settling in

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a month since we moved in. Time flies when you’re having fun as they say. It’s been so amazing living in our pint-sized house so far. It’s so bright, new and cozy. We feel so lucky to be in here. The first couple of days, we felt like we were staying in someone else’s beautiful new place and would have to leave soon! It’s feeling much more like our own now, with our personal touches around the house. I thought I’d give a virtual tour of what we’ve done with the place. Look for captions in the slideshow for descriptions. Friends who have visited have told us we’ve done a great job balancing modern and traditional design and created a cozy, liveable place. I think I have to agree with that! Thank you, Smallworks, for helping us design such a beautiful new home.

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So, what’s next? Well, we’re waiting on our custom adjustable coffee/dining table, which is being designed and built by a talented friend of ours, Dave Myers. We look forward to sharing the final product with you!

In the meantime, one of the things we’ve been enjoying most is using our new fancy kitchen. One of our favourite websites to get recipe ideas from these days is Gojee. It sources out some of the best food blogs around the internet and organizes them in an attractive, easy to use website and smart phone application.

Tonight’s meal makes use of our garden kale: Shrimp Quesadillas with Kale. Yum! Click the image to visit the recipe. Until next time!

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collecting for a fresh start

You’d think that since we’re moving into a smaller home, we’d be getting rid of stuff, not collecting more. I can’t help myself though, with this opportunity for a fresh start. I’ve lived in the same space since I was a student and it still has a bit of a student vibe that I’m very much ready to part ways with.

I’ve been attracted to industrial style for years (during the first wave of it’s popularity during my existence) and now the style appears to be making another comeback. Well, that works for me in that it’s easier to find things.

I’ve gradually become more interested in vintage and antique style as well. Maybe that comes with age, as I used to just be all about slick and shiny design with a hint of 60s and 70s retro. Now my taste has traveled into the older decades of the 20s-50s.

I’ve also loved gritty decay for a while now – I’m not sure when it started, but it’s definitely been intensified by my infatuation with post-apocalyptic games such as Fallout. Yes, I am a video game nerd. I can’t tell you how excited I am about Uncharted 3‘s release in November. Ahem.. anyways.

Visiting Cuba in March 2010 was, in addition to being a wonderful cultural experience, heaven for a grit-junkie like me. My camera couldn’t have been happier. The textures and colours on the old buildings there was incredible.
Decayed Grandeur, HavanaThis sort of thing has really inspired my art and sense of design to take on new layers and created more depth to my work and style. I hope to achieve a hint of grit with clean lines and eclectic style in our new home. The next few images are things I’ve been collecting with this in mind. Descriptions are under each photo.

vintage factory molds
These are some vintage wooden factory molds that I found at Restoration House on Dunbar and 18th. I intend to re-purpose some of these to use as bookends, coat hook or key racks, or whatever else seems right once we’re moved in. The one on the left is from Chicago, and on the right is from Carmaux, France.
vintage factory mold
These fit together to make a mold for a hospital gurney caster. From Lethbridge, Ontario. These would make great bookends.
vintage factory molds and keys
The large wooden factory mold at the top is about 1.25 feet long and has potential for a key rack or small wall mounted coat hook. It’s from France. The small round mold was for a dial of some kind, from Chicago. The keys are from india. Two are original antique gate keys and one is a reproduction.
french ceramic herb jars
I found these french ceramic herb containers at a garage sale. They were so charming and cheap that I had to get them. I have 16! A few are quite new but most have a really pretty used and vintage farmhouse look.
vintage turn key
I found these on Etsy from a seller with a great collection of vintage finds. These little turn keys were salvaged from a factory. I have no idea what I’ll do with them yet but I have a feeling they’ll turn into something pretty neat. They have a lovely patina and might work well as the hooks for a key rack, incorporated into one of the factory molds.

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!