There are a very few rooms that are actually complete in our house, but THIS room has been so much fun to shop for and decorate (and little man is very close to arriving) so it was the first room after the kitchen that we have finished!
I could have gone many ways when decorating the nursery, but this is our first (and maybe only) child and I have enjoyed having the time to really plan out the room and every single little detail in it. I wanted it to reflect the style of our home and easily transition into a “big boy room” when the time comes. We kept the original wall colour, and slowly added the furniture, textiles, and wall art.
After many many shopping trips with friends trying to get nursery ideas and seeing what baby decor options are out there – I finally stumbled on Restoration Hardware’s baby catalogue. No brightly coloured cartoon animals, just beautiful fabrics, classic muted colours and rooms that looked so peaceful and beautiful – THAT is what I had been looking for! So instead of spending thousands and thousands of dollars ordering off of their website, I bought a striped bumper that I felt would tie all of the colours/pattern together and used that as a jumping off point.
Then I set out to find a mobile I liked – not easy. Even on etsy, I couldn’t find EXACTLY what I was looking for, so one day in the midst of a busy work season I decided I would just make the mobile myself. It took a ridiculous amount of hours for something so seemingly simple, but I’m so pleased with how it turned out!
By the time I finally completed the glider makeover, there were more pops of colour than I had in my original plan, but I loved it even more. The brighter blue and the red really make it more fun.
Just for fun, here’s a before and after of the glider I found on kijiji for $50. All it took was some white spray paint and some deeply discounted cushions from Pier One to make this baby shine:
I used 2 small buoys I bought from a fish shack at Peggy’s Cove a few years ago to tie back the striped (ikea) curtains, and bought the baskets hanging on the wall from Hobby Lobby to bring in a fisherman-vibe:
Here’s a Breakdown of what everything ended up costing and where I found it all, this was definitely not one-stop-shopping:
Here are the before & after photos of the dysfunctional and incredibly dark kitchen we had to deal with when we moved in, and the bright, updated fully functional kitchen we now have. We researched the most affordable way to upgrade our kitchen and found that refacing the lower cabinets (in order to save our countertop) and totally replacing the uppers along with a custom pantry on the opposite wall was the smartest and most efficient way to go. We were lucky, we didn’t need to change the floor plan, which in the end saved us ALOT of money. Here it is, our kitchen:
The company we worked with were able to be in and out of the kitchen in 5 days, so the reno was pretty short considering the changes. Then we took a few more nights to get our backsplash put up and all was finished! I’m really glad the last owners didn’t put up a backsplash so we had nothing to take down in the first place and we could pick a tile that was a perfect match with all of our materials.
The upper cabinets were completely replaced, allowing for more usable space and no awkward corners like before:
Check out the custom pantry we had built for the bare wall in the kitchen – this has made ALL the difference! The storage is incredible, and for the amount of floor space it takes up it’s incredible how deep the drawers and cupboards actually are. Finally a place for all of the pots and pans! :
We still have to switch out a few of the lower cabinet handles because we made a switch while everything was being installed and they didn’t have enough of the same kind. But other than that, everything is finished and in it’s place!
Here’s a tour of our new gem of a house. Some pretty major renovating was done before we bought it, but it was not exactly perfect (check out how incredibly dark the entire house was – I have no clue why the sellers thought it would be a good idea to paint both the wainscotting and crown brown-black!).
Since we moved in, we’ve replaced the roof, painted the entire main floor and redone the kitchen all after finding out that *suprise!* I’m pregnant with our first child! Literally 2 days after moving in I was hit HARD with morning sickness and exhaustion – what perfect timing! But during my second trimester I was able to accomplish the bulk of the work I wanted to do.
I’m excited to post some before & after photos through the journey of making this house our home, but first let me show you what we had to start with:
First, the entryway. Which should be a bright space because of the full-length window next to the door and the door itself…but that dark paint just sucked all the life out of the space.
To your right of the hallway, we have the living-room:
Here’s another view of the living room once we moved our furniture in. It is an awkward space to try and layout: Long and narrow with a huge bay window taking up an entire wall –
And off the living room, at the end of the entrance hallway there is the kitchen. Which was “re-done” by the sellers in the strangest way I’ve ever seen. They covered the original 60’s kitchen with doors they made, and the cupboards were designed in the weirdest way. Lots of lost space in unusable corners, and the lower cupboards were impossible to use – I had to sit on the floor to be able to get things in and out of them, and they were painted so dark that you couldn’t see what was inside. Not exactly practical!
