Doll House, Our Forever Home

All Plumbed In!

The plumber was in this week and we finally have sinks, toilets and faucets in our bathrooms!


I can’t believe what a difference it has made in how finished the house now feels.

We originally wanted undermount sinks, but that would have required a solid stone material countertop such as granite or quartz.  In order to help our already stretched budget we went with a laminate counter in all the bathrooms and had to choose a top mounted sink.  Now that it is all in, I can say I am still very happy with our final decisions.


In our ensuite shower, we went with a large shower head and adjustable body sprays on one side and a pull-out spray hose on the other.  It is a huge upgrade from the standard tiny shower we have now and will be nice to actually have some room to move and not be smashing my elbows against the walls when washing my hair!

The same pull-out spray hose is installed in our main floor shower to make it easy to hose down dirty dogs (and possibly kids!)


And, of course, we can’t forget the jetted tub in the ensuite.  The faucets have been installed for a while, but I thought it was worth including a picture of.


Next week I am looking forward to seeing hardwood installed on the main floor, having the granite back on the kitchen island and hopefully getting our 35 day possession notice!


Doll House, Our Forever Home

Let There Be Lights!

My husband met with the tile installer early last week to go over the tile layouts throughout our new home.  We then had a chance to get into the new house on Friday and on top of the good progress happening on the tile, we were thrilled to see the electrician had been in and begun installation on the majority of our light fixtures.

For our fireplace surround, we chose a dark grey tile that will go floor to ceiling.  There will also be a lighter grey accent strip going in the white area in the picture.  I lost the battle with my husband for a mantle, but I think the final result will be a nice, clean look.   The tile is quite dark, but I think it will balance nicely with our natural colored hardwood.


The front foyer light was one of our splurges and there is a similar styled fixture that is yet to go into the dining nook.  They are a bit funky, but it looks good in our big open foyer and adds some interest to the space.


For the downstairs and upstairs landings, we went with a slightly cheaper chandelier that kept with the linear look.  They are not as interesting, but they do look good.



I was most excited to see the fixtures in the kids rooms because these were the ones my husband gave full control of over to me.  It was hard to tell when picking them out in the lighting store amongst all the other fixtures, but they turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

Camden was very excited to see the airplane flying high in his room:


And I absolutely adore the way the light reflects from my little girls chandelier.  I think this was the light selection my husband and I were most unsure about, but it is one of my favorites in the house.


Back to the tile work, we were happy to see our back entry way complete and the custom granite for the dog dishes in place.  We just need to select some coat hooks to install above the benches and I think it is going to be a great space for keeping all our coats, shoes and dog gear organized.


In our ensuite, the tile work has started but there is still the accent strip and the full shower to hopefully get done this week.  So far it looks good and is fitting with the vision we had in our heads.


And, finally, in the other two bathrooms and the laundry room we went with a basic square tile in the same dark grey used on the fireplace and in our ensuite.  It is not nearly as exciting as some of the other stuff happening in the house, but it still looks great!


We are still awaiting our 30 day possession notice, but we are happy to see stuff going in and the house getting closer to completion.  Hopefully it will all be worth the wait in the end.



Doll House, Our Forever Home

Finished, but not Finished

It has been awhile since I shared any photos or updated on the progress of our new house. I am enjoying seeing all the pieces come together and so far we are really happy with our selections, but it is certainly an exercise in patience waiting to see the completed product.  Unfortunately on our last visit the painters were just starting to tape and prepare for painting so I wasn’t able to get many great photos, but I figured it was still worth posting.

The finisher seems to have completed his work installing the baseboards, molding, doors and closet shelving.  My husband picked the baseboards and doors and I think he did pretty good.  For the molding and headers, we went very simple and clean.


I was hoping to get some better shots of our interior door style, but they had been removed by the painters along with the shelving the finisher built out in several of our closets.

Speaking of closet shelving, we ended up drastically reducing the finishers work in that area by making the decision to install some of the closet systems on our own.  We looked at different solutions, but in the end settled on the Ikea PAX system because we liked the way it looked and it seemed to be the most economical.  It was all 15% off in September so we decided to pick it up then and store it in the in-laws garage until our house is ready.  It was a long shopping trip that involved pushing 4 heavy cartloads through Ikea, juggling two overtired kids, putting thousands of dollars on the credit card and then needing two full sized SUV’s to move it all.  Hopefully the pretty walk-in closet will make it all worth it in the end.


