Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

September 28, 2015

Bathroom Update: I Still Wear a Rain Coat to the Shower

The Bathroom Reno.  Ugh.

Last time I chatted about it, thing were progressing smoothly, if a bit slowly.  We had finally ordered the cabinetry, tile, fixtures, lighting and put a deposit on a gorgeous slab of quartzite: 

By the middle of May, our garage was full of bathroom fixtures: the toilet, faucets, lights, aqua sinks, etc., had all arrived.  It was incredibly thrilling to unwrap the aqua sinks!

Meanwhile, we had ripped out the original vanity, counters, mirror and sinks - here's a reminder:

It was dusty, crummy work - no surprise there - but we had to laugh when we saw the "bandaid" solution the former homeowner had devised to keep the mirror clips from scratching the back of the mirror:

Two of the walls came down and a lot of time was spent moving the wiring for my crazy triple sconce on mirror idea.  We also added another outlet (because we switched from one sink to two, and we figured it would be convenient to each have an outlet nearby) and changed the location of the original one.  Everything took forever because of the careful measuring and triple checking for placement.  Additionally, we had installed some bracing for the floating cabinetry - which also needed to be placed just so.

Then, tragedy struck and we left home suddenly.  We dropped everything.  I was gone for six weeks and whenever Hubby wasn't working, he came to be with me and help my family.

When we finally came home, we were both exhausted.  It took a few weeks for us to get back into the swing of things, but eventually we re-started work on the bathroom.  On the one hand, it was painful because it was the last thing we wanted to be doing, but we couldn't turn back!   We would have much preferred to spend the rest of summer just hanging out by the lake and processing things but, on the other hand, it was nice to have a project to distract us.

The wiring was completed, the blocking was done, and so drywall went back up.

Then Hubby took on the behemoth task of sawing apart and removing our space portal bathtub.  We bought a reciprocating saw for the job and, one broken and one bent blade later, the fiberglass tub and surround lay in pieces in the carport.

Yay!  Progress!

At this point it seemed our luck had turned, because the guesthouse shower - which boasted ice cold water in the spring when we tested to make sure it worked - actually ran hot water!  Hot water!  I hopped in for the inaugural shower and, as expected, it was ice cold.  I shivered my way through a quick shower and was just about to leap out when the water started to get warmer, and warmer and, all of a sudden, was piping hot.

It was such a relief, I almost cried.  I yelled to Hubs, "IT'S HOT!!  I'M SO HAPPY".

Then we hit more delays, as it goes with renovations.  Three damaged bathtubs (that's a story for another day) - and more than a month later - we finally secured a tub in perfect condition.   Meanwhile, we had to keep calling our tiler and cabinet installer and delaying installation, again and again.

While we waited, we kept chugging along and installed the new fan (we previously only had a light in the shower). 

As the pace slowed, we found ourselves with some time on our hands, so naturally I added projects to our to-do list!  Hubby had been reluctant to remove all of the drywall, but I just didn't think the old and new would match up well so I convinced him we should take down and replace the drywall on the window wall too.  Doing this allowed us to remove the old toilet paper roll holder that was bolted  in place, so I'm excited to replace that with something chicer (which wasn't part of the original plan).

We also removed the wall to the right of the tub so we can install a towel warmer!!!  That will be amazing in the winter - I'm so happy we went ahead with that, which is also a little bonus project.  We toyed with the idea, but hadn't committed until we found ourselves with a little extra time. 

When we finally got a tub that wasn't damaged, we installed it and hurried to get the plumbing done.  The plumbing had been off centre to accommodate the shower portal and we wanted to rearrange a bit anyway.  Hubby had to do some framing because the nook for the old shower portal was much larger than we needed.  It took quite a bit of time to get this tub area ready, but now it's in and ready to go!  The installation was a bit tricky, so I'll have a tutorial for that - and a round up of modern bathtub options - soon.

I can't wait to show you photos of the walls painted and tile installed...

But don't get excited about the walls - we're re-painting them the exact same shade of white!  I contemplated a soft aqua ceiling, but I think I should wait on any colourful plans until I see how bold the aqua sinks are once they're installed. 

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel because we're no longer ripping things out - we're starting to put the pieces back together.  Getting the tub installed was a major turning point and it really motivated us.  But I have to complain a little because seeing that tub is terribly tempting.  Of course, we're still showering in the freezing cold guesthouse (the water is hot, but the building is not).  Every day I apprehensively check the weather.  The water lines out there aren't insulated and so every fall we drain the lines.  If we get an early frost or freezing temperatures, we might have to endure ice cold showers - or no water at all.  Like totally dummies, we shower at night because I just can't sleep without an evening shower or bath.  Even with this situation, I couldn't switch to morning showers.  Let me tell you, running back from the guesthouse in pajamas, raincoat, (toque on some cooler nights) and rubber boots, in the pitch black, is getting old.  Some nights we've gone out there to shower and emerged in the middle of a crazy thunder shower.  Other nights we hear rustling in the woods behind the guest house and bolt back to the house as if our pants were on fire.  Sometimes we cross paths with a fox and for some reason we've really rubbed him the wrong way because he absconded with one of my shoes from the carport on the weekend.  But sometimes we get our act together and go for a shower when it's light out and wander down to the lake, enjoying a sunset after our shower, which is kind of dreamy on warm nights.

