Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Basement Day 13 - The Bad News

It's as if my day couldn't get any worse besides being so gloomy and rainy outside. I guess a project like our basement reno isn't really a "major" one unless of course there are hiccups. Today our contractor gave us the bad news: our top two options of the flooring is out of stock until late December (which means in the new year)!

Remember I was debating between the "Oak Walnut" and "Grey Oak"? Well it turned out today that neither of them remains as an option if we still want the project done in a few days.

I was royally mad! We gave our contractor our choice over a week ago and they waited until today to order the flooring. It could have been out of stock then but at least we would find out earlier and start to look for alternatives. I wasn't going to let this one go so easily by picking something else I don't like. At the end of the day, flooring is something we will be stuck with for a while, unlike paint color. So I refused to pick anything else from the same batch, but instead sent our contractor to look for close alternatives. They phoned about an hour ago that they picked up many other samples for me to choose from tomorrow. Fingers crossed that I would find a similar replacement.

On the upside, the floor tiles in the bathroom are almost set. The mini Carrara mosaic border looks sensational. I am sure it will show better when the grout lines are filled.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Basement Day 12

Day 12 into our basement project...where did all the time go? Our contractor has started to paint the walls, add casings and baseboards as well as tile the bathroom. We are still pretty pleased with how fast this project has been progressing. At this rate it should be done by early next week if not this weekend. The only thing that I am not so thrilled about is that they don't vacuum/clean up at the end of the day so there's saw dust all over the floor. I am pretty sick of having to vacuum afterwards so I was wondering if I should ask them to do it? I know they will do a complete clean sweep before they put in the hardwood floor, but shall I ask them to at least get rid of the saw dust as they go? Did your contractor clean up every day before they left?
Due to the dust previously mentioned, I have to limit my time down there, and hence the poor-quality quick picture snaps as follows.
Shower stall wall tile: 3x6 white subway + mini Carrara mosaic accent

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Now Comes the Fun Part

Day 7 into our basement project and our contractor has started to patch the drywalls. The patching and sanding will take at least another 3 days. Recessed lighting is (almost) in, and so is all other electrical and plumbing.

We were handed yet again another fun homework -- pick wall paint colors! I know I would want to stay in the grey spectrum: blue'ish but not baby blue, definitely no green undertone, true grey but not too cold. Our basement has pretty large windows and many potlights, but most of the time the paint still needs to look good under iridescent lighting. Easy, right? Not!
I've narrowed down to four options (for now), and here they are.
I used ICI's Silver Cloud in my kitchen, so it's a safe choice and I know exactly what I am getting. I will likely use it in all the living space and corridor.

Valspar Polar Star appears to be warm grey under various lightings, so it might be a good choice for the bedroom. It might also go nicely with the Bianco Carrara marble in the bathroom. You can see what it looks like in a room here.

ICI Universal Grey looks so much lighter and bluer in a bright bedroom Sarah Richardson designed. I will need to go to an ICI/Dulux dealer to pick up a sample and see for myself.
So what do you think? Any other paint color suggestions for a basement? 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Basement Day 6 - Picking a Floor Color

I can't believe it's only Monday. It's been a long and stressful day at work, and probably just as much so home front. Why? Our contractor handed us some homework today -- pick a flooring color! One would think having more options is a good thing, but not for me at this stage when my mind is being pulled in numerous directions at all times.
We have 12 color options, all of them are 13mm laminate wood floor which is a practical and economical choice for a basement. In the background is our ground floor staircase stained in Red Oak Pewter.
Color codes are from the first row left to right: Country, Oak Walnut, Grey Oak, Royal Teak, American Cherry, Royal Merbau, Wild Maple, Brazilian Oak, Golden Oak, Red Maple, Cherry, and Ebony.
My first instinct was Grey Oak (top right corner), then felt the color scheme might be too flat/cold since I would likely paint the walls in blue-ish grey tone. What do you think?
The second option is the one right next to the Grey Oak, called Oak Walnut. The color is much warmer but under iridescent light it appears very brown. So which one would you choose for a basement?

Our contractor pretty much finished hanging the drywalls today, so I could only guess the next step will be patching and sanding. They disconnected most lighting fixtures down there so pardon the poor picture quality.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Basement Day 4

Today I officially joined Anthony in wearing ear plugs -- I couldn't take the noise any more. It felt like they were drilling into my head, with very vivid vibrating sensation shooting all the way from the basement! I was so going to get myself out of the house but unfortunately my meeting was rescheduled to be over the phone.

Noise aside, our contractor has made a lot of progress on Day 4. They've started to put up the drywalls. Here are some pictures.

They cut up part of the wall to open up the staircase. Notice they didn't open it all the way up -- do you think that's going to look strange? I don't believe those studs provide that much more support but it would certainly look so much nicer opened up all the way. What's your experience in this type of situation?
Staircase from another angle.
Hallway leading to washroom, bedroom and utility room.
This is the wall-to-wall closet.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Basement Day 1

I won't bore you with day-by-day posts but rather show you milestones along the way. I am so glad that we went with a contractor friend we've been using for the past 10 years -- can't believe how much three of them accomplished in one day. Drywall arrives tomorrow, and experience says "dust cloud" is on our way.

