Sunday

Before + After: Basement Bathroom

You've seen bits and pieces of it coming together. But since the inspector just signed off on it (I know it took us awhile...only because it took us awhile to remember to call him!) it seems fitting to do the reveal. We did everything ourselves, except for the plumbing + drywall. Sources are listed at the bottom of this post. This is what we started with as we rebuilt the bathroom. This photo is actually a few steps into the process, having replaced the plumbing under the house, new concrete floor, new walls, insulating etc. etc. But it's a starting off point...


And this is what we created.....

One major choice was the pocket door. I highly recommend this, as it is the best thing for a small space. The other major element is the stand up shower. I love, love the shower. Eventually we'll put in a glass wall but it's not an issue right now, and not much water spray happens. The shower set it Moen, and I adore having the toe kick. (See this post on the shower) For those unaware of the toe kick, it means I can test the water temperature with my foot, prior to getting sprayed.


We created a DIY pivoting mirror after falling for one at Pottery Barn, but not falling for the price. (See this post on how we did it)


Since the bathroom is in my workspace (the basement is my studio/office) it seemed fitting to offset the formality of the finishes with some cheekyness. I created this art.

One of the neat elements is this pivoting toilet paper holder. Honestly people, this is the best invention. No springs flying everywhere!



And there you have it. Our basement bathroom. :) Amazing to see the progression of how it all came to be. (See all of the posts here) I'm kind of uber impressed at my husband. :) Next up...Master Bath! ;) (Kidding...kind of)

Source Guide for the Basement Bathroom
Big Deal Art Print: My shop.
London Gaurd Art: DIY, See post on how to do it here
Mini Cooper replica Car: Mini Downtown
Vanity: Kohler Memoirs
Faucet: Delta Dryden Set
Toilet: Kohler Memoirs
Tiles: The Tile Store
Shower Head + Toe Kick Set: Moen from Home Depot
Window Tint: Peel & Stick frosting via Home Depot
Moen Pivoting Toilet Paper HolderHome Depot
Wall Colour: Paper White by Benjamin Moore OC-55
Pocket Door: Similar ones are available at Home Depot.

Friday

Making Your Kitchen More Energy Efficient

If you’re looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of your kitchen and save on energy bills, there are ways to make the changes without breaking the bank. The kitchen uses more energy than any other room in the house. Here are a few tips to reduce your energy usage and costs:

Lighting
The light fixtures in your kitchen are a big contributor to your energy cost, especially during the night. Install ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures or replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to ENERGY STAR, their qualified lighting provides bright, warm light while using 75% less energy, generating 70% less heat and lasting up to 10 times longer than standard lighting. Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving the room.
If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, think of ways to bring in natural lighting. Make windows wider, knock down walls, add skylights or put in French doors to connect to another room. This will allow the sun to illuminate your kitchen at no additional cost.
Refrigerators
The refrigerator is the appliance that consumes the most energy. When choosing a fridge be sure to also find a product with the ENERGY STAR symbol as these qualified refrigerator models use at least 20% less energy than required by current federal standards.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should replace your fridge if it’s more than 10 years old. Also, don’t purchase a fridge that’s larger than what you need; you’ll just be wasting more energy.
Refrigerators with the freezer on the top or bottom are more efficient than side-by-side models. Be sure to leave space between the refrigerator and walls to allow air movement.

Dishwashers
Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off — the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest. To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher's energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load and use the air-dry option. Try running short cycles for everything but the dirtiest dishes.
Range
Using the wrong sized pot on a stove burner can waste as much 40 percent of the burner's heat and can cost approximately $36 more annually for an electric range, or $18 more annually for gas. Be sure to cover pots and pans. This will ensure you cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler.