So I really shouldn't complain - it's such a perk that we even have a second shower.  Our only other option would be a quick hose down in the driveway. 

Now that things are progressing again (hope I didn't jinx it!), I'll be sharing little updates on Instagram (#lakehousereno).    

September 25, 2015

Creating and Grieving

There's something I've been wanting to chat about.  See that bronze sculpture to the right of the fireplace?

Here's a better look:

It's a sculpture that my grandfather made, in his early days of making art.  He experimented and practiced and sometimes things turned out a little wonky, but eventually he honed his skills and for a time he even owned his own art gallery in Toronto.  I have three other pieces of his work: a small bird on a branch, the striking centaur, and a tumbling gymnast (plus the headboard he made us).

I've been looking at this sculpture a lot, thinking about how much my grandfather practiced his craft.

As a kid, I was so prolific - much to my Mom's chagrin.  I churned out drawing after drawing, doodling on anything and everything, including important paperwork.  She had to deal with stacks and stacks of messy drawings and wibbly wobbly clay pots.  I just loved art and was convinced I'd be a photographer, painter, or interior designer (much to my Dad's chagrin), but somehow I've lost some of that joy.  I sometimes find myself overwhelmed - instead of inspired - by the sheer volume of (sometimes kind of disposable) crafts and DIYs that are shared online.  Lately I've channeled much of my creativity into "practical" projects, like a pot holder, catnip toy, painted planters and home renovations - money saving projects I can use and feel good about.  For some reason, I've felt the need to justify the time and expense of making things but this preoccupation has really done me a disservice.   

I could really benefit from some time spent making things just for the sake of making things.  I have to admit that the traumatic passing of a relative this spring has been difficult to process and my family is still reeling from the shock.  I, myself, have good days and bad days, but I've tried my best power through the bad days and downplay the stress, anxiety, and grief I'm feeling.  I spent the first half of September in Toronto, helping to tie up some lose ends, and that re-awakened all kinds of feelings.  I left feeling immensely guilty and sad and agitated.  Creating things is said to help alleviate stress and anxiety, and is especially recommended to help with the grieving process.  So why has a craft and DIY enthusiast like me not jumped at the chance to create things as part of the healing process?

Hopefully this gal will encourage me to recapture some of my childhood zeal for arts and crafts!  To make stuff, just because; to try some of the 1000+ projects I've pinned...  I'm thinking that a pottery class might be just what the Dr. (that would be me) ordered...

Read more »

September 22, 2015

Throw Pillows Are Part of My Heritage

When I told Hubby I was getting four new pillows for the living room, he eyed me suspiciously.  He tolerates my love of throw pillows, but he'd prefer that we each have a pillow for sleeping and/or lounging that we carry around with us to avoid absolutely any excess of pillows.  Guests would be required to bring their own.  I tell him that I'm not even that much of a throw pillow enthusiast because other people switch them out seasonally.  But he says that no one does that, that's just madness.

Not to worry, I now have the best excuse ever for a plethora of pillows: having an abundance of decorative pillows is actually part of my Hungarian heritage.

That's right...

Now, if I'm being honest, I still have to do some research on this, but, at the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest, you can see examples of dowry displays, which would have been paraded through a town and put on display before a wedding.  As I understand it, the quality and quantity of the handmade pillows was an important part of a dowry and would be judged by fellow townsfolk. 

Budapest Museum of Ethography

Here's an older photograph, demonstrating the practice:

Found on Pinterest, unsure of original source
See?  If anything, I've been slacking in the pillow department - a total embarrassment to my ancestors.  Here's an inventory of my embarrassingly small collection, starting with my new Marimekko pillows:

Finnstyle 20% coupon code for readers

My old Marimekko pillows, sewn by Mom, got the boot from the living room, but I've been toying around with layering them in with the green silk bedroom pillows in the bedroom...

Bold marimekko pillows
Bold marimekko pillows

The bedroom could actually use a pillow refresh, because I've had the same silk throw pillows and orange paisley print pillow since 2011!!  My plan for a new embroidery one was set on the back burner but I'll get to it this year.  Maybe.  (Who had money on it taking four years for me to finish?)

Green silk and orange paisley pillows

Apparently I am abnormally committed to my throw pillows. 

White textured linens with pops of colour

It makes sense that I hang onto pillows because I take my sweet time finding the perfect fabrics.  Remember my struggle finding THE perfect print (I'm so picky) to mix in with the existing patterns on the sofa in the townhouse?  I had those for years too, only switching them when we moved to the lakehouse because the fabric was becoming threadbare by that point and I was starting to favor more aqua and blue hues.

