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Kate's house

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The story of our house and a great photographer

We booked our photographer Nicholas to take pictures of a dining room we've been working on. Unfortunately, the prints we ordered for the space hadn't arrived yet, so rather than waste his time, we asked Nicholas to take pictures of my house instead. Nicholas is very professional and does not rest until he gets the shot he wants. I had to force him to eat in the middle of the day because he hadn't stopped working. Not to mention that he manages to capture the best angles, the best lighting and all that other magic that great photographers do. If you've seen pics of my house on here in the past, you will notice a big difference in the quality of photography. He is fantastic. You can reach him at Nicholas.e.theodorou@gmail.com.

THE STORY OF OUR HOUSE:

Chris and I lived in an old century home on a busy street. We loved our home and our neighbourhood but as soon as Max was able to scoot around on a bike, the street seemed busier and our joined nostalgia of growing up playing in front of our houses became ever more prominent. Chris was still resisting a move but on the long weekend of September ( a year and a half ago) my MLS surfing paid off. I showed him a listing for a simple two story home on a cul de sac in our neighbourhood. The fixer in him was sold. I believe what he said was, you can do anything with a brick house, so we bought it on a whim.  And that's when I started to get nervous because the house was not the one of my dreams but I knew this was my one opportunity to move and I loved the street.

So fast forward 8 months and a reno that turned into a gut and an add-on and a dig-down and a build-out and we got ourselves an open floor plan, white walls, an ensuite and walk in closet never previously had, and a finished basement to host all of the kids' toys. Ta da!

Here are some pics of our home, minus the basement and a couple bathrooms and my closet which was too messy to photograph.  It is forever a work in progress because I am constantly wanting a different look or feel but that's also all the fun, right?

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-Kate

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Kinda xmas decorating

I used to think it was crazy that stores had Christmas inventory the day after Halloween, sometimes sooner. This year, however, I have jumped on the bandwagon... I pleaded with Chris to pull down everything Halloween and toss it in the basement so that I could start envisioning a bit of christmas cheer. Since it's still too early for a tree I thought I'd do some pre-xmas decorating with lights. They warm up a space any time of year, right? Meet twinkle tree and twinkle lights up on the mantle. I also bought this sweet reindeer candle that smells like pine. All that's left is a Christmas movie and hot chocolate and 'tis the season.

 

 

 

My sister in law walked into our house today and said, "oh my god, have you decorated for Christmas already?"

Kinda?

I have to say, that I'm also the first person to take Christmas down. I get really excited at the onset but I've had enough by the day-after-boxing-day.

-Kate

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Birthday Celebration #35

Amanda, As you know, yesterday was my thirty-fifth birthday. It was a grey and rainy day. I decided to embrace it and stayed home for most of the day, made muffins and played with the kids. I had a couple moments of contemplation since birthdays tend to bring that on - one was, wow, I can't believe I'm 35! It feels like yesterday that I was dating Chris and staying up really late. But my other thought was, of course I'm 35. I've got wrinkles around my eyes and now I go to bed at 10:30 pm.

Anyway, the highlights of the day were the tulips Chris and the kids gave me in the morning, the dinner I had out at La Cubana with the hubby and the surprise birthday gift that he gave me since I thought I had already received my birthday gift. What I liked most about the gifts were how "me" they were.

Some pics:

In no particular order: A book about Scandinavian decor, one of my favourite flowers, a tiny marble bowl with a gold spoon, a marble slab, a wooden tray and a gold picture frame that I actually like without a picture in it.

Happy Birthday to me!

-Kate

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Living Room update

Amanda, It always starts with a little thing. In this case it was the mantle. I looked over one day and decided I didn't want the black anymore. I liked the look but since our first floor is entirely open concept I felt like the sight line jarred a bit when you looked from the back of the house to the front. I wanted... wait for it...a white mantle with more of an organic feel that complimented the rest of the house.

So I painted the mantle. We had all the paint in the basement so that was easy. And since I was going for that light organic look, I pulled the mirror from my bedroom which is a washed wood look and threw it up there and then played around with the plants I have in the house until it felt right.

Chris found a coffee table on kijiji since it was always the piece that was missing in that room - the thing that stopped us from having a coffee there or reading a book on that couch.

Lastly, I found a great carpet at EQ3 for $100. A total steal. And exactly what i was looking for... woody tones, light and bright.

Anyway, to Chris' chagrin, we are constantly evolving over here. But I can't help it!

-Kate

 

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White Milk Glass

Amanda, My mother in law collects vintage everything - she is incredibly sentimental and loves anything with meaning. I was at her house last week and saw this little vase with bumps on it (the description doesn't do it justice) and there was something about that vase that I loved so I told her if she found another one, I would be grateful. Anyway, while up at the cottage on the weekend I popped into this roadside antique shop and found the same kind of glass in what looks like two votive candle holders. Then, my mother in law came over today and surprised me with the another version of the little vase I had complimented... she found it at a second hand store.

Anyway, what I love most about them is actually what I discovered they are called - it's white milk glass. Doesn't that sound nice? Don't know what I'm going to do with them but they're just so pretty.

