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:




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 towel bar & paper holder (total $175)


Dynasty towel bar & paper holder (total $73)


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


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


Pfister modern towel barpaper holder (total $90) 


Have a great weekend!

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.


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


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.


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.


the locksmith’s high-tech tool


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.


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.


From the Right Bank


47 Park Avenue


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.



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!