Thursday, September 30, 2010

1st Blogiversary!

This whole thing started exactly one year ago with this little post right here. At the time, I wasn't too sure where I was going to go with it, but I knew the blog would be about our home and the projects we planned to tackle on a budget (I think that is quite obvious). Even now, a year after beginning, I still feel as if I have only begun to scratch the surface of where I want to go with this...

Over time, things have changed, our budget has expanded a bit and I've met and been inspired by a ton of other bloggers. My blog got a face lift right before I announced my decision to go back to school, and just the other week I was invited to be a part of the blogger audience at the Nate Berkus show.

I've hosted a couple of giveaways, and I have shared some of our travels with everyone. B started sharing some of his own talent and insight every so often, and I also started my first regular feature called "Dream Home". Along the way, some of you have decided I am worth coming back to visit every day or every so often and I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. I'm always so happy when someone let's me know that a project I have shared has inspired them, and your comments always brighten my day. You, my amazing readers, are the reason that I still make the decision to write after a long day at work, followed by house work and school work.

I'm so looking forward to what this next year will bring for myself and First Time Fancy. I've posed the question before and I will ask it again - what would you like to see more of around here, or maybe even less of? Of course, the obvious home related posts and projects will continue to exist as we continue down the path of home renovation. Are you interested in learning more about me and B? Do you want to see some guest posts? Any other specific requests that may be inspired by something I've done on the blog before, or is there something I've done that you can do without? A little constructive criticism never hurt anyone - so fire away! I'm beyond interested to hear what everyone has to say, and would greatly appreciate any input or advice you're willing to put out there.

Thanks again for reading, and I do hope that you'll stick around to see what this next year of blogging brings!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Laundry Room / Office Space Update

It's been ages since I last did a proper post on our laundry room renovation. I swear, there has been a lot going on down there since good ol' January 11th. Seeing as most of my readers really started dropping by long after that last post, I'll do a quick recap to get you all up to speed.

Last December, B and I began the process of renovating the basement. What started out as a desire for a new space to house our brand spanking new washer and dryer pair, quickly turned into a complete gut job. We went from this...

To this, in just one night...

In a very short period of time, we completely destroyed the old "guest room" and bathroom, and then reframed walls, insulated, vapour barriered, drywalled, plumbed, wired, tiled and painted my new laundry room / office space. We got the new washer and dryer into the room and then all work seemed to grind to a complete halt. With the rest of the basement requiring desperate attention, the laundry room was soon repurposed into our construction supply storeroom.

Just recently, when I posted my very first home tour, I was slightly embarrased that these were the photos I was sharing of our renovated space...

Clutter much? But, such is real life I suppose when you renovate!

Today, I can happily say I have some new and mproved laundry room photos to share. Just recently, while I spent the weekend thrifting, followed quickly by my trip to NYC to be a part of the Nate Berkus blogger audience, B was kind enough to stay at home and work on my laundry room (as well as some other details in the basement that I will share in the future). Enough with my babbling and onto the new photos...

I'm so thrilled to finally have a proper countertop for folding our clean laundry, as well as a proper cabinet to help store all of our laundry and cleaning products. There's still trim to be added, and the tiles to be laid, but the progress still thrills me to no end!

The sink we found at IKEA for $69, and I think it's the perfect size for our small space. I'm okay with the shallow depth since it takes up practically no space from the storage area underneath, plus, it's better than having no laundry room sink, which was our previous situation.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I tell you I used to hate doing laundry down here....
Right now, the storage under the sink isn't anything exciting, but B and I are discussing ways to maximize it for optimal storage. As you can see, it's a rather large space and should easily accomodate all of our laundry and cleaning products, we just need to add a shelf or two.

The opposite side of this room will be repurposed into my own personal office / craft space.

B was also great enough to sort through and relocate our clutter to it's proper home (aka - the garage), and for the moment my old desk and a second hand filing cabinet are providing a small work space and storage solutions. I've already got my eyes on the desk I want, and B and I are talking about asking my Dad to build it, while also trying to come up with other storage solutions. I need to sit down and itemize all of the things I will need to store here so we can decide the best way to maximize the small space we have to work with.

I never thought a laundry room could bring me so much joy, and I know that those of you in charge of this chore will understand what it means to have a pretty space to clean up in.

