small reno, big changes: week nine


Emma and I met with our contractor and discussed our solution to that 10 inch gap in our base cabinets. Our contractor was wonderful and said he’ll do what he can. We basically asked him to build us something that would allow us to have a pull-out garbage, recycling and utensil drawer. He thinks he can whip something up with some spare Ikea parts, and the pullout mechanisms we bought.


I ended up getting the electrical issue sorted by making numerous phone calls to many different people. It was extremely frustrating and could have been completely avoided if the electrician had only just explained to ourselves and the contractor what they were planning to do. As the cooktop line had not been pulled when the oven line was put in, they now have to pull another line from the electrical panel, go through the top of the bathroom studs, then follow the last stud down to the bottom of the wall in between the walls for the kitchen and the bathroom. They will then poke a hole in the kitchen beneath our base cabinets and run the line under there. No one will know the difference (except all of your lovely folks reading this) as we’re installing a toe-kick on the base cabinets. Plans like this should REALLY be shared so I was pretty peeved because it meant the contractor held off on installing some cabinets and closing up the shower walls (which need to dry). Luckily as the tilers weren’t able to start until Friday no time was lost (it was close though).


Our contractor built the pull-out cabinet. Look at his cool concoction!kitchen contraption

The top is a little tall so he’ll have to cut it down but I think it’ll work well, and we don’t have to have a custom shop to make it for us! He also closed up the shower wall and glued down the shower seat.


The contractor installed some cover panel pieces in the kitchen and the t-bars for our drop ceiling.


The tilers started their work on the bathroom, and will be working on the bathroom for the next week or so, except the days that the electricians are in.

bathroom shower tiling


The tilers are really great and even worked a bit on Saturday (I think our contractor mentioned we’re extremely anxious about getting into our place as soon as possible)!

Emma and I also had to return and pick up stuff at Ikea. It feels like I spend every weekend at Ikea now.

On Sunday, I cut, sanded and oiled our shelves for our open shelving by the rangehood in the kitchen. It only took a couple hours and I’m really happy with how the shelves look. Now to put the whole thing together next week!

Photos from Week Nine.


a building block for organization

I seem to be waiting most of the time. Waiting until the weekend to drop Stuff off at Goodwill, waiting for Brandon to organize and put away his comics(that’s his project, so I don’t get involved unless he asks for my help), waiting for inspiration to hit so I can get organized.

As often as I’m overwhelmed by boxes and piles, I still try to be rational in the face of Too Much Stuff. Right now, I pick away at smaller spaces, trying to shed a couple boxes of books, or bags of clothes. I look forward to next year when the apartment will see a big change and I can redesign the space(again!). I’ve lost count how many times I’ve rearranged the living room, and am excited to see how the space looks with less. The boxes won’t stay forever.

Patience is the hardest part when decluttering. You may not feel that you’ve gotten rid of enough, and it can feel defeating. (Tweet This)

For my personal decluttering and organizing journey, my next step with my book collection  will be to look at it from the opposite angle. I will take books out of the shelf that I simply can’t live without, and take a good, hard look at the ones that remain. Of course my “to be read” pile will be separate for now, and will be readdressed at a later date. If you’re having difficulty picking out what you don’t love anymore, perhaps setting aside what you do love will help.

winter 333 project

I meant to do a fall 333 Project, but fall doesn’t last very long in Edmonton, so once there was snow on the ground, I brought out the sweaters! The whole process took under an hour. I’m sure it helped that I had already done this earlier in the year, since some of my items carried over through the seasons. I had purchased some new items in the last few months to bring in some pattern, yet managed to stay within a colour scheme. I’m happiest in jewel tones, so I tend to have a lot, but attempted to push my boundaries by having a few pops of colour. My current capsule wardrobe now contains black, blue, grey, and white/cream neutrals, with tan/orange/mustard, red, and mint/forest green as accent colours.

I should add that this is focused on work clothes. I’ve left my t-shirts and other weekend wear out of the count. For me, anything in the closet can be worn to work, and anything in my bureau is casual. So I didn’t touch them today. I’ll be trimming casual wear and pajamas down separately.

IMG_2660_editI first took everything out of the closet, laying it on the bed so I could see how everything fit together colour-wise. I kept counting over and over, to see if I was still under 33. It always surprises me how low a number like 33 sounds until you see it in psychical form. Usually when I’m happy to find I’ve still got plenty of spaces left before I hit that magic number. As it was, for this set in particular, I only got to 30. As before, I didn’t include jewelry, but since I’ve got those extra spaces in the project, I’m not going to worry about it.


small reno, big changes: week eight

A few delays this week for Jessica and Emma. Thankfully, they took some time to vent their frustrations and share the experience with us. Better soon, I hope!



Literally nothing happened. So by Tuesday I had sent several messages asking what the hell is going on (though slightly more tactfully).


I met with the contractor at our place and we discussed the kitchen cabinetry. He wanted to make sure we were both on the same page regarding placement and height, and he wanted to see exactly what he needed before putting up the cabinets. He also gave some good suggestions with what to do with a 10 inch gap we had on our lower cabinets. He also mentioned that the electrician had only put in an electrical box for the oven and not the cooktop. So this meant he couldn’t do much until that was fixed.


Nothing happened, and there was frustration and confusion from our contractor and electrician. The issue being that the electrician never installed a line for our cooktop (which had been forgotten when the stove line was put in). Our contractor was unable to put in the stove/cooktop base cabinet and couldn’t close up the bathroom walls until he knew HOW they were going to run the line from the electrical panel through the bathroom and to the kitchen.

kitchen during


Electrical issue still not fixed, but the contractor installed as much cabinetry as he could, and Emma and I found a solution for the 10” gap in our bottom cabinetry.


