Update on #Projectpool

It is time for a photo onslaught to update you on the progress that’s happening in our backyard. It is getting really exciting! And now that the weather has turned into real summer-like weather we’re getting really anxious to get the liner in the pool and get it filled up.

Late last summer before the new grass had re-grown after #projectpatio our backyard was looking like this:


We didn’t have much patio furniture to fill it out but boy did we love it! So much room… and access to the backyard via those stone steps. We were out there constantly and it allowed us to extend our use of the backyard much later into the fall. We also added a conversation set to the patio – which you can see in the next photo. We opted for the Brandemore set and ordered it through Costco.ca.

Let’s take a walk not so far down memory lane to earlier this spring to see what we were working with.


A sure sign that work was about to start. Never been so excited about orange spray paint before!


The first thing to go in was the pool. Once the pool was dug and installed (mostly) then the landscaping could begin. So, right on schedule the “pool guys” showed up and went to work.


The pool went in so efficiently. We were so impressed with how quickly they dug the pool and then put it together. In only a couple of days it looked like this. After about a week, they had pretty much wrapped up their end of things, with a promise to be back when the major stone work was complete and heavy equipment had done their job.

We had a wet spring this year, though, so that set back the landscaping team a little bit. So our pool sat like this for a couple of weeks without any other action in the backyard.


Once the landscaping team arrived, though we started to see big changes immediately.


Big armour stone on site and lots of flagstone on site to be placed. The pool surround had the concrete poured so that the pool coping could be set in place.


Then the water feature started to take shape and a lot of the heavy lifting with the skid steer. It was amazing to watch the painstakingly detailed work that takes a lot of effort. The large rocks were moved sometimes 3 or more times just to get them in the right spot, in the right shape, and then into final position after mortar had been placed.


If you’re following #projectpool on instagram, you might’ve seen my giddy post about some of the large trees showing up on site. You’ll also see in the photo above that the fence posts were starting to go in.


More fence progress and some extended patio work. That just about takes us to the end of last week and things were really starting to come together.

We’re getting pretty close and can almost see the finish line now!

Hoping to be swimming to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

What are you planning for Canada’s big day?


Boys’ rooms update and big news!

Last I shared, the boys’ rooms were on the docket for painting… and indeed they were painted. While they had a great time at my parent’s house over March Break (see below) I painted their rooms in what I dubbed “the least dramatic before and after project” since the rooms basically look the same only *slightly* more shiny.

Grandmas Rules

And while they were enjoying Grandma’s house rules, I also did a bit more shopping and indeed the design gods were with me on my trip to HomeSense and I found a pair of panels for Harrison’s room. I’m planning to add some blackout lining so that these summer months are a bit easier on us at bedtime.

We now wait for the paint to cure, in order to put a few things up on the walls – like the decals I have saved for Foster’s room. Once some of the more interesting changes have happened to their rooms, I’ll post photos of the progress.

BUT… I also promised some big news so here it is:

WE ARE PUTTING IN A POOL! (Yes, that required All Caps)

I’m calling it #projectpool so you can follow along on instagram. This week we hit a major milestone because the digging has begun.

After months of planning – seriously we started planning in October – it is finally time to see the plans come together.

Phase two of our yard projects that we planned for last year (catch up on Phase One in New Nest  – Exterior Tour), includes an in-ground pool, the required fence for said pool, the patio/hardscaping around the pool and extending the existing patio, a pool shed, a walkway from the front of the house around the side to the back, and adding some gardens and/or plants. Whew!


That’s a lot to take in, but that image does show the left side of the house that’ll be part of the plan this summer. We’re going to share part of the path to the back with our neighbours so we can each have a nice wide path until our fences, rather than two skinny ones separated by another skinny patch of grass. It pays to be friendly with your neighbours!

Here’s a closer look at the backyard area.


The pool will be right off the patio area, leaving us a patch of grass that we can still use to throw a ball around in.

