How to approach home renovations

Photo by Greencolander
Sometimes you are simply day dreaming when you start thinking of all the things that would make your home perfect. You start to dream of that perfect kitchen that includes a dishwasher, how nice it might be to have a fireplace, that extra bathroom; maybe even a second or third floor! Then at some point you realize if you had the foggiest idea how much some of this stuff costs, you might stop dreaming and start planning!

Chalk board Ikea hack

Very cool, easy, cheap, pretty Ikea hack.
See the complete and simple how-to post on ikea hacker here.
See the actual frame from Ikea here.

Musty Washing Machine

Photo by, kassandrapoised

I was looking for a solution to the musty smell in my washing machine and found information quite easily. Here is what to do to get rid of it!

How to get rid of a musty smell in your washing machine
  • Always leave the lid up after a wash to air the machine out**
  • Don't overload your washer to ensure it can spin and drain properly
  • Run a hot water wash with 1 cup of white vinegar -do this as often as you need to to get rid of the smell
  • Alternatively -do the same with a cup of bleach
  • Run a cycle with Glisten or1/4 cup of any dish washing detergent (yes I mean DISH washing) -this has been recommended for really suborn smells
  • Try using Fleecy
** extremely important ;-)

When your washing machine won't drain!

Photo by Cali2Okie

While I was doing some research for my musty smelling washing machine (post coming soon) I came across a lot of other interesting washing machine information. As it happens -I have a friend whose machine won't drain after a wash so I gathered information to help them out. Here is the information I found on that topic:

Need a new roof?

Photo by m_m_mnemonic

I need a new roof. I always knew I would have to invest in my roof. I was hoping that I would have a bit of time after moving in before having to shell out the cash for this, but alas... I am feeling that I should maintain this aspect of my home as soon as possible. Why?

Love thy neighbour

This being my first home and all, I place huge stock in my neighbors. I was hopeful of a nice considerate reasonably quiet person who loved animals and was kind and respectful of them and me. My little house is, well, little and on a postage sized lot so we must be respectful of each others privacy. We also share a wall; this being a semi-bungalow after all. So, when I moved in I was extremely happy to meet my neighbor S. She was exactly what suited me for a neighbor. She has a lovely cat and a small dog, loves animals is a single quiet woman and extremely friendly. What more could I ask?

How to add value to your home

I can't believe how easy it is to gather lists upon lists of to-do's and nice-to-have's when you buy a home. There are lists of necessities and lists of decorating ideas and now I find myself considering what of my list items will actually add value to my home. These are becoming my priority right after my first priority which is essential maintenance.

Here are the results of my research on adding value to your home.

Handyman, contractor, service people -where do you find one?

Photo by whiteoakart

Okay -I get a bit nervous with contractors and repair folks. Sometimes you just don't know who to trust. Firstly I have to mention that there is a website that is perfect for homeowners looking for handy people, contractors, roofers, gas services, plumbing, electrical -you name it, anything to do with your home repair and upkeep!

Simple baked tofu

Photo by lexikh

I like to cook. I stumbled across a really nice sounding baked tofu recipe on another blog. I thought I would post my simple recipe here and link to the new recipe I just found in the process.

Home Maintanance: Checklist

Photo by, Papa Plumbing

So -have I mentioned how many things pile up when you own your own home? It is Fall and I want to ensure I am taking good care of my investment. Firstly I would like to get my furnace checked. There are a whole host of other things I am finding that I must do in the Fall. I found this nice checklist from CMHC

This checklist has items you should check for each season. Here are some of the Fall items it lists -in my own words:

**Get a qualified person to service your furnace every two years if you have gas -clean your furnace every one or two years
**If you have an air conditioning unit -check that the drain pan is clean and draining
**You can clean your furnace yourself -but always turn the power off first; check the belts and clean and dust inside the furnace and the fan blades
**Replace your air filters each month while your furnace is runing -if you are using an HRV system which is runing all year round -change the filters once every month or two -sometimes they won't look like the need replacing, use your best judgement
**If you have an HRV (Heat Revovery Ventilation -what is this? CMC -how to maintain an HRV?) check that all the duct work is sealed and that there are no air leaks

It's all very good stuff! I want to explore the whole indoor air quality thing soon here as I've read so much about that lately. Stay tuned.

