Monday, January 30, 2012

New floors!

I'm in pinch me mode right now as I can't believe it but our new unfinished maple flooring is going down. Todd started it yesterday while I had fun at the Interior Design Show with my friend Joanne.
The hallway is done and ends  3/4's of the way in from the kitchen and then there will be tile the the rest of the way.
It just made me giddy to see it as we have lived with shoddy floors while doing other renovations one room at a time and if I were to do it all over again would not have waited so long.

Today, Todd and our neighbour Cameron are working on the living room and dining room.
Cameron is an expert flooring guy as he used to do it every single day before he recently got his dream job as a firefighter.
 Thanks Cameron!

It's going to be a bit of  a challenge moving furniture around since we do not have any spare room on this level to stash it when we do the sanding and finishing. You can also see Todd has finished the coffers using most of the old ones but he had to remake some new ones too.
He still has to put the beadboard and a small crown moulding application inside the coffers.

This maple has a little more character markings in it than our kitchen but other than that they
are an exact match size and profile wise, meaning there is no bevel on the edges. We're laying them lengthwise and opposite the kitchen floors as it visually expands the rooms.

 I think they are beautiful!

We have lived here coming up to 11 years now February 9th and have had to take our renovations slow and or stop altogether due to my health challenges. I am very affected by my visual surroundings and so today is a very very good day to see things finally looking so good.

We will fill in any cracks in the older kitchen floor when we resand it later
so it blends better with the new floor.

I've been telling myself I will wait until the floors are down before deciding if we will keep them a natural maple or stain them. This has got to be one of the hardest decisions because I love light, bright and airy spaces and know we will never live in an all white house and so I think that lighter floors will compensate for that.

Todd in the homestretch.

He'll do the last few rows tomorrow but for tonight we moved
the key pieces of furniture back in to the dining room to relax for the night.

We can't get over how amazing it feels to have nice, uncupped, unsplit,
even, smooth floors, even if they are unfinished.

Even though Cameron says that if we left the floors natural, they would almost catch up to a patina like the kitchen floor, I think it will look too different for too long.
I spent time this afternoon staining up some more pieces of wood and have decided on one
coat of Old Homestead's water based floor stain in Provincial Walnut topped with three coats of
Varathane's poly in a gloss finish.

These floors  make the wonderful character of our house shine and I feel so blessed to call it home.

Sorry about the mess but I wanted to show you the area at the front door that will be porcelain tile. If money were not an issue I would love to make it a heated floor to put wet boots on to dry and to stay toasty warm in the winter time.

I have been intrigued by the thought of a beige or grey hex tile but now that the floors have nice visual flow I think a rectangular tile laid in a brick pattern will tie in better with the kitchen's mosaic backsplash tile and maybe we will do a border in hex tile for a little added interest.

We will be replacing the summer beam in the basement when the warmer weather arrives with a steel one and so unfortunately won't be tiling the hall until
after that is done.

It's a good thing I'm a patient woman and this isn't a TV show!

Hope you have a wonderful week.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Home Sense Splurge or Save?

It's a very very drizzly and unusually warm Monday on my day off. Monday's are my Sunday and I usually take it easier, tea, toast, a little morning TV before getting going on some things but yesterday I was out getting groceries while Todd worked on the living room and I did have  time to do a
 Home Sense visit.

I am surprised sometimes by the highish prices on some items but then there is always a bargain to be had if you know what you would pay for it somewhere else.

You can save on gorgeous large baskets. 

Definitely save on solid wood hand crafted stunning storage cabinets
at half of what they would cost if not more.

Beautiful details

Stunning in a bathroom, den, office or bedroom.

I'll take two thank you very much!

Save for sure on pillows and one of a kind lamps


I would not splurge on this coffee table because even though it  looks nice the top is actually  MDF.

I would say  this would be a bit of a splurge for me at $129.00 but think it is fantastic solid wood table with a  french provincial meets  country style.

This is another solid wood piece of fine craftsmanship and a great price.

This is the second time they have brought this piece in and I kicked myself the first
time as it is  the perfect size for our front hall, would give us needed storage for keys, phones etc and  at only 12" deep on the top and 44" wide would be the perfect fit.
I'm still mulling it over.

Solid wood construction

with great details on the sides

I did a little research and pleasantly discovered that this company employs local artisans to make their pieces, they replant trees to replace the ones they've harvested and they use only eco friendly finishes. 
I like that and it would make the decision  that much easier

Hope your week is off to a great one!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beach inspired colour pallette and water based floor stain

I was off for a couple days this week, unwell,  and was able take advantage of the incredible sunshine pouring in our windows to mull over my paint samples while I recuperated and 
 came up with my potential pallet of suggested colours for the main level
that makes me smile when I see them all together.

But first I want to show you this gorgeous sea coral print I posted about before, that I adore and  would love to order from a wonderful Etsy shop called Vintage by the Shore  to incorporate somewhere in the living or dining room or hallway.

So here they are, a pistachio green called Endive by Martha Stewart that reminds me of the reed grasses of Southampton's beach where we vacationed one summer.A choice of soft watery blues that I will choose one from, a soft white fittingly called seashell by Benjamin Moore which is very similar to the background of the Sea Coral print, a warm neutral  mocha the colour of sand and it's lighter version and a soft not too yellow or dingy white called Snowfall by Benjamin Moore for all the trim, built-ins etc.

The darker blue is our back door colour called Boca Raton by Benjamin Moore. My thought is to do the living room and dining room in a soft muted blue that is more of a neutral and even though they look similar in the picture they have different undertones and look very different in each room as one has southern light and the other is eastern light.

I love how they all look next to the  piece of maple I've stained.

