Before + After: Basement Bathroom

You've seen bits and pieces of it coming together. But since the inspector just signed off on it (I know it took us awhile...only because it took us awhile to remember to call him!) it seems fitting to do the reveal. We did everything ourselves, except for the plumbing + drywall. Sources are listed at the bottom of this post. This is what we started with as we rebuilt the bathroom. This photo is actually a few steps into the process, having replaced the plumbing under the house, new concrete floor, new walls, insulating etc. etc. But it's a starting off point...

And this is what we created.....

One major choice was the pocket door. I highly recommend this, as it is the best thing for a small space. The other major element is the stand up shower. I love, love the shower. Eventually we'll put in a glass wall but it's not an issue right now, and not much water spray happens. The shower set it Moen, and I adore having the toe kick. (See this post on the shower) For those unaware of the toe kick, it means I can test the water temperature with my foot, prior to getting sprayed.

We created a DIY pivoting mirror after falling for one at Pottery Barn, but not falling for the price. (See this post on how we did it)

Since the bathroom is in my workspace (the basement is my studio/office) it seemed fitting to offset the formality of the finishes with some cheekyness. I created this art.

One of the neat elements is this pivoting toilet paper holder. Honestly people, this is the best invention. No springs flying everywhere!

And there you have it. Our basement bathroom. :) Amazing to see the progression of how it all came to be. (See all of the posts here) I'm kind of uber impressed at my husband. :) Next up...Master Bath! ;) (Kidding...kind of)

Source Guide for the Basement Bathroom
Big Deal Art Print: My shop.
London Gaurd Art: DIY, See post on how to do it here
Mini Cooper replica Car: Mini Downtown
Vanity: Kohler Memoirs
Faucet: Delta Dryden Set
Toilet: Kohler Memoirs
Tiles: The Tile Store
Shower Head + Toe Kick Set: Moen from Home Depot
Window Tint: Peel & Stick frosting via Home Depot
Moen Pivoting Toilet Paper HolderHome Depot
Wall Colour: Paper White by Benjamin Moore OC-55
Pocket Door: Similar ones are available at Home Depot.

Utterly boring week is done! :)

This week has been utterly boring. I've been painting the new trim around the windows. A task I now loathe as I feel as though I'm doing it all the time. Wait. I AM doing it all the time. As much as I hate doing it, I'm too much of a control freak to ask Aubrey to do it. I kind of do all the painting around the house as I like things "just so". Anyways, looking at it finished last night was a huge relief, and it looks awesome. So we can start to put our house back together again. (Pictures coming up next week) But although it has been boring on the projects I've been collecting inspirational images. Here are some inspirational shots for children's artwork that I adore.

Via Spearmint Baby

The minute I put my mind to art, I'm seeing Art related posts everywhere online. But especially in getting your kids to do the art. I'm not sure I'm going to release Oscar on the canvas but here are some more inspirational shots for the weekend. 

Vibrantly Defiant Art Form

Infinite knowledge is impossible as each human soul wandering the planet will have subjective experiences that will help to form their norms, values, tastes and sense of style.  But although we’re all different humans can sometimes find consensus, an agreement, a bench mark and an accepted standard!
It is therefore fitting that the kitchen we think we know should become reshaped into something more abstract, a more vibrantly defiant art form, which may appear alien to many, but maps out the progressive direction that kitchen design is taking.
This is a splendid example of how kitchen design is changing.  This is a play with shapes and colours but also a realisation that functionality does not need to be restricted by architecture, design or expectations.   The two dimensional layering is great creating steps within the design and adding colour just increases the sensory pleasure.
Absolutely fantastic!!

DIY Art, Video Tutorial

Thanks to Kelley from Calgary for sending me a link to a few awesome DIY Art links (She knew we were trying to find creative ways to add some fun art to our house.) One of the links was to the following video that I thought was pretty inspiring. Sadly Oscar is at the stage where he'd eat the paint, vs. actually painting with it.... :) But I look forward to the day where I can let him loose!

Ps. Even in all my art classes I hadn't heard of Gesso (that they use in the video) so I may go pick some up to try.

Front Porch Designing...Any Ideas?

One last exterior post till moving to the interior...

Personally, I have been searching for a house with a front porch. It was not a necessary "must have" for this house, but was definitely an added bonus! I look forward to quiet summer nights on the porch, with the sounds of the crickets and wind in the trees. It's a feeling that reminds me of my parents home; the smells and sounds gives me instant comfort! Not only that, but the porch becomes an extension of the home. Due to it's pint size, maximizing on extra living space it key to my new dwelling!

