It’s A New… Bee-DAY… Upping Your Toilet Game With Bidets

Somewhat of a touchy subject for some, and yes there is going to be a sh&* load of double entendres here given we are talking about the very best of humours.. that of the toilet persuasion, we have recently gifted our upstairs bathroom with a washlet/bidet toilet seat, and could not be happier with the outcome. Complete with oscillating front and back spouts, heated water, deodorizer and adjustable temperature dryer, toilet paper use has decreased significantly, and the first visit of the day to the cold, cold bathroom is slightly less painful now as least our butts are warm. North America is actually pretty.. behind… when it comes to posterior cleanliness and washing properly when finished our number two’s — rather ironic given our reputation as germ-o-phobes. The first exposure to the bidet/toilet combo, as opposed to the stand alone bidet/looks like a short water fountain thingie, was at a friends who had the ultimate in toilets: a Toto. See below. (this is the creme de la creme, not exact representation of initial toilet experience)

Or for… the most of us who can’t so much afford the $3,500 option…

Toto Washlet C100 Toilet Seat Bidet $559.99 from Wayfair.ca

I must have spent 3x as long on the toilet, and I didn’t even need the targeted cleansing option to know I had found a gadget whose eco-friendly and mega-comfortable ethos I could totally buy into. Did you know that the way we currently use toilet is super wasteful, kind of bad for our tender parts and not particularly clean? Ya. And no, wet wipes, which are mostly not flushable even if they say flushable, do not count. There’s loads of research and articles online that discuss how wrong the toilet paper only approach is, and how much easier it could be if we just got over the disposability/flushing the dirt away point of view. We’ve chosen a few faves to highlight here, and the cost doesn’t usually reflect the $5,000 gold standard. You could actually have a system for less than $100.

Ours cost approx $500, so not something you could necessarily buy on a whim, BUTT a very worthy investment whose cost is easily offset by the sharp decrease in toilet paper usage and cost you will notice once you start using one of these bad boys. Now for some other options at a lower price point – Mind, the fewer bells and whistles, the lower the cost, so if you are good with cold water and some Scandinavian inspired functional minimalism…

Tushy Spa Warm Water Bidet in White and Gold $99 USD from HelloTushy.com (Tushy.com is a COMPLETELY different experience… So pay attention!)

Or a similar but less good looking option under $55…

Or feel free to stop by next time your in the hood to use ours… You can bet your behind you’ll never look… back? Make number two comfort your number one toilet criteria? I could go on…

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A Long Overdue Reveal: BFD’s Stairway to Heaven (aka the second floor)

We’ve had just regular stairs with crappy grey runners we got off the roll at Home Depot for a while, and the whole leek was a little worse for wear, tbh. We put the tread on their originally for our aging dogs who needed the grip to get up the stairs, but as both of them passed last year, and the stairs were already kind of busted looking, we though hey, why not do it like grownups, with some nice looking carpet??? We went to the Carpet Mill at Gerrard Square in Toronto and luckily it was the first and last place we needed to go!

The above carpet was one of our immediate yes let’s do it…. and then the price tag was revealed ($6k+ for two sets of stairs)…. and we needed to reevaluate our options. And the styles we could afford were… fine. But that’s about it. So then we asked, well what about using a giant area rug instead and cutting it to fit?

A lot of the ones we liked were either not available in the number of rugs we would need, or the patterns was too big, meaning when they tried to sew multiple rugs together we would see the seam, which is obvs not stylish. The pile also had to be low enough that the carpet could bend nicely over each stair, so ya, even with our new vista of choice, the choice was somewhat limited.

We settled on the above rug and had to buy 3 of them in order to have enough to cover the main to second and main to basement stairs. From when we placed our order it was about 4-6 weeks for the carpet to be ready to install. And we had some readying to do of our own….

Cause these stairs were seriously busted. Originally the stairs were painted black, as was the railing, but with the new carpet, we decided to freshen things up a bit so the design in the carpet could pop. White paint over errrrrr-thing!!!

Because of scheduling and literally waiting for paint to dry, the coats of paint happened at different intervals across the two floors.

There may have been canine assistance, that luckily we were able to limit to the kitchen.

