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!
Over the last couple of months we have been quite busy in our personal lives. We have been back and forth to Ottawa a few times to visit family, our Elara turned 2 years old, and we are expecting another addition to our family. I am currently 5 months pregnant! Our next babe is due in August. It's been a rough pregnancy so far, with lots of morning sickness, which has been even harder while looking after a toddler. I've just been getting through each day and not much more. However, I'm hoping to get back to blogging and doing lots more projects. There is something about the weather getting warmer, and I am finally starting to feel more normal, which is inspiring me to get back on here and get writing. Check back soon!
Do you like our pregnancy announcement? The geek gamers in us thought we would have some fun.
Our new washer and dryer have arrived, and they are so much better then our old ones. For one, they actually work, and they play a fancy little song when the load is done. There are still a lot of kinks to work out, and we still need to add all the actual design parts, but for now at least I can do laundry. We decided to change the placement of the washer and dryer, and the sink. However, as they sit right now the doors to each machine open inward making it very awkward to switch the clothes from one machine to the other. I'm thinking it might be easier to use if we stack the machines, and then just have a counter and sink area. As I said, lots of details to work out and decide on.
Both Jeff and my father worked hard on all the plumbing in the wall before the new machines were installed. The original plumbing was inefficient, and it also needed to be changed as we moved the placement of the machines.
We still have a few more plumbing issues to fix before we can fully reassemble the wall. However, the tough part (hopefully) is done. Can't wait to start shopping for all the fun decor stuff!
When we first constructed Elara's big girl bed we came upon a problem (see Flamingo Room post). The mattress that we bought for the bed was too tall! In the loft form, there was no guard rails, and when it was in bed form, the bed was too high for Elara to climb up on. Our solution: Take out the wooden slates to create a base. The mattress just sits on the floor and the sides of the bed creates a guard rail. Then we took out the rungs of the ladder to create an entrance to the mattress (see photo below). We also had the blue canopy sitting in the closet. We added it on top and created a cozy place to escape. Now we have the perfect setup for a little girl just starting out in a big bed!
Happy new year! I apologize for the long absence. We haven't been doing too many house projects in the last couple of months, and so I didn't have anything to write about. However, that's all about to chance as we take on the laundry room. This is a very small room that also serves as the furnace/hot water tank room, and the second entranceway from our garage. And it is a complete unfinished mess. I call it the dungeon when I'm doing laundry (which I do a lot of!). Not to mention, both our washing machine and dryer are old and have a lot of quirks. Here it is, in all it's glory (see photo below). The only thing I like in this room is the little bedouin rug I added, brought back years ago from Jordan. It will also stay after the renovation, as I needed to donate half my clothes to the local community just to get it to fit in the my suitcase.
As a Christmas gift to ourselves we have bought these beauties (below). I'm so excited! I have never been so happy about an appliance before, but the amount of trouble our old machines give me, I'm looking forward to easy laundry days ahead. Even before we add any other improvements to this room, these new machines are going to be a huge help. We also managed to grab a great sale, and they have come in around $700 under budget, leaving more money to add to counters, cabinets, etc.
The plan is to add a counter top over the washer and dryer, and then make the sink slightly lower (like the photo below). The machines are super tall, so it might be easier to use the sink if it is lower. I would also like to add some storage cabinets above, mixed in with open shelving, and a funky backsplash.
Right now the only lighting in the room is an open bulb attached to the side of the wall above the washer/dryer. I would like to add some bright pot lights in the ceiling (and maybe actually finish the ceiling as well). We are unsure how finished we will be able to make this room because of the furnace. It's huge, and it's pipes hang out quite far making it hard to inclose. Maybe we will be able to come up with an innovative idea for it!
The furnace is the only thing we aren't changing at this time. We will wait for it to die, although it will probably be soon as it is going on 18 years. We have also budgeted for a new hot water tank. We are currently renting ours and would rather own instead. There is still lots of research to do, but we are leaning towards buying a tankless version. More on this later!
One idea we came up with was to add a permanent wall to split the room into two spaces. Making a separate laundry/furnace area with a separate door that can be locked (too keep small people out). Then getting rid of the current door from the hall, widening it, and making it a walk-through to enter the garage. Hence making a mini mud room! Which is something this house really needs, as we are always walking through from the garage to the front door, and tracking dirt across our nice carpets. I'm hoping it will look something like the photo below, with a little built-in bench and hooks for kid's coats.
I'm so excited to see this room come together, but to start with I will have a new washer and dryer, which is exciting enough for now.
Welcome to the flamingo room! We have added a few more details, including two large flamingos that have taken residence in here. Also, we added a new mattress and a shelf for toys, both from Ikea. We still need to buy some blinds or other window coverings, and of course inside the closet hasn't been touched yet.
So far the bed isn't being used, and is in fort/cave form. The mattress we got is actually quite thick and covers the sides of the bed to the top in loft position, and makes it super high in bed position. So it has caused a bit of a problem. We are not sure what we are going to do yet, maybe buy some railing walls. In the meantime Elara can play under the bed with all her pillows. One of the pillow covers I bought came all the way form the UK and is by designer LucyMadeMe, you can see it in the photo below or here.
We also bought some cute flamingo artwork for the walls from Montreal based artist Amelie Legault. They are super awesome, check out more of her work here.
See below for a ton of photos of the flamingo room so far!
Carpets are in and we have been working hard (and enjoying) putting these two rooms back together. We now have an office/guest room in one, and a play room (future bedroom) for Elara. She is loving being down here and asks to come down all the time. We still have lots of finishing touches to put on both rooms, but I thought I'd share what we have done so far.
We pretty well put the office back as it was and added in the guest bed. This room is actually really big and holds all this furniture quite nicely. It's so cozy now with the new carpet! We are in the process of adding curtains to the window, which at night should give the effect that it is a large window and not the basement. Hopefully it will work! I also want to hang a lantern over the bed, but I haven't convinced Jeff yet. For the most part we are done in here, just a few extras still to be done.
To quote Elara there are "lots and lots and lots of flamingos" in here. And there are more to come soon! Slowly, we are adding more and more details to this room, but here it is so far. We have large flamingo decals coming for the wall, a few more pillows, some twinkle lights, bedding, more photos, and a toy shelf. I also love hanging out in the room, it's just so much fun!
This would be an amazing place to live as a student. This residence was designed by LOHA (Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects) for UCLA. On top of having your basic student rooms there are multiple outdoor common spaces, including BBQ area, rooftop patio, and gardens. To access the rooms you walk outside on walkways and bridges, so neat! Check out more photos at Contemporist.
New carpets arrived this morning! They are ever so soft and plush. We spent the weekend ripping up the old carpets and cleaning the cement floors as best we could. I'm so happy with our new carpets, they make the rooms super cozy. Such an improvement over the thin, stained, cream things we had before. However, now I'm not too sure about the paint colours in both rooms, they don't seem to match the new carpet. I guess we will see once we get the furniture back in place. The large room will be our office and the guest bedroom, and the small room we will be decorating as Elara's future bedroom! Check out more on that here. Can't wait to get it all set up!
Hey all, sorry for the long absence. We were away for a few weeks, and life got busy, as it always does. We are working hard on the downstairs bedrooms right now, and actually have put our order in for new carpets. Hopefully I'll be posting more on that soon!
In the meantime, check out these coat racks that hang from the ceiling. They add function and interest! Definitely a great way to greet people in the front entrance way. Lots more neat ideas at Contemporist.