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24 May 2014

Backyard Renovation BEGINS!

Yes, this is the first week I'm back at work.  We thought just to kick it up an extra notch, we'd start the backyard renovations!!!

Ok, ok, that's not super true.  We've been hassling the guy to start for 3 weeks now.  :)  I want the backyard usable for the summer, yo!

What's wrong with our current backyard?  Like, everything.  The ground is a jimble-jamble of different paving stones, dirt, gravel, weed, rusty nails, etc.  Ugh.

The little "mud room" attached to the house?  Well, not actually attached - sort of leany-on fally-offy - is THE WORST.  Seriously looks like it may collapse at any moment.  I applaud the theory, but the execution was poor.

Between none of the pavers is limestone, it's just dirt, so there are major weed battles every year.  It can pretty easily look like a forest back there in no time.

You can see the random mint bed on the side of the fence there.  Only mint will grow, it doesn't get a lot of sun.  And it leaks dirt into the neighbour's yard and she complains.

Underneath the muskoka chair is GRAVEL (with weeds).  Is that a nice place for a baby to play?  No.

There is also plenty of concrete edging to trip over and fall and hurt yourself if you are a baby. 

Not shown is an herb harden that actually wasn't too bad.  It had Chinese chives and spicy lettuce grow every spring, and in general herbs did ok there - I had some nice basil, sage, that sort of thing.  But Adrian will make me a cedar planter, so I hope to recreate it in another location!

The plan:  Tear down the "mud room", add a cedar deck (yes, I'm blowing all our reno fund on the backyard this year.  So it goes.  I love the smell of cedar, and it lasts a long time, etc.), bust out a patio door where the window is, brick up the current doorway, pave the backyard in recycled tires (easy for baby to play on), electrify the garage.  Add a cheapo awning to the deck (because I spent all our money on cedar), shazam!

The bricking up of the interior kitchen door will actually allow for more kitchen storage, as we then can add nice pantry (think ~IKEA with pull out shelves) to fit loads and loads of kitchen appliances and dry goods.

Day 1:  (chaos)

Bookcase reveal (before/after)

The bookcases are done!  Ages ago, actually.  Been having so much fun looking at them, no time for blogging.  :)

First, let's visit the way-back machine to see how the living room looked when we bought the house:

A bit on the ew side, right?  Like, what's up with the black marker on the wall?

Then we upgraded the electricity, making holes and repairing them, eventually to be left with this:

For a few years, it looked like this:

Not terrible, but not particularly polished.  Bit of a university-student look to the place.

And finally, the reveal...........


It took about a month of Adrian's work, but looks nice, doesn't it?  He did an amazing job, especially in the finishing.  Instead of wallpaper, we ended up using shelf paper from the Dollar store.  For reals.  We were in a bit of a rush to get ready for Pippa's birthday party, and just needed something up ASAP. doesn't look too terrible for having spent $4, so we'll probably keep it for quite a while.  It doesn't show up well in this photo, but the shelves are white pickled poplar, not painted white.  I am quite happy with the colour, it worked out well.

You can see now the TV magically floats with no wires or electronic support showing.  Me likely.  Everything is hidden in the false wall it hang on and the new mantle cubbies.

If the above photo does not quite satisfy your bookshelf lust and you've got 3 minutes to spare, I've prepared a handy-dandy video tour for your enjoyment. (Gosh, this took like 5 years to upload, I hope someone watches it!)

22 Mar 2014

Halfway done living room built-ins!

Left side is up!  Hooray!

Here is a sneak preview pic

You can see the white-wash pickling stain, and the oak (unstained) bead board (tongue and groove) behinds.

The trim still has to go up of course, and the mantel stuff has to happen.  The right shelf is cut, so tomorrow/Monday the sanding and staining of that will begin!

Hooray!  Halfway to getting our living room back!  :)  Also, I will need to pick a wallpaper for behind the floating TV.  Exciting.  I've never actually picked wallpaper.

19 Mar 2014

White Wash Pickling Stain

Hello Internetz!

Thank you so much for all your votes/comments about the shelf colour!  We have decided to go with "White wash pickling stain".  You can see the first coat going on below.

It's going to be hot, trust me (I have good colour imagination).  And if we no likes, we can always paint the shelf white in a few years.  Can't go back and choose stain once we've painted, so this seems safest.

Now, for help with the wall colour.  I am thinking of "griege" - that's gray mixed with beige, yo!  Is it gray?  Is it beige?  That's the colour I'm going for, with maybe the slightest suggestion of a purple-ish undertone.

So far my fav I've found is Loggia by Sherwin Williams.  Do you have a favourite "griege"?  Keep in mind the shelves may have the slightest green tinge, due to the poplar.

 Second coat of white wash pickling stain is going on this morning, then some polyurethane, then the left side is done! (Can't stain both sides at once, living room is too small)

10 Mar 2014

Progress on those shelves!

Adrian assures me there is plenty going on behind the scenes, and he loves his Kreg jig x 1,000,000

4 Mar 2014

Built-ins begin!

Yes, it is renovation season again here at the So house!

Our long term plans included built-in bookshelves in the living room.  And with only a few months of mat leave left (and thus both of us at home), the time is NOW to get to some of these projects!

Nothing was overly terrible about our living room, it was just a shade on the ugly-unfinished looking side.  It will mostly look the same when we're done, but with killer custom bookcases.  Which is sort of probably end up looking like IKEA bookcases, but fitting our space.  Also, playstation (aka, Netflix machine) and all cords will be hidden - hurrah!

Reminder:  old living room.  You can see my classic 1970s bookshelf (look familiar to any Markhams, perhaps?). and two mismatched IKEA bookshelves, all bursting with books n' things.

Kick off - here is our wood pile (poplar - aka, "poor man's cherry").  And he's begun - mantel is down already!  I'll keep you posted for how things are shaping up!

In a surprise turn of events, I've not made up my mind what to do with colours - both wall and shelves.  So, blogosphere, here are two questions for you, please make sure to take the polls at the right, polling closes March 15th! (or whenever we start painting/staining)  Calling all Internetz, please make sure to vote!  That means you!

When I say "lightly coloured stain" I mean something like a pickled oak shown below.  When I say "dark stain" I mean Jacobean (our house stain - several things are stained this here at Casa So). And of course, poplar is a-paintin' wood, so feel free to vote for white if that's how you swing.

28 Feb 2014


Darn-ed my socks, that is!

In this edition of Corrie's-old-timey-hobbies, I will be darning my socks.  Ok, ok, I haven't darned socks since like 1997 (for reals).  That was with my Grandma - I think maybe we did it once or twice.

So a darning expert I am not.  So I had to visit youtube.  I got the basic gist of it, and thought I would give it a go with some yarn I have for crochet-ing.  My goal is not to make the socks pretty, but to make my toes not hang out (that's a finger below, but you get the general idea).

What ho!  Where is Grandma's darning egg?  Sadly, I don't know, probably lost to time. Our trusty oyster shucker to the rescue!

Well you can see the final product below.  Sort of looks like my socks have a MAJOR cancer.  BUT, I am betting my toes won't fall out anymore!  Win!  And now I feel more emboldened to darn again, perhaps not sucking so much next time.

Darn them all!