Month: January 2012

#BlogPodium: A Personal View

On Friday, I attended BlogPodium — my first-ever blogger conference.

By myself.

Without the added benefit of knowing a single soul.

It was just me, my ‘lil ol’ blog and a stack of freshly printed business cards.

Oh, and a pocket full of nerve.

On Friday, I stepped out of my comfort zone. And, I’m so glad I did.


Because, I haven’t been this inspired about anything in a very long time.


I started this blog as a personal outlet — a place for me to write about the things that make me tick.

DIY, decor, renovation, design.

For months, I secretly blogged about the projects around our home. Aside from my husband Ted, some family and a few good friends, I kept my blog a secret for fear that someone would call my “baby” ugly.

Was I embarrassed about my blog? Maybe.

Was I worried that people would think it was lame that I was blogging about my home? Yeah.

Was in insecure? Very.

Well, BlogPodium taught me that my “baby” ain’t ugly. The panel and attendees taught me that my “baby” has potential and that it can go places if I let it.

This conference armed me with the information and fuel I need to take this blog to where I want it to go. It has also connected me with a fabulous group of fellow design and lifestyle bloggers and marketers.

Quite simply…

I found “my niche.”

I found “my people.”

I found “my purpose.”

And, goodness — it feels amazing.

Thank you to the organizers, panel, sponsors and fellow attendees for a wonderfully inspiring conference. I look forward to seeing you at the next talk in May.

Bathroom Reno: Day 7 (and #BlogPodium)

Hello and happy Friday!

This morning I am attending BlogPodium at the 2012 Interior Design Show in Toronto and I’m really excited, but kinda nervous too — this is my first-ever blogging-related event! When I heard about BlogPodium a few months ago, I knew I had to sign up. The idea of being surrounded with like-minded folks who are equally passionate about DIY, decor and design was very appealing to me. Today I will be a sponge — soaking in the BlogPodium talk called “BLOGS + MEDIA”, then touring the 2012 Interior Design Show. It’s going to be a great day!

But, that’s not all. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we are inching our way to having the ceramic floor installed. And, guess what? The ceramic floor is ready to be laid!

On day seven of the reno, Steve managed to rip up the existing peel and stick tile and screw a boat load of screws into the subfloor to ensure that there is no shifting once the tiles are installed. Shifting = cracked tiles and Steve (and us) will have none of that funny business! Not on our watch!

Day seven also saw the layering of more mud onto the ceiling and walls to feather out all joints…

…and make everything look “slick”, as Steve would say. I’m still dreading the sanding part, but we’ll survive! Our shop vac is ready for some serious clean up duty.

Also, a few readers questioned the purpose of the middle switch (shown below) in a previous post. It’s actually the switch to the bathroom fan and it acts as a timer. When you turn on the fan, you can set the timer to shut the fan off in five, ten, 15 or 20 minutes. Neat, huh?

We’re glad that Steve mudded around the electrical outlet. The drywall was damaged in that area, but after a thorough sanding it will be nice and smooth.

Steve also trimmed the inside of the window since it had to be ripped out due to some water damage.

Once the window trim is finished and painted out white, it’s going to look “mint” (yet another Stevism!)

I’m looking forward to having the ceramic flooring installed. After all, finding the flooring is what kicked this renovation into top gear. If you recall from our mood board post, we scored our Daltile Marcello 12″ x 12″ floor tiles at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for 75 cents a square foot, plus 25% off! Yeah, that’s right — our flooring cost less than $30, and while the tile we selected is not Carrara marble, it’s the look for less and I’ll take it!

Be sure to check back in a day or two when I reveal the bathroom floor. Until then, happy Friday! And, if you are at BlogPodium, be sure to say hello!

Bathroom Reno: Day 6

Day six and the bathroom is really starting to take shape.

We have walls! Walls in the tub/shower! Yahoo!

And, we also have a functioning tub/shower light! Even though this is Steve’s temporary work light, we’re excited to have more light in the bathroom!

I can’t wait to have my first soak in this tub. She’s a beaut!

The garage, on the other hand? It’s a mess! But, that’s okay with us — it means the job is getting done!

With the wall boards up, the bathroom is feeling so spacious. The extra ceiling height makes me happy!

Check back again tomorrow — we are inching our way to having all of the drywall sanding done and the ceramic floor installed!

