Uptown

One Room Challenge: Laundry Room ‚Äď Week 5

We are near the end of this spring’s One Room Challenge event.

I can barely believe it actually. This week 1 before post seems like a distant memory now that all my new pieces are in place. This is definitely going to be a dramatic before-and-after feature, so I hope you’ll stick around until next week to see the big reveal.

For now, here are a few glimpses into my transformed space.

My Blanco Liven sink and Urbena faucet were installed. They’re surrounded by a white quartz countertop and a custom cabinet.

My drywaller made the greatest invention to cover my water main valve.

My pocket door is one of my favourite features of my new room.

And my new mirror adds some classic shine to this high-functioning room.

Finally, my WarmUp floor heating thermostat was installed, and it works perfectly. My floor warms up in minutes, and it’s definitely a luxury for this space. Without the floor heating system, my tile floor is so cold!

Over the next week, I’ll be adding all the finishing touches: shower curtain, toilet roll holder, and art. It’s going to be a fun week!

Check out my week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4 posts to get caught up on all the action. And for more inspiration, click on over to the posts from the One Room Challenge’s featured designers and guest participants.

Thanks to Blanco and WarmUp for collaborating on this project. All opinions are my own.

One Room Challenge: Laundry Room ‚Äď Week 4

Welcome back to the One Room Challenge, everyone! Are you enjoying seeing all the progress participants and guests are making? I sure am! If you’ve just joined in on the White Cabana laundry/bathroom reno fun, check out my week 1, week 2, and week 3 posts. Week 4 means things are starting to get pretty!

Last week, I showed you a relatively cleaned-up space (a big change from the weeks before where I showed you a fully gutted space). In the past couple of weeks, the WarmUp heated floor was installed. The drywall was finished. Pipes were in place. And things only improved from there!

The major game-changer to the look of my space this week was the tile install. Like my other tradespeople, my tiler was top-notch. Honestly, everyone, I feel so lucky to have worked with my team of tradespeople. I was worried pre-reno because I didn’t have any¬† contacts in Waterloo, but one thing led to another (one phone call led to another), and I ended up with great people!

My tilers were so precise. And my room looks amazing because of their work. Have a look:

The picture above shows the space as you walk into it. The stacked laundry unit will be on the right side against the wall. It may not seem much to you, but all those pipes and holes in the wall mean major progress for this space! Of course the new pipe set-up increased my costs, but it was worth it. My plumber did a great job, and everything is much tidier than it was pre-reno. And the dryer vent was moved up high which makes much more sense. So tidy! I love it!

I went with ceramic hex tiles in a marble-esque pattern. So pretty. I had considered marble for the space, but because of all the water spillage that can happen in this workhorse of a room (and Waterloo’s awful hard/soft water issues), I just didn’t want to risk ruining marble.

On this side of the room, I’ll have my toilet. The sink will sit in between the toilet and the stacked laundry. My plumber cleaned up some of the pipes that you see in that wall hole. So good. And my drywaller has fashioned the best cover for that hole, too. I just don’t have photos of it yet, so stay tuned.

And on the left side of the room is this beautiful shower! Oh my goodness! What a treat to have a shower in this space. Small but mighty! That’s what I keep saying about this room, and that’s what I continue to believe. My team installed this basic 34″ x 34″ shower, and it’s going to be so convenient for me and my guests once the space is done. The flooring is a continuation of the 2″x2″ hex tile from the rest of the floor. It’s easier on the eyes. On the wall, I went with my fave – a subway tile. This tile is 4″ x 12″, and I’ve got pretty small grout lines. I’m really happy I opted for this larger version of the classic subway tile.

Did you notice how everything lines up so well? Sign of good tilers! They completed this job in just three days, and I was very pleased that this part of the project progressed so quickly.

I opted for grey grout everywhere, and things are looking sleek and clean…just how I like it! Isn’t it exciting to know that the full reveal will be in just two weeks? I can’t wait!

As per usual, I encourage you to check out what the One Room Challenge guest participants and featured designers have been up to during week 4.

If you’d like to see more of my ORC progress, see my week 1, week 2, and week 3 posts. Thanks to WarmUp for supplying my new floor heating system. All opinions are my own.

One Room Challenge: Laundry Room ‚Äď Week 3

Welcome back to the One Room Challenge. Today marks the halfway point of this 6-week makeover journey, and things are looking pretty good in my new laundry/bathroom…even though the photos in this post (and my week 1, week 2 posts) are full of dirt, dust, and mess!

This week, I’m sharing what happened after the plumber gave my pipes a makeover. He installed a shower, as you may recall, so when he left there was a big trench in my room. The floor needed patching, the walls needed insulating, and there was still a bunch of plumbing to take care of. ¬† ¬†the beginning of a beautiful shower

check out those pipes

insulation installation

My drywaller patched up the floor with cement(I keep calling him my drywaller, but, honestly, Chris can do everything!). Once that was dry, my electrician (aka my dad) and my tiler got to work.

drywall installed

In terms of electrical work, quite a bit needed to get done. Dad installed new lighting, updated outlets, and did the prep work for my floor heating system. He also installed a new fan.

new electrical

In terms of the floor heating system, I’m very lucky to be working with WarmUp on this project. The people I have been working with from WarmUp have been phenomenal. Really informative and great communicators. I was so pleased that they were as eager to work with me as I was with them!

To get the floor ready for the heating system, my tiler first installed the WarmUp insulation boards. These insulation boards not only prepped the flooring for the heating mats, but these boards will also ensure more energy efficiency.

WarmUp insulation boards installed

After the boards were secure, my tiler laid down the heating mats – the DCM-PRO membrane.

Dad was then able to install the cables on the mats. The cables were tested before, during, and after installation to ensure the product’s resistance had not been altered. Dad let me know that the installation of these cables was eaaasssy! Good to know, right? He liked the simplicity and straightforwardness of the DCM-PRO system, and he liked the contrasting colours, too, because this meant that everything was really easy to see.

WarmUp floor heating mats and cord installed (no heating on the right side of the photo because that’s where the toilet and vanity will be installed)

Stepping out of the shower onto a heated floor is going to be divine!

 

After everything was installed and tested, the tiler put a skim coat over the WarmUp floor heating system, so that it would be ready for tiles.

I encourage you to check out what the One Room Challenge guest participants and featured designers have been up to during week 3.

If you’d like to see more of my ORC progress, see my week 1 and week 2 posts. Thanks to WarmUp for supplying my new floor heating system. All opinions are my own.

One Room Challenge: Laundry Room ‚Äď Week 2

Well, my first impression of the One Room Challenge event is great! I have been enjoying learning about the people and the projects in this new-to-me community. There are so many creative people out there doing beautiful things, and I encourage you to have a look at the One Room Challenge featured designers and guest participants to be inspired about home renovations and interior design.

As you may remember, I’m currently tackling a laundry/bathroom renovation (see my Week 1 post for before photos). I keep calling the space my laundry room, but, in fact, this space serves a dual purpose. I primarily use it for my weekly laundry sessions, but it is also used as a guest bathroom. I was fortunate to have a finished and functioning space when I moved into my home five years ago, but it was beyond dated.

A refresh has been in the pipeline for quite some time.

The layout of the space – laundry, sink, toilet – will not change in my new space. But I have broken down a wall to squeeze in a shower. This is major. This has required quite a bit of plumbing.

While my family and I tackled the demo, I have four people working on putting things back together: a framer/drywaller, a plumber, a tiler, and my dad (aka pseudo-electrician). Each person is super skilled, and while I hadn’t worked with three of these people prior to my project, they have each lived up to my standards of high quality craftsmanship. These people are gems, let me tell you! I feel very lucky!

My framer, plumber, and electrician were the first people on the scene. My framer took down existing doors, installed (or reinstalled) studs, and installed a pocket door.

While the framer took a bit of a break, the plumber got to work. I had a lot of items on my plumbing to do list on this job: installation of brand new shower plumbing, switch out/clean up of old pipes, installation of new ball-valve switches, etc. The space got dusty and messy, and I enjoyed watching the progress each day.

This laundry/bathroom turned open concept!

a grid of pipes and 2x4s

This p-trap makes me happy because it means a more efficient plumbing set-up for my laundry and sink.

I lived with a trench for a little while.

There wasn’t much left of the original floor. No loss there!

And because I know some of you like to see pretty things during the One Room Challenge recaps, here’s the art I’m going to use in my new room:

Clothespins (c/o)

I encourage you to check out what the One Room Challenge guest participants and featured designers have been up to during week 2.

Note: See my Week 1 post to get updated on my One Room Challenge project.

One Room Challenge: Laundry Room – Before – Week 1

Well, it’s official. I’m taking part in my first One Room Challenge (ORC) as a guest participant. If you’re unfamiliar with the One Room Challenge, it’s a twice-yearly event that happens in the design blogger community where design bloggers makeover a room in 6 weeks. 6!

Calling it Home started the challenge over a decade ago, and ever since, design bloggers have been putting their best foot forward.¬† There are two lines of participation at this point. First, on Wednesdays, a group of 20 featured participants will share their progress (see their week 1 posts). Then, on Thursdays, any design blogger can participate as a guest participant. You can check on everyone’s progress at the One Room Challenge site as well as on individual blogs.

So how will I participate this year? So what am I going to feature over the next 6 weeks? My combo laundry room/bathroom. And I’m pretty darn excited! (If you’re new to White Cabana, here’s a peek into my home.)

To be honest, I started this project weeks ago, but progress has been s…l…o…w. Given my work/life schedule and my lack of contractor contacts in Waterloo, renovating the space from top to bottom in 6 weeks wasn’t looking promising. 12 weeks, maybe. ūüôā But I can definitely feature it in 6 weeks! And that’s what I’m committed to doing.

Warning: This post contains some colourful before photos that may hurt your eyes.

Here’s what this room looked like on the day I took the first tour of my (future) house five years ago. Soon after I moved in, I removed the support bar (and about 30 others around my house), the shelf unit above the toilet, and the glass shelf. I also painted the wood strip on the sink cabinet and covered almost the whole floor with a big, white bath mat.

And then I lived with it. Year after year. I lived with a hideous pink/grey/gold laundry/bathroom. It hurt my eyes every time I had to do laundry.

Here’s what my space look liked a couple of weeks ago. Note the floral wallpaper. Awful. And the accordion door. Awful again. And the drop ceiling. Convenient but awful. And the lighting. Awful.

To be honest, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this space. It’s been great to have a finished laundry space and extra bathroom for guests. It’s also been really enjoyable for me to see people’s reactions when I show them this space. Easy entertainment. On the other hand, though, the wallpaper and floor combo has always made my eyes hurt. And I hate not having a big laundry sink. A little vanity just doesn’t cut it for my needs.

While I did hire tradespeople for this makeover, my DIY-loving self could not leave it to them to have all the fun. I spent about two weekends in demolition mode. We took everything back to the studs, so that I could have a blank slate.

The space is small, but the makeover is going to be mighty!

Here’s what the space looked like post-demo day:

I know it’s not pretty and tidy, but I actually like this part of the reno process. I like to see all the pipes exposed, to see how things were originally set up, and to think about ways to make things better.