I haven't yet decided what type of furniture I would like to have in the front; a swinging bench? Two Muskoka chairs and a side table? A small settee or love seat? For those of you that do have front porches, what is your favorite part about the porch? Has some furniture served better than others? I need your input on this one!

Funky option for Front Porch (via)

Traditional Rattan? Rug?

Clean vs. Dirty - Free printable

One thing that happens a lot in my house is I start to do laundry, and it piles up and sits at the foot of the basement stairs. I can't carry it up the stairs along with Oscar, so it sits there waiting for a chance for me to bring it up to the bedroom. But the following usually happens.... Aub will be in the basement and yell up at me...

"Is this basket full of clean or dirty??"
And I usually yell back as I'm chasing after a bare bottomed baby "I have NO idea"

So I designed a card that is 2 sided, and I put ontop of the clothes in a bin. It helps Aubrey and I know what is in it.
Here is how you can get your own too.

Step 1: Download the page I designed
Step 2: Cut the signs out
Step 3: Laminate back to back. If you don't have a laminator, bring it to your local office store, they will do it for around $2.00 or less.

One side says "Dirty - Please Clean Me" and the other side, says "Clean - Smells like fresh cotton - how lovely"

The download won't be available forever, so grab it now if you like it. And because I have to say's not for resale. Just for personal use. Thanks! xo Linds

Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum Kitchen!

This simplistic design is futuristically inspired to the point that it has been given its own protective force field.  This buffering layer wraps itself around the functional core like a piece of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum, adding huge aesthetic interest to the design and even providing tasty voids and shelves that could be practically optimised and even individually personalised.
There is pod like feeling to this kitchen because the functional segments are independent, detached from each other, being characterised by soft curved edges.  The outer wrap amplifies the soft edges further by capturing all of the independent elements together, making them whole and visually united.
This design is also crying out for some atmospheric back lighting, a colour changing element that allows for mood reactions and human control.  The spacing between the outer wrapping element and the functional core would be more intensely showcased if the space between could glow red and then blue and then yellow...a dimmer would also be good - providing ultimate control!
A simple but brilliant design!

Kitchen Windows

Our Eat in kitchen window was arguably, the window I hated the most in the house. It was really the window that was at the root of the full window replacement project. Here is the before (when we bought) and the "Now" photo...

We went for 2 huge casement that open up. Although the same size, the window appears larger because there is more glass and you don't have that horizontal ban in the middle. I am reminded daily now, when I look out this window, how much this improves the feel of the house. Bitting the bullet on the windows was hard (in part because we had such awful experiences with window companies, up until Fieldstone) and also, because it's a lot of money and windows (at the time) didn't feel very "sexy" as an investment. But I can now confirm they definintely are worthwhile.

*I need to paint the trim that they added in. That is this weeks project.

Curb Appeal, Front of the House Reveal

I'm going to jump right in and show you the front of the house reveal because I love it too much to hold back. I was going to wait until later but honestly it's too good not to share.

The full transformation of the front of the house from when we bought to today, is kind of astonishing but I'm going to show you right now what a simple change in windows can do to your curb appeal. This Spring our house looked like this. We hated the yellow siding and hated even more the ugly yellow windows.

Fieldstone Windows came in, did their magic and...

The result is kind of breath taking. The dark windows actually soften the yellow siding, so we're no longer feeling the need to paint it. The windows make the top of the house feel taller, and the dark windows on the bottom are rich and "fancy" looking. I keep walking by the house saying "They are so faaaancy."

I am SO glad we went with dark windows. They are absolutely stunning. And the external grills are worth the upgrade. To give you a better view side by side.

Like I said...they are so faaaancy!


You could be mistaken into believing that the photographer has got it wrong here; he had been sent to photograph a kitchen!  Instead he has captured a slumbering example of function, a kitchen that is waiting to be wakened through the introduction of human animation. 
The use of open shelves on the island and the back wall section is excessive, but this is still a very practical design with the crumpled metal panel acting as the transformer, the curtain raiser for the functional core of this design.  The staggered and layered approach to the island offers aesthetical interest to the viewer while providing a practical opportunity to get social while preparing and enjoying a meal. 
The material choices of stainless steel and walnut always offer a luxurious visual contrast that works every-time and this design is certainly no exception.
Great Job!

New Windows: Step 1, Front of the house

Last week was the week that we got our new windows.We hired Fieldstone, a Toronto window company to replace all of the windows in our house on the main floor and second floor of our house (with the exception of our TV room which wasn't in the budget this time) Here are some photos from the front of the house being worked on. (To see previous window posts click here)

Aubrey and Oscar watching the construction on the front lawn through our new window...