Bathroom Reno: Day 5

Five days in and we have an installed bath tub!

I warned you on day four….nerd alert! Here I am looking pretty happy in the new tub…

The verdict: the 60″ Mirolin acrylic bath tub from Home Depot is super comfy. The height of the tub at 20″ is just right — deep enough for a nice soak.

Other notables for day five: poor Steve had to climb up on the roof in the pouring rain to install the vent for the bathroom fan. At least it was mild out and not snowing! He also did some more mudding and taping of the drywall and some last minute framing tweaks for the shower surround.

It’s all coming together!

Bathroom Reno: Day 4

With the electrical work of day three behind us, our contractor Steve got to work on the bathroom plumbing.

Day four saw the installation of new copper lines for the tub and shower…

…and also the re-running of the toilet copper (not pictured), which was originally run really close to the flooring. Since we are installing taller baseboards in the bathroom (to match the rest of the house), Steve moved the copper piping up a few inches to ensure that it would clear the top of the baseboard (and not have to be notched out of the middle of the baseboard.) Smart guy!

Day four also saw the first coat of mud and tape on the drywall…

You know what this means? The dreaded sanding part is coming up shortly. Oy, the mess…

Thankfully, this is a small bathroom and the drywall dust shouldn’t be that bad, but I’m bracing myself!

Come back tomorrow to see what’s happening on day five! Warning: nerd alert!

UPDATE: Just a little note about the insulation. Have no fear (ahem, Dad!)….the insulation is not covered in mould. I will admit that the photos totally make it look like it’s covered in disgusting, bad, dirty mould, but it’s not. These photos were taken late at night with bad lighting (like almost midnight late). Hence the darkened insulation. Our contractor Steve thoroughly inspected the bathroom for mould when he demolished it and we passed with flying colours. Sure, we’re all about saving on material costs, but not crazy enough to forego replacing mouldy insulation to save a buck or two. Capiche? Good.

Bathroom Reno: Day 3

Let me start off by saying that I’m a few days behind on updating the blog. My apologies — especially to you, Dad (he’s a recent follower of The 236 via email and was wondering why he didn’t get any notifications about new blog posts.) No, Dad, your email isn’t busted — your procrastinator daughter is to blame. Time to pull up those boot straps, right Dad? :)

Anyway, we are alive and well and the bathroom reno is progressing nicely in real life (but, like I said, a couple of days behind in the blog world). We’re even surviving with one bathroom — brings us back to the days of living in our one bedroom condo with one bathroom. Fun times!

(And, just to refresh your memory, you can read up about day one and day two bathroom renovation progress here and here.)

Day three was another exciting day! To start, the ceiling of the shower was drywalled and I gotta say that I am so glad we removed the tub/shower insert because we gained at least an extra foot of ceiling height, if not more. The room feels much more open and larger.

Day three also saw the start and finish of all of the bathroom electrical work. Steve installed a triple electrical box with a switch for the lights (over the vanity and the new light in the shower), a timer for the bathroom fan (just set it and forget it!) and an outlet.

Speaking of outlets, we also asked Steve to install an outlet inside our vanity. This is where we will hide away our electrical toothbrushes, Ted’s shaver and other unsightly devices to help keep the vanity top uncluttered and “pretty”.

And, there you have it — day three! Doesn’t seem like much, but I can vouch that Steve has been a busy boy. Despite running all of the electrical and getting the drywall hung, he has also been spending ample time in our attic running the ducting for the bathroom exhaust fan. Not a fun job! Glad it’s him up there in the attic and not us. Spiders? No thanks.

Check back tomorrow when I share day four of the reno (a.k.a. Plumbing Day!)

Bathroom Reno: Day 2

It’s day two of the bathroom renovation here at The 236. Things are going really well and progressing nicely. On day one, Stevie Boy managed to demo the bathroom and get it all to the dump (which I think Ted was sad not to be able to help with — demolition and visiting the dump are some of his favourite things to do!)

On day two, the light box in the shower was installed and some structural work was done to the tub/shower framing…

Installation of the bathroom exhaust fan was started…

We had some fun talking to one another through the floor…

We got to unbox our new bathtub…

And, there was some serious tool lusting going on in the garage over Steve’s mitre saw (Ted may or may not have taken it for a spin or two…)

After dinner, Steve popped over again (did I mention that he lives around the corner — umm, convenient!) and we chatted progress, timing, materials and, of course, dough (as Steve likes to call it). We couldn’t be happier with the way things are going. The bathroom is going to look SLICK (another “Steve-ism!”)

