27 July 2011

Front Porch Designing...Any Ideas?

One last exterior post till moving to the interior...

Personally, I have been searching for a house with a front porch. It was not a necessary "must have" for this house, but was definitely an added bonus! I look forward to quiet summer nights on the porch, with the sounds of the crickets and wind in the trees. It's a feeling that reminds me of my parents home; the smells and sounds gives me instant comfort! Not only that, but the porch becomes an extension of the home. Due to it's pint size, maximizing on extra living space it key to my new dwelling!

I haven't yet decided what type of furniture I would like to have in the front; a swinging bench? Two Muskoka chairs and a side table? A small settee or love seat? For those of you that do have front porches, what is your favorite part about the porch? Has some furniture served better than others? I need your input on this one!

Funky option for Front Porch (via)

Traditional Rattan? Rug?

24 July 2011

A Designer Tip - Ikea

Believe it or not, Ikea actually surprises me every year. I sit, flip through the catalogue, and some how they always convince me that my living room would look way cooler with a few more bookshelves and clutter. Personally, more clutter generally screams more cleaning, therefor I have started to take a more minimalistic approach to my designing. I digress. Ikea's 2012 catalogue did not disappoint once again. As I am moving into a small space, their front cover really caught my attention:


 "A home doesn't need to be big, to be smart." Isn't that the truth!? Thanks Ikea. With small spaces, you do have to create innovative solutions and they make products that fit the bill. Now I think we all know, Ikea quality is not going to withstand the test of time, but depending on budget and need, they can be the perfect solution. Check out this post from Apartment Therapy, a blog I religiously check; Designer Looks With Ikea . They have given great design tips on how to use Ikea products in an interesting way. I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you Apartment Therapy, from those of us with teeny, tiny budgets!

My Ikea Tip: Expedit Units are the most versatile shelving unit Ikea has. It is streamlined, modern and clean looking with function for every room! These can be cute mud room benches, wall to wall book/display shelves, room dividers. They are a chameleon, which is why I like them. 

Happy Reading!

20 July 2011

It's Not a Barn, it's a Gambrel!

At first glance of the house, I thought the same thing, "What is up with that roof?" It was the one thing that I was unsure of about the house, but in the "hot" real estate market I was looking in, I couldn't be picky about such things; the house was in the right neighbourhood, and had all the things I was looking for, minus the roof. I have heard many comments about its structure, mostly negative (okay, constructive criticism!).  I have even been told that it looks like the house has a hat on, which on further review, it kinda does!

Unfortunately, it is out of the question to replace the roof due to it's sound structure and new shingles. Alas, I must embrace the roof and so I went to work researching the structure and how I can improve it!

I have now realized, after hours of research and curiosity, it is a gambrel roof, not a barn roof, to which I was referring to. Let me enlighten you on a gambrel roof, and maybe, you too will grow to love it in the end.

Gambrel roofs are....

a) Consisting of 2 symmetrical sloped sides, which creates the barn look

b) This structure is commonly used to increase usable space on the upper floor

c) Originates between 1600s -1800s, mainly seen along the East Coast, from Maine to Georgia on residential homes.  Now commonly used on barns...well, you don't say!?

d) Is a part of my house that would be too expensive to change so I am lovin' it's cute chapeau!

From the pictures, you can see that there is a varying degree of shapes, and although mine is flattest and lamest of them all, I hope to add some decoration such as a pediment or other simple details to help improve it's look!

All images found on google.com 

Any bright ideas to improve the facade of the roof? It is open for discussion!

18 July 2011

House Hunting 101

It dawned on me one day, why am I renting? For years, people have been telling me it's silly to rent and that I am throwing my money away. It took until the breach of my 30th year to get this. Suddenly the thought made complete sense, like "ohhhhh, that's why people buy homes!" I always thought it was to tie people down and take away all their freedom. Granted, this may be the truth, but I realized it could be a great investment (and the light bulb goes off!). Now I am coming at it with a different angle; a potential way to start earning some extra, and very necessary cash!

Being the naive future homeowner I was, I had no idea where to start or what to do! If this sounds familiar to how you're feeling, here are the first few, simple steps to get you started...

1) Find a mortgage broker.

This is step number one because you need to know if you even have the cashola to purchase a house. The mortgage broker will help you figure out all the details on this one. Essentially, you will need to bring a pay stub, RRSP statements and any other money that you have to help you buy the house. Really, this is just to make sure that you are actually able to not only buy the house, but to maintain it!

2) Find a real estate broker.

Now I know that MLS is the best new thing to hit the real estate market, but truly, having an agent I trusted was far better than searching all day, everyday! MLS became as obsessive as Facebook! I wanted to know every house that was listed and the moment it went up for sale! Luckily, you can learn from my mistake because your relator generally knows before you do. They are the first to be notified what goes on the market and what fits your criteria! And in fact, the seller has to pay the agent, not the buyer, so it's in your favour to find an agent and let them do the shopping for you!

I heard on Oprah, her gal Suze Orman stated this:

“Do not consider buying a house unless you have 20% for the down payment and 8 months emergency fund.”

I thought, Well shoot! I hope she isn’t right cause I didn’t have either of those! I tried not to panic. Either way, it’s a done deal….and I hope not to be another stat for Suze!

13 July 2011

Who's a home owner? Me?

This blogs is definitely the "first" in so many ways; first blog post, first home, first renovation project (and that is hoping that there are many more to come!).

Let's focus on the fact that I have bought a house. I have bought a house. I have bought a house. I do this to remind myself it's happening because reality hasn't quite set in. Likely because it's not technically mine yet, and therefor, I haven't felt the financial turmoil I keep hearing so much about. All in one weekend, I turned 30 and bought this house so you can imagine how I felt; excitement, nervousness and a whole lotta denial! Basically it was like the gates of "adulthood" were wide open with cheerleaders lined up to the entrance chanting, "Krista! Krista!". Once I take possession, at the end of August, the nervousness and excitement will truly be on me.

The best way to introduce this 1920's house, is just to show you it's out dated self. At first glance, I know what you're thinking...yes, it has a cute front porch. Yes, it has an ugly barn style roof. And yes, the current home owners apparently don't believe in gardening. All that aside, this small, quaint and sweet little dwelling will soon become a diamond in the rough once I am done with it, or I hope so.

Because this is my first house and renovation, I am quickly learning the long list of "to-dos" before the house is actually mine (this is likely not the most gratifying shopping investment, now is it?). Architects, surveyers, lawyers, inspectors, mortgage brokers, realtors...and the list can go on.

I have decided to focus my excitement on the design process before "reality" hits. Pushing the legal jargon to the back and instead, I am going to draft plans for the architect, cause I need him first and for most!

More interior pictures to come...once I draw up some plans, review them, send to architect, fill out papers for lawyers and set up a survey for the property....(all that to be explained later, but doesn't it make you tired just thinking about it?)...but first, check out one of the best finds in the house; the red front door! It was love at first sight!