Our back deck was painted a grey/blue colour, and has been peeling for the last few years. It is also extremely hot on the feet in the summer which always makes shoes necessary. Not exactly what you want in a deck. Plus, my little one likes to "collect" the peeled paint chips, which seems a bit dangerous to me. So, we have decided to strip down the paint and uncover the wonderful wood underneath. Easy weekend project right? Not exactly it turns out.
We rented a pressure washer from Home Depot and bought some paint striper. Here is the paint bubbling up, in the photo below, with the paint striper applied. Then we blasted it with the pressure washer. Results? Some of the paint came off, and made a huge mess of paint chips all over the yard.
Next, we tried simply scraping the paint off the deck. This worked a lot better, and kept the mess contained.
Even though this is a tedious project, I think it will be worth it in the end. I'm liking the wood underneath a lot better. We are also planning to cut the deck back and create a play area for the kids, which means we won't have to scrape the whole deck! I'd like to take a good portion of the deck off and have stairs heading down to a new grass area. Currently, the deck takes up most of the yard with an area on the side that is filled with gravel (See photo below).
I made a simple sketch of some ideas for the deck. After cutting the deck back I'd like to open it up to the area on the side, by creating large platform steps down to the play area. I'm hoping to fill the gravel section with grass and add in play structures and other play things. Then with the deck open it will be easy to keep an eye on the kids while they play.
I have been having fun finding photos of ideas for the play area! I'd also like to add in a veggie/herb garden too. Below are a couple of ideas I really liked. Check back at my Pinterest board for more. It will be a slow process (like everything else) but I think it's going to be worth it. We really need a place for Elara to play! I picture myself this summer (as I will be super preggo) sitting on the deck with a cold drink while Elara plays the sunny days away outside. Bliss!
We would like to move Elara into one of the downstairs bedrooms so that she can have more room to play. We still haven't decided on which of the two rooms would be better for her, and for us, as we would still like to have an office and guest bed. She probably won't be sleeping down there for awhile yet, I just want to get her used to the idea, and for me to have a safe place for her to play while I work.
In the meantime, I've come up with this new "little girls" room theme: Pink Flamingos!
I'm way too excited about this! Check out my Pinterest Board for more ideas as this room develops.
I have been collecting a bunch of photos and drawings of flamingos which I plan to make a gallery collage on one of the walls. Here are a couple that I will be using. The first is a drawing that I found at Chapters and the second is a photo we took on our vacation in Curacao.
I also would like to create a reading corner with lots of cozy pillows. I have already bought photo frame ledges from Ikea that will hold all her books. I just need to add all the pillows!
I love this little kids chair from Monte, the same company that made our rocking chair. Maybe Elara will ask for it for Christmas haha.
I got this little table and chair set from Ikea for Elara a few months ago. It is the same as the photo below except the little stool is white instead of dark pink. She loves it, especially for drawing with crayons or on her magnetic board. She is so excited that she is able to get on and off of the chairs herself. However, I have found her climbing up on the table too (see photo below). Elara certainly loves to climb everything!
For laundry and cloth diapers I got this pink feathery hanging wet bag from Funky Fluff. Wet bags are great even if you don't cloth diaper. You can use them for anything, like wet bathing suits or any dirty clothes or wipes. They are great! What's wonderful about this hanging zippered one is it isn't easy for small hands to get into.
We haven't decided on a bed yet. I love the idea of a daybed but I don't know how practical it would be for the future. Having bunk beds might be a good idea, or at least a loft bed so that the space underneath could be used for something. We could even sell our current guest bed and use whatever bed we get for Elara's room as the guest bed in the meantime. So many options, it's hard to pick the best one!
I really love the idea of getting a life sized wall decal of a flamingo! I have seen a few on Etsy, hopefully I can find one that we like and is affordable.
We bought these curtains from Ikea on our last visit. They have a nice soft pattern and will add warmth to the downstairs room. I'm going to keep them floor length even though it's a small basement window. This way at night it will look like a nice big window and keep it cosy.