Photos of the front of the house 1. New living room window is in place  2. Oscar's Bedroom (2nd floor large window) is in 3. The Living room Window with the new trim installed by Fieldstone waiting for me to prime  4. As the windows are being removed! 5. The most hated window ever, being removed

Because we worked with a budget, here is an an idea how we decided where to spend funds. I've shown you what we did for the front of the house vs. the back. The options that are the same price have no arrows. with the red arrows are the more expensive option, vs the green. You can see that we spent more on the front, vs, the back.  

Although financially we didn't splurge on the back (compared to what we did in the front) the back is absolutely beautiful, I'll post pictures of the back of the house tomorrow.

A Designer Tip - Ikea

Believe it or not, Ikea actually surprises me every year. I sit, flip through the catalogue, and some how they always convince me that my living room would look way cooler with a few more bookshelves and clutter. Personally, more clutter generally screams more cleaning, therefor I have started to take a more minimalistic approach to my designing. I digress. Ikea's 2012 catalogue did not disappoint once again. As I am moving into a small space, their front cover really caught my attention:


 "A home doesn't need to be big, to be smart." Isn't that the truth!? Thanks Ikea. With small spaces, you do have to create innovative solutions and they make products that fit the bill. Now I think we all know, Ikea quality is not going to withstand the test of time, but depending on budget and need, they can be the perfect solution. Check out this post from Apartment Therapy, a blog I religiously check; Designer Looks With Ikea . They have given great design tips on how to use Ikea products in an interesting way. I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you Apartment Therapy, from those of us with teeny, tiny budgets!

My Ikea Tip: Expedit Units are the most versatile shelving unit Ikea has. It is streamlined, modern and clean looking with function for every room! These can be cute mud room benches, wall to wall book/display shelves, room dividers. They are a chameleon, which is why I like them. 

Happy Reading!

Isn't She Lovely

This design is absolutely beautiful, a magnificent example of how contemporary kitchen design can be appreciated by architecture that doesn’t have the stereotypical hallmarks of a contemporary build. 
There is a growing trend at the moment that seems to point to a contradiction, a skewed alignment between kitchen and architecture that works brilliantly well!  Classically styled architecture and interior design can soften the edges of a minimal kitchen concept and provide a subtle avenue for artistic expression. 
Doing this also makes contemporary kitchen design more accessible to those who don’t have a contemporary dwelling, so although this looks great and works well there may well be a commercial interest driving the notion of this style.  Interestingly though this idea doesn't work as well in the opposite direction where you have contemporary architecture and a traditional kitchen!
Whatever the looks fantastic.
However, just to burst the bubble on this design!  It is sprawling and the distance between the ovens and the hob is huge.  The functional zones seem to have been compromised in the name of beauty; but if you own a kitchen of this size you might not mind having your personal chef walk a few extra feet now and again!

Stealth Bomber

The seamless angular lines and un-conformist approach give this design an art house feel; blurring its functional identity and allowing it to slip under the radar just like a stealth bomber.

Fabric Friday

This week kind of flew by. Work wise I am busy - I have a lot of corporate clients I do design work for and I'm working on a a big update to our shop. Mix in the fact that our windows got replaced this past week, and life with a baby, and the week was over before I knew it.

I'm looking forward to a little break in the madness. When things settle down, I'm going to turn my attention to layering of the house, specifically the Living Room and Dining Room. Both rooms now have 99.9% of the "base" items but are in need of some personality. I've been eyeing fabrics as inspiration. Here is an image that I went bananas for from Amber Interior Design when she visited Hollywood at Home.
I'm totally going to browse this list of Top Online Fabric stores by Kirsten. It's an awesome roundup and I have a feeling my credit card is going to be hurting. I have a wee problem of hoarding fabrics.

Have a lovely weekend. Aubrey and I are off to a wedding Saturday, and we're bringing Oscar with us. I'm kind of excited to dance away with my 2 favourite men.

Family Photos, a home visit....

As I posted about in June, Aubrey and I comissioned Leigh, the owner of Tynan Studios here in Toronto to take some family photos of the three of us.  Leigh came over for a second round of photos photographing Oscar in his natural environment.

These photos melt my heart, his sweet ruffled hair, bohemian shirt, and my favourite print from Sarah Jane in the back, and his beautiful Jenny Lind Crib from Dear-Born Baby. After these shots we headed to our garden where the beautiful green of the willow tree gives the backdrop for an amazing photo. I love this one of me tossing Oscar up into the air.

For Oscar, he did a lot better at the second round of photos at our house. If you're doing a family photo session I would kind of encourage you to consider the "home" visit or doing a shoot close to home, and the extra cost for travel expenses for the photographer are probably well worth it. Oscar is a pretty expressive guy, so him being in his "natural" environment resulted in some great photos. I get to go see them all in person at a preview in August, and then we have to pick some and decide where in our house they will go. Anyhow, I just thought you'd love to see these photos. I LOVE them.

