Category Archives: Renovations

progress is stinky business

We spent last night engulfed in a halo of floor adhesive fumes…not the best for a good nights sleep, but a small price to pay for the amazing progress on the third floor.

The drywall is completed. Paint has gone up. And now we are onto the baseboard trim and redoing the stairs.
It looks like hell right now, but have faith, it’s coming together.

3rd floor reno stairs Continue reading

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curbside treasures

Super exciting walk to work last week!
On my way to catch the streetcar to work I happened upon these lovely things put out for the trash…


what is it?  and why do I think they were worth digging out, lugging back home and being a tiny bit late for the office, opps. Because these lovelies were just the very EXACT thing we needed! Continue reading

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hiding in the attic

I’ve been in a bit of a fibre frenzy lately, and Dale has been nice enough to grant me a hiatus from the hard slog of renovations…but that doesn’t mean things aren’t getting done round the city house.

Just about a year ago I went off to London with the girls for a pre-wedding broo-ha-ha.

When I got back home this was lurking in the attic!

Continue reading

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continuing the tour…

A quick look at the bathroom (yes I know I post about it all the time, but I really love how it turned out) then off we go down the back stairs!
2nd floor bathroom

2nd floor bathroom

2nd floor bathroom

So calm and lovely in the morning.

I want everything those soft shades of grey, tan and white!

Rear 2nd floor landing
Rear stairs to the left leading to kitchen, 3rd floor stairs to the right leading up to 3rd floor loft. Front stairs forward leading to 1st floor.


The front stairs and 2nd story landing are painted Farrow and Ball’s Drawing Room Blue and the rear stairs are painted F&B’s Charlotte’s Locks

rear staircase

We are so happy to have gone with the bold colour pops throughout the house. It keeps the white from being overwhelming and reflects the fun bursts of colour found in the stained glass.

1st floor stained glass

Those turn of the century folks were not afraid of bold choices either, check out all the hues found in just one window glass!

1st floor room

The front of the house turned out really well. At some point a wall was put up to partition the living and dining room.

When we got the home it was a very vivid blue painted using a high gloss enamel paint…not so great.

After all the plaster repairs we went with a soft and creamy shade of Linen

Large 1st floor Room

1800's detailing

Love how calm it’s turned out, a great complement for all of that great  painted trim and iron work.  And now for the living room!
Living room

More trim, iron work and soft smooth walls. The floor had to be refinished in one area.  Dale managed to match the varnish perfectly and it all came together.

I’ve hung the curtain rod with an exaggerated width and placed the curtains outside the window frame to make what is an already large window seem impossibly huge. Nice trick for this room.

And here’s the kitchen in all it’s AFTER glory!

Completely remodeled Ikea eat-in Kitchen. New Stone counter top, subway tile back-splash, deep stainless under mount double sink, freestanding butcher block island, floating shelves, stained glass, chalkboard wall. Remote controlled ceiling fan with dimmer light. Large Pantry, new wide plank floors, powder room and separate staircase.
Large Modern eat-in Ikea styled County kitchen

It’s funny how you can’t get an idea of the scale of this room since all of the items in it are so large but totally in proportion to the space!

Lets just say some serious parties can happen in here with plenty of room for dancing.
Large Modern Eat-in Ikea styled country kitchen.

Dale’s 1800’s oak Filing Cabinet has found a home in the kitchen.

We are delighted to have found both a space and a new use for it!

This piece is unbeatable for it’s stylish storage, keeping all sorts of goodies out of sight.

1800's filing drawers in kitchen

Another fun piece is this PTA chalkboard.  It’s a great alternative for  artwork in the kitchen as it’s easily washed and won’t be affected by grease, steam or sunlight!
Public Transit Authority Chalk Board

You can’t beat it’s pure functionality,   keeping track of grocery lists while  adding a bit of fun to this small space between the window and door.

Large Modern Eat-in Ikea styled Country kitchen

At night the colours glow. We chose soft creamy tones for the ceiling and upper walls and grounded the space with a grey that  compliments the warm red tones in that wide plank flooring.

Just off the kitchen was an unused skinny closet/storage space under the stairs.

Isn’t a main floor powder room a much better choice?
1st floor Powder Room

1st floor powder room

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Let’s take a house tour…

We really poured our heart and soul into this project.  Every inch of this house had to be scrubbed, re-paired, re-plastered, re-painted and more!

