Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blog Love and a Progress Update

   I'd love it if today was a big reveal post about my backyard disaster.  Alas, we are nowhere near done back there.  Really doesn't even seem like we've started.  The weather hasn't been co-operating for outdoor work so I've busied myself with some trim and paint touch-ups inside.  You know, when I'm not working, shuttling kids to sports or doing the dishes.

It's actually making a HUGE difference, these trim repairs.  Here's an example:

before- nasty, huh?

after- much better!

I frankly don't have any idea how we've lived that way for the last year.  Just saying.

In other news, I have been awarded the Liebster award by Elizabeth, one of my favorite bloggers.  The Liebster is given to a blog on the rise.  I guess that's me.  I might be blushing.

Also, I adore Elizabeth.  I think we'd be friends in real life too.  She's funny and I always love funny people.  She just busted out this killer re-upholstery job today.  You should go check it out at her blog The Little Black Door.

The Liebster needs to be passed along - like those crazy chain letters from middle school.  I think it's meant for up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers, so these are some of my newer faves:

reckless glamour

little orphan aggie

house pretty up

this dusty house

So, now these lovely bloggers have to pass the Liebster along.  Go check them out too. You won't be disappointed.

xo Meg

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Garden Planning

I will start this post off by letting you all know that I am a garden killer.  I have a black thumb.  I'm certainly no garden designer.  In fact, I have no idea how to plan a garden out so it even looks decent.

That said, I have still decided to give it a try.  I would love to hire this project done but it's simply not in the budget with so many other renovations going on.

It's raining/snowing/hailing here today so I'm stuck inside.  It's probably a blessing in disguise since I have a lot of planning to do for the garden.

Here's a drawing I did of my existing backyard:

There are so many problems with this area of our home that I feel completely overwhelmed by it.  Most of the existing plants and shrubs are in bad shape.  They are leggy and messy from not being properly pruned for many years - as you may have noticed in yesterday's photos.

These are the jobs we need to do to prep the yard:

  • move paver border back several feet and create a curvy border
  • remove dead cedar in right corner
  • remove tangle of blackberries in right corner
  • pull up pavers in centre garden
  • dig out the rest of the dandilions in lawn
  • add topsoil and overseed lawn

These are my ideas to make the yard look better:

This part includes:

  • adding three hostas to right corner (using existing plants I divide)
  • purchase three tall cedars for top right hand corner (adding privacy and filling in empty space)
  • purchase one hydrangea and transplant one existing hydrangea to left corner
  • purchase two tall grasses for right corner for privacy and to cover compost bin
  • Jay to build privacy screen for left side 
  • purchase climbing plants (?) for up screen
  • cover entire garden with mulch to reduce weeding and make it look nicer

There are also probably going to be some other places that plants are needed to fill in.  Maybe that will be phase 3.  I want to get these ideas implemented and then see how things are looking.  

Now, if it would just stop raining!

xo Meg

Monday, April 23, 2012

This and That

I have a few things to share with you today.  

First of all, here are a couple of instagram snaps of my backyard:

I have managed to weed out the right corner (above photo).  I've also managed to push the paver border back several feet in this corner.  

You can't really tell but the huge clump of green stuff in front of the dead tree (second photo) is green onions.  There are about a million green onions in this backyard.  We've been using them in salads. 

 Eventually there will be new grass.  The previous owner of this house thought the random flowers (weeds) in the lawn looked pretty. I don't happen to agree so we'll be roto-tilling it up and putting down sod.  There are so many weeds that I don't think anything can be salvaged.

You do not have to tell me that not much has been accomplished. The best laid plans, right? My soccer team had playoffs this weekend and I was expecting that we'd be eliminated early but we just kept WINNING!  That part was fun but didn't leave any time to get the yardwork done.

Ah well, such is life.  

Here's the tile in the powder room, along with the pretty light:

I'm looking forward to making more progress on these projects this week.  

Happy Monday!

xo Meg

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Backyard Disaster

While Jay is working away at tiling the powder room, he has suggested that I get to work on the exterior.  There is rain in the forecast so I decided to start with some of the work that needs to be done in the yard.

There's a ridiculous amount of work that needs to be done in the yard.

I started this morning with weeding one edge of the back yard.  There are flower beds (mostly filled with weeds and a crazy amount of garlic) around the perimeter.

Warning: the photos you are about to view might make you want to tear your hair out.  Or maybe that's just the effect they have on me.

Here's the view of the right side of the yard.  Taken from the deck.

This is the area where the blackberry bushes grow all willy-nilly and the wire contraption that holds them up.
I will be removing these bushes.  I like blackberries as much as the next girl but they are just too leggy.  And ugly.

Weird garden of weeds in centre of yard.  A couple of dead trees.  Believe it or not, this is the section I weeded.

Here's the view of the back fence:

I'll be back tomorrow with a sore back, ruined manicure and my plans for fixing this space up.  God knows it couldn't really get any worse.

xo Meg

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Powder Room Progress

Thanks for all your comments about my new little office.  It really is quite an improvement - and I love being in this room now!

Of course you know we are nowhere near to being done with all the work that needs to be done around here.  Last night, this magic happened:

sink wall of powder room (tile is level, photographer: not so steady)


Just a reminder of the before:

In case you're wondering, that's a wooden paper towel dispenser under the window.  It was recessed into the wall.  I removed it.  I don't really think there's anything else I can say about that.  

We have removed the sink and are replacing it with something a little more substantial.  Still a pedestal, since that's all that will really fit.

Here's the window wall now, in progress:

It's quite difficult to get photos of this powder room, since it's so tiny.  Also, I don't make any claims that I'm a good photographer, though I am trying to learn!

Anyway, grout goes on today.  After that, the toilet comes out and the floor tile gets put down. Any guesses as to what tile I have chosen for the floor???

