Thursday, August 30, 2012

Condo News: Choosing the Finishes

I haven't updated you about the construction progress because it's going incredibly slow....painfully slow if you ask me! We're not really much further along than we were when I last posted in March.
In June, we had our last appointment with the designer. We (um, I) had a list of demands requests for things we wanted. Some of these items were in the list of upgrades we could choose from, some weren't. We've already paid our deposit for the finishes, but haven't paid the balance yet - this is 100% due to the fact that we don't even know yet if the builder will sign off on our extra upgrades. Choosing the finishes and upgrades is tough... fun, but tough. I made this decision tree** to help anyone else who is or will be selecting finishes on a new build. This is basically how Kevin and I decided on our finishes.

Decision Tree - Builder Finishes vs Upgraded Finishes.png
While our finishes aren’t quite finalized, we followed this decision tree and ended up deciding on the following:

Tub: When we first bought, I asked if the bathtub was a soaker because it looks like it is on the plan. I was told it was. Score! Unfortunately, at some point this year I found out I was misinformed and it’s just a regular tub. Womp womp…I was not impressed. So we upgraded the bathtub and I’m so pumped! When I first asked how much it would be, I was quoted $1600. I was like, “I’m sorry… what??” Turns out the designer thought I wanted a jetted tub. I just wanted a soaker tub and I’m not gonna lie… I wanted it bad. I’m not one of those people who just say they’re going to take baths and then never take them. I take them… all the time. Anyhow, when I saw photos of the soaker tub models, I found a modern one I love at $250.
Tub surround: Our standard tub surround is 4x16 white or ivory subway tile. We chose white. It’s nice!

Cabinet type: We chose our cabinets, which look very very similar to the Adel cabinets by Ikea. Unfortunately they only had it in dark brown, so I asked if we could get it in white. I was told yes, and it’s been signed off on, but I worry they’re gonna mess that up and we’re gonna see dark cabinets when we move in.
More about cabinets: We also paid $300 to extend our cabinets up to the ceiling, well technically to the bulkhead. They’re going to be 130cm tall now. We have 9 ft ceilings with a 1ft bulkhead above the cabinets so the top of the cabinets will be 8 ft high. That’s how my parents’ kitchen cabinets are and it’s really nice to have the extra space. Kevin can hide all his candy on those tops shelves because I can barely reach them even with a stool!
Counters: We went with the standard. I like the colour, but it’ll definitely have to get upgraded when we move in. I’ll be referring to Lindsay’s blog when that time comes!
Backsplash: Meh. That’s how I felt about the backsplash options. I wasn’t impressed. We were given the option of using the 4x16 tile (that we’re getting for the tub surround) for the backsplash too, but I’d rather choose something after we move in. Kevin’s friend, conveniently named Tyler, has kindly offered to do our tiling for us. I hope he wasn’t kidding when he offered…
Appliances: We upgraded to a stainless steel microwave hood range and to a better (quieter and larger) stainless steel dishwasher. Remember this debate I had a few months ago? Well, the stainless steel won. It made the most sense for resale and it’s what Kevin wanted. Just to be clear, I didn’t not want it.. I was just undecided.

Main areas: We went with the standard flooring, which is carpet. I like the colour we chose, but I’m not a big fan of carpet, except for in bedrooms – I have a ridiculously fuzzy cat and allergies. We recognize that carpet is no-good for resale and wanted to upgrade to laminate or engineered hardwood, but we’re going to change the flooring on our own instead of through the builder. That way we’ll have more selection (so we can get the stain and wood we want) and it will save us at least $1000.
Bathrooms/Kitchen: We decided to get tile put down in the kitchen. If we had upgraded our floors through the builder, we could have had the same flooring put down throughout (except the bathrooms). Kevin really wants tile in the kitchen, but I’m not sure… Any advice!??  I’d love to hear your opinion. We went with a darker tile because we’ll ultimately put down engineered hardwood/laminate and it will most likely be walnut or close to that shade and I don’t want too much contrast in the flooring.