More progress coming soon, but I need to know what's one thing in your laundry room that you absolutely love, or what's one thing you would have in your dream laundry space? Any tips or suggestions on maximizing our tiny storage space is gladly accepted.

Oh, and well I'm on the topic of laundry rooms that double as an office space - I had to share this incredible image I found yesterday on Colour Me Happy (via here)!

I love that it doesn't even LOOK like a laundry room! The bold colours and that incredible tiled floor! Also helps that everything laundry related seems to be pretty well hidden away (or at least out of the cameras view... there may be tons of laundry supplies piled up on the right there). I do love this room... I just don't think I could bold enough to do it in my own home. How about you?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dream Home - The City of Lights

This week's dream home, was a request from Shannon, who wanted an affordable Paris vacation rental. Now, I understand Shannon has a family of three... but I couldn't help but share this one bedroom Paris apartment rental located in the 7th arrondissement on the Left Bank of the river Seine.

I found the rental located on the site Paris Perfect - and it's definitely not the only gorgeous rental this site has on offer!

The Montrachet apartement is 450-square-feet, of perfect Paris living with incredible views of the Eiffel Tower from the balcony, kitchen, living room AND bedroom! So without further ado, let's check it out, starting with the Living Room...

It's small and cozy and very french, but I could stand to lose the Eiffel Tower lamp. I mean, just look out the window...

Who needs a TV when you have that view out the living room doors? Breakfast on the balcony? Yes please! I mean, the kitchen isn't a bad option either...

It may not be large, but it's modern and has the option of the dining table! What could be better than running out to a nearby market to pick up some fresh produce and make your own breakfast, lunch and/or dinner? Especially if you can dine and have this spectacular view...

The bedroom is perfection as well...

Again... thinking the TV isn't exactly necessary...

If I was waking up to that view every morning, I don't think there is a chance that I would ever leave!

Now, what about the apartment itself. What else does it offer besides stunning views? Well, aside from the bedroom, the couch in the living room converts into a double bed. Technically you could slipt the €2065 - €2765 cost in half if you didn't mind sharing close quarters with some friends for a week. However, the website recommends that you ask about the amount of available hot water before you choose an apartment. The size of water heaters vary, and no one likes a cold shower!

As the views would indicate, the apartment is within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. The Champs de Mars garden is located at the end of the street and the apartment itself is surrounded by cafes and shops, and open markets are nearby - perfect for those french dishes you'll create in the little apartment kitchen!

For more information on the Montrachet apartment in particular check out here, and for more apartments visit Paris Perfect directly!

So what do we think, did I find a winner? I'm ready to back my bags and head to Paris for a week even if it does put a bit of a dent in my wallet.

Keep those requests coming! Where is your dream home or dream vacation rental located? Is there something in particular you're looking for? Let me know and I'll hunt it out!

Those Chairs... Again...

Remember way back when I was posting about these chairs below and my indecision on what fabric I wanted to use to recover them? Well... I finally have some news!

After a lot of time thinking about it, I finally found the fabric that I wanted for my office chair. The first step in the beautification process was to take the chair apart so that I could sand it down, prime and paint. Transformation, below...

Even with just a simple coat of primer, the chair was already looking better! Step 2 was painting, and I went with a semi-gloss white. After the first coat was applied, there was a long gap (approx. 1 month) before the second coat was done... and it was B that finally finished that up for me. He really is the best.

The seat itself was a little more work. It started out with this ugly, worn, dirty and stained reddish / orange tweed fabric. I took it upon myself to remove each of the staples, and felt incredibly lucky that there weren't that many.... that was, until I got the fabric off, only to find the ORIGINAL chair fabric underneath. UGH!

There were about a million staples in this disaster, and in my frustration, I vowed that I would never finish my office chair. That, of course, was all emotion, and soon enough I was back at it. B and I agreed we would leave the original fabric on, as it was almost worn down to the wood, and put our new padding on top. This is where we got inventive.

We had an old double sized IKEA cotton duvet laying around, that was once used in the guest room. It was pretty thin and, the perfect thing to use to pad my chair. We placed our seat on top of the duvet, that was folded twice, and then used scissors to cut it a little wider than the chair seat. 

Since the duvet was so thin, we knew we would have to use quite a few layers of batting to make a difference in the thickness of the seat. With everything cut, B held it all in place as I worked my way around the underside of the seat stapling. 

