Friday, June 29, 2012

Stairs Misery

Oh, you'd think I was a totally inexperienced DIYer regarding those stairs.  Here I was thinking it was gonna be a quick and dirty job.  All done by the end of the day today.


I started yesterday morning with removing the rest of those stupid upholstery staples.  All seven zillion of them.  Then I sanded the stairs once with my palm sander and coarse sandpaper.  Messy, messy, messy.  Then I did the same thing with fine grit sandpaper.  More messy.  While I was at it I took the sander to the chipped trim on the staircase as well.  The whole thing needs a re-paint so I figured that while I was making a mess, I might as well.

After a shop-vac and a run at it with my Dyson, it looks like this:

top run of stairs

bottom run of stairs

All ready for priming and painting!  But it took me all day yesterday to complete the job.  Then I had to clean up the rest of my house since there was a fine layer of filth all over everything from the sanding.  I was super grumpy.  I like instant gratification.

Then I got my mail...

What have we here????  A present??? FOR ME???

It's a present for me!!!  I won a giveaway at My Best Friend Craig.  I can't wait to show you the gallery wall where I'm hanging it in Audrey's room.

Thank you for brightening my day Charmaine!

xo Meg

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stairway Update

This staircase is going to be the death of me.  I am certain.

See all those tiny bits of carpeting still stuck on the stairs?  Well, instead of using a tack strip, like normal carpet installers would, the old homeowners thought a quick upholstery stapler was the solution.  This is what my husband likes to call a 'JimmyJoe' job.  Terribly awful DIY skills were used by the previous homeowners in this house.  I could go on, but I won't.

Instead, I'll tell you about the four blisters on my hands.  I got them from removing all those staples from the oak treads and risers using a pair of needle nose pliers.  My hands were bleeding!   So much for that manicure...

Now that the staples have been removed, I am hard at work  sanding, prepping and painting my staircase.  Here are the colours we have chosen:

BM Chelsea Gray for the treads.

BM White Dove for the risers and trim.

Yes, this means I will be painting out the trim on the entire staircase.  It is looking rather horrible right now - chipped and dingy cream coloured paint.  This should be quite an improvement!  I will be back with more progress shots on Friday!

xo Meg

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Eye Candy... Kitchen Of My Dreams

I have never seen a kitchen anywhere that encapsulates the exact look I love as much as this one.  I stumbled upon it while doing my morning blog reading.  Fran from Green Street posted about the designer, Katherine Hodge of Sage Design.

The things I love include:
pendant lighting
farmhouse sink
old, worn table in the middle of the room for dining
refined but comfy couch for chillin' while somebody is cooking
freestanding hutch
open shelving with simple dishes and crockery
furniture kicks on cabinetry
black french windows
ticking-type slipcover cushions on the chairs.
a little bit french, a little bit industrial restaurant

I could go on.

Instead I'll go work on my own kitchen.

Happy Tuesday!

xo Meg

Monday, June 25, 2012

Count the Projects

Let's play a little game, shall we?

I'm calling it Count the Projects.  Let's just take a look at the crazy that's going on around this house at the moment.  I'll try to catch you up, although I'm so confused and overwhelmed myself that I may not be the person for this job.  We'll start here:


Still pretty much looks like this, minus the scaffolding.   It's a little tidier too.  And there are no wires hanging all over the place. The electrical is done and the cabinetry is on order.  I have finalized the colour choices for the cabinetry (BM White Dove) and also the layout.

So much still to do:

  1. Finalize kitchen lighting decision.  Just freakin' buy the pendants already!!!
  2. Complete Drywall
  3. Remove lower cabinetry and install fridge
  4. Pick out new Faucet
  5. Choose and install ceramic flooring
  6. Spray and Install shelving
  7. Choose Range Hood (and install)
  8. About 10 billion other things I'm not prepared to list here.


The first coat of the white trim paint has made a huge difference.  I can't wait to show
you the finished work!

You can see the difference the painting has made in this photo. The trim and corbels have
one coat of white on them but the underside hasn't been scraped or painted yet. It sort of
just looks like dirty, gross wood. Fixing it up is my job!

The first coat of the white trim paint has been completed.  Jay is working on the second coat and I'm painting the underside of the porches.  It look so much better, I can't even tell you.  Unfortunately, this project has been very weather dependant.  We can't paint when it's 38 degrees celsius out and we had a crazy hot week last week.  We are making progress though.


We have accomplished so much in the gardens of our home this spring.  We still need to finish the patio area and fire pit.  It's on the list!

Powder Room

What's that you say?  Most people want to wash their hands after they use the powder room?  That can't be true!
We have also ordered the cabinetry to go in our powder room.  So we will eventually have a sink in here.  It will come in with the kitchen cabinets.  I still have to pick out a faucet and install the mirror and accessories in here.  Oh yeah, and also actually install the screen instead of just propping it up at the window.


Even though we had so many projects already on the go, I decided to start another one this weekend.

super gross carpeting before

 dinged up wood after (perhaps even worse?)
I will be sanding, filling and painting these stairs in hopes of producing a prettier after picture for you.

So there you have it, a list of all our crazy projects.  I guess I figure, if the house is a total disaster anyway, we might as well go all out.  I will try to do a better job of keeping you updated this week!

xo Meg

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not Afraid of Heights! Painting the Exterior

Came home from work last night to discover this:

My awesome husband waaaaaaaay up a ladder painting out the trim on our super tall house.  Even better, my eleven year old son was holding the ladder.  And the phone, in case he needed to call 9-1-1.  Total insanity.  