Crown moulding: I love the way crown moulding finishes off a room, but I wasn’t a fan of the selection and I kinda feel like it’s hard to choose what you want before living in the space for a bit first, ya know?..
Ceilings: The price was ridiculous to get non-stippled (popcorn) ceilings! Ca-razy!! Straight up highway robbery. I’m not a fan of popcorn ceilings at all, so it’ll definitely be something worth looking into after we move in.
Bedroom closet: I talked about this before and even drafted and sent to the designer what we want the builders to do. The original layout was okay, but then we gained 16 sq ft extra in the bedroom when they realized the HVAC unit wasn’t built into our room and they had to move the wall back. We’re hoping the designer and builder will give us the go-ahead on this rendering:

The new draft bedroom layout makes me very happy. And the extra closet space will be a treat! When Kevin and I lived at our last apartment, we shared a SINGLE closet. Men’s clothes are bulky, yo! I only had about a third of a single closet to hang stuff up.

What do you think of the finishes we chose?? I’m really hoping to hear back from the designer soon about final costs and I’ll let you know if we end up with everything we wanted!

**Pixlr has improved lately! That’s what I used to make my decision tree for this post. I don’t wanna brag, but I think it looks pretty awesome!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photography Challenge - Day 9: Someone You Love

Taking a photo of Kevin is hard. He does not like having his photo taken…so I have to be sneaky! Well, he calls it sneaky - I call it capturing the moment.

Anyway, here’s my handsome man reading at my parents’ house. We’ve been spending a lot of time at my parents’ house lately, as my cousins are visiting from England.
Photography Challenge - Day 9 - Someone You Love.png
Photo stats:
  • I took this photo with my new Nikon D5100.
  • F-stop: f/5.3
  • Exposure time: 1/3 sec.
  • ISO: 3200
  • Focal length 40mm
  • No flash
If you want to check out my previous photo challenge photos, here are the links:
Day 1 : Self Portrait
Day 2 : What You Wore Today
Day 3 : Clouds
Day 4 : Something Green
Day 5 : From A High Angle
Day 6 : From A Low Angle
Day 7 : Fruit
Day 8: A Bad Habit

If you’re working on a photography challenge, let me know! I’d love to hear about your photos.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shower Power

A little while ago, I tried to angle the shower head down when I was taking a shower. I prefer the stream to hit me more in the chest than the head and I can’t move back in my shower because it’s very narrow. It’s the kind of shower I picture on a space ship. I barely have enough room to bend to shave my legs. But anyway, I digress... I was trying to pivot the shower head downwards when I hear a snap and the shower head came flying off!! Turns out the shower head is fixed in one spot and doesn’t pivot at all. The fixture hit me in the head, and then I was assaulted by the thinnest, most powerful stream of water I have ever felt. It hurt!! To add insult to injury, it was a work day morning and I was fully lathered with soap and conditioner in my hair when this happened. I used my palm to deflect the hard spray of water then turned the water pressure down as low as I could, and had to rinse off with the most pathetic dribble of water - at least it didn't hurt... Needless to say, this was not a good start to my day.

I thought the shower head had just popped off, but it turned out one of the rings with threading on it had snapped so it couldn't reattach. I considered buying a new shower head – something I could bring with me to the condo – but then thought better of it and tried to fix the broken ring instead.
Broken Showerhead
Before I go telling you what I did, just keep in mind that I’m not a plumber and know nothing about plumbing. Also, I’m sorry my shower looks like the scene of a horror movie. This is the result of bad lighting, a not-so-clean shower, and a crappy iPhone picture...

So I tried to glue the ring back together using Gorilla Glue. It didn’t work too well. The ring seemed to be holding when I screwed it on, but the shower head fell off again when I turned on the water. Booo.
Kevin and I headed over to Home Depot where I bought a replacement ring. I think it was about $5. I thought I would have to buy a whole new shower head and was quite pleased to hear I could just get the ring. We got back to my place, attached the older shower head with the new ring, and guess what? Now my shower head pivots! Faaaaancy. The beating I took from the shower head the day before was definitely worth being able to now swivel my shower head Smile

Monday, August 20, 2012

What I’ve Been Up To

When I fall off the blogging bandwagon, I fall off HARD! I’ve been really slacking lately because this summer has been craaaazy busy! Kevin and I went to Boston two weeks ago. Had a blast, but I have yet to sort through all of my photos.. One of my best friends, Kerry, got married up north this weekend and I was the MC and a bridesmaid. My uncle also got married this weekend. My aunt, her husband, and 4 of their children came to Canada and were staying with my parents so I took some time off to hang out with them. I hadn’t seen them in 5 years so it was very very nice to catch up!! There have been BBQs, the Science Centre, Niagara Falls, and lots of wine! One of my cousins and her hubby have headed back to England, but some relatives are still here for another week or so. Yay!

