Friday, September 25, 2009

Note to Vote

So I figure I need to do whatever I can to supplement my budget for all the work I still need/want to do on the house. Since I don't happen to have any spare organs I can sell(!), I've entered my living room in the Style at Home Makeover Contest. Hey, it's worth a shot - curb shopping can only take my decor so far!

The top prize is a $2,000 Home Depot gift card (and boy would that come in handy!!)

Here's the thing. It's partially a popularity contest, so I'd love it if you would take a minute to go here to VOTE (and comment. Take the opportunity to let me know your thoughts on what I should do with the space!). You may have to register to vote first, but it only takes a second, I promise!

As an added bonus: (1) my contest entry includes a sneak peak pic of my (currently rather shameful and as yet un-posted) living room. I'm nowhere near ready to post pics of it here, so get a glimpse there - just don't judge the sorry state it's in! :)
and (2) just for voting you're eligible to win a $50 gift card from Home Depot. Yay!

And hey, you can even vote once a day, if you're feeling generous.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take a Number

The originals that came with the house:

But now that I've got a ladder (thanks, Kijiji!)...

I was finally able to put up my fab new house numbers! They're floating numbers, but (thanks to some awesome cutting and drilling help from a friend) I mounted them on a piece of reclaimed (aka garbage) acrylic which I frosted up just for the occasion.

LOVE them! They're just the first step in overhauling the look of the front of the house (remember this post?), so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wonder Why?

Despite statistics that show that 'everybody's doing it', people often seem to suggest that it's strange that I, as a single woman, have chosen to buy a house on my own. The most 'puzzling' question I've been asked so far in my four-plus months as a homeowner was simply 'Why?' As in "You live here alone? But WHY??!" (with an underlying tone of 'Are you crazy?!')

How do I answer that?
- I hated wasting money on rent?
- I suddenly found myself without a place to live, and had to quickly decide to 'jump' into the housing market, ready or not?
- I was approaching 30 and it seemed like the next logical step?
- the time was right (low interest rates, slow economy, etc.)?
- because I believe that owning real estate is an important step toward financial security?
- I'm tired of dealing with landlords?

It's funny, but the question caught me off guard and really made me think, because, although the answer is all of these reasons and more, the truth is I don't care why anymore - I'm just so very glad I'm here.

Is it scary, lonely, overwhelming, exhausting to do this on my own? Yes, yes, and yes. But also empowering, exciting, and more personally gratifying than I even imagined, and I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.

Anyone else want to tell me they think I'm crazy? :)

(oh, and 10 points to anyone who caught the title's reference to the old ATV/CTV educational show with Richard Zurawski!)

Monday, September 14, 2009


So I've been here for a few months now, and it wasn't until a couple days ago that I finally met some of my neighbours. It's not that I'm anti-social, but my house is set back from the street a bit, and there are no other houses in sight, so...

Anyway, last week I met some lovely neighbours named Judy and Gordie as they were out for a walk and stopped to look at the house being built next door, and we got to chatting. Then tonight, when I was out in the yard (still shovelling dirt!), they stopped by with a very kind 'welcome to the neighbourhood':

Wasn't that sweet of them? It made my day!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

oh the glamour

It's been a busy weekend! In addition to the never-ending dirt shovelling and concrete mixing going on in the front yard (ok, I lie, the end is finally in sight with that one! I'll post when it's complete), today I swapped out my old, inefficient, construction adhesive-marred, frequently running toilet for a new 'low-flow' model.

out with the old:

and in with the new!:

Do try to ignore the floor (like I do!) - it's damaged and needs to go, but I want to finish up all these 'energy' improvements first. Once I get all those rebate dollars back I can move on to 'prettier' projects like tiling the bathroom floor.

All that painting and stuff will still be lots of work, I know, but it's definitely not like today's job. Because we all know about toilets, right? Gross.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Remember these? (originally posted here)

Look what they turned into!

Now where am I going to find a reeeeally tall ladder?
(the trees are a little overgrown!)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Feelin' the Heat

Another big day in the life of my house, another major chunk of my house budget gone. *Sigh*.

I'm sure I'll be glad I made this decision when the winter winds are howling around outside and my house is snug and warm, but that wasn't really my thought today. I'm usually pretty practical, but today I could only think of how many other great (and pretty!) projects I could do with the amount I spent on this latest purchase.

Anyway, without further 'ado', here's the before (visually documented in order to impart the 'significance' of this purchase (read: to convince myself), not because the pics are particularly interesting!):

In the words of the installers of the new one, she was a 'dinosaur'. Their estimate of her age was '40+ years' (when the average lifespan of a furnace is 20-25). Well, that dinosaur is now extinct, replaced by this darling:

She's sleeker, shinier, cleaner, more efficient, more powerful (while using less power!) and just an all-around much better beast. So yes, a smart choice.

One drawback that emerged today: while removing the old one the installers noted that my duct work is in DESPERATE need of a good cleaning. Just another item to add to my 'to do' list - and my dwindling budget! Don't worry, I won't be posting pics of THAT process, I had a glimpse of what's in there today and it was pretty disgusting.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

All Dressed Up!

There've been lots of changes around this place over the past couple of weeks, but not much is complete yet so I'll have to write more later. This one, however, can't wait...!

This past weekend, I finally got to tackle a project that I've been wanting to do since the very first day I walked through this house. As is common in a house of this age, what closets I do have are pretty tiny, so right from day one I wanted to turn the smallest 'bedroom' into my dressing room. I've been using it that way since I moved in, but in a makeshift sort of way (temporary clothing rack, sweaters in a bag, stuff on the floor - not good!). That all changed a couple days ago!

Here's the before shot (notice the lovely pipe as 'focal point'):

Thanks to the generous help of my dad (he's the carpenter in the family - I just try to be a decent apprentice!) here is the realization of what I've been planning and excitedly waiting for over the last couple of months:

(recognize that ottoman?)

And from the other side:

I love that it fills the entire length of the wall, and makes great use of the space under that sloped ceiling. There's even some room behind all the clothing storage to store things like my luggage - bonus!! I really think it's the best use of the space in that room, while still leaving it feeling open and spacious.

Finally, just for good measure, here's my vanity on the other side of the room:

All in all, I've achieved my goal ('girly heaven'!) - a completely functional space that holds all of my clothes and shoes, and lets me stay organized (and feels like an exclusive boutique!). It was so nice to do a 'fun' project for a change, since so much of what I've been working on this summer is the boring structural stuff (yeah, it's important, but that doesn't mean it's not boring!). I get to enjoy this space every day of the week, so it felt like quite the indulgence!

Speaking of indulgence, the price tag for this entire project came in at $120 including tax (and that includes all the bits and pieces - like screws, etc. - but not the dresser, which I already had), so it really wasn't such a 'splurge' after all. A custom-built closet for the price of a generic closet organizer - score!

Thanks again, Dad. I couldn't have done it without you! :)