Elsewhere in the house, the glass panels have also been installed in the railings.  The maple railing is finished beautifully and I love the sleek, modern look with the glass.  I know I will curse the decision everytime I have to clean little fingerpints off the glass, but since we plan to be in the house long term, I won’t always be cleaning off toddler handprints.


The countertop has finally gone in in my laundry room and I should be more excited to tell you that the granite is in in my kitchen.  The granite is beautiful, but we are currently struggling with some issues on the kitchen island that are overshadowing my feelings of excitement I should have for the granite.  The builder is working with us to find a good solution so I will devote an entire picture filled post to the granite and my kitchen island once we have it that way we want it.  We figure if we are going to be stuck looking at it for the next 30 years, we really want to get it right now!


So now to wait for the painting to get done and then hopefully we will get to start seeing some of the other fun stuff like hardwood, tile and lighting going into the house!


Doll House, Our Forever Home

We’ll be home for Christmas…

In our current home, that is.

I haven’t updated on the progress of our new house in a while because there hasn’t been too much exciting happening for the past couple months.  The finisher has just finished installing baseboards, interior doors and closet shelving and the glass panels have been installed in the railing.  There is progress being made, but it is a bit slower then we had hoped and it is looking like we will get possession mid January.

I was REALLY hoping to be in before Christmas.  We packed up all the Christmas stuff nicely last year to have it ready to move.  I had visions of Christmas in the new house and having my little guy write a letter to Santa telling him the new address to bring his toys to.  I was planning to buy the kids a play kitchen because we’d now have room for it, but I think it might wait now since it will just be one more big item to move.

Now I am faced with the dilemma as to whether or not it is worth the effort to haul out all the Christmas stuff and then repack it all again to be moved a few weeks after.  I am sure we’ll be busy with all kinds of other packing and preparing for the move over Christmas so I really think the best solution will be to keep Christmas pretty low key in our house this year.  This will be a challenge for me.

I can’t say that I am not disappointed, but I do know this really isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  We still have a roof over our heads. We will still have Christmas.  And most important we will all be together as a family.  Plus this just means I will have plenty of time to prepare for next year and go all out for our first Christmas at the new house.


Big Hands, Crafts, Doll House, Our Forever Home

DIY Scrabble Tile Pillows


I have had this Scrabble tile pillow idea pinned on my pinterest boards forever – since before we even started thinking of buying a new house.  My husband and I both enjoy playing Scrabble so I instantly fell in love with the idea and have been waiting for just the right time/place to use the idea.  After weeks of furniture shopping, we finally just ordered a large custom sectional for the bonus room of our new house and I knew it would be the perfect spot to incorporate the pillows.  I struggled choosing between the words “HOME” or “COZY”, but decided HOME worked best as the décor in our new forever home.

The method I used to create my pillows requires you to cut a stencil out of contact paper.  I had used this method previously to create pillowcases as part of my sister’s wedding gift (below), so I was fairly confident it would work for this project too.


For the actual pillows, I found these 15×15″ pillows at Jysk.  The cover came off easily, they were a good match to the Scrabble tile colors and at only $3 per pillow I didn’t have to worry too much in case the project was an epic fail.  I am so happy to say it wasn’t and I am able to share this project with you.

Materials Required:

– Pillow covers (1 per letter in your word)

– Home Printer

– Contact Paper (I got mine at Michael’s)

– Exacto Knife (tools section of the dollar store)

– Scotch tape

– Paintbrush

– Black fabric paint

I began the project by laying out the letters and numbers in Adobe Illustrator using the font Arial Narrow Bold.  For my 15×15″ pillows, I ended up doing the letter in 700pt type and the smaller numbers in 365pt.  Once laid out, I printed the letters off on my home computer to use as my template to cut out my stencils from contact paper.


