If you cannot view the video above please check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb8B4nReOwY
Some people call it being a feminist, others being stubborn… it seems when I have an entire day to myself at home I end up flipping furniture around and taking on a task that is far beyond my physical ability. But do I ask for help? Naaaa I want to enjoy the pride in saying I did it all myself. I can take my time, I can move it five times without someone else saying “really? moving it again?!” Its something I do to feel better, to lift my spirits.
I love my hutch but I felt it was getting lost in the wall on the opposite side of the room, basically if I sat on my futon I wouldn’t be able to see it. I am not a big tv watcher, quite frankly I don’t have cable or satellite just a hard drive that I can play some movies on. If I do I am generally doing other tasks while it plays in the background. The view out my living room window is beautiful, especially in Spring with the rushing water flowing down from the mill through the trees. Where my futon was before I could not see this view.
I love my apple green chair that my mom and I reupholstered a few years ago and wanted it to be more predominant in my home. With all the plant life and hints of green here and there I thought it might blend into the colour scheme nicely. Although these are the colours the space are year ’round, in Spring it just feels so much more lush.
Last Saturday I noticed a neighbour was having a garage/estate sale so my Dad and I popped in to see what they had for sale. As it would happen the woman that lived there was the “mom” of the house I currently live in. Her husband had built it in the 1950’s and had it moved to this patch of land next to the creek. All seven children lived there, the 5 girls in one of the bedrooms. Two of them were present at this estate sale and laughed about how small the kitchen was. How their mom knew to evacuate the kitchen before the bus arrived or she would be overwhelmed and cornered! I agree 100% That’s why I’d like to open up the space so it isn’t so claustrophobic.
The woman collected everything you can imagine from spoons to fine china, Avon bottles to Garfield toys, VHS cassettes galore… I picked up a few things I thought were neat such as these two vintage phone Avon bottles (no I haven’t smelled them!), a decorative mirror and two matching night stands that need some love. I seem to be on a vintage phone kick lately, I don’t know what I like so much about them but they’re so pretty and unique! I also was drawn to this decorative mirror too much like previous ones I have thrifted, once painted they become modern pieces.
My bedroom is finally back in order! Let me take you through a walk from the day I first looked at the house to now.
The basement “rec room” had an awkwardly placed feature wall with very high contrast black and white damask stick wallpaper. The kind that is one solid sticker, super thick and supposedly easy to get off… provided the wall isn’t wet perhaps! The previous owner’s staging featured brown, apple green and black furniture to make it look like the wall blended in, for me it was an eye sore as I have nothing black.
I decide this is the right house for me and figuring out what room is what is my hardest decision to make. I’ve never had so much space for just me! I ultimately decided to have this large rec room as my bedroom as it has no windows (don’t worry it has three doors!) with an adjacent bathroom and the opposite room could be my wardrobe. The staging had this room as a rec room and the opposite room as a bedroom.
The carpets were disgusting housing many cats for 30 years, you can imagine the smell… if I was to live here the first thing that would have to go is those carpets as I’m allergic to cats and couldn’t tolerate the urine smell. The moment the carpets were rolled up in a pile in the driveway the smell was gone! It made a world of difference. My dad spent the next few weeks on his hands and knees filling the cement floor with sealant so it wouldn’t be so broken and full of holes. Lots of floor filler to try and make it smooth instead of slanted.
As I’m sitting on the floor waiting for my Dad to cut more pieces of laminate, I thought I’d get to work on that wallpaper. I start pulling and notice the wall is discoloured underneath, wet and I’m pulling off sheets of paint along with the wallpaper. Next comes the stench of wet dry wall. Perfect. We knew in advance there was likely going to be water damage despite the previous owner assuring us that the porch built outside this room was professionally sealed – it wasn’t, no sealant of any kind… Hello water!!
My dad finished the floor but the wall remained in this chipped away look for a few months until we decided what the next step would be. The porch had to be fixed and this wall needed addressing. Although before this I thought that it being cold in this room was simply because the room under the porch wasn’t insulated (nor the bedroom wall for that matter) As it turns out there was a lot more work to be done than I bargained for.
Thankfully I work with a woman whose family is in the home building – maintenance business! Her son took on the job of “keeping Pam warm” by properly finishing the cement porch above then ripping out the damaged wall and rebuilding it with new insulation and framing as well as a new door frame. Once the structure was redone a fresh coat of paint really made a world of difference in giving life back to the room. Lesson learned about paint, always physically go into the paint store to see the paint, looking at the colour online is a whole different ballpark. This colour was originally neon – “Cucumber” online looked like a soft greyish green. In person it was very vibrant and definitely not the colour I wanted.
