Thursday, March 29, 2012

I’m Moving!!

This has been a long time coming. Over the past 7 months I have been living like a transient bum…mostly at Kevin’s parents’ house, somewhat in my car, and infrequently at my parents’ house (it’s mostly just the place I stored my things). The last 7 months have been rough, to say the least. When I posted about our landlord selling our house, leaving us strapped, and causing us to temporarily move back to our parents house, the comments spoke volumes lol.

Shannon's Comment on Moving

Gary and Janice's Comments on Moving

But did I listen?.. well yeaaah, but I was kind of in a jam and I was stupidly naive that the condo completion date wasn’t going to be crazy delayed… which it HAS

The last 7 months have honestly been the most stressful in my life! There’s no break from the stress. I like stability and control, and my desire for those things grew exponentially in the time that Kevin and I lived together…control for things like food, noises, temperature. Basically I’ve just realized that in the almost 10 years that I’ve been away from home (summer breaks from university excluded), I’ve become a person who really doesn’t play well with others (cohabitation-wise) because I have LOW TOLERANCE for things that annoy me, which is mostly noises…

  • loud talking
  • TVs and radios on ALL THE TIME
  • chewing noises… oh dear gawd, the chewing noises!! AHHHH!!!!!
  • and temperature control was a big issue. It was regularly 14C in my room in the winter, hence my desire to spend almost all my time at Kevin’s parents’ house.

So, the point is I found a place to live. It’s close to my work, the rent is very close to what we paid before, the lease is flexible, it includes digital cable, hi-speed internet, and parking, and I can have my cat there! The landlord full-on wrote NO PETS in capital letters on her ad for the apartment, but I still went to check it out. I got a feeling my future landlord liked me so I spilled the beans and said I could only live there if I could bring my cat. She made a face and was like, “sigh…. fine”. Yippee!!

Unfortunately I’ve been pretty sick over the last couple weeks with intense abdominal pain – my doctor thinks I have kidney stones, which has led to several nightmares – so moving is gonna SUCK… I didn’t think it could really suck less, as evidenced here, but I was wrong.. so wrong.

So if you got this far in my rambling post, the moral of the story is DON’T MOVE BACK HOME!! The strain on my relationship with my parents was not worth it. I didn’t save any more money than I did when we were at our apartment because I had to get a car and it ain’t cheap. And I felt like a loser for living at home in my twenties.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DIY: Recovering Bar Stool Seats

My parents’ house has a breakfast bar off of the main counter in the kitchen. My mom bought some clearance bar stools for the area, but didn’t like the fabric on them, so she recovered them. The stools are 12 years old now, and the fabric has worn away in some areas, so my mom wanted to recover the seats with new fabric.
Here is the before picture. I know the fabric is pretty dingy-looking now, but I actually really like the colours in it.
Here’s the “wear” I was talking about… and this is one of the not-so-bad areas. One of the bar stools get sat on a lot more than the others and had a big ol’ flap of fabric hanging open on it.IMG_1150
Note: the cats in my parents house love these stools… Riley in particular. So when my dad removed the seat tops, we got to witness Riley jump up on the bare metal square. She looked horrified. I don’t know what she was trying to do, but it was hilarious. I mean, c’mon, Riley! Just look at it… that can’t be very comfortable.IMG_1153
After yanking out dozens of staples to remove the old fabric, we were left with this. We kept the old fabric in place. In the photo on the right, the seat isn’t actually attached, I just placed the seat on the square in the picture above. There was thin black poster-board type paper that originally covered the bottom of the seats and my mom managed to retain it in good shape when she recovered the chairs in 2000. This time the poster-board circles didn’t quite hold up. I advised her to get some new poster-board from Dollarama, then use an old poster-board circle as template to draw a new circle. Worked like a charm


The new fabric my mom chose isn’t really my cup o’ tea. The colour is very similar to the original fabric, but it’s got a swirly design on it.  I probably would’ve chosen  a grey (or other neutral) graphic print. IMG_1189
Here’s the finished product! She’s very happy with it. Another side note: My mom bought 2 of these stools in black, but the third one was originally gold. She spray painted it black and I had NO IDEA it was ever another colour. Oh the magic of spray paint...IMG_1187
Have you ever recovered a seat? It’s not as hard as it looks!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Canadian House & Home – April Roundup

CoverThe April issue of Canadian House & Home has to be my favourite to date. It’s got the most gorgeous interiors! Every time I thought I saw something absolutely beautiful, I’d turn the page and see something even better. It’s like this issue was made for me!

