Monday, January 31, 2011

A Little Colour

I finally broke down and decided maybe I should paint at least one wall in the house something other than white... 

The Powderface colour still looked to brown against the grey and white tile in the bathroom so it became the obvious choice for introducing some "colour". I chose General Paint's "Monday Morning" CL3011W which prompted Dave to call me from the paint store in a rant... "you promised me that you had picked a colour for the bathroom, you must have wrote it down wrong because I am looking at the paint and it is white..."

In fact it was not white but a soft grey. Thankfully this time he had the patience to wait until the whole room was painted and was quick to admit that it was not white and was the perfect colour for the bathroom.

I managed to do a little better with the "colour" for the feature wall in the office... almost as far away from white as you can get! Trying to pick a colour to compliment the red brick that will go on the chimney, Dave and I both quickly gravitated to a deep blue-grey. We settled on "Joe Batts Arm" CH094 from General Paint's Historic Canadiana series (apparently Joe Batts Arm is a town in Newfoundland). 

That is as brave as I get with colour for awhile... the next task is picking the carpet "colour"... white of course!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Paint Goes On, Paint Comes Off

With the last of the paint on the walls, we decided it was time to move on to removing paint.

Before finalizing our carpet order, we needed to verify that it was actually possible to refinish the hardwood stair treads to accommodate a carpet runner, otherwise we would be forced to carpet the entire stair. So out came the paint stripper and heat gun!

With a little elbow grease and lots of paint fumes - we successfully managed to remove the countless layers of paint and stain to reveal the original hardwood underneath. Now we just need to check that the wood will accept stain... but the carpet runner is definitely looking promising!

Feeling confident with our success on the stairs, we then decided to turn our paint stripper and heat gun against the fireplace.

We had never even considered trying to remove the paint from the brick on the fireplace until I stumbled upon 1912 Bungalow looking for inspiration for a new mantel. Since we intended to re-paint the brick anyway, we figured it wouldn't hurt to experiment with restoring the brick first. 

Much to our surprise - it worked! The flat brick easily comes clean with the heat gun and a little patience but the split-face brick in the centre is turning out to be a little more of a challenge. However, we are inspired by the initial results and are hopeful that a higher strength stripper and, worse case, sandblasting will get the brick clean.

Guess what I am going to be spending the next week doing...


Friday, January 28, 2011

It is All About Compromise

Dave has vetoed the use of wallpaper anywhere in the house but I still want to add some interest to the wall behind the bed in the master bedroom to help anchor it against the high ceiling.

Therefore I was quite excited to find these fantastic wallpaper stencils on etsy - he can't say no to paint!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Progress - Day 100

I feel like we should celebrate. Surviving 100 days of renovation with out any major arguments, injuries or disasters (knock on wood) seems like a momentous occasion. Unfortunately Dave is working tonight...

In the end Powderface redeemed itself and looked much more white once all the walls were painted. I guess I have to admit that Dave was right on this one. After 7 days and 20 gallons of paint we are finally done painting the walls. Now we get to start painting doors and trim...

We had originally ordered our bathroom tile from the Home Depot but when it arrived the chair rail and pencil peices looked more honed than polished. So after hauling all of it home, we got to haul it all back to the Home Depot and then headed online to re-order it from the ebay seller - Marble Outlet - who we bought the kitchen tile from. The second batch of tile arrived last week - thankfully with a beautiful polished finish - and Dave plans to start installing it tomorrow.

We seem to be speeding right along into finishing! Hopefully we can keep it up!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Look What Showed Up at Home Depot

While at the Chinook Home Depot to pick up insulation for the attic, look what we spotted in the clearance section... our rejected windows!


Seeing White

Dave made fantastic progress with the painting this week - the entire house is primed and all of the ceilings are painted. But now we have run into a hiccup... 

We had intended to paint the entire house the same wall and trim colour we used in the kitchen two years ago and LOVE - General Paint's Powderface (CLW 1034W) and Mosquito Pass (CLW 1041W).

However, the white that looks like this in the kitchen (ignore the mid-renovation picture):

Looks like this in the rest of the house:

Ok, so maybe I am exagerating a little bit... but it definetly looks more beige than white. And unfortunately, no, the paint was not mixed incorrectly.

