Bathroom Hopes and Dreams

Since we finalized our bathroom plans, lately we have been tackling the next hurdle: deciding on our fixtures. Our goal was to order the vanity, tub, and faucets by the end of January but we had a bit of a setback; when we got the quote prepared from the bathroom warehouse, the cost of the vanity we liked was quadruple what we were willing to pay. Yep, I said quadruple.

wet style frame collection vanity

Wetstyle vanity, Frame collection

Actually when we first saw it we weren’t 100% convinced, but the more we looked around the more we wanted it. It had an option for putting a cupboard on one side instead of the 2 drawers, and I liked the combination of the warmth from the wood with the coolness of the modern white. Plus it was the size we were looking for and had really great use of the storage space- a lot of the 48″ double vanities we’ve seen left hardly any room for toiletries due to the space allocated for the plumbing or poor layout design.

But we were not able to stomach the hefty price tag. So we went back to the drawing board to try and find a different vanity that would do the job but not completely break the budget, and settled on this one from IKEA.

IKEA godmorgon odensvik double sink

Godmorgon / Odensvik sink vanity with 4 drawers

Compared to the vanities we saw at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bath Depot, and many others, the IKEA one actually has the best design and use of storage space, the lowest price tag, and highest build quality (solid wood drawers as opposed to MDF). We could even modify it to put a cupboard on one side with a piece of walnut to emulate the look of the too-rich-for-our-blood Wetstyle vanity.

We’re going to pair it with the Godmorgon tall cabinets and mirrored medicine cabinets for lots of storage space. I haven’t decided yet on lighting… we will probably do some recessed lights above the tub and shower, with sconce lights on either side of the vanity similar to this:

[from Houzz- click on photo for source]

[from Houzz- click on photo for source]

For the faucets, we decided on the Delta Trinsic collection in chrome. I don’t love the hand shower attachment for the tub but none of the collections we saw were completely perfect, and I’ll use that less than the vanity, shower, or tub faucets.
delta trinsic lavatory faucet delta trinsic roman tub faucet w hand shower delta trinsic shower head
As far as the tiling and general aesthetic of the bathroom goes, you may remember this photo that I shared in one of my previous posts- our tub and shower will be perpendicular to one another, with a glass partition separating the shower area from the rest of the bathroom, and a sloped floor for drainage.

[from Houzz- click on photo for source]

We will stick to something pretty similar for the flooring and accent tile, except in grey tones. We are leaning towards white subway tiles since they are relatively cheap and easy to keep clean, providing we use light grey grout like in this bathroom (who wants to spend their life scrubbing white grout with a toothbrush? Not this girl!).

[from Houzz- click on photo for source]

Whew! Now that the major decisions have been made, the only thing standing between us and starting this reno is installing our water softener to take some of the iron out of our water- no one wants a brand new white bathroom only to ruin it with rust stains.

Tell me what you think of our plans and if you have any other suggestions!

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Ch-ch-changes (big and small)

The first few weeks we had the house were spent frantically getting it ready to move in: painting every surface (ceilings, trim, walls, and all the required mudding and caulking) and ripping up the carpet.  Having a hard deadline for when we needed to be out of the apartment really helped us be productive and work towards meeting our goal, and then we were really busy moving and unpacking all the essentials at the house.

I can’t say we have been as efficient since moving in, and I’m trying to be ok with it. I find it really annoying having mess/tools/half finished jobs everywhere I look, and I have a hard time sitting and relaxing when I know there is so much to do, so I tend to burn myself out until I physically can’t do anymore. I’m trying to force myself to just accept that it takes time, and everything I want to accomplish can’t get done right away. We both have full time jobs and not much vacation time, as well as the usual obligations to friends and family that everyone has- and I don’t want to feel like our home is one giant chore, I want to enjoy it! So I’m giving myself permission to relax and take things one step at a time, and if we have friends over and we need to move the sander off the coffee table and drop cloths off the couch before they can sit down, who cares?