We also added some paintable wallpaper to the sides of the stairs in the basement as the wall cut in on one side and left uneven exposure. We decided why not put some more pattern on there, cause one’s not enough, and voila.

The under padding. In an artful pile.

The carpet is brought in, cut to measure for both sets of stairs.

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L’installation care of the folks at Carpet Mill.

Almost done! this is the steps looking down to the basement and washer/dryer.  Artfully placed duvet.

The stairs from the second floor looking down to the main floor. And…

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Ta Dah! Overall the project cost around $3,000 and the installation was done in an afternoon. The rug itself required 3 weeks or so to be made, so ideally, you could schedule a project like this in to be completed in a month, depending on the availability of the carpet you choose.

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BFD Reveal: It’s Backyard 2.0

So even though redoing the backyard was not the initial intent of spring outdoor chore time… it quickly evolved into it.

See? Pebbles. Pretty pretty no berry mess pebbles with old gross flagstone 

The layout we had before was great, but we have a giant Mulberry tree that hangs over 50% of the backyard… and rains berries all over the whole garden and is a GIANT pain in the a$$ to clean up, especially with the pebbles. Cause the berries get in with the pebbles and you try to sweep things up and you just end up getting big piles of pebbled berries, plus dogs and their contribution and it’s just ga-rossssss. And then you have to replace the pebbles, and it becomes a whole thing… The Planter boxes also had to be revisited as we didn’t have enough sun on both sides for the grass we planted to grow to the same size… and the backyard was looking as lopsided AF. We also had some flagstone we sort of put in between the nice patio stones and the deck which was a little worse for wear, so Keith extended the deck from the stairs and added on a platform so we didn’t have so many surfaces competing for aesthetic dominance (plus the flagstones looked pretty sparse and yuck).

Good bye planters! We hardly knew ye! 

So the planters on either side were the first to go… And you can see from picture 1 to picture 2 the difference already in how many pebbles we started out with vs how many we had a few years later… They got into everything.

New wood frame for the patio stones… Add sandy under stuff and stir… 

As you can see, the dogs were big fans of helping out. Or not….

Ya so like, we’ll just sit here k? 

Especially Peanut (the brown one). SUPER helpful.

Time for the flattening! 

In order to redistribute the height of the area, we flattened the paver base sand/gravel mixture (approx 7 bags for a 10 x 10 area) with that there cinder block. Technically there are actual flattening tools that people use.. but we already had to buy brand new patio stones as the ones we already had were an off size from a custom order and of course nobody had any more of them. So we had to start all over again. The new patio stones we ended up getting didn’t cost more than $200 BUT we certainly weren’t planning on having to get all new ones, so cinder block flattening it was!!

Our new cement 2’x2′ patio stones 

The thinking was that we still wanted something square with a bit of style, but we also needed to keep those seams small given the berry onslaught and wanting to spend less time this summer cleaning the patio and more time just sitting on it (you can see how good we are at sitting around and doing nothing, right?).

Patio Stones PLUS water = car commercial quality surface! 

The original plan was to have 5 stones x 5 stones as the backyard is “roughly” 10′ x 10′. Except that it’s not, nor is it “straight”. So what was 5 x 5 ended up being 4 x 5 with a border because we would not have been able to do an equal, right angle job given there was about a half a foot difference between the width at the back and the front of the patio area.

The finished patio project with mulch border TA DAH! 

The original plan was to try to get some larger pebbles around the perimeter in a contrasting colour because #art. But then we saw the price tag per bag of pebbles, vs the $15 of mulch required to fill in the border… And we decided mulch was a much more cost effective solution for now than another couple hundred bucks worth of stones. Once all the patio stones were laid, we used Oldcastle Polymeric Sand in Grey ($17.14/bag at Home Depot) between them to fill in the spaces which goes on like sand, and then hardens like cement when you add water! Yay science!

Just add BBQ and patio is G2G! 

We were able to tear up the old patio, level and place the new stones all under a week, and this was with both of us working 9-5 with only one evening of labour required in addition to the weekend. Total project time was about 25 hours!

Up next… Keith gets antsy and decides to start building stuff out of wood leftovers in our shack because he’s run out of outdoor projects but he CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT OUTDOOR PROJECTS!