After years and years of neglect and abuse in one ridiculous summer we were able to  (with help from many I might add) bring it back up to a level it deserved to be.

Great bones and lovely period details made this a restoration worth doing.

Now on to part one of the hour tour!


220 rubidge st

All exterior windows, trim and wood work restored and painted, new roof, new eaves and soffits, new furnace.


We found a great set of period appropriate doors on one of our road-trips, and brought them back for this place.

front entrance w stained glass and side light

They look like they have been here from the beginning, I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result!

Front entranceway

To the right a large front room with stained glass.

Front Staircase

Front stairs are painted Farrow and Ball’s Drawing Room Blue


The hall leads to living room area then beyond to kitchen, powder room and rear staircase.

Original 1800's wood staircase detailing

Original 1800’s wood staircase detailing

Original 1800's wood staircase detailing

Front Staircase to second floor

second floor landing

All floors, walls, ceiling, doors and trim freshly painted after all of the repairs.

2nd floor landing stained glass window

Stained glass window in landing and also in the front 2 bedrooms.

raised glass detailing on window

Raised glass detail on landing window

etched glass detailing on window

Etched glass detail

1800's iron grate

1800’s iron grate in hall originally for a stove pipe, now just a lovely period detail.

2nd floor landing

2 front west facing  bedrooms, 3rd middle bedroom and a 4th east facing bedroom overlooking the backyard.

Stained glass window detail in bedrooms
Stained glass window detail in all of the front rooms.

West facing large bedroom
West facing large bedroom.

Each bedroom features freshly painted walls, ceiling, closets, matchstick blinds and new decorator ceiling fans

West facing Large bedroom
Large Middle Bedroom

Large Middle Bedroom

large middle bedroom
Large Middle Bedroom
Large middle bedroom
Large east facing bedroom

Large east facing bedroom

Large east facing bedroom

Trim details original to the home

We were able to keep all the original trim details preserved and restored.

trims and molding details orginal to the home
Smaller west facing Bedroom
This is the only smaller sized bedroom in the home and our home base while renovating.

It features a great view into the mature maple tree outside and stained glass.


I have since moved the bed around and put up some shelving for our stuff while we are visiting.

There’s something about this little room that I just love!

Next time, bathrooms, attic, rear stairs and more!

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there’s a girl in there someplace

I have blisters today.  Not from construction work….nope.

Much sadder than that,

Dale left for Peterborough yesterday morning and I was on my own for a couple of days (day job and all).  Whenever that happens it seems as though I go into girlie overdrive in the vain hopes of getting some sort of equilibrium to my otherwise dusty routine.  and maybe remind myself that I have more range than my usual weekend crazy person look.

hard to believe but yes, the same girl

hard to believe but yes, the same girl

So with no bathroom to share, breakfast to be made, or dogs to be walked; the hair went up, lipstick went on,  a dress was pulled out of the closet and with my beloved pumps and trusty orange Birkin bag  off I skipped to work.

I bought these shoes in Brooklyn when Dale and I were first dating…it was love at first try-on.

beloved steve madden kitten heels

There was a time when I could wear these suckers all day they were just that comfortable.  I could run for the streetcar, walk the dogs, trot down the street, and up and down stairs with ease.

I wore these badboys yesterday and today I paid the price.  BLISTER CITY!!!!! My feet are telling me there is no room for this sort of girlie fussiness in my life right now.  It’s construction boots, flip flops or nothin from now on.

I know the end of this project is near, I can almost taste the freedom of a weekend brunch with friends…almost!

And until then I will stick with ballet flats.

Rampage Hadassah Ballerina Flat

not entirely unlike a blind date….

for the last two weekends Dale and I have been showing the house.  We put up an ad on the local university’s off campus housing site with a few of our best photos and a steady stream of calls have come in.  SOOOOOO glad, but that was just the first hurdle.

Trying to show an unfinished house for Sept rental with less than a month of renovation time ahead of you is a bit tricky.  Even more tricky when you are showing to wary parents eager to find the best possible accommodations for their new fledglings.  I put on my date face, and started the spin.

“Oh I know the paint is peeling, but all that will be finished by the time you move in of course…”

“why yes, the living room is full of crap and building supplies, but trust me the room is huge and its going to be great!”

“hmmmm, the glass in the window is cracked?  so it is, an easy fix that will be done before your child arrives…”

“the front door is missing a handle and lock, but don’t worry, the place is totally secure!”

and so it went.

