Monthly Archives: January 2012

Sewing days

I took the last days to do some sewing work around the house. It is a nice, and cheap, way to get things done (with the 2012 planning we have it is a nice motivation) and fast impact.

First, I made curtains to the little window at Cedric’s room. Actually, I “converted” 1 curtain in 2. As we will install a bench under the big window (to hide the hook pipe passing there) we needed to shorten the curtain. So I separated the bottom squares of it and used to make the little curtains. So that is the double result:


For the same room I made a nice big pillow, using a big insert and Ikea fabric:

I started hemming (with the hot iron stuff, not exactly sewing..) Kyana’s room curtains. And made a curtain for the downstairs bathroom, but we still have to buy velcro to install it, so no pics yet.

Finally I sewed the cover back to the sofa (it was originally zippered but kids broke it, and as we still didn’t decide on the plans for this room we need some temporary solution for our sofa cover).

Not a lot, but little important details.



Planning 2012

This week was planning week for works around the house in 2012. It was major cleaning week too. So I pictured the rooms how they are now to start the list of what is coming.

Basement 1:


– Clean walls and floor

– Seal concrete floor

– Install heating (?)

Basement 2:


– HUGE cleaning of wall and floor

– Seal concrete floor

– Get storage furniture and organize storage area

– Set a new work table, fix present work table and organize work area

Basement 3:


– Clean floor

– Seal concrete floor (?)

– Organize hard storage (?)


– Follow up garden restoration with municipality

– Install chicken wires on the wall and guide vine growth

– General maintenance

– Set sitting area in our  side yard



– Paint front deck

– Reinstall windows panels that fell this winter

– Build winter back entrance (?)

Entrance hall:


– no plans for 2012

Sitting room:


– no plans for 2012

Dinning room:


– Scrap vinyl floor

– Uninstall old curtain rods

– Finish wood floors (?)


– Build storage system (shelves?)

– Change lamp

– Install door (?)

– Plan what to do in the space between pantry and kitchen

– Finish wood floors (?)



– Finish bottom cabinets

– Finish spice rack

– Install shelf for microwave

– Find solution for scratched stainless steel fridge door

– Scrap vinyl floors (?)

– Finish wood floors (?)

– Install organization boards on the side of fridge

– Find solution for wood stuff at side of fridge

– Finish metal cabinet (internal botton shelf, drawer rail and knobs)



– Insulate external wall

– Uninstall old cabinets

– Build cabinets with integrated dogs houses

– Install utility sink

– Finish walls and ceiling (where we damaged installing the hood), including muddying, painting and other finishes not defined yet

– Paint floor

First floor half bathroom:

– no plans for 2012

First floor bathroom:

– Find a solution for yellow stains on the walls

– Paint sink

– Install curtain under the sink and uninstall door



– Getting some sort of temporary storage

– Moving the dogs out

Guest room:


– no plans for 2012



– no plans for 2012

Upstairs hall:


– no plans for 2012

Twins’ room:


– Build a play table, buy chairs and set extra storage

– Install hooks for towels

– Paint (?)

Cedric’s room:


– Finish little window curtain

– Get a new chair

Kyana’s room:


– Finish curtains

– Get a vanity desk

– Get a nightstand, or some thing that works like one

Master room:


– no plans for 2012

Second floor bathroom:


– I really would like to start it by the end of this year, lets see how things go..

So the list is long, the time is short and budget is always tight (how much we still don’t know as I am still trying to understand how much tax I am suppose to pay…). But for sure we will have lots of fun here!


Review 2011

Now that the holidays season is officially finished in this house is time to start planning the works around the house in 2012. But it is always good to look back to see how things went in the previous year. So..

In 2011 we looked for a new house and decided to buy a 1870 house in need of love (according to the sales announce). The house has no serious structure work to be done, but it needs some work almost everywhere. We got the keys in June, had 10 days to first work and moved to it the way it was. I was also finishing to write my dissertation and went to Brazil to get my master degree. We also had some visits, travelled a little, enjoyed life and took care of daily life. Quite a busy year!

And we also achieve a lot around the house:


– Changed electric panel and oil tank

– Fixed small infiltrations in the basement

– Deep cleaned and organized in 3 spaces

– Set a game room in the first basement


– Municipality work destroyed our beautiful garden, but it will be restored next spring

– We cut the wine to access the windows and started installing chicken wires on the wall to get it growing correctly next spring

Sitting room:

Painted ceiling, walls and trimming and got temporary furniture

Dinning room:

– Got very nice furniture

Dinning room closet / Pantry:

Connected the kitchen to the dinning room and changed used of the closet to a pantry

– Scrapped the vinyl floors and painted the walls


Bought a dishwasher and a range

Installed a new counter

Installed a range hood

Restaured the sink, the sink cabinet and installed a dishwasher

Upgraded the upper cabinets, painted the walls and installed beadboard as backsplash

