So I have to rant. I posted something recently to kijiji - and got a ton of responses as I always post for a reasonable price (accepting that it isn't an antique/vintage shop). I always hope my stuff goes to someone who appreciates it and tend to have a bit of wiggle room as a result.
As in - I'm willing to take a cut and I'm negotiable on price. I believe in the whole - if you want it to go, accept what the market will pay. You know? Well today, I got taken. Someone came to see the piece, admired it and critiqued it. I guess the critique should have been the first sign - that and the fact that he kept admiring the other pieces in my house. I should have Smelled The Dealer but as he didn't tell me he was a dealer, I just assumed he was invested Like Me. Well.
He haggled me down, to my bottom bottom price (please note, I had a ton of offers for the full price!) but he seemed like a nice guy. As soon as money swapped hands, he told me he couldn't wait to put it in his shop.
Now I don't mind dealing with dealers - but I like it to be my choice. I guess I could have asked - the way he talked, I really thought it was for his home. Now I just feel taken advantage of, even though I got the bottom price I was willing to sell it for. It should feel all Win Win right now but instead I feel like he ripped me off.
The worst is that now I have to email someone who told me he really wanted the piece but couldn't afford it - and tell him that a dealer snagged it.
I won't post the name of his store online but I will be telling everyone I know in person. ;)
I knew that Urban Outfitters was coming to Ottawa - I was looking forward to their home decor section. Sadly, the store didn't offer much of a selection (I guess I'll be sticking to the Kingston or Montreal locations for that!). That said, they did offer up some awesome eye candy and inspiration for reuse:
Heavy duty metal base - reminds me of these legs from leevalley.
I love anything that uses pipe - they had a few tables and some really charming benches, I wonder if these would make good outdoor pieces? Excuse the blurry cell phone pictures...
And of course, my favorite:
I love the sewing machine trundle bases remade into a table. Imagine these with glass instead?
Sometimes I take a random detour through our neighborhood (well, anywhere in Old Ottawa really) - and I always see something that inspires me. As I've mentioned before, it's important to me that whatever I do to enhance the curb appeal on my home fits with the area. With the staining above our front door, I've been on a mission to find something to put up to replace the old awning. The original awning was flat - so I've been seeking something that struck a cord. Recently, I saw this:
Isn't it beautiful? I love the metal work, the bold colour choice. Against the stone finish, it's beautiful and elegant. We plan on trimming out and painting our front door this summer - and hopefully get the change to put in a bit of cover in the next year. As we pulled around, I noticed that the house actually has a decidedly tudor style to the front facade:
I obviously have a thing for that vintage score - with all our reno activities, I lost track of one of my favorite activities. Thrifting (of course!) - I recently started reading 8 foot 6, another Canadian blogger in Toronto (I think?) who has a thrifting habit. So to feed my neglected hunger, I've started haunting my favorite Value Villages and thrift stores.
One of my favorite thrift stores in the city is on Wellington - St. Vincent de Paul. Right now, they have this hot set of bedside tables for sale:
They are in beautiful shape, I think $30 each? Anyway - worthy cause, worthy furniture. Someone please go and buy them and make them pretty.
St. Vincent de Paul Store 1273 Wellington St W Ottawa ON, K1Y 3A6
Just for NK over at Style-ing with Children, I've hunted down the local contact info for a company that makes beautiful, custom, hardwood countertops in the finish and wood of your choosing (walnut?!?!).
Highly recommended by a client I know (who has had their counters installed for almost a year), Bizier offers up some beautiful butcher-block style counters for you to choose from.
Their contact info: Les entreprises Bizier inc. 20, Route 105, Wakefield Québec J0X 3G0 Canada Toll free : 1.877.959.1211 Fax : 819.459.1201 email@example.com
So like every other Canadian blogger, I have a thing for HomeSense. I always start in the dishes, work my way through the lights, land at the furniture/rugs and finish with the pillows. ;)
The key, I think, to HomeSense success is to walk in with a particular list in mind. Something, like dishware, that you can add to over time. Me, I have an obsession for fine china and crystal - making HomeSense the perfect place for me.
Ever since our 3rd wedding anniversary (last year), I've been on the hunt for the perfect set of crystal candle holders. A couple of weekends ago, I hit the motherload.
Problem? I couldn't decide which size I wanted or if I wanted a pair or a trio. Solution? I bought them all, brought them home to admire them, and then promptly decided to keep them all.
Ahh, HomeSense. You are forever hard on my wallet.
So here it is - after all the wall repair, canvassing of the ceiling - and our fancy new furniture (from Sears, who knew?).
The chaise is really what sold my hub (who picked this set of italian leather pieces out). The decor still leaves a lot to be desired, I hope to find a more modern rug at HomeSense one day...
Everything we used was dragged in from other parts of the house - this door used to be in our old townhouse, we used it to hide the washer/dryer. The barn door hardware was from one of our sheds - it all comes together to hide the unfinished bedroom (future gym?) on the other side. I managed to squeeze a bit of space out of the rec room for a small home gym. The hub is very happy about this.
Under the stairs, the hub installed a couple of walnut cupboards found at ReStore to create this "looks like it's always been there" spot for the TV. We hide all of our DVDs in the cupboards - they used to be uppers and are just deep enough.
And a view to the unfinished basement, still a work in progress!