Here are two of my favourite pictures from this weekend:
My mom, two of her siblings, all three of their spouses, most of their children, and their significant others standing outside of my parents’ house! These are some of my favourite people :)
This is a photo of the reception area at Kerry’s wedding. The lighting was great so I was really happy to get this of the few I took that day! I barely had the camera all night because I was doing wedding stuff. Kevin stepped up and got some really great shots. Kerry had some really great wedding decor so I’ll share photos of that soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My New Camera: Nikon D5100

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have already seen that I bought a new camera… and I’m SO FREAKING EXCITED ABOUT IT!!! I bought the NikonD5100. I’d been tossing and turning between Nikon and Canon, but honestly it was price that ultimately won out in the end. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited over a purchase. I got home, tore open the boxes and then rolled around on the floor in excitement, while unbeknownst to me, Kevin got it on video!** LOL

I’m hoping this purchase will give me some new motivation for my photography challenge!
Anyhow, here are some of my photos so far! I’ve played around with other people’s DSLRs a couple of times, but this is my first time playing around for longer than an hour or so. I’m surprised at how easy it was to start using! And it takes great shots in low light! Side note: As previously mentioned, I’m clearly a cat lady (and pets don’t complain when you photograph them!) so don’t judge the number of cat photos I have! Also, if you’re not interested in seeing pet/family photos, stop now. You’ve been warned…

One of the first photos I took: Riley! And she does NOT look impressed lolDSC_0020
Jesse, my mom’s Scottish TerrierDSC_0088
Giles, my parents’ catDSC_0100
Marty McFly, my sister’s catDSC_0119

**My mom’s reaction to the video Kevin took of me when I brought my new camera home.DSC_0160
Mom and DadDSC_0212
My sister, Michelle with GilesDSC_0273
More Riley!!!!

I've been googling around for photography tips, but I'd love to hear yours! Or maybe you have a go-to site? 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Perils of Living Alone

I’ve been living on my own since April of this year and it’s been awesome so far. A lot of people were/are shocked to hear Kevin and I aren’t living together*.
Honestly, I’ve found very few downsides to living alone. It’s so freeing!! But there are some downsides…here are my biggest issues:
  1. Dishes. UGHHHHHHHHHHH. It takes the same amount of dishes to cook food for 4 people as it does for 1, so I have to constantly do dishes. The catch here is I hate doing dishes and let them pile up for way too long and then I just feel like giving up… I miss the days when Kevin did all the dishes!
  2. Cooking for one person sucks. What’s the point? It’s crazy how low my standards have dropped for dinner. I used to always make nice dinners!.. everything homemade and from scratch with a glass of wine on the side. Now I live off chicken fingers.. (but I still have the glass of wine! Obviously)
  3. Grocery shopping for one person also sucks. I pretty much can’t finish anything before it goes bad, so now my fridge looks like this:
Empty Fridge.png
That’s right. Empty… Or pretty close to it. At least I have some fresh-ish produce in there. So now I pride myself on the contents of my freezer:Freezer contents.png
Kevin and I are leaving soon for Boston, so I’m not bothering with grocery shopping until I get back. I have way too much to get done before we leave!
  • laundry
  • packing
  • drop Riley off at my parents’ house
  • dishes! ARGH!
  • sweep floors
  • change bed sheets (nothing beats coming home to fresh sheets after a trip!)
  • get some USD from the bank
  • tidy up living room
  • mani/pedi
That’s what I really really want to get done before I leave, but I crack under pressure. Hence why I’m procrastinating by writing this post and watching Wheel of Fortune.. while eating an English muffin and some chicken fingers Smile  Jam counts as a serving of fruit, right?
Anyone have any fun plans for the long weekend?? It’s coming soon! Also, is anyone else as shocked as me that it’s already August! Summer is slipping away so fast!
*We had been living together a bit over 2 years when our landlord decided to put our house on the market. Since we had (or so we thought!) less than a year until our condo was done, we moved in respective parents’ houses. I wasn’t such a big fan, so I decided to move out after a few months. I really wanted to try living on my own because I knew once the condo was done, I’d never again have the opportunity.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...