But it looks really amazing this morning.  I'm waiting till the second coat is done to give you a full reveal.  To jog your memory, here's how the trim was looking:

   Pretty nasty, right?  I can't even believe the difference a coat of white has made.  I love the architectural detail on the home - especially that semi-circle thing at the top window.

   Do you think we should paint out the cedar shake too?  Please weigh in because we just can't seem to decide and I always love your opinions.  

   Here's what one of my favourite designer's, Michael Penney, thinks I should paint on the shakes:

Pavillion Grey, Farrow & Ball

  If you want to read his original post about my home, you can go here.  He used to work at Canadian House and Home, my favourite home mag.   Now he's working with Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe and he just opened up his own shelter store, called Penney & Company.  I love his quirky, old-school style.

Let me know what you think!

xo Meg

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Down & Dirty with Frank Fontana

     Today I'm doing a little segment with Frank Fontana on The Down & Dirty show on blogtalkradio.  The producers called me last week to see if I'd like to participate and I said yes, despite the fact that I'm so nervous I could barf.  Maybe the butterflies in my belly are just excitement?

We're chatting about my Backyard Disaster project.  If you'd like the backstory on my backyard project, go here and here and here.

If you want to tune in and listen to me making a complete fool of myself, go here at 12:00 CT.


xo Meg

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gettin' it Done

Ah, the best laid plans.

We made some progress on my list this weekend. Woohoo!

The landing zone now looks like this:

   I know it's not styled beautifully but it certainly is helping to keep the kids stuff in order.  All their school and sports calendars are up here so we know what's going on.  And they can actually hang their backpacks up on their hooks when they come home.  I do plan on covering the bulletin board with a little DIY project I have in the works.  I'm sure I'll get to that some day.

I also got to painting the powder room , as planned.  The walls were covered in a slightly textured, plaster finish.  They were painted a light blue, but looked dirty and roughed up.  I thought a coat of BM's White Dove would be just the ticket. 

However, as I painted, this happened:

what the...?  chunks of plaster are coming off the wall?

Neither one of us can figure out why.  But it looks like we're gonna have to fix it somehow.

And simply cursing at it isn't working.

The problem is that there is that pesky texture on the wall, which will be really difficult for Jay to fix with drywall compound.  I don't imagine that he can get the same texture.  We're going to try anyway.  There are three nasty peel-y spots.

over the window

to the right of the door

  We didn't even attempt the third thing on our list (cleaning up the sideyard, planting the garden and mulching).  It was simply too hot here this weekend, like 40 degrees.  We'll get to that later in the week when it's supposed to be cooler.  We took our kids to the beach instead.

Happy Monday!

xo Meg

Friday, June 8, 2012

The To-Do List

The To-Do List around here is pretty long right now.

This weekend, I'm gonna get to these things if it kills me... and it just might.


This eyesore of a side yard.  Honestly!  My neighbours must hate us.  We just haven't gotten to it yet (although that's no excuse).  This is the weekend!


This is a little corner of my powder room.  I got the painting done to the point that we could re-install the toilet but then I stalled out in here.  To be fair, I wasn't simply lazy.  I was working on the yard.  I'm getting this poop-house done this weekend.  Walls painted, brick painted, mirror and accessories installed.  Doin' it.


For a couple weeks now, my kids have been heading into the house and dumping their backpacks and soccer bags onto the floor (see above photo).  Nobody knows where the calendar is and we can't ever find the field trip form or the milk order form.  

I'm re-installing the bulletin board and hooks from my former landing zone and we're getting our sh*t together this weekend.  (pardon my french).

I think that ought to be enough to-do's for this weekend.  I'll find the time between gymnastics and soccer and my friend's birthday party and my other friend's backyard party and my other friend's grand opening party.  Totally do-able right?

What are you getting up to this weekend?  Hope you have a good one.

xo Meg

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Landscape Progress

We have been working so very hard on our outdoor spaces this spring.  You can read about the process here and here.

before (obviously)

Just to refresh your memory, the gardens at this house haven't been touched in many years.  We took possession of the house late last summer, so we couldn't really do much except watch and see what plants came up.  

Then we came up with a plan.

The plan changed a bit.  We have added a patio area to the back fence.  And we are certainly not done.  But here we are now:

We put sod along the garden at the back but we can't mow it for another week.  The dead cedars have been removed but we decided not to replace them since there is plenty of privacy and foliage there.  Instead, we have decided to put a patio and pergola where the dirt is currently.  Eventually, the fire pit area will move back there too.

Not many flowers are blooming yet, and I don't expect much this year since they were all transplants.  But the hostas are doing very well and the hydrangeas also seem happy.  I also planted some lavender because I love the fragrance so much.  I'm hoping that gets big next year too.

Try to ignore the stack of old bricks I piled to the left of the new garden bed. 

Here you can see the big hostas coming around the side, the new curve to the bed,
the flowering lilac and the limelight hydrangeas.

I love that we don't look like hillbillies any more.  And that things are mostly tidy.  One more area to go, the garden bed that borders the house on the driveway side.  I will be transplanting some more hostas there and perhaps some shasta daisy.  I'll keep you posted.

On another note, the electrician came yesterday to work on the electrical for the new kitchen.  It is looking pretty much the same, just with some more wires hanging down now.  But it is ready for light installation, I guess.  This makes me happy since I was getting tired of dishing out late night ice cream bowls in the dark.

Happy Tuesday!

xo Meg