We decided to ditch the hot tub altogether, since we didn’t think we would use it much. And although we thought this project might take on 3 or more phases, the addition of the pool required a bunch of other “stuff” to be done, like putting in the fence to meet by-law and safety requirements, and the shed (more of a “want” so we can store pool-related items), it made sense to do all the rest of the plan at once. So phase 2 will be the end of the major yardwork we have done. I’m sure the yard will continue to evolve though as our family grows.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this starting to come together.

Foster and digger

Someone else is pretty excited too!

Boys’ Rooms Tour

After a long hiatus I’m back! If you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve seen this post:


In which I teased about a little bit of decorating that is ready to happen at the new nest. I also mentioned that I figured when painting eventually started at the new nest, I would be starting with small space like the powder room. But the boys have been talking about how “boring” their rooms are. Actually, they’ve told me how boring the whole house is. #brutallyhonest. And although we tried to make sure that their rooms seemed like home from Day One in the new nest (with success I think), I would tend to agree that its about time to give their rooms a bit of a personality boost.

To date all we’d really done in the boys’ rooms is install window coverings which were much needed for privacy and light management. And part of the delay in decorating was by design. I didn’t really want to be putting holes in the wall for shelves, prints etc. when I knew I’d be painting soon. But, I didn’t want to paint until we’d been in the house at least a year because the house would shift, and nail pops would happen etc.

There was never any doubt that I was going to paint the house eventually. The whole house was painted in flat paint. Its a bit of a nightmare for scuffs and dings (and fingerprints… ahem). And November of last year marked one whole year in the new nest for us, but of course, the holidays were upon us and I wasn’t ready to DIY or paint anything in December.

Harry's room 1

Harry’s room was pretty much a clone of what he had at the old house. Same bed, same bedding, same dresser and shelves. A bit more space to work with and some really cool angles in his room.


Harry's room 3

Harry's room 4

And although he had talked about wanting some changes to his room, he was chugging along rather happily with his room. But what really got this project going was Foster’s emerging, ongoing, undying love affair with dinosaurs, in which he wants to steal all of Harrison’s “stuff” and have a dinosaur room to call his own.

Foster dino

So for me this had a simple solution, swap out most of the dinosaur themed items from Harrison’s room and put them into Foster’s room and a few other things to personalize it for Foster. This also meant convincing Harrison to “let go” of those items and “sell” him on a new room. Luckily it didn’t take much persuading as he’s growing up too and could understand the idea of his brother loving dinosaurs more than he does now. It didn’t hurt that I told him he’d be getting new stuff and he could help me plan some of the items.

Meanwhile, Foster’s room had undergone some transformation since our move-in day. We moved him into a nursery.

Foster's nursery

Then he outgrew the crib (quickly!) which prompted a mini update to the room including firetruck bedding and a few accessories.


I figured red would be the colour that gave some continuity to the room once I was ready to actually decorate, but then he threw us a curve ball with this dinosaur stuff (although we should’ve seen it coming) and he declared that he didn’t want a red/firetruck room at all. He wanted dinosaurs!

So his room is currently a mix between firetrucks and his nursery. There’s red and green and blue, and his elephant lamp, and his animal banks… Fosters room 2

… and his nursery chair, and the ottoman,

Fosters room 5

Fosters room 3

but it is pretty clear that his walls are bare.

Fosters room 4

Isn’t it amazing how you can see things so clearly in photos that you miss in real life?

So, what’s next?

Well the paint is purchased and painting is definitely the first step. I decided that I’d keep the paint colour as it is, but give it another coat in eggshell finish to make it a bit more durable for the boys’ rooms. That’s easier for me – probably fewer coats – and also allows me to add colour and personality to the room in other ways. And hey! if Foster decides that he doesn’t like dinosaurs any more, I don’t have to worry about having a strange paint colour on the walls to work around. (Not that he’d get another makeover any time soon).