I know the tradespeople I have hired are going to make it better than ever before. On the technical side, new electrical and new plumbing is being installed. I also said goodbye to the awful accordion door, and my framer installed a fabulous pocket door. Things are already looking bright.

As for my design plan?

I’m going with this marble-like ceramic hex tile on the floor: ¬†this classic 4×12 subway tile on the walls:

this quartz counter on the cabinet:

this Blanco Urbena faucet on the sink:

My crew is also going to do some more reframing and add a heated floor. Hello luxury!

My custom cabinet is ready for pick-up, and my Blanco sink is going to look gorgeous on top of it. I have settled on a shower trim kit (finally…after buying and returning a couple). My original design plan continues to guide me, but I have had to make changes to it. Overall, my space’s design could be described as “a massive dose of white with a touch of grey”.

Thanks for following along my first One Room Challenge! If there’s anything specific you’d like to see or learn, let me know in the comments.

Uptown: Interior Door Hardware

As I have previously mentioned, I’m saying #byebyebifold at my house. I’m replacing my (very annoying) bifolds with new doors from Metrie. For one closet, I’m having double doors installed, and for the other closet, I’m having a regular door installed. I’m so happy to say goodbye to those bifold doors of mine (let me just say that again and again and again).

Not only am I saying goodbye to the bifolds, but I’m also saying goodbye to 80s gold hardware. I haven’t actually minded the gold, if I’m being honest, but I think a more modern, stainless-steel look is more in keeping with the overall aesthetic of my home.

I’m thrilled to be partnering with Direct Door Hardware on this project. I worked with this company when I first moved into my home and replaced my exterior door knobs. The ordering process and delivery was so smooth. In addition, Direct Door Hardware offers a great selection of traditional and modern knobs and hardware for exterior and interior doors. I knew I would find what I had in mind for my interior door hardware at this online store.

Here are a few stainless (brushed nickel, satin chrome) options I contemplated:

Sure-Loc Bergen

Emtek Bristol

Emtek Octagon (so gorgeous, but can get pricey if you need a lot)

Sure-Loc Juneau

Kwikset Milan

Schlage Latitude

Baldwin Reserve

Any guesses as to my final decision?

I opted for the Kwikset Milan lever in satin chrome. I really love the sleek, seamless style. I know it’s one of the plainest options of the group here, but I like plain. I did consider having a square backing plate, but in the end, I decided that I prefer the contrast of the round plate and the squareness of the Lincoln Park door.

Side note: In my research, I learned that Kwikset is part of Spectrum Brands which also owns Weiser, Baldwin, Pfister, and Stanley. Just a tidbit of doorknob trivia for you!

Ordering the hardware was easy once again. I decided which doors needed dummy levers (e.g., closet doors) and which doors needed to have a lock on them (e.g., bathroom doors). I did also note left- and right-handle openings, but the same Kwikset Milan lever is good for both directions.

The box of hardware arrived safely via UPS (note that if you’re ordering from Canada, you’ll likely incur brokerage/duties charges), and everything looks really solid and well-made in person. I feel happy with my decision and I’m eager to see how everything comes together.

Thanks to Direct Door Hardware for sponsoring this post. Thanks to Jake for arranging my order. All opinions are my own.

Uptown: Project ByeByeBifold

When I bought my house almost five years ago and started to renovate it, I began a series on my blog under the category “Uptown“. If you ever see this in the title, you know that it means that I’m back in the reno game and sharing ideas and progress with you.

Back in December, I got in a fight with my bifold closet door, and I declared it my final fight. I have been living without a door since then as I had no desire to put it back into place. The open concept closet, though, is not my thing. And lucky for me, this was only one of two bifold doors that I have in my home. I have disliked my bifolds ever since I moved in, and even though they’re a space-saving design for my hallways, I find them quite annoying.

So this is where Metrie comes in! I had eyed Metrie’s doors at Vanessa’s home and Sabrina’s home, and I wanted the same sleek design for my home, too. When I was at Vanessa’s house in the summer, I was impressed not only by the style of her doors, but the weight of them, too. They were just beautiful! Yes, I’m talking about doors. And when I met the Metrie team at BlogPodium in September, I was even more impressed.

Vanessa Francis

Sabrina Smelko

In January, I said #byebyebifold and worked with Metrie to order new doors. While there are several great options for door designs, I knew exactly what I wanted. I made my decision very quickly. So, what did I order? The Masonite Lincoln Park door.

Masonite Lincoln Park

Nice, right?

For one hall closet, I am going to have double doors, and for the other closet, I’ll have one single door. The existing bifold doors will be a distant memory! #byebyebifold

The install hasn’t yet happened, but when it does, you know I’ll be sure to share my before and after photos. And, no, this isn’t a DIY job for me. I’m just waiting on an installer to get things a-rollin’!

Thanks to Justine and Metrie for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

 

Uptown: Laundry Room Design Ideas

2018 is going to be the year I tackle my laundry-bathroom renovation. The space has been stuck in the 80s/90s what with its floral wallpaper and really old everything else. I am so eager to get it back to its studs and start fresh!

I haven’t bought everything, but one thing is completely set – my sink and faucet. I’m lucky to be working with Blanco on this reno, and it really wasn’t hard for me to settle on two essential pieces items – the Blanco Liven laundry sink and Blanco Urbena faucet – both in white, of course!

Beyond these two pieces, I’ve been collecting ideas about other items as well. Here’s one of my design boards.

laundry sink, faucet, wall tile, floor tile, art, cabinet door, countertop, towels, shower trim, bath mat

As you can see, I’m going for a simple, modern space with white as the main colour (of course!). I think I’ve settled on white subway tile (but I might go for a larger version) for the walls and a grey-ish floor tile. I think I’ll need to go custom for the cabinet and counter, but I haven’t finalized that yet. And I have to settle on a laundry/dryer combo (not pictured), too. Much to do!

All of these are the pretty things. In addition to them, I (or people) will replace the insulation, install a ceiling, redo the door framing, improve the plumbing, and who even knows what else. That’s how renos end up going, right?

Thanks to Blanco for sponsoring this project. All opinions are my own.

The Friday Five: Spring Home Maintenance

No, I don’t have any major DIY projects planned in the near future (but you never know what might happen), but I do have a list of not-so-fun things that I should/need to buy to keep my home in the best possible working order this spring and summer.

Most of these items are definitely not fun ones to buy, but they’re necessary (see item 1 – garage door opener). Each season, I think it’s nice to take stock of what’s going on in your home, and do your best to keep it maintained.

And, yes, I know I’m a day late with this post, but given my recent trip to Toronto and prepping for a garage sale, I couldn’t finish my draft.

1. Garage Door Opener
I was under the impression that garage door openers last quite a number of years. Mine has lasted less than 4. Unfortunate, but true. It opens only when it feels like opening these days. It’s quite the moody thing. It’s been so darn annoying!

Note – It’s by Craftsman, but I bought it at Sears. When I called Craftsman to ask about warranty/replacement options, they sent me to Sears. When I called Sears, they sent me to Craftsman. Imagine that. I got absolutely nowhere with warranty/replacement options, so I’m out of luck. Completely annoying. Not impressed at all. I’m looking at alternative brands at the moment such as Chamberlain. Any advice? Does anyone have a garage door opener that they’d recommend? Thankfully for my budget, Father’s Day sales are currently happening, so I might get lucky.

2. BBQ
Speaking of Father’s Day sales…I’m also looking to invest in a BBQ this summer. Mine is in decent working condition, but it’s old and tired. I’d love something new – and with more knobs. I’m sort of set on “I want more knobs” even though I don’t really know if I need them. It’s probably not the best way to choose a BBQ, but it’s what I want.

3. Bathroom fan(s)
My bathroom fans are fine, but they’re kind of loud. You don’t even want to know why one of them was extra loud in recent weeks. Let’s just say that my dad needed to get in there with gloves. Ew. So, yeah, quieter, sleeker fans would be nice.

4. Closet organizer
Does anyone know where I can get a closet organizer for about a 3-foot-wide closet? I don’t want a wire system. I would like solid shelves. Ideally, I’d also find time/energy/interest to replace an existing bi-fold door with a double-door set-up.

5. A hallway light
This is probably the smallest and most inexpensive projects on my spring/summer home maintenance list. I have a hallway light in my basement that is made up of a bulb. Yup. One bulb. I don’t think a real fixture has ever been there. I just need to get something small and inexpensive to replace it. I may have to zip over to Ikea Kitchener to see what’s in stock. Simple. That’s what I’d like.

Ah…the beauty of home ownership!

Do you have any must-buy items to get your home in top condition this season? Do you enjoy these purchases?

Marketplace: Spotlight on Rug Expedition

You know what’s great? Having a rug delivered straight to your door. It avoids the whole trying-to-fit-a-rug-into-the-car and lifting-a-heavy-rug issues. Thanks to Rug Expedition, I was able to pick out a rug and have it delivered straight to my home without any hassle. I ordered it on a Monday, it traveled all the way from Texas via FedEx, and it was at my house in Waterloo by Friday. Talk about convenient. This was also the same week when I went to three separate stores to buy one pair of goggles only to find out that none of the stores actually had them in stock. #WasteOfTime

So my woven leather – yes, leather – arrived on a Friday, and I enjoyed playing around with it in different spaces. It looked great in my sunny living room:

White-Cabana-Rug-Expedition

but the rug looked much better in my basement lounge, so that’s where it’s staying: White-Cabana-Rug-Expedition-1White-Cabana-Rug-Expedition-3 White-Cabana-Rug-Expedition-2

my lounge (photos by me)

The rug looks pretty cool in this room, and since it’s a relatively high-traffic area, I think that the leather will work well in here. The shades of grey look really beautiful in real life, and since it’s such a calm colour scheme, the rug will work in various other places in my home. Eventually, when I get hardwood floors install (#renowishlist), I think I may move the rug back up into my living or dining room. I really like having options when I buy pieces of furniture and accessories.

Rug Expedition has lots of options to satisfy its customers’ needs. Rug sizes are varied as are textures, patterns, and colours. The 30-day in home trial and free shipping option (within the USA) is great for those who find it hard to make decisions.

Here are some other options that I really like from the Rug Expedition collection.

In the leather and hide category, I like:

cowhide-nuloom-rug-expedition

Cowhide P0 Metallic Beige by nuLoom

leatherwork rug

leatherwork ivory/black by Dynamic Rugs

I like these wool rugs:

topaz-rug-dynamic-rugs

Topaz natural/grey by Dynamic Rugs

topaz-dynamic-rugs

topaz natural/grey by Dynamic Rugs

This natural fibre rug caught my eye:

natura-nuloom-rug

Natura 01 Grey by nuLoom

Thanks to Rug Expedition for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Uptown: Chaise Makeover with Minted

Months and months ago, I received some gorgeous polka dotted fabric from Minted (remember when I was deciding between these two colour options?), and a month or so ago, my chaise was finally reupholstered. It’s about time I share the dramatic before and after photos on the blog!

