Monthly Archives: February 2013

Where We’re At: Feb 25


One of the windows upstairs is moving! It was originally encased where the white bricks are below. As you can see, the new placement is just a bit to the left, but what a difference a couple of feet make– the “before” view out that window was of the neighbour’s second floor wall and roof, but the new placement will allow for a peek-a-boo view of the lake, probably best seen in the fall and winter when the leaves are off the trees. This wall is in the second bedroom.

Now that most of the framing is up, the design of the rooms is really starting to take shape. Its much easier to visualize how the rooms are going to look now that everything has moved from designs on paper to 3-D. Here is a view of the hallway to the east end of the house, which includes two bedrooms and a bathroom.


I have distinguished between the east and west ends of the house because they are logically separated on both the main and upper floors. On the main floor, the formal living and dining room occupy the space under the master bedroom suite (the west). And the more casual, family room / kitchen combo will be in the east end, along with the guest rooms and main bath.

Those two stairs below lead to the light-filled new hallway.  Yeay! Light!

All of that light was trapped in bedrooms that nobody used. But we (okay, the space planner) released the light by flipping the entire scheme of house to the opposite side. Previously the hallway dark and wide and uninspired. Now both the bedrooms and halls alike will have light.

Here’s another view of the magical new landing. I like it a lot.

Now that work is moving at a fast clip, I am looking forward to posting more often. Something new appears or disappears every few days, its great.


Playful Bathroom Ideas

I love blue in all shades, especially cobalt blue for a kitchen or bathroom. There was a time several months back when I was convinced about a cobalt blue backsplash like the one shown here:

After consultation with the Kate, who thought it was gorgeous (if bold)  I chose something a little more classic, more versatile – and it must be said – less likely to cause me regret a few years down the road if I get tired of it.
But isn’t it beautiful?

I knew I still wanted splashes of blue somewhere though so Kate found me this pretty glass cobalt accent tile to use in the family/main bathroom:

cobalt tilewhich will be paired with this classic white subway tile

white subway tileand probably two of these:

Since the master en-suite bath is going to be decked out more traditionally (greys and whites), I am relishing the idea of being playful with decor  in the main bath. Blue is obviously happening and I am going to try to convince Kate that one of these (or something like it) is happening also:
hawaii posterI am in love with vintage travel posters. The one above picks up the cobalt in the penny tile and also features one of my favorite places on Earth:  the exquisite islands of Hawaii. I made my first visit there last May after a particularly rough year and I am convinced the islands have healing properties – plus, they are totally easy on the eyes:
I am also fond of these prints which are a little more colourful than the Pan Am one above, and that might lend the bathroom to a wider selection of bath accessories, at least in terms of colour:

The beauty of these is that they definitely carry some of the
beach-y/oceanic/coastal vibe I am trying to create. Below is a trendier take on this. Its a graphic representation of the Cape Cod region and I think its really smart but I’ve seen it replicated a gagillion times with different locales.
capow-typographic-cape-cod-navyDoesn’t mean I love it any less, its just that when I see it I focus more on the graphic art aspect rather than what I want it to evoke (i.e. the coast). Decisions!

“Dimmers are not a lighting plan”

To the untrained eye, there isn’t a lot going on that hasn’t already been going on for the last several weeks. Oh wait, what’s this? This is new.


Rubble rubble

All that rubble in the front yard is from the basement. They began excavating now that the foundation is complete, and there was a brick wall and a brick support tower that needed to go – to make room, of course, for the work of this ridiculously loud machine. I think its a conveyor belt of sorts.


Most of the work is done by shovel
if you can believe it!

It looks bad, but its all very good. The foundation walls are 100% brand new now, and those mounds are simply sand piles that need to go. Both the engineer and the city inspector came by this week and we are told everything is in good order. Here is a random shot of the now-hallway which will become a powder room and a pantry for the kitchen, effectively sealing off this space. The window will be located in the powder room, so we need a good lighting plan to illuminate the hall and foyer.


Orange you glad the second floor
is supported by new beams?

Fortunately, our designer Kate developed a promising plan that was seconded and third-ed by our project leads. I wasn’t able to contribute much to these decisions because electrical is a little (o.k. wayyy) out of my depth. And I have to say,  it was difficult to sign off on something I had little concept of or control over. Actually, one of the things I have found very challenging throughout this renovation has been learning to give up control. Some of the obvious elements beyond our control were the myriad structural problems we uncovered, but our lack of control also extends to less dramatic (but not less important) decisions affect our day to day life like  the placement of outlets, the spacing of pot lights, and the direction a door swings.

D. encourages me to “let go” of these elements because my lack of expertise  frustrates me and causes me stress, but I just can’t seem to! The matter is complicated by the fact that I have been responsible for pointing out – I won’t call them “errors” – but “oversights” on a few occasions, so I feel darned if I do and darned if I don’t. We have this amazing opportunity to do everything completely right just this one time which makes all this stuff Actually Very Important. But I digress. Electrical will be fine, lighting will be fine, and life will most certainly go on if I have to walk six paces instead of four to switch on a lamp…right?


but not a real green lamp,
that’s cruel.

In any case, I was able absorb some knowledge about creating a lighting scheme after conversing with Andy on the matter.  And, uh… apparently “dimmers are NOT a lighting plan!!”  I don’t know why I find this so funny, I guess because I don’t quite understand it. I am actually really thankful for the passion I seemed to elicited on the subject of lighting,  but who knew?

Pot lights have become a bit of a hot button issue between the designer, Andy and myself. Andy doesn’t have time for them, Kate likes them and I think I do – again, I’m not the expert here.  So when asked what kind of entertaining I do, and whether I would prefer low light to bright light, I cheerily responded that it probably wouldn’t matter since everything would be on a dimmer anyhow. I think this was the wrong answer. Shadows, I learned, are as important as what is illuminated. And having this explained to me using a drum metaphor was kind-of the highlight of my week. But back to the dimmers. To assuage the comic in me, I am going to take this quote and file it in my mental cabinet along with some other gems that have emerged since we began, like this one D. and I use to jokingly describe the effect we are hoping to achieve:

(note: must be said with maximum seriousness to achieve desired hilarious effect)

“We’re thinking nautical, coastal chic, but none of this Fisherman’s Wharf garbage. More like Cape Cod, more Hyannis.” Ha!

Or how about this one describing a Thomas Paul pillow that I read in a magazine once: Finally, something in a lobster print that isn’t tacky tourist ware.” Finally!?? As though it were the second coming! Hilarious!

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born” – W.B. Yeats.


surely not this guy?