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Category Archives: Bedroom

bedroom – before and after

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We got over the distractions of dirt and newspapers and set to work cleaning, painting, and sanding with a vengeance, knowing that we had to live here in 3 very short weeks.

- floor almost scraped clean of lino and newspapers

Lucky for us, we started to learn firsthand the true and overwhelming nature of maritime generosity when a steady stream of brand new friends showed up to help.  For my birthday, Sam organized a surprise crack team of stealth painting friends (thank you Andrew, Neal, and Nick) to whip the bedroom into shape seemingly overnight (well, when I was in class):

we have somewhere to sleep!

Best birthday present EVER.

The floor I actually did later – when I had my own incredible crack team come to help: the amazing Len (who actually had a job painting professionally but then came over after work everyday to do more painting for free), the incredible Jerra (who once took the back door key so she could come and finish what she’s started when I wasn’t even able to be there), the dedicated Lorraine, mentioned last post, and the fabulous Nate (who still hasn’t managed to escape the endless-ness of this reno and was down in the basement shifting broken concrete just last week). Greatest team a girl could ask for, even if they were often intoxicated.  Never ever underestimate the power of pizza and beer.  That could actually be ‘Renovation tip number 2’.

After scraping off the lino and old newspapers we rented a sander and set to work.  Sanding the floors wasn’t as dramatic as I would have hoped, and as I was too cheap to rent the edging machine to do the corners, those had to be done by hand – ugh.  I had always, always wanted painted black floorboards though, so that was never in doubt.  People freaked out a bit – there’s a lot of purists out there about wood being wood colour – but the floorboards were so stained and with a lot of old dark red paint on them that I probably would have had to sand them for a week.  Black paint covered the problems and appealed to my aesthetic – what’s not to love?  Painting them was hands down the single most satisfying task I’ve done during this reno.

Not so satisfying was watching them dry.  That shit took forever.  I only had 48 hrs before we moved in and it was not enough.  The photo above looks perfect, but that was before the furniture was moved in and pushed along the floor taking the paint with it.  Oh the pain! – the actual physical cringing pain of watching your ‘new’ floor get ruined!

I just pretend now that I wanted it that way; the scuffs and old red paint showing through just add character...

So here’s what it looks like now:

These are our most favourite awesome pillowcases from artist Miranda July that we got at the ICA in London.  We switch them up so no one has to dream of fraudulence every night.

I have to confess, I was a little annoyed to find the exact pillowcases in my recent issue of East Coast Living – particularly as they are in a much fancier house (and actually look like they’ve been ironed -oops) with a much more extensive art collection and better quality photography.  I’m just jealous obviously.  But really, I know they’re an edition of 1000, but what are the chances of 2 sets making their way to the Canadian Maritimes?

‘Looking up from below’ is a piece by Eldon Garnet purchased from Christopher Cutts Gallery in Toronto, back when we were high flyin’ art world folks and not crack house renovating unemployed students.  Oh well…onwards and upwards!  At least we still have the art.

Speaking of, you can see another piece here that the artist Sadko Hadzihasanovic did of us for his ‘Kissing’ series:

And finally, here is a somewhat embarrassing series of photos of the bedroom that also reveal our pretty mortifying ‘closet’ system, the beloved ‘corner of wires’ (if anyone has a solution to this I’d love to hear it), and the ‘we’re not really sure what to do with the fireplace’ stalemate.  I was going to edit these all fancy-like so it looks like our life is magazine perfect, but that’s not how I roll (and Sam told me I was being obsessive/crazy).

And if you wonder why I don’t seem to have many clothes (the above is both mine and Sam’s), that’s thanks to DHL, who manged to lose my entire wardrobe last year en-route from the Isle of Man to London (which isn’t that far).  No apology, no compensation, no nothing.  I digress…(though if anyone from DHL is reading this, my bag is a blue duffle, from Mountain Equipment Co-op, also contains my tripod and sketchbook, and I would really like it back).

'chair makes lame attempt to disguise plaster fireplace mess'

phone, internet, AND cable wires all have to live in the corner

*for those care about such things, the wall colours are Benjamin Moore Province Blue and Oxford White.  The floor is Benjamin Moore porch and floor paint, I think in something boring like ‘Black’


the bedroom – tobacco walls and newspaper floors

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So before people think we only have a kitchen, let’s move on to the bedroom properly.  This was the first room we did so that we had somewhere to actually sleep.  It was also probably the most immediately live-able room in the house.  But mirrored Last Suppers notwithstanding, there was still stuff to fix.

With the Jesus mirror out of the way, we were free to tackle the incredible nicotine decoration and clean our hearts out.

Oh my god it was gross.  The grime on the walls was unbelievable.  Layer upon layer of yellowed nicotine and other substances from goodness knows what or when.  Lucky for me, the amazing Lorraine came over armed with supplies and set to work like a woman possessed.

You know that clean freak hygiene obsessed friend? Everyone has one. Well, Lorraine is mine (and no, you can’t have her), and this is exactly who you need when confronted with this level of overwhelming dirt.  I let her listen to French CBC, offered cold beer at regular intervals, and – voila!  Clean room.  Her cleaning prowess was to continue for pretty much the next two months. Hallelujah.

The floor was also pretty disgusting, naturally (you may have noticed a bit of a theme developing).

The floor was covered (partially) in that awesome ‘is it lino or is it a carpet? – it’s so convincing I can’t tell!’ floor covering of, I’m assuming the 1950s or 60’s.  My assumption is based on the next layer we found – an amazing amount of old newspapers dating primarily from the 1960s (there were a few older ones going back to the 1930s – found in the ceiling/upstairs floor – but they pretty much disintegrated when we moved them).  Well really, is there anything like a 50-year-old newspaper to distract you from cleaning smelly tobacco encrusted walls?  If so I have yet to find it.

I mean seriously, Trudeau might be prime minister!

‘Tape-Citie’ has more than 5000 tapes!  Dupuis makes something called ‘acrobat go go’ tights! (they should definitely make a comeback) Hard hitting stories about gas and indigestion make the news!

So much to learn!  It was endless.

– and at least a day was wasted.

Jesus in the bedroom

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Oh it’s true:

This little beauty was on what would become the bedroom wall (actually not so little – probably about 24 x 36 in.).

And it wasn’t just a picture.  Oh no, this was mirrored tile.  Glued to the wall.

Sam actually wanted to keep the Jesus mirror.  Our friends also expressed Facebook angst about us removing it.

I was having none of it.  I mean, there’s kitsch, and then there’s Kitsch.  Not that I don’t love Jesus ‘n all, but having him and his apostles staring down at me while I sleep…or whatever…wasn’t really doing it for me.

Luckily for me, where Jesus & Co. was on the wall was also where the ‘closet’ was going (this currently consists of two brackets and a piece of dowel rod until we can agree on wardrobes).  But, like the good and accommodating girlfriend I am, I did make an attempt to take it down intact so we could ‘move’ it somewhere else (!).

There was blood (a little), there was sweat (a lot), and there were tears (well, faked), but in a total tragedy of astronomic home renovation proportions, I’m afraid to say – the mirror broke.  Yes, I tried to salvage a few squares – hoping at one point that if I could save Jesus’ feet I might be redeemed slightly – but that sucker shattered into thousands of horrible dangerous pieces.  And yes, it did feel weirdly sacrilegious.

Sorry Sam.

(- and if anyone has a line on a mirrored Jesus, let me know…I’m still not totally forgiven)

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