Here is another great list for Fall, from: Coughlan Homes

DIY coat hangers for hallway

In my old apartment I made myself a nifty coat rack from a piece of scrap wood and several odd old hooks I had collected and carried with me since I lived in Montreal. I love the look of the old hooks and thought I should use them and show them off. They are different shapes and sizes so the look is rustic and eclectic. I still want to use them in my new place and plan to put them in my new entrance hallway as soon as I decide if I am going to change the current paint colour.

I found this nifty idea on Design Sponge that I think could bump up the creativity of my existing piece and help me to match the look and colour scheme I decide on for the hall.

Eco Friendly Painting and Staining

I would like to paint my interior soon -particularly my basement where my bedroom is. I must use low VOC paint. I also have some pieces of furniture that I'd like to paint with Milk Paint. I love the look and the Eco factor. Something else that has been on my mind lately is my deck. I noticed some dry rot on some trim under my eaves. This is a concern as there is some dry rot also on the wood panel of the exterior of my house in the same area. Of course this leads me to think about my eves in general. WOW -owning a home kind of spirals into interconnected issues one must keep on top of doesn't it?!

I am fortunate to have some really good options for environmentally friendly options here in Toronto. Here is what I've been investigating recently.


Homestead House Paint Company

They have a great selection of paints and colours and say they can match any paint colour from any other company. They also have wood stain and protective solutions as well that are non-toxic and environmentally responsible.

Telephone: (416)504-9984
Fax: (416)504-9984
95 Niagara Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V-1C3


Element Painters Inc.

These people say they specialize in low and no VOC interior and exterior painting services. They also stain and restore decking using Eco friendly methods.

647-295-7994 or 416-462-3197
276 Carlaw Ave Toronto, ON, Canada

Eco Painting

This company also claims to focus on environmentally sound painting practices. They do say that they also do deck work, but they do not specifically say that the decking stains and products they use are also environmentally friendly. It appears that they would be. A phone call could confirm this. They have interesting articles on their website and say they can even handle dealing with minor dry rot found in decking without calling another contractor.

2100 Ellesmere Road, Suite 201A
Toronto, Ontario M1H 3B7
Tel: (416) 733-7767
Fax: (416) 733-7767

Even more daybeds

Okay -so the daybed I liked from West Elm doesn't exist in Canada AND all their daybeds will be discontinued soon. Here is the one they have:

Cost with mattress and cover shown here and tax is: $1589.91. If I want it shipped and assembled that would be an extra $160.00.
This is the Ikea option I have also been thinking about:

It doesn't look like much here, but with a bright coloured throw and some nice pollows I think it might work. This will set you back $499.00 plus tax and around $399.00 for a mattress -$1017.00 including taxes -roughly.

A Look at getting a Gas Fireplace

I find my furnace to be extremely loud! I will post specifically on this issue soon -but this made me think of getting a nice quiet gas fireplace for my main floor. Thinking that I could turn down the furnace and heat with the fireplace in my small upper floor (about 500 square feet). Bonus -it would look pretty too! Some nifty features of the one below are a remote control, temperature settings, works during power outages (my furnace relies on electricity to start), you can set to automatically come on and go off!!! I love it already.

Here is a photo of one that I like:

It seems small enough to fit in my tiny living room along the wall that separates it from the Kitchen. I wonder how much it is, how much it costs to install and if it will affect my home insurance. I also want to investigate how this may impact my layout options.

Toronto Location Details of Seller:

Kastle Fireplace Gas Fireplaces

1960 Ellesmere Road, Unit 1
Scarborough, ON, Canada
M1H 2V9
Telephone: 416-289-0009 or 1-866-330-3315

Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Thursday, 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Friday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Saturday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Decorating: Room Planner

Just found this great tool on  I am kind of paralyzed with my decorating at the moment. So much I want to do. Where to start? How much can I afford? What big purchases should I make? What do I like? Mainly -where do I start?????

This may help:

More daybeds

I found this great article on about Small Space decorating and it had this beautiful daybed from West Elm.

You can find this in Toronto here:

View Larger Map

Toronto - Shops @ King, 109 Atlantic Avenue, Toronto, ON M6K 1E2‎ - (416) 537-0110‎
The American website is:

A look at daybeds

The front room continues to be completely bare. I need that to be office storage for stuff like my printer, paper, basic files and such. I also want it to be a comfy spare room/creative space. I am thinking of a day bed and perhaps an ottoman.

