Sunday, 25 May 2014

Bathroom Inspiration

One of the first major renovations that we plan on doing in the house is the main bath.  There are a few things that we love about the current bathroom, but most of it is just hideous!

We love:

We are fortunate that the bathroom is a great size.  This means that we don't have to steal space from any of the other rooms to enlarge it.  At 10 feet wide by 8 feet deep, we are certain that we can fit all of our must haves into this space.  We also love the claw foot tub.  It needs respraying, and is currently painted red on the outside, but with a little bit of work, we will get it looking amazing again!

We hope to change:

That floor - what were they thinking???  It matches the pastel wallpaper so well!  And then the red sink and tub.  WOW.  It's all gotta go!  The built in vanity and cupboard are great for storage, but they block the door from opening all the way, and we will need that space to relocate the tub, so they will be coming out. We might be able to relocate them to the garage or shed.  And finally, the real show stopper in this bathroom is the mirrored wall behind the bathtub.  Some might consider it romantic...but we just think it's odd.  Do you really want to stare at your own reflection as you bathe?

So here's our plan.  Jeremy has been working hard on creating floor plans for each of the rooms to help us figure out where things can go.

A shower stall and vanity will go where the tub is currently located, and the tub will go across from the door.  The only thing that will really stay the same is the toilet.  We'll keep everything light and airy with a white, cream and grey colour scheme.  Marble floors, a marble vanity top and marble subway tile in the shower will give the room a traditional feel to match the style of the house, while a modern glass shower stall will keep it from feeling too formal and stuffy.  We'll have the tub sprayed white, and paint the walls a soft taupe or cream colour.  Chrome sconces above the vanity and a matching chandelier should finish the room off perfectly.  The first picture below is the look we are going for. We don't love the mirrors, but the rest of it is perfect.

(above pictures courtesy of Pinterest)

So that's the plan for our first major reno.  We are hoping to begin gutting the bathroom in the fall and have everything done by Christmas.  Thankfully there is a second full bathroom in the house, so once we have it spruced up, we can take our time and make this one amazing! 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Fantastic Finds

We've spent the last few weeks searching kijiji for anything that might be suitable for the new house.  With the cost of the electrical looming as soon as we move in, we know that we won't be able to buy a lot of new furniture, and this is a big house to fill! Part of the problem will be getting the right mix of furniture, lighting and accessories.  We love antiques and they suit the age of the house, but we know that too many will make it feel stuffy and old.  We don't want that!!  One of the things that I love about our current house is that we have found some amazing antiques, but with mixing on some modern pieces it still feels fresh.  I really hope we can achieve this same look at the new place!

Here are some of our most recent finds:

Duncan Phyfe Dining Room Set:  
We knew that our old harvest table, black press-back chairs and black buffet would be too small and not the right style for the new place so we sold them. I was really sad to see the table and hutch go.  The table had the most beautiful turned legs, and the hutch was one of the first DIY pieces that I completed, taking it from a 1970's nightmare to a more transitional piece with style.

To replace them, we purchased a large antique set from a lady in Markham.  If this set doesn't fill the new dining room, I don't know what will! We didn't take any pictures of our new set, so the ones below are the closest I could find.


The set consists of a double pedestal table with built in butterfly leaf, a large buffet, 12 chairs (6 with shield backs and 6 with square backs), a china cabinet and a small sideboard.  That's 16 pieces, and we paid $575 for it all! That's my kind of deal!  It won't all go into the dining room, and we will eventually get modern upholstered chairs, but for now, it will work for us.

Antique Mantel Clock
We have both always wanted an old mantel clock that would chime on the hour and fill the house with its beautiful sound.  When we went to look at the dining set, the lady who we purchased it from took us on a tour of her home and showed us many other pieces that she was looking to sell.  One of them just happened to be this clock.

We researched a little bit about the New Haven Clock Co. and discovered that they were the first clock makers in the USA.  This model, called the "Harmony" was made between 1915 and 1930.  We had looked at many other mantel clocks that were broken or missing the key, but this one is in beautiful working order.  When she said she wanted $50 for it, we took it!  Unfortunately, the chiming has kept us up all night on more than one occasion, so we aren't winding it.  Maybe we'll find a spot for it in the new house where we can wind it and not hear the chiming all night long!

Wicker Chairs
One thing we have seriously been hunting for is wicker furniture for the front porch.  Although we haven't found the right porch set yet, we did come across these beauties last week.

They are Ikea's "Byholma" chair with the "Mariberg" cushions, also from Ikea.  Purchased new, these chairs cost $120 each.  We lucked out and got 4 at $50 each.  They will go on the back patio (once we get it built) and will be great outdoor dining chairs.  We think they will look awesome with this table from Target.

Williamsburg Chandelier
I've been spending a lot of time contemplating the lighting in the house, and how to update it affordably. When we saw this little chandelier for sale last week, we figured it would be a good piece to get.

We don't know what room it will end up in, but I think it will be great in the office, our walk in closet, or even the main bathroom.  $35 seemed reasonable, and the style will suit the house well.

As we renovate and decorate each of the rooms in the house, I'm sure there will be more fabulous finds to share with you.  

