Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Polished Nickel Faucets and Black Hardware

Part two of the finishing details is an overview of the faucets (or 'trim' as it's called) and hardware we've installed to date.  (You'll find part one Brass and Black Light Fixtures here).

Kohler Margeaux in master bathroom:

Hansgrohe Metris in kids' bathroom:

Kohler Pinstripe in powder room:

Kohler Pinstripe in basement bathroom:

Emtek door hardware in basement:

Emtek door hardware on all exterior doors:

Egg shaped knobs in master ensuite.  Will have similar in kitchen.

Antique hardware on second floor antique doors:

Faucets purchased at
Emtek door hardware through local supplier.
Antique door hardware from Legacy Vintage.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Brass and Black Light Fixtures

Since we started building, I've been posting about big projects like framing, the floors and the stonework.  Now that most of the major elements are done, I find myself waiting and wondering what to post about next.  

We've been working on the last 10% of the project:  finishing details like cabinetry and furniture.  This is the most time consuming part of the project but the most important since it's ALL about the details.

Here's a roundup of some of the lighting I've collected for our new home.  Some new, some vintage.  All natural brass, black or glass.


Vintage lamp, new shade in the front hall:

Vintage angel wing sconces in powder room:

Schoolhouse electric pendant in pantry:

Schoolhouse electric pendants over island:

Etsy pendant over kitchen table:

Target lamp and shade in living room:

Visual comfort sconces in ensuite:

Visual comfort floor lamp in master bedroom:

Vintage desk lamp in master bedroom:

Schoolhouse electric sconces in kids' bathroom:

Vintage lamp in girls' room:

Schoolhouse electric pendants in basement bathroom:

I still have many key fixtures to buy:  living room pendant, front entrance, master bedroom... I'm a little over half way done the house for lighting!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Old House is Gone

I am a foundation of cedar logs and crumbling rubble.
I am sloped ceilings and wood beams.
I am cold air flowing through the west wall.
I am walnuts tucked under the bathtub and mice weaving around the traps.
I am a bush cord of hardwood and rolling flames.
I am an ancient GE stove churning out meals.
I am three laughing, crying, fighting children.
I am Aiden thumping down the 'too steep' steps.
I am Jessie twirling on the honey stained hardwood.
I am Stella Jane poking tiny fingertips into broken floorboards.
I am bathing the kids while washing the dishes.
I am open windows and strong breezes.
I am a century of shelter.
(Written during our last winter in the old house.  In the style of 'Where I'm From' by George Ella Lyon.)

When we bought this farm eight years ago, the house was considered a 'tear down'.  Nevertheless, we fixed it up as best we could and started our family there.

There were so many things that drove me crazy about that old house.  I don't seem to remember them now.  It was a charming old place built in 1860.  The memories from our brief time there make me wonder about the many other families that grew up there, played there, ate there, worked there...


Because of our township by-laws, we knew from the beginning that building a new house on the property meant that the old one would have to come down.  So, two years after starting the building  process, her time had come.

(Thankfully, I've been assured that our kids will indeed keep growing and that we'll continue to make new memories in the new house!)

We started by peeling back the layers of vinyl siding, asphalt shingles, board and batten siding and fibreglass insulation to reveal and salvage the beautiful original wood plank sheathing for future projects.  Some of the aged deep brown boards are 22" wide and 3" thick!

The integrity of the original mortise and tenon framing was impressive and solid.

As we moved through the demolition process, I surprised myself by being sentimental about watching it go.  While living it, I couldn't wait for it to be levelled!

It's certainly a strange feeling to be cooking dinner in your shiny new house, while just outside, the old one is slowly being torn down; its dust floating in through the windows.

A few days into demolition, I realized that I forgot to save a particular corner of drywall where we had marked all the kids heights over the years.  Luckily, I managed to find it in the rubble, a bit damaged. 

A day later and it would have been long gone.  It will be pieced back together and mounted in the new house.

