Tag Archives: dream home

My New Desk

If you have a superb memory, you may recall this old post in which I tell you about a corner of our house and my big plans for it. Basically, it was to fix this mess:

If you clicked on the link, you can see just how different a space can be after living in it for nearly 2 years.

If you clicked on the link, you can see just how different a space can be after living in it for nearly 2 years.

The very few and small shelves made it quite impractical and not useful for anything other than a dumping ground for all the junk. Not a good use of space at all.

When my brother and sister-in-law, Nathan and Katie, mentioned wanting to come out for a visit, I immediately thought I could put my handy brother to use! After all, two years of sitting on dreams this small is too long! He agreed to do it (or probably just felt like he couldn’t say “no”), and so my first order of business was to paint the walls in the dining area of the kitchen where this nook is. I was happy to get rid of this weird yellow-brown in yet another room of the house. So we went from this:

Windows 6to this:

A keen eye will also notice I finally painted over the bottom half that had been primed since the fall.

A keen eye will also notice I finally painted over the bottom half that had been primed since the fall.

Then our visitors came and we got right to work, heading out to Home Depot just a couple hours after their arrival! It was my first time buying something from the lumber section of Home Depot which of course made me feel like a legit DIYer, even though I was doing none of the building myself. Nathan worked hard, and did such a good job working with my ideas, even adding a few of his own to enhance it.

Nathan hard at work on his vacation. And his completed project, ready for me to put the final touches on.

Nathan hard at work on his vacation. And his completed project, ready for me to put the final touches on.

So from here it was all me. I wanted to paint the shelves and stain the desk part. So I did that. And then I added some cork board details to the wall above the pencil shelf. I originally wanted to just have a solid sheet of it, but these circles were cheaper at Michaels, and I love the way it turned out! The shelves hold so much more! I was able to empty all my craft stuff out of our bedroom and now I have space in there to put baby clothes, which means I can start nesting, but that’s another post I suppose. I also put all Calvin’s puzzles (which is his current love) up there to enforce a “one puzzle at a time” rule. New Desk (2)Ideally, one day I will also get some sort of stacked drawer unit to fit underneath too, but that can wait until I find the perfect piece. I also need to staple all these annoying cables into place. But for now I will just sit right here and enjoy all our hard work. Thank you so much, Nathan!New Desk (3)

The Kitchen

I think about my dream home a lot. Really, who doesn’t? Since being a renter for 6 or so years, in 3 very different types of homes (both Tim and I have been blessed enough to not have ever had to live in an apartment building), I feel like I have a really good grasp on the difference between what makes a space livable, and what makes it perfect.

Here is the first kitchen I had on my own:424089_10151311729975315_938276775_n

I was renting a suit that was half of the upper floor of a 1905 Victorian house. I loved the suite, but since it was a small space, the kitchen was left a little lacking.

What I liked:
– I could stand in one place and do everything I needed to do
– the fridge was short enough to use as storage for things, like cutlery and drying dishes
– small amount of floor to keep clean
– new, white appliances, even if they were apartment sized
– there was a sort of pantry, in the hallway (could have also served as a linen closet)

What I did not like:
– lack of cupboard space (those puppies were crammed with the trickiest of all cupboard jigsaw puzzles after we got married)
– small drawers; drawer space should never be underestimated
– the corner cupboard set up; the corner drawer to the left of the sink opened to a cavernous space that led to the back corner, walled off from the rest of the cupboards, making the back corner unusable for things you needed to get at often
– single sink (especially since there was no space on the right to put dishes once cleaned, hence the rack on the fridge)
– boring “landlord’s special” cabinets
– open to the living space

What I would change:
I would probably stick a custom IKEA kitchen in that little corner! There are tons of ways to be a lot smarter with this space. Maybe some shelving above the fridge. I might even go as far as making it a U-shaped kitchen with a little breakfast bar. It would take up some of the living room space, but it would nix the need for a dining table.

It served me well enough for 2 years, and Tim and I for an additional year. And as much as I may miss that suite, I am glad I don’t have such a tiny kitchen anymore!

Next we moved to a ground level suite in a 1980s house, and this is the kitchen we had for about 6 months:


It was an odd space smack in the middle of the suite. There were four entries/exits from it: the dining room/entrance (to the right), hallway to the bedrooms (where photo is taken from), bathroom (straight ahead), and living room (in the back left). Behind the wall that is blocking the view on the left in the full sized fridge and two full upper cabinets, or four doors, however you count them.

What I liked:
– white cabinets
– double sink
– decent amount of counter space
– tasteful laminate counters
– the corner cupboard were the normal kind with the bent door (easier access to the back)
– lots of cupboards
– “closed” floor plan
– big drawers
– you can’t see it, but around the side of the cupboard by the door to the living room are a couple open shelves
– counter space on the opening side of the fridge

What I did not like:
– no natural light
– no pantry
– bathroom coming right off the kitchen
– the cupboards were actually too shallow by about 0.5cm to hold my dinner plates

What I would change:
I think whoever put this suite together did the best that they could, given the space. However, in the hallway to the bedrooms, which was more of an strangely shaped room than a hallway, I would build some shelving to serve as extra storage, not only for the kitchen but for the rest of the house which only had one two foot closet (one bedroom didn’t have a closet, and there was no linen closet).

So besides the general layout of this room, there really wasn’t much I didn’t like. Not my dream kitchen, but not a whole lot to complain about.

And now, for the first time since living at home, we have a kitchen that is actually built as a kitchen in the original home layout!

photo (1)

This house was built in 1967 and these cupboards are definitely original. It’s a little bit funny to look at since there are no upper cupboards above the lowers, and no lowers under the uppers. Although there probably once were some where the dishwasher is.