We also had fun buying a few other accessories for Elara's future room on our Ikea trip (see photo below). I can't wait to set up her room, however, there are a few steps that have to come first. One, we have to pick the room! Then some fix up painting needs to be done, as well as replace the carpets. This is going to be our fun fall project!
Now that we have things rolling for the construction of our balcony I've starting playing with some ideas for on and under it. We want to actually use our balcony this time around, as it pretty much just sat there before (which was probably a good thing as it was ready to collapse).
The balcony is going up fast! They just have to add the floor boards and railing. However, the railing has not been finalized yet, so there will be a time when we will have a completed balcony without a railing. Which is almost as safe as having balcony about the collapse, and neither very good with a small child around. So, for now our doors have become permanently closed windows.
On the Balcony
Here are a few ideas of things we would like to incorporate on the new balcony. We are going to place our small table and chairs out there that we have had at every house we have lived in. Then maybe we will get another comfy chair to sit in and read, and place it right outside out bedroom balcony doors. Perhaps it will entice us to use the new balcony more! We would also like to add some big planters with some hardy plants, as it can harsh up there in the direct sun. Plus, we would like to make a few small palette planters (like below) with tall grasses for privacy and shade. That was the biggest problem with the balcony, that there was no privacy. Not that this will add much, but it's something.
Under the Balcony
Under the balcony and to the side of the front door there is a cozy little area that isn't being used at all. It's completely private, until someone comes to your door, and gets the wonderful afternoon sun. Even to set something up to make the front entrance look more inviting would be great! We'd also like to add some planters down here just to brighten things up, and I would love to add a couch swing. Below are some examples of the look I would love!
We would also like to change out the outdoor lighting for something more modern. Right now the lights are a traditional look and white, and I think we would like something darker to match our new house numbers and the new balcony. I like the look of the light in the photo below. Soon the front of the house is going to look so good and new!
Our poor balcony needs replacing pronto! Part of the support has snapped and the boards are rotting. Instead of doing this project ourselves, for the first time in our lives, we are hiring someone to take care of it. It's a strange concept for me to not be undertaking a project, but it would probably take us the whole summer to complete. The professionals will have it done in about a week! Gives us more time to work on projects we want to do and enjoy our summer.
However, they are only building it for us, we still have control over design! So we have been working through ideas for railings. The main footprint of the balcony has to stay the same, or we would need a building permit and it would be a major cost to change the cement supports on the driveway.
Idea 1: Remove Balcony
We even thought about removing the balcony completely and adding a Juliette balcony instead, which would be a lot cheaper. However, I think we have come to the conclusion that we like having the use of the balcony. Although, the house actually looks a lot better without the balcony than I thought it would.
Idea 2: Dark Wood with Aluminum Railing
We originally wanted to use composite for the boards, to limit the maintenance we would have to do in the future, instead of the wood. However, it was just too expensive, especially since we would like to have a fancier railing. Turns out glass railings are the most expensive! So, I came up with a design that would incorporate some glass and some aluminum, which is still costly but not nearly as much.
We are still tweaking the plan for the railing, but we are moving forward with the balcony. Should be starting construction near the beginning of June. So close, and so exciting!
Since it's the start of a fresh new year I thought I would do a whole house overview; to see where we are and where we want to go in terms of house renovations. This past year moved a little slower in getting things crossed off the list, as a new baby took up a lot of our time. However, we still managed to get some exciting projects completed. So here is an overview of our home, from where we started to now, and where we would like to go in the future.
Nope, you are not imagining it, nothing has changed out here except the seasons. However, we have big plans and hopefully we will be able to start on it this summer!
We haven't changed too much in here this past year. All the future projects we want to do in this area are low priority right now. Hopefully the front doors we will change out this summer as part of our front yard project.
Entertainment Room (aka now Elara's play room)
Elara's toys have slowly migrated down here, and after Christmas they exploded! It's the perfect room for her as we can close her in, and there isn't too much she can get into. We have only made a few small changes in here over the past year, and there are very few to do in the near future.
