Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Electrictal work can be fun. Or it can suck

I'm not going to go into many details here because it isn't very interesting, but let's just say that some of the old wiring in this house, done by the old owner, was not in good shape nor to code. Greg has since fixed that, and our ESA inspection went great.

Greg spent a lot of time wiring all of the new plugs in the kitchen, and making sure that our panel was up to date, labelled properly, and that the wires made sense. This is a job I am so glad he can do, because we saved a literal ton of money not having to pay someone to do this.

We added some neat details to the kitchen, like a plug way up the wall were an open shelf will be. Now we can plug in the amazing walnut finished Tivoli radio (with bluetooh!) that the family got me for my birthday up on the shelf! We are putting in a plug that has a USB port so that I can plug my phone in without needing the square adapter and taking up a plug space.

We also decided to put a fan into the ceiling because we are putting our stove under a window and therefore couldn't have a range hood. We looked into the building code about this, and it appears that there is no regulation against it in Ottawa. And really the only regulations anywhere are for natural gas stoves, which we do not have! I pinned a bunch of pics of stoves under windows on my Pintrest board here. The vent is by Broan, and I am currently hunting for a vintage Nutone chrome vent cover. Wish me luck!

Greg had to cut a hole in our roof,  and install this fan, which was difficult because our roof is very sloped, and I was at work that day and I hear that this particular job was one of the worst. He had to go up into the roof crawl space with long sleeves and a breathing mask on a very hot summer day and I am quite glad that I wasn't here for it!!

the first picture I recieved while at work. He told me he was all done. #hillbillyroofing

the actual finished job

I am very proud of Greg for his skills in electrical work. Having a handy husband is very economical (if not sexy!)

Pantry Foundations

Greg has lots of good ideas (marrying me was his best one, obviously). He had this brain wave that ditching the closet for our soon to be bedroom, and making into a pantry, would be a way more functional use of space in our house. Agreed!
Greg again had to make a support underneath, as the area would have to be dropped down from where the stairs were.
the old door to the closet under the stairs. i freecycled this and it is now a picture holder in someone's living room!

this was on old closet that we kept all our camping stuff in

there is a bit of a space between the wall but this wall has it's days numbered as well!

this is kind of a weird closet now, but it's all we can do for now!
Once all of the framing was done, Greg ripped out the wall, the floor, and even had to saw out the old floor boards from the bedroom closet out (aka the stairs from the old kitchen. Confused yet?)


bye, wall!

this is starting to look like something!
Here is where we had some fun! We had always thought that this kitchen business had been arranged in the early 80's. A cousin of the original owners lives down the street, beside our bus friend. She said that she only remembered the house as it was now, with the kitchen in it's present location. We were confused by this, but then we found some layers of flooring in the kitchen closet/stairs area:
we were not expecting a second layer of ugly brown linoleum... Circa 1970?
and the best was pink and aqua VCT tiles!! Circa 1960s!

hardwood ruined with hardcore adhesive
 And, we found a time capsule. they had moved this stuff over in 1961! probably in the summer of 1961. When greg took out the walls, he found some newspaper stuffed in holes from where the clothing rod would have been. check this out!
Thursday, November 2 1961! Check out the difference between Female and Male help ads...

awesome vintage wedding rings!

which colour would YOU choose?

space; the final frontier

We are going to put this paper back in the wall, as well as a paper from today (or whenever we end up finishing the pantry) to make a new time capsule with a little note inside. Maybe we will be the ones to find it again in 40 years! Maybe someone else! I hope that they think it is Interesting!

We also found layers of paint colours, which I think is a time capsule of it's own.

this, my friends, was the kitchen ceiling at one point...

blue and turquoise were original

this pink was, I think, yesterday's version of "Builder Beige"

Painting the outside of my house

So, I feel that red and red tones were a favourite of the old owners. I have spent countless hours stamping out all traces of this in my home, and outside of my home.
I had but a few pieces left as of late.
I took it upon myself to get out my paint brush.