Back to work!

xo Meg

Monday, April 16, 2012

Office Reveal!

   I'm happy to report that I finished most of the work on my little back room office this weekend.  I still have a bit of zhushing to do.  The office is visible from my kitchen and  includes a powder room, which is not finished yet.  I still need to pull it all together.  I need a rug and artwork and I'd like to paint my wooden office chair too.  But without further ado, here are the before shots:



And now, welcome to my office:

pantry door

powder room door

back door

I love the fresh colour scheme and the way it looks so much cleaner now.  All that ugly, dark wood made it hard to feel creative!

For those interested:

Wall Colour:  BM Woodlawn Blue
Trim Colour:  BM White Dove
Back Door Colour:  BM Kendall Charcoal
Desk Accessories: Crate & Barrel (little bowl and tray)
Silver Tray:  vintage, my parents
Wicker container:  West Elm a long while ago
Tulips:  Backyard, thanks to Audrey

There is more to come on this project.  I'll be hanging the curtains and adding a rug and artwork, etc.  I'll keep you posted!

xo Meg

Friday, April 13, 2012


I've been working very hard to get my office looking good.  It's not done yet but I think it's already looking better...

Sorry for the dark photo.  I guess that's what happens when you take an iphone
photo facing a sunny window!

It has actually taken a whole lotta paint to get rid of the orange-y stain on the wainscotting.  This is three coats and a zinsser primer coat.  Pain in the butt.  But I think it looks pretty.

This one's brighter, but fuzzy.  I'm certainly no photographer (obviously).  We are painting the exterior doors a deep charcoal grey.  I can't wait to see how this looks in here.  I'm also thinking about painting the pocket door to the powder room in charcoal grey but that is undecided.

I'm off to work, just thought I'd give you a sneak peek!

 I hope you all have a lovely weekend.  The weather here looks good so I think we'll be setting up scaffolding on our house and beginning the exterior work as well.

xo Meg

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Of course on the day I decide to climb a 40 foot ladder and begin prepping my home's exterior to paint, it decides to rain.  Clearly I will remain indoors with both feet on the ground instead.

But I'm not going to let that interfere with my reno plans!  There are so many things to do inside too.

I cleared out my office and powder room.  I'm currently washing everything down with TSP.  Next up, prime and paint. Hopefully it doesn't take too many coats to cover the pine boards!

xo Meg

Monday, April 9, 2012


I love you blog people.  Whenever I post about something I'm struggling with, you make me feel so much better!

     This process is going to be fun.  And I know I'm lucky to have a contractor for a husband.  I almost wonder why we decided to list the house without finishing more of it in the first place.  I'm feeling like we're on the right track now and we're both looking forward to getting started on the reno.

We've decided to approach the project from the outside in.  This is for a couple of reasons.  First, it's spring so we will be able to do the landscaping and give the plants a chance to take root and start looking really good.  Second, the roof appears to be leaking into the attic in one spot and it looks like crap right now.  We want to get this taken care of before it rains too much this spring.

   Today we have been looking at roofing options. Jay has sourced a simple 3 tab shingle in charcoal and has done that material take off.  He's also done the measurements for the windows but I'll save that for a different post.

  I know a roof isn't exactly a glory renovation.  It's not the pretty decor stuff.  But I do think it's going to make a huge difference.  Right now the roof is a mottled green-ish colour and it doesn't look great with the red-orange brick.  Plus, the shingles are peeling off.

See?  Peeling shingles don't look so nice.

We've also gotten the materials for me to begin cleaning off the cedar shake to prep the surface for painting.  Unfortunately, you can't just power wash cedar shake.  It will damage the wood.  I'm using TSP and a big scrub brush and a giant ladder.  You can see the moss that's growing on the lowest portion of the shake in the picture below.

Here's the painting plan:

Do you think I should paint the corbels in the taupe or leave them white?

On a side note, I love this cedar shake and the character it gives to my house. I can't wait to see what a huge difference all this makes!

xo Meg

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Back on Track

Last night, our fifth real estate deal fell through.

Jay and I are at a loss.  Our house has been on the market too long and none of the deals we attempt seem to be working out.  We think this is because the house needs too much work and buyers are afraid of that.

As a result, we have decided to take our house off the market to embark on a four month complete renovation to the house, with selling it in mind.  The list is incredibly long (and expensive) but here it is:


  1. roof
  2. windows
  3. exterior painting
  4. window capping, soffit & fascia
  5. landscaping project
  6. window box on front window


Install new tile fireplace surround

Remove carpet from stairs, re-finish.

Re-finish hardwood in hallway & paint front door

Paint office, wainscotting, window.
Install new light fixture in dining room.


  1. new cabinetry
  2. new appliances
  3. hood vent
  4. open shelving
  5. tile floor, backsplash
  6. remove portion of wall
  7. install peninsula
  8. paint


  1. remove wall board
  2. re-drywall
  3. install pedestal sink from upstairs bath
  4. new faucet
  5. floor tile
  6. accessories


  1. demolition
  2. new vanity, faucet and mirror
  3. new tub, faucet and showerhead
  4. glass panel
  5. tile flooring, backsplash, tub surround
  6. new toilet
  7. new accessories
  8. paint

To be honest, neither one of us have felt very good about listing the house without finishing it first.  That's not the way we've had success at real estate in the past.  Both of us have been itching to do these projects over the last three months but with our house on the market, we couldn't.  Now, we're ready to get to work.

The upside?  The radio silence around here will end!  Lots of great before, in progress and after posts.

Happy Easter!

xo Meg

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The hunt is on.  We are looking to wave our magic wand.  I could use some input.

Do you think this:

Can be changed into something more like this:


Or how about changing this:

 Into something more like this:


Think it's possible?

xo Meg