Hallway Art

Our hallway is very broken up with doors, small walls and stairs. There’s a small section of wall that you can see when you walk in the door, and it was asking for some art! My parents gave us these awesome bicycle prints, they have been in our family for years. We had some super old Ikea frames that were actually made of wood, yes, that’s how old they were. So I purchased some mat board from Michaels and cut them to fit into the frames and just like that we added some character to the space.

The cabinet below was custom made from scraps of wood and then painted with some extra paint we had from our renovations. I didn’t want to have a cabinet in the hallway, but we had no choice, unfortunately the hallway was the only spot the internet could be installed in our place. So we built this super shallow cabinet to house the wireless router and all the cables, it also gives us a little extra storage.

Hallway art

Hallway Bench

Finally our hallway feels a bit more complete. We found a wood bench on craigslist that matches the wood of our type trays, it’s a perfect fit and we’ll be able to tuck our shoes underneath.

Wood bench and typography trays

Refrigerator Thoughts

refridgerator
Lets take a moment to talk about refrigeration. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. When we bought our place it came with a late 1970’s refrigerator that was in decent enough shape to keep, but we definitely weren’t in love with it, we just didn’t have the budget to buy a new one since we had to get a new stove and dishwasher among  other things.

fridgadaire

So we decided to do a mini makeover on the fridge and paint it a fun colour. You can read more about that process here. About a year later, the paint is still holding up, but the fridge handle is wearing pretty badly. Not only is the paint starting to wear, but the fridge is too.
kitchen-loft

Sometimes in the middle of the night i’ll be jolted awake by the loud motor turning on or off. Or i’ll be watching TV and i’ll have to turn up the volume to drown out the sound of the motor. Other times, we’ll have guests over and the motor will turn on and people will be like “what the heck is that noise?” and that’s when it hit me, I think the fridge is on it’s way out. I’m dreading the day of coming home from work, opening it up and discovering a fridge full of warm rotten food.

So, i’ve been loosely fridge shopping online the last few months, trying to find a brand I like, incase the inevitable day arrives where we have to rush out and buy something in a panic.

smeg

Andrew and I have always been into retro styled fridges, specifically the SMEG (isn’t everyone in love with it?). We lusted over it for years, dreaming of what colour we’d like in our kitchen, but we had never seen or touched one in real life. Then one day it happened, West Elm Market opened up a shop here in Vancouver and we finally got to put our hands on one. From a distance it was beautiful, shiny and fun, but then I reached out and touched it’s smooth shiny surface….. PLASTIC?!! I was so extremely disappointed to discover that the entire thing was made from plastic. It felt so cheap, it felt like a $400 Home Depot fridge in a cool modern/retro disguise. I was sad. I expected a solid fridge with an enamel painted body. I couldn’t believe it. How is it possible for a fridge to cost so much but have so little.

After a few weeks of mourning our loss, we had moved on. (kind of, I still dream about it in photos I see on Pinterest, but then I snap out of it and remember reality and the fact that we need a larger freezer.)

We’re still not really sure what brand we’ll be getting, as most are pretty ugly these days. I think my main issue is that it needs to be simple. No ice machines, no water machines, no digital stuff, no crazy compartments with many doors. It should also be energy efficient, but I  think most are these days.

My latest concern is that most new fridges are slick and stainless steel on the front, but the sides are black and ugly. Our fridge is free-standing and exposed in our kitchen, so it’s necessary to have a nice looking side.

Here’s a few models i’ve looked into, but realized that a quality fridge is pretty dang expensive.

fridges

1. GE  2. Maytag  3. Samsung  4. Viking

Got any refrigerator you’ve been lusting over lately? Share some links, i’d love to check them out.

Recipe Adventure: Carrot Cake

carrotcake-recipe-1

carrotcake-recipe-4

carrotcake-recipe-3

carrotcake-recipe-2

Ingredients
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1 whole orange zest and some juice
3 cups grated carrot

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease 2 8 inch cake pans

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla.
Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon.
Stir in carrots, orange zest and juice. Fold in nuts and raisins.

