Sunday, 13 August 2017

The kitchen in my head

Don’t you love it when you’re not looking for something but you find it anyway? A couple of weeks ago, I came across a kitchen designed by Kimberley Harrison Interiors that almost made me squeal – I finally found the kitchen that was in my head.


I love the dark blue island with the light countertop contrasting with the light grey perimeter cabinetry and dark countertop. I love the light hardwood flooring. I’m not totally in love with the wood legs on the island, but I do love the wood combined with the dark blue and light grey.

The simple Shaker style doors and drawers are just what I want in our kitchen.


Love this shimmery wallpaper too, but don’t think we’ll be putting wallpaper in our house – I’m sure the moist ocean air would have it peeling off in no time!


And then I stumbled across this kitchen by Martha O’Hara Interiors with a wall of cabinetry that’s similar to the one that we’ll have. Not so sure about the green, but otherwise it’s what I see in my head but have trouble visualizing in real life.

martha ohare 1

Our wall of cabinets won’t have a counter area, but it’ll be two different depths to allow for a full-size fridge instead of counter-depth. We’ll also have an upright freezer on this wall, as well as a sink in the island and a slide-in range.

martha ohare 3

I really, really, really love the look of light cabinets with a dark blue island. And I’m surprising myself by thinking about using brushed brass hardware on the cabinets. I guess I really am a child of the ‘80s :-)



blue white brass


Is it just me, or do you have trouble visualizing how a room will look without a picture?

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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The unplanned kitchen plan

The thing about coming up with a deign plan way before it’s time to implement the design plan is that there’s plenty of time and opportunity for the design plan to be replaced with a new and improved design plan.

Way back before we even started building, I wanted a soapstone countertop in the kitchen. I love the look and feel of soapstone, and I’m OK with the fact that it develops a patina over time and won’t always look new and freshly installed.


The one thing that I’m not crazy about, though, is that soapstone should really be oiled or waxed regularly, and that turns the stone from grey to almost black. I really would prefer something lighter.

We know a few people who got their soapstone countertops from Nova Tile & Marble in Dartmouth, so I decided to go check them out for myself. Amber brought me into the back to look at the soapstone slabs they had in stock. And that was when it happened…. my plan for soapstone went out the window when I saw a piece of marble called Blue Night. It was a greyish-blue (or blueish-grey) with a glossy polished finish, and it was gorgeous.

blue night marble 1

And even more gorgeous was the little bit of a leathered Blue Night slab peeking out from behind the polished slab.

blue night marble 2

I could only see a small part of it, but that was enough for me to fall in love.

I kept thinking about that leathered Blue Night slab all the way home. The fact that the clouds reminded me of it made it hard to stop thinking about!

clouds 1

By the time I got home, I decided that I need to have this marble in my life. The island countertop could be Blue Night and the perimeter countertops could be soapstone.


I went back to Nova Tile & Marble to pick up the sample of honed Blue Pearl granite I had requested. I held it up next to the Blue Night marble, and it was like the two were meant to be together…

blue pearl honed

blue night slab 2

blue night honed blue pearl

So soapstone is out and marble & granite are in. And now the wall cabinets that were maybe were going to be green and then probably blue will now most likely be grey. There are quite a few other changes to my original kitchen design plan too, which I’ll tell you about in my next post.

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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Living Beach – August 1, 2017

Beaches are indeed like living creatures: they grow, they die, they feed, they starve, they respond to stress,
they adapt to change. They are among the most mysterious, alluring and
implacable features in our environment.

Excerpt from The Living Beach

What a difference a year makes! Or maybe not so much…. it’s now exactly one year since I started doing monthly comparisons of the changes at our local beach. Although the beach itself changes from day to day, the cycle from season to season is the same. Lots of rocks in the winter and spring after the sand washes away, and then the sand comes back to shore in the summer and fall. Walking on the beach now, you’d never guess that there are so many rocks below your feet covered by I have no idea how many –illions of grains of sand!

For one last time, here’s the beach at low tide today….

hell point 1

straight 2

gaff point 2

And here’s a three-way comparison – July 1st, today, and August 1st one year ago…

July 1 collage
living beachaugust 2016 living beach

And just to see how the beach changes in six months, here’s the beach on March 1st…

March collage

I have no idea why the sand comes to shore and then gets washed away and then comes back to shore and then gets washed away again year after year. Mother Nature is mysterious that way :-) But it certainly makes the beach a fascinating and ever-changing place – guess that’s why Silver Donald Cameron calls it The Living Beach :-)

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Thinking outside the bedroom box

While Brian has been working on the electrical and plumbing. I’ve been thinking more and more about decorating the interior of the house. There are soooooooo many decisions that need to be made – why are there so many paint colours and countertop stones and tiles?!