Here’s the dreary before photo:

White-Cabana-chaise

before

Drum-roll, please…

White-Cabana-Minted-Fabric-Chaise-2White-Cabana-Minted-Fabric-Chaise-1

after

Cute, right? The grey and white polka dot fabric (organic dot by Itsy Belle) really lightens up this part of my living room. It’s amazing how dark furnishings just sucks the light. (Note: The background of the fabric is a true white rather than the greyish colour that seems to show up on the Minted site on my computer. I much prefer the fabric in real life than in the online swatch version.)

Thanks to Minted for supplying the fabric for this makeover. All opinions are my own.

Save

Save

Save

Travel: Review of the Delta Waterloo

When I wrote my Waterloo region city guide for Design*Sponge, the Delta Waterloo hotel had only recently opened. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to stay the night and experience the hotel first hand. It might seem a little odd to some readers that I opted to have a little vacation within my own city, but every once in a while, I feel that it’s quite the luxurious adventure to leave behind weekend chores in search of rest and relaxation in a new environment.

So, I crossed King St. in Uptown Waterloo and checked into the Delta Waterloo for a little #WhiteCabanaStaycation.

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-16

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-10

Although I had watched the Delta be built, I had never been in since I moved here three years ago. It’s the only 4-star hotel in Waterloo, so I assumed it would have quite a lot to offer.

I confirmed my reservation over the phone and requested an earlier check-in and later check-out if possible. While neither could be guaranteed, in the end, the Delta staff were able to accommodate both requests. I really appreciated that the Delta staff worked to accommodate these requests.

Parking was straightforward as was check-in. I was welcomed by Matt at the front desk, and he answered my initial questions about the hotel in a professional manner. The lobby of the Delta Waterloo is chic and sleek, and the lighting caught my attention.

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-20

The Delta Waterloo generously offered me a corner suite. From my room, I had views of two of my favourite Waterloo buildings – the Perimeter Institute and CIGI Campus.

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-7 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-6

My suite was bright, and with the sun shining in through the soft drapes, the room just felt warm and light. The suite had a king size bed – definitely a comfy hotel bed! – and a pull-out couch. It also had two TVs – yes, two! – and a desk area with a charging station (so convenient), great bedside lighting, and a bathroom outfitted with modern fixtures. The coffee station included a selection of teas and coffees, and the mini fridge was a useful addition.

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-3

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-12

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-2 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-1 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-4 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-5 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-9 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-8 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-11

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-17

The bathroom was right up my design alley. The wood vanity, the white tiling, and the glass shower doors made the space really modern. Toiletries were by Apothia.

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-15 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-14 White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-13

The bed sheets were crisp, the bath towels were plush, and the hotel robe was cozy (I do love a good hotel robe!). Honestly, I can’t say anything negative about the room – or my stay, in fact. I had everything I needed for my #WhiteCabanaStaycation, and my room was a stylish and comfortable place to relax (I finally got through reading a few magazines that have been waiting for me at home!). Oh – and I loved that there were windows that I could actually open! (Am I the only one who gets annoyed when they don’t?) Good design feature, Delta Waterloo!

As far as hotel amenities go, the Delta Waterloo has a fitness centre, pool, hot tub, and sauna on the lower level. Even though the hot tub was off-duty due to a maintenance issue, I put the pool and sauna to use. As you can imagine, a trip to both added pleasure to my stay!

Dining out – and in – was easy at the Delta Waterloo. While there are many restaurant options in Uptown Waterloo, I decided to have dinner at Proof Kitchen & Lounge, which I have heard quite a bit about, but I had never been. Proof isn’t just for hotel guests; many local residents regularly go here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-18

Proof was definitely more stylish and design friendly than I had originally thought, so my first impression was a good one. When I was inside, it did not feel like I was in “small town” Waterloo. The hexagon graphic theme works well, and there are many clever names on the menu items that made me smile (e.g., the OMG chocolate cake, the Big Pimmpin’ Pimm’s Cup). I opted for the Big Pimmpin’ Pimm’s Cup and the Proof smoked Berkshire pork chop with fingerling potatoes for dinner. Yum. Yum. It’s not cheap, but it is delicious! (See all the menu items.)

White-Cabana-Delta-Waterloo-19

For breakfast, I ordered room service – which I rarely do, actually – and my meal arrived right on time. It was a basic breakfast of eggs and bacon, but I think it tasted better than usual because I didn’t have to make it myself (insert huge smile), and I could stay in my pyjamas (insert second huge smile). My #WhiteCabanaStaycation could have easily been called #WeekendofLuxury2.0.

For those of you who are new visitors to the region, you’ll be happy to know that the location of the Delta Waterloo could not be more perfect. Uptown restaurants are within walking distance as is Waterloo park, the Clay and Glass Museum, and the Waterloo Recreation Centre.

Guest rooms start at $169 per night, and deluxe rooms start at $189 per night. Read more about rooms and rates if you’re planning a trip to the Waterloo region.

Honestly, dear readers, there’s something just fabulous about traveling within your own city! I feel very fortunate that I got the opportunity to do so, and I’d encourage you to consider doing the same thing! (p.s. I’ve added a few more photos on Instagram and Twitter using #WhiteCabanaStaycation.)

Many thanks to Elaine S. and Delta Waterloo for sponsoring my accommodations. All opinions and photos are my own.

Uptown: Working with Pink in my Basement

I didn’t intend to inject my basement with shades of pink, but some things were just meant to be. I couldn’t fight it. I didn’t want to fight it.

After I wrote about Minted’s collection of large-scale art, I was just about certain I was going to get a black and white piece for over my day bed. Instead, I was mesmerized by this piece, and I couldn’t say no. Minted generously sent over the gorgeous abstract art, and it hung vertically above my day bed for many months as I made progress on my fireplace redo.

*** Warning: Pink is about to make a brief appearance on White Cabana. ***

Holly-Katie-Craig-MintedHolly by Katie Craig

Once my fireplace makeover was complete, I turned my attention back to the daybed area of my space. I opted to rehang Katie Craig’s print horizontally, and I think it works much better in my space.

White-Cabana-Katie-Craig-Minted-artI adore the large-scale version of Katie Craig’s print. It’s bright and dramatic and bring a whole lot of interest to my space. As you can see, the room is still very much dominated by black and white even though there’s colourful art on the main wall. The addition of¬† fuchsia brings me joy, so I think I’ll keep it.

Here’s what (most) of the room looks like now:

White-Cabana-home-7 White-Cabana-home-3

I painted the Fjellse bed frame (made from two twins that came with my house) high gloss blackWhite-Cabana-home-1

(I’m still on the lookout for two side tables of the same height)

White-Cabana-home-4

(featuring my most recent Alessi addition – Karim Rashid’s Hellraiser tray for Alessi)

White-Cabana-home-5 White-Cabana-home-6

see how I transformed my old 80s fireplace into this beauty

I have recently published this makeover on Domino. If you click here, you’ll see a couple of before photos.

Many thanks to Minted for sponsoring this post.

Sources: art – c/o Minted; day bed (two Fjellse singles joined and painted high gloss black) – Ikea; wall paint – c/o CIL; white tray – Style at Home; black side cart – Market Road Antiques in St. Jacobs; chevron pillow cases – Target; bicycle pillow case – Urban Barn; coffee and side tables – Kijiji; shag rug, lamps – vintage; silver tray – Alessi; fireplace mantle – vintage; bamboo ladder painted high gloss black – garage sale; ceiling light – Ikea; art on fireplace – Janet Hill Studio, Chapters Indigo (tea towel); hex fireplace tiles – Twin City Tile

Uptown: How to Makeover a Fireplace

I was so happy to see a gas fireplace in my house when I first toured it with my real estate agent 2.5 years ago. After I bought it, moved in, and planned my various renovation projects, the fireplace was on the reno list, but it wasn’t a priority.

Over the last few months, however, I tackled this fireplace makeover*, and I’m so pleased with the results. Shall we walk down memory lane together?

Here’s the before photo of the fireplace. It was always in perfectly good working condition, but the tile was old, the 80s gold did nothing for me, and the step riser took up space in the smallish-size room. IMG_5806.JPG White-Cabana-fireplace-makeover-2The plan?
1. Get rid of the tile and the step.
2. Paint the gold.
3. Install a beautiful mantle.
4. Install a tile surround.

Thankfully, things went according to plan with this project!

My dad carefully removed the step and tile and ensured that additional supports were installed before adding more plywood/drywall to the surround.

White-Cabana-fireplace-makeover-7 White-Cabana-fireplace-makeover-3 White-Cabana-fireplace-makeover-4White-Cabana-fireplace-makeover-5My mom’s incredible detective skills resulted in a gorgeous mantle frame that was just about the perfect size for my space. My resourceful and handy parents took care of the few adjustments (and adding more trim).

White-Cabana-fireplace-makeover-1The painting and tile work was my responsibility. After taping around the fireplace screen, and covering my room’s floor with tarp, I painted the gold using high-heat Rustoleum spray paint. I completed a few light coats to ensure good coverage.

White-Cabana-fireplace-makeover-8Once the mantle was installed, I was able to get on with the tiles. I sourced 2-inch matte black hex tiles from my KW go-to tile team at Twin City Tile. I had my heart set on black from the get-go, but I did contemplate white hex and marble for a bit, too (you saw a bit of marble in one of the photos above).

White-Cabana-fireplace-hex-black-tilevia Instagram

In the end, I’m definitely glad I went for a black hex tile surround as the fireplace blends in, and it’s all very sleek.

White-Cabana-fireplace-DIYvia Instagram

Before painting the mantle, I sanded the heck out of it (thankfully I have the Black & Decker matrix with sander attachment, so this process went fairly quickly). I did all the sanding before I installed the tiles, by the way. I then put on three coats of white door and trim paint to freshen and brighten up this old mantle.

White-Cabana-fireplace-2via Instagram

White-Cabana-fireplace-1via Instagram

And there you have it – a step-by-step recap of my fireplace makeover.

* Thanks again, Mom and Dad, for your help!
If you’d like to see more of my house, check out my house tour or read the articles in the Uptown category.

Art: Go Big with Minted

After a very busy week away, I’m back home, and I’m back to blogging! I have so many things to share. Get ready for a few fun weeks ahead.

I’m currently planning a couple of projects with one of my all-time favourite online shops – Minted. I’ve used Minted many times in the past for Christmas cards, party supplies, and small pieces of art for my gallery wall. Today, though, is all about big art! Move over gallery walls – big art is coming through.

I’ve been looking for a piece for my basement lounge. A few months ago, I painted the bed (made from two Ikea twin frames that came with my house) high gloss black and the walls white (shout out to CIL). I threw on every black and white pillow that I had lying around and called it a day. The blank wall above the daybed is definitely in need of something beautiful and this is an easy fix thanks to Minted.

Here’s the starting point:

WhiteCabana-basement
Minted has a huge selection of art by artists from around the world. I love that you can customize each piece in terms of size and framing. It makes is super easy to find a piece that is exactly right for your space.

