Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Grouty New Year

A special visitor came to the house today to grout the tiles. I wanted to do it myself, but he insisted that he do it. As you cannot win an argument with Mike, I stayed out of his way, and worked away on my computer, listening to the whir of the 1/2" drill mixing up the grout. Dan carried up pails of fresh water and Mike sponged it down. I grabbed this photo just to document that Mike was generous enough to spend the last day of the year working on our bathroom. I need to do one more sponging of the tiles before heading off to a festive New Year's dinner.

The yukon white subway tiles with mocha glass mosaic accent are glistening in a field of snow white grout. It is good to end the year on a high note. It sets a positive tone for the year ahead.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How HGTV ruined my life

For 5 1/2 years, I lived peacefully in my condo, never watching HGTV. But once I signed the offer of purchase and sale on this money pit, I immediately tuned in. I even got a subscription to Style at Home magazine. It started innocently enough with some paint, the odd piece of furniture, and making my own headboard, but then the shows made me believe that I could actually renovate the house myself. Watching real people framing, tiling and drywalling, I could see myself doing it too. So, against the sage advice of my friend Matthew, I didn't hire a contractor and began this bathroom reno on my own. This has resulted in many sacrifices, including holidays spent at home, the cancellation of my Saturday squash games, and not having a shower in my own home. Plus I've lost the ability to carry on a decent conversation, with all topics leading to renovation. I call the HGTV personalities by their first names, as if they are people I actually know. I've become a tired bore, and I blame it on HGTV. With their 24 hour programming of all things reno, my reality has been warped so that I'm not happy with anything in my home and I am in a state of inflated confidence, thinking that I can build it myself.

I guess that it could be worse. If my vice was Slice, I would be on multiple diets, planning an outrageous wedding, and addicted to plastic surgery. Or if I got hooked on Mystery TV, I would have a collection of spy tools and be registered in an online University program in forensic science. Or if I was hooked on the Canadian/American Idol franchise, I could be terrorizing the neighbourhood with my song stylings, believing that I too can be the next big thing.

Reality TV is evil. I must unplug myself from it and start living again, rather than watching other people "living" in the shadow of a boom microphone. I miss the days of good drama. Last year's actors strike gave reality TV a boost and gave me the boot. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I think that I've found a good one for this year! I'm going cold turkey in 2009.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The tile fairy

When I was at work today, the tile fairy came to visit, and did a mighty fine job on the tub surround. Thanks Mike!

I have to say that choosing the tile is mighty stressful. It exceeds the indecision and worry of choosing the kitchen counter top. I have a hard time seeing how the tile will look in the finished space. I love glass mosaic tile, but thought that it would be too much for the whole tub surround. So we decided to go with the basic subway tile - clean and classic. But just last night, we ran over to see Tino at Home Hardware, and to see some glass mosaic tiles. I was thinking of the Aqua (blue) mix, whereas Dan was thinking of the Seaglass (green) mix, but we both agreed that the Coco mix would be prefect to tie in the Espresso vanity (that is currently in our dining room) and the Travertine stone floor (which is currently in our spare bedroom). The tile fairy has a bit more work to do, but soon we may be showering in our own home again. Maybe before the year is out. Maybe. But the YMCA is open 365 days of the year, so a shower is always close to home, just like Home Hardware!

With this tile (in)decision settled, next up is the paint colour. Fun times. Where is Peter Fallico and his design team, when we really need them?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Help is close to home

Everybody is talking about the 100 mile diet and shopping local, but the parking lot at the big box store is always full. And why? You can rarely find anybody to help you and delivery is a whopping $75. But, if you shop local, these happy men in red shirts are always there to help. They are full of knowledge, always friendly, and they speak Portuguese!

We have purchased the majority of our bathroom fixtures, tiles, lumber, drywall, etc. from our local Home Hardware: Downtown Lumber on Ossignton Ave. (across the street from the trendy and delicious, Foxley). They are the largest supplier of tile & stone in downtown Toronto, and their prices are as good or better than all the other places we've been. They have free parking in the back (2 or 3 spaces), delivery is only $25, and I can ride my bike over there in minutes, plus they give you Aeorplan points! It sure beats a Saturday in traffic to get up to the Junction. Maybe one day we'll convert this costly renovation into a trip.

I love old hardware stores, where the shelves go up to the ceiling with stock, and they have those long sticks to get stuff down. Not the best place for browsing, but honestly, they have it all if you're not afraid to ask. Plus, they can always have great advice. Call Max and Tino, the bathroom and kitchen specialists. When I call, they recognize my voice now, which is a bit embarassing. But if I had a kid, I'd ask them to be the god fathers because they are that good.

Thanks guys. It is nice to have help so close to home.