When I get overwhelmed with all of those choices, I like to think about a simpler room. Like the bedroom. I mean, really, it’s just a bed and a few pieces of furniture and some knicknacks and a light, right? Well, not necessarily. When there are skylights on one wall and windows on another wall and closets on another wall, that really just leaves one wall for everything.

What to do….

This is where we had originally thought we would put the bed, with the headboard against the pony wall facing the west windows. Which is a nice view, but mostly of trees. Not quite to scale, but you get the idea :-)

drawing 1

It’s really the only logical spot. Or is it….

A few years ago on an Australian renovation show that I watch, one of the couples came up with an interesting idea for positioning the bed in their master bedroom.


I don’t think a bed in the middle of this room works particularly well, but it’s certainly thinking outside the box. And in the right room, it could be a great solution to where to put the furniture. Like in a bedroom with skylights on one wall and windows on another wall and closets on another wall…drawing 2

This configuration solves some potential problems. For starters, the headboard itself doubles as a wall and provides some privacy.



There really isn’t any space for a dresser against the sloped sides of the room, so now the dresser can go behind the headboard or even be the headboard.

dresser headboard


headboard storage


We have a king size bed, so there really isn’t much room on either side for night tables. But we can solve that problem by installing lights on the headboard wall and incorporating a niche to hold an iPad, books, a clock, and other stuff.



Depending on how high the headboard wall is,  it can even provide a spot to hang art, which is something I desperately need!

headboard wall art


headboard art


And best of all, with the bed positioned in the middle of the room facing the skylights, we’ll have a clear view of the ocean. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to that every morning?!

waves 3

So what do you think – is a bed floating in the middle of the room with a room divider headboard a weird idea or a good idea?

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Shut the front door!

And it only took 13 months ;-) The last thing to go in was the front door. We ordered the Jasper door from Atlantic Windows with a transom window and a clear window in the door. (So not like the Jasper door in this picture!)


When the door arrived a couple of months ago, there were some problems with it – the hinges were on the wrong side, and they had installed the wrong window. And then we discovered another bigger problem. We were planning to pair the front door from Atlantic Windows with a window on each side from Polytech (which we hadn’t yet ordered). But one manufacturer’s white isn’t another manufacturer’s white, and the difference between the white on the door frame and the white on the windows was pretty obvious. Also, the transom window over the door wasn’t going to line up properly with the transom windows on the side windows.

What to do……

glasses 2a

I knew that if we stuck with our original plan, I would regret it every time I drove up to the house. Afterall, the front door is like a welcome sign into your home, and if it’s not working for you, then it’s not saying “Welcome” so much as it’s saying “I’m the wrong door”.

It took a few mock-ups and some persuading & support from Facebook friends, but in the end we took a bit of a loss on the original door and placed a new order from Atlantic for a door with two sidelights and a transom straight across the top. Which is the configuration I wanted right from the start of the house building process. And you know what they say – happy wife, happy life :-)

new door

The new and improved front door arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I’m happy to report that it’s perfect! It’s also incredibly heavy, so luckily Brian was able to recruit a strong guy to help him put it into place :-) And here it is, complete with a bright green paint job (Benjamin Moore Douglas Fir) and a Baldwin Hardware handle set from Bargain Harley’s in Berwick.

door close up

front door

I can’t decide if the best thing about the front door going in is that the house is finally weather-tight, or that we don’t have to listen to Tyvek flapping in the wind anymore!

And all was not lost with the original front door. We were able to get a credit for the door itself, but we had to suck up the cost of the door frame, which wasn’t returnable. So Brian removed the transom window from the door frame and converted it into a little east-facing window in the downstairs bedroom.

little window inside

skinny window

Other than installing the front door and the little window, Brian has mainly been working on the plumbing and electrical for the last month or two. So there really hasn’t been anything very exciting to share. But at least that means that we’re getting closer to installing drywall and being able to finally get to work on the inside of the house!

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Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Living Beach – July 1, 2017


We had a cool and grey Canada Day here, but it was a fun day nonetheless. We started the celebration with our friends Barb & Avy’s lovely beach wedding – I lost track of how many lobster sliders and cookies I ate! Sooooooo good!  And ended the day with some awesome fireworks.

sparkly fireworks

purple fireworks

And it’s also time to celebrate the living beach :-) It’s been interesting to see how the beach has changed (or not changed) over the last 11 months. One thing is for sure – there are a lot more rocks on the beach this year than there were at this same time the last two years. The last two years, I could ride my bike from one end of the beach to the parking lot. This year, there are still far too many rocks blocking the way. But there’s definitely a lot more sand on the beach now then there was a month ago.

hell point

straight ahead

gaff point

And looking back at the beach one month ago compared to today… a big difference!

june beachJuly 1 collage

This is the same rock in March and in June – it shrank!

rock march

rock june

What will the next month bring? Hopefully lots more sand!

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