I don’t have any of the high-impact big reveals to share, but these are some small things we’ve done that have made a big difference:

  1. Changed out most of the outlets and light switches for new ones; DSC_1651_
  2. Finished painting the bodies of the kitchen cabinets, removed the old scalloped border above the sink (which necessitated a very time consuming patch job), and installed a new light above the sink;kitchen progress(Side note- the cabinet doors don’t close perfectly since painting/re-installing them, and we are still trying to decide on a paint colour as indicated by the paint swatches everywhere, but still, progress!!)
  3. Put up a mostly decorative mailbox (all our mail goes to the local Canada Post, but maybe a kind neighbor will slip a note in there asking us to mow our lawn more often?); DSC_1642_
  4. Bought some new light fixtures for the hall, dining room, and foyer, as well as a floor lamp from HomeSense for our living room;DSC_1588_
  5. Installed most of the doors that we painted white, and upgraded the hinges and hardware;IMG_2625This picture also shows off one of our new light fixtures! What’s that? You want to see what it looked like before we painted, removed the carpet, and replaced the light fixture? OK!
  6. AND perhaps most exciting of all, we have finally upgraded to a queen sized bed, and moved our old double into the guest room! We also bought these cool reading lights that we mounted to the guest bed headboard, and hung green curtains that look great with the quilt. So far the cat has pretty much claimed this space, which is great news for our friends with allergies. Guess we’ll just keep some Aerius on the nightstand.


DSC_1599_Up next: more painting, more light fixture replacement and installing curtains in our bedroom so no one charges my husband with public indecency. Hooray!

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Lighting Woes

There are some really great things about living in Canada, like hockey, super nice people, poutine, freedom of speech/belief/wearing plaid whenever you want without fearing persecution, but one of those things is not good prices on home décor goods from American stores online.

I am majorly envious of all the DIY bloggers I follow who post stuff about the deals they get on really cool stuff from places like and West Elm. It just doesn’t happen for us north of the border and it makes me sad. Factoring in the cost of shipping -when most places offer free shipping within the continental U.S.- not to mention the cost of duty, which can vary wildly, erases whatever good bargain you think you’ve found.

Case in point: lighting.

As you know, our house was originally built in the 1960s and the former owners took the charming stance that if it functioned properly, they were not changing it. The few ceiling lights we have (most rooms don’t have a ceiling light wired in) are an ugly trifecta of whorled brass, gold, and fake crystal. Near the top of our to-do list has been finding new light fixtures, but all the ones I liked were so damn expensive (#firstworldproblems). The main fixtures we wanted to replace were the hall light, the back foyer light, and the dining room light.

For the hall I wanted something square, with frosted glass and black or oil rubbed bronze trim, and my first pick was this one from Shades of Light.

shades of light square flush mount bronze and frosted glass

But when I went to check out, United States was the only option for delivery and on their Shipping Information page, they say to “call for a quote” for shipping costs to Canada or Mexico. I interpreted this as meaning I wouldn’t want to pay what they charged. Sad face.

I was also eyeing this fixture from Ballard Designs for the dining room- I love the look of a lantern pendant above a table!

Ballard Designs Delaney pendant lantern oil rubbed bronze

Although they ship to Canada, the light was already more than I wanted to pay and I hadn’t even factored in the shipping costs, so I decided to forget about it and try to find some cheaper options elsewhere.

On a trip to Home Depot, I found a square flush mount that I liked for the hall, but it had a faux cherry wood finish that was too red when I got it home. A can of spray paint fixed that for $6, and I was very chuffed with myself. I had the look I wanted for $56, fist pump! But when Al went to hardwire and install it, it had non-standard parts and was was really flimsy. Then I was underneath it putting some sheets away in our linen cupboard and it came crashing down almost on my head! Naturally we couldn’t return it after the spray paint, so we chalked it up to a lesson learnt that you get what you pay for.

