Monday, January 30, 2012

Spilling the Beans

I have some beans to spill.

     I know I have been alluding to some big changes in our life here lately.  It all started with an accident we had on the highway.  We were all okay but we couldn't help feeling like something was wrong in our life. A brush like that makes you think- makes you question your priorities.   I guess it really started long before then but the accident shook us into making some decisions about our life.

   It left both of us wondering what, exactly, our priorities were.  Jay and I have been working very hard but never seem to get ahead.  Our dreams and goals just weren't coming into focus.  We have been going through the motions of our life together and as a family.  That's not the way we want our life to be.

   We love the neighbourhood we live in.  It's really more than a house on a street.  It's a community that we've grown in for the last 12 years.  We have moved from house to house to house within this community- finally settling here.  It's really my dream house.  Not to big and not too small.  Generous rooms with high ceilings and stunning old trim.  I love this house.

   But it's really just bricks and mortar.  And the simple fact is that we cannot afford to live here in this big house.  We aren't living the life we want.  The mortgage payments are too high.  We are working so much we don't have time to spend together as a family.

   It turns out, we are moving. To a new neighbourhood and a new community.  We listed our home yesterday and the sign will go up sometime this week.  I have had time to tell a few close friends but I apologize if anyone else dear to me reads this here first.  I am having trouble facing the decision myself, and that makes it hard to share with other people.

There are many reasons that I want to stay.  But there are a few very important reasons why we need to go.  It has been a difficult decision for us, and one neither of us is really happy about.  But I think it will be freeing for us.  I think it's a step in the right direction for us to create the life we really want.

   I've been getting the house ready to list.  I will show you the 'after' shots of my hallway and staircase tomorrow and fill you in a bit on what we are looking for in a new house.

xo Meg

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


The winds of change are blowing in our world.  I'm feeling sentimental and scared but I know that change is good.  I know we are making changes that will benefit our family in the end.  But right now, things are pretty messy.

    Our family has been through a lot lately and there were some tears this past weekend.  Ok, lots of tears.  But when I was tucking Audrey into her snug aqua bed last night she said: "I love you, Mommy.  You always believe in me.  And when you believe in me I have confidence too."

What?  How can an eight year old child be so mature? She is a worldly, resilient, old soul.  Even through all the bad stuff, I know I must have done something right to deserve having her in my life.

After that, she fell right to sleep.  I stayed in her room for a long time snuggled in beside her, feeling lucky to be her Mom.


On the home front, the skim coating is done in my stairwell and hallway.  I won't bore you with another bunch of crappy blackberry photos.  It still looks pretty much the same.  Today the mud is dry and I'm about to have at it with the sanding block.  Then I can prime and paint.  So excited that the messy stuff is almost done!

xo Meg

Monday, January 23, 2012

This wallpaper will be the death of me.  I'm pretty sure.

Here we are:

   These pictures are anything but pretty but it's mostly off.  Jay will be skim coating the walls to smooth out the awful surface.  Then I'll be painting everything out in Benjamin Moore's Sandy Hook Gray.  Hopefully it turns out to be the colour of handprints, since there are always so many little ones going up the staircase.  I know this is going to make a huge difference in the overall look of the house once we finally have it done.

Sandy Hook Gray

I'm off to climb up the ladder and get the last bit of the paper off!

xo Meg

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just Keep Swimming...

My heart is pretty heavy today.  And my head is full.  Things around here are troubling.

The best thing for me when stuff is going on is to work, work, work.  So that's what I'm doing.  I stripped all the wallpaper off the lower hall and lower staircase yesterday.

Does this look any different than yesterday's post?

I'm sanding and prepping the walls now, then I'll give them a scrub with some TSP so I can prime them. You know that point in a project when you're sure it will never be finished?

xo Meg

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What I'm Up To Around Here

1.  Too many projects at the same time, as usual.

2.  This ridiculously time consuming and pain-in-the-butt kind of job.

And I thought removing the wallpaper in Elliott's Room was difficult!  Add 20 more feet to the ceiling height and a stairway.  God Bless this crazy old house.

Yes, I know these pictures from my blackberry are crappy.  I don't have time for a real attempt at photography today, what with all the ladder climbing.

xo Meg

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Basement

When we first looked at our home, we were thrilled with the amount of usable space in our basement.  It's uncommon in a neighbourhood like ours to have a high ceiling or large windows on the lower level.  But our house does.  It has also been renovated - sometime in the eighties, but renovated nonetheless.

The basement houses a family room, the laundry area,  Jay's little office nook and lots of storage. Great usable space, right?