As part of our rec room cleanup efforts, we also started to tackle parts of the stairs down into the basement. The stairs down to our basement are really unattractive. When we first got the house, there was multiple types of wood paneling with a weird cardboard ceiling AND the worst vinyl on the stairs. Plus it was painted pale green. You can glimpse a bit of that here:
Did you notice that the wall was still in place in that photo (both in the kitchen and at the bottom of the stairs?) - and the bookshelf at the bottom? That paper was everywhere, on everything. Attractive and back in style ;) You may want to click on the photo to take a closer look.
The vinyl on the stairs (wow, that trellis pattern is so in right now!):
We ripped out what we could - drywalled under the stairs and added a cat door. Primed and painted what was left behind...
Ripped off the vinyl and discovered the original linoleum underneath. It was a strong cream colour with flecks of all different colours throughout. Very cheerful - we also discovered that the stairs had originally been painted candy apple red. Red was a theme with this house - we've found bright red in the entry and when redoing the trim outside. I guess that the original house would have been the faux stone with bright red trim. If you click on the photo, you can take a closer look - hard to see in a small picture!
And finally primed those as well -
Now that we have a nice clean white base, we're thinking of what we're going to cover the stairs with (thinking of armstrong linoleum tiles, inspired by the originals!)
With the ceiling done, we moved on to trim, drywall and general wall repairs.
The hub had to frame and built one wall from scratch - luckily we had the materials already:
Of course, I got assigned mudding duty. Blah, so dirty and not fun. I also patched and repaired all the remaining walls. The original walls were wood paneling with a wood strip detail. Not awesome but also not totally unattractive. You can see that the hub also trimmed out the top of the walls to hide the gap, he used wood trim to create a crown molding effect. Not bad!
He also wrapped the new support beams from when we got the house releveled - and drywalled up the stairs. At this point, we started to admire our handy-work. Maybe it was possible to make a less ugly basement without a ton of cash!
As this room had obviously been a Man Cave before, there was an amazing amount of wall repairs required. You have to click on this picture to truly appreciate all my patch work. In the end, it didn't turn out too bad.
After all the wall repairs and drywall and trim, we finally managed to get a coat of primer up. At this point, the only things we had shelled out on were the canvas drop clothes and some painting prep. Everything else we had already!
So as previously mentioned, our budget for this project was tight. I had gotten a couple of quotes on refinishing the basement (all came in over $10k) and knew for a fact that whatever we decided to do as a temporary measure would eventually have to come out. With that in mind, I wanted something quick and easy that also looked good. We took assessment of what we had available and realized that we had a decent pile of drywall so we could fix the stair/wall situation. But the ceiling? I didn't want to drywall the ceiling - with our new potlights and pipes, I knew that mudding would take forever and I wanted a Quick, Easy Solution. So I turned to the net for alternatives.
I discovered some crafty home owners that had used bamboo for a distinct look - I liked this idea a lot but with no real source here in Ottawa, I thought it would be too costly. Then I noticed fabric ceilings - upholstered ceilings and thought to myself - now I can do that! I've tried my hand at upholstery and knew that what it would take was a sturdy fabric and some patience with a staple gun.
The fabric I settled on was the cheapest I could find - canvas drop clothes from Home Depot. Total cost? Less than $80. So we went to work...I ironed as we went along, held it in place while the hub stapled. Here is a shot of us getting started:
Starting off was a bit annoying, our stapler really requires a strong wrist. ;) Important trick to note - so that the staples wouldn't rip through the fabric, we pinned it up with small squares of card stock. I used left over cards from my days in language training. ha!
Looking at the pictures, it's easy to get the impression that it took us little or no time. It did take us time - with our odd shaped room, we had to use two sheets. The first one went up in a couple of hours - then we got doing other things and left it for a while. In this picture, the first sheet is up and you can see the strips of card stock hanging down. I went back after and ripped off the excess.
The crazy part about all of this is how effective it was in hiding our pipes and wires - the end result is a relatively smooth ceiling that actually gained us two inches in height. If you look close, you can see a border around the whole room between where the existing wall ended and the ceiling started - we ended up trimming that out to hide it.
Although we had no hard cash, we decided to do what we could with what we had. Step one? Removing all the strapping on the ceiling that was left over from the old ceiling. Step 2? Freeing the window. This photo was taken in the morning, that's how dark our basement was.
At this point in our reno, we both have our preferred crowbars. Here is my hub at work with my favorite - I like em small and detail oriented.
I had to take a picture of the moldy cushions coming out or I just wouldn't be me.
This window is the one you can see in the dog run. As you can see, Kelly is curious about all the activity. The window had her confused for a while...
Window free, strapping down. Cost: One Morning of Elbow Grease.
I'm not sure how to describe our basement - when we bought the house, it was listed as "finished" and then we had it releved and rewired. We ripped out the ceiling and a couple of walls, got all excited about it then promptly forgot it existed while we spent the spring, summer and fall outdoors. But the winter brought us back in and I really really wanted the TV to find a home that wasn't in the middle of my living room. Since the sunroom and garage had eaten what was left our reno budget, I was left without a lot of pocket change and one hell of an ugly space:
I honestly don't know why people think that trellis pattern is something to write home about, it will look like this in ten years:
I guarantee it.
To be honest, this was the cleanest our basement had been in a long time. We cleared it out in anticipation of a basement "project". I should mention that this project was motivated by us buying new leather furniture for the basement. It made sense at the time.
So there you go, the full before. Admire the commercial carpet, the missing ceiling and walls, the boarded up window, etc etc. How the heck could I do anything with no resources?