Archive for November, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Almost December.

Feels like a holding pattern.

Yesterday I stopped by the Little House on my way home. It was late in the afternoon. Amazing Floor Finishing Guy (whose name is Eric pronounced Iric) had put the first coat of urethane down on the ground floor. Loverley.

Today, or rather tonight I expect, another coat will likely go on. Maybe not. Depends when it is dry enough to buff.

In the meantime I will meet Kitchen Guy briefly sometime today re this and that.

I will drop in at Goudey’s to double-check the stain colour for the downstairs vanity. I was there last week but so wrapped up in floors was I that I was not paying proper attention to the stain boards. Nor did I make proper notes.

And then there is a sample of trim board I need to pick up.

And I need to call Railing Guy to postpone his arrival by at least one day ~ so as to ensure the floors are dry.

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Last weekend was the Santa Claus parade. Which was, for the most part, bigger and better than last year. With two exceptions. Sad. Sad Sad. No lion dancers.

And well Santa was a bit thin. A bit unSanta like.

Wonder what happened to last year’s Santa. He was too wonderful for words.

A face.

Another face.

I like this umbrella.

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I visited the house this morning to take at look at the progress on the floors.

The top floor has one coat of urethane and is beginning to look a bit like a finished floor. Buffing and 2 more coats to go.

Downstairs is stained and waiting for the first coat of urethane.

Big of a gaff with the stairs. Apparently someone forgot to tell Amazing Finishing Guy that only the treads of the stairs were to be done. The rest will be paint. Ah. So as it stands it is all stained. Small mercies – it had not been urethaned  so  we can just prime and paint over the stain.


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It’s a long story. But it starts with this man.

Design, proportion and colour. The latter being the focus of the past 2 weeks of my existence.

Not the father of the Arts & Crafts Movement – but a very influential figure.

Gustav Stickley.


Perhaps best known for his furniture.

So when imagining what our floors would look like my thought was hickory floors, (check on that one) stained the colour of a piece of Stickley furniture. Or a good piece of Mission furniture. I am not that sticky particular.

It would look something like this. It would be neither too light nor too dark. The colour would have substantial depth And it would have a glow of yellow orange that you can’t pin down. Simple.

So for two whole weeks I chased the tail of colour. The colours they were showing me were well… brown. Brown, brown brown brown and more brown.

Trying to explain the above. Showing examples. Indeed travelling with my trusty sample of Mission coloured hickory. Evoking the name of Stickley from time to time without success.

Resorting to the basics. Needs more red. Needs more yellow. Needs more orange. Needs that springy lightness. With depth mind you.

Can’t tell you how many times over the past 2 weeks I have been looked at sideways.


Reminds me of a poem by A. A. Milne ~ What is the matter with Mary Jane …it’s lovely rice pudding for dinner again….

I won’t get into specifics. Suffice it to say that over the course of two weeks at least four people had a go at it.

Finally. Finally. THEY GOT IT.

Not exactly. Not so I’d want to invite Mr. Stickley over for dinner.  But good. And not brown.

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One might think that at this stage I would have pictures ready to go up everyday. And lots of news.

However.  It is not working out that way.

Last week the sander started sanding. But he did not start until Wednesday. So as of Friday he was still sanding. The plan is that he will finish on Monday. Then on Tuesday he will apply the stain. There will follow days of sanding and urethane.

My best guess is that the floors will be completely finished by a week Monday or Tuesday.

I spent a huge number of hours last week working on the stain colour. Trying desperately to replicate a colour I have been in love with for over a year. Old Mission. We are now on stain sample # 4. There have been three different people involved. Kinda of like the amazing race of floor colour. No word yet on a winner. All I know is that to stay on schedule one of the three has to produce Old Mission, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, by close of business on Monday.

Honest. You have no idea.

This is what I am aiming for. Old mission. Like the bungalow and the furniture and the woord. Like that.

Which takes us to trim. Another bit of trouble. Again. I have been everywhere. Final answer is that we will have the more important and visible trim replicated by a local custom trim shop. More on this later. We will (gag) use some MDF to make up for the cost of the above custom trim. And all will be well.

I took my mother’s chandelier to amazing light guy in Aurora. (Ken-Steph Lighting in Aurora)  My mother purchased the chandelier at a Paris flea market sometime in the 1950s. But the light is quite a bit older than that. I discovered today that the receptacles on the chandelier are in fact made of wood. A fact that has escaped me all these years. Oops. The chandelier has been hanging that way for almost 60 years here in Canada and god knows how many years before that.