As it turned out even adding a lot of grey into the original Cucumber colour it looks different depending on which wall you are looking at because the lighting is very different. I have two dimmer lights, a very yellow toned overhead light and one fluorescent tube style one in the back room. It can look very grey or more green depending on where you are. I took this opportunity to rearrange the room a bit, keeping the elements I liked from my previous setup but adding part of the hutch from upstairs and moving it downstairs as my computer desk.
Note to self: hire boyfriend for moving furniture, some things you have to admit you shouldn’t do alone.
I haven’t shown you an update on the home renovations, the before and afters that I adore so much! I’ve recently joined a DIY home decor group on Facebook and it got me thinking about the progress of my own.
This room has experienced the greatest change out of all of the ones I’ve done so far. It feels like a whole new space with fresh grey cupboards and open concept shelving. I am loving the grey palette lately, it makes my apple green accents pop! When I have extra cash I look forward to expanding the kitchen and replacing the laminate floor.
This is by far the most cozy makeover in the house with a fresh coat of Sea Spray paint by Glidden it adds a whole new life to the room. I felt the natural palette the previous owner had throughout actually darkened the rooms rather than brighten. To be honest I have never chosen a colour like this before but it has done wonders for the space.
This poor girl has suffered a great deal since I moved in. As you saw with my last post the wall was completely destroyed by the cement porch that was installed on the front (my guess was as a selling feature so they didn’t care about quality) and had zero in the way of water sealing. The wall is still under construction as I write this, the wall to the right which you cannot see!
This is the downstairs “en suite” bathroom, a very basic room with awkwardly too much space that I think I was able to fill and make more impressive. A deep claw foot tub would have made excellent use of the extra space, however that requires money. I changed the wall and cupboard door panels to the same Zeppelin grey as upstairs and added some long sheer curtains for focus.
I would like to talk a little bit about my awkward excursion to Value Village last week where I discovered this enchanting work of art, a print if you will by Michelle Armas. I was actually looking for boots which I discovered (see my post Boot Lust) when across the store I could see this fascinating not to mention huge piece of art along the back wall. All of my favourite colours pulled me in from afar. I managed to get this 48×36 frame down off the wall to my delight it was only $24.99… naturally I had a coupon too so less than $20 by the end of it.
Getting it into my new car was a feat I must say. The Tucson was certainly the most spacious ride I had for thrifting, it made my life easy. Now the Civic Si shows off my bold personality but does not compare in regards to trunk room! Sports cars not good for large scale thrift adventures! I managed to wedge the frame into the trunk and slowly made my way about 2 minutes down the road to work to unload. Once inside I was able to look at it closer and found a sticker on the back of the frame with Michelle’s logo and Etsy website.
After scrolling through the most beautiful artwork on her page I came across “Elka Three Print” for $60. This beautiful print was wrapped on a wood frame and now waits in my hallway for the perfect wall to display her.
The Kijiji Hutch
What I like to call the “big hutch” when in actuality they are both essentially the same size. Surprisingly light weight too! This one I found on Kijiji in Belleville (a solid hour’s drive from my home) for $75. My parents frowned when I showed them the image but it was my decision. I could see the potential in it. If I could I would remove some of the bulk in the front that is just decorative but I am not skilled enough in wood-working!
I do not yet have finished photographs but you can start to see the progression. This particular pieces I sanded down prior to painting. A word of caution about something you may come across if you are refinishing thrifted furniture – sometimes the varnish dye used in cheaply made furniture will run when paint touches it. This one for example required more coats than expected, A) because its very dark but B) the finish blended with the white paint and became yellow. It was almost as if the dye was mixing with the paint. The first time I noticed this even with all the furniture I’ve painted over the years.
As you may know I am a first time home buyer right in the thick of it, busy spring buying/selling season and competition unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. To date I have looked at 6 houses which in the grand scheme of things is not a lot, some people look at 100, others 20… I knew the distance radius I wanted to be in based on my 12 hour work days and social life I wanted to stay close to Kingston’s boundaries without actually being right in town.
I had no idea that buying a home was going to be such a competition, but now that I think about it, I probably should have. Anyone of my age group or younger tends to have a more limited budget, and myself being a single woman I need to have a home that is suitable for one income only. The price point is what makes it competitive, basically $250k and under as there is so many needing an affordable home and so few options.