Be sure to check back again later this week for another update! By this weekend, the electrical and plumbing will be completed and the bath tub, drywall and cement board installation will be underway.

In the meantime, you can see the official before photos here and our bathroom mood board here.

Bathroom Reno: Day 1

When I left for work this morning, our bathroom looked like this…

And this…

When I returned home after work, this is what I saw…

View of where the vanity and toilet used to be

View of where the shower used to be

View of where the tub used to be

View of the ceiling in the shower

View of our new laundry shoot bath tub plumbing (you can see right down into our unfinished laundry room — hello down there!)

And, another view of where the vanity used to be

Two words: DEMOLITION and PROGRESS! Yeah baby (as our contractor Steve would say!)

On tap for tonight: putting a few layers of Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish on the thrifted $75 bathroom vanity (originally a honey coloured oak vanity, now painted in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace).

Poly, sand, repeat!

Be sure to check back again later this week when I share some more progress photos! In the meantime, you can see the official before photos here and our bathroom mood board here.

It’s on like Donkey Kong!

It’s official. Our contractor just called and he is starting our bathroom gut on Tuesday!

Before he goes into destruction mode, I managed to snap a few poorly lit “before” photos of the bathroom.

But, before I show you the photos, I have to mention that this is the point in the post where I apologize to my mother-in-law for posting these photos — Chris, I can see you cringing and waving your hands in front of the computer screen right now!

(Just to refresh your memory, we bought our house from Ted’s parents. For the record, Ted’s Mom always wanted to renovate the house, including this bathroom, but it never happened. Which, if I might add, is totally fine with us because it allows us to customize the house to how we want…honestly, Chris! Afterall, we love a good project and a good before and after!)

I hope I’m not kicked out of the family for showing these…

View from the doorway

Closer look at the flooring, vanity, hardware and countertop

View of the mirror and lighting

View of the new Kohler toilet that we recently installed and the medicine cabinet (which we plan to replace with open shelving)

View of the tub/shower insert

View of the tub and the leaky insert seam

View of the window (the window itself is still fine, but the water damaged trim needs replacing after falling victim to a leaky roof)

Speaking of trim, when the tub/shower surround comes out, so will this weirdo trim

So, there you have it. What do you think? If you haven’t seen our big plans for this bathroom, you can view our mood board over here.

Also, sorry Chris! I hope you aren’t hiding under your desk right now!

Today is the day that we make the trek down to Buffalo to buy the remaining materials that we need to get, like additional subway tiles and, if they have them at Lowes in the States, our mosaic tiles. Before we go, we need to triple check our measurements (and add 10% for whoopsies) and remember to pack our shopping list. We’re trying to have all materials on hand so our contractor doesn’t have to drive across the city to pick up materials for us (this will help keep costs down).

So, to America we go! Happy weekend!

So, this happened last night…

After putting together our bathroom mood board, we set out to purchase some of the materials on our list. After driving all over Burlington and Hamilton, we ended up at Home Depot in Oakville. And, then this happened….

Yep, that’s a 60″ Mirolin acrylic bath tub crammed into the back of our Honda CRV. Seriously, who needs a pick-up truck? This SUV has hauled sod, trim, stone, wood, a full-sized canopy umbrella all the way from Buffalo, dirt (lots of dirt)….and now a bath tub. Oh, and the mirror, lights and exhaust fan that I pinned on the mood board too.


We lucked out and managed to purchase the tub for 10% off at Home Depot (they are having a bathroom sale until January 25th!)

Next on tap: we’re crossing the border to Buffalo tomorrow to pick-up some subway tile for our tub/shower surround at Lowes for almost half the price of what we would pay here in Canada. We’re all for supporting Canadian goods (trust me…we do our fair share to keep the Canadian economy going!), but we also have to stretch our reno dollars as much as possible, so off to America it is!

I’ll be back in a few days with some “before” photos — just need a sunny day to snap some shots! :) UPDATE: The “before” photos have been posted — most likely to the chagrin of my mother-in-law! More on that over here.