Dave has convinced me to let him finish painting one coat on all of the walls in hopes that it will "tone down" once it is not being viewed against the pure white primer. However I have already begun scouring the paint deck looking for an alternate solution for my dream of beautiful crisp clean white walls.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


For the sake of warmth and noise-reduction, we are still leaning towards carpet on the second floor despite uncovering beautifil hardwood floors under the old carpet.

I thought picking out door hardware and lighting was a challenge but I think picking out carpet is turing out to be the biggest challenge yet. Who new there were so many choices in carpet?

Loop, frieze, twisted, textured, patterned, nylon, polyester, wool...
And then there is the thousands of colours...

With two dogs and two cats, durability and stain resistance are the most important factors for us. Every company claims that their fantastic petrochemical cocktail will resist wear and stains for 20 years but does that mean anything to two hyperactive dirt-loving Weims?

Most of it is just backed up by lengthy warranty documents but Mohawk actually tested their Smartstrand technology with a 2,800 pound black rhinoceros named Ricko (as well as a giraffe, elephant and camel)...

Mohawk Smartstrand Challenge

Now maybe that carpet actually stands a chance in our house!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Progress - Day 91

After exhausting all of the references from Wes and Pierre, we ended up posting an add on kijiji looking for a "taper with ninja skills". We got tons of responses and managed to find someone that Dave actually trusted after only three interviews. It took over a week for him to tape the house but it was worth the wait to get a quality job.

We spent this weekend priming the walls. Thankfully we were able to get the majority of the house primed in one day thanks to professional paint sprayer Dave found on kijiji for $300. Worth every penny!


In six hours we managed to paint the entire second floor and half of the main floor. We would have finished the entire house if we didn't run out of paint - twice! We went through 10 gallons of primer!

It is surreal to be moving on to the finishing stages...


Master Bedroom Inspiration

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What a Difference a Century Makes

 House wiring circa 1911:

House wiring circa 2011:

Electricity, internet, cable, telephone, stereo... it all adds up to A LOT of wiring. Most of the wiring is in case one day we decide to put in a whole home audio system.

Pretty extreme for two people who don't even own a television...


Sunday, January 9, 2011


We have finally ordered a new faucet and shower enclosure for the bathroom. Since there is such a limited supply of clawfoot tub hardware in Calgary, we ended up ordering online from Baths of Distinction.

Hotel Collection Shower Enclosure

Victoriana Faucet
This shower enclosure attaches to the walls and ceiling in four places and is double the diameter of our previous one, so hopefully we don't have any repeat incidents of the shower enclosure falling apart mid-shower.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Let There Be Light

I am searching for pendant lights for the vaulted portion of the ceiling in the upstairs hallway.

I am torn between something traditional:

Clark Mini Pendant, Wilmette

Hundi Ribbed Glass Lantern, Bronze finish

Or something a little more unique:

Berlin Pendant, Velocity
Or something with a hint of colour:

Bright Side, Velocity
Suspension, Velocity

Choices, choices...


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Am I Allowed to Change My Mind?

The past month there has been significant debate in our house about the wall dividing the hallway and the living room.

David wanted to remove the wall in order to further open up the main floor but I wanted to keep it because:
  1. It keeps drafts from the front door out of the living area
  2. It keeps the historic quality of the house to not be completely "open concept"
  3. I was scared it would change the porportions of the living room and dining room. It would make the room more square and I was worried it would actually make it look smaller 
In the end I won out mainly because it is the only wall on the main floor that we can use to run ducting to the second floor.

However, after watching the first Episode of Sarah101 last night I am seriously reconsidering my decision...

Sarah decorated a living and dining room almost identical in plan to our living and dining room except they had obviously removed the hallway wall. Seeing it in a finished state, I am now tempted by the openness. It would definitely allow for a lot more flexibility in furniture selection and arrangement.

When I originally opposed the plan I was concerned the short wall beside the door, necessary for light switches and ductwork, would look awkward - but finished with a little bit of trim and moulding it actually seems to work.

If only I could have seen the episode two weeks ago when it would not have been so much work (and re-work) to remove the wall. It would have saved me a day of anxiety trying to figure out if I made the right decision before the taper arrives tomorrow and a day of listening to Dave taunting "I told you so"...


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