There's a couple of problems though.  First off, it's being used as a total dumping ground.  I'm talking leftover supplies from projects, laundry piles, sports equipment, boxes of questionable contents, extra furniture more sports equipment... you get the idea.

 I want to make the space function well for our family.  I want the family room down there to be somewhere I might actually watch a movie and the laundry room to be a place I don't cringe when I have to throw in a load.  However, I don't want to spend much money on re-designing the space right now.

The first step will be to remove the strange kidney-shaped counter.  That's free and I can do it myself.

As far as the storage area at the bottom of the stairs goes, we need to store the following sports items:

  •  hockey equipment & tree for hanging it to dry
  • goalie pads for road hockey
  • skis (three pair, plus boots)
  • snowboards (two boards plus boots)
  • soccer gear (including balls and equipment bags)
  • lifejackets
  • baseball gloves
  • assorted balls & outdoor gear

Additionally, there needs to be a place for the kids to hang up their winter gear.  It all needs to fit into the area at the bottom of the stairs (see below).

 I'd like to create two lockers, like these, which Jay made for a client:

These lockers will be where the kids can put their winter clothes and boots.  
We also need some closed storage for the sports gear.

This one's my all time fave.  I love the cupboard and hook combo.


Today, I've been focused on clearing out the junk and re-organizing the rest. I took some photos of the before mess.   I used my blackberry so you wouldn't be able to see the mess very clearly. I'll show you those tomorrow, along with the progress I've made so far.

xo Meg

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bathroom Mood Board

I finished the mood board for the bathroom part of the project Jay's working on right now.

Since this is primarily a guy's bathroom, there are lots of masculine touches.  Except for the floral, that's Karly's pick!  I love the idea of adding the shaving mirror and rain showerhead, which will be mounted really high, since Mason is very tall.

If you have a question about any of the sources, let me know.  

xo Meg

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project Progress

Ah the messy, nasty tear out phase of a renovation project.  

Remember that laundry room/bathroom reno I told you about here?  This morning, it looks like this:

Nice, huh?  At lease they have another entrance and bathroom to use during the renovation!  I'll be back tomorrow with a mood board for the bathroom that's part of this project.

Happy Tuesday!

xo Meg

Monday, January 9, 2012

Audrey's Room Progress

I know I've kept you in suspense about Audrey's room.  We did get a lot of work done in there over the Christmas break.  Jay had some time off work and that helped matters. Here's what we started with:

I was hesitant to post the after photos for you, not because I don't love how her room is shaping up, but because it's not really done.  I had a lot of trouble figuring out the window treatments for this room.  First I was going to make a pelmet but I didn't have a lot of success and it looked cheap and homemade.

   Then, we painted the room in Audrey's favourite colour.  Boy, is it aqua.  I mean, really bright aqua.  She loves it.  She says it makes her happy to wake up in there.  But it is a lot of colour for me.  Here it is:

We have left the iron bed white for now.  It's peeling and chipping so I will paint it but I'm giving it a little time first so we can think on the colour - maybe brown. The bedding is from Restoration Hardware and the pillows are in 'Sweet William' from Tonic Living.  I am hoping to find an off-white quilt and shams for here.

The orange-stained closet doors (yuck!) are being replaced with white panelled doors like in the rest of the house.

Jay is working on a built-in desk for this area.  The hutch will go up on top of the desk and the schoolhouse desk will be removed.  It isn't nearly enough storage space for Audrey, who loves to craft and create and generally make a mess.

The art will go up on this wall - gallery style.  Still working on collecting the frames and pieces that will go there.  The ones I do have are up on top of her hutch right now.  We also found a big curvy mirror on the side of the road yesterday.  I will be putting that up in here for sure when I've gotten a coat of white paint on it.  I am also painting the pink bulletin board white.

The little nook in the corner will eventually have a window seat.  Audrey can often be found on the beanbag chair reading a book.  It's a cozy little reading corner.  She calls it her 'book nook'.

I have decided to wait on the window treatments for the time being.  I'm thinking of just doing a plain off-white panel on a oil-rubbed bronze curtain rod over the bed but I'd like a more tailored roman on the book nook window.  I will most likely link the two with some turquoise trim.

I'll keep you posted about the progress!  I would welcome any comments or suggestions you have for pulling it together the rest of the way.

xo Meg

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Laundry Room & Bath Project

Today I have a new project to tell you about.