Here are some prints that made my favourite list for my basement:

White-Cabana-Minted-5Moth No. 2 by Peter Loves JaneWhite-Cabana-Minted-44 Robins by Kim JohnsonWhite-Cabana-Minted-3Quorum No. 3 by Stephanie NowotarskiWhite-Cabana-Minted-2Palm Trees in the Wind by Simone KleinWhite-Cabana-Minted-1Stepping Stones by Little Bird Paperie

They’re big, graphic, and black and white – my favourite combo! That said, I think many of you might end up being surprised by my final choice. I’m so excited for my new print to arrive. Now I get to keep you all in suspense!

Thanks to Minted for sponsoring this post.

Uptown: Herringbone Tile Installation Process

As you may recall, I decided to install a marble floor in a herringbone pattern in my small foyer. The project is just about complete, and I’m so so so thrilled with how it has all turned out. I’m extremely happy! Here’s a bit of a how-to for you in case you’re considering doing this type of thing yourself.

My herringbone floor is my third tile project. My first tile project was my hex tile floor in my powder room. Then, I tackled my kitchen backsplash with large white subway tiles. For foyer floor, I picked up a gazillion marble tiles from the ReStore about a month after I bought my home. I knew they’d look great in my foyer.

My first two tiling projects went very smoothly, so my confidence to tackle the marble was fairly high going into the project. I have found tiling to be quite interesting. It’s sort of zen-like because of the repetitive installation process, and it’s also like solving a puzzle because of how all the pieces need to fit neatly together. It also includes a bit of baking skills, I’d say, because of the mixing of mortar and grout. Just work with me here, people!

While I was mostly confident that I could tackle the foyer tile installation, I was also hesitant because I knew I’d have to use a wet saw for the gazillion cuts involved because of the herringbone pattern. I didn’t even own a wet saw when I began this project!

I didn’t take photos throughout the process – it’s hard to do when my hands are a complete mess! – but here’s what I did do.

1. Get educated: I read this article and watched this video.

2. Upgrade tools: I bought a wet saw from Canadian Tire (it was on sale for less than $100 one week).

3. Prepare work area: My dad ripped out the old linoleum for me (thanks, Dad!), and we both installed a new piece of plywood (5/8″, I think it was). Installing the new piece of plywood caused us both frustration because of the tight space.

4. Prepare marble tiles: I cleaned and sealed the marble tiles pre-installation.

5. Play with patterns: I tested out different patterns just to be sure that herringbone was my favourite.

6. Organize tiles: I sorted the tiles by colour variation so that I could install more light than dark tiles (that was my preference).

7. Measure, measure, measure: I did a lot of measuring in order to ensure that my tile placement was straight. Because I didn’t have a wet saw when I began the project, I didn’t begin the way the article suggested (with the cut triangle piece against the straight edge). If I ever do a herringbone pattern again, I would definitely start with the triangle cut/piece, so that there would be fewer tiles cut.

8: Plan layout: I dry-fit the tiles (again).

9. Mix mortar and install tiles: I mixed the mortar, spread it out, and started sticking the tiles down on the floor. Hooray! I went slowly to be sure that I wasn’t screwing up the pattern, and I used tile spacers (the smallest ones I could find). I also laid down a white plastic edger thing to protect the carpet stairs and to make my edge as neat as possible.

White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-2White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-8White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-7I left all the edging (which included the cut pieces) for another time (post-wet-saw-purchase).

10. Cut tiles: I bought a wet saw and convinced my dad to come help me with all the cuts (it didn’t take much convincing…everyone loves a good power tool). The tag-team effort made the process go much more smoothly and quickly. After we learned about the best way to cut the marble tiles to avoid chips (see the video link above), things progressed well. I measured the heck out of every piece (measure twice, cut once, right?), while dad was on cutting duty. We also used the measuring attachments that came with the saw (e.g., the angle guider attachment) as they made the cutting easier.

This could have been a one-person job, but it was much faster to have two people do it. We made about 60 cuts for the edging and the space around the vent. The cutting took us maybe 4-6 hours.

White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-1White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-6White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-311. Mix more mortar for individual pieces: I labelled every cut piece of marble and its matching space on the floor, removed all the pieces, vacuumed the floor (again), mixed up another batch of mortar, and then installed the cut pieces individually. (This step could have been avoided had I had the wet-saw from the very beginning.)

White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-4 White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-512. Grout and clean: After wiping the marble floor and vacuuming (again), I mixed up some grey grout, and spread it around the floor. I followed the instructions on the back of the grout package, and spread it out using one of those rubber-like grout spreaders (what are they called?). After the grout was set/dried for just about 2 hours, I took another chunk of time to wipe off the excess grout, so that there would be no grout residue on the tiles. This step is essential, and it is essential to do it carefully and precisely.

White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-9

13. Re-install the baseboards: Once the tile work was done, it was time to reinstall the baseboards. Easy. A few nails later, and they were done.

White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-10

Here’s the space now:

White-Cabana-marble-tile-installation-11It’s just about complete. I need to caulk around the baseboards and then repaint them. I used the existing baseboards (to save time and money), but they need a fresh coat of paint.

Would I do something like this again? Heck ya! If I do marble again, I’ll need to upgrade my wet-saw blade (I think it’s done now). If I do herringbone again, I’ll definitely start with the triangle cut. I already have my next tiling project in mind!

Uptown: Installing Marble in my Foyer

Before I tackle my bathroom renovation, I thought I would get a smaller project out of the way – my foyer. It’s a small space, and all I have to do is install some marble tiles. Yup, that’s all. This project, however, is likely going to take a few weeks. It’s funny how the seemingly small projects take an extraordinary amount of time.

My dad was kind enough to rip up the old linoleum (bye bye linoleum!). I then used my newest gadget – a handy dandy jamb saw – to trim the door jamb frame and the frame around the stairs. (Sorry, I don’t have photos of the process, and I can’t even find a photo of the exact jamb saw I bought online. It’s Dewalt brand and it was $14.99 from the Home Depot.)

We then cut and installed a new sheet of plywood. This step was essential as it provides clean base to install my tiles. Since the space is small, installing the plywood was a real pain in the arse. After a bit of cursing, some deep sighs of frustration, and lots of discussion about the best installation approach, we got the plywood in, and it’s a nice fit, too!

Now comes the fun part – tile installation. I honestly love installing tiles (tile project 1: powder room floor; tile project 2: kitchen backsplash). I think I like it because the adhesive mixing and spreading reminds me of icing a cake, and installing the tiles is like a giant puzzle.

I bought marble tiles (for a crazy good price at the ReStore last year), and I spent a bit of time in between other weekend chores dry fitting them in different patterns. Dry fitting is an important step for me on this project because I really want to be sure of the pattern and the tiles that I’m going to lay down (e.g., I’m going to avoid using the darker shades).

I started with a herringbone pattern where the lines are perpendicular to the door.

White-Cabana-marble-2Option 1: vertical/horizontal herringbone

All I could see in this pattern were the vertical and horizontal lines, and it was not making me happy.

I then tried out a classic brick pattern.

White-Cabana-marble foyer-6Option 2: Brick

I think it’s pretty, and, like several Instagram friends, the variation in each piece of marble stands out. I’m not against the brick, but it seems sort of normal and expected. This pattern would definitely limit the number of cuts and reduce tile waste.

Back to the herringbone – the horizontal/vertical lines were annoying me, so I switched the layout so that the herringbone V pattern¬† (or zig zag) would be perpendicular to the door. Do you see what I’m talking about?

White-Cabana-marble-3Option 3:Herringbone V along the width

This looked instantly better in my opinion, but I released the photos to Instagram and let my friends weigh in. I LOVED reading everyone’s comments! Most people still opted for one of the herringbone patterns over the brick.

A few friends (and my mom via phone call) suggested I switch the direction of the herringbone so that the V shape would run lengthwise (i.e., parallel to the door). I ran with this suggestion and end up with this:

White-Cabana-marble-5Option 4: Herringbone V along the length

Much better. I did this quickly, so I didn’t actually verify that everything was lined up, but you can still get the idea of the shift of direction. I find this easy on the eye and flattering for the space.

A few people suggested inserting a border, so I tried that too.

White-Cabana-marble-4Option 5: Herringbone with simple border

I don’t actually think the space is large enough for a border (or carpet as I like to call it), but I can see how people like this option. It sort of finishes things off. It reminds me of colouring within the lines. All the fun happens inside the boxed border. For this foyer, I feel like the carpet style would just make the area feel smaller.

Shannon (8Foot6) suggested I try a basket weave, so I did. Here’s how it looks:

White-Cabana-marble foyer-6Option 6: Basket weave

I thought I was going to hate it because the basket weave reminds me of outdoor patios, but I don’t mind it. It’s certainly tidy, and it would require very few cuts, but I’m not sure that I love it for this space.

What do you think? What’s your vote? I’d love to know!

What was that about it takes a village

To everyone who follows me on Instagram and offered input – thank you!

Uptown: A Look at My Bathroom

I put as little money as possible into my big bathroom makeover as I’m hoping to just tear it out one day and start fresh. The shower is too small, the jacuzzi tub is huge, and there’s so much unused floor space. Plus, there are two tile designs that make my brain hurt. The big bathroom, believe it or not, has come a long way. I can barely remember the¬†silvery grey wallpaper, the excessive amount of¬†towel bars, the rusty grey drop-in sink, or the grey smokey mirror. Barely.¬†

The new sink, vanity, mirror, lighting have refreshed the space as has the wall paint, the cabinet paint job, the inkblot wall,¬†and a good ol’ fashion scrubbing.

White-Cabana-big-bathroom-2White-Cabana-big-bathroom-1

Sources:
ink blot paintings by me
frames –¬†random
bamboo ladder/towel holder – vintage
vanity countertop – custom
sink – Habitat ReStore
Tommy faucet by Delta – c/o
mirror – HomeSense
vanity light – Home Depot

Uptown: A Look at My Kitchen

I have already shared photos of my main floor powder room. Today, I’m revealing the after photos of my kitchen. I took forever to finish up the last bit of grouting (there was a space that I was too lazy to fill), and¬†I was putting off the photos until the backsplash was really fully complete. The before photos of my kitchen are pretty horrific. Honestly, I look back at them and I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I actually bought my house! They’re that bad!

So what did I do to my kitchen to get it white and bright? Here’s a list:
– primed and painted the walls and ceiling
– tore down a dividing wall beside the stove
– installed some new lighting
– installed some additional cabinetry
– installed a marble countertop
– installed a single basin sink
– installed a backsplash (I did it myself!)
– installed an over-the-range microwave
– changed the cabinet hardware

Yes, it was a lot of work! Still on the to do list? The floors are still on my wish list. I’d really love to install hardwood floors.

Okay, here are the after photos:

White-Cabana-kitchen-after-1 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-2 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-5 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-7 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-8 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-11 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-13 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-14 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-15 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-16 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-19 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-20

In case anyone is wondering – I generally do keep my kitchen this tidy. I took everything off of my fridge and the stack of papers/books/magazines off of the table for the photos, but other than that, my kitchen looks like this every day. The stove and floor could use a scrub, but c’est la vie.

