the pint-sized finale

Well, the last few weeks have felt like molasses, only because when you’re this close to having something – time slows waayyyyy dooowwwnnnnn. That said, I see now that heaps has happened since my last blog post, so clearly things were not moving that slowly at all. The little details matter so much though! Smallworks has been polishing up our place nicely, and we’re just days (perhaps hours!) away from being able to move in. What we have managed to get ‘in’ the house however, is our edibles in pots on the balcony and also our balcony furniture! We’re anticipating many a mojito this summer on that balcony, and many weekend breakfasts in the sun.. whenever the sun shines in Vancouver, that is. We ended up planting romaine and red leaf lettuce, cilantro, rainbow sage, variegated oregano, basil, chives, kale and sugar snap peas. We’ve also planted some arugula and nasturtium seeds that should be sprouting in a couple of weeks. Not bad for a first shot at edible balconies, I think! We’re easing our way in and hope to plant a few things for the fall too.

Other than that, I don’t have much to report in words, because I think the pictures say it best. Below you’ll find our finished product, as a slide show. We’re so pleased with our new home and are just dying to move in!

Although our journey with Smallworks and laneway house construction is nearing an end, this isn’t really the end… it’s only the beginning. The Pint-sized House blog will be a place for us to share ideas on small space living, healthy living and eating, and other things that we come across that we’d like to share with others. Not to mention the fact that we haven’t moved in yet and will want to share how we add our own finishing touches. I can’t wait to see what the industrial furniture we bought looks like in there.

Until next time! (when we should be living in our pint-sized house)

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when sewage becomes exciting

Yup, that there is a no stopping sign. What makes it so exciting? It means our sewer and water lines are being connected very soon!

Perhaps the only time a person could be so excited about sewage is a time such as this.  It marks the last big, noisy and messy part of the project. Hurray!

Moving on from sewer talk, things are looking beautiful indoors. We were able to take a peek recently so I snapped a few shots.

Here we have wrought iron spindles with oak railings, and our custom entertainment cabinetry on the right, made from alder. Alder is a very plentiful local wood, so we feel pretty good about our choice, both from an aesthetic view and more sustainable one!

The left side of our kitchen. We decided on alder cabinetry on the bottom, and white with glass on the top, to make the space feel a little taller and more open on top. I am especially fond of our farmhouse sink.

We decided we liked the clean look of subway tiles. It also goes well with our semi-industrial look.

Our custom built-in corner couch, with storage drawers and a hatch on one side to stow spare folding chairs. Also made of alder. Upholstered seat arrives soon!

A better look at our entertainment unit. The hole in the centre will feature our fish tank.

Our shower tiling detail. I saw something like this on Houzz.com and really loved it, so this is our version of it. I also blogged about it way back in the early months of our project. I really liked the ‘waterfall’ feel that the orientation of the tiles gives.  Quite happy with this! Sorry for the poor photo.. there wasn’ t much light in there at the time.

And now, for my favourite thing:

I have a thing for exposed beams. These were put in after the drywall, and have oak cladding. Super pleased with this! It’ll make our bedroom so cozy. At the back of the room there, we have a window seat and storage built in to maximize the space and not have to worry about finding furniture to fit in. We’ll be using basket or similar to store things on those shelves. A bookshelf is going in on the right as well.

This is becoming a long post. I also want to share what’s going on outside though. Things are looking much better these days!

We’ve gone from this:

To this!

The patio has a few garden beds lining it, one along our house on the left there, another on the right by my parents’ back stairs, and then another one against the fence (not visible) which will have a 20 foot tall tree for extra greenery and privacy. Things aren’t looking green now obviously, but I think it’s going to be a very pretty and useable little courtyard for all of us.

Things will be ‘back to normal’ before we know it.. Spring is starting to show it’s lovely buds and we’re feeling our new beginning is just around the corner!

Smallworks continues to be fabulous and we couldn’t recommend them enough if you’re considering building with them.


how do i look? (outside and downstairs)

We’re at the stage in our laneway house planning where we’re getting a pretty good sense of how things are going to look inside and out. I’ve had a hard time resisting collecting new furniture and other things for the place now that we have a vision for the overall vibe of the place.

I’ve had a love for all things old and worn for longer than I can remember, and after several years of living in a place with new, modern furniture I am taking this project as an opportunity to start fresh. Much of our current furniture will not fit in the smaller lane house layout, so that makes a good excuse for finding new things…hehe.  Although, “new” isn’t the right word.. since we’re going for a bit of a combination of new with old. Original antiques meet reproductions and new materials. It’ll look good- trust me.

So, what is it we’re doing?

The outside of our home will be on the traditional side, to fit with neighbouring houses, but also because we just like the cozy look of a craftsman style heritage house.  Red is the colour of choice, with natural stained cedar and black detailing.

Smallworks has figured out a great deck for us, that is the largest you can get on a laneway house. It’ll have a short glass railing with cedar to frame it, and an interesting composite decking product that blends waste wood fiber and recycled plastics, adding in waxes, fiberglass, and preservatives to form wood-like boards. It’s durable and looks great. I’ll have to get the name of the product and update this post, because it’s something more people should be using as a sustainable product!

As for the inside, here are some basic floor plans showing our layout.

We wanted our kitchen to be all along one wall, as we don’t generally like corner kitchens or U-shaped ones. Scott and I both like to cook and often do so at the same time, so having a galley style kitchen will help keep us from bumping into each other. We bought a pretty kick-ass wheeled island from Antiques Direct. It’s not an antique, but it’s modeled after a vintage french industrial utility cart and has a really great gritty look about it (i’m a huge sucker for this stuff). The company that makes them seems to know what they’re doing, as it seems this piece of furniture will outlast everything we own, and probably us as well. We also got a creepy locker to use as our pantry. As you can see, we’re going for a bit of a vintage industrial look.

Our rolling (extremely heavy) kitchen island

Davy Jones' pantry

The living/dining area will involve a fair bit of custom mill work in order to make best use of the small space. The built-in TV/Gaming/DJ booth wall sits across from a built-in couch that’s comfortable enough for lounging, and high enough for dining, with an adjustable-height coffee table. It’s been pretty hard to find an adjustable table we like (or one that’s even in production) so we may get creative and build our own. Here’s an example of a basic wood design that can be raised to dining height and has a leaf that opens to make it seat four or perhaps six with a squish. It ain’t cheap..coming in at $1400 after shipping and taxes, unfortunately. But I suppose it is two tables in one. We shall see…

Well, I’m going to leave it at that for now. The next post will be about the top floor: bedroom, bathroom, and balcony! I’ll write something on small space furniture options soon too, because we’ve found a lot of interesting stuff and it still seems hard to find it without a lot of research.. so I hope I can help some visitors to this site from spending as much time on it themselves by sharing what we’ve come across!