Monday, August 25, 2014

Target Love and the perfect carrot cake

 I am a HUGE fan of Target here in was a very long wait for us to get Target stores here and it was well worth the wait. I have nothing but positive things to say about my shopping experiences at Target, the brands the selection and the value offered are what keeps going back time and time again.
My two daughters are also big Target will find us there often browsing for finds and deals and enjoying a Starbuck's while we are at it.
When Target heard about my love and support of Target they reached out and shipped me a gift pack which included gift cards for my two daughters and one for myself as well as fab umbrella, tumbler and super sturdy canvas bag, I ready to go and represent for Target.
During this back to school season (boo to back to school !!!) Target has been suprising guests with gift cards and covering purchases in amazing right!
 Cute photo of our tiny dog with my new BIG rocking umbrella.PS I don't believe in bad luck so don't fret about the open umbrella, where did that superstition come from anyway...?
 It is my Mom's birthday today and we got together yesterday to celebrate with one of my brother's and his wife, it was the perfect summer weather day, so grateful for that.
I made a cake from scratch....I generally don't make cakes from scratch with the exception of this cake....CARROT CAKE.
I have been using this recipe for about 13 years or so, I found the recipe from Martha Stewart magazine in a baby edition. It has lemon and lemon zest and I think this really makes all the difference in this recipe. I skip the nuts as we have some nut allergies in our family.
 The recipe is here if you want to give it a try....Carrot cake
It's light and moist every time, I used store bought cream cheese frosting but home made is better, the store bought stuff was way too sweet.....I may have a left over slice for breakfast on this last day of summer daughter Mason is starting back to 11th grade tomorrow morning.....why must summer end?

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Canadian bloggers home tour

 I am super excited to be part of the Canadian Bloggers home tour...this is my first official home tour so I hope I'm doing this right.
First of all welcome to my home and to my blog I'm Chris, I live 45 minutes from Toronto in a great city where I grew up with my husband and 2 daughters and our boston terriers and three large gold fish.
Our house sits on what was for a very long time a parking lot for the builders model homes. We had no intentions of moving when we bought this house but sometimes things just happen the way they are supposed to. This house was a one of a kind spec house that our builder was building since they had sold off all the model homes, I took a look at the framing stage and within 48 hours we were making an offer and that was that...we were moving.
As a blogger for 7 plus years I am known for my DIY skills and carpentry projects. Most of the details and added touched I have done myself, once in a while I need my hubby's muscles but usually it's just little old me...and I like it that way.

So please come join me for a tour of our home sweet home...we moved in 2 1/2 years ago and are still in the process of making it into the dream home...I've made some pretty good progress and I'd love to share it with you now...

                                                                    Our home

 I describe our house as a cape cod colonial....we live in the suburbs and it just where I want to be right now.  This house ticked off all the boxes of my wish list...which is why we made the move to this house just down the street from our last house where we lived for 10 years .

The yard work and gardening are my jobs, well mostly all the domestic work and handy work is what I am responsible for. I try to keep everything running and looking pretty and my hubby keeps us all alive and with a roof over our heads, it works for us.


                                                                     Our porch
 We had a landscaper come in last fall and clad our porch with composite decking and had our walkway done in this beautiful herringbone pattern of old style bricks and stone steps.

Our hall

 Here is what you see when you enter our home a nice generous center hall. I love the white walls with white millwork. There will be more millwork coming soon. Those lanterns were a couple of green houses I found at Homesense that I wired up into lights.
The flooring throughout is red pine that we laid and stained with a colour called Kona.
 My doors are all painted black in the house with the exception of my kids bedrooms as per their request for me not to paint them. I framed and paneled the opening to accent it and just to make it pretty...wainscoting will be added throughout the hall on the main floor asap.
Here is how it looked when we moved in...yep subfloor is pretty. I said I would never paint my own staircase again...guess who did that,!

Our living room
 Here is our living room where we spend time in the evenings watching a little TV or playing games.
 This is the other side of the living room, I love all the windows...the drapes are from Ikea as are all my drapes...I even had a magazine editor compliment my drapes, it's my go to for drapes...the wall colour is Martha Stewart Gabardine.

Our dining room
I'm keeping it real here and showing you how our dining room really looks today....subfloor because our dogs were constantly peeing in this room, two males dogs is not a great plans are to do something fabulous with the ceiling and to add...pine floors and a wall of built ins with a wine fridge where the buffet /dresser is now.... this is my next big project to get to before Halloween.

Our Kitchen
Well let's move onto the kitchen...I was bound and determined to have my dream kitchen even if I had to do most of the labour myself, it took four months but now I do have my dream kitchen....This was what it looked like a few weeks after we moved in, no floors, dark stained cabinets, laminate counters a um NO STOVE...we used a hot plate for months. I customized the layout with my builder which has been great but we worked with the standard cabinets well I upgraded to taller uppers and some extra drawers but mostly this was all standard. 
*there was also a double cabinet to the right of the sink we loved to the laundry room.
 Here is my kitchen was a labour of love and a lot of hard work but we love it.
Of course we first laid the pine floors. We did have a little island from the builder that I added onto to create a microwave cabinet.

 I painted the cabinets with Martha Stewart Bedford Gray. I built a wine storage and open shelving and turned the bulkhead into an oversized cornice detail with trim and crown moulding.
The counters are carrera marble honed, which I love.
 We got a really good deal on a 6 burner Kitchenaid gas range, I am a huge fan of gas now.
I went with classic white subway tile and used grey grout for a more bold look.
 The lights are Restoration hardware. I clad the island with bead board and added legs to make the island prep surface more ample. The island is painted a darker shade of grey than the Bedford Gray and the wood counter is from Ikea.
 I went with a stainless steel sink, one bowl, I love it so much, it can be full of dishes and you would never know it and it fits every pot and pan.