Mostly this had great results :)

First up is the fence/gate.
Instead of building anything permanent here, after we took off the back deck we re-used parts of it to make a child and cat gate. It was The Red. now it is the same grey as our little back deck.

a work in progress

I have since painted the 4x4s as well. it looks so much better!

The last visible red was the ghastly wood landing in the front, and the sides of the concrete stairs. They are also now grey!

I didn't take before pics because i was so excited to cover it up!

The week prior, I had bought some green paint to paint the stairs. I had this bright idea last year to rip up the rotting green carpet here but it is glued down so hard that I was ruining the cement trying to get it off. Oh and there is terra cotta coloured tiles under here too. I can only imagine how slippery those were in winter. No wonder they covered that up!
Anyways... the carpet was shaggy and the cement showing through looked so awful. Now it is painted and while not perfect, from the street you can barely tell. This is getting built over anyways, so whatever. A $20 solution works for me!!

Next, I poured over Pintrest pics to figure out what colour to paint my back door. I wanted to incorporate the turquoise that is increasingly present back there. You can visit that board here.
I went with a colour called Beachside drive from Behr  and I tried it out on the awful, faded bandaid that is the trim and doors on the garage. I am not in love with it. While I really like the colour, I'm not sure it lends itself to the whole yardscape. It could just be that the faded, dirty, peeling white paint of the garage isn't a very good contrast :)


Unfortunately, the siding is some kind of weird board with a factory paint on it. We sprayed the sides with a power washer and painted the back and the garden side last summer. That paint is all peeling off and it looks awful. I got some Kilz primer to see if that will work, but I think we may just get vinyl siding and put it on over this.
The door and the side window remain the only things painted. it looks rather awful but it's been either too hot, too rainy, or we have been too busy, to finish. Maybe I will aim to get it done this week (ha ha).


So. I haven't been updating regularly because we have been so damned busy!

Currently, we have all drywall up in the kitchen!

But first... lets talk demo!

Before we started, our new kitchen was the rec room, and now it is almost a kitchen again!

Greg took out ALL the old plaster, and we had some interesting discoveries.

we taped out the layout to get an idea of how it would look
bye bye carpet. Nice to see you again, original tiles!

hey no wonder this wall was freezing cold!

 There is no insulation in this house. Two layers of fiberous particle board is all that stands between us and 40 to -40 degrees. Don't you love that rag stuffed in the old sink plumbing??

I took the kids down to Southern Ontario for a week so Greg could get his hammer swining. And he sure did swing it!!

no more plaster!

He also built a structure under where the stairs to the kitchen would go. The first time it ended up being a little off level so he had to redo a bit of it. It is designed to put our big black fridge inside in case our little Euro fridge doesn't hold all that we need it to.

Then he cut a hole in the floor! The original stairs in this kitchen went straight in, but we are putting them in so they turn into the main wall. This meant we had to change the support underneath (hence the frame and jack post)

watch where you step!

interior view featuring boy, cat, and the support for the soon to come barrier wall

Then, Greg built the floor and stairs and removed the wall portion.
the cats enjoyed using this as a shortcut away from chasing children

cat helpers

we can see you, Cletus
We were originally thinking that we would build an entry wall with an arch across the top but greg had the great idea of leaving it open. We are fairly sure, due to the evidence we found behind the walls, that this part was open originally as well. We are trying to keep the kitchen as open and airy as possible because it is quite small, so this adds a ton of visual space!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Potato Salad

My mom always made this amazing potato salad. It was a dish people always chose for her to make for picnics, weddings, etc (besides the cabbage rolls) and now I make it too.

I thought I would add the recipe here for all to see and share. It is in no way a "healthy light" potato salad but so what who cares? This recipe is just a guide, because you can use as much of each thing as you want, depending on how big you want your salad. I tend to use 4-6 potatoes for our family and we get two meals from it.