Mixing pillow patterns - subtle

I think I should get bonus points, though, because even my office book boasts three throw pillows - a pale pink silk pair sewn by Mom and my little embroidered one.

Office closet turned nook for filing cabinet
Aqua Hungarian embroidered pillow

Hardly enough to impress the townsfolk! 

P.S. If you've been eyeing up something at FinnStyle (can I recommend some throw pillows?), the Dans le Lakehouse 20% coupon code expires on the 24th!  Click here to get it.
Read more »

September 16, 2015

New Bedroom Dressers with Mid-Century Styling

The search for new dressers is finally over!  When we moved into the lakehouse, two years ago, our master bedroom had one maple dresser on loan from my Mom (plus the vintage Mingo chair and mint side table):

After my Mom and I sewed the first set of back tab curtains in a bold, teal print, I shuffled some furniture and replaced the mint chair with our black organic chair.

I am so grateful to my Mom for loaning us a dresser because when we downsized from our three bedroom townhouse to our two bedroom lakehouse, we lost a lot of closet space and found ourselves needing a dresser for the first time!  I immediately started the quest for a replacement but I was disappointed by my first choice, dissuaded from going with some Ikea units, and discouraged by my local mid-century finds.  After short-listing many options and rejecting them for various reasons, I renewed my search at the end of last year, tirelessly checking out the options at every local furniture shop and large retailer in my small city.

I hadn't tried Leon's Furniture at that point so my Mom and I took a look around.  I was surprised by what Leon's had to offer - they had some really stylish, very modern dressers, some of which are even made in Canada!  I ended up finding two styles that appealed to my mid-century modern aesthetic: the (now discontinued) cherry veneered Noma (top) and the walnut veneered Roxy (bottom).

At the time my local Leon's didn't have either model on the floor and, although ordering in the dressers was no problem, I really wanted to see a better photo first, so I started perusing Leon's Instagram, searching for more photos of either dresser.  (I like seeing furniture in homes to get a better sense of the scale and finish).  I ended up chatting with their Director of Social Media, who invited me to collaborate on their new blog, Hello Yellow - you saw the start of my bedroom makeover for Hello Yellow when I revealed my new white glass sliding closet doors.  (You can read my newest Hello Yellow post here).

Part of my bedroom makeover includes two new dressers from Leon's, but that meant finally decided between the two dresser styles!  I loved the mid-century feel of the Noma, but the walnut veneer of the Roxy was quite striking.  In the end, I chose the Noma because I wanted to maximize storage (it is quite a few inches taller, wider, and longer than the Roxy) and I loved the curvy drawer fronts. 
When it was delivered I was a bit puzzled by the finish, which didn't look like the "cherry veneers in a graphite finish," described on the website.  

I was picturing a stain similar to the bench in this bedroom, which I hoped would pair well with the teak and walnut furniture in the rest of the house.  While in the photos I've taken it looks like an espresso finish, in real life the cherry wood beneath the stain really warms up the colour, so it looks more like chocolate - a really warm, rich brown.

Leon's was more than happy to let me swap out the dressers for any other pair I fancied, but I decided to live with the darker finish for awhile because the size fit our room so perfectly - I didn't want to give up an inch of storage.  So I kept them, and spent a lot of contemplative hours in here...

After living with them for a few days (and checking out my local Leon's, which by then had the Roxy in store), I couldn't bear to part with these dressers because I absolutely love the shape - especially the legs, with their retro metal foot caps!  The curvy draw fronts really remind me of vintage dressers like this one and this one, but with more height and spaciousness than any vintage piece I've seen.  Plus the quality is great: the drawers slide smoothly and both pieces feel really substantial and sturdy.

I looked at some mid-century dressers that I had pinned to Pinterest and realized that the darker stain was quite fetching and actually somewhat era-appropriate, demonstrated by this lovely 1950s Edward Wormley piece.
1st Dibs
While I contemplated the finish, anyone who walked through our doorway was immediately ushered into our bedroom and polled: "what do you think of these dressers?"  Most everyone agreed that while they are darker than my usual style, the dark stain really complements our DIY black welded headboard and vintage Hungarian posters.

And so, after much agonizing, it was decided that the dressers would stay!

The room feels so much more pulled together now - here's a sneak peek with the new tweed curtains:

I used my new camera for some of these photos and there's a learning curve - for sure - because I just haven't accurately captured the stain  or the brightness of the room.  I'm slowly improving and when I've got the hang of it, I'll re-take some photos of the bedroom.  In the meantime, now you've seen the progress being made in the space!

I was provided these two dressers by Leon's Furniture but was not prompted or encouraged to provide a positive review.  I had short-listed them long before we started chatting about a collaboration - getting to partner with a brand that I would happily purchase from is always the best kind of arrangement.  I've been very happy with the service from Leon's - they even offer once weekly delivery to folks in the sticks around here (thank you!). 
Read more »
© Dans le Lakehouse | All rights reserved.
See What Inspires Me on Pinterest