This is the future media and game rooms, frames in, ceiling potlight wire rough-in.

They managed to tuck away all the air ducts to avoid bulkheads. Do you see how clean-lined the frames are so far?

This is the future bedroom with a wall-to-wall four-door closet. I can't wait to offload some junk from my master walk-in down here!

And this is the future bathroom. They broke the concrete to re-route the pipes.

I think that's enough for one day. Stay tuned for more updates.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

French Wing Chair

About a week ago on a cold rainy evening (again?), we drove all the way to Ajax to pick up this antique French wing chair. I couldn't believe the price tag (cheap) when I found out this mint-conditioned chair was made by Ethan Allen in the 1930's (that's right, shortly after the company was founded). Although the fabric color is less than desirable, the chair has great bone and elegant lines.

The Kelly Wing Chair at the Cross Design is almost identical to this chair, but look at the price tag ($3,295)! I however believe this is how much a chair of this craftsmanship and style should cost.
The Kelly Wing Chair from The Cross Design
Now it comes down to the re-upholstery. I could paint the frame white (though I really hope I don't talk myself into doing so just to preserve the vintage value) and use a similar grey color tone fabric. Or I could leave the frame as is, and have it upholstered in a natural/parched cotton twill/linen like this.
Or how about going all out to do something like this -- turquoise dupioni fabric with distressed white frame? 
Decor Pad
So which combination do you like the most? Any other suggestions on fabrics?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

7 Things About Me

I have been writing interior design blogs since July 2008 in preparation for moving into our custom-built home. Three years later, I am still loving every bit of reading and writing decor blogs. Thanks to Jen at Rambling Renovators and Shannon at 8foot6 for the Versatile Blogger Award, I will follow the rule and write 7 things about myself.
  1. I am now officially in my mid 30's (birthday was last week).
  2. As much as I refused to be a Canadian Asian stereotype, I finished my Computer Science and Economics degrees within 4 years with minimal-to-no social life. In year 2000 when every other person I knew had an MBA, I somehow talked myself into taking the part-time program.
  3. My job demands superior change management skills yet true to my identity I like personal things in a static state: I keep the same hairstyle for as long as I could remember; I've been working for the same company for over 10 years; and I am still good friends with all my high school buddies.
  4. Italian is my favorite, and I am adventurous in exploring differnt cuisines. I was a Size 0 until I turned 30, but I am still pretty content with my natural weight (bigger than Size 0 of course) these days -- it stays the same for years even without dieting or working out so my bathroom scale has been collecting dust.
  5. I am a HGTV junkie, and interior design has always been my interest.  My mom keeps a very tidy and beautiful house, and it's only natural that I grew up like her. My self-proclaimed design style is vintage elegance with a dash of French Provincial. Sarah Richardson is my all-time inspiration, and so are all the fantastic bloggers out there (yes ladies..I am talking about you).
  6. I am a value investor and a bargain hunter. I almost never pay full retail price for anything these days.
  7. Lastly, I met my wonderful husband through a shared friend 10 years ago and we've been married for 8 -- yes, that's 8 long years without kids and enough to challenge any inlaws' patience!
Now I am passing the award on to these phenomenal bloggers, in random order:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rug and Coffee Table

Remember that Pemberley Wool Rug I wanted for my living room but has constantly been out of stock and only available in the States? Well, deprived of patience and acting on impulse, I picked up another rug that's 60% cheaper -- the Martha Stewart Fretwork Rug. The price is insane for a 8x10 rug that's made of 100% wool with soft cotton backing! Though it's not in the grey color tone that I am ever crazy about, the creamy color with subtle fretwork pattern adds visual interest to this super soft and practical area rug.

This is what our living room looks like now with the new rug in time for winter.  

Notice that Urban Barn Lumex Coffee Table? I am sure you've come across this simple yet stylish coffee table many times on the various blogs, such as Jen's Rambling Renovators and Lindsay's Aubrey + Lindsay's Little House Blog. This coffee table, to me, is like falling in love with a platonic boyfriend after knowing him for years -- it takes time to get to me. Unfortunately, not all platonic boyfriends wait around forever, and same goes to this coffee table. Urban Barn discontinued it last year, and not even one store across the country has any leftover. So I turned to KJ and CL as my last straw, and I found one! I contacted the seller and they responded immediately that the table was sold pending pickup. I am not proud of what I did, but I wanted the table so badly that I offered more than what the seller asked for! And the rest is history. Hey, you hear it here first that someone actually bid more than asking price on KJ and CL!? You know eBay owns KJ for a reason right?

Here is my Urban Barn Lumex Coffee Table now the focal point of our living room.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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