The next few pictures are of the lounge by Piero Lissoni from the International Design Show, which took place at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto in January. The West Elm display was very popular with a lot of bloggers, but this was by far my favourite display. In this article, Linda Reeves said this was Best of Show for her too. What draws me to the room most are the light colours and feelings on airiness. Some details that I love are the super tall bookshelves, the couches, the dining table, and chandelier.
Piero Lissoni - IDS Show 2012 
Piero Lissoni - IDS Show 2012, 2
Instagramed! Sitting on the couch in the top photo at IDS

This townhouse is owned by Patricia Lovett-Reid and designed by Lisa Rogers. I really like that the high ceilings and light walls are grounded by the rich darker hardwood floors. The furniture is very streamlined as well, giving the space a more modern feel. The over-sized art above the console in the dining room is a great addition to the space and I love the built-in look of the desk. Also, check out the circle window! That's an awesome detail.
Open Concepts Living Diving Room
Open Concepts - Dining Room artDesk nook

This Scandinavian-design inspired condo is owned by Tom and Catharina MacMillian and was designed by Anne-Marie Fleming of Boxwood Architects and Jill Greaves. Not to sound crazy, but this living room looks delicious. Like drool-worthy delicious. I just want to pick it up and plunk it down in our condo. I want to list what I love, but let's just say it's everything. Literally everything. Ok, well I'll list a few things: I love how bright the space is. I love the scale and colour of the sectional... although I'm a slob and would never be able to keep that clean. I love the round simple coffee table. The art in the corner... and the touches of wood throughout the space - the chair, the side table. And in the bedroom I love the built-in headboard. I go gaga for a good built-in and this one is awesome.
A New Beginning
A New Beginning Bedroom
This home is owned by Byron Peart and Stefan Weisgerber and designed by Richard Keyes from Bulthaup Toronto. I love the European white oak herringbone floors and the glass banister leading up the glass half wall upstairs. It's such a great way to open up the space and let the light in.
Just when I thought I couldn't like the space any more, I see the next picture, which shows a dramatic black feature wall with a framed Hermes scarf for art and a slatted footbridge that wraps around the upper perimeter of the room. To. Die. For. 

A Tale of Two Kitchens
A Tale of Two Kitchens 1

This minimalist Scandinavian-design custom-built home is owned by Katherine Yaphe and was designed by Richard Wengle. I love the chairs (they're from Formstelle Morph Lounge chair, Avenue Road). The silhouette is great, as are the legs and the fabric. I also really like the wide planks on the floor and the floating console in the dining area.
Sight - dining room 
Did you love this issue of House & Home as much as I did? Seriously, this has got to be my favourite issue to date!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bryan Baeumler and the National Home Show

My mom scored us some half price tickets to the National Home Show, so we headed down that way on Saturday. She and I went together last year too, and the condo felt SO far away at that point. I thought then by March this year that the condo would be just around the corner.... Well it's still kind of far away, but hey, what can you do? At least this gives us more time to save.

I focused mostly on checking out vendors for flooring, counters, and closet organization systems. 

These are the prices we were quoted for upgrades from the builder:
FLOORING (for everywhere except bathrooms and kitchen)
$3062: laminate
$4478: oak engineered hardwood

COUNTER (kitchen)
$2100: granite
$2500: Caesarstone

I'm not sure how much lower we could get the prices, but if we source outside the builder we'll definitely have more choices. Even just with very casual shopping around we found a price for engineered hardwood that was $1000 cheaper - that included removing the existing flooring, installation, thresholds and quarter rounds for the baseboards... not too shabby if you ask me.  

I haven't looked too closely into pricing for granite or quartz yet.

Does anyone have any recommendations for flooring or granite suppliers/installers??

On to the National Home Show... as soon as we walked in, we heard someone was presenting so we went to check it out. Turns out it was Bryan Baeumler! He had just started presenting so we stuck around to watch the whole thing. He's a great speaker and gave the crowd some good tips for renovating and finding reputable contractors...some tips went right into my back pocket - saving those for later! I've always thought he was cute on Disaster DIY (his HGTV show) and Saturday confirmed it hehe

Here are some pictures (from my iPhone) of Bryan and other stuff from the Home Show:

What did you get up to this weekend?

And if you have any recommendations for flooring/counter suppliers, please let me know!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Appliances: Debating White versus Stainless Steel

Once again, Kevin and I are divided on what colour we want for our appliances. Through our builder we can choose between standard white, standard black, or upgraded stainless steel;  or upgraded white, upgraded black, or further upgraded stainless steel for all the kitchen appliances. When I say “standard” I mean there’s no added cost and when I say “upgraded” I mean there’s an added cost.

Here’s our kitchen. Don’t mind the markings on it. The kitchen is just off to the right of the front door. The window is south facing.


