22 December 2011

Flooring - To Stain or Not to Stain?

I've decided I want my house to have a gallery feel. Not cold and stark like a gallery, but instead fresh, subtle and non descriptive. Some may call this boring but I think less is more in this case.

An inspiration.

I have oodles of art work and want them to stand out in the house, giving it colour and spark. One element in my home that will help achieve with the gallery look is the old, original 1930's oak floor. Not only are the  oak strips cut differently (the wood has been cut on various planes for each piece, and so the grain changes often), but there are two types of oak in the floor; red and regular oak.

Floor prior to refinishing; old oak floors, with an aged stain on top. 

I made the decision to stick with the original floors because not only do I love the charm of the floor, but it was also more cost effective for my reno. I sourced matching 2" oak planks for the new addition and to fill in the gaps around the house.
The floor was sanded down and to my surprise, most of the imperfections came out of the floor. As a side note, if you are planning to use old hardwood floors, be sure that the nails are not too close to the surface. They could have been sanded prior and as a result, lost some depth in the wood and the nails will be sticking up above the floor surface.

New addition floor, sanded.

Dining Room Floor Sanded.

The next major question was, how to finish this beautifully sanded floors? This one was hard for me. I wanted to keep the stain original to the home and era, but the orange stain really wasn't working for me. This is my inspiration for my floor.

Floors are rustic, natural and interesting.
I tested out a few stains which I recommend before you commit to a whole house full of that colour! And remember...dark stains show everything! Dog owners, beware!

Spot treated where the cabinets will sit. You can see how
each plank of wood takes on the stain differently.

Neither of the stains, which were recommended by the floor finisher, were exaclty what I was envisioning so I decided on a straight urethane finish on the floors. This means no stain, just top coat. I couldn't be happier!

After finishing...Urethane on Natural Oak Floors.

The rest of the house is still covered with paper protection from moving day! I have moved in and am settling in slowly. I will post some photos once more of the boxes are away and the embarrassing mess is gone!

And on that note, this will likely be the last post till the holidays...so Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Have a safe and happy New Year!


20 December 2011

'Tis the Season - Modern Christmas Decor

'Tis the season to be jolly, and creative! Holiday decor doesn't need to be traditional and fuddy duddy, instead put a twist on it! Modern christmas decorating can add holiday cheer with a fresh approach!





What is your holiday Christmas style?  Personally, I love anything white and sparkling, reminding me of snow! A house with white christmas, twinkle lights (inside and out) has always been a favorite of mine!


15 December 2011

Colour of the Year 2012 -Tangerine Tango

Each paint company is claiming a different colour of the year for 2012. I never know who to trust. I mean, who exactly chooses these colours to be crowned "colour of the year". Well, there is this group called The Colour Marketing Group, and though I do not want to give away a designer secret, but this group decides on what is hip and cool for colour. And I am not just talking Interiors alone, fashion is another huge industry who is driven by this group and their colour choices. I have been told that The Colour Marketing Group chooses the colours two years ahead of time. Every wonder how designers know how to keep their collections trendy? Well, this is how.

This year, we have been told the colour of the year is 17-1463, Tangerine Tango. Cute name, isn't it? Let see if you like it's statement inside the home.

Runway show displays the new tangerine colour.

Organic rug with tangerine tango accents!

Home and personal accessories embrace the bold orange colour.
Splashes of orange in a monochromatic space. This is how I
think I would integrate this bold colour into a room.

For the colour lover out there, this room is for you.
There is something I love about this space. Probably
the teal!

What do you think? Is Tangerine Tango a colour that you could introduce into your home or is it just too bold for you?

13 December 2011

It's All In the Grading - A Technical Lesson For A Dry Basement

I have two words for you: wet basement. That's right. After this fabulous and exciting post of my new and improved basement, literally days later, mother nature gave me a run for my money (see post here). It had to do with a few things that were not working in my favour.

Leak in the old part of the basement. Water is coming in where the
footing and earth meet.

New area where the old and new construction meet. 

Again, the stair area. And this is after a few days of drying out.

