Sep 7, 2014

Backyard Before & After

I'm the world's worst blogger these days.  My backyard has been done for weeks now, and I am just getting around to blogging the before & after pics now.  It has just been a mad house around here.  This summer, we tackled a new deck, new landscaping, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen reno.... all the while, juggling the kids at home and our regular, every day madness.  But thankfully, it's all coming to an end, and I can see the light.

We weren't even planning on doing anything to the yard this year.  It certainly wasn't part of this year's reno budget...whoops.  But after the world's longest winter, I begged and pleaded (whined) to the hubby, and he caved.  

Here are some 'Before" pics of our yard.  It was a completely unusable space.  We had these massive, hideous pine trees and that gave the grass a full layer of prickly needles and nasty pine cones.  The yard was so sloped, that really we couldn't do anything with it.  No garden, no swing set, no fire pit.. natta.  The one piece of the yard that was flat was covered in gravel and weeds.  I believe some previous owners may have had an above ground pool??  I dunno.  All I know is that you had to have shoes on back there, and there was no way to sod it even if we wanted to.  

(I just spent an hour looking for my 'before' pics, and can't find anything, so I'm jumping right to the "during" pics)

Trees are gone and deck footings are going in!

This pic really shows that horrible gravel/weed/must-wear-shoes section

This pic doesn't do the sloped yard justice.  It really was a horrible slope that ruined the space

2 big ass pine trees GONE!

Here are the "after" pics.  I'm very happy with the outcome!

My goodness, my picture taking skills are sucking lately... you get the idea.

We leveled the yard off into 2 separate sections with a whopper retaining wall. I'm inlove with my deck.  Originally, I was going to do something fancy with a built in fire pit and different sections, but at the end of the day, we decided to go with something simple, and functional.  I'm so happy we did, because it's a great, usable space now.

We have a ton of room to do whatever we want now.  We are planning on plating a few gardens, and adding more cedars for privacy next year.  

I also plan on removing that hideous chunk, block thing in the corner some people refer to as a "water feature".  I was adamant against such feature, I am still adamant that such feature needs to be sledgehammered.  So, we will see next year.... honestly, it's embarrassing and needs to go.  Whatever.

Worst part of the whole experience was that it was a 3 week job, that turned into a 3 month job.  My fault for not laying down the law with our landscapers.  Lesson learned through this whole process, is to get EVERYTHING in writing.  Including a reasonable timeline. I still don't understand why people think it's okay to work on several jobs at a time.  Here's my job - finish it - then move on to the next.  SO frustrating.  

At the end of the day, I'm so glad that we forked out the dough to complete our yard this year.  It's been a a great space for us to enjoy this summer, and I SO look forward to adding lots of personal touches next year.  It's a great foundation.  The retaining wall has lent hours of fun for the kids to play on.  They run circles in the yard while I lay in the sunny hammock and drink beer.. Me happy :) (Thanks Hunny!!) So, so, so happy.

Aug 14, 2014

Oak Table Before & After

I've been working on this beast for weeks!!!

This oak table was probably the most challenging, and rewarding piece I have ever done.  It took me many, many attempts to get it right, but when I finally did, it was worth all the elbow grease.  This beast is a beauty and I am so proud of it!!

For the top of the table, I sanded the wood down with my orbital sander using 80 and 120 grit sandpaper.  It worked, and got all the honey colour out, but unfortuantely, the orbital sander left little swirl marks in the wood.  So, I resanded the table (for 3 hours) using just 220 grit paper.  This worked again, but when I put my stain on, I got mega streaks.  I think the wood was actually too smooth, and was just not happy about being stained.  So, back to square one.  But this time, I treated myself to a brand new sander.  A Dewalt 1/4 sheet sander that was just right.  I sanded the beast down one more time with 150 grit, and then 220 grit, and gave her a thin coat of Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner ... this prevented all the nasty streaks I had previous.  Then, 2 coats of stain in Minwax Jacobean  and finished her off with 3 coats of Minwax Polyurethane in a Satin finish.  The end result was gorgeous.

