Posts made in January, 2014

Winter window worries (the old mauve house is a rather drafty house)

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in The old mauve house | 0 comments

You know that plastic weatherproofing film that you can get for your windows in winter?  You know, the giant cling-wrap-like stuff that you stick in sheets across your windows, securing it to your window frames with “special non-marring” double sided tape?  The type that’s supposed to keep your house warmer in the winter by adding another layer of insulating air between the outside world and the inner climate of your humble abode?

Yeah.  I’ve always hated that stuff.

My hatred harkens back to our first little house, a cute white-sided one-and-a-half storey starter house that had original 1950s windows (and a whole lot of draftiness) (and a ridiculous amount of wallpaper, as well as a salmon and green coloured kitchen, but that’s a whole other story.)  As new home owners for the very first time, we enthusiastically plastic-ed the dickens out of those nasty drafty windows the first winter we lived in that house.  And the house was indeed warmer and far cozier than it would have been otherwise.  We were proud in our house-warming triumph, and praised ourselves for being awesome first-time home owners.

Yep.  We’d quite obviously nailed the whole winterizing thing.

But then spring hit.  And we started pulling the plastic film and tape off of the windows so that we could once again open our windows and enjoy the fresh air.  And we sadly realized that the tape we’d carefully placed around each of our windows on my freshly painted window trim, while fantastic in sealing out the much-dreaded window drafts, was taking off a strip of paint in its wake.  And I was sad.  I was so sad.  I sanded and repainted the trim around every single window in our house that spring.  And I swore to never again employ the plastic-film method for weatherproofing a house.

But then we met the old mauve house.

Fast forward ten years (if this was a TV show, some bizarre fast-moving montage of random images from the last decade would have just flashed across your screen) and we are once again in a house with very drafty windows.  Some of our windows are really old (at least one is original to the house, dating it at about 100 years old – the glass is all wave-y and distorted and, in truth, I think it’s pretty neat), some are new-er but installed very very poorly (like most things around our beloved old house), and all of them are drafty.  So drafty.  And, as we stand in the midst of one of the coldest winters I can remember in recent history, I’m caving.

Bring on the plastic film.

Yep.  I’m throwing my hands up in defeat and admitting that until this house either has new windows or far better insulation (or, ideally, both) we are going to be a window-filming family.  With the recent insanely cold nights and not-much-warmer days, our house has been uncomfortably cold despite that the furnace has been running non-stop, and I’m dreading (oh, so dreading!) our next gas bill.  It’s not at all pretty.

This week’s project: weatherproofing the windows with a ginormous roll of cling-wrap-like plastic film and specially formulated “non-marring” double sided tape.

And if you need to find me next spring, I’ll likely be repainting all of our windows.  (Sigh.)


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The inherited island conundrum (and the lesson that not all baskets are created equal)

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Kitchen | 2 comments

The day we took possession of the old mauve house, we discovered that the previous owners had left us their kitchen island.  Sadly, I’m pretty sure that this wasn’t an altruistic gesture: the island is super heavy, really large, and likely would have required disassembling before moving it out of the house.

The truth: the previous owners were lazy and likely just didn’t want to be bothered with all of this.

So we inherited their island.  I probably should have been rather happy about this.  It was a free kitchen island afterall, and not a terrible looking one either.  In fact, it really looks quite nice with the current kitchen cabinets and colour scheme (all of which will hopefully, one day soon, be changing.)  However this island features a lot of open shelving.  And open shelving, in my seemingly stuff-infested world, always seems to equal messy-looking.

And messy-looking makes for a rather unhappy Melissa.

And thusly began my quest to find the perfect baskets for the island.  If HomeSense offered frequent visitor awards, I would have gained a bundle.  There were many many HomeSense visits in my search for ideal basketdom.  I bought (and returned) baskets that were too small.  I bought (and returned) baskets that were too large.  I pondered dark baskets, light baskets, wicker baskets and plastic baskets.

In the end, I ended up with these…

And I did a little baskety-loving kitchen happy dance!  The perfect fit, the perfect colour, and (at $9.99 each) the perfect price!  I had found the perfect baskets for our kitchen island!  I was a very happy girl.

The problem?  My local HomeSense store only had two in stock.

And so my HomeSense basket search continued.  For a while.  For a really long while.

Dear HomeSense peeps – I know your stores and inventory ridiculously well now.  Should you ever need, you know, an adviser or ambassador, call me.  We’ll talk.  :)

I finally (finally!) ended up with a basket collection that looks like this:

Baskets in open shelving kitchen island

And I’m quite pleased.  The pretty little white cloth liners make the new baskets look a bit more fussy (if a basket can be fussy?) and they’re basically the same size and material as my previously purchased perfect baskets.  Of course, the baskets don’t all match (which, honestly, is a bit of a bummer) but after venturing out to three different HomeSense stores numerous times to find matching mates for the previously purchased perfect baskets, I gave up and decided to go with what seemed close enough.  The ladies in HomeSense were beginning to whisper whenever I’d emerge, yet again, from the basket aisle.  And it was all starting to get a little silly.

Here’s the island in all its newly basket-ed glory…

Matching baskets as open shelving or island storage solutions

Baskets as a kitchen storage solution for open shelving or islands

It’s not bad eh?  And the clutter is well-hidden.  It’ll do for now.  Eventually I’d love to replace the island with a more functional piece that we can converge around with barstools (yep, I desperately miss our awesome kitchen island with its super cute Ikea barstools from our little 1940s house.)  And an island with better and more useful storage would definitely be preferred.