The first home I looked at on Realtor.ca was the one I am buying. Curious isn’t it? I actually ruled it out early on because of the price point, but after months of looking at my ideal price point ($175-$200k would put me in the same payment category as my rental property) I realized what I could get for that price was a phenomenal amount of renovation and in the end, a much higher price tag. I love old character homes, unfortunately a girl of my income and ability, cannot manage to flip a house like that as much as I would dream to. If I could save all the abandoned homes I would. Continue Reading
Since paying off my car in November (or realizing I could go ahead and pay it off at any time without penalty!) I realized that with the help of my budgeting system I am able to save decent money and live off a smaller amount of income. I am working very hard at a few jobs and doing my best to live comfortably. I decided recently that I was close enough to start the process of looking for my first home.
The first step in making this decision come to life is giving notice on my rental house, cancelling services and beginning the process of finding out about the legalities of buying a home including mortgage, insurance and fees required. What I am looking for in a home is that of my current rental, a cute older home that has had some renovations done but still holds its original unique character. As I will be living there alone I do not need a ton of space but I do hope to have a decent yard that I will be able to actively use and garden.
The Living Room
I have rented many apartments in my day, but this was the first real house, a semi-detached 100+ year old home in an old suburb of Kingston. When I toured the space I knew it needed considerable work but that’s never an issue as I enjoy the renovation process. At first glance it needed a solid cleaning, holes filled in and fresh paint.
The living room I’ll admit, is rather busy looking at the moment. I change it around every 4 months which is also when I do a deep clean of every room. I love my thrift treasures, artwork and trinkets so naturally it can look packed very quickly, but I assure you it is nice and cozy when you are physically in the room.
If you cannot view the video above please check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8YL9TtVNLM
People often say to me “wow you must have a huge closet!” well there are a few ways to respond to this. Yes and no. I live alone and have a two bedroom home so therefore I have a master bedroom that can be better used to make my life easier. Complete with sewing station, garment rack, makeup desk and storage.
My closet was reconstructed by my father as it was not useable in the state it was in. The bar was located deep into the back of the closet, one shelf above the bar that was installed too close to the bar, so I wouldn’t be able to hang any clothing on it as is. My father lowered the bar in the back and installed a second one at the front of the closet – easily enough space in this deep closet for two rows of clothing.
I use the back row for off season so currently it has my summer tops and dresses, as well as my vacation clothing. The front is what I use most frequently. Yes there’s also the garment rack, and this is because it was offered to me so I wanted to make use of it to keep myself organized. It actually fills the empty space in the room as well as giving me a place to sort my ready-to-go business outfits for mornings when I must be up and out the door before 6:30am.
As I say in the video this home is exceptionally old (close to 100 years old according to my landlord, at least a good 75) and was not built with decent lighting or shelving of any sort. All storage would have to be created using thrifted cabinets, bookcases and desks. It makes for a lot of furniture and a cozy atmosphere.
It seems every 4 months I feel the urge to rejuvenate myself through changing my home. At last look in September I repainted some of my existing furniture to blend into the space better. I had been quite busy with work and travel so I hadn’t thought too much more about changing it up but recently I started feeling my slump and decided to redo the living room. Usually these are a catastrophe because I make the decision to change late in the day on let’s say a Sunday.
This time however it was a gorgeous sunny summer-like day in May and thought, hey, I’m going to draw out some ideas first! Sadly the furniture never fits quite like your drawing suggests but it was a new look that I was feeling regardless. Unfortunately my futon is much larger than I think it is, so the diagonal across the corner space was just not plausible. One day when a smallish couch comes into my life the design will work better. I also made a huge change, not so huge to me but shocking to most people. I removed my tv from my living room! I wasn’t using it anyway, and I prefer the feel of the room without all seating facing this big black screen. So it has found a home at my parent’s house.
With the tv gone I was free to utilize the lovely storage unit for a more aesthetic purpose: my plants! My mother has been loading me up with potted beauties now that I’ve started learning how not to kill them! I absolutely love the space now because of all the green, it feels so inviting. My chairs are now in a cozy conversational setting – it all just feels cozy! I think this is my favourite setup so far it really feels good.
I also took advantage of the disaster that is me organizing my house – to redesign the bedroom too! Over the years I’ve started piecing together bedding in my favourite colour palette: brown, green and turquoise. Much like the mixed prints in the living room I apply the same technique in my bedding. I swapped out the curtains for a sheer light print – which occasionally requires me to wear a mask over my eyes to sleep but for the most part it really opens up the room! The bright sunshine makes this small dark room a whole new space! I changed all my clear plastic boxes (for my bead storage) to transparent green which makes the room pop too!