I Am Back, and Makeovers

First of all, happy new year everyone! As you may have noticed, I’ve been extremely quiet over the past two weeks. In addition to hosting a Christmas Eve dinner party (whew, ain’t I glad that’s over! Stressful it was!), hubs and I vacayed in San Francisco and Bay Area for a week. I’ve been since catching up reading your lovely blogs, as well as putting my head back into planning a few small decor projects.

Before the holidays, in my haste to post the basement pictures, I never got around to post some before-and-after pictures of a couple of makeovers. Anyhow, here they are.

The first up are the cane chairs I scored from KJ.

IN PROGRESS (spray painted with computer fabric mock-up)

The second in line are these sad-looking rattan chairs. I remember seeing identical ones from Circa Who, so I couldn’t pass such a rather easy yet high-impact up-cycle opportunity.

AFTER (added a seat base and cushion)

My next re-upholstery adventure is the French Wing Chair. After much consideration, I’ve decided to give velvet a try so I picked up 6 meters of this cream velvet fabric. Would it turn out just as I imagined? I guess we shall see. 

And that’s it for today. Hope you all have a pleasant working week ahead.


Basement Before and After

This weekend is the only weekend, for a little while, that we don’t have any contractors around doing any renovation. Our ears and mind were at complete peace, and we were even able to sleep in a bit. For the next few months I am only going to take up a few tiny projects (mostly decorating) here and there, but nothing major like our master ensuite which is slated for next spring. Hopefully by then I will have recovered from this home reno fatigue.

Before I take you through a tour of our basement, let’s recap on what it looked like before and during the renovation.

Basement Before
Basement Day 7 into renovation
And this is the after.
Hallway leading to one large living area in Hollywood Regency Chinoiserie theme with faux bamboo mirror, Ikea Hemnes dresser in Lee Valley’s BBZ ring pulls, and faux bamboo chairs.
From another angle.
Media Room, aka Anthony’s Man Cave. Do you see my entrenchment everywhere? 🙂 The sofa set was from our living room…I can’t believe we pretty much furnished this area using all our existing furniture!
And this is the built-in wall unit I mentioned yesterday. Can you believe it’s based on Ikea’s Billy bookcase?  When I was given a quote of $10,000 for a wall unit this size, I was determined to find a cheaper alternative (and I did). I will write more about how we had it put together later.
Notice those cane chair fixer-uppers in the front? They are upholstered in Dwell Studio Bella Porte Charcoal fabric from Tonic Living.

This is from the media room overlooking the future art & craft room and the hallway. At the end of the hallway is the cold room. I’ve decided to keep my wine collection in it now that the temperature is perfectly regulated in here with new insulation.

Years ago I used to paint at night as a hobby to declutter my mind. After a series of three Paris paintings, I realized I needed to add a fourth — the summer season, to complete the collection.

And this will be my future art & craft room (area). As we were preparing our basement for renovation a few months ago, I found this unfinished work piled among many of my other pieces. I am sure I intended to paint Paris in the summer…the inspiration was long gone, but I hope to pick up my hobby by completing this one.

So that’s what our basement looks like now. Bedroom and bathroom were covered in last week’s post here. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Bed and Bath

The furnishing and decorating our newly-finished basement is nowhere near complete. But for now I will share some pictures of the WIP bathroom and bedroom.

First up is the additional guest bedroom we added in the basement. We retired our old bed down there, and replaced with an upholstered one (more to come on the bed soon). The Imperial Trellis-alike bedding set was a score from a local HomeSense.

Remember the massive 4-door closet I bragged about before? Well here it is. I might be able to fit my entire wardrobe in there!

Now comes the exciting part — a new bathroom we also added in our basement. I realized how difficult it was to photograph an almost-all-white bathroom with a lot of reflective surfaces.

Things took an interesting turn one day after I ordered the Hutton vanity from Restoration Hardware. I found a wannabe from a local bath store for almost 50% less. It was only natural for a deal-hunter like me to cancel the RS order and picked up the cheaper one instead. I still prefer RS’ design, but quality wise they are almost identical.

Things I splurged on are:

  • Floor tiles and accent: Bianco Carrara;
  • Marble vanity countertop;
  • Frameless floor-to-ceiling glass panels and door for the shower stall;
  • Labour to give the bathroom a more custom look.

Things I thrifted on are:

  • Vanity: well it’s still not cheap;
  • Bathroom hardware: they are from Rona.