We haven’t officially chosen our finishes yet, but we’re toying with the idea of white cabinets and dark (probably polished black granite) counters. If we go with that counter, the sink will be stainless steel and under mounted. The tiles (the gridded area in the floor plan) will be greyish-brown and the floors (non gridded areas) will be walnut.

Given that information, what is your opinion on the colour of the appliances?

Kevin (obviously) wants black. That guy prefers everything in black. Unfortunately for him, black is out.

White could be a contender because the cabinets are white so the appliances will have a seamless look. When spending the same amount of money, you can get nicer white appliances because there is a premium cost for stainless steel ones. The downside to white is that people think it looks “cheap”

Stainless steel could be a contender because it’s better for resale value and looks “more expensive”. The downside is that it will visually break up the space with the white cabinets, and stainless steel is infamous for fingerprints and smudges.

I found two pictures of kitchens with white cabinets and dark counters that are laid out very similarly to what we have. The pictures are from different angles, and I realize with everything being equal, the stainless steel appliances are nicer than the white appliances in the pictures I have, but try not to let that bias you!

White versus SS Appliances

Which one would you go with? I need help choosing.

I kid you not, I’ve literally dreamt every single night about condo finishes for the last 2 weeks. I’m dreaming about laminate versus engineered hardwood, cabinets, counters, appliances…. I need to get a life!

Photo sources: SS Appliances, White Appliances

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bye Bye Siding

There has been some pretty erratic weather happening in Toronto over the last few weeks, but I guess that’s typical for spring weather here. About a week ago there was a crazy strong wind storm that blew through, which unfortunately destroyed some of the siding of the roof of my parents’ house. There was no real structural damage – it’s just unsightly. The problem is this happened to them last year too, in the same spot, when a strong wind storm blew through. I guess that particular area is a weak spot in the siding.

They had some guys come by the house on the weekend to give them a quote on repairing the damage, but they haven’t decided on anyone yet. Does anyone know anyone in the Toronto area who can fix this (properly) once and for all?

Monday, March 12, 2012

iTunes Gift Card Giveaway Winner!


Congratulations to Summer Walker! You’re the winner of my first giveaway Smile

Please email [to: notahousebutahome (at) gmail (dot) com] your mailing address within the next week and I’ll send along your prize!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Style at Home - April Roundup

Just a reminder, don’t forget to enter my giveaway! The contest closes on Sunday March 11th!
Cover April 2012
The April issue of Style at Home was filled with colour. I guess the closer we get to spring, the more we want to bust out with some colour in our lives. I was looking for some kind of trend in the colour scheme, but it seems anything goes, as long as it’s bright.Colour Collage
Fellow Canadian blogger, Tim Lam, had his condo featured this month. Congrats! His home is full of colour so the S@H team definitely chose a fitting space for this issue. One of my favourite things is getting a sneak peak into Toronto condos. I love to see how other people configure their space.
Tim - Design Maze - Apartment Feature
The Rule of 3: This is so true! Whenever I place two items together, it doesn’t look like enough; four items looks, well, square; and 5 items is just too much. I ended up pairing down my mini bathroom makeover to just include 3 of the 5 items I originally put on the cabinet and it looks a lot better.
The Rule of 3
The moulded-plastic Eames chair with the Eiffel base (and all its knockoff versions) is something I’m always drawn to. I really like the look of the seat in white. It would be so low maintenance – just a wipe down every now and again and you’re good to go! I wonder how comfortable they are… Anyone know?
Eames Moulded-Plastic Sidechair with Eiffel base

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Condo News: A Change in the Plan

Kevin and I went in for our first finishes selection appointment. We were the first appointment of the day, but she had car trouble and was 30 minutes late so we didn’t really do much choosing. That being said, we learned some important changes had been made to our floor plan. When the designer pulled out our floor plan, the first thing I noticed was that there was an added area in the bedroom and the wall between the living room and kitchen was shorter. Initially I thought, “yay! More space in the bedroom” then about 0.1 seconds later thought, “Wait a minute, did we lose space any where else??” I told her that wasn’t our plan and she said we were supposed to have gotten an email stating they had to make some structural changes to our unit. I pulled out the copy of the floor plan as we knew it to be and made some comparisons.

This is the floor plan I blogged about a few weeks ago:

Unfortunately she didn’t have a copy for us to take – she thought we’d already been notified – so Kevin and I both took pictures. Here are the changes:

Kitchen floor:
Before – no tile.
Now – it’s tiled. We always assumed it would be tiled and this just got missed on the floor plan, so it’s not really an issue

Kitchen dimensions:
Before – 12’10” x 10’5
Now – 12’6” x 10’5”. We’re losing 4 inches of space in the kitchen due to the…

Wall between living room and kitchen:
Before – Thinner and longer
Now – Thicker and shorter. We’ve definitely lost some of our precious wall space in the living room. The reason they stated is to give us a wider doorway and to increase the light into the kitchen.