Mom's Potato Salad

white flesh potatoes (new, red, russet)
hard boiled eggs (reserve one for garnish)
green (or red, yellow, or orange) pepper
black pepper

Boil the potatoes. Keep skin on if you wish. I like to chop the potatoes into cubes before cooking to make it cook faster. Drain, cool.
Once potatoes are cold, fry bacon. For a 4-6 potato salad I'd use 3 pieces of bacon. Chop it into small pieces either before cooking or after. While cooking bacon, chop the veggies. I keep the radish chopped very small, and a medium/small chop on the rest. Rough chop the eggs (for the 4-6 potato salad i add one to two). Add the veg, bacon, AND BACON GREASE to the potatoes (use discretion on the amount of grease, I use about half). Salt and pepper to taste. Then add mayo. I like to add a good amount of mayo, but you can add as much as you'd like. I tend to add "too much" by accident but once you get everything combined it is perfect. I sort of half mash the potatoes as I mix everything together. It should be creamy but chunky. Cut the reserved egg in slices and put on top[ of the salad. Sprinkle with paprika.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bye wall!

The first wall is gone!!!!!!

Part of the wallpaper wall is gone too :(  But so is the green carpet, which we freecycled! Those old tiles get their last chance to shine before they are ripped out.

And, the oven has been delivered! Because we bought the floor model, they couldn't hold it for longer than a month so it will be chilling out in the front room for a little while.
I can't wait to cook in it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fridges: not just a place to keep beers cold anymore

Alas... we come to the next big appliance purchase of our kitchen reno: the fridge.

I want to start off by showing you the fridges I would have, if I could find one to look at in real life before buying one. This my friends is a Smeg.

All so pretty. The reviews online are pretty awful though. And having never seen one in reality, I can't commit myself to one of these :(  Oh and they also cost a mint.. forgot about that part.

So, I am forced into the world of stainless steel firdges. Thankfully, in the last few years, more companies have been producing or selling tall skinny Euro-style fridges in Canada. They say it is for the condo market. Well I say it's for the tiny-1950's-kitchen-that-didn't-have-room-for-a-dishwarer market. Hey that's me! Yay!

I've looked at all the tall skinny fridges that as available to me. There are suprisingly a lot of different features out there. The lower end models looked decent but have terrible lighting, or crappy cheap plastic interiors and crispers. This would include the LG and Moffat models.

Next are the mid range appliances, which for our purposes all are around $2000. This would include my beloved Smeg. The following companies all make small fridges: Bosch, Kitchen Aid, Fisher & Paykel, Whirlpool, etc etc etc. There are some higher end fridges (Liebherr, sub zero, and some others) as well as fully built in models but I don't have 10 grand to spend on a fridge.

After some deliberation, and after finding a certain fridge on clearance (hello floor model!) we decided to NOT buy the great deal, floor model fridge for once. We are going to buy a Fisher & Paykel one. It seems like a very well made unit, the inside has a lot of great features, it is actually 15 cubic feet instead of 11.3 which most of the smaller ones are... it has a gorgeous handle which is of course important for aesthetic purposes. It is also on sale, so yay!

Here is our new fridge, that we haven't actually bought yet:

Look at the inside!

Here it is in someones house:

Isn't it so tall and majestic??

I think so :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ikea Kitchen Planner

Three words:



You make my life so much easier... I can change you around easily. I can play with features, and get a running total while I go!

Greg and I have finally finished up the cabinet choices. Next week we will go to Ikea, and talk yo one of the kitchen people to make sure we have done everything right. And then we will be ordering our cabinets.


This is kind of scary.....

Here is a picture of our kitchen to be! It doesnt have the counters on it or appliances because those things are coming from other places.

OMG OMG OMG I can't wait..... even though I am totally nervous.

Note: the tiles are not how we are doing them. There are like 3 choices for how tall you want to put your pretend tiles on the wall. Also that left corner is going to have shelves, and they are going to be awesome. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

New Oven!