Sources:
marble counter – Natural Stone City
sink – Vigo via Home Depot
microwave – KW Appliances
backsplash tiles via Kijiji (for only $10!)
toaster – Cuisinart
KitchenAid stand mixer
oil & vinegar bottles – Diane von Furstenberg
salt & paper shakers – Chapters Indigo
small tray – Crate & Barrel
large tray, milk glass, light fixture, embroidered cherries framed Рvintage
tea towel, plant pot, table – IKEA
chairs Рvintage, painted by me (inspired by Joan Miró)
black & white fridge magnet bottle openers – Alessi
watermelon art – painted by me (age 5)

Uptown: A Look at my Powder Room

I haven’t posted any¬†photos of my home for quite some time. Most of the major work is done (yay!), although I always have something on my to do list (e.g., my basement bathroom). I am¬†so¬†proud of all that I have accomplished in the 1.5 years since I moved into my home. The house looks nothing like it did when I moved in. I slathered gallons and gallons of paint on every single wall, changed a bunch of light fixtures, cleaned for hours on end, tore down a wall, and so much more.

I haven’t taken after photos of every room, so this past weekend, I devoted some time to doing just this. I am just about ready to share a house tour. I really should post the before photos, too, to make things extra dramatic (maybe I will¬†one day)!

For now, here’s a look at what my¬†powder room. This¬†space was completely gutted, and nothing (besides¬†some of the walls) was salvageable (you can see some before photos here and here). It was¬†a disgusting space, really, and that just sums up the before.

White-Cabana-Powder-Room-1 White-Cabana-Powder-Room-2 White-Cabana-Powder-Room-3 White-Cabana-Powder-Room-4 White-Cabana-Powder-Room-5I am so pleased with how this little room came together. Me and my family did the work ourselves, so the only cost was for supplies and fixtures. Little money, big impact. I especially love the floor in my powder room because I installed it myself. Who knew I would ever do such a thing!

Sources:
Tommy faucet – Delta c/o
cabinet & sink – IKEA
hex tiles – Twin City Tile
twin flush, energy efficient toilet – Costco
vintage Chanel poster – Les Puces flea market, Paris
mirror – HomeSense
towel bar – Umbra (it’s a paper towel holder)
linen towels – vintage
milk glass – vintage
light fixture – vintage
toilet roll holder – Bed Bath & Beyond
baseboards, light plates – Home Depot

Photos by me.

Uptown: To Do List Update

I haven’t posted a house update in many months. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen some random¬†house photos already. Last year was full of major renovations, and so many changes happened in my once dark-burgundy home.

White-Cabana-house-1

white-on-white-on-white jewelry station

White-Cabana-house-2

teak and white in my living room

My original to do list (August 2013) was lengthy and full of major projects. Some additional items got crossed off the updated to do list (March 2014):

Рremove wallpaper in basement bathroom
– install a shower in the basement bathroom
– paint touch-ups (all over)
-office organization
-office art wall
-install fire smoke alarms (again)
plan patio

Since then, I have added – and crossed off – a few more tasks:
have a garage sale (read about my garage sale with Tim)
-finish touch-up tile work in kitchen (seal grout, add missing tile, caulk again)
-install foyer tiles
magically find 2 small side tables for my living room
-find one small table to match my chaise (to replace the existing ottoman)
-upholster my two Danish teak arm chairs (seen in photo above)
clean up/organize the garage (again)
-paint basement
BBQ a lot

White-Cabana-house-3

coffee Рjust because

White-Cabana-house-4

I’m starting to organize my not-so-pretty-but-oh-so-useful garage supplies

Renos have slowed down slightly¬†over the summer¬†as there weren’t immediate changes that needed to be made. My¬†basement (storage central) got cleared out a bit after my recent¬†garage sale. I have had the paint (thanks, CIL) for many months, and I’m itching to break it open and start slathering white on the dark walls. I could do a major bathroom/laundry renovation down there, but I honestly don’t know if this is the year that I’m going to do it. Please hold.¬†I have also had my marble foyer tiles stacked neatly for months, but I haven’t found the time or energy to focus on installing them in my foyer. Soon, yes?

White-Cabana-house-5

Ah, flowers, they’re so pretty (thanks, Anita)! They almost make me forget about the DIY to do lists that are waiting for me!

Uptown: Lighting around the House

It’s a civic holiday today, which means I get to spend an extra day at home doing projects, seeing friends, and exploring Waterloo. Happy Monday to you all!

Way back in the fall, I¬†wrote about Venini lighting. I also shared the fact that I had¬†acrylic versions throughout my house, and that I had wanted to get rid of them right away.¬†I have a massive one in my foyer that I hated, but once I painted the walls white, the light fixture completely grew on me. That one light (and the matching versions¬†in the hallways) started a domino effect in terms of the lighting for my home. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

The foyer chandelier came with the house. It is big, and it has a gazillion light bulbs.

venini-1

All the hallway lighting came with my house as well. I have a few of these smaller versions, and they take a few lightbulbs each.

venini-5

I knew I wanted to replace the dining room chandelier and my bedroom fan, so when my mom and I found this amazing chandelier at the Habitat ReStore, I grabbed it. I love the little balls on this version, and it ties in nicely with the hallway lighting.

venini-4

In my bedroom, I have two smaller versions¬†to match my dining room chandelier. These ones are my favourites. They’re sweet, little, and a little less 80s glam than the others.

venini-2 venini-3

Do I want to invest in the crystal version of these? Maybe one day if I find them on super sale.

DIY: How to Make an Inkblot Gallery Wall

My¬†big bathroom was a disaster when I moved in to my house last year, but I knew I couldn’t¬†spend a whole lot of money on a full bathroom reno. Instead, I opted to make minor, but high-impact changes, to the space. I ripped off the silvery wallpaper (ugh!), painted out the wood trim on the 80s vanity, installed a new countertop and over-mount sink, and replaced the faucet, mirror, and lighting. I also cleaned the heck out of everything. The renos definitely improved the space, but the¬†grey/cream linoleum flooring and the grey tub and tile surround were distracting. Rather than trying to change these things, I decided to create a high-impact gallery wall to divert people’s (and my)¬†attention. I think it’s working, too!

I’ve been slowly filling in my Rorschach-inspired gallery wall as I come across frames of different sizes in thrift stores, yard sales, and stores. When I’m out and about, I try to find frames that might fit an empty space on the wall. When I have a few frames, I start painting the inkblots. And then I hang them where I feel they might look best (I only created one extra mistake hole so far…yay). I can be quite impatient so I didn’t wait until I had all the frames/art to start hanging them¬†up. I constantly add to the wall. Here’s what it looks like now:

White-Cabana-Rorschach-gallery-wall-art

 

inkblot-wall-White-Cabana

The upper left corner still needs to be filled in. Other than that, the wall is just about done.

Making inkblot art is super easy. Here’s my step-by-step process:

1. Find a frame (I only use black frames or borderless frame).
2. Cut a piece of white paper to fit inside of the frame. (I tend to use¬†bristol board because it’s strong and thick and the paint¬†won’t seep through.)
3. Fold paper in half.
4. Plop/drip/spread gobs of black paint on one half¬†of the¬†paper¬†(I use artist’s acrylic paint, but craft paint from a¬†dollar store also works fine).
5. Refold the paper in half.
6. Rub your hand over the folded paper. Smoosh the paint around through the paper.
7. Unfold the paper. (I love this step!)
8. Surprise! What do you see? (This is the best part!)
9. Let the paint dry.
10. Frame your art.

What do you think? Do your eyes Рor your brain Рhurt from staring at the wall too long? What do you see in the inkblots on my wall?

Uptown: How I Clean My House

People sometimes ask me if it’s hard to keep my white house clean. I always say that it isn’t. I’m generally a tidy person, I try to¬†control¬†clutter (hard to do in my office, I admit), and keep my objets d’art¬†(a.k.a. knick knacks) organized. I do my cleaning chores once a week (but I always procrastinate when it comes to vacuuming), and¬†I always feel a sense of satisfaction once I’ve got a clean home. I don’t actually mind cleaning, especially when my cleaning products¬†work well. We have hard water here in Waterloo and even with the water softener, the water can quickly leave harsh streaks and spots on everything.¬†I’ve had to¬†try out a bunch of different¬†products since I moved here, but here’s¬†a list of my most reliable weekly cleaning supplies:

1. White vinegar, water, baking soda: I keep these in stock at all times. They’re inexpensive and highly effective.¬†I¬†spray my shower door with a vinegar and water combo a few times a week. It only takes a few seconds and it really helps to keep the shower door clean. I use¬†a vinegar and water mix to mop my¬†kitchen and bathroom floors, and I also use this combo to clean my kettle.¬†I use a mixture of¬†white vinegar, water, and baking soda¬†to clean grout lines in my shower.

grout-tiles-clean 2

 

these grout lines were not always white

2. Bar Keeper’s Friend: I use this product to clean my kitchen sink. It’s strong, and it works.¬†After I scrub the sink with this product, I wash it thoroughly with water. Sometimes I use it on my¬†kitchen and bathroom faucets because it shines them up in no time at all.

bar-keepers-friend kitchen-sink-clean

 

clean sink, happy owner

3. Comet or Ajax all purpose cleaners: I use these cleaners for my bathroom sinks, shower, toilets, stove top, etc. I rinse very well after a bit of scrubbing. They work (quickly, too).

comet-ajax-cleaners

4. Universal Stone: I¬†have mentioned this silver cleaning product before, but it still amazes me.¬†It’s incredible. It¬†works wonders on tarnished silver and requires minimal (or no) elbow grease.¬†If you collect silver, I highly recommend this eco-friendly product.
3products

silver-clean

a recent addition to my silver collection Рbefore & after cleaning

5. Sponges: For many cleaning jobs,¬†I use¬†sponges that look like this¬†but that are from Italy (if I can find¬†them).¬†I have tried imitations and they just aren’t as good. My last¬†one from Sweden was okay, but not incredible. I’m not that fussy, but I do like how these sponges work. My mom has used them forever, so I know that I use them¬†because¬†that’s all I ever really saw her use.

I also use the blue J-Cloths for just about everything. They’re handy to have around, especially during¬†home repair jobs.

I picked up some white microfibre-type cloths a few months ago and they are incredibly effective. You basically water them and then wipe the heck out of everything. I’ve used them on my stainless steel fridge, faucets, windows, and mirrors.¬†They don’t leave streaks and don’t require any additional cleaning products. They’re also machine washable.¬†Unfortunately, I don’t know the brand of my cloths, but I buy them from here. They’re little¬†miracle workers!

6. CLR: Before I moved to Waterloo, I think I used CLR once or twice in my life. Now, I use it all the time. I mix it in with water and I use it for just about everything Рdishwasher (running a cycle without dishes), shower, toilets, faucets, etc.clrproduct

I do try to limit my use of products like Ajax, Comet, CLR, and Bar Keepers Friend,¬†and I use vinegar/water/baking soda when I can. I have tried¬†better-for-the-environment cleaning products, but they just don’t¬†have the same results. I’d love to know if you have any other recommendations for cleaning products (especially if you have dealt with hard water issues). Cleaning – it’s such a¬†hot topic for a Monday morning, isn’t it?