If we stain the floors then I would love to do a mixed grey hex tile in the top half of the hallway like this one. I think it is incredible, don't you? This is from a US site so I will have to see if there is something similar here and if it is in our budget.
Fingers crossed!

This one is also stunning but it is too similar to our mudroom quartzite stone tile.

A critical decision is the wood floor colour that will be the same on our main level in the living, dining rooms, kitchen and half of the hallway. We have purchased, for a great savings of almost half)  unfinished maple that will match the kitchens antique reclaimed maple perfectly in size and thickness. I have chemical sensitivities which took me on an almost fruitless search for a water based stain for floors until  I  happened upon a family owned company, the only milk paint producer in Canada
Homestead House Milk Paints.

Their milk paints and stains are made from all natural ingredients and they will ship to you, so I ordered three samples stain colours. There are only four colours but the nice lady on the phone told me you can easily mix them to get a custom colour. and she was right.  It was soooo easy. Their paints and stains are all powders that you add water to and mix up in the blender and are the most eco friendly option going.

Did you know that oil varnish can cause brain damage if inhaled!!!!!!

Maple is known to turn blotchy when stained but by what I can see of this piece which I stained with two coats of their Provincial Walnut colour, that is not the case. I will test a larger piece to be sure though. The rich warm golden tones are not too dark that will show all dust and dirt nor too light to be washed out.  Once I get another piece of maple I will test one coat of stain as well to see if I like it better. I really love the natural unstained maple in the kitchen but wonder if it won't be too light for the living and dining rooms and so I will wait and see how it looks once it is down and then make my decision.

There is so much to do before we get to the floors but I can't wait as it will be quite a transformation if we choose a darker stain.

I also thought I would try out their Hemp oil for a gorgeous oiled floor finish. It is so safe that you can use it on your cutting boards and imparts such a rich warmth to your wood that is unmatched.
 I do love it.

I was hoping that it would be all we would need on our floors instead of the stain but found it turned the maple to orangey for my taste. Now you can apply it over a stain for a more matte finish but we decided to go with a sheen on our floors and will do a water based poly instead, with or without the stain.

As you can see it does incredible things to an antique floor and I will definitely use it on any of our furniture pieces we make from reclaimed wood that I want to have that rich warm wood tone.

Here is the great colour selection of their milk paints. No need to spend lots of money on the newest rage, chalk paint. Homesteads paints are reasonably priced.

Here is a rustic piece painted in their milk paint.

and you can also use it for  some more refined work like these kitchen cabinets.

Top the milk paint with hemp oil or their beeswax or varathane for necessary added protection.

and safely remove  paint with their environmentally friendly soy gel

I am so happy to have found them and look forward to visiting their store in Toronto as well.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lantern vs Chandelier

Hi everyone, I hope you have been enjoying January so far. 
I have been feeling on average pretty good with a few blips along the way and am excited to get started on my studies this weekend.

I recently posted about finding a large outdoor candle lantern to turn into an a electric lantern for our dining room for what would be a total of about $60.00 and felt that the rooms square and smaller proportions would suit a round table perfectly to go with it, sort of like this dining room.

But then I happened upon a stunner of a dining room on Houzz that really had me second guessing that decision. Now I admit I am not savvy at blogging,  since I  have to choose between sitting on the computer blogging or other things that will improve my health like walking, cooking, sleeping or just plain old resting which does win most of the time. I was not able to figure out how to import the picture from Houzz to my blog post but I was able to find instructions how to put it as a gadget on my side bar and I named it Dream Dining Room if you want to see what I mean.

That dining room wasn't even styled properly for the photo and it made my jaw drop.
It had such stunning contrast between the unfinished texture of the driftwood coloured table from Restoration Hardware and the incredible sparkle of the clear glass chandelier dripping with tiers of crystals. I even loved the colour of the floors as they were not your typical dark stain. I need light and airy.
When I showed it to Todd he thought it was nice too and that he could make us a table like that which was the traditional rectangular shape.

Although I may not find a budget friendly nice looking clear glass chandelier, we could go for this one from Home Depot for the same effect and perhaps spray it white. I've put it's smaller version in our main bathroom and just love it.

And he could replicate this real antique refectory table easily.
My brother has some 2" thick  x 12" wide antique pine that we will buy off him to make it. 

I also love this style of pedestal table and they all are priced at $1000.00 and up so that is not an option.
Then last weekend we happened upon this similar table at Pier One Imports and it was just under $500.00 but is only 42" wide with no leaves to make it larger. It also was listed as MDF on their website
so it is a no go based on that too.

I will save diligently for a Dash and Albert striped rug for the living room or the dining room and the indoor outdoor ones are the way to go if you have pets. They can be hosed down and even bleached to remove stains. What could be more perfect, good looks with practicality.

Also, I recently found this picture of a living room from either Country Living or Country Home that remarkably has most of the elements of our living room that I have already designed.
We will have the coffered ceiling, built-ins with closed storage below and a focal wall of art in the center, cross design tables, a round pedestal table, ceiling fan which we may or may not do as I do not like the way they look in main living spaces but they are practical in the hot summers  and slipcovered sofas.  The difference is our sofa will go where the fireplace is and I prefer a much crisper white in my rooms but the bones are fantastic and I'm happy to actually see a room so similar to my design.

I still have my eye on this great moravian star light also from Home Depot and will hang it in our hallway somewhere.

This has to be one of my favourite hallways. It as such style and yet is so functional as well.It is Suzanne Dimma's, Canadian House and Home Magazine's editor and those hexagon floors are so different and stunning. We are either going to do them in our hallway like she has or lay rectangular tile in a brick pattern and band the perimeter in hex tile. 
It will depend on the colour choices as black is a little to jarring for our space and white is a cleaning nightmare. Can you believe she is getting ready to renovate this house again! I love it just the way it is.

Have  a wonderful weekend!