Some photos of the kitchen shortly after we moved in – you can see that we didn’t have too much counter space to work with once everything was unpacked.
Next up- the family-room (down the stairs off the entrance hallway). This was one of the reasons we bought the house, this extra space for another TV viewing area and possible playroom was so awesome to see after living in a house without a basement and there is no work to be done on it:
Now down THOSE stairs, is another level all together that has a guest room and the laundry room. It has a terrible colour on the walls, but it’s nicely finished and a very good size:
Another 3-piece bathroom is on the family-room (not much to it, not many plans for it):
The semi-finished laundry room (I have big dreams for this baby!):
Alright, now let’s go back up to the top floor where all of the bedrooms are. To the left of the hallway there are 2 identical rooms, the one on the left is my office and the one on the right is the nursery:
Back to the right, there is a bathroom with on-suite privileges. This bathroom has some serious storage issues that we have yet to figure out. I’d love to eventually get rid of the original vanity from the 60s and get another dual vanity with many, many drawers. But it’ll have to do for now:
Finally, we come to the master bedroom. Great, 3 closets! Not super easy to see into, but I’ll take whatever storage I can get. Again, this is a tricky room to arrange with closets taking up an entire wall, and windows and a door leading to a small balcony are taking up another entire wall. I think this will be my next project to tackle, as I’ve just neglected this room as a dumping-ground for things without a place. I’d love to really make this room beautiful by painting (especially that low ceiling- why is it GREY?!) rearranging and purging some things.
Here’s our ugly little balcony off the master bedroom…I have NO idea what to do with this badboy:
Next up I’ll be posting some before & after photos as the hubby and I tackle the house room-by-room. Spoiler alert – the nursery is looking TOO adorable!!
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE our little house (emphasis on the “little”) with all of is adorable character, high ceilings and skylights. But in the short couple of years we’ve been here, we’ve already outgrown it. I must admit I always questioned whether NOT having a basement would end up being an issue, especially when considering expanding the family. And now it’s all I can think about. Every house I’ve lived in or been in I’ve compared to the house my grandparents owned as I grew up. It was the PERFECT layout: a nice big entrance, a spacious sunny main floor, a family room where the guys could hangout an watch football games by the fire while the girls sipped wine and ate apps in the living room, basically the perfect amount of room to spread out.
Something about our house did not give me that feeling from day one, though it’s not a bad size, the layout of our place is a little strange with one of the bedrooms being on the main floor near the entrance-way, and no basement only a crawl-space. I thought I could shake this feeling eventually but the size issue coupled with an “up-and-coming” neighbourhood have made us long for a new place to call home. When our friends Steve and Kristen told us about a big house on a corner lot practically across the street from them that had recently gone up for sale, we decided “hey, why not take a look just for fun”. How fun would it be to live across the street from our good friends?
That was back at the end of March, and man did we ever fall in love FAST. So fast, that we decided to put a conditional offer on the place and put our little gem up for sale the next week. This new house had the most amazing amount of space, on a corner lot in a tree-lined neighbourhood ACROSS THE STREET FROM OUR FRIENDS. Like, hello?
So fast-forward 3 months and a whoooole lot of house showings, open-houses and high hopes and we are now here. Long story short, we were determined not to let this new house go. Nothing we shopped around for compared in space, location and layout and now it’s finally ours (and ours is finally sold)! We’ve bought it despite the threat of carrying 2 mortgages, and a roof that needs replacing. Yes, we do love this house that much. Who would have thought I’d fall so hard for a 60’s side-split and let our little character home go?
Good news is, our new roof is going up tomorrow (a big ouch in our pocketbooks) but we have to decide fast on a colour. Here, I give you our options. But first, a look at the outdated (but really not-so-bad) exterior:
And here are our roof options:
The issue here is whether or not to sway from the original colour and make some corresponding updates to the brick/trim/garage/shutters. It really doesn’t look all that bad as it is, but do we want to attempt a big change? Because now would be the time considering we have to drop a good amount of cash on this new roof.
