Friday, 22 September 2017

We have a flooring front-runner

I went into Halifax earlier this week on a mission to find hardwood flooring. I came home with nine samples (I like making my life as difficult as possible!). Each time I laid them out and then narrowed them down to a couple of favourites, there’s one that made the cut each time. I don’t want to say that it’s the winner quite yet, but it’s definitely the front-runner.

So here it is – from Fuzion Flooring’s Classical Elegance collection, Oak Serenade…

oak 2

I like this hardwood best for a few reasons:

  • The colour is a greyish-brown that will hopefully not show too much sand and dirt!
  • The graining in the oak will help to conceal dings and scratches more than a less grainy wood like birch or maple.
  • The planks are 7-1/2” wide – love wide planks!
  • The colour and graining aren’t in-your-face, so hopefully the floor will take second stage to the more interesting aspects of the house – like the views :-)
  • It goes great with the tile that I love – Ceragres Wood 2 in Dust. The hardwood and tile will meet in places, and I’d like them to have a somewhat seamless transition rather than an obvious change of materials & colour. Here’s the Oak Serenade hardwood with the Wood 2 tile. And a rock ;-)

wood tile

Before I commit to the hardwood, I’m going to buy one box so I can see how much colour and grain variation there is in the full-size planks. After my previous hardwood front-runner not turning out to be what I expected, I don’t want to take any chances. We need about 2,000 sq ft of hardwood, so definitely don’t want to screw this up!

Next up in the decision-making process – finalizing the tiles for the upstairs bathroom.

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

A home for cucamelons

What, you may be wondering, is a cucamelon? Well, it’s really pretty much what it sounds like – it’s a tiny cucumber that looks like a tiny watermelon.



I’d never heard of cucamelons till last Tuesday. when someone brought a bowl of them to rug hooking. I was a bit apprehensive biting into the first one, but it was actually pretty good. Kind of like a cucumber dipped in vinegar – not exactly pickled, but with a bit of an acidic zing. I popped a few more into my mouth, and brought home one cucamelon to try growing my own from the seeds.

Problem is…. where can I put a garden? Right next to the ocean isn’t the greatest spot for growing fruits & veggies. Too windy, mist from salty water, not to mention that the ground is pretty solid ‘cause it’s pretty much all rock.

And then I had an idea. A couple of weeks ago, work started on our septic field. First they dug out a small road…


Then cleared the area where the septic field is going.


excavator truck

Then they trucked in soil and sand – supervised by site foredogs Gizmo & Sassy ;-)

septic field 1

Once they finish the septic field, they’ll toss grass seed over it, and we’ll end up with a big patch of grass in the middle of the trees. What to do with a big patch of grass in the middle of the trees…. light bulb moment!


It’s the perfect spot for a little garden! With raised beds so the roots don’t go down too low, and with a fence around it to stop the deer from eating the plants. Similar to this, but on a smaller scale.

fencing 1

fencing 2

That should keep my cucamelons safe :-) And I’m thinking of planting raspberry & blackberry bushes, and I’m going to try this method to propagate hydrangeas. Plus I might try growing peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and bok choy. Ummm, but first we have to finish the house!

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

I’m floored

Choosing the right flooring is hard. It’s not like choosing a paint colour, where it’s a relatively easy and inexpensive fix if you choose the wrong colour (trust me on this, it’s happened to me more than once!) Once flooring goes down, it’s down for good. So no screw-ups allowed – which is making this already-hard decision even harder!

We have to go with an engineered hardwood because of the radiant in-floor heating. I thought I’d found what I wanted – Preverco’s hard maple in Chamonix. Except when I tried out the sample in the house, it looked too dark.

Image result for preverco hard maple chamonix

Then I tried out a sample of Beaulieu’s European white oak in Chardonnay.

Except this is what was in the box of samples planks. Most of the planks were like the middle one, which I think looks kinda weird – too stripey.

beaulieu chardonnay

So looks like it’s back to the drawing board for the hardwood. We need a wood that’ll stand up to the dogs, (likely either wire brushed or distressed), matte finish, wide plank, not too expensive… the hardwood search continues.

I can’t tell you how many tile sample boards I’ve lugged back and forth. At one point, I had about 20 of them in the back of the car. And how many winners were there? Well, a few actually – till I decided that they were too grey. Now I’m leaning towards tiles that are more on the brown side. These are a couple that could work in the entry and closet and under the fireplace– Ceragres Wood 2 and Ceratec Biarritz.

Ceragres - Wood 2

Ceragres - Wood 2


Ceratec - Biarritz


Ceratec - Biarritz

And that doesn’t even touch on all the tile decisions still to be made for the bathrooms. UGH! Making decisions is definitely NOT my forté!

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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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