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Weekend DIY Project: A Laundry Room Revamp

The only thing worse than having to do laundry, and there are definitely weeks I think we can all agree we’ve been tempted to just set the whole pile on fire and live in burlap sacks for the foreseeable, is having to do laundry in a basement laundry area that is full of detritus that naturally accumulates in the nether regions of the basement-land. I regularly had to trip over tools, bags, extra furniture and other unknown piles of crap to fluff and fold the sundries of the family… however.. NO MORE! We’ve pretty much run out of other interesting house projects to do that don’t require hideous sums of money, so it was finally the laundry room’s turn!

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100% Pure blech (and we tidied up the shot for posterity… a bit)

This is what the basically original laundry room looked like at the beginning of the reno. That door and missing wall beside said door belong to the utility room that used to be the laundry room. The issue with having the laundry room where it was, however, was that it was sharing space with the indoor workshop/Keith’s inner sanctum, and there was no room to fold anything, store anything, or keep stuff from getting covered in wood chips/drywall dust/etc when project around the house had things being created beside the washing machine. So we moved the washer and dryer outside, moved the original door way, and started framing up the new wall, which filled in where the door was to make room for a new, barn-style sliding door.

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That chipboard table you can see there was custom made for about $60 at Lowes out of… you guessed it, chipboard. We didn’t want to go custom cabinetry as a) that would require more $ than we had and b) more time to measure and configure, never mind the likelihood we’d get something that fit out machines and space exactly. So why bother? Firmly encased, the machines make far less noise than they did when they had free reign to tumble themselves out of position, they stay in the same place now and we can put stuff on top of the machines without it falling off due to aftereffects of said tumbling action.

We used an existing door from the house that we kept after our living/dining room doorway enlargements as the new door attached by black barn door hardware we got from Home Depot (on sale for $100 normally $146) and painted it black, for a more now/less old wood look. This may make some wood feature purists cringe, we understand, but the door was scratched up from the previous reno and being moved around for the past few years in the outdoor Love Shack that houses all warm weather projects (and backyard furniture). And the dark shade it was didn’t look right in the light wood/white of the basement and its bathroom, so it was for the best. Free door = good!

For additional storage above the machine area, we bought two pine shelves from Lowes ($25), painted them rose quartz and installed metal tubing with flanges as brackets to rest them on. The only thing that had to be modified was the original length of the metal tubes as they stuck out way too far from the wall and would have eaten into precious counter space, so Keith used a hacksaw to saw them down. Which, if you have watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail, sounds exactly like the construction noises from when they make the Trojan Rabbit to infiltrate the French castle. Or at least, that’s what we pretended it was in order to not go crazy with the sound of metal cutting metal being similar to other scratchy sounds we don’t like.

All in , it was about 2.5 days work, save the time it took for paint to dry, and the area is SOOOOO much better. We are going to be putting a little table on wheels in that can slide over that laundry organizer and provide an additional folding space, and we are also thinking of changing the stair configuration so that it turns left 90 degrees before getting to the laundry area, so we can truly contain that area to itself and have more separation between that and the entertaining part of the basement. But those projects, my friends, are stories for other blog posts.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Family Day long weekends thoroughly!

bfd

 

New Year, New Kitchen! (FINALLY)

We know, we know. This reveal has been far too long in the making, and it’s because, as with most construction projects, unless you have a House & Home shoot on the books that means you simply MUST be done by a certain date, it’s taken for bloody ever to get it done. There were 2 little pieces of countertop that we didn’t anticipate needing that it took 6 months to getting around to getting, because $%^*, ain’t nobody got time for that… Especially when it means driving out to the burbs for a teeny piece of counter that doesn’t REALLY make a difference to using the kitchen, it just looks unfinished… But all of that aside, it’s DONE. And we are never redoing the kitchen again, until the next time… We redo the kitchen. For those of you unfamiliar, let us refresh the memories with the progress of where we started, and where we were a year ago, before the big revamphttps://bothwellfarringtondesign.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/our-projects-kitchen-reno-phase-1/.