It will be fixed and polished and be hung in the upstairs hallway. I can’t wait.

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It is official. I have had enough.

Everything is moving, I can’t say it’s not, but painfully slowly.

  • The floors are in. Tomorrow they will start sanding.
  • Having trouble getting the stain colour right. Thought we had it but after a consult and a second look realized we were no where near close. Back to the drawing board.
  • Kitchen is under construction.
  • Vanities are under construction.
  • Nothing more can happen in the house until the floors are finished.
  • I can hear the clock ticking.

So to get away from all this.

I love this blog. The author of this blog has a house I adore in almost every respect. Indeed I have been searching desperately for someone to help me buy one role of that wallpaper. Her most recent post includes a series of before and after pictures of her home. With that wallpaper. Flowering Quince from Clarence House. If anyone has any idea how I can get just one roll I will promise you a dinner:)


And as a further aside. In the mail this week I received my copy of  Pieces of Me – Who do I want to be? (Voices for and by adopted teens). Edited by Bert Ballard. I have a short piece in this collection. I am hugely flattered to be included in this amazing group of contributors. If you are a member of the adoption community, or if someone you love is,  you will want to add this to your bookshelf.

(Plus I received a small cheque from the publisher. So nice)


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IMG_5070A bit premature. However shortly we will not be able to walk on the floors. So I worked away today, with The Girl and H & G, putting samples of colour up on the walls. I want to live with these up for the next week and try to limit the number of mistakes I make with the paint colours.

This is the window seat living room which has light on two sides. The choice is the bottom one. It is Farrow and Ball – Hay. With lots of lighter paint on the window seat (and on the wood surrounding the window seat) in F & B Pointing.

I am imagining a fabric on the window seat cushion that looks like I flew it in from Istanbul. Deep rich colours including reds.



Hall paint. Choice is the top one. Second photo is of the same paint up in the stair well with the light from the windows.This is a tough because there is a lot of hall. We are leaning to New White. Walls and wainscoting. With the wainscoting in the same colour but in gloss.


The Girl’s room. We are seeking opinions. She wants the grey and another colour. This is Theresa’s Green. Which is a blue green. Very pretty but I am not sure in works with Pavillion Grey. Thoughts?

 I painted half a dozen pieces of wood varying shades of grey. Have settled on Elephant’s Breath. Honestly how could pass up a paint with that name. I will smile every time I look at it. The vanity in the upstairs bathroom will be Elephant’s Breath with some off white trimming. Ya have to see it:)

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Four days of sorting, cutting and hammering and all the floors are in. They are hickory and I just love them.

Next week comes staining and sanding and so on. Likely this will take all week.


Standing in the pantry looking out to the hall.


Standing in the kitchen looking into the living room.


Our bedroom.


The upstairs hallway taken from the stair landing.


Standing in the upstairs hallway.


That hallway again. I love the light. The small piece of window on the right is part of the bathroom window.

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In the years between 1960 and 2006 the Little House was the home of the Sainsbury family. Indeed the Little House, quite rightly so, is known in the neighbourhood as the Sainsbury House.

Ivy sold the house in 2006. But she was not far away and relatives in the neighbourhood took her news of the rebuilding of the Little House. I like to think that she was happy to know that the house would stay and that a family who truly loved the house would live there.

I do know she was happy to hear the news that we would be keeping and reinstalling the beautiful rose trellis (pl) built for her by her husband Bill.

I was so hoping I could have her to tea as soon as there were a few sticks of furniture in the house. I am quite sure we would have hit it off.

Ivy Sainsbury passed away on November 1, 2009.

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Patience is wearing very thin. Mine anyway.

The tile that can be installed has been installed and grouted. Sealing has to wait ten days. So the beautiful limestone floor in the upstairs bathroom will not shine until the sealant goes on.

Two sets of tile must wait. The wall tile in the upstairs bathroom cannot go in until the window trim is installed. The tile at the side door entryway cannot go in until the pickets for the basements stairs have been installed.

But for now there is real progress.


Bathroom floor with the Girl’s feet. Still covered with a thin layer of grout. It will shine when it’s done.


And then there is the main floor bathroom.


Tim’s shower.


Shower floor.


I looked at these tiles for almost a year before we finally ordered them. Which kinda ensures for the most part that you have something you like.


Again you can’t really see either the colour or the pattern because a thin layer of grout remains.


Tim standing in the living room with one of the two stacks of hickory floor boards.


The Girl looking for a quiet place to do homework. Wood pile as desk.

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