Pour evenly into pans and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Icing
1/4 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
3-4 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine ingredient in mixer, beat until smooth.

Wood Railing Nightmare

When we moved into our place a year ago, we realized we had a lot of small projects ahead of us, sanding, paintings, patching etc…  and this was after the major renovation had been completed. We’ve finished almost all of them except one major thing that keeps staring us right in the face. The wood railings upstairs. You can see it from almost every angle in the apartment, it’s the same ugly red stain that the stairs were, but it can’t be removed to sand in a tent like we did for the stairs. Since our space is all open, the dust will basically go everywhere.

For the last year we’ve been avoiding them, contemplating how we’re going to approach them or convincing ourselves we don’t really need to do it. But today, we took the plunge and tried one section.

wood-railing-diy

Let me tell you, it’s hard work and makes a ginormous mess! Andrew was scraping while I tried my best to vacuum up all the bits. Scraping was only step 1, step 2 requires even more mess with sanding, but sadly at this point we gave up due to it being way too hot up in the loft.

railing-blog4

I guess this post is “to be continued” maybe you’ll see the results in a year…haha..but we’re hoping to at least try and tackle it again on a cooler day.

railing-blog3

Loft Stairs Before and After

So it’s August 2nd and it’s shocking to think that this time last year we got the keys to our place and began our renovations. We’re so happy with the apartment that i’ve totally forgotten to keep my blog updated with renovation photos. That and every time I think to take “after” photos, it’s too dark. The stuff i’m about to share with you is even a bit out dated, since then we’ve put up art on the walls and de-cluttered a ton.

Anyway, this may be a year late, but hey…better late than never I suppose.

The stairs in our apartment are solid wood and have so much potential that was hidden under a nasty red varnish. Why on earth they decided to hide the natural wood behind the ugly stain really boggles my mind, but there’s a lot about this place that made me wonder what the previous owners were thinking.

Check out the ugly red stain, which of course it much “redder” in person. Oh and don’t even get me started on the purple and burgundy paint. (which was later covered up with dark brown and white)

stairs-before

We removed all the stairs at the start of the renovation, we didn’t want to damage the wood during construction. It worked out fine, since there’s metal bars under them to step on. We numbered each stair and stored them in the closet until we were ready to refinish them.

When it came time to start, we bought a heavy paint and varnish remover that comes in a gel format. It’s extremely toxic and burns like crazy if you get it on your skin, but it works so well. You need a scraper, paper towel and a heavy duty drop cloth. Using this stripper was pretty much the only option, because we wanted to limit the amount of saw dust we created (at this point we had already moved in).  Andrew has tough hands, so he took on the stair project and scraped off as much varnish as possible.

Once that phase was done, we built a plastic tent over the window so Andrew could use an electric sander and avoid getting saw dust EVERYWHERE. We thought it was a genius idea, we strategically taped off a corner in the apartment including the window for ventilation. Andrew even used a sander that had a built in bag to collect the dust. But guess what? The sawdust was so freggin’ fine that it managed to escape the tent! For days after, actually more like weeks, it rained down sawdust on everything. No matter how much I wiped things, it was still there the next day! I guess it prevented it from being much much worse, but it wasn’t perfect and we really had no other option. Check out the process photos below.

stairs-process

After all the sanding was done and the nice light natural wood was revealed, we couldn’t wait to bolt them back onto the stair frame. Except there was one major problem, the numbers we wrote on the steps came off and we had lost track of what went where! So much for being really organized! So it began, our game of trial and error, lining up the existing screw holes because they were all screwed in differently by the previous owners. We were just glad there weren’t that many stairs. (Although i’m pretty sure Andrew wasn’t thinking that while he was sanding the never ending pile of wood). After some swearing and dropping many screws, they were on and they were beautiful. There’s nothing like natural wood sealed with a clear bees wax. The hallway feels so much brighter now.

stairs-after-diy