Uptown: Kitchen Counter Style

Now that all the reno dust has settled in my kitchen, I get to play around with my countertop displays. On one side of the kitchen, I’m housing my toaster, kettle, and knife block. I’ve left a large part of the counter free of gadgets because it’s a nice long workspace. On the other side, on the counter between the stove and the fridge, I added my new little white radio, but the line-up isn’t as good-looking as I know it could be.

white-cabana-kitchen-style-1

I put a little request for style advice out on Instagram and the IG community had some great responses (thanks Giulia, Anita, @TouchofPink2012, @erinpconner), so I tried them out.

First, I tried gathering some things into a small tray…

white-cabana-kitchen-style-3

Next, I tested out a larger one…

white-cabana-kitchen-style-4

I had the trays in the house already, so it was no big deal to test them out. I also have little¬†containers in¬†a variety of¬†materials that I played around with – they’d be perfect for holding sea salt (not that I really ever cook with a whole lot of salt, but this is not about practicality, it’s about style!).

Finally, I placed a piece of artwork behind my radio and Soda Stream. The painting that I leaned against the wall might be too big for the space; I also think that I want to hang it on one of the kitchen walls.

white-cabana-kitchen-style-2

And that’s about as far as I got. I¬†need more styling practice.¬†I also realize¬†that I never actually use paper towels, so it’s really pointless to have them taking up valuable counter real estate.¬†More changes ahead!

Erica Cook is such a styling master and I would like to follow her lead. I’ve been on the lookout for fancy black & white bottles of cooking supplies (what I would use them all for is beyond me), but I’ve had zero luck as of yet. Take a look:

Erica-Cook-kitchen-style-instagram-1

Erica Cook’s IG

Erica-Cook-kitchen-style-Instagram-2

Erica Cook’s IG

I am really enjoying¬†being on the styling stage of my house reno. It’s about time!

Update: I just found this article about how to style a kitchen countertop on The Everygirl. The photos are beautiful. I’m afraid of styling the countertop too much – I’d rather have an empty counter so I have space for food prep than a countertop full of cookbooks and bowls¬†of just-for-show lemons.

The Friday Five: Uptown Update

So, it’s been a while since I’ve shared an update from my home uptown. You would think that because I have completely hibernated this winter, I should have been able to tackle a lot indoor projects, but with the evening darkness and my general laziness, I really didn’t get that much done. Plus, I am dealing with the most ridiculous kitchen cabinet maker (more on that one day soon), which has stalled much of the work that I needed to get done in the kitchen. Nonetheless, I have made some progress and¬†here are a five updates:

1. Kitchen: The last time you saw the kitchen, it looked like this. Since then, one of the new cabinets was installed, and my dad installed my over-the-range microwave. This made a huge difference in the kitchen as it freed up a whole counter section and really makes things feel lighter.

White-Cabana-Uptown-reno-3

2. Kitchen: Since I took the above photo, I finished installing the backsplash (thanks to Tia and Jeff for cutting the tricky ones for me), but I still need to grout it (hopefully after work today).

White-Cabana-Uptown-reno-1

3. Big Bath: I have shared a small peek of my big bath¬†and a couple of before photos here. A lot has changed in the big bath. In addition to the tearing off of wallpaper, new paint on walls and ceiling, and new towel bars, I now have a modern rectangular sink on top of a new laminate counter and updated vanity doors (thanks to the power of paint!). I wanted to keep the current reno cost down just in case I want to plan a bigger reno down the road (ideas, ideas!). I’m still looking around for lighting options and I have to hang up the mirror. It’s by no means a beautiful room (yet), but it’s a big improvement from day 1.

White-Cabana-Uptown-reno-5

4. Big Bath: It has taken me quite a while to figure out what kind of art to put in the bathroom. At first, I thought I wanted something huge and loud. But then I couldn’t find anything that I liked, and I wasn’t sure I had time to paint something myself. As I unpacked my old gallery wall, I thought I could put it up in the big bath. But when I laid it all out, I felt it was too colourful. Then I leaned my DIY Rorschach-like art against the walls and I kind of liked it. Left it there for a few days to see if my thoughts would change. They didn’t. I painted up some more Rorschach-types, framed in frames that I already owned, and then hung them up on the bathtub wall. I’m really really liking the black & white art wall and I’ll continue to add to the grouping.

White-Cabana-Uptown-reno-2

5. Dining room: I hung up my white doily art on one of the dining room walls. I lined up the bottoms as I had done in my last apartment, but I just read somewhere that art should be lined up from the top. Have I made the biggest faux-pas ever?

White-Cabana-Uptown-reno-6

Bonus:

6. Entryway: I used Capture to give the carpet in my entry a refresh. It worked! Here’s the before (top) and after (bottom).

White-Cabana-Uptown-reno-4So, that’s a quick update from Uptown to end the week. My to do list is look pretty great – even though I keep adding to it. Here’s where I stand (see¬†original to do list):

–¬†change all the door locks to¬†these Schlage locks
– remove wallpaper in¬†all three¬†bathrooms ‚Äď one left!
–¬†choose a paint colour
–¬†paint the whole house white (the walls are currently¬†brown, beige,¬†burgundy,¬†pink, and green)
–¬†plant hostas
–¬†install a new vanity in the powder room¬†and upstairs bathroom & install¬†these gorgeous Delta faucets
–¬†install a screen door off the kitchen so that I can open the door to the deck without letting in all the bugs
–¬†buy a Ficus plant
–¬†break the big wall down that exists between the living room and dining room
–¬†break the small wall down that exists in my kitchen
–¬†patch up the walls after so much destruction
change all the light fixtures (I started with this one)
–¬†buy a new couch (looking at¬†these ones)
install new kitchen countertops
– install a shower in the basement bathroom
–¬†buy tiles for backsplash &¬†install backsplash

Here are some of the new additions:
– paint touch-ups (all over)
-office organization
-office art wall
-install fire smoke alarms (again)
-plan patio

I LOVE seeing so many things crossed off the list! Yay for progress. This spring I’m looking forward to (learning how to and) installing a stone floor on my small back patio and watching my hostas grow.

Have a great Friday & happy weekend, everyone!

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

Uptown: Progress Update – Kitchen

You’ve now seen the progress I made over the holiday break on my powder room and living room. Today I’m sharing photos of my kitchen. Here’s what it looked like before I moved in:

kitchen-before

I have now finished painting the kitchen (Chantilly Lace like the rest of the house), additional cabinets were installed, and lighting was changed.

kitchen-3

Above – you can see that I do in fact have some colour in my home. I painted these chairs with Miro designs when I was living in Kingston about 7 years ago. The table is from Ikea. Don’t pay attention to the floor – I’m still undecided about what to do with it. I also have to put up the blind. (Oh, and the stuff on the floor has now been moved.)

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that my kitchen got a dose of pretty too in the form of new carrara marble counter tops (remember my indecision?). They are so lovely! The counter top is from Natural Stone City in Kitchener and I could not be more happy with the service I received. From start to finish, the NSC team was professional and efficient.

kitchen-1kitchen-4kitchen-2

¬†The faucet has now been installed (thanks Dad!) and I will soon install the backsplash. I have been using the one-basin sink for almost a week now and I’m really enjoying it.

Uptown: Progress Update – Living Room

Over the last two weeks it was really great to start, continue, and finish projects at my home. The before photos sort of scare me at this point but they weren’t so scary when I bought the place. Why is that? I think that when I bought the place, I realized that…

1_15_13_MarkAddisonSmith

via You Look Like the Right Type

The location of my house is top-notch for my needs. It also has a lot of great natural light, amazing storage, and is plenty big.¬†I really had to look past the dirt, the dark walls, and the mess, to see its potential. There is still work to be done but seeing the progress photos keeps me motivated to keep going. Yesterday I showed you the current state of the powder room and today I’m giving you a little tour of the living room.

living room-before

Here is what the living room looks like now:

living-room-2

I haven’t fluffed the pillows or perfectly styled anything in these photos but they give you an idea of the transformation that this room has gone through.

living-room-1Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset living-room-3

The wall between the living room and dining room came down and the whole space got painted in Chantilly Lace. I still adore my MGBW sofa (remember my search?) and the gorgeous pillows that my mom made for me (talented, yes!). I unpacked some more boxes, brought up my vintage typewriter, and created a bit of a vignette with my vintage Alessi,¬†old keys from around Europe, and Barbara Barry orb. The white-on-white art was created by my three nephews and I’ll soon be putting additional art on other walls.

Tomorrow I’ll share photos of my kitchen. If you want to read more about my reno, be sure to have a look at the posts in the Uptown series.

Uptown: Progress Update – Powder Room

Hi all. I’ve had a good couple of weeks offline and I hope you have too, but now I’m back to regular blogging, tweeting, and instagramming (new verbs, don’t you love them?) and I’m excited for what’s to come in 2014.

I had grand plans for my 2 weeks off from work – mainly I wanted to sleep in and watch TV. Instead, I had a total of 2 lazy days (one of which was Christmas) and spent much of the rest of my time working on my home. Painting, organizing, building Ikea furniture, unpacking boxes – it was a full-time job, really. Things are looking¬†much¬†better and I’m happy to share some of the progress with you this week.

I’m starting with the powder room as this is the room that is (pretty much) done. This is what the small space looked like when I took a tour pre-sale:

powder room-before

And here is what things are looking like these days:

powder-room

powder-room-2

powder-room-3

You already know that I took a crack at installing the hex tile floors. I just love how they turned out. While the process took some time, it wasn’t that hard. Delta was kind enough to send over the Tommy faucet¬†and it looks beautiful with the Ikea sink cabinet. I bought the mirror at HomeSense and the Umbra towel holder at Canadian Tire.

I’m still trying to narrow down the art options for this small space but that’s it. This room is (almost) done!

Tomorrow I’ll take you on a mini tour of the living room.

 

Uptown: Window Blinds

One of the things that I liked about my house when I bought it was that there were really simple (and new) window coverings. The previous owner chose really attractive and convenient window blinds and kept the style the same throughout the whole house. I loved the consistency.

A few of the blinds needed to be replaced and, since I knew that they were from¬†Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I thought I’d go there and buy a few replacements. I have both the Chatham and Honeycomb shades (below) in a variety of my sizes and I like that they are easy to use and simple.

Chatham-cordless-shade-Bed Bath Beyond

 

Chatham cordless shade

honeycomb-shade-Bed Bath Beyond

Honeycomb cordless shade

Turns out that BBB has an¬†amazing¬†customer service policy. As the blinds required replacing because the cordless feature didn’t quite work as well as it should have, BBB did a direct exchange for the¬†blinds. No questions asked (besides the basic¬†why are you returning these?).

The sales associates I met with in both the Waterloo and Cambridge locations were friendly and efficient. This was really my first BBB experience and I am completely impressed. I’m heading back there soon to pick up some sheets and towels.

The Friday Five: Bath Accessories

My powder room isn’t quite done but it’s¬†almost done. I’m hoping everything will be working and my mirror will be up next week. I haven’t yet ordered my towel bar and toilet roll holder but here are some of the options I was contemplating.