Minimal - Enough Said!

Imagine unveiling this little cutie to all of your family and friends; there would certainly be a synchronised clatter of chins as they unceremoniously make contact with the floor.  This effect would be followed by rapturous applause and an undisciplined charge towards the monolithic structure in order to get up close and personal with its shapely form.
With smooth contemporary lines and transforming elements allowing the design to morph between states of use, this design by Minimal USA has certainly been created to become the dominant feature within any architectural space.
This is a stunning design that also helps to illustrate how kitchens are being used to create definition within an open plan area!  Walls are surplus to requirement!

It's Not a Barn, it's a Gambrel!

At first glance of the house, I thought the same thing, "What is up with that roof?" It was the one thing that I was unsure of about the house, but in the "hot" real estate market I was looking in, I couldn't be picky about such things; the house was in the right neighbourhood, and had all the things I was looking for, minus the roof. I have heard many comments about its structure, mostly negative (okay, constructive criticism!).  I have even been told that it looks like the house has a hat on, which on further review, it kinda does!

Unfortunately, it is out of the question to replace the roof due to it's sound structure and new shingles. Alas, I must embrace the roof and so I went to work researching the structure and how I can improve it!

I have now realized, after hours of research and curiosity, it is a gambrel roof, not a barn roof, to which I was referring to. Let me enlighten you on a gambrel roof, and maybe, you too will grow to love it in the end.

Gambrel roofs are....

a) Consisting of 2 symmetrical sloped sides, which creates the barn look

b) This structure is commonly used to increase usable space on the upper floor

c) Originates between 1600s -1800s, mainly seen along the East Coast, from Maine to Georgia on residential homes.  Now commonly used on barns...well, you don't say!?

d) Is a part of my house that would be too expensive to change so I am lovin' it's cute chapeau!

From the pictures, you can see that there is a varying degree of shapes, and although mine is flattest and lamest of them all, I hope to add some decoration such as a pediment or other simple details to help improve it's look!

All images found on 

Any bright ideas to improve the facade of the roof? It is open for discussion!

Basement Updates

We've done some little changes to my office/basement. I added in an additional bookshelf beneath my DIY desk to house more baskets. I'm gearing up for the Holiday season for my business and I started to need more storage for packaging. So instead of having an open space under the desk (see this post) I added in an extra shelf. Love my desk. :)

Also, when we were at Urban Barn buying our console table, we saw this coffee table marked down to a crazy price. Rarely do Aubrey and I immediately agree upon something - but within seconds we both agreed it was *perfect* for the basement. So although we hadn't anticipated investing in a coffee table for the basement it came home with us.  It has 2 drawers that are discrete on one side. Our intention is to build a custom railway top for it for Oscar when he's older, for his train tracks, and we'll design it to fit on this table. In the drawers he can hide is railway toys. :)

House Hunting 101

It dawned on me one day, why am I renting? For years, people have been telling me it's silly to rent and that I am throwing my money away. It took until the breach of my 30th year to get this. Suddenly the thought made complete sense, like "ohhhhh, that's why people buy homes!" I always thought it was to tie people down and take away all their freedom. Granted, this may be the truth, but I realized it could be a great investment (and the light bulb goes off!). Now I am coming at it with a different angle; a potential way to start earning some extra, and very necessary cash!

Being the naive future homeowner I was, I had no idea where to start or what to do! If this sounds familiar to how you're feeling, here are the first few, simple steps to get you started...

1) Find a mortgage broker.

This is step number one because you need to know if you even have the cashola to purchase a house. The mortgage broker will help you figure out all the details on this one. Essentially, you will need to bring a pay stub, RRSP statements and any other money that you have to help you buy the house. Really, this is just to make sure that you are actually able to not only buy the house, but to maintain it!

2) Find a real estate broker.

Now I know that MLS is the best new thing to hit the real estate market, but truly, having an agent I trusted was far better than searching all day, everyday! MLS became as obsessive as Facebook! I wanted to know every house that was listed and the moment it went up for sale! Luckily, you can learn from my mistake because your relator generally knows before you do. They are the first to be notified what goes on the market and what fits your criteria! And in fact, the seller has to pay the agent, not the buyer, so it's in your favour to find an agent and let them do the shopping for you!

I heard on Oprah, her gal Suze Orman stated this:

“Do not consider buying a house unless you have 20% for the down payment and 8 months emergency fund.”

I thought, Well shoot! I hope she isn’t right cause I didn’t have either of those! I tried not to panic. Either way, it’s a done deal….and I hope not to be another stat for Suze!