Ye Olde Kitchen Circa 2012 (or 1992, either or)

This was what we bought. That is a 100% fridge, no freezer. Those are display drawers you’d find in a bulk barn or craft shop where you display what is in the actual drawer… but with nothing displayed in them. That is a laminate countertop. Black appliances. Corner sink with a nice high lip that caught all sorts of mould worthy food stank. AND. THAT. FLOOR.

Semi “staged” old kitchen and we kept the fridge and sink

We painted the whole damn thing (including floor) white, got a white dishwasher off Kijiji, ripped out that countertop and put in concrete slabs Keith made himself from fast setting concrete (less than an hour to dry, FOR REAL), put in a subway tile backsplash, replaced the cabinet hardware and installed our fab fridge (a wedding gift). It was livable, but a bandaid, and come 2017, it was time to say goodbye to teenage kitchen and do a grown up, fully committing to a new kitchen… kitchen.

Then there was the tile. So much penny round tile.

When I closed my eyes it was grey tile. With grey grout. Originally wanted to go white like above, but then we went back to that whole too many white competing thing and thought why do that to yourself? Also, if you’re doing the tile yourself, for only your second time, don’t choose mosaic tile with a grout darker than the tile because if you don’t line that stuff up straight it looks patchy. And you can see the squares of tile if they aren’t interconnected properly. Which, once you’ve done mosaic tile,  you will also now notice the correct seams in every mosaic tile wall from now until eternity. Which is great as a conversation starter. Nice tile, dude.

Once that was all done and cleaned up, we were finally DONE! *drumroll*

Here it is, peeps!

So basically the same layout you are used to… But better. And cleaner. And less dusty space at the top of cupboards for collecting crap we don’t need.

And for those of you wondering where it all came from, a selection of links for your shopping pleasure….

What we bought:

NOTE: All Kitchen Aid appliances were bought on Black Friday 2016 (yes that’s right, it was THAT long ago) and then delivered to the house in March 2017. So we ended up getting the whole suite for under $5k. For a big investment like this, we HIGHLY recommend you do the same. Takes a bit of planning ahead, but the savings are worth it.

We chose this suite mainly because we liked the handles. No joke. We were hoping to be able to get this set in white, but they didn’t have the clean gas cooktop we wanted NOT in stainless steel…. So as much as we were trying to avoid stainless, and we WERE trying to not go there… We ended up with stainless, which in retrospect was probably the better option given we had white cabinets. Too much white, too much opportunity for white clashing. Which is a thing. That will make you roll your eyes, but yes, there’s 5 million different whites, so if you put em all together it may not look as good as you’d envisioned. So the stainless breaking up the whole look, again, was the better option.

Big Chill Retro Fridge in Jadeite Green $3,395 USD from BigChill.com

The actual dealer we got our fridge from is located in Toronto at KWA Appliances on Eglinton West and we ended up paying the same in CAD that the price is currently listed at in USD on the Big Chill site. NOTE: This was in 2014, so the price may have changed since then. We worked with Paul and he was excellent in answering all our questions and handling the order. Highly recommend if you are looking for a N American made, SMEG alternative. This fridge is completely new and modern on the inside FYI, so have no fear about the electricity usage. This is an Energy Star fridge. Just with a fancy outfit on.

Flooring and cabinets were bought from Lowes for approx $12k including installation (Floors were approx $5,500 of that). The floor tiles were not particularly expensive, as we went with a hard wearing ceramic in a concrete ‘look’,  but the installation was a little more as we went bigger rather than smaller, and they did have to re-level the floor. We also had to pay to get the underfloor tested for Asbestos as after the whole thing was smashed up, we discovered old linoleum tiles and the tile guys couldn’t be sure how safe it was to continue because our house is old. Hooray. That was another $150. We went with modern, flat faced, high gloss white because a) white goes with everything and b) flat faces are easy to clean. Even though shaker style is more ‘in’ at the moment, the cleaning in the little cracks you have to do is SO NOT. Eff that. And all the drawers are silent, so you can’t slam in anger (or look back… #oasisjoke #oldfarts).

Brushed Nickel Pull Ring from CB2.com (sold out, they were on sale for $1.97!!! down from $7.95 CAD)

The pulls we bought are no longer available, which is funnily enough how we ended choosing this style of pull in the first place… The ones we originally wanted were sold out (and of course they are NOW, 6 months later, totally back in stock) but we’ve actually come to really like the actual pull knobs, they are super functional and look way better than we ever thought they would.