  We are currently working on a renovation to a ranch style house.  The house is really dated, built in the early 80's with lots of linoleum and brown throughout.  But the house has great bones - generously sized rooms and lots of potential.  Plus, it sits on a beautiful piece of property with mature trees and lovely landscaping. It's owned by my brother, Mason, and sister-in-law, Karly, and their two sweet kiddos.

The first phase of the renovation includes the side entrance.  It is the main entrance for their family, being just off the garage and beside the kitchen.  Currently, the space houses a hall closet, small pantry cupboard, bathroom and sauna (yes, sauna!).  We are re-vamping it to include a message station, locker storage, a laundry area and a bathroom.

Mason and Karly like a bit of a contemporary aesthetic.  Clean lines and simple decor with warm colours.  I think this style really compliments the architecture of their home.

So here are the before photos of their current side entrance/bathroom:

Here are a couple of inspiration shots for the laundry area:

(from Veranda Interiors)

Sarah Richardson

I created this mood board for them.  Hopefully this helps them to narrow down the choices for their finishes.

1. Slate Tile
2. Mini Chevron  and  PomPom Play from Tonic Living
3. American Standard Faucet
4. Paint Colours by Benjamin Moore:  Sweet Daphne # 529 (walls) and Gunmetal #1602 (Chalkboard)
5.  Stainless Steel Tube Pulls from Lee Valley
6. Glass Tile for Backsplash
7. Caesarstone Countertops in Whisper 4620
8. Ikea Ribba Frames with B&W photography

I'll be back tomorrow with the bathroom mood board!
xo Meg


Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last post.  The blog universe is so strange and I feel so attached to so many of you people who I've never even met in real life.  Your comments are always read and appreciated by me - probably more than you know!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ringing In 2012

I feel like I have been hit  by a freight train.

Actually, it was a transport truck.

Last night, we left my brother's house in Essex County at around 8:30.  We were traveling east on Highway 401, the main highway that runs east to west across our province.  The  roads were clear.  About 20 kilometers outside of London, we hit white out blizzard conditions.  Visibility was very bad.  We couldn't see 10 feet in front of our truck but the truck in front of us had it's hazard lights on so we were able to follow along behind him.  We were traveling in the right hand lane of the highway.

Out of nowhere, we heard a horn and watched as the back end of the transport truck slid in our direction. It sideswiped our car, damaging all of the panels on the driver's side.  We managed to stay out of the ditch and right our car - just barely.  All of us are okay.

And the transport truck kept driving.

He didn't stop or even slow down.  

There are moments in life that change everything.  I was talking about change from the perspective of resolutions and a new year on Sunday.  Now I'm talking about turn-everything-upside-down life change.

I looked in the backseat at my little girl, who was sitting behind the driver's seat, and thought about 6 more inches.  Six more inches of sliding eighteen wheeler. In fact, I've thought of little else since.

There is no doubt that things in our life have been difficult over the last year.  I try to focus on the positive things in our life here on my blog. But the simple fact is that the strained economy has certainly taken its toll on our business and things are looking different for us this year.  There are other struggles for us too.  Health issues... personal issues...  Our family has pulled together in a way I didn't think possible but it has been messy.

I wonder, what does all this mean?  Are we simply on the wrong path?  What changes do we need to make to our life to bring things back into balance?  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  I just wish I could figure out what the reason is.

One thing is for sure, something has to give.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Welcome Change for 2012

Changes make us nervous and excited.  The flipping of a calendar page has made me feel full of anticipation and excitement to finally get it right this year.  I'm not one to make resolutions, or rather, I'm not one to keep them.  But I always spend the first week in a new year contemplating my life and thinking on what I want it to look like.

Pinned Image

But first, I have to count our blessings this year.  We are all healthy right now. I am married to the best and most amazing person that I know.  Our kids are smart and continue to shine at what they do.  We have friends and family that we love, who love us back and continue to keep our hearts full.  I am grateful for these things.  Sometimes through the last year, they have saved me.

Everyone has struggles.  Not everyone is public about them and I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I have struggles that you don't know about.  We are working on putting those struggles into perspective in a life that is so rich with good.  We are working on making changes in our life to keep it simple.  To focus on what is really important to us as a couple and us as a family.

As we tinker around this old house, I am learning about myself.  I'm learning about being satisfied with what is here and now.  I am learning about not comparing myself to others and what they have. That's something I will continue to strive for in 2012.

Yep, I've got plans and ideas and dreams an goals for 2012.

My blog has given me so much this last half a year.  New friendships, inspiration, a place to record our journey.  I plan to keep working on that.  I'm going to BlogPodium, my first blogging event, and I'm so excited about the things I will learn there.  And the people I will connect with.  Anyone else going?

xo Meg