So that’s the skinny about our new bedroom and bathroom in the basement. More pictures and updates to come soon.

The End Is The Beginning

Well, folks, we could finally put those get-up-at-6-am-to-turn-off-heat-so-that-dust-won’t-travel-through-the-house days behind us. Why? Our basement project is a wrap today, woohoo! It’s the beginning for me to decorate and furnish the new space. It might still take a few days of cleaning and organizing before I could show you the After pictures, but for now, I will show you our new staircase that leads to the new basement. 

For the basement staircase I used square wood spindles painted in white, different from our ground-floor flight with wrought iron posts. I want it to be less formal and more welcoming: this is the space where family are going to watch movies, drink beer and make a big mess. I think the contrast from the red oak treads in pewter stain and white risers & spindles looks pretty amazing.

Now that this massive project is done, we were able to spend some time tonight and put up the Christmas tree. We’ve decided the foyer is where the tree belongs this year –wouldn’t it feel great to come home to a twinkly and heart-warming Christmas tree?  

Basement Day 16 – The Good and The Bad

Since I am in general hunky dory, I will start with the Good. The shower stall glass panel was installed, and the bathroom turned out to be exactly as I imagined (uhhmm, designed). Vanity, toilet and all other plumbing fixtures are still yet to go in.


Painting is also done, and I am glad I chose ICI Silver Cloud again.

So now let’s get into the Bad, shall we? Remember earlier this week I ranted about my frustration over the flooring? Well, our contractor managed to find the “Grey Oak” through another supplier outside of the GTA. That’s good right? Not quite. It turned out this supplier would charge extra 30 cents per sq ft, and guess what our contractor did? They came to ask me to cover the additional $400! I would be totally fine to pay extra for a nicer color or better quality, perhaps even so to pay for our contractor’s delinquency (they didn’t order the flooring early on). But to pay additional for exactly the same flooring that we were going to get as part of our pre-negotiated package is nuts. A deal is a deal, and in my opinion, our contractor should absorb the extra and get me the “Grey Oak” now that they find new stock.

As you could imagine the conversation wasn’t all that pleasant, but at the end, our contractor backed down and bought the “Grey Oak” which was our top choice (and yours too). Perhaps I should get them some Starbucks to make up tomorrow?

This is what the flooring looks like in the basement bedroom. It’s gradually making its way to the living area. Bedroom and bathroom are painted in Valspar Polar Star.

So that’s my basement adventure today. Hope you all have a nice weekend. We are going to start our furniture hunt tomorrow.

Basement Day 13 – The Bad News

It’s as if my day couldn’t get any worse besides being so gloomy and rainy outside. I guess a project like our basement reno isn’t really a “major” one unless of course there are hiccups. Today our contractor gave us the bad news: our top two options of the flooring is out of stock until late December (which means in the new year)!

Remember I was debating between the “Oak Walnut” and “Grey Oak”? Well it turned out today that neither of them remains as an option if we still want the project done in a few days.

I was royally mad! We gave our contractor our choice over a week ago and they waited until today to order the flooring. It could have been out of stock then but at least we would find out earlier and start to look for alternatives. I wasn’t going to let this one go so easily by picking something else I don’t like. At the end of the day, flooring is something we will be stuck with for a while, unlike paint color. So I refused to pick anything else from the same batch, but instead sent our contractor to look for close alternatives. They phoned about an hour ago that they picked up many other samples for me to choose from tomorrow. Fingers crossed that I would find a similar replacement.

On the upside, the floor tiles in the bathroom are almost set. The mini Carrara mosaic border looks sensational. I am sure it will show better when the grout lines are filled.

Basement Day 12

Day 12 into our basement project…where did all the time go? Our contractor has started to paint the walls, add casings and baseboards as well as tile the bathroom. We are still pretty pleased with how fast this project has been progressing. At this rate it should be done by early next week if not this weekend. The only thing that I am not so thrilled about is that they don’t vacuum/clean up at the end of the day so there’s saw dust all over the floor. I am pretty sick of having to vacuum afterwards so I was wondering if I should ask them to do it? I know they will do a complete clean sweep before they put in the hardwood floor, but shall I ask them to at least get rid of the saw dust as they go? Did your contractor clean up every day before they left?
Due to the dust previously mentioned, I have to limit my time down there, and hence the poor-quality quick picture snaps as follows.

Shower stall wall tile: 3×6 white subway + mini Carrara mosaic accent