Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Sunroom: Phase I

September has been a whirlwind and I keep waiting for the dust to settle so I can get back to normal things - like updating this blog :)  Things still aren't completely settled - back-to-school anxieties are still running pretty high around here.  But I've been trying to write this post for months already and now is the time!

In the spring Erik was ready to start a new house project.  We decided the sunroom would be a good place to start since it was one room that wouldn't be affected by the renovations and adding-on that will be happening over the next year or two.  After the budget facelift on the kitchen last fall I was ready to make another room a little more pretty.

This was the sunroom the day we moved in about a year ago:  stained cedar walls, brick floors and some country-style window treatments.  We decided to use this space as our dining area for the time being since the table Erik built wouldn't fit anywhere else in our living space.

There were windows on 3 sides of this room and a bank of cabinets on the 4th wall.  Initially I thought we would maybe get rid of the cabinets but I quickly learned that cabinets are really... well... practical.  They have quickly become home to our craft supplies, extra grocery items, photo albums, etc.  And without a lot of storage space and no garage space (there's lots of storage in the garage and shop so I'm referring to in-house storage), it's also become a place for cat food, extra batteries, light bulbs and all those other random things that just need to get put... SOMEwhere.

This photo was taken a couple of months after we moved in...  After we had made the single-best purchase of home improvement so far:  the dishwasher.  There was no place to put the dishwasher in the kitchen (which is in the next room) and for some reason they actually had the plumbing hookups in the wall here.  So, this is the dishwasher's temporary home.  When we renovate our kitchen someday, the dishwasher will move back there and we will replace this hole with the original cabinets.

When deciding what we were going to do with this room, Erik and I were a little divided.  We both have a bit of a rustic style, but I prefer a fresh, bright, white-on-white cottage-feel while Erik prefers a dark wood log-cabin feel.  So, we decided to compromise by painting the walls and cabinets white and then introducing some wood elements back into the room for a little contrast.

The first step was prepping the area to be painted with Erik's paint-sprayer. We removed the cabinet doors to be sprayed separately.

This was after the first or second coat.  It was already feeling so much brighter in there and it made me love our old farm door even more...

And what would a home-improvement project be without a couple of little helpers?

After the walls and cabinets were white-i-fied, it was time to introduce the wood tones.  First Erik used a log to create his own moldings, which he stained.

He also built this custom countertop.

Erik still plans to strip and re-stain this door since it's not quite the same wood tone as the rest of the room.  Also, Elissa (among others) convinced us that the herringbone brick floors were amazing and shouldn't be changed.  I'm glad we listened.  

Overall, I'm happy with how everything turned out.  Erik still plans to do some wood ceiling beams with pot lights.  That will probably be a project for this winter...

We decided to take out the 2 small upper cabinets that were in the middle and replace them with some open shelves.

I love how the cabinets look now that they're painted since they have a bead-board pattern.  I'm still debating about whether to buy some handles and knobs for all the doors and drawers.

My future plans for this room include moving the dining furniture out (we hope to make space for it in the renovated kitchen) and make this into a cozy sitting room.  I'm envisioning an area rug and some mismatched chairs and couches to bring in that rustic cottage/cabin feel.  Maybe something a little like this:

or this:

or even this:

However, for now it serves it's purpose as our dining room, litter box/kitty-feeding area, mudroom, and storage unit among other useful things...

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

First Day of School

I feel like this picture pretty much sums up how our morning went:

Keziah is quietly thinking about how excited she is to go back to school, Silas is thinking, 'Man, how come they get to go to school?' and Micah is thinking, 'I DO NOT want to go back to school!'

I was finally able to leave the school at about 10 am after much tears and panic on behalf of the eldest.  Middle child acclimatized within seconds to her classroom - she may not have made a peep all morning, but at least she was happy.  And the youngest tagged along with his Tinkerbell backpack in tow.

Here's hoping for less drama tomorrow...

Saturday, September 01, 2012

One Last Hurrah

Yesterday was the last day of August.  And with it came the end-of-summer regrets.

We didn't go camping, we didn't do enough day trips...  Sheesh, we didn't even swim in a lake this summer!

So we planned a backyard camp-out.

I had a bunch of leftover fondue chocolate from a baby shower, so we enjoyed a little fondue by the fire for our night snack.  (I must add that my new favourite dipping item is rice krispie treats... so yummy)

(This camping stuff is serious business around here)

I listened to Erik tell the kids a bedtime story as I sat by the fire and enjoyed a peaceful evening with a starry sky and the spotlight of the blue moon behind me.  We learned the blue moon isn't actually "blue" but is the event of a full moon happening twice in the same month.  Apparently it's rare.  It only happens, like... once in a blue moon.

Admittedly I wasn't keen on sleeping in the tent with my own warm bed calling me from so close-by.  The one other backyard camp-out we had this summer was pretty squishy with the 5 of us so I let Erik enjoy the tent without me.  But it definitely didn't mean a sleep-in day for me.  The kids all traipsed in the house shortly after 7 and then it was time to think of a Saturday morning breakfast.  We decided it would be appropriate to make our breakfast over the fire.  And it also seemed appropriate to pick some fresh blackberries to go with it.

Erik got the sausages and pancakes cooking on a nice hot fire...

And the kids said good morning to all the animals.

Breakfast of champions right here...

 After a few extra cuddles in the tent, it was time to start our last summer Saturday.

So long, Summer...