Emtek_bath-Accessories

Emtek towel bar & paper holder (total $175)

Dynasty-bath-accessories

Dynasty towel bar & paper holder (total $73)

Delta-trinsic-bath-accessories

Delta Trinsic towel bar & paper holder (total $84)

Gatco-bath-accessories

Gatco Bleu chrome towel bar & paper holder (total $67)

Pfister-bath-accessories

Pfister modern towel bar & paper holder (total $90) 

Thoughts?

Have a great weekend!

Uptown: The Countertop Decision

I still haven’t quite decided about the kitchen countertop. Annoying. I think I’m close though. Here are the issues.

1. I thought that I was going to just go for quartz but then I started hearing things about marks, chips, and stains.

2. So then I went back to thinking of laminate as I thought it could be a great affordable temporary option. But then, by the time you pay for installation, sink, etc., it’s not really cheap-cheap. It’s just the cheapest option but not actually really dirt cheap, you know?

Formica-countertop-colours

Formica

3. So then I went back to thinking that if I was going to spend money on the countertop, I might as well go for Carrara marble as I know what my sister/brother-in-law and my parents paid for theirs (both have larger kitchens than mine) and, in fact, the price seemed to be comparable to quartz. But when I got the quote from my Kitchener-Waterloo kitchen people, it was way higher than quartz…aka…not really in my budget.

Carrara-marble

Carrara marble

4. So here we are now, I’m rethinking quartz. Friends on Twitter were kind enough to pass along some positive views of quartz to help me out. Maybe quartz really is the wisest move for the moment. I’d go for the plainest of the plain – no sparkles, flecks, or any of that jazz. I’ve picked one out but I can’t remember its manufacturer. I should know this, right? If I go for quartz and my espresso maker leaves a mark on it, I’m going to be very annoyed. Just sayin’.

quartzCaesarstone

 

Uptown: Door Knobs

Way back in July when I took possession of my new home, I had thought that one of the quickest changes I was going to make was to change the door knobs. I could have taken an easy way out and just replaced the actual key lock part of the knob but the existing knobs were old and so I thought it would be wise (and straightforward) to replace them completely.

door-knob-5

old knobs

The task started off quite well. I used the measuring guide on the Direct Door Hardware website and the kind people over at Direct Door Hardware sent over some simple, stainless Schlage knobs and matching locks.door-knob-1

 determining the backset

door-knob-3

the new Schlage knob & deadbolt

I thought the job was going to take half an hour (tops!). My dad and I took out the old knobs in one of the doors and that’s when we realized that the new Schlage sets would not fit because the bore hole in my door was too small for the lock sets (didn’t think to measure that before I ordered the locks). This was the case for all the doors. I was pretty disappointed. After a bit of research I learned that it would be unlikely to find high quality locks to fit the small bore holes. Plus, I really wanted to use the new stainless sets.

door-knob-4

oops…too small!

I went back to the Direct Door Hardware people for advice (thanks Jake E.!) and thought about my options. I was reluctant to let the knobs go to waste so I decided to hire a locksmith to cut new bore holes in all my doors. I didn’t tackle this task on my own as, in addition to having metal doors, I didn’t have the appropriate tools, and I was too impatient to try measuring anything out by myself. It’s good to admit when you need help, right? Something like that.

door-knob-6

the locksmith’s high-tech tool

doorknob1

new knobs (pre-paint)doorknob2new knobs & locks

Anyway. I’m happy to report that the door knobs and locks are in throughout my house and they are working out perfectly. I’m happy with the strength and simplicity of the set I ordered, and the service at Direct Door Hardware was quick and informative. I’m also happy that I decided to hire the locksmith to get the bore holes to a standard size. This will give me more flexibility later on if I decide to install another new set.

Uptown: The Tronchi Lighting

When I bought my house I thought one of the first things to go would be the hall light fixtures. They looked, to me at least, to be too flashy and I couldn’t really imagine how they would match my furniture. The dark burgundy walls didn’t help their case.

White-Cabana-light

before: the foyer with dark walls and a fancy chandelier

Once I painted the place white, the chandeliers seemed to (almost) disappear. They looked less gawdy than before and they actually began to grow on me. In fact, I’ve become such a fan of them over the last few months that I have now decided to keep them.

And I don’t seem to be alone in my interest in this style of chandelier.

DSC_20812

From the Right Bank

7

47 Park Avenue

$(KGrHqN,!ncFI-+RZoMZBSRjLY2ytg~~60_1

via Ebay

The chandeliers in the above photos are the¬†tronchi style. They’re made of crystal and each piece is in the shape of a tube or trunk (hence the Italian translation of the name). These handmade Murano glass Venini chandeliers can also be made up of prism crystals and balls like the gorgeous fixture from 1st Dibs below.

927952_l

chandelier05_l

via 1st Dibs

A couple of weeks ago, I found a few similar chandeliers and decided to scoop them up for¬†other places around the house. I’m completely hooked on these now and I have completely embraced their fascinating style! I should say, though, that¬†my collection of lighting fixtures is made up of the budget/imitation version of the Venini glass chandeliers but they still reflect the light beautifully and are interesting to look at (not to mention great conversation pieces). The lucite prisms in my chandelier collection are proving that they work perfectly with my decor. I’ve dropped a few of the prisms as I cleaned them so I’m pretty thankful that the pieces are durable. They’re fairly lightweight too which has made installation smooth. Be on the lookout, people. I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing more of these Venini chandeliers (or the lucite versions) all over the design blogs and magazines soon enough.

Check back soon for a full lighting reveal!

Uptown: Grouting Tiles

I’m pleased to announce that I have now completed the tile work in my powder room. I ordered the grout – smoke grey – from Twin City Tile¬†and grouted the floor over the Thanksgiving long weekend. I am SO incredibly pleased with the floor and I am SO glad I decided to rip out the vinyl.

White-Cabana-powder-room-hex-tile

Grouting was easier than laying the tiles down. I was certainly less stressed about this part of the process. How did I get the job done? I followed the directions on the grout package as well as the instruction I received from the Home Depot tiling workshop I attended and the mini lesson I received from Silvano at Twin City Tile. I mixed the grout powder with water and stirred it all up (with a paint stick – it was a small batch so this was good enough) so it had the consistency of pudding or icing (tiling and grouting is just like icing a cake!). I used the spatula (grout spreader) and moved the grout into the spaces like I’ve seen on TV (honestly!). I let the grout dry for about 10-15 minutes and then spent quite a bit of time (over an hour maybe) cleaning the tiles very carefully. I knew I couldn’t leave any grout residue on the tiles otherwise my floor would be ruined. I spent so much time wiping the grout off with a damp sponge just as I had been taught (one direction, rinse the sponge after each wipe, etc.). It was time consuming but very satisfying. I then let the grout dry for a few days (I think it only needed 24 hours) before I actually stepped on the floor.

The room is¬†almost done. Since¬†the last powder room progress update¬†I bought a new toilet (dual flush – so fancy) and a new mirror.¬†I (and my handy parents) now just need to…

– sand the walls
– prime the walls
– paint the walls
– buy baseboards
– install baseboards
– install vanity (this one)
– install faucet (this one)
– install toilet
– install light fixture
– install mirror (from here)

And then the room will be ready for a big reveal!

Uptown: Powder Room Update

When I moved into my house, my plan for the powder room was to rip off the wallpaper and install a new faucet. Well, plans change.

IMG_5192_2

 powder room before

The powder room is now getting a full makeover. Oh, how I love a good makeover story! Progress has been slow but steady and I am really enjoying the full reno experience (minus the mess and constant clean up). To begin this makeover, I spent several evenings ripping down the wallpaper. Then I spent several more evenings (and weekends) scraping wallpaper glue from the walls.

IMG_5451

powder room – progress – wallpaper removed

It didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted a new vanity so at this point I handed the room off to my dad who, in addition to patching up a whole bunch of holes (thank you so much wallpaper glue) and rearranging the light source, removed the vanity and toilet. Once the room was empty, I decided that the vinyl flooring had to go so I ripped it out one Friday evening. I ripped it out without really planning what was going to come next but I was encouraged by a chat with Tia and a visit to Twin City Tile.

IMG_6226

 powder room Рripping out the vinyl floor

In between all of the destruction, I bought a new sink and vanity. I placed a tile order with Twin City Tile feeling only half-way confident that I could actually install a new floor by myself. After a mini-lesson from Silvano, I realized that I would need to install a new sheet of plywood over the subfloor in order to ensure a smooth installation of the new tiles. My dad and I cut a piece of plywood to size and the difference it made was pretty impressive. With the new flat floor in place, I went ahead and planned out the tile placement. I started with finding the centre point in the room and drawing lines to help line up my sheets of hex tile.

IMG_6270

 powder room Рnew subfloor ready to be screwed down

IMG_6284

 planning for the new tile floor

Over the period of 4 hours, I managed to dry-fit my tiles in the space, figure out how to mix adhesive to the correct consistency (not too soupy), and installed my tiles. I’m SO happy with the progress I made and I am incredibly proud that I managed to lay my first ever tile floor*.

IMG_6292top view of the powder room – new tile floor is secure!

I haven’t grouted yet. I’m going to try and get to it this week or upcoming weekend. I am leaning towards a grey grout. Then I’m going to build my vanity and figure out how to do plumbing**.

* Thanks to Silvano at Twin City Tile for a mini lesson, the Home Depot for offering a free backsplash installation workshop, and for the blogging community for documenting the tile installation process. I’ve learned so much from you all!¬†

**I’ll likely leave the plumbing up to my dad. We’ll see.

Uptown: Saying Goodbye to Vinyl

…and a whole bunch of other things around the house!

Things have progressed chez moi. Things are also slow going. While I can do without the mess and chaos, I’m loving the reno. It’s so satisfying to see things getting done the way that I want them. My dad has been helping out a lot and my mom will soon be joining the efforts (I’m putting their retirement to good use).

Here’s what’s been happening…

1. My dad removed the vanity and toilet from the powder room. The nice people at the Home Depot taught us about compression valves and we gave them a try. They’re great so far. I may not have a working faucet in this bathroom but the valves are shiny and clean.

White-Cabana-Uptown-2

2. On Friday night I decided to rip out the vinyl in the powder room. Took the baseboards right out as well using a spatula and a crowbar. I probably didn’t need the crowbar but it was awesome. I love tools!

White-Cabana-Uptown-5

3. Before I ripped out the floor, I visited a tile shop. The photo shows some of the tiles that I’m considering. But I think I decided to go for the 1″ white matte hex tiles. It’s going to look great! I’m going to try to tackle the floor in the next week or so. Wish me luck!

White-Cabana-Uptown-3

4. Dad has been doing a lot of electrical work around the house. In addition to moving ceiling and lights, he has started to replace the light switches. The square version instantly modernizes a room. The effect is really surprising (to me, at least).

White-Cabana-Uptown-1

5. I finished painting my bedroom a couple of weeks ago. At the moment, the ironing board is a feature in the room – I’m working on changing that! I am¬†very¬†happy with Chantilly Lace.

White-Cabana-Uptown-4

And that’s about it for now. More to come soon. Happy Friday!

*Due to a computer server issue, the original post vanished. I have rewritten this post.