Among the other things that the contractor and I spoke about on Wednesday, we also chatted about the type of open shelving that we’d use in the kitchen (beside the rangehood). Emma and I shopped around and couldn’t really find anything we really liked so, during the weekend, we decided that we’d make our own. We sketched out an idea that uses steel pipes, elbows, t-bars and flanges. We had always been leaning to using something like this because we already have some steel pipe as a ladder rail in our hallway and came up with a plan that we feel we can execute with relative ease.

Photos from Week Eight.

when tasks get DONE

Go me! I accomplished my list I had posted last week. The water cooler is GONE, I worked on Unit B of my redesign course, and Brandon and I worked on organizing his comics boxes in preparation for storing them at my parent’s house. We’ve also picked up a great new-to-us app Taasky, which is helping both of us set and meet our various goals. I asked him to write a bit about why he chose that particular app, and how it’s helping him on a daily basis.


 I’ve never been good at getting things done. While most of this comes from a lack of regular gumption, a bit of it comes from the fact that my short term memory is terrible. While I’m at work, I’ll often have six projects on the go, and as I remember and forget each one, I end up accomplishing very little. This is reflected and amplified at home where the urge to rest often mingles with my lack of attention span. Naturally, I’m always looking for things that will keep me on track – which is why I’m currently breaking open Taasky and drinking all of its powers. (Is… is that how you use apps?)

Taasky is a simple, elegant task app for iOS that… well, let’s you make tasks. Basically, you type in things that you need to do, attach them to categories, and check them off. And yes, there are a million apps that probably do this, but there’s something to the design of the thing that brings me a sense of calm and order. Strange as it may be, I find I can focus better when met with something aesthetically pleasing. It stops the little voice in my head that says “this can be cleaner”, which always ends with me writing down the same information on another sheet of paper, just so the whole thing looks clean. Which is a waste of time.
One of my favourite bits is the one in-app purchase currently available – a stats tracker. It’s basically a set of stats that let you know what you’ve done and what you have left to do, a how well you’ve done lately. You can set it to track the last day, week, month, or year, and it will tell you when you’re most productive (Friday), and when you suck at life (Tuesdays, I guess?). Basically, it turns the whole thing into a reward system where you can see how you’ve been doing, and where you can be doing better. I know it’s helped with me immensely, and turned the comic shop from a decent looking place, into something a little more tidy than it has been in a great long while. It’s also keeping me on top of various deadlines, and helping me get done work projects early, which is a good feeling. So yeah, Taasky is great, you guys, and if you’re looking for a nice, simple, aesthetically pleasing task handler, this is the thing to get.


Added note: Taasky isn’t paying LWYS to say any of this. I just wanted to point out a nice app that’s working for Brandon and I in planning our day.


weekend goals

1) Get rid of the water cooler which has been sitting in the dining room(currently B’s office) since we MOVED IN. I’ve been so patient, because it was “his” when we moved in together, but now I’m getting proactive. We have time tomorrow, and I basically told him we’re going to the Eco-Station and getting rid of the darn thing.

2) Spend a few hours working (and hopefully completing) Unit B of my Redesign correspondence course. I’ve never been the best with self-discipline, so this should be a good challenge for me. Instead, I’ve let the work lapse, considering I originally wanted to complete that Unit last month.

3) Organize more of Brandon’s comics boxes to go out to my parents for storage. Our place isn’t big enough for his collection, but we haven’t had time to drive out of the city and drop everything off. Also, we have a tiny car, so I doubt we’d fit everything we’d need in there anyway. At least if all the “To Go” boxes are in one spot, it’ll be easier when we do go out to their house for a day trip.

That’s all for now. Or at least, that’s what I’m choosing to pick in this time frame that will be manageable. I’m hoping that by posting these, I will be more accountable. You can send me a tweet next week to check if I’ve done anything, if you feel like it. I’ve also got a rad widget on the right side of the blog that you can send me a tweet from. Technology, right? It’s crazy functional sometimes.

Baymax hug!
Baymax hug! aka. My Thursday evening.

small reno, big changes: week seven

In this week’s post, Jessica and Emma admire their new tile work, but hit a snag with the kitchen cabinets.



I received a call from our contractor on Sunday night asking Emma and I to check out our place on Monday morning. We need to make some big decisions like: what colour grout to use, baseboards tile size, whether or not to add baseboards to the pillar, etc. Such things probably don’t seem like a big deal but I’ve been thinking about these sorts of small decisions since the renovations started and Monday was a day that I’d been anticipating for quite some time.

For the early part of the week we stayed out of the way and let the tilers toil. The results were, in both our opinions, even better than we had imagined! When we checked on our place on Thursday we were both thrilled with how the tile, grout and Schluter finish on the baseboards had turned out.

tiles grout schluter


During the weekend, our contractor was also able to get into the unit below us and fix the plumbing issue that was holding up the shower base installation. This was a huge relief as it meant that the shower base from Simple Shower Solutions could be installed and work on the bathroom could continue.


Our contractor made sure to clear out the garbage and debris piled high on our balcony, as we needed to bring the couch being stored out there back indoors before the snow starts to fall in Edmonton (the weather forecast has predicted snow by the end of October).


On Saturday we enlisted help from our friend, James, to help us build our kitchen. Unfortunately we only completed one piece and arrived to a terrible discovery: two of our cabinets were ruined due to water damage (we stupidly put them on our patio and tarped them – we thought we tarped them well but we were sadly mistaken) and Ikea had forgotten a couple pieces when delivering our order. Also, the cabinets that we wanted to reuse from our old bedroom were actually the wrong size (we stupidly forgot to actually measure them before planning our upper cabinetry and assumed they were 30” wide) so we spent most of Sunday back at Ikea exchanging, replacing and purchasing items.

Photos from Week Seven