What I like:
– huge window above the sink, also meaning lots of natural light
– pantry; however it only has two shelves in it, so it is used only for my appliances and brooms; the rest of the pantry stuff is stored on a shelf, as I’ve posted about before.
– double sink
– lever faucet (so much better than two separate knobs!)
– counter space on the opening side of the fridge
– the shelves in the lower cabinets are actually half sized, making access to the bottom back super easy; I had never seen it before, but it makes perfect sense, especially in the corner cupboard!
– dishwasher; such a bonus for a renter
– the white counter top; it may be really old and falling apart, but i like white counters
– the stove vent vents right back into the room so the entire upper cabinet is useful

What I do not like:
– black appliances
– bulk heads; what is the purpose of those, anyway?
– the pantry isn’t functional enough for pantry items
– tile floor
– sparkly back splash (this is the least “me” feature in this entire house)
– no cupboard above the fridge
– the drawers are too narrow to hold modern day utensil holders

What I would change:
First of all, I think the layout could be better. I would move the dishwasher to beside the sink, left or right, doesn’t really matter, then center the stove on the long wall so there is counter on both sides. I would also add a small island since there is so much dead space in the middle of the room. And I would make the pantry a part of the cabinetry instead of a closet style. And as I’ve mentioned in at least a couple posts, I would paint paint paint!

Being the one kitchen that is in a space that is actually for a kitchen, I think it has the most I could change, strangely. It’s very functional, but it could be a lot better, and a lot better looking, too.

So those are my reality kitchens. My dream kitchen has a list that looks something like this:

– a casual feel (I’m not partial to dark woods and granite counter tops)
– closed floor plan
– light coloured cabinets
– white or butcher block counters
– white is my first colour choice for appliances
– counter space beside the open side of the fridge (so no french door fridge)
– farmhouse style sink under a big window
– a place for everything
– a great pantry
– lots of drawers and smaller cubbies/open shelving
– floor that is not tile or laminate wood

You may wonder why I want a closed floor plan. Most people like the open feel for when they are entertaining so they don’t have to be in a separate room, or so they can keep an eye on their kids. I like having the kitchen as a separate room because when I am entertaining, I like having the kitchen to escape to. Not because I don’t like you, just because I’m not an extrovert. Plus that way, you don’t have to keep it clean all the time! And I’m not concerned about not seeing the kids every minute.

Here are some photos I grabbed off of Better Homes and Gardens of kitchens that caught my eye:

kitchen 3

kitchen 2

kitchen 1

I love the lived-in look of these kitchens, and how bright they are. I love the idea of being able to display some dishes and things. And I love that it doesn’t feel like a show room.

What’s on your kitchen wish list?

The Laundry Room

I’m a mother. I do a lot of laundry. Probably about 7 loads a week. I think about laundry rooms a lot.

In the past 5 years, I have had a few different set ups for laundry:

Mom and Dad’s: The laundry room I grew up with. Totally comfortable with it. The washer and dryer aren’t side by side, but rather across from each other. A simple twist of the body and you are able to get the wet stuff into the dryer. Also, there was a laundry sink to put random things and get them off the floor or do some pre-rinsing when necessary.

Victoria Rental #1: This house was a 100-year old suited Victorian, and all three suites had shared laundry in the basement, down some dingy outdoor steps. My apartment was on the top floor, so I had to go down my stairs, out the front door, around the back of the house, and down the back steps into the laundry room. Not ideal in wet weather, or when I go down 5 minutes before the washer is actually done. The nice thing about this set up though, was that the dryer was to the right of the washer. Dryer hinges seem to be only on the right side, so when the washer is on the left, the door opens away from the washer. Makes it easy for transport between the two.
I am glad I no longer have to go outdoors to do laundry now that I do it three times a week, rather than once every week and a half.

Victoria Rental #2: In this suburban home, we rented a basement suit that had laundry hookups on the inside, but the owner decided to build a lean-to on the outside to house the washer and dryer so it can be shared with the upstairs. This wasn’t so much of a big deal since the door was directly beside our front door so I barely needed to step outside. However the dryer was on the left so the two unit doors opened towards each other requiring a little more work to get things in and out. Also, this washer was front loading which was not fun for taking little baby things and diapers out of. So much bending over! And the dryer made a loud banging sound which was not so great since the lean-to had a window into Calvin’s room. Not ideal for nap time.

Edmonton Rental: Now this set up is a little strange. We rent the top floor of a bungalow. The laundry is downstairs in the basement in an unfinished corner. No big deal, right? Except for the fact that I have to walk through the entire basement suite (where there are other renters) . That means that somebody down there needs to be home in order for me to do laundry. It actually hasn’t turned out to be that bad. They are easy going and somebody is almost always there. But once again, the dryer is on the left. Does this bother anybody else, or am I the only one?! The nice thing about the washer, though, is that it is a top loader. So much easier! When we first moved here, the washer was super old, and you had to manually turn the water taps to change the load temperature. But then it broke down so we got a new one! Very thankful for that. This laundry room also has a laundry sink, but the washer drains into it, so you can’t really do anything in it. Once I found that my sock had come out through the hose and plugged the sink! Now I know where the missing socks are going to!

So in all my experiences, I have come up with a list of what my ideal laundry room would include:
– Side by side washer and dryer with the doors opening away from eachother (I do not have any experience with stacked laundry…anybody?)
– In my own suite!  Oh, the freedom of being able to do laundry whenever I wanted!
– in a finished room; unfinished rooms feel dirty and I don’t want to do laundry in a dirty room
– top loading washer
– a usable sink
– a folding area/place to put baskets
– a place to hang dry diapers and other items

Here are a couple of photos of good laundry room ideas (thank you, Pinterest):

(click the photo for source)

(click the photo for source)

So those are my thoughts on laundry rooms. What kind of set up works for you and preferences?