To start, I was changing over my eaves troughs. They were to be connected to the eaves on the new addition but the new ones arrived much too late. If you are removing your eaves troughs, make sure they are quickly switched and that there isn't a three day rain forecast ahead. I believe that is a basic tip from Renos for Dummies, but I could be wrong. Apparently, we missed that chapter!

Second was an issue with the old house attaching to the new. As you can imagine, there is a seam where they meet, and a rather large one at that. To connect the old house with the new addition without any issues, the goal is to pin the foundations together and then to apply a layer of tar and waterproofing membrane over top of the seam; This is to avoid the risk of water seeping into the crack. This was done to my house, but the waterproof membrane only overlapped the old house by inches, causing the water to creep around the membrane and right into the house (Again, Reno for Dummies?).

This is the ideal situation/construction of an exterior wall. The rubber
coating and the air gap membrane are what water proof your house.

Next, our issue was the grading. After making a huge hole in the ground, you wonder where the dirt should go? Well, usually it is transported away, which some of mine was, but not enough. Instead we dispersed the dirt throughout the property to create swells (aka slopes) for the water to run into. Instead, we somehow managed to swell the water right into my house! The grading was making a pillow top which basically invited the water into the house (with open arms!).

This is an example of a slope AWAY from the house.
Rule of thumb is roughly a 5% slope.

This is not a good slope. Your basement will leak ;)
Also notice the long drain pipe. That is now helping the
Weeping Tiles drain. I hate that pipe. That is not it's forever
home. It is a temporary fix.

And for insult to injury, the sump pump wasn't working correctly. What is a sump pump?


A sump pump is an mechanical pump that helps remove any water that is in surrounding the basement floor. It is attached to the house drain system and is emptied through the same pipes that all the water waste from your home is. It is essential that this pump works. There is a trigger that sets it off when it is full. In my basement, this trigger wasn't very "trigger happy". It is now fixed and work well, and loud! I can hear and feel it on the main floor.

So...how did we fix the problems?

We transported two large bins of dirt away. Levelled out the gravel and dirt on the driveway. Added the extra drainage for now. Fixed the sump pump. Cut all the insulation barrier in the basement to air out the insulation to prevent mold. Added new and correct eaves troughs and directed them away from the house. And we dug down beside the house where the new and old seam meet to put a bit of extra tar and membrane for a perfect seal.

More tar and waterproofing membrane.

I would like to say all the problems have been solved, but that would be a lie. There is still a leak by the stairs. At this point, I am willing to over look this until I move in. I have other work that needs to be done, and this can wait...or now.

Geez. That was technical now wasn't it? haha.

09 December 2011

A Teaser For You!

I love having this blog. I really do. It is wonderful that I can share this experience with all my family and friends, and soon to be "followers". During the final stages of the renovation, I have found myself painting every night, cleaning and starting to pack. It's been a whirlwind with Christmas around the corner. To prove all the hard work we have put in...here is a teaser to see the progress we have made!

Upper Hallway mid construction

Upper Hallway on it's way to completion!

Now you can see where I have been! It's looking better than I ever expected!

I will be in touch. Thanks for your patience....the New Year is going to be ever so exciting for the blog...finishing touches, decorating and much more!

Stay tuned!

03 December 2011

Classic, Heritage Motif of The Hudson Bay Company

While I resurrect a home from the past, I am finding myself wanting to infuse the old with the new. Not a new concept, but I have come to realize, this is a design style I covet.  The Hudson Bay Company motif has caught my eye on several occasions, both in fashion and for the home. Ever since the the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, BC, I have drooled over finding a Hudson Bay coat like the one Rachel Bilson sported.

The Hudson Bay Company, for those of you who don't know, is a historic Canadian trading company that began in the late 18th century. It's stripes have become a historic trade mark of the company, and Canadians alike. The motif become more popular when "The Bay" began it's large department stores, many years ago. The stripes have come and gone in fashion, but now due to the uprise in vintage style, The Bay has made a serious come back not only in fashion, but also in their home line. The Bay has revitalized it's historical blankets and added new products for the home that will make you swoon (One word: Cashmere). It's the perfect way to add some vintage and history to you house!