The yard is cleared now and, although it's still a strange sight, we're getting used to our new view and wide open space, feeling a little lighter.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

We Have a Stone House*

He who works with his hands is a labourer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.  
{St. Francis of Assissi}

Over the past month, the stonemason has been here finishing the last side of the house.  This is definitely a turning point in this process.  He started in May 2013 and completed three sides of the house, including the mammoth chimney, and broke for the winter in mid-December when it became too cold for the mortar to set properly.  It was a good day when he started back at it this Spring!

He works alone.  These hands lifted, carried and placed 90 tons of stone and 22 tons of mortar onto our home.    

They are rough like sandpaper, scarred and sewn up, callused, thick and worn from years of working with stone.  

Ours is the last full house he will stone; his craft has weighed heavily on his body.

We are so fortunate:   his skill, care, strength and artistry gave us a stone house.  It is the defining feature of our home.

He suggested that we create a time capsule to place in one of the last stones to go on.  

1.  Family photo
2.  Letter about our family, our time on the farm and the history of the farm
3.  Blueprints for the house
4.  Coins 
5.  Toys!

He carved out a niche in the back of a stone to fit the glass jar.

In the mortar next to the stone with our time capsule, he placed a coin and his stonemason's symbol.  He also placed his own time capsule in the last stone, as he does for every project.  (A coin was also placed in the mortar "for your kids, somewhere they can reach."  Haven't found that one yet!)

What an unique and fascinating experience it has been to have this stonemason work with us on our home. 

* Our house has a 4" thick layer of stone applied to the exterior structural timber walls.  This is called a stone veneer.  A true stone house is actually supported by 3 to 4 foot thick stone walls.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Belgian Linen Slipcovered Furniture (Restoration Hardware style)

{our living room sofa}

Buying grown-up furniture has been on the "once we're in the new house..." list for about seven years.  We moved into our new (empty) house in July 2013 and by November it was time.  We needed a sectional for the den as well as sofas, chairs and ottomans to dampen the echo.

For years, I've been carrying around tear sheets of Restoration Hardware Style / Belgian linen slipcovered sofas.  And since our den (photo above) was literally designed and built to have a sectional placed under the window, that was the piece I started with.

I visited the lovely furniture shops in our town and surrounding area.  I showed them my inspiration photos and looked at catalogue after catalogue.   Many of them offered set modules to build with but didn't offer customization of sizing and details like pillows, skirting and filling.

So I decided to stop beating around the bush and go to the source:  Restoration Hardware.  Excited to make the day trip to midtown Toronto (a rare occurrence), I was ready to see row upon row of favourites from my dogeared RH catalogue.  I was ready to find the perfect sectional.

Boy, was I disappointed.  The showroom had a minimum of pieces on display in dim lighting (for effect?).  Since there weren't any sectionals on the floor, the salesperson showed me my options on their website using an iPad...  Long story short, RH was not our answer in the sofa department:  we couldn't get the width/length we needed and their furniture prices in Canada are higher than I was willing to spend.  (I will, however, continue to buy certain items from RH such as shower curtains that I've been very happy with.)

{fabric samples from our supplier}

From there, Josh started digging around.  He has the Midas touch when it comes to working a deal so it wasn't long before he found a custom furniture manufacturer in California that was interested in selling directly, as long as we placed a wholesale size order.  Their pieces are 'bench made', meaning each piece is made by one person.  They specialize in custom orders so we were able to look at their basic pieces and design from there.  We chose 40 fabric samples (from their selection of 300+) to have couriered to us (photo above).  There were loads of Belgian linens to chose from!

The design/fabrication/shipping process took about four months, with the shipping container stuck in customs for a large portion of that time.  It was a fun day with the truck finally arrived:

{Receiving the truck load} 

We loaded it all into our living room:

And then started to move it around the house.  The living room sofa:

Living room chairs (old furniture in background - nowhere to put it until basement is finished!:

Had to get one of these leather club chairs:

For the girls' room:

We also had our photographer friend take some photos of the new furniture just in case we need some clean photos in the future.  I've shared some of them below.  Just what we need, another business.  Right?