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Gardening Inspiration

One of the first major projects that we'll be tackling at the new house is the gardens.  Although I'd love to spend my time off this summer stripping wallpaper, I know that can wait for the fall and winter, while the gardening season is much shorter.  The previous owner sure did love her gardens!  It seems like almost every square inch of the yard is currently filled with overgrown shrubs and plants.  We've been told that the gardens used to be stunning, but since the owner's wife passed away a few years ago, they have basically been left untouched.

These pictures were taken a few weeks ago when we took Finnegan for a walk around the property.  As you can see, there are gardens everywhere - along the sidewalk, driveway, walkway, fence, in front of the house, the retaining wall, and even many in the middle of the yard.  I love to garden, but this is just too much!

Our first goal is to eliminate the gardens along the sidewalk, the driveway and the walkway.  We will also cut back some of the plants in front of the house, remove all of the vines from the house, and dig up most of the gardens in the middle of the yard and in front of the retaining wall.  This will leave us with some plants in front of the house, the gardens along the fence, and the beautiful magnolia tree.  That should be manageable!

We recently purchased 6 panels of wrought iron fencing from kijiji.  At $25 a panel, how could we say no? We are planning on using that to divide the upper and lower yards.  This will keep the dog in one area, help to define the two spaces and provide some privacy in the upper yard (where the hot tub and our dining area will be).  We are hoping to build an arbour with a gate to provide access between the upper and lower yards.  The wood retaining wall will eventually get a makeover with some ironstone like the one below.

We both love the formal and clean look of boxwood hedges with white hydrangeas.  We have three hydrangeas at the back of our current yard, and we know that they are a must-have for the new house.  We are also hoping to build some structures throughout the garden to provide shade for different seating areas.  The wood fence on the north side of the yard is also in need of some TLC, so we would like to add some extra detail to it to make it a little more formal looking which will hopefully match the style of the house better.

That's what we have so far.  Let me know what you think. All of these inspiration pictures, along with many others can be found on my Pinterest board called Cochrane-Gardens.  We know that it won't all be achieved within the first year, but it's good to have a vision and a plan!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

A Tour of 72 Union

With just 50 days to go until we get possession of the new house, we both wanted to make sure that our current house was documented on the blog.  We have lived in and enjoyed this house for 5 years, and have spent a lot of time adding small touches to make it our own.  We purchased it in the spring of 2009, when the real estate market was at rock bottom.  The house had been on the market for 6 months with no interest, and the previous owner just wanted to get rid of it.  When negotiations were done, we actually ended up purchasing it for the exact same price that he had purchased it for.  He lost a lot of money when he sold, because he had put a lot of time and money into renovating it (new flooring, kitchen, fresh paint).  Lucky for us, most of the big stuff was done!


We didn't do a whole lot to the outside of the house.  When we purchased it, the shutters and windowsills were all black. We updated that to a deep grey and added the gingerbread trim on the porch posts. We had always planned on closing off the second front door, but never had time.

When you walk in the front door, the stairs are directly in front of you.  We sanded and stained the treads and painted the risers and trim white for a more traditional feel.  We also added the art light at the top of the stairwell.  I had always planned on staining the railing a darker colour to match the treads.  The artwork is some of our favourite pictures that we have taken on our travels around the world. 

To the right of the front door is the library.  This is one of my favourite rooms in the house, and was one of the first rooms that we finished.  We added the white bookshelves which hold our collection of books and artefacts from our travels.  The display shelves are lit, which makes for a great atmosphere at night.  

The family room was bright orange when we moved into the house.  With the second front entry, we never really knew what to do with this room so it sat empty for the first year that we lived here.  There was also a giant double closet in the corner that we removed to help open up the space and make it flow better.  

There is a small hallway off the family room that leads to the basement stairs, the main floor bath and the guest room.  The main floor bath was another big project for us.  We redid the flooring, added a new toilet, turned an antique dresser into a vanity and added in an undermount sink with an antique style waterfall faucet.  

We didn't really do much with the kitchen and dining room.  When we first moved in, we originally used the dining room as the family room, but realized that it would be better suited as an eating area.  In the future, we were planning on installing hardwood floors, and garden doors that would lead out to the deck.

We redecorated the master bedroom, changing it from a dark green to grey and white.  We added the wainscoting on the bottom half which really gave the room the character that it needed.

When we first looked at this house, this room really had us stumped.  Although it was listed as a 4th bedroom, you could only get to it by walking through the master.  A few days later it hit us - the perfect walk in closet!  Although our new house will also have a walk in closet off the master, it's not as big as this one.  I'm really going to miss all of the space this one has provided for getting dressed in the morning, sorting out laundry, ironing, etc.  It's been wonderful!

In the upstairs bathroom we changed out the vanity and toilet to freshen it up, but didn't have to do much else.  We were planning on changing the tub/shower into a nice walk in shower one day.  The other room upstairs is our office, which we didn't have to do anything in.

We have a lot of great memories in this house.  From decorating it for the holidays together, to hosting my brother and sister in law's wedding in our back yard, we've had 5 wonderful years here.  It will be sad to say goodbye next month, but we know that we will be able to make our new place incredible, and we are really looking forward to the journey ahead of us!