If you are lucky enough to have a light table, that can be used to overlay the contact paper on the printed letters on cut them out.  I improvised by taping my letters and contact paper up on my patio door so the sunlight acted as a light table.  I then used my exacto knife and carefully cut out each letter/number.  TIP: When placing the contact paper, ensure the side that you peel off is facing down or your letters will be backwards.  For letters/numbers with centers such as the O or 4, you will need to keep the middle sections as part of your stencil.

From there, I placed the contact paper template on my pillowcases to determine exact alignment.  I begin by placing it with the backing still on and marking along the edges with scotch tape.  The tape then gives me a guide once I peel off the backing paper and go to stick it down.  It is a bit of a tricky process, but the contact paper is pretty easy to pull apart if it does stick on itself.  Just don’t try to reposition too much once stuck down because it results in a less clean edge.  Once stuck down, push along all edges to ensure there is a good bond and the paint won’t leak under the stencil.


The final step is to begin painting.  Place a piece of cardboard inside the pillow so the paint does not leak through to the other side and just begin filling in the open areas with the paintbrush and fabric paint.  For clean edges, always start on the outside of the contact paper and brush in towards the open area.  It is a bit tedious, but it makes for sharper edges.  Once dry, just stuff the pillow back into the case and you are done!


This method can be used for any type of image or lettering you want to put onto a pillow.  Using the Scrabble tile idea, the possibilities are endless – you could do your child’s name or initial, or spell out “LOVE” or “NAP” for your own bed.  It was a quick and easy project and I am very  happy with the final results.  Now to wait to get into our new house so I can see these on our pretty new sofa.

Doll House, Our Forever Home

Finally, We’re Getting an Ensuite!

We were out to the house again last night and I am excited to finally have a pretty decent exterior shot to share!  The siding has been slow, but it is just about done now and it looks beautiful.  I can’t wait to see the finished product with the stonework around the base of the garage.


Our current house has what is called a “cheater ensuite”.  We have access to it from our master bedroom, but there is also a door into it from the hallway and it serves as the main bathroom for everyone.  It has been working fine since the kids are still small, but as they grow it is going to be nice to have our own separate bathroom spaces and a bit more privacy.  A true ensuite is one of the few things I feel is really lacking from our current house and I am very excited to be getting an incredible ensuite with a jetted soaker tub and multi-jet shower just for us adults to use.



I absolutely love the steps up to our ensuite and the built in shelves we added beside the soaker tub.  The shower will be on the other wall, but I will get to that once tile is started.

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Our new house has three full bathrooms vs. the one and a half bath we currently have.  We made the decision to add a tub to the main floor bathroom to have a space for overnight guests and, more importantly, a place to bath dirty dogs.  We currently have to pack our 70lb and 40lb dogs all the way upstairs when they are muddy and need a bath.  It will save a lot of backache to have the bath/shower unit on the main floor.  The kids are also still young so I foresee them bathing their in the evenings when I have work to do in the kitchen or if it is a messy spaghetti night where they need to go straight from table to tub.

The actual tub we chose for the kids and main floor bathroom is a little larger then your standard tub.  I have had to give up a bit of counter space, but I think the nice, round tub will be great for bathing kids and dogs in.


The bathrooms cabinets are the same natural maple we have gone with in the kitchen.  There is a bank of drawers for each kid in their bathroom and the open shelf on the bottom will hold extra towels.


I was also excited to see the bathroom cabinets had the drawer hardware already on.  They are clean and simple, just the way we like it!


And finally, a picture to show the progress happening in the kitchen.  They seem to have been working at a pretty good pace and have already gotten one wall of upper cabinets installed.


Doll House, Our Forever Home

The start of my new kitchen!

Our latest visit to the new house was pretty exciting.  The railings are now up and our cabinets have been delivered.


We wanted to keep things light and bright in the kitchen so we opted for natural maple cabinets.  They were roughly laid out when we visited and it was nice to get a better feel for the space.


It is significantly more cabinet space then our current house so I should never have a reason to complain about a lack of space.  It will be so nice to have the extra working space on the island and I am looking forward to using it when hosting parties.


The wood portion of the railings are also a natural maple.  There will be glass panels coming for the open spaces and it still needs varnished, but they look beautiful so far.