I’ve been “googling” around to get update ideas for the exterior but it’s been tricky…
2013 was such an incredible year for travelling, and come January of this year I was lucky enough to be able to go someplace new – Guanacaste, Costa Rica! Dan and I were fortunate enough to book 2 (incredible) weddings from the 6th-13th but the day before we left poor Dan got a terrible cold and was knocked out of commission. After a few hours of panicking, I arranged with my friend Julie to have the tickets switched to her name so she could join me. It was awful being away from Dan, but it was especially bad knowing he was sick and all by himself while I was having new experiences in another country. I haven’t travelled without him before, but I couldn’t have asked to go with a better replacement than Julie. We both needed some girl time and some new experiences and that’s exactly what we got.
Yeah, hiking through wet slippery boulders in flip-flops – not my smartest moment. Totally worth it though when we got to the private beach full of shells on the other side of the mountain!
On January 12th we got up early to grab some breakfast from the buffet and hopped on a bus to one of the National Parks to take in some of the local wildlife and see a volcano.
Pretty early on the hike we came across a family of spider monkeys! They moved quickly, it was wonderful watching them swing through the treetops:
Next we heard one of the eeriest sounds I’ve ever witnessed – the collective “howls” of the Howler Monkeys. Whenever the tress blew violently in the wind it would cause them to howl and man was it ever intimidating. But once we looked up and saw them they weren’t really all that much bigger than the spider monkeys, they just sounded a lot meaner.
Mmmm sulphur coming from the volcano:
Just for the record, I didn’t suggest she do this:
After we were all hot and sweaty from a day of hiking, we were lead to a beautiful waterfall that we had the option of swimming under. Getting to the waterfall was the trickiest and most dangerous part of the hike and I (of course) injured my knee. Right before the big pay-off where could jump in. So instead I forced myself up to where the waterfall was and took some photos, though they don’t do the waterfall justice.
On our last day we spent the late afternoon picking shells from the shore and taking way too many photos of ourselves.
We had quite the ride getting back home, we took off and had 30 minutes of turbulence before the pilot announced that our landing gear wouldn’t go back up into the plane so he had to take us back to the airport. We had no idea how long it would take us to finally get home, but about 8 hours later we finally made it back to Toronto, and I was in Dan’s arms. It was the best home-coming ever, I wanted to kiss the ground once we got off our flight!
***I should mention, the blog entries about the wedding day feature a mix of photographs from our incredibly talented and hard-working photographers: Michael Grills, Amanda Lachapelle and some photos from my trusty iPhone. I’ve also been filling in the blanks with photos from the bridal party,some of our guests and screengrabs from our awesome wedding video by 360 degrees!***
As us ladies were waking up at the crack of dawn to beautify, then flittering around the house with nervous energy – the boys had a grand ol’ time having their photos taken. I just LOVE the shots Amanda got of the Dan and the guys getting into their tuxedos and going on a tour of our favourite local brewery, Oast:
Once the boys got back to the venue they relaxed and played some pool before they had to take their places at the ceremony.
Us girls were piling into the bus that took us to the venue (it was a relatively quiet bus ride, I think we were all a little nervous).
Once there, we ran into Nana in the hallway just in time to go with me and the moms into their room to put my dress back on. I think at that point, the girls all went downstairs with the flowers to wait in the “holding room”. I really wish I couldn’t have been in 10 places at once, I didn’t want to miss a thing 🙂
Amanda came in to take some quick photos of the final prep and they ended up being some of my favourite shots from the day!
Our beyond amazing co-ordinators Mary & Colleen realized that I had’t seen my Dad yet, so once we all were ready to go down to the ceremony they made sure to have him waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me. At that point Mom and I lost it with tears!
When I finally got into the waiting room with the girls I truly felt as though I might pass out. It was likely the combination of knowing a room of 150 people would all turn and look at me in a few moments, and my extremely tight undergarments! The ladies looked incredible, and nervous little Reese didn’t cry going down the aisle 🙂
And then when I stepped out and saw my parents, and then I saw the look on Dan’s face I had to give it everything I had not to breakdown crying. There was a huge swell of emotion in that room.
The walk back down the aisle was a bit of a blur, we were SO happy 🙂
I’ve been procrastinating with this post – probably because a part of me knows that once it’s written it’ll mean the wedding day actually happened and it’s over. Oh how I wish we could do it all over again – it was everything I had hoped it would be – and went by JUST as quickly as I assumed it would.
