22 November 2011

Siding to Shaker

I met with the siding guy today to discuss the options for my house. Siding has been a compromise. Of course, I would have put brick along on the new addition to create a seamless continuation between the old and new, however, money talks. Siding is inexpensive and relatively maintenance free for years. Alas, siding it is, no ifs, ands or buts. Choosing a siding colour was also not a simple task. I keep reminding everyone, "I do interiors, not exteriors!". I have not a clue to these sorts of things. I have no problem admitting my weakness and continue to learn as the house reno moves forward.

My window frames and mullions (the grills inside the glass) are a sand colour. These were kindly donated by Starward Homes. The colour is neutral and will go with anything. I was orginally guided to match the colour of my siding with the window trim colour, but after meeting with the siding professional today, I was told otherwise. He guided me to the new "it" colour, which is called Pebble. I am trusting him on this one, but since I lacked instinct for the colour selection, I am feeling confident!

As we did a "walk through" around the house to answer all his questions, we finally made it to the front of the house. Oh, the thorn in my side. The flat faced barn facade that I have been dying to change.

You remember this before picture of the facade?
The windows have been changed, updated and are not completely installed. We discussed a frieze board (a trim around the window) or flashing (another fancy word for a similar type of trim) but the siding profesh wouldn't have it. He said that they would have to take down all the siding to make that happen! What? Seriously? So now I am left with the question...chaulk in the windows (the white gooey stuff you see around your tubs, windows, etc. to seal in the "gaps") OR consider changing the siding. Which brings me to the point of this post...

Cedar shake is actually underneath the siding currently on my house. Cedar is a naturally water resistant wood that was not only used for siding but also roofs. Cedar shake had become dated, assuming, and someone thought to cover it up.  Well, I am here to tell you, I am bringing it back! The siding guy side he would do it for a reasonable cost, and it would be the best looking option! I couldn't agree more! Now my sad face will have some interest and depth.

Current front siding.

Shaker Siding to be added.

Perhaps some of you think, Cedar shake? That is so cottage and rustic, and I don't disagree. These days, cedar shake is not the same as it use to be. I will be using a "faux" cedar shake siding that will be the same colour as the back siding. No natural cedar here, mainly because of cost and it's not necessary. Continuity is key in design; keep all the colour palette continuing through the exterior and it will merry the house elements together. Here are some examples of cedar shake exteriors....

More contemporary version of Cedar Shake.

Rustic, natural cedar shake.
Natural cedar shake.

18 November 2011

Designer Tip - Teal Accents

I am not sure where my love for teal came from, but lately, all I can think about is painting a wall, or adding some sort of teal accent in my house. I am having trouble deciphering what colours to paint my house. I have no starting point. I am hoping that most of the furnishings in my apartment now, will eventually become new. For the most part, my apartment is full of hand-me-downs and my goal over the next year is to start fresh and update! I digress. Teal. It is a wonderful thing. It is a bold colour that lends itself to a traditional or modern palette.

Teal arm chairs in a rustic setting add a modern vibe. 

Teal accent wall adds a pop of colour and allows the other
accents in the room to pop!

Teal drapes create a dramatic look in this dining room
Interior design works best with continuity. Repeating colours and textures
 on the walls and sofa creates a subtle luxurious look.
Usually we see sofas with neutrals, but if you are feeling
daring, teal could be the answer!
A traditional, masculine setting with a darker velvet teal sofa.

Teal and aqua Wishbone chairs. These are one of my favourite chairs!

Take some teal and splash up your space! It will go with everything! I promise!

Happy reno reading!

15 November 2011

A Walk Through

I think it's time for a tour! After this weekend, I am feeling optimistic. The project is about to take a turn for the better, and the end of the major construction has almost near. Thus far, few hiccups have occurred, with a touch of compromise along the way. And with that, I will let you see what 11 weeks of hard work, labour and patience can get you....

Starting with the upstairs hallway. The wall was ripped
down in order to put insulation in the wall. Literally, it is
the plywood sheeting from the roof. NO insulation in this hallway,
until today (Insulation is now in!).

