping Project: The Before- part 1

When we purchased out home the interlocking pavers were at least 15 years old but in really great shape. The slope and water drainage was perfect and the retaining wall was perfectly straight. Tony and figured that this would save us a few thousands of dollars in landscaping. But for some funny(!?!) reason within the first year of home ownership the pavers and retaining wall started moving and sloping! As if it was just waiting for us to arrive to start falling apart.
Because of the cost, we just kept putting this work off. But finally, five years later, we decided to bite the bullet and get the landscaping done. The pooling of water (and freezing during the winter) around the foundation of the house is a no-no. We didn't want to end up with foundation problems- a common problem in Montreal.

Here are some pictures of the before:

The sloping retaining wall:

The wall gets worse after every winter due to freeze and thaw.


Walkway sloping towards the house:
The grey section at the bottom edge of the foundation wall on the left side of the image is where the pavers should be. They sloped approximately 2 1/2 inches.


The pavers are old but I actually don't mind the pattern. In addition, my driveway is paved with these pavers and it's in great condition. So in an effort to save some money I decided to reuse the existing pavers. The contractor tried to convince us to just change to new pavers, driveway included, but to no avail.

We also decided to complete the backyard by adding a paved pad near the spa- a perfect tanning location.

Old entrance into the backyard:

Here is the drawing I gave the contractor:
 

This is a photocopy of the house plans. I just drew in the paver section around the house and the backyard indicating the instructions relating to the size and which pavers to use.

The contractor laughed at me when I gave him the above sheet but at least he knew exactly what I wanted.

I'll post the after pictures very soon.

Smiles,
Nancy

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Every nursery needs a rocking chair"

"Every nursery needs a rocking chair." That's what I was told. Initially, I was looking to buy a type of non-rocking armchair simply because I'm not a fan of the look of the traditional nursery rockers and I'm not willing to spend money on a chair I don't like. So after listening to countless mothers telling me I NEED a rocker in the nursery, I searched around for some alternatives.

Here is what I found:

Dorel Rocking Chair at Walmart. At $170 it's a fantastic option- affordable, good-looking and it comes in a variety of colors.
 
 Problem: it's not available in Canada, only in the U.S. So the searching continued.


I then found this chair, which I absolutely love! It's the Monte Design Glider available at Bebe Depot in Montreal and also at juniorbaby.com (Canadian online store). It is sooo comfortable and stylish. It comes in a variety of colors including greys, tans, greens and, yes, orange.

 Problem: At close to $1000 it was way more than I intended to spend.  But I must admit that if my husband hadn't been with me, this chair may very well have come home with me. Nothing like a husband to keep your spending in check.

Then Ikea's Poang chair came to mind. To my surprise there was a rocking chair version. Affordable ($140), comfortable and stylish- Perfect!
A big thank you to everyone who pushed me towards a rocker as opposed to a regular arm chair. Alessandro and I enjoy many, many hours rocking back and forth in the middle of the night. He might even like it too much!


Now, here's some eye candy:
Alessandro wearing the hat his grandmother made him. Judging by the smile on his face, I think he likes it.

 Smiles,
Nancy

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sweet little dreams: gender neutral nursery

Because we did not want to know the sex of the baby while pregnant the nursery decor had to remain gender neutral. In a previous post I presented the fabric which influenced the rest of the decor- pale blues and greens, with pops of bright orange.

I wanted to keep it calm and serene, not too over the top babyish. That being said I did want it to clearly be a baby's room but perhaps a classy baby:)

So here it is:    
I love the pattern created by the star light.

 The bedding, drapery and change table accessories were made by my mother.



The framed parrot is actually needle point my mother made in the 1960s back in Portugal. Th colors work perfectly in the nursery.

 The diaper bag is held up by an owl hook- so cute!
 The metal pacifier was welded by my father-in-law for the birth of his first daughter.

Busy busy 2012!

2012 has flown by! Can you believe it's August???

This year hasn't been good for blogging (I barely blogged at all) but a great deal has changed in our home. Many back-burner projects have been completed or almost completed and most importantly our family expanded.
In June we welcomed our first child. 


So as I attempt to get back into blogging, I warn you that you may be hearing a great deal about my little munchkin. I'm completely in love with this little guy.

Smiles,
Nancy  

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