Inspiration photos for my front room:

I LOVE the half curtains and the curtain panels -nice look.

This Ikea day bed may work for me -it is more affordable than the Hemnes bed. But I like that too. If I get the Meldal day bed I will HAVE to get these baskets for under as well, mind the drawers on the Hemnes are tidier particularly when you have cats that shed a tonne like I do. But there is SUCH a price difference: $499.99 or $129.00 -I can't really ignore it. On top of the bed, there is the mattress expense: $499.00 for a twin, no box spring.

Moving tips

*Photo from Plil_B

I know I have to get packing so here are some things I want to keep in mind!

Gather all my supplies

  • Boxes: Lots of boxes, more than I think I will ever need
  • Packing Tape: Strong packing tape for boxes
  • Tape Dispenser
  • Black Marker
  • Large Garbage Bags: for covering clothes on hangers and for garbage -clearly label!
  • Notebook: For tracking what is in each box, create a packing/labeling system, some kind of method for keeping track of what is in each box
  • Newspaper: For packing breakables
Keep my stuff together
  • Keep all pictures with picture hooks, extent ions with appliances, computer and office stuff all together
Pack as early as possible
  • Pair down your living necessities, live out of a travel case for soap, toothpaste, shampoo and wash cloth
  • Pare down cooking utensils
Assemble a cleaning kit
  • This will be used to clean your old place before you leave
  • I think I'll clean and roll up my carpets early to make cleaning and packing them simpler
Keep important papers with me
  • I might use my money belt for my passport, birth certificate and important documents while I move
  • Place all current bills in a large envelope and put this in your purse
  • Gather all you closing papers, Realtor information and important bills and account information and move it myself
More information I found

Kitchen Inspiration

I love the open shelves with dried goods in jars.

The cats

I was without cats, sans cats for just a year after my 2 feline companions passed away of old age. I thought I would stay pet free for awhile and enjoy my lack of commitments. Admittedly, I am a soft touch when it comes to the furry creatures. I was minding my own business when out from under a car popped a little Kate. She was a kitten and all by her self. What could I do?? She made herself at home right away and I had no choice in the matter.

This is Kate:

She is all grown up now. Then came along Thomas. I found Thomas huddled in a dirt pit in a dog park on my way home from work. He was skin and bones, timid and didn't eat on his own for several days. He was also abandoned -but likely he was born to a street cat. Again -what could I do? I couldn't leave him once I saw him. He was not in a good state. I always intended on finding a good home for Thomas. So far, I have been putting that off.

Thomas surprised me when he went into heat. Thomas is in fact a she! The name has stayed. Here is a pic of Thom Kitty:

Before and After -Nightstand

I love Design Sponge! What a great website. I had to write about this great before and after. This is a nightstand. The nightstand was painted, new hardware was added and new legs (a particularly special touch once you see it!) and they added an amazing molding touch to the front cabinet door. Such innovations! All together they add up to a spectacular look -topped off with a nice coat of white spray paint.

Here is the Before:

To see the amazing "After" click here..

Ikea wardrobe hack idea

Ok -I love the idea off hacking Ikea furniture. I just purchased some Ikea furnature off the people who sold my house to me. I don't like the wood finish and think it is too dark for my small finished basement bedroom. I thought I would paint it white anyway and change the nobs, but I found this really cute example from Manhattan Craft Room. She took a plain Ikea wardrobe and turned it into something custom. Have a look:

Here is the wardrobe I plan to refinish. I will post once I do:

Hall and Entrance Ideas

I am moving into my very first home at the end of this month and I waned a place to store my inspiriation, plans and progress. Really this is my log for my life at this time. Shared with cats -well, more on the title later, but 2 kitties will be moving with me into my first home. I am single and stereotypes be dammed!

I have a tiny hallway -3 feet wide only. Here is a nice narrow piece of furniture that I like from: Style at Home

Hallway ideas

Narrow peice of furniture with drawers

I love the mirror with the molding. This still may be too bulky for my narrow space, but I am thinking a mirror would be nice.

Idea from a magazine article on small space decorating
12. Line a hallway with bookshelves.

Interior Paint Ideas

Currently my place all a pastel blue. I want to change this to a warmer, but neutral colour since I don't yet know how I will decorate. I will have only 2 days to do some painting before I move in and I want that blue outta there!

Nice Neutrals from Style at Home

More paint ideas from Syle at Home
2009 colour trends