Clean master bedroom, ready for insulation and drywall!

Master bedroom.

Master bedroom

View from Master Bedroom. It's like a tree house up there!

View from Master bedroom entrance, which WAS the den

View in new den room. A closet added!

Small window in den to keep the room up to code!

Upper hallway. Striped bare. 

In the front foyer.

View in kitchen. Old windows have been replaced with
larger ones.

View of kitchen. Right hand door was the old door way, to be
covered with drywall. Notice the rough ins for the lighting.

New living room with doors and windows. Ready for drywall.

Brick wall is still kicking around! I fought for that one to stay!

New basement floor! The basement
is now clean and ready for some paint! Oh, and new stairs!

The plumbing in the back left corner is for a future bathroom. Something to consider;
If you are ripping up the concrete in your basement reno, consider future design that
may happen. It doesn't hurt to plan ahead!

New stairs are measured and hopefully will be here by
the end of the week!

Soon to be laundry room nook! (This is where I forgot a light. Oops!)

New foundation room. This will be my gym/craft studio for
messy projects!

Backyard is now at grade. Levelled out, and ready for grass
and landscaping (That will be for the spring!) 

Back yard.

Addition from the driveway. Siding soon to come!

11 November 2011

Let's Talk Electrical

One of the key elements to any interior design project is lighting. Layers of lighting create different moods and tasks which is what can help create "depth" in a room. What do I mean by layers? Imagine when you walk into your kitchen ( and I am generalizing here), you turn on your overhead lights (today, normally pot lights) which are for "task" lighting. Next, you may switch on the accent pendant lighting, which is strictly for decorative purposes. Then you walk over to your counter and you turn on your under cabinet lighting to help you see what is on your counter top. I just explained 3 basic ways of layering your lights. Generally, they are all on separate switches, even perhaps dimmers, to aid in the function of the room.

Now, imagine having to make a plan for all these layers for each room in your house, also including  your plugs, and switch locations. Well, luckily for me, I do this regularly for many people so I am somewhat spoiled in the light planning department. This is a good and bad thing; good because I know what works and what I want, but bad because what I want costs a million dollars to install! Yes, nothing in your electrical costs will be cheap, I can promise you that. However, if you ask me, it's what makes a room stand out!

Some tips when thinking about your lighting layout...I will only skim the top as to not bore you...

* Imagine yourself walking into the space - Which way do you turn when you go to turn on the light? Consider what you have now, and why you like it or hate it. Apply the good to the new project. Where will your furniture sit? Where will you have lamps and plugs for those lamps?

* Think about 3 way switches and dimmers - some rooms work better to have 2 switches that work on the same light fixture for convenience sake. Dimmers also can change the mood lighting instantly, and inexpensively. Consider these as well.

* Pot lights spacing - Pot lights are usually used for task lighting and are generally 3-5 ft apart, maximum. Usually these lights run from $100-$150 installed, so this is where it gets pricey!

* Walk around with your electrician - Make sure to do a walk around your house with electrician so you are both on the same page. Better yet, draw on your walls and ceiling exactly where you want things to go, and that should help (but not always).

That's a short lighting lesson for you folks. Check out what the inside of my place looks like right now after the electricians ploughed through for all the rough ins.

Knob and tube was found in some parts of the house.
Luckily, it was only in a few spots and has be de-activated. 

Entrance into master bedroom. Windows are in too!

This is my bed wall. Consider putting a switch by the bed so you
don't have to get out of bed to turn it off at night. It's a small luxury!

The lathe on the walls is slowly disappearing. All
outlets and switches are all up to code.

This would be the "hub" of the house. It's in the main hall where the
switches, heating and thermostat will all be housed.

Electricians are electrifying the kitchen!

Look at the doors and windows! And I have put a ceiling
fixture in the living room for a fancy chandelier one day. Also, pot

 lights aroundthe perimeter. 

Wires and cable. Wires and Cable.
(View from the new living room into the kitchen/front hall)

One key place I forgot was my laundry area in the basement. I overlooked it in the process, but luckily, in the second step of the electrical plan, they come back after drywalling to install everything. This is when I will ask for my oh-so-needed laundry "room" light.