The boys are headed to my mom and dad’s for March Break this year, so I think that’s when most of the painting will get done. It turns out that when we’re home the boys are mostly in their rooms/sleeping so it is hard to disrupt their space and make it function for every day.

I’ve already purchased some new bedding for Harrison’s room, and I have some thoughts on how that room is going to turn out and the colour palette I want to use. I talked him out of a Pokemon room. #momwin

We have some dinosaur items that we’ve received as gifts over the years that never quite made it to Harrison’s room (this one or the old one) so I’m hoping to use those in Foster’s space.

I also had purchased some fabric for Harrison’s blue room, which never got used so I’m hoping to find a way to incorporate that into Foster’s room, as well as phasing out the nursery items by selling them on our neighbourhood buy and sell or on kijiji.

What are you up to?

All the trimmings

The other day my friend Courtney told me that she was reading the blog tour of my basement in the middle of the night while feeding her little baby. Although I’m glad she is reading, Courtney has been in my basement many, many times. So she knew her way around. The tour was not exactly the most interesting post for her. Well Courtney, this one’s… not that exciting either.

This is a post about one of those projects that takes a lot of time, and seems a little lopsided in the work to payoff ratio. But, if you didn’t do it, it would also be so noticeable. So you’ve gotta roll up your sleeves and just do it.

When I showed you around the basement  you may have noticed that there were a lot of doors. Here’s two closets and a door in just one photo. Just to the left of the mirror (that you can just see on the left of the photo) is another door for another cold storage.

all the doors


There’s also the bathroom door. And there’s a door that I don’t think I’ve shared a photo of that leads to another room in the house – our storage/furnace room.

doors oh my

And guess what? All those doors and all the trim around the room are painted cream.

And did I mention the stairs?

come on down

I really just wanted to get to the painting of the walls part because that’s the most rewarding. The change is so much more noticeable. But before I could get to any of the painting at all, I noticed that the trim around our stairs was looking a little worse for wear.

stair damage

The caulking was separating from the walls, so before I could get to the not-awesome part of painting the trim, I had to get to the even less awesome part. Prepping. I used a combination of utility knife and scraper and it did a pretty good job. Working by myself it took me an hour to do both sides of the staircase including clean up.

And that’s about as far as I’ve gotten, but I’m making progress bit by bit. I did learn a nifty little trick while removing the silicone, though.

Once the scraper and knife had worked their magic, the moulding around the stairs was still looking a little worse for wear.

cruddy remains

I read that using rubbing alcohol will help get the little leftover bits off and…

after rubbing alcohol

it worked like a charm! I just used a little rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and some light pressure. So now you know.

I hope that didn’t put you to sleep.(Courtney are you there?)  I think there was a little redemption there with the tip at the end. Hope it helps keep you around until tomorrow. I’m a master of suspense!


Deck the walls

‘Tis the season for hosting friends and family, and I’ve made it my mission to get more up on our walls before this weekend when we host our annual open house. All this week I’ll be sharing a few corners of the house that we’ve spruced up by putting some holes in the walls. Uhh… and then hanging stuff off of them.

Nothing like a deadline and putting it out there on the interwebs to get you motivated, right?

So let’s start with our foyer. After I painted the tone on tone stripes, it was finally time to add something to that wall.

Foyer nook

I picked up this set at Target (and I can’t find it online anymore) but I think it’s still available in store. It is from the Threshold line, was reasonably priced, and came with everything you need. Even the frames. We centred the ledges vertically between the stripes and then just overlapped them at a rate that looked good. Read: we eyeballed it.

The frames are double matted so that you can insert a 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10 (un-matted) photo.

I decided to start off by putting our last two Christmas cards in the frames.

double frames

I’ve also added a candle that we’ve had for ages, a couple pine cones, and a few Christmas balls and called it festive enough.

christmas card 2013

christmas card 2012

I love that the photos show how our family has transformed this year from three to four. I might just keep adding our cards over the years.