Well, there is something to be said about appliance shopping. The things I might say about it are not suitable for print. Having the Ikea Nutid slide in range in mind at the low price of $1200, yes I sad low price, I actually looked omline to read reviews. let's just say, they were less than favourable.

I try to keep in mind that most people who write reviews are either blown away by awesomeness, or experiencing a total suck fest. Ikea's appliances seem to represent more of the latter.

I had pinned a bunch of awesome looking slide in electric ranges to Pintrest and then went forth to read the reviews. Most were horrible. It seems that electronics die in ovens a lot these days. This is disheartening!

There were a few though that had good reviews, and were reviewed by people but also companies. So these are the stoves I did further research into. I went to the lovely store Corbeil Appliances not far from my house, and took a look at these stoves in real life.

One stove really stood out: The Samsung 30' Slide in range. It was pretty. It was functional. There was even a model that turns into a double oven! Yes! A single oven can be a double oven.

And because I am a girl who likes a good deal, though the double oven version was on sale it was still $2000 (!!!) we bought the floor model of the version one step down from that. It still cost us more than we had budgeted but I think we got a pretty amazing range at a pretty good price!

It gets delivered April 4. We haven't started doing anything in our kitchen yet... this could be fun....

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Shit's Getting Real

OK. I have spent the last week INTENSELY SHOPPING FOR FLOOR AND BACKSPLASH TILES. I mean, super intensely. There are a few different tile places in Ottawa, and I have to say, that none really gave me the inspiration I was looking for. It's is important to keep in mind, that I am looking for things that are different than most people would put in their house. And that of course makes it very difficult to find what I want.
I went to EuroTile a few times, and I saw these AMAZING tiles:

I especially liked this one:

Then, we measured our space. Sadly, these tiles are 8"x8" and way too big. Our backsplash area is quite short. So, that took them out of the running. However, I am keeping them in my idea book in my brain for a bathroom... just in case...

I went to all the big box stores. Nothing nothing nothing. Everything is BROWN. Or GREY. and the white stuff all looks cheap and shitty.Everything seems so outdated. Especially at Home Depot. Home Depot, you are lagging behind in the design arena! Take note!!

We looked online. Greg found some cool tiles on and these ones had us excited:

  They are small, and cute! They are different, and would totally work in our kitchen.

But then........

We went counter shopping.

Again, big box stores had zero laminates we liked. Laminates are so cheap and durable, and also authentic to the 50's kitchen. We had always thought we would use one. (I will give props to the people at Wilsonart, who have amazing patterns available!! Visit their website and see for yourself!) I had noticed this particular Quartz sample at Rona, and tucked it away in that brain idea book, and when we were being dismayed about crappy fake stone laminates, I took Greg over to the Quartz section and showed him this one. And you know what? He really liked it too. Now I know that quartz is like a million times pricier than laminate... but we have a pretty small counter space... so really, why not splurge??????

Here is a picture of the one we like. It is called Montgomery, by Cambria.

There is a bit brighter of a soft turquoise in there that wasn't picking up on my phone. but I think it's lovely!!!

And this brings me back to the backsplash.
None of the tiles we like would go with this counter. I have been hesitant to use subway tile. I feel that, while it is considered timeless, it is way over used and sort of expected. I wanted to try something more fun. But, I am willing to sacrifice my want for uniqueness for this counter. Also, there is a pretty serious lack of options anyways. So, it looks like we will be going with a subway tile after all. That being said, there is a pretty diverse range of subway tiles out there. I want one that is very glossy and very flat so that the wall will appear nice and flat and level and glossy.

I also picked the colour I want for the two walls and random other areas. It's Farrow and Ball's Blue Ground, which is just about the perfect colour that has been in my head since we started talking about this kitchen.

Here it is in action. Isn't it the best thing ever??????

I think so.

I took some flooring samples to Rona with a paint chip that was similar (because I am very forgetful these days and forgot the F&B one at home) and made a little mood board on their desk. I think that this kitchen is going to look amazing.