If you have any lighting questions, please ask! It's a tricky art to make a room function yet beautiful. Lighting is your friend and one easy way to create drama and impact!

Happy Reno Reading!

10 November 2011

Some Renovating Tips, 10 Weeks In...

*Warning* The following post may seem more like a diary entry, but take it with stride. I am kinda stressed out...read why...

Finally, I have made it to my computer to write. To some, this may seem like a small feat but  if you have ever experienced a renovation, you will know that this IS what renovating is all about. I was warned, and I listened, sort of. I feel like Owen Wilson in Marley and Me, when his character turns to Jennifer Aniston and says, "No one told us it [parenthood] would be this hard". Her response, "Yes they did. We just didn't listen". So yes, that is how I feel on Week 10 of the project. Between a full time job, side projects and trying to have my own personal downtime, I have discovered that renovating is not for the faint of heart. Listen to me, the ambitious, go-getter when I say it. It's real and stressful.

Why you ask? How can turning a house into a home be stressful? It's all the decision making, compromising, additional hours on top of work, constant interruptions to your day and concentration and it is one thing you cannot turn off and walk away from. So that, my friends are all things to consider if you want to renovate a house.

Here are some learning tips I have learned along the way....

* Make sure you sleep! It is so hard to not think about what needs to be done next, but when you're cranky onsite, every small mistake or decision can completely make you a b-i-t-c-h. This is my apology to everyone that I may have experienced that not so nice side of me!

*Have a solid support group - Renovations are not to be done alone. Consider who is willing and able to help you through the good, bad and the ugly. I would have never, ever, ever made it this far without my support team. Never. Not only do they help me, physically around the house, but also mentally.

* Have a deadline - I have made a deadline with this house, actually, I had no choice. I gave my 2 months notice. It is going to be more than tight to make, but in my opinion, it's necessary. If you give an inch, they will take a mile, and by a mile I mean, take FOREVER to finish your project. Keep this in mind. You may experience moments of panic (I did yesterday), but in the end, there is a goal to be met.

* Keep track of your budget - I must say, I am not doing well in this department. This is for various reasons, but if I had it my way, I would be getting quotes and knowing exactly  what is happening when each trade steps foot on site. This also allows you to make decisions for your pretty, finishing stage!

*Walk Through - I am lucky to have the tools and know how of preparing drawings for most of the trades. Naturally, I have high expectations of how I want things to look and operate. Your trades, as I have mentioned before, will try to take the quick and easy route. Insist on walking through every room, with every trade and talk about what you want done. ( I will explain this more in another post).

* Have ONE team leader - As I mentioned, I have a great support team, however, lots gets lost in translation between us all. Good think for emails and smartphones, but I would say keep one person King and work around that. It will help avoid mistakes (and will also keep your budget in check).

* Compromise - Ugh. I know. I hate it too. Old construction means compromising as I have learned....so if you want to reno an old house, have your wish list but know that some things just cannot happen.

Phew. That is it I think.

I have taken photos of the last two weeks and what has been done. Stay tuned for those next!

I must say, all this stress is worth it though cause I can almost see the light at the end now!

Happy reno reading!

03 November 2011

Faux Animal Heads: Not A Faux Pas Anymore

I know what you are thinking, especially my vegetarian friends, what is a faux animal head? Well, it's just that! No more taxidermy faux pas, instead faux animal heads! Lately, statuesque heads have been a popping up in the most unusual of places and that is exactly why I like them. They not only add character, but also a bit of whimsy and humor.

Cardboard lends itself to a "not-so-serious" animal sculpture.

These sheep heads look hand crafted, adding a 3D element to the
otherwise flat wall decor.

Even in a serene space such as this bedroom, 
the wood deer heads add interest and a hint of the unexpected.

In a subtle way, the set of horns breaks up
the art around the bed.

Used in a more "traditional" setting but is made of wood,
not deer!
Against the geometric wallpaper, the faux head softens
the fireplace.
Now, what do you think about these faux heads? Trend or classic sculpture?