Some people got it, while others just thought we were more than a little  crazy and totally overwhelmed…and perhaps there was some truth in both.  ha.

My fav viewing had to be the parent and daughter who seemed disappointed that there were only 2 bathrooms.

I wonder what is going to become of those kids who have grown up with everything.   Must be hard when you get out on your own and realize you have a degree (just like everyone else), and no guarantee of a job (just like everyone else) and are a long way from being able to provide or meet the standards that were set in the house you grew up in.  No ensuites, no walk in closets, no great room with floor to ceiling stone walls, no granite countertops and stove top pasta faucet, no travetine bathrooms, no suv and double car garage, no 6 figure salary.

Guess what kid, like the rest of us, your first place is going to look more like this

or perhaps this.

I dunno bout you but my student flophouses apartments didn’t come close to being newly renovated let alone even clean when I got them, and in one case  I had a bathroom just like this one…except it was carpeted, yes carpeted….

But I digress…

The happy news for this week is , with12 days left to our finish day we have successfully rented all 4 of the large bedrooms to a great group of young adults!

And now for the big push!

getting close to the end

We are starting to feel the deadline crunch so Dale went up early without me this time.   Dale’s got the luxury of working for himself, while I have the tether of an office job keeping me occupied during the week.

When he leaves to go up north and I am stuck in the city it’s torture.  There is nothing worse than coming home to an empty house; no Dale, no puppers.  Dale was pretty quick to remind me that there was no sanding and drywall either back in the city, ha.

He also told me that I’m going to be pretty happy with the progress.   Since Thursday he has  sanded the back stairwell and given it two coats of fresh white paint.  The main floor bedroom now has electricity running to the ceiling along with a brand spankin new ceiling fan installed.  The ceiling fan in the living room has been installed, and he’s prepping the back stairs for their coat of F&B’s Charlottes Lock.

Thanks to a little photoshop magic I already have a good idea of what it’s going to look like….minus the grubby walls of course!

F&B’s charlotte’s lock orange on the back stairs

We had a slight mix-up with our paint place and a gallon of high adhesion indoor outdoor latex was mixed instead of the floor paint we wanted.  Dale noticed before leaving the city and they mixed us up a new can of oil floor paint at a super discount.  I was brainstorming all the things we could do with the extra paint…

The place need a little punch of colour I think.  We shall see…

Dale’s also been hard at work on the kitchen.  We had a bit of miscommunication on the backsplash…I thought it was going to be a classic staggered subway tile design, while Dale went with a more contemporary layout.

See,  I don’t always get my way, ha!

He wired in some new outlets and also ran the under counter lighting.  We don’t have the proper size doors for the sink cabinet we decide to use, and Ikea wasn’t any help, so Dale’s going to make something work from what we do have.  I am excited to see how that turns out but I don’t think it will be done by the time I get up there.  He’s a super star but even Dale has his limits.

He put up some customized floating shelves and a couple of more heavy duty wire shelves also.  Here’s how things are looking in the kitchen so far.

kitchen backsplash and lights

It’s really hard to get the scale of this kitchen from the pictures, but everything is pretty huge in there.  Loads of storage which is why we didn’t go with traditional upper cabinets above the sink.  I am picking up some wooden stools from Canadian tire tonight to assemble for seating around the island.  Can’t beat $19.99!

simple wooden barstool

It’s funny but Ikea doesn’t carry anything like this at all anymore..odd.  Also to be finished is the old chimney stack in the corner of the kitchen that is to be covered in blackboard paint.  My old county place had a green kitchen chalkboard and it was amazing.  Kids visiting loved leaving hand-drawn pictures and it was super handy for to-do lists, notes and keeping phone numbers.

bright kitchen1

chalk wall in the Norwood farm kitchen

That Norwood kitchen was beyond huge! Here’s the view from the other side of the island.

the rest of the Norwood kitchen

We have a thing for stools in the kitchen apparently, cause both my farmhouse and the Berryman place had them.

stools stool and more stools, at Berryman st.

I can’t remember if we took these ones with us or left them with the house. Sadly that’s just how long our stuff has been in storage, ug.  Maybe in September we will have the luxury of some time to finally dig everything out and sort through what we want to keep.

The Peterborough house has a HUGE basement   (something poor ol Berryman did not have) and it’s dry (something the cellar in the old Norwood farmhouse was not) so whatever is in storage now what we don’t plan to keep, use, or sell will eventually end up there in FREE storage…or at least that is the plan.