I put the hall light on hold and focused on finding a lantern-style pendant light for the dining room, and found this one from for a better price than the Shades of Light one. I was even more excited about it when I got a 10% coupon emailed! Ashley 4 light bronze pendant lantern

But when I got to the checkout I didn’t notice anywhere I could order my coupon code, and when I dug deeper on their shipping policies I discovered they don’t allow coupons on “International” orders. Come on! International? I could practically spit and land on U.S. soil. Aren’t we each other’s biggest trade partners or something? You know, we give them maple syrup and back bacon, they give us pork rinds and spray cheese in a can? Why can’t we extend this friendly mercantile relationship to include stuff I actually want to buy?


When I was complaining about this to friends of ours, they told us about, a site that has pretty reasonable prices without any duty, taxes, or shipping costs to Canada. Their selection is not as great as some of the other sites I’ve found, but I found a few similar lights to what I was looking for at a much better price, like these ones.


Tech Lighting TL 90 - Two Light Square Large Flush Mount - Frost Glass

Progress Piedmont - Four Light Foyer - Antique Bronze Finish with Antique Stone-Etched Glass

Satisfied that I had found lights I liked at a price I could stomach, I placed the order. But I still couldn’t get the lantern from out of my head. I was worried that every time I looked up at the ceiling, I’d be wishing I’d spent a little more and bought the other one, y’know? The dining room and living room are basically one big L shaped room where we spend a lot of time, and the more I thought about it the more I wanted the one, despite the larger price tag. So in a moment of weakness I decided to buy it too. The light I bought from will work in the back foyer luckily, so it wasn’t a waste.

I’m trying not to think about how the price increased by $90 when I put in my postal code (duty+shipping) and focus instead on how good it’s going to look, because even with the final inflated price it’s still the one I liked best for the lowest price (compared to the Shades of Light one, which was the same price before shipping).

overstock checkout2 overstock coupon2

Ok, I’m still mad.

Am I missing something? Have you found any great bargains despite shipping to Canada? I know I could just drive over the border to Ogdensburg and get a deal for the price of a tank of gas, but that is assuming that they have what I want in stores. One day we will probably do that for flooring/tiles, and I will feel a little guilty for taking my CAD dollars south instead of boosting our own economy, but I’ll just pick up a can of spray cheese to remind myself what’s so great about shopping in the U.S.!

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Industrial Light Fixture

My husband and I were at his folks’ over the weekend, which meant helping with their basement reno (him) and reading my mother-in-law’s copies of House & Home (me).

I have really been trying to avoid looking at home décor mags because they fill me with creative urges that I cannot, at this time, fulfill; however, every now and then I listen to the little devil on my shoulder and imbibe. I’m glad I did because it led me to this bad boy from West Elm:

west elm floor lamp

That got me talking with my in-laws about the industrial trend, and light fixtures such as this. And it turned out that they had just taken down the bell-shaped, wall mounted, chrome light fixture that used to hang above the sofa in their living room, which I had always been secretly jealous of!

2014-03-16 18.24.52

As soon as we give it a new cord and clean it up a bit, it’s going above our sectional as a reading lamp. I’m not sure why I am digging this look lately… I saw some old light bulbs at Tin Barn Market when I was in Almonte a few weeks ago and I guess a hankering for industrial accents was awoken in me. They even sell bulbs, cages, and fabric cords so you can create the perfect look!

tin barn bulbs

I also love the large globe fixtures you can find, like this one


Clamps can also further bring home the industrial vibe, like in these ones from Ikea:

FAS lamp RANARP lamp

This look reminds me of a bad ass laboratory from the early 1900s. Can’t you just picture the light from one of these illuminating brilliant scribblings on a chalkboard, while you shout “Eureka!” over a bubbling condenser apparatus?

See, this is why I should not read H&H. Anyone else have a lighting obsession, or another trend on their radar?