– Started the bottom cabinets

First floor bathroom:

– Scrapped the vinyl floor and painted it white

– Took out walls full of mold, installed new one and restored hardware in the shower area

(here and here)

– Deep cleaned everything (really)

– Installed new curtains and mirror and fast decorated it

Upstairs hall:

Scrapped wall paper and left it like that

Twins’ room:

– Installed new curtains

– Got new storage boxes (and we already need more)

Cedric’s room:

– Uninstalled strange wardrobes

– Painted walls and an accent wall (with blackboard paint)

– Painted the vinyl floor black

– Installed new paper lamp

(all here)

– Installed new curtains

– Put tatami on the floor and a queen mattress with new sheets on it (nice pillows on the way)

Kyana’s room:

– Scrapped blue carpet

– Got new sheets and duvet

– Put a bench under the window and got some decoration

– Installed curtains

Master room:

Installed new wardrobe

– Got a new mattress and bed lines

– Got a new chest of drawers

Second floor bathroom:

Scrapped carpet and wallpaper

– Got some storage and improvised some decoration


Not bad.. Definitely we didn’t register it well on the blog, lets see if we improve in that in 2012! Soon we come back if plans and projects for 2012!




Upper cabinets

When you buy a house with the amount of work that we have here, you have to make lots of decisions. Some related to practical life (like installing the dishwasher), some related to code requirements (like installing the hood) and some due to costs. And of course all we want is to have a nice and beautiful place. The equation is not that easy nor obvious, but it brings us to lots of discoveries, especially of what we can do if we try.

One of these decisions was to keep the kitchen cabinets. They were not particularly beautiful, or good quality, or practical, but installing a new one would be expensive, especially if trying to match all these qualities and fitting the house style. So we decided to improve it.

Here is the cabinets when we visited the house.

We decided to open the upper cabinets, taking lots of inspiration from the blog The Lettered Cottage. The main challenge is that our cabinets were quite simple and we had to find some creative ideas to bring them to a finishing less unfinished. We first took all the doors out (long ago, just after we got the keys). And that was what we had to work on.


It look clearly like it was missing its doors… The sides were to thin, the structure for the doors too obvious and the internal finishing too much an internal finishing.. So the first solution we came up was to even the framework, make all the sides on the same level, as well as the same size. To do that we got some wood and I first used a staple gun (so cool, but as I am the main photographer of our work here, we don’t have register of that).

This option also opened space to install under cabinet lights, what is particularly useful considering the lack of lamps in the kitchen. Then, we installed some trimming, to give a more finished look. We also added crown moulding (we just got a model that was particularly difficult to paint after installed.. maybe we should have painted before installing, but what is important is that the final result is good.)

Then we primed everything (and got loads of pictures as I let one of the twins in charge).


And painted.


We also installed the beadboard, painted the same color as the cabinet. And painted the wall the same color as the sitting room. Then it was already beginning of december, Pierre got sick and we had to run to be ready for my family’s arrival.

We were exhausted but extremely happy with the results we achieved!



Sink cabinet – part 2

After finishing all coats that was the final result:

And then it was time for the most complicate part of the work: plumbing. The kitchen didn’t have a dishwasher installation what is not really sustainable for a family big like ours. So we had to reinstall the taps but also create the structure and the installation for a new dishwasher. First the guys made a frame to house the dishwasher, topped with the same counter we already installed on the other side of the sink.

Here is the unpacked dishwasher, we were really dreaming with it installed and functional…

At this point we got lots of help, Pierre’s dad and mom and cousin. And we can say things might have being different without this precious help, at least slower. We got some audience too.

So we got the sink place clean and painted (what actually wouldn’t be necessary later), in order to install back the cabinet.

We also cut the drywall to pass the wire and install all electricity inside the wall (therefore being able to get rid of that awful huge white box).

Then the guys connected all the pipes back and connected the dishwasher and the new beautiful taps. We also decided to install beadboard on the back of the cabinet, as it is open, to get a much better finishing than the painted wall.

And then the dishwasher was connected, ready to be used.

And that is exactly what we did. After 6 almost 6 months washing huge piles of dishes on the sink, we finally got some help in that.

Beautiful, isn’t it? Then it was time to finish the structure around it and set the counter on the top. We still have to finish the side and front, but we almost there!

There is plastic everywhere because we were giving the first coat of painting. But next we go to our work in the wood cabinets.


Blog updating

Happy 2012 to everybody out there!

November went crazy here working to get the kitchen finished, or as close as possible, and the house ready to receive my family visiting from Brazil. We also had a Christmas dinner with the whole family and a Christmas brunch with family and friends. Loads of fun, lots of work and zero time for the blog.

So lets start some updating posts on what has going on on the last weeks of the year.