Thankfully, back in the spring, I had found a gorgeous sample of Robert Allen fabric for FREE, yes FREE! The best part is that it was the perfect size to fit my chair seat. I knew as soon as I saw it what it would one day be used for!

Blue floral was my fabric of choice
The last step was relatively easy, as we didn't have to cut a thing. Together, B and I pulled the fabric tightly around the seat, paying extra close attention to the corners. Once we were sure we got it where we wanted, we flipped it quickly to make sure we were happy with how it looked on top. I gave my okay and B held everything in place while I went staple crazy once again. So, without further ado, the final product....


For a simple project like painting and recovering a little chair, this took way longer than I had hoped. Thankfully it worked out well as we only just recently got to the point where the chair can officially reside in my "office space". Coming up tomorrow - a better reveal of the laundry room / office space where the little chair will now live! (The home tour photos were quite embarrassing...)

Monday, September 27, 2010

NYC & Nate Day

It may have been almost a week ago now, but I've finally had the chance to post my NYC recap, and review of the Nate Berkus Show taping! I'll just start by saying I had an incredible time on this trip.

I figure the best place to start is the beginning. After finally landing in NYC, I made a beeline for my hotel that I booked last minute (through hotwire), and boy was I pleased when I got there...

The Benjamin is a gorgeous hotel located at 50th and Lexington, and though I was sad to have to spend so much to stay right in the city... I was glad this was the hotel that I spent my money on!

I spent my first night there at a little Italian Restaurant on Lexington meeting a bunch of talented and friendly bloggers, including Michelle from Holley & Gill, Will from Bright Bazzar, Jonathan Legate, Susan and William from House of Brinson and Joy and Janet, the fabulous Moggit Girls - just to name a few! It was an incredible experience to arrive in this little restaurant and be drawn into conversation with so many of these wonderful people I have chatted with on twitter, or read their blogs. Absolutely surreal... so surreal actually, I was too caught up to take any photos. Oh, except for this extremely blurry photo as I made my way back to my hotel afterwards...

The next morning I was up bright and early, checked out and headed into the city. I grabbed a quick bite on Madison Ave before making my way up to Central Park for a little stroll...

When the time came, I made my way to Bouchon Bakery in Columbus Circle, where I had the chance to meet so many more fantastic bloggers (and Canadians).

Along with these Canadian lovelies I also got to meet so many other people and we had a wonderful time. When it was time to go, we all marched our way over to the studio and waited in the VIP check-in line to head into the show...

A bunch of wonderful bloggers waiting in line to go into the show...

Before we entered, Michelle, Michelle (from Vertigo Design) and her friend Jackie were asked to step aside, and were brought into a separate room upstairs with some of the other bloggers.

After a great opportunity to meet, chat and network with other bloggers, we headed into the studio for the taping. 

Though I do wish that the show had been geared more towards the bloggers who attended (and that it would've been mentioned that it was a design blogger audience), I thought that Nate was fantastic! He was very personable and charming, and he did a great job with the guests he had on the show. My favorite part seems to be the same for most other bloggers as well - it was after the cameras stopped rolling and Nate took some time to sit down and answer our questions.

He was extremely honest with everyone who asked questions, and you can only respect that. Personally, I'm glad he was straight up honest and didn't try to lie when he was asked what his favorite blogs were. Nate let us know he didn't have the time to read blogs, but that his research team printed out posts for him to read that he might be interested in. Would any of us believed him if he told us he sat down every morning to read blogs? I know I wouldn't.

My trip was not nearly long enough, but I'm glad that I grabbed this opportunity and went with it. It was great to see the Nate Show taping, and meet so many wonderful and talented people. I hope that we'll all have the chance to do something like this again... as I know there were so many of you I didn't have a chance to talk with. 

Weekend Recap - Celebration Central

Another weekend gone, and it just flew by! As I had mentioned in my post on Friday, not only was Saturday my 25th birthday, but it was also one of my closest girlfriends wedding! I was so honoured to be asked to be a part of her big day and every single moment of it was fabulous and gorgeous!

The bride getting her makeup applied

I don't think there could've been a better way to celebrate my birthday than to watch my friend marry her best friend and man of her dreams. Their happiness absolutely radiated out of them both. 

I had a wonderful day hanging out with some great friends... oh, and guess who caught the bouquet? B thinks it was staged.

Congrats again to Becky and Stephane! I know that the two of you will continue to build the beautiful and happy life you have been working on for the past 6 years! I love you both and wish you all the best with what's to come. 