You may want to consider selecting a natural gas oven or range which is far more efficient than electricity. Keep the burners clean to ensure maximum efficiency. Blue flames mean good combustion; yellow flames mean service may be needed to ensure the gas is burning efficiently.
Other Tips
Use small appliances when you can. If you use a toaster oven rather than a full-size oven you will save energy. In addition, using a microwave oven versus a full range oven or stove will save you money because the heating time is far less.

For information on 2011 Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency go to http://www.energystar.gov.

Thursday

Utterly boring week is done! :)

This week has been utterly boring. I've been painting the new trim around the windows. A task I now loathe as I feel as though I'm doing it all the time. Wait. I AM doing it all the time. As much as I hate doing it, I'm too much of a control freak to ask Aubrey to do it. I kind of do all the painting around the house as I like things "just so". Anyways, looking at it finished last night was a huge relief, and it looks awesome. So we can start to put our house back together again. (Pictures coming up next week) But although it has been boring on the projects I've been collecting inspirational images. Here are some inspirational shots for children's artwork that I adore.


 Via
Via Spearmint Baby

The minute I put my mind to art, I'm seeing Art related posts everywhere online. But especially in getting your kids to do the art. I'm not sure I'm going to release Oscar on the canvas but here are some more inspirational shots for the weekend. 

DIY Art, Video Tutorial

Thanks to Kelley from Calgary for sending me a link to a few awesome DIY Art links (She knew we were trying to find creative ways to add some fun art to our house.) One of the links was to the following video that I thought was pretty inspiring. Sadly Oscar is at the stage where he'd eat the paint, vs. actually painting with it.... :) But I look forward to the day where I can let him loose!



Ps. Even in all my art classes I hadn't heard of Gesso (that they use in the video) so I may go pick some up to try.

Wednesday

The Front Yard in Bloom

I love gardening and would do it everyday if I could.  Unfortunately, for about six or seven months out of the year, it's not possible.  When my flowers are blooming, I am in heaven!  :)  I planted the perennials  last year and am happy with the way everything is filling in.


This is the area along my driveway.  There are coneflowers, daylilies, daisies, cosmos, lavender, lamb's ear, snapdragons and artemesia in here.






 This area has cosmos, rose of sharon, coreopsis,  and cranesbill.







 The bees love the coneflowers and lavender.








We've had very hot weather and some very windy days, so I'm counting my blessings that everything is blooming as well as it is. 

Thanks so much for coming by!  

Pam

I am linking to the following parties:




Tuesday

Clean vs. Dirty - Free printable

One thing that happens a lot in my house is I start to do laundry, and it piles up and sits at the foot of the basement stairs. I can't carry it up the stairs along with Oscar, so it sits there waiting for a chance for me to bring it up to the bedroom. But the following usually happens.... Aub will be in the basement and yell up at me...

"Is this basket full of clean or dirty??"
And I usually yell back as I'm chasing after a bare bottomed baby "I have NO idea"

So I designed a card that is 2 sided, and I put ontop of the clothes in a bin. It helps Aubrey and I know what is in it.
Here is how you can get your own too.

Step 1: Download the page I designed
Step 2: Cut the signs out
Step 3: Laminate back to back. If you don't have a laminator, bring it to your local office store, they will do it for around $2.00 or less.

One side says "Dirty - Please Clean Me" and the other side, says "Clean - Smells like fresh cotton - how lovely"

The download won't be available forever, so grab it now if you like it. And because I have to say this...it's not for resale. Just for personal use. Thanks! xo Linds

Kitchen Windows

Our Eat in kitchen window was arguably, the window I hated the most in the house. It was really the window that was at the root of the full window replacement project. Here is the before (when we bought) and the "Now" photo...

We went for 2 huge casement that open up. Although the same size, the window appears larger because there is more glass and you don't have that horizontal ban in the middle. I am reminded daily now, when I look out this window, how much this improves the feel of the house. Bitting the bullet on the windows was hard (in part because we had such awful experiences with window companies, up until Fieldstone) and also, because it's a lot of money and windows (at the time) didn't feel very "sexy" as an investment. But I can now confirm they definintely are worthwhile.