Uptown: Priming with PARA Paints

I am happy to report that I making progress on the painting projects in my house. (I wish I could say the same about some of the decisions that I still have to make.) The hallways were a dark deep red and the kitchen was a dark brown so I felt like the walls in these spaces needed to be primed before I painted them white. The walls were all in great shape so I didn’t do anything besides wipe them down. I probably should have lightly sanded the walls but I usually just skip the sanding step if the walls are in good shape. Tsk, tsk, right?

I used PARA Paints professional latex primer* for this job and it worked beautifully. It went on smoothly and covered the dark walls very well.

Here’s a look at the upstairs hall. The ceiling is super high and luckily my dad brought his 21′ ladder and was brave enough to deal with the high points.

White-Cabana+ParaPaints

Anyway – the place is so much brighter now that the hallways have been primed with white. I am so excited about the transformation that my townhouse is going through.

* Thanks to PARA Paints for their support.  

Uptown: Scenes from My Weekend

Well – the long weekend brought with it a visit from my dad and a whole lot of progress on my home renos. There was a wall that needed to come down, furniture to be moved, plants to be planted, electrical work to be tackled, and a lot of heavy duty cleaning to be done.

IMG_5676

In preparation for the weekend o’ work (and beyond), I made two lists: one for dad and one for me. His list includes a lot of my electrical wishes (and some of his too) and my list includes a lot of “buy major piece of furniture/lighting/vanities/things” and “make a decision about paint/furniture/lighting/vanities/things”. Needless to say, his list now has more crossed off of it than mine.

I learned how to remove a wall this weekend. My dad did most of the work but in between scrubbing everything in my kitchen, I watched what he did. What a big job that was. But now it’s done! I have full access to my dining room from living room and kitchen and the flow in the house is so much better. Awesome.

IMG_5707_2

 breaking the wall

My dad and I took down the two large mirrors that were in the upstairs bath. (Gosh those things were heavy.) Doing this meant that I could take down the last of the wallpaper (hiding behind the mirrors) in this bathroom. I felt like I needed to pop open some champagne to mark the occasion. What a task that was. And, yes, I still hate wallpaper. I will never put wallpaper up. Ever.

IMG_5751

upstairs bath – progress; mirror removed, wallpaper almost removed

IMG_5775

upstairs bath – all patched up; light to be removed soon; vanity to be replaced soon

I cleaned the heck out of my kitchen. As in – it took me 2 hours (or more?) to clean my fridge. Another 2 hours to clean my stove. And no, I don’t think I’m exaggerating. While the kitchen cleaning tasks were time consuming, they were also extremely satisfying. My fridge is especially beautiful.

IMG_5704

deep cleaning of the fridge

While I’m talking about the fridge – I would like to share my satisfaction with my fridge. It’s a Samsung. That’s all I know about the make of it. The fridge is on top and the freezer drawers pull out. So convenient and such a step above anything I’ve had in my previous rentals.

IMG_5761using power tools

I grabbed my dad’s electric screwdriver (with a little light at the end of it!) to put a cabinet back together. His screwdriver was awesome. I want one but it’s not in my ¬†budget. Glad to have been able to borrow his. He loves it and is definitely not ready to donate it to me.

IMG_5783

You may remember that I took down the wallpaper (and the enormous amount of leftover wallpaper paste) in the powder room. I patched up a lot of the wall damage but there’s still a bit more to deal with. But never mind that. This weekend dad removed the vanity wall light and created a new light box outlet thing in the middle of the ceiling. I haven’t settled on the light fixture yet (remember all the decisions I still have to make?) but at the moment I’m thinking either a plain globe light or a small crystal chandy. There is still a lot to be done in this small room. I will replace the vanity, prime and paint the room, install a new light, and hang a new mirror (maybe this one).

What a satisfying weekend of home repairs and organization. I’m thrilled with how things are shaping up around the house.

***

Interested in reading more about my reno? Keep your eye out for posts titled “Uptown”.

Uptown: Testing out the Paint

Painting is almost – almost – going to begin. I will start with PARA primer on some of the walls…

professional_lat_4c2ae36e48923

 

PARA primer

I have narrowed down my paint colours from about a thousand different white. While some people have told me…

11_9_09via You Look Like the Right Type

I know that no two whites are the same. I am now deciding between two colours. The first option is Chantilly Lace. This is a favourite white among many designers and has been featured in countless home magazines and blogs. In my home it looks quite good.

Chantilly-Lace

 Chantilly Lace

The second option is Behr’s Gallery White. It also looks good in various rooms in my home.

1a64ee30-86e9-4d69-b037-8c2b9831c028_300

Gallery White

I decided to buy small cans of each colour so I could test them out in every room in my house. The paint clerk at the Home Depot pretty much laughed at me when she showed me the two colours after she mixed them. My friends did the same. Why I have to convince everyone that the two colours are really different is beyond me.

So this past weekend I painted two coats of each colour in various rooms around my house. I think this strategy will help me decide the final colour but it’s also a bit tricky because I didn’t prime and the colours underneath surely impact the way that I see the whites. The photo collage below gives you an idea of the differences although the lighting combined with the Instagram filter doesn’t give you a true sense of the shades.

paint-White-Cabana

Chantilly Lace (on top or on the left in every photo) + Gallery White (on the bottom or on the right in every photo)

I’d prefer to paint the whole house one colour but I may end up getting cans of both colours and just alternating the rooms. Ha ha…let’s see who would actually notice besides me!

 

Uptown: Quartz Questions

I think I may have settled on quartz as my new kitchen countertop option. I definitely don’t want acrylic/plastic or granite. I would love carrara marble but a) I’m not sure it’s the right choice for this home and b) I don’t know any carrara marble dealers in KW. I think I will be happy with quartz. It will hold up well and it will look sleek with my existing cabinets and backsplash tiles. That said, I have yet to make a decision about what pattern to get. I have already narrowed down my options to only white varieties. And I have eliminated the fake marble¬†and the very snowy patterns from the list. These are possible contenders:

1141-l

Caesarstone Pure White

4600-l

Caesarstone Organic White

Aurora Snow-Hanstone

Hanstone Aurora Snow

bianco-canvas-hanstone

Hanstone Bianco Canvas

Hanstone-Swan-Cotton

Hanstone Swan Cotton

Any advice? What is your countertop made of? Do you have quartz?

Uptown: The To Do List

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I enjoyed a weekend of shopping for quartz, shopping for couches, creating to do lists, and prepping for my dissertation defense (8 days!). I also had a few visits with friends and family which was nice. It was a full and happy weekend!

I have lot of projects planned for my townhouse but they have different priority levels.

At the top of my to do list are:

– change all the door locks to these Schlage locks
– remove wallpaper in all three bathrooms – one left!
– choose a paint colour
– paint the whole house white (the walls are currently brown, beige, burgundy, pink, and green)
plant hostas
– install a new vanity in the powder room and upstairs bathroom & install these gorgeous Delta faucets
– install a screen door off the kitchen so that I can open the door to the deck without letting in all the bugs
buy a Ficus plant (Okay, this wasn’t really a priority but sometimes it feels satisfying to add something to the list just to cross it off!)
– break the big wall down that exists between the living room and dining room
– break the small wall down that exists in my kitchen
– patch up the walls after so much destruction
– change all the light fixtures (I started with this one)
buy a new couch (looking at these ones) (Breaking news: I bought a couch yesterday…after I prepped this post!)
– install new kitchen countertops
– install a shower in the basement bathroom (once I figure out how to reconfigure the space so it is more efficient)
buy tiles for backsplash & install backsplash
– find a plumber in Kitchener-Waterloo
– find a drywaller in Kitchener-Waterloo

Other projects that I’ll be tackling over the next few months include:

– replace all the electrical outlets and plate covers to white (I have about 5 different varieties around the house and they are making me crazy!)
– install new bathroom fans
– reupholster my teak arm chairs for the living room
– refinish my Eames dining room chairs
– replace ventilation fans in bathrooms
– create a better functioning laundry room
– find a sweet round kitchen table to replace my square one
– plan a better patio space

I hope you’re all still interested in following along with the progress updates.

Happy Monday!

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!

Uptown: Door Knobs

When moving into a new place, I think it’s a really wise move to change the locks. You just never know how many keys to your home are actually floating around. In the last two apartments I lived in, the superintendents took care of this so I had nothing to worry about. But moving into a home of my own meant that I had to learn a little something about door knobs and locks. (We all know that I love learning so noone really had to twist my elbow on this one.)

I did a quick Google search for door knobs and landed on Direct Door Hardware. The site is pretty easy to navigate but the company has such an extensive selection of door knobs and locks that it is easy to get confused.

Direct-Door-Hardware_Collection

Direct Door Hardware carries many brands including: Baldwin, Weiser, Emtek, Kwikset, Schlage, Sure-Loc and Weslock (featured above)

Instead of getting overwhelmed, I narrowed down my knob search by function (residential), style (basic) and finishes (nickel, chrome) and then I did what any new homeowner might do – I asked my parents. They recommended the Schlage brand so that’s how I narrowed down my choices even further. From there I read the descriptions for each product and I took the measurements as per Direct Door Hardware’s instructions and placed my order.

I settled on the affordable Schlage Orbit keyed doorknob and matching Schlage deadbolt for the four doors that I have in my place.

Schlage Orbit-doorknob

Schlage-deadbolt-B560

The knobs & locks arrived last week and I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made. They look great and I am going to love the consistency that they are going to bring to the doors at my home (I’m currently dealing with a few different finishes).

Stay tuned for a report on the installation process. My dad said it’s “easy”. Uh huh.

Images courtesy of Direct Door Hardware. Many thanks to Jake E. for his assistance with my order.

***

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

Uptown: Moving In, Starting New

So…the last few months have been quite the adventure. In addition to wrapping up my PhD life in London (defence date set for August 20th!), I got a job, bought a townhouse, packed up and moved to a new city (Waterloo, Ontario). Things have been hectic to say the least but I’m definitely excited for this next chapter on my life.

While my new day job means that I’ll be trying to put my 12 years of post-secondary education to good use (12 years! Wild.), my new evening and weekend programs will consist of making some changes to my townhouse. And since I am a design blogger I think it’s only fitting that I document my renovation projects here. Yes?

So, let me introduce you all to the new series on White Cabana called Uptown. Where did the name come from? Let me explain.

As an outsider, I find the area of Waterloo quite confusing. People in this part of Ontario actually refer to this area as Kitchener-Waterloo (KW for short) because the two cities are basically attached at the hip. There are other communities around KW such as Cambridge and St. Jacob’s which are sometimes roped into the KW area as well. To add to the KW confusion, there’s a King Street for every cardinal direction and getting off the 401 and into KW can be a challenge even for the most skilled GPS system.

As if things weren’t confusing enough, the “downtown” district of Waterloo is actually called “uptown” and “downtown” Kitchener is called “downtown”. Uptown Waterloo, downtown Kitchener. Both city centres are on King Street. Confused? Yeah, me too. But with each day I’m here, Uptown Waterloo seems to roll of the tongue a little bit more naturally.

So, as I live near Uptown Waterloo, I thought that Uptown would be a great name for this series (actually, it was my Dad who came up with it and I agreed). So, anytime you see Uptown in the title, you’ll know that you’re in for a townhouse update!