Friday, January 15, 2010

Basement Bathroom Disrobed (Part 1)

We've almost finished our new second (basement) bathroom. The tiles have been installed, the potlights are in place and the fixtures are operable. Next week the new custom/frameless shower doors will be installed and we can give the shower a test run. We still need to do some touch-ups to the wall paint, re-install the light fixture above the sink, add some towel bars, and install the door handle, but we're within striking distance of a finished bathroom.

Stay tuned for Part 2...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

All Time Most Inspiring Renovation

We're in the final stages of our basement renovation and oh joy, oh bliss, it includes a new (2nd bathroom) in our house. This is a luxury for us as we've always only had one bathroom.

I have blogged previously about the blog that got me blogging (Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone, now called A Limestone in Progress). As I mentioned, the author is incredibly talented and has undertaken a massive renovation of her home in NYC.

The transformation of her parlor bathroom is the epitome of a before and after transformation(see her after and before photos above) and is truly inspirational.

In buying our house, we were confronted with our own ugly duckling:

We knew we would gut it, and since our upstairs bath has a clawfoot tub (with shower), we decided we'd install a shower in the basement. And since it's our only proper shower, we decided to go with one of those luxy frameless glass shower numbers complete with body sprays (though my realtor recently warned us recently that it feels like you're in a car wash)!

Since we only have one other bathroom in the house, I know we'll 1) use it and 2) recover our investment if we sell.

While in Toronto this summer, we got a great deal on marble mosaic tile which we knew we'd use in the shower for the floor and for accent. After returning to Calgary we found a fabulous large format porcelain tile which looks like marble for the walls. The final step was to source the bathroom floor tile. We opted for a neutral low cost tile, as we spent the big bucks on the shower tile and the Grohe shower fixtures (which we purchased on sale). I guess you could say this is a "high-low" bathroom since our sink/vanity and toilet were purchased from the big box stores (Canadian Tire and Rona). We're in the final stages (painting and installation of the glass shower panels) so I'll post our own after photos in a few days.

Creating a Time Capsule

Over the past several months, we've renovated both our kitchen and our entire basement. The reno has included a complete gut job in the basement, and a significant tear-out in the kitchen, which included pulling up the existing floor and installing a new subfloor. While ripping up the kitchen floor, we discovered a newspaper clipping from 1929 (a girlie magazine from the 1950s or 1960s was also discovered, but that held much less appeal for me!).

I plan to frame the newspaper scrap (and it really is a fragile scrap). I would like to display it together with a photo or two of a section of the concrete sidewalk half a block from our house, which has the street name and the year of its installation (1912).

What does all this have to do with a time capsule? Well, as part of our kitchen renovation we left a 1 foot square section of the drywall open so that we could run new wiring/cable to the second floor. I'd like to create a time capsule which I'll insert in this space before we seal it up.

So, I'm looking for ideas of things to include. My list includes:

- current photos of the house
- current photo of our street and of the downtown skyline
- front page of the newspaper
- grocery receipt
- photos of the newspaper scraps I found along with an explanation (perhaps this post)

What else should I include? I would really appreciate any suggestions. Please post your comments/suggestions.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Getting over my hang-ups

When we were considering buying this house, one of the big selling features in my mind was the dressing room just off the bedroom. It made up for the small dimensions of the bedroom.

We started by painting the dressing room/bedroom, pulling up the old carpet (and replacing it with new hardwood throughout the house). Then we got to work demo'ing the existing closets.

We selected IKEA cupboards which my husband modified to account for the sloped ceilings, while maximizing height. Since we had the luxury of space we were able to use panelled doors vs. bi-folds (which I'm not a big fan of style-wise, plus I find they block the access to part of the closet).

Unfortunately, we didn't realize until after the closets were installed and we were mounting the doors that we should have put a spacer between the wall and the cupboard in order to allow the door to open fully. Fortunately, a quick adjustment to the baseboard trim by hubbie and his mitre box solved the problem.

Next we added IKEAs interior fittings to the closets and replaced the light fixture with a romantic small-scale chandelier from Home Depot (Hampton Bay's Heritage Aged Iron chandelier for $99):

Finally, I added a dressing table that I had inherited, some flea market prints, and voila, it was complete (at least for now).

The blog that got me blogging

Part way through 2009 I came across an incredible blog which I've been following faithfully. The author is incredibly talented and creative and has impecible taste.

Her posts/photos of her own incredible renovation helped me see the light at the end of our own renovation tunnel. We've spent the last several months renovating our kitchen, re-doing our plumbing and wiring and gutting and rebuilding our basement (including a bathroom).

Now she's running a contest.

I love her style and at this point in our project, I'm counting every penny and looking for every deal out there!

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