*I need to paint the trim that they added in. That is this weeks project.

Monday

Curb Appeal, Front of the House Reveal

I'm going to jump right in and show you the front of the house reveal because I love it too much to hold back. I was going to wait until later but honestly it's too good not to share.

The full transformation of the front of the house from when we bought to today, is kind of astonishing but I'm going to show you right now what a simple change in windows can do to your curb appeal. This Spring our house looked like this. We hated the yellow siding and hated even more the ugly yellow windows.


Fieldstone Windows came in, did their magic and...



The result is kind of breath taking. The dark windows actually soften the yellow siding, so we're no longer feeling the need to paint it. The windows make the top of the house feel taller, and the dark windows on the bottom are rich and "fancy" looking. I keep walking by the house saying "They are so faaaancy."

I am SO glad we went with dark windows. They are absolutely stunning. And the external grills are worth the upgrade. To give you a better view side by side.

Like I said...they are so faaaancy!

Sunday

New Windows: Step 1, Front of the house

Last week was the week that we got our new windows.We hired Fieldstone, a Toronto window company to replace all of the windows in our house on the main floor and second floor of our house (with the exception of our TV room which wasn't in the budget this time) Here are some photos from the front of the house being worked on. (To see previous window posts click here)

Aubrey and Oscar watching the construction on the front lawn through our new window...


Photos of the front of the house 1. New living room window is in place  2. Oscar's Bedroom (2nd floor large window) is in 3. The Living room Window with the new trim installed by Fieldstone waiting for me to prime  4. As the windows are being removed! 5. The most hated window ever, being removed

Because we worked with a budget, here is an an idea how we decided where to spend funds. I've shown you what we did for the front of the house vs. the back. The options that are the same price have no arrows. with the red arrows are the more expensive option, vs the green. You can see that we spent more on the front, vs, the back.  

Although financially we didn't splurge on the back (compared to what we did in the front) the back is absolutely beautiful, I'll post pictures of the back of the house tomorrow.

Friday

My Favorite Baby Bird Picture and A Winner!

I am obsessed with the baby birds in my birdhouse.  Every night when I go out to water, the mother is frantically flying back and forth with food.  I took this one last night.  I'm thinking that the baby is almost ready to spread her wings, as I think she's bigger than Mom! 

When we moved into this house two years ago, my family teased me for putting up so many birdhouses.  Well, this neighborhood obviously needed some birdhouse real estate as most of my houses have families!  A neighbor even came by last night and said that they've noticed a marked increase in the number of birds in the neighborhood since we moved in.  That makes me so happy!!




Thank you to everyone who entered my Rustic Box Giveaway.  I appreciate all of you coming by and leaving sweet comments and for following me here and on Facebook.  Using True Number Generator, at Random.org, the winner is:  Lori @ Thrifty Decor Mom  (sorry, I'm not smart enough to figure out how to show the results.) 


Have a great weekend!

Pam


Thursday

Fabric Friday

This week kind of flew by. Work wise I am busy - I have a lot of corporate clients I do design work for and I'm working on a a big update to our shop. Mix in the fact that our windows got replaced this past week, and life with a baby, and the week was over before I knew it.

I'm looking forward to a little break in the madness. When things settle down, I'm going to turn my attention to layering of the house, specifically the Living Room and Dining Room. Both rooms now have 99.9% of the "base" items but are in need of some personality. I've been eyeing fabrics as inspiration. Here is an image that I went bananas for from Amber Interior Design when she visited Hollywood at Home.
I'm totally going to browse this list of Top Online Fabric stores by Kirsten. It's an awesome roundup and I have a feeling my credit card is going to be hurting. I have a wee problem of hoarding fabrics.

Have a lovely weekend. Aubrey and I are off to a wedding Saturday, and we're bringing Oscar with us. I'm kind of excited to dance away with my 2 favourite men.