Bedroom Layout:
Before – The southern wall was straight and our HVAC was originally drafted into the stairwell.
Now – We gained 16 freaking square feet of extra space when they redrafted the HVAC back into our unit!!!

Let me just state, the beds in the floor plan drafts for every unit are double/full-sized beds (dimensions: 54x75 in / 137x190 cm), which is the same bed we currently have. When we bought it we considered getting a queen sized because Kevin is TALL and his feet hang off the end when he lies straight, but we didn’t have enough space in our apartment for a queen sized mattress and weren’t sure a queen would fit well in the condo… so his feet hang off the double or he sleeps diagonally lol

The 16 extra square feet are conveniently configured into a closet shape... I can’t be the only one to notice that. Well that got me thinking: While 2 double closets are great, I think we would benefit more from turning that new 2x8 ft nook into a closet and removing the original closet altogether, giving us about 2 extra feet in the bedroom, which would allow us to fit a queen sized bed in there.  The side of the bed that is beside the closet doors in the original plans would be beside a wall in my hypothetical plan, so we wouldn’t have to worry as much about having space there for getting into the closet because it would just be a wall.

After our meeting we took a trip to Ikea to scope out closet systems. We found some fantastic Pax wardrobe configurations with sliding doors.. but they’d set us back about $1000… yikes. Unfortunately I didn’t take pics, but here’s some other Pax eye candy for you Smile

We also checked out some dark versus light kitchen finishes in Ikea. I’m team “white cabinets” and Kevin is team “dark cabinets”. Whose team are you on?
Team light versus dark
To be honest, after looking at multiple cabinets options, I’m kind of leaning towards dark lowers and light uppers…

I’d love to hear what you think based on the layout we have!

Other condo news:
Finishes Appointment
Construction Update and Security System
Our Floorplan
Condo Finishes Waiting Game

Images: Pax Wardrobe 1 (Ikea Hackers), 2 (Roncevalles Victorian Reno Diary)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Giveaway: iTunes Gift Card

Hey, guess what? It’s time for a little reader appreciation! I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my blog. Each comment and each follow makes my heart happy and I’d like to show a little thanks for the support Smile
* * * * *
What’s up for grabs?
A $25 iTunes Gift Card!
An iTunes Gift Card lets you shop for anything at the iTunes Store — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Shop for music, movies, TV shows, apps, audiobooks, and more.

How to enter:
This contest is only open to followers of Not A House, But A Home. Leave one comment for each entry:
  1. Leave a comment to let me know you're a follower. If you're not already a follower, it's easy! Click “Join This Site” on the right toolbar. That's one entry!
  2. Bonus Entry: Tweet about this contest on Twitter: “I just entered to win a $25 iTunes gift card from @NotHouseButHome | | #NAHBAHiTunes”
Open to: Canada Only – it’s a Canadian iTunes card and only works on Canadian iTunes accounts…my apologies to the international readers!

Closes: Sunday March 11th, 2012 at 6pm (EST). The winner will be randomly selected and announced that week.

Good luck everyone!!

Note: If you don’t have a Disqus account, please make sure to check back or leave your email address in your comment for me to contact you. If the winner doesn’t provide mailing information within 7 days of winner announcement, I’ll redraw for a new winner.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mini Bathroom Makeover

My bathroom is black and white, configured strangely, and windowless. I wanted to inject a bit of colour, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the small space. I bought a cute wall decal (from Dollarama…gasp!) not too long ago thinking it would be a great non-permanent way to bring in that colour I wanted.

Here’s what I was working with before. The square footage is small, but the bathroom has 9-foot ceilings and a soaker tub, which is most definitely appreciated.


This is the decal I bought. It only cost $2 and says it doesn’t leave any residue, so I figured it was worth a shot even if it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. This is the only picture that shows the real colour of the decal. Unfortunately, due to the lack of window in the bathroom, the rest of the photos are taken under florescent lighting (CFL bulbs) so the colours look a bit yellow and washed out.


It was super easy to stick on the wall. I stuck the sections on exactly how they’re shown in the example photo on the packaging


I also styled the top of the medicine cabinet with some items I already had and some super discounted items I recently bought at Indigo.

Bathroom Medicine Cabinet Decorations

Here is the before and after – the view is from the door. It makes me happy to see some colour in here when I walk in

Bathroom Medicine Cabinet Decorations1-001


Have a great weekend and make sure to check back on Monday – I’m doing my first giveaway!

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