Uptown: A Little Bit of Progress

I thought I would take a moment to talk about the updates I’m making around my house Uptown. It feels great to be in Kitchener-Waterloo and I’m really loving so many things about my new house. I’m learning new things about renos and home repairs, I’m getting to know every home improvement store in KW, and little-by-little I am making my house feel more like me.

There are three bathrooms in my house. They’re great spaces but they are all covered in wallpaper. The wallpaper in the upstairs bath came off quite easily and left no wallpaper paste residue. The walls up there are in great shape and just need some minor touchups (of that plaster/putty stuff) before they get primed and painted.

upstairs-bath-wallpaper

upstairs bath – wallpaper removal fun

The powder room was a whole other story. The decorative paper came off without any trouble. But…the wallpaper paste decided to stay behind. The look was disgusting. The removal was a major pain.

powder-room-before

powder room – before – two patterns of pink & cream wallpaper

wallpaper-removal-progress

powder room – the wallpaper paste disaster

My dad bought and applied some wallpaper paste removal but that didn’t work. Then I found two solutions via Google so I alternated between them: (a) hot water + fabric softener + baking soda, and (2) hot water + vinegar. The vinegar solution worked better in the end, I think, but the fabric softener solution smelled better so I kept using it. There was A LOT of scraping involved. And A LOT of rubbing with a rough sponge. And A LOT of cleaning up with a soft sponge. It was time consuming*. The walls look half-way good now but of course there are (more than) several areas that need putty. The powder room looks much brighter so that’s definitely something to celebrate. Removing the wallpaper in this room was a huge job and I’m glad it’s over. (One more bathroom to go.)

IMG_5448_2

My parents came for a visit this past weekend and with my mom’s help I’ve narrowed down my paint colours down to two! Huge accomplishment! I’ve been staring at the paint chips in every room in the house in different lights over the last month or so. Now I’m going to buy small test cans of each colour and paint large patches in each room. I hope by doing this, I’ll come to a final decision about the colour. In case you didn’t know – I’m painting my whole house white. All of it. Yes.

paint-choices

paint options with tile and carpet

I picked up pretty white tiles that I will eventually use for my kitchen backsplash**. The tiles look great with the paint options and the existing cabinets (Ikea I think). So far.

I’m still dating my couch options. I love the Lee couch but I priced it out for two fabrics and one will be $3000 and the other one will be $3800 (plus tax & delivery). I’m not sure I feel like spending $4000 on a couch.

Lee-Industries-English-sofa

Lee Industries sofa

I am really fond of the following two sofas from sofa.com but I have to do the final pricing on each. They’ll likely come in around $2500 or so.

 

The Saturday Sofa

The Saturday Sofa

The-Snowdrop-Sofa

The Snowdrop Sofa

Restoration Hardware has a nice option too. It would like be around the $3000 mark. I haven’t yet seen this one in person but I will soon enough. I really would prefer two large seat cushions but I don’t the the RH sofa has this option.

prod1622099

Restoration Hardware sofa

Alternatively, I could also go the more affordable route with Ikea’s Karlstad in a couch or sectional style.

Karlstad-sofa-Ikea

 

The Karlstad is a good-looking and comfortable sofa but it has a different feel than the ones above. It would change the whole look of my living room. Oh – and I’m aiming for a light grey fabric for my future sofa. Thoughts?

My parents helped me plant outside. I’m leaving all the gardening choices up to my mom since she is a retired florist. She knows what’s what. I only requested that hostas be in my garden since (a) I think hosta is a funny word, and (b) it seems like everybody is always talking about where they planted their hostas, the colour of their hostas, and how their hostas are growing. I think it’s hilarious…and I want to be part of the hosta club. I don’t have a big garden but I have just enough patches of land to let me play around.

flowers-garden-White-Cabana

new white flowers & some of my new hostas

My proudest moment so far in this reno business has been installing a new kitchen light. I wasn’t sure I could manage it on my own but I did! I watched a few how-to videos online (and over the years I’ve observed my dad change a few) and then I got to work. I learned about my Breaker Box and I made sure I shut off the right breaker switch for the kitchen light. I set up lamps around the room so I could see what I was doing (I decided to change the light at 9pm or so?!). I used one screwdriver in the whole process. So handy. After the electricity was shut off, I removed the existing fan/light fixture and unhooked the wires. Once the fan was down I put up my new light. Black wire to red wire and white wire to white wire. I used plastic screw caps to attach the wires. A few screws later and my light was up! When I switched the power back on I really was praying that I’d have light. And guess what? I did! I honestly couldn’t believe it. Changing a fixture is not hard at all but it is a little scary, what with the electricity bit. But as long as the electricity is off, there’s nothing to worry about. Right? So, one light installed and about 15 more to go! (I haven’t narrowed down the choices for the other rooms.)

IMG_4103_2

before

IMG_5407

 after

So there you have it – a few updates from around the house. Much more to come so stay tuned!

*Note to self: Never install wallpaper. Ever.

**You may be wondering why I bought backsplash tiles before doing anything else? I found them for a super deal on Kijiji and I couldn’t let them go! More on that in a future post.

***

The Uptown series documents my experiences as a new homeowner. Fun times ahead!

4 Comments

  1. Silvia Del Rosso August 6, 2013

    Congratulations, Jordana. Your home improvements are coming along nicely.
    Very impressive indeed. You’re gaining a lot of knowledge. Perhaps one day
    you’ll have your own T.V. show on how to conduct home renovations.
    Can’t wait to see the finished “white” product. I’m fond of hostas and I have a fair collection of the different colours, foliage, etc. in my garden. Hostas are easy to grow especially in the shade and they are low maintenance which is a bonus for a busy gal like yourself!

    Reply
    • Jordana August 12, 2013

      Thanks so much! I am loving home ownership so far. I love the fact that I can do absolutely anything I want to my space. It’s a completely different feeling than renting – that’s forsure.

      Reply
  2. Johanne August 13, 2013

    OMG! So much work, so much better. You’re transforming this dated pad into a mecca of design. I love it, Jordana, and I’m sure you’re having fun too despite all the scrubbing and peeling and crazy long to-do list.

    It’s starting to really look like your place! 🙂
    J

    Reply
    • Jordana August 13, 2013

      Thanks Johanne! I’m looking forward you having you visit this fall when it will (hopefully) look less like a construction zone. Planning, shopping, destruction, beautification will resume in about 10 days depending on how things go with the whole PhD defense thing. Send positive thoughts my way please!
      J

      Reply

Have your say!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.