To tackle the bottom, I did 3 coats of Annie Sloan Old White, gave it a light distress, and a thick coat of wax.  The kids and I also made a trip to The Painted Bench in Oakville to pick out a special knob for the little secret drawer.  I was thinking of getting a pretty mercury glass, or painted ceramic knob, but Grace spotted the birdie, and I couldn't resist!!!

This was the last piece I had to finish to complete a entire dining room.  I'm looking forward to seeing all the pieces together.  Will post pics of everything soon!

Jul 11, 2014

Telephone Table Before & After

I had a wonderful new client bring this awesome telephone table to me this month.  I believe it belonged to her Grand Mother and it has got to be one of the coolest pieces I have done!  I just love how the chair swings in and out from under the table.  So cool.  Anyway, she says "I want it black, but I'm not picky".... 'not picky' is music to my ears!!!

As I am painting a piece, I often find that the piece sort of tells me how it wants to be finished. Many times, I plan on just flat out painting the pieces, but once I get a few coats on, it just screams 'distress me'.  Or the other way around.  I've distressed a piece and gone back and painted in the distressing for a clean feel.  Same thing happens with colour all of the time!!  In fact, I just did a lamp in a gorgeous Nautical Blue... It looks horrible, and I'm planning on redoing it in black.  Although I'll probably stare at it for a few months before I actually get to it.

Before Pic...


Jun 30, 2014

Kid's Bathroom Reveal

It has been a crazy couple of months around here.  We have had people in and out non stop.  It got to the point where I actually knocked on my own bathroom door before I went it.  Thankfully, we are starting to see lots of progress on this place.  The yard is almost complete, the deck is built, shutters are up and we finally finished one bathroom.

Remember what it looked like???

And here is the design board I put together.

And here is how it finally turned out!  So hard to take pics of a tiny bathroom.

Seriously, I did this bathroom for dirt cheap by purchasing everything at big box stores.  I'm saving up all my Pecos for my custom, pimp kitchen.

Colour: Benjamin Moore Grey Owl
Vanity & Mirrors: Costco
Light Fixtures, Plumbing Fixtures, Towel holder: Home Depot
Tiles: Factory Tile Depot, Burlinton
Accessories: Target

Jun 10, 2014

Emperor's Silk Buffet

I bought this stunning buffet from The Painted Bench eons ago and had planned to paint it Arles Yellow.  I had it in my dining room for months, and just couldn't get the guts to actually paint it yellow.  So, I went with red instead.  Ha.  Funny how I have no issues painting anything red, but yellow scares me.  

I'm happy with how it turned out.  In my house, you can never go wrong with red furniture.  I think I'll actually keep this one!!! Gasp.  I know, I'm actually keeping something (until of course, someone walks in my house and asks to buy it, which happens with most of my pieces)..

Anyway, here is the beauty's make over.... 

Yes, I paint in my dining room!

May 27, 2014

Kid's Bathroom Reno & Design Board

Renovation on the kids bath is completely under way!  It's so exciting to finally get these bathrooms done!  I can't believe we've been in this house for almost 2 years.  Time has flown by.  Usually my entire house is done and decorated within a year, but this time around, we are taking our time.  After all, this is our 'forever' house... haha how many times have I said that?!?!

Anyway, here are some "before" pics of the kids bathroom...

And here is the design board I did up for the bathroom...

I really want this bathroom to be fun, fresh, and kid-friendly.  I bought this awesome vanity I found at Costco and sort of used it as my jumping off point.  Then, I found that adorable shower curtain from Anthropologie and  went from there.  

I purchased all of my tile from The Tile Depot in Burlington, and the light fixtures and faucets are from good ol' Home Depot.  

The room is gutted right now, but tiles are going in tomorrow... stay tuned!!