One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week One!

I am super excited to share that I will be partaking in this spring’s One Room Challenge as a guest participant! Pretty much since buying our first home last autumn I’ve been weighing up which room I would makeover first, and this time as a fully-fledged ORC participant [vs. when I participated in spring 2018 as a renter].

I decided to update the room we’ve called up until now the front room. We call it that because it’s at the front of the house and it’s a room. A room that serves zero purpose other than to be Random Furniture Limbo™ and somewhere to put Cora’s dollhouse. It’s basically is where furniture goes to die, but I want it to be so much more. I want it to be a room we want to spend time in.

Before I detail my plans, I want to acknowledge that I am taking this project very seriously during the current COVID-19 pandemic. I will not be hiring anyone to come into the house to do work. I will be doing all the work [with help from Robert when I need a second pair of hands]. Anything that comes into the house will get the same treatment everything gets these days; it’ll be Lysolled within an inch of its life. Anyone who follows knows I prefer to source items secondhand. I will continue to do so as it’s very budget-friendly and I strongly believe it is more environmentally responsible than ordering brand new everything. Anything secondhand coming into our house will be Lysolled and where needed will sit for 2 – 3 weeks in our shed to be on the safe side and to kill off any unnecessary visitors. Because of the pandemic, we have 8 weeks to complete this ORC project vs. the usual 6. I am not going into this project being flippant. Trust me, I’ve thought of all the scenarios and have the stress-induced acne to prove it.

Now that that’s out of the way, onto my ORC!

Our front room is okay at the moment. I mean, it’s livable. But I have big plans. The main items I want to achieve are: 

CEILING AND WALLS
Both and all will be ripped out. The 50’s / 60’s style ceiling tiles will be removed, the faux wood grain panelling will be ripped out [the entire room has that 80’s wood paneled walls, but it’s been sneakily painted since so you can’t tell it’s there], and then on the exterior walls I will be insulating, drywalling, plastering, then adding the good-kind of wood paneling treatment on the walls and finally painting them all a dark, warm gray. It’s a tall task but it’s also a small room so I’ll take my time. 

I’ll be partnering with the incredible team at Bin There Dump That, who very thoughtful offered to send a 14-yard dumpster to help with our renovation. It will be arriving tomorrow and I cannot wait to throw every single ceiling tile into it with a smile on my face. I’ll detail the whole process next week! 

SHELVING
At the far end of the room [as seen wall above] using secondhand shelving units on either side of the window, I’m hoping to create a built-in-shelf-feel as well as make a window seat under the window. I’m planning on painting the shelves white, but I’ll flexible with maybe painting them the same colour as the walls [but am not sure if that might be overwhelming]. Again, I will be using as much secondhand as I can and using up the plethora of leftover wood scraps we inherited when we bought the house. Waste-not.

FIREPLACE
I so desperately want a fireplace somewhere in the original section of our home, but without having to spend $10,000 to install it. So, I’ve sourced a fireplace mantle secondhand for next to nothing which I’m hoping to place where Cora’s dollhouse currently sits [as seen above]. The fireplace is currently oak and I’m debating whether or not to paint it or leave it as is. I have 8 weeks to decide so I’ll take my time.

There will be some items I want to buy new, one being a focal rug. It’s not something I want to source secondhand right now and I’d prefer to buy a new one. If anyone can suggest a great Canadian company that specializes in over-dyed or faux vintage rugs, please let me know! I have a backup rug but would rather support something more local.

Check out the full list of Guest Participants here! I’ve had a quick look at this year’s projects and they are amazing. I’m equal parts looking forward to starting and also WTF am I about to take on and I don’t even know it yet. I guess time will tell!

Week OneWeek TwoWeek ThreeWeek FourWeek Five
Week SixWeek SevenWeek Eight

Secondhand tufted office chair – before

As soon as I started working from home in October I was on the lookout for a proper office chair to use. I started off using one of our secondhand IKEA Tobias dining chairs [as seen here], which yes, I can physically sit in, but thanks to hip issues after having Cora, sitting in a hard chair all day wasn’t doing me any good. So, I took to Kijiji to see what I could find.

This was a search where my patience definitely paid off. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted so I kept an open mind, but at the very least I knew I wanted something padded [hello, hip separation], sturdy and if I’m honest, something that kind of looked amazing.

I was completely open to the idea of a typical ergonomic office chair, but of that type of chair I found, they were either in my budget, worn down and needed repair, or they were amazing ergonomic chairs but were way outside of what I’d be willing to pay for a chair. So I kept looking. Until I found this chair! It of course immediately got my attention aesthetically.

I arranged to view [and sit in] the chair last weekend and it was perfect and exactly what I’ve been looking for; comfortable and unusual. Much like myself I guess you could say.

I know I may not get a great response to this, but I am planning on updating it. Hold on, let me explain! The wood has a very orangey stain and has sloppy faux-aging technique added to it using a darker paint [you can see this in the first photo along the groove on the arm]. The shape is really beautiful and I’ve already tried sanding the finish off, which has me really excited.

Please, trust me. It’s going to look beautiful.

A trip to Rideau Antiques in Lombardy, Ontario

During the Christmas holidays Robert and I had one day where Cora was in playschool and we both had the day off. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but since moving to Canada two and a half years ago, Robert and I have had maybe three or four dates. That’s just what happens when you move to a different continent from everyone you know and you know zero people therefore you know zero babysitters. This is just our life now.

Moving on, because I don’t want this to sound like some sort of absurd misery-brag, but Robert and I had this one unicorn day and wanted to make the most of it. We started our day by going to the most adorable afternoon tea followed by going to Rideau Antiques in Lombardy, Ontario.

To say Rideau Antiques is intense and amazing is an understatement. It reminded me of some sort of abandoned Harry Potter set where all kinds of objects and treasures are piled up to uncomfortable heights and held together by magic and / or positive thinking.

When my parents visited us in October they took a trip to Rideau Antiques ahead of us and strongly advised that if we visit to not bring Cora, and they were right. It’s not the type of place you’d want curious little hands pulling at something from the bottom of a teetering pile.

It’s such a very difficult place to describe outside of the medium of gifs.

That sums up our entire visit. It was amazing and surreal and if I’m honest, overwhelming. Once you head inside the main building it’s stuff and things everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Neither of us could figure out how big the rooms were because it was impossible to gauge where the walls and ceilings were.

I will admit that at this point in our visit, I had a minor panic attack as I quietly questioned the structural integrity of the building. Look at how much stuff there is … Can the house actually support this much? I’m in the middle of the house RN and I have no idea where the closest exit is.

SPOILER ALERT: I survived completely unscathed and in perfect working order, so this may be a cautionary warning to people who may be sensitive to their surroundings or claustrophobic. And if I’m being honest, if you are a person that commands a lot of space or you are currently heavily pregnant, I would not suggest you go very far into the house. There were places where we didn’t go because the aisles were too tight or we felt that if we tried to turn around, we would knock into a lot.

If you stick with it you can find amazing things. If you go with a specific item in mind, I would urge you to ask the owner Clifford where to find a certain item and he can point you in the right direction. His knowledge of where everything is in that store is one of the lesser-known wonders of the world.

I’ll be heading back soon in search for the perfect door knob for our pantry door.