Speaking of white, I painted my mantle white today. Three coats - the first one was without kids, the second one was painful because the kids wanted to help and the third one I rushed through while I distracted them with a movie. More on that later....I have to figure out how I'm now going to style the new look.

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-Kate

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Glass fence

Amanda,

Chris installed our glass fence yesterday. As you know, we greatly debated how to childproof the pool - gate, no gate, iron, mesh, glass... we didn't want to enclose the pool in a way that would make people feel like they were swimming in a fishbowl and the layout of our backyard made for tricky fencing lines.

Anyway, we settled on a glass fence at the top of our deck so that I can leave the kids on the deck without worrying about them being unsupervised by the pool and that way the pool area is as open as it can be.

I'm very happy with the glass - I almost feel like you don't see it.

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Have a fabulous time out west. We will miss you guys and can't wait to hear all about it.

-Kate

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My new marble

Amanda,

When we were renovating our house I would get really excited to see the "big" progress, like the floors or the walls or the kitchen. Now that everything is done, it's the little things that I get excited about, like my new candle. I caught a glimpse of marble at West Elm today and scurried over to see what this beautiful round carrara thing was and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a candle - the perfect accent for just about anywhere!

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-Kate

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Twinkle Twinkle Little Lights

Amanda, What a great weekend. Full of sun and pool and two trips for ice cream! I really feel like summer is here. It was so nice hosting our impromptu dinner on Saturday night - still embarrassed that it was a pizza night but that's kind of what made it so enjoyable too. Between the kids jumping in and out of the pool and the lovely company, it was the perfect summer evening.

Chris took some pictures of our new twinkle lights and I thought I'd share since they are such an inexpensive way to create an ambience and they just look so darn pretty.

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-Kate

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Bedroom art

Amanda, A couple of weeks ago I bought two pieces of art from modern camper for our bedroom. I wanted something for either side of the bed and I was picturing something black and white so these two crazy affordable abstracts are perfect.

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His side.

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Her side.

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Also, I got tired of the colour blocked bookshelves so I rearranged some books and repurposed those owls that used to be on my mantle. Its a more calming look for the bedroom. I'm sleeping better already;)

-Kate

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Mini house updates

Amanda, Little changes can sometimes have great impact - to your mood, your home, your life.

I putzed around this week in my house and made a couple improvements: like I realized inadvertently that I needed a side table next to the couch in the family room and the owls on my mantel were tiring - they needed a repurpose and then of course flowers always lift me up. Thought I'd share my mini facelift.

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The peonies totally pop against the black. And like most people, I'm totally obsessed with peonies in all shapes and colours so imagine my pleasure when my mother in law called and said her peonies had bloomed and were ready to be plucked!

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Straight from Babcia's garden - aren't they beautiful?

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I found a tray at Target - not what I had originally envisioned but I really liked the size and the high lip. I wanted it to be accessible so I put it on my table and created a centerpiece with it.

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Lastly, I took this side table out of Max's room and added a terrarium and now I have a place for my coffee in the morning. Love it.

Hope you're having a great weekend. Sad you missed our pool afternoon but i'm sure yorkville was fun. Take any pics?

-Kate

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My Family Room Reveal

Amanda, It's done.

As you recall, the overhaul started with my falling out of love with the wintery navy accent in my family room. I was just finished with it. See here.

I envisioned a light and bright room for the spring/summer with an airy scandinavian feel. Here it is:

I have to say that I'm patting myself on the back because I didn't purchase a single thing spontaneously. Also, I was thrifty! I painted our console myself, I used a gift card to purchase the curtains, I repurposed the ottoman from our basement and I bought the frames on the wall with money from selling our rug. The art inside the frames are different paper designs from The Paper Place. $10 total. The pillows were the most costly item - found at Homesense and CB2. I mean, I'm happy to spend money when needed but it feels way better when you don't have to.

I think I might eventually want a rug but I'm enjoying my floors right now. Also, I think the space needs a light rug - white or cream variation - but I have 2 dogs to consider...

All that white with two kids, you ask? Well, everything can be washed or wiped. I don't buy anything that can't.

The most important thing is that when I am in that room I look around and feel good. That's always my measuring stick for a job complete.

-Kate

 

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Family room update

Amanda, I've been slowly working on our family room facelift. I'm priding myself on how thrifty I've been. I sold the carpet on a local marketplace network and used that money to buy three new frames. I used a gift card to buy gorgeous new curtains (they completely transformed the room on their own.) Rather than have 6 pillows on my couch I downsized to 3.  So far I'm thrilled.

My latest contemplation is a new coffee table. I told M1 that he could turn the current one into a Lego table so that we'd be recycling. What I really want is a combination of round and marble. These are the options:

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I fell in love with this one from West elm initially. It is so feminine and reminds me of something Christine Dovey would have in her home. However, I'd be introducing gold to the room and I'm hesitant to do that.

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Then I saw this, a pretty complement to my mid-century modern console.  It's also West Elm and reasonable.

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Lastly, Meg told me about CB2's marble coffee table. It's more modern, is a bit bigger and would complement our curtain rod.

What's a girl to do?

-Kate

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