But, for now, we’ll use this one, with its newly acquired pretty little (not-quite-matching) baskets.  It was free afterall.  Oh, those crazy generous previous owners.  (Rolling eyes implied.)


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Window woes (someone needs new curtains) (me!) (and new baseboards) (but that’s another story)

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Living Room | 2 comments

You know how when you move into a new house, and the previous owners have left the existing curtains, and they’re ok for the time being (because, really, who has the time or money to buy all new curtains immediately upon moving into a new house), and you say “oh, I’ll change them soon”, but then three months later you’re still living with the same bright white tacky-silver-swirl-adorned too short too ugly gross sheer curtains and it suddenly dawns on you that you should really swap those things out asap?

Yeah.  That’s me.

And when I say that our curtains are too short, I’m not exaggerating:

Curtains that are way too short

Yep.  We have flood-ready curtains.  And no baseboards in our dining room (for some unknown reason.)  (But that’s a completely different story for a completely different day.)  And this picture is obviously from the day we moved in (I promise!  Our house is now fully furnished.  We’re not extreme minimalists!)  But just look.  Look at those curtains!  I’m not an interior decorator, but I’m pretty sure I speak somewhat accurately and knowledgeably when I say: that’s not how you hang curtains.


In our little 1940s home (oh, how I miss our little 1940s home!) we hung Ikea’s Ritva curtains in the front window.  And they looked lovely (and apparently lulled a very cute orange cat – who we miss very much – to sleep on our sofa the day I took this picture.)

Ikea Ritva curtains in my BM Edgecomb Gray living room

My only criticism of those Ritva curtains?  They were wrinkly.  Like, mucho messy wrinkly.  They were definitely not wash-and-wear sorta curtains.  Nope!  A whole lot of ironing went into making sure that anxiety-inducing wrinkly-frumpiness was kept at bay.

So is pulling out my iron each time I wash my Ritvas a deal breaker?  I really really do hate ironing.  A lot.  A whole lot.  But, as much as I hate ironing, I do truly love Ritva.  The curtains have a linen-y texture that makes them seem far more expensive than they really are (since Ikea drapes are as delightfully cheap as they are cheerful.)  And Ikea’s long-length curtain panels will definitely be appreciated in this old mauve house, since our dining room ceiling height is quite high (Sweetie says 9-ish feet, but it seems way higher to me.)

Oh Ritva, you sneaky devil.  You really do have a hold on me.  You may be once again forcing me to dust off my iron.  But you’re worth it.

Queue forthcoming curtain-collecting Ikea trip.  Woo!  I heart Ikea.  :)


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A place to hang your hat (and, more importantly, a place to hide all the winter coats that have taken over my entryway)

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Entryway | 6 comments

One very important storage component has been dearly missed since we (rather bravely) claimed our old mauve house.  At some point in the past 100-ish years, someone (quite unfortunately) removed an existing entryway closet.  And the resulting lack of entryway storage has been a bit of a bur in my tooshy, truth be told.

It wasn’t nearly so dire in the early fall, when the odd light jacket would occasionally end up temporarily draped across a chair.  Even in later autumn, when heavier coats began to appear once in a while, I remained impressively calm and sane about the whole situation.

But then winter hit.  Snow and scarves and jackets and more jackets and Sweetie’s ginormous jackets (he is 6’4″ afterall) and the odd mitten strewn haphazardly across the dining room table all happened, all at once.  And I sort of lost my marbles just a wee bit.  It was uncontrolled outerwear chaos.  And I decided that we desperately needed to find a containment unit for the renegade toques and the bulky parkas that were rather ruthlessly taking over our house.

The solution: a wardrobe.

My first instinct?  Ikea, of course!  My favourite of the bunch was this one…

Ikea Hemnes wardrobe that I wish I had in my entryway

Oh, Hemnes, you make me happy.  :)  But at $299 (plus taxes and travel), handsome Hemnes was a bit beyond my post-holiday budget.

So I turned to ever-dependable Kijiji.  And Kijiji didn’t disappoint!  I found this…

Old antique wooden wardrobe in entryway as coat closet

And after a little well-calculated haggling (aka begging) I brought the price down to a fairly reasonable (and somewhat wallet-friendly) $100 buckeroonies.  Was I happy?  Yes!  At one third the cost of my beloved Hemnes wardrobe, I got twice the character (and, truthfully, a far better fit for our space.)

I immediately gave her (since she’s far too pretty to be a boy wardrobe) a good scrubbing with good old fashioned Murphys Oil Soap – there were paint splatters here and there and old water marks everywhere and the whole cabinet reeked of smoke and dirt and old.  Luckily most of the paint came off fairly well with a little work, but there’s one big splotch on the side that refused to budge.  My next cleaning attempt might involve a wee bit of steel wool, but I’m calling the paint splotch “character” for now.

Easy entryway storage solution - wooden wardrobe closet with baskets

And then, like every good found-furniture fluffer, I swapped out the dirty brass knobs for something a little sparklier.  Because every old wardrobe deserves a little fancy new hardware.  And because glass knobs make me happy.

Glass knobs pulls on old antique wooden wardrobe

I also added a couple baskets on top.  Because scarves and hats and miscellaneous mittens seem to fit best in baskets.

And someday, maybe, down the road (if I’m feeling super ambitious and DIY-ish) perhaps my lovely little wardrobe will even get a new paint job.  I think she’d look rather pretty in a creamy white.  Or maybe even something more adventurous (if I’m feeling super wardrobe-brave.)

Old antique wardrobe in home entryway as coat closet storage solution

But, for now, I’m just happy to have a coat chaos containment unit.  :)


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