Not much has happened in here, except for adding hooks at the back and putting the throw rug down. I'm hoping to one day separate the furnace from the laundry area. Then build in the laundry with a nice sink and shelving for all our cleaning stuff. I'd also like to add a bench and hooks for the kids to use when coming in from the garage. Future project! Everything from the furnace to the dryer are on it's last legs. We are waiting for everything to die in here before replacing it and renovating.
We have renovated this bathroom as much as we will for awhile. One day we will rip it all out and change it. But for now it will do, especially once the kids move in.
The guest room has gone through a few redecorations over the last couple of years. I'm so happy with how it looks currently. However, there are still some items I would like to add.
This is a temporary room, but for now it houses both of our offices. One day, probably sooner then I think, it will be a kid's room. I'm happy with it for now as an office, and at night it is quite cozy in here.
Looking forward to making our plans into reality. Stay tuned for "Part Two: Upstairs" next week.
So now that my website look has been redesigned I thought it was time to take a look at the whole picture. I have come up with a bunch of themes or segments that will happen each month. I'm excited, and feel renewed about the direction of the blog. I was starting to have a tough time coming up with new ideas, but now I have all my posts planned out for the next couple of months. Of course, if something amazing happens in-between I can tweak the schedule, but at least now I have something to post no matter what!
So here they are, the new monthly segments!
Well, it was pretty cloudy last night but we managed to capture a few photos of the lunar eclipse. We also caught some of those pesky clouds in time lapse photos too. Even though we didn't get to see much of the eclipse, it was still fun to try and to take part. Especially with a glass of wine and cinnamon pecan buns I had just pulled out of the oven (more on that later this week).
Keeping with the big changes theme, I have redesigned my website for the first time since it's conception. I'm really happy with the more open layout and bigger photos. I also tweaked all the pages as well, so take a look! Lots more posts in the works!
I decided to rearrange Elara's room, and the result makes the space look so much bigger! I decided to change everything around to make it more efficient and to have more space for her to move around. Plus, now that the crib is on the other side she can no long see us when we are in bed, which seems to be helping her sleep longer. We also moved her mattress down as she was almost ready to escape. I'm liking to results!
I need to add some kind of art above the purple shelf. I'm planning to frame this photo below to put up there. Maybe on a ledge shelf, along with the white E seen in the photo above. The room seemed a bit awkward before, as you encountered the crib as soon as you walked in. Now it seems so big and the arrangement looks more appealing. We have been hanging out in here a lot more now!
I have been wanting to paint our baby's crib, but didn't really have the time before, and I was worried about the toxins in the paint. However, I came across this brand, Lullaby Paint. Their paints are free from VOCs, fumes, and other harmful chemicals. I thought a fun colour like citron (seen above) would look great with the walls! Maybe a future project.
A bit about the company from their website:
Made from the finest ingredients, our baby safe paints are carefully selected for their safety and performance. In fact, our paints are so safe they include food grade ingredients. Our rich, deep pigments are imported from Europe and meet the highest environmental and safety standards. And because our resins are not diluted with cheap solvents, they’re thicker and cover your walls with ease.
Our award-winning paint is praised as much for its color, coverage and durability, as it is for its safety. Attaining the highest certifications for product purity, Lullaby Paints is known in the industry as the safest paint available. Recognized by consumer advocacy groups and leading environmental organizations, used by hospitals and maternity facilities, lauded by magazines, designers and bloggers and, most of all, enjoyed by moms as pregnancy safe paints. We’ve revolutionized how safe and eco-friendly paints can be, for mom, baby, everybody.
The new carpet for the nursery is here! Now we get to start on all the fun stuff, like decorating. We still need to figure out what we are going to to do with the closet. Right now it only has two build in shelves spaced wide a part. We could either leave it the way it is, and use the closet for large items. Then we would need to buy a set of drawers for the room. Or we could rip out the shelves and make the closet into build in unit with drawers and places to hang clothes etc. Lots to think about. Let the brain storming begin! In the meantime we have the crib and our funky painted shelf. It's finally starting to come together, very exciting!