So there you have it. This little nook is looking so much more finished now!

What a week!

It’s already Thursday and I’m just popping in to say that I haven’t fallen off the earth.

I’m flying solo this week parenting-wise as husbandman has left for the week “on business”. Why the quotations? Because he is currently in California at a resort for a work-type retreat/brainstorming/idontknowwhat. I don’t feel too sorry for him.

This week is doubly busy because not only do I have to wrangle two kiddos, but also a bathroom reno. Yep! Our master bathroom reno has begun! That means I’m doing the ‘ol “While You Were Out” on husbandman. Except he knows that it’s happening, he’s just asking for no spoilers before he gets home on Saturday. Remember that show?

I had big plans this week to blog about our Thanksgiving weekend, preview and rundown our bathroom project, and maybe even a project post before Friday Finds, but alas, that’s not how this cookie has crumbled this week.

Day one of bathroom reno (Tuesday because of the Thanksgiving holiday) was tear out day. And we hit snag number one. Let’s just say that on Tuesday morning I had two functioning showers in my house, and by end of day I had zero. Blarg. Baths for everyone!

Day two was not a disaster either but the electrician’s job was made much more difficult (and lengthy) because of the over-zealous use of spray foam insulation. And in the comedy of errors that this brought on, our kitchen island counter top – on a completely different level of the house than my master bathroom – was scratched! And there’s another story I get to tell you!

Who knows what “excitement” day three will bring? Only time will tell.

I hope you are all having a great week.

I’ll leave you with a few snaps from our Thanksgiving weekend. It was glorious. Beautiful weather, lots of fun family time and de-lish food!


picking apples from papas tree


thanksgiving parade

Master Plan

I’ve been talking a lot about my master plan for our master bedroom, so I thought I’d finally help you picture what I’m talking about with a tour of what our room looks like now, a little overview of what I’d like the layout to be (a bird’s eye view of the room), and a list, because I’m list-obsessed a list-maker.

So here’s how it looks now.

As you may be able to tell it’s a pretty good sized master bedroom. It’s approximately 15.5 feet by 12.5 feet. Plenty of room for a queen size bed, a couple dressers, and a few other pieces of furniture without being crowded. So far, we haven’t paid it much attention since we moved in, except recently installing the closet system. Its due for a little sprucing up.

Here’s what I’d eventually like it to look like – at least layout-wise.

To make this layout change it really won’t take much effort once we have the pieces – which is really just a bed frame at this point. We’ll install the headboard that I bought a few weeks ago, and put the mattress and box spring on a new basic bed frame. Move the Malm dressers that we have now (there’s two pushed together supporting the tv) and use them as side/night tables and mount a (perhaps new and larger) tv on the wall.

To achieve not just layout changes, but an overall makeover of the room here’s what I’d like to do:

  • Paint the walls – I’m thinking blue
  • Find a great fabric for some Euro shams for the bed and an accent cushion
  • Change out the duvet cover for the one I bought at West Elm a while ago
  • Hang drapes to soften the window
  • Mount the tv
  • Build a bed frame – maybe down the road
  • Add a rug under the bed (or maybe not? I’m not sure if I’m a rug on carpet kinda gal)
  • Create some art/photography for either above the night tables or above the bed
  • Create some jewellery display/storage
  • Consider changing the lamps or just the lampshades
  • Replace the ceiling fan with a new ceiling fixture
  • Add a chair or bench for resting

Now that the closet system is installed, I feel I can technically check “master bedroom tweaks” off the House Resolutions list but I’ll hold off for now until the room is a little more put together.

As for our current bed and the “headboard” and shelves that we have now, we’ll try to sell them on Kijiji to try to recoup some of the cost of the bed frame.

Anyone else making moves in the furniture department or making small changes to make a big difference? Anyone else have big plans for a space, even though who knows when you’ll get to it? Yeah… don’t we all!