I call this area my baking center, my goal was to make it look like a hutch. 

Our family room.
 Just before Christmas...about 3 weeks before Christmas I tackled this most recent renovation, I installed the coffered ceiling and wood flooring install. I work well under pressure. I have always wanted to have coffered ceilings and I am so glad I tackled this big project, it took a solid week working about 7 hours a day but we love it.

 The ceiling fan is from Lowe's, everyone always asks me. The soft seating is all from Ikea as well as the linen drapes (its actually 2 sets of drapes).
 I built bookcases backed with beadboard and a marble hearth and surround to the fireplace.

 I added a chunky chair rail made from MDF and pine stock trim. I wanted to try something different for the wood flooring installation, I love unexpected details.

Our laundry/mud room
This is my first main floor laundry room and I love how handy it is to have it there, it is not a real entrance into our house but it is a very useful space. We feed the dogs in here, they stay in there at night sometimes and when we are out for long periods of time. We now have an ample closet for extra food and extra kitchen storage and a place for our vacuum and cleaning supplies I love a main floor laundry. 
 There were no cabinets in the laundry room so right away we moved one cabinet from the kitchen into the laundry room and I built extra open shelving.
 I added subway tile and marble again, my two faves.
I installed a wall of paneling and lots of hooks for drying clothes etc. I'm keeping it real with this picture ...
 I build a sink cabinet and made a wood counter out of pine lumber .

Our Powder Room

 Please excuse my feet...its really hard to get pics in a powder room but I wanted to show at least one, we laid the pine again in an interesting pattern, I stripped a dresser I had and made it into a little vanity, installed a bowl sink and neat was the first room completed. This is a disclaimer, these sinks are or can be a tad annoying, well my combo is with the cute faucet I bought, lets just say sometimes there is quite a mess of water to clean up. I'm not so sure I would do this again but the cabinet provide nice storage and counter space and I like that.

                                                            Our Master bedroom
 Here is our master bedroom...its not big but it's more than enough and it has 4 windows and has beautiful morning light.
I just painted in preparation for this house tour Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb gray which is a lovely tan that's not too warm.

 What's to say , we still need our pine floors in here and the opposite wall to the bed needs build ins floor to ceiling , but that will have to come later, maybe next year.

Our Master bath
 I love my master bath. I never understood why people wanted two sinks, my hub's and I never get ready for anything at the same time so what's the big deal....well no I love having my own sink, I get it now...Never again one sink.
I had to have subway tile for the showers that was really important to me it was a must.
I love having a separate shower having some solid walls allows me to hide the shampoo etc.. I plan on replacing the laminate counters, sinks and faucets with real stone counters and nicer basins and faucets, maybe in a couple of years for now they are fine.
 I chose the wall colour to be the closet match to the colour of the glass of the shower, just a hint of blue.
I covered the floor tile running up the deck of the tub with MDF and beadboard and added a marble back splash to the tub surround after the marble installer put in the marble deck pieces.
                                                                   how it looked before
 I had to have a TV in the master is a real luxury and certainly is an over indulgence but I love it. It takes me a while to get ready doing hair and make-up when I do all that and its nice just to turn on a GMA or Kathie Lee and Hoda when I want.
The cabinet is an old jam cupboard we've have had since we got married, I actually built it into the wall so now it stays with the house, it is just the extra needed storage we needed for this bathroom.

Hubby's office

 My husband makes cartoons and works from home from time to time and has quite a collection of "special things"
I waited and waited for him to just unpack his boxes but after a year and a half there was no progress so while he was away on one of his business trips I surprised him with an office makeover...and this is what I did.
 In case you're curious he directed Total drama island, he created Sidekick, Grojband and many more shows in the works and has been working in animation for decades working on too much to try to mention.

Mason (my 16 yr old daughter) room
 We just recently tackled a makeover in Mason's room, it used to be wall papered in One direction posters but I'm glad to say that phase is OVER!!! She wanted pretty and pink....finally!!!!
She really wanted a bigger walk in closet ( there is a moderate closet in the room already) but that would have meant losing a window to a closet and shrinking her living space dramatically ( I'm pretty sure her bedroom is bigger than the master) so I came up with moving her bed to where it is now and adding a wall of suspended hanging/display, it's like her very own store.. it turned out to be a great solution.
We ran out of wall space so I came up with this controversial idea to hang this big mirror from the ceiling ...turns out it was a great idea and a great use of otherwise dead space.  
Mason's room has a Jack and Jill bath that was intended to be shared with what is my husbands office so both girls have their own bathrooms, this really makes life easier with two teen girls. 

                                                          Sophie's room (my 13 yr old )
 The girls picked their own rooms and it went very smoothly, one was bigger bedroom smaller bathroom  this is the smaller bedroom bigger bathroom room it's a good trade off.
I added these built ins for storage and to free up floor space. I still need to get around to getting a cushion made for that bench.

Sorry her bathroom is not quite ready for sharing...there has been a lot to do and I am only one woman. 

Our outdoor oasis

 Let's finish off the tour where we like to spend some warm summer nights and hot summer days, our new deck...we built this little deck behind our garage and its been one step closer getting our backyard plans underway.

So there we go , you have seen our house tour I hope you enjoyed your visit thanks for stopping by.
You really must check out all the other amazing home tours listed below





Just Beachy your here!


special thanks to Christina from AKA Design and Shannon from The DIY Mommy for arranging this home tour.