So, back to the morning of November 2nd, 2013. I woke up 30 minutes before my alarm, and it was still pitch black outside. At 7am Sarah came to my bedroom and we had a mini “today’s the day!!!” freakout then got down to business. I WAS SO NERVOUS/EXCITED.
I knew the hair & makeup girls would be arriving soon, so I hopped in the shower and left poor Sarah to fend for herself downstairs. Soon Emily (our fabulous hair stylist from Bridal Beauty) came over and set up her stuff. She got to work on MOH Sarah’s hair first, and at that point BM Sarah arrived just as I was finishing drying my hair.
I stripped down to my underwear because I was SO hot – it must have been the nerves, and I sat in the office and wrote Dan’s card that I was going to have Mike give him. BM Sarah was kind enough to help me tidy up and put out my dress & proper hangers for the girls’ dresses in the bedroom (I had very specific photo plans for the dresses – complete with matching hangers)
Lisa came around 9am and i finally got started on the prep work that took nearly 3.5 hours! Because I assumed that I would be SUPER organized (I wasn’t) I hadn’t given myself much wiggle-room to do some of the things I wanted to in the morning – put out fruit and drinks for the girls, load my ipod with my “Wedding Morning Playlist” that I had been working on for a year, cleaning my engagement ring, and laying out presents. All of those things were taken care of by my AMAZING bridesmaids, thank goodness. I felt pretty helpless being stuck in one chair all morning – I think when I get anxious I need to move around and organize things – so I had that urge all morning. BM Emily and the moms got dropped off by GM Mike and I gave him the card and emergency kit to give to Dan. The rest is kind of a blur -I don’t even remember when BM Julie arrived, I know I saw her but had lost track of time – our makeup artist & friend Julie arrived to start on the bridesmaids and mothers at some point as well and we put her to work pretty quickly! We put on the movie Bride Wars and once that finished we threw on my playlist that MOH Sarah managed to quickly burn to CDs for the stereo system downstairs and everyone got their hair & makeup done!
I attempted to eat some toast that MOH Sarah made me (she was very good about getting me to eat and drink) but my stomach was continually doing back-flips. I did manage to eat a banana and it helped settle my stomach a bit, and then I downed half a bottle of Pepto before I got in my dress.
Michael was at the house taking photos from 10:30am onwards, and we broke out the bubbly that BM Sarah had given me as an engagement gift a year ago and made mimosa’s!
Our awesome neighbour Amanda was kind enough to look after the animals that day, and she brought Monty over again after his walk because I forgot to give her a key – I’m glad she did because I was able to get a couple of photos with him looking pitiful and hilarious!
After the mimosas we went back inside to the warmth and finished our prep:
As soon as my hair & makeup was finished I ran upstairs and got into my dress with help from Loreen and Mom, and tried not to have a panic attack. Lots of deep breathes!
Time was FLYING by at that point and I almost forgot to give the girls their presents – I was so excited to see their whole look completed. Each girl had 2 custom pieces of jewelry made by the fabulous Lori Trenton, and matching clutches filled with gum, tissue and lipgloss:
Because of the constant rain, I made the decision to change out of my dress and back into it at the venue, so I threw on my yoga pants and “bride” hoodie and got to work.The next 20 minutes were spent SCRAMBLING to pack my bag with all of the essentials – shoes (I had 3 pairs), lipstick, hairspray, clutch, and I FORGOT that I had to print out my speech. So while the girls loaded up in the mini bus, I was sitting at my printer praying for it to print properly. I finally got it, put it in my bag with the love note to Dan and ran out the door! I remember the bus ride feeling like it took FOREVER to get into town. I think everyone was a little nervous of the time and nervous for the ceremony, we were all a little quiet. I took that opportunity to open my gift from Loreen while she was with us, because I knew it was a special gift – a beautiful custom corset for the honeymoon.
Once we arrived we piled out of the bus and tried to figure out a game plan for getting ready. The girls were sent down to the waiting room with their flowers, and I went to the moms’ hotel room to get my dress on. Luckily we ran into Nana and she was able to join in on the fun and be there for that special moment. Again, that part of the day was such a blur because we were rushing, but I remember feeling the adrenaline rush through me and it actually helped me focus. Then, all in a matter of 10 minutes, I met up with our co-ordinators and videographers and our other photographer Amanda to get some photos and video of my dress going on. Thank goodness for that time, because Amanda took some really lovely photos I’ll cherish forever.