What did you all get up to this weekend?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fancy Friday Love - Champagne, Cupcakes & Sapphires

Tomorrow is a very special day! I will turn 25... on the 25th. Now, normally I like to make a bit of fuss about my birthday... but this one is particularly special to me! Not only will I turn a quarter of a century... but I will also do it ON the 25th, making it my long anticipated champagne birthday!

My girlfriend from University will also be getting married tomorrow, and being part of her wedding party means there will be no big bash planned in my honour. At least not for tomorrow. (I am hoping that B has something up his sleeve!)

Anywho... in honour of my champagne birthday (and my friends wedding), thought I'd put together a really pretty, celebratory post! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Would love to be having my birthday dinner here with lots and lots of friends (and champagne of course!) (image from Oh Happy Day!)

The champagne would be served in the new Kate Spade twirl larabee dot fete mini saucers!

We'd munch on cupcakes with Sapphire Blue Crystal Sugar... (from here)

Flowers would line the tables in the Camelia Avenue Posey Vase from Kate Spade... in this brillant blue of course
I'd like to wear this j.mendel dress that was featured on {this is glamorous}. I'd probably even want those red shoes for a more daring pop of colour, in a sea of blue shades!
Maybe another year I can tackle my dream birthday bash? This year, I'll dance the night away in my dress with my hair and make-up done, with my friends. I'm really looking forward to it! I hope you all have an especially delightful weekend, and I promise, next week I'll be back to share more projects and fancy things (even my NYC/Nate Berkus recap)!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back to Reality

I'm back in Toronto. There was no waking up in a swanky NYC hotel this morning and heading out to meet more fabulous bloggers. I flew in late last night, so no time for a great big post - but I'll recap tomorrow!

Thanks to all of the wonderful bloggers I met and chatted with. It was great to meet all of you. It was overwhelming how many talented bloggers descended on one spot, and not enough time to meet everyone, but hopefully we'll have the chance to do something like this again.

Of course, a big thanks to the Moggit Girls and Julieann (@CreateGirl) for help making this whole thing happen!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dream Home - New York State of Mind

In honour of me and B's three year anniversary yesterday, I wanted to share a home from the city we met and fell in love with. So we're heading to the Big Apple to check out some serious property eye candy! (Oh yeah, I'm also currently IN NYC checking out the taping of the new Nate Berkus show with a bunch of super talented bloggers!!)

I stumbled across this home on the Sotheby's Realty website, and instantly knew that this was the home to share. On the market for a staggering $59M USD, there's quite a lot of beauty to take in. So let's take it in... shall we?

Imagine coming home to this every night!? Loving those front doors... and the chandy... and the ceiling! Yup, all of it. Isn't it gorgeous? Moving along, it wouldn't hurt to walk through those doors to see this...

First off, those ceilings are just to die for. Second... I'm having some serious stair envy! Our dinky little staircase in Toronto can't even compete with that sweeping piece of beauty!

Continuing upstairs you happen upon some truly beautiful living and dining areas...

Loving all of the tufted pieces in the first room, and the ceiling (again)! If you look closely you can really see the gorgeous detail! The colour on the walls in the second room just absolutely won me over, along with the high gloss ceiling! I feel as if I were to move into this place I would have some serious neck problems after staring up at all of the gorgeous ceilings all of the time! Just lovely!

Now THAT is a kitchen. I don't know if I want the creepy doll pictures on the walls, but I will gladly take the giant island, the wine fridge and that gorgeous mosaic floor! It's absolute kitchen perfection! I know you're wondering... what's that green I spy through those windows. Well, let's take a look... shall we?

The home's "Winter Garden"... of course! I mean, when you're spending $59M... you better get a winter garden! Plus, who doesn't want palm trees in New York City? I think it would be the perfect spot to sit back with your morning coffee or tea at any time of year! Don't you?

Finally, just these perfectly beautiful and bold rooms within the home. The last one looks like a fantastic media / games room!

The whole thing looks like something straight out of a magazine, doesn't it? You can check out the listing on the Sotheby's site right here.

A little taste of what's to come next week? Another reader request... and we're heading to the city of lights. Oh la, la!

Any place you dream of living? Somewhere in particular you want me to hunt out a gorgeous home? Shoot me an email or leave me a comment and I'll hunt out your dream home.
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