So there you have it folks, we can now relax. About the kitchen anyway. Wait till you see what Keith’s working on in the laundry room!

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BFD Update: Teenage Room Revamp

So it’s not completely done yet, but the room that we have started, and has drawn inspo from the board we put together in this post is getting there… We still need to paint a bunch of the furniture, and you know, make the bed on a regular basis (because #teenager) but here’s the progress so far:

So we started out with some Ikea LACK shelves and a dream… Which was to put this marble paper on the shelves and make em look like marble. Easy right? WRONG. NOT EASY.

Marble Paper Mess Post First Application Attempt

Air bubbles are the biggest bastard pain in the a$$. Smugly we were all, oh ya, 3 rolls? Please we’ll only need 1! Ya, no. Not so much. Luckily we figure it out in 3. The key is pushing the air out at the same rate you are attaching the paper to the surface, and to not try to line up the corners of the paper with the corners of the shelf, even though technically there are a lot of 90 degree angles you can be taking advantage of cause guess what? You won’t get it straight. Not even on the 10th try. So just don’t. Give yourself some room off of all 4 sides for it not to be straight and focus on getting the bubbles out.

It worked! Check em out!

Start pressing the air out on one side while applying the sticky side to the surface of the shelf, and use a hardcover book or equivalent (not an edge type thing you’d use for real wallpaper, it makes creases and pushes down too specifically on the paper, not spreading the adhesive portion around enough to get an even cover.#trust) to push the air out. Stick and push along until you get to the end of the largest surface and then stick to the side. Cut off the extra bits that you will inevitably have with a very accurate pair of scissors or exacto knife. To cover the long sides in the front, you will need to cut into either side of the paper before you adhere to the shelf so you don’t have an extra external fold you’ll have to cut off later. This is basically like wrapping a very large book really nicely with sticky paper.

And here they are! VOILA!

Two things we discovered and totally didn’t anticipate.

1. You’ll need to cover the full top and sides of any shelf that is at eye level or below. The underside doesn’t matter that much if you run out of paper.

2. Any shelf surface you are covering that is eye level or above? Put the patterned paper on the underside of the shelf and the sides instead. Cause physics.

As this is all illusion based decor anyway, jus think about what parts of the shelves you are actually going to see, and don’t worry about those you can’t. Especially if you run out of paper cause this project ends up NOT BEING AS EASY AS YOU THOUGHT. Or so we’ve heard….

The progression of the DIY feature wall

The other main part of the room makeover was the feature wall, which was NOT as difficult as the shelves, but was time consuming as the surface area was significantly larger. All in the whole project took an afternoon between 2 people, so not an unreasonable task to accomplish on a weekend.

And here we are so far!

For a complete overview of how we put the wall together, you should check out this video, it’s got the whole process into less than 5 minutes!

All you need is painters tape, 3 colours and a ruthless eye for straight lines! The thing to remember is that just because tape is straight, that doesn’t mean your lines will be. The best way to try to keep your lines straight is by letting the tape dictate the line by flattening it out as you go instead of trying to stretch it according to where you think it should be going. That’s where the curves comes from that you’ll need to go back and fix.

Next stop on the journey: painting the furniture, that dark mid 2000’s wood bed frame included!

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Our Projects: A Teenage Bedroom Revamp

Admittedly, it’s been a while since either of us have been ‘hip with the kids’ or had any semblance of what’s ‘cool’.. though it seems I totally should have saved my Filas, CK One and lace up fronted tops as apparently the cycle of old is new is getting smaller and smaller and we are only 20 years behind right now. I don’t think anyone thought they’d see florals or duty rose back in effect (or maybe we were just hoping) in our lifetime, but you can’t seem to go anywhere without a little pink on the aesthetic menu. So why fight it? Especially if it’s what the kids want. So we decided to full on just make out with pink and pretend like we didn’t ever break up and that that whole mid aughts dark wood furniture thing was a total misunderstanding and we now know that back in the white and pink embrace of Belinda Carlisle is where we should be.

And on to updating a teen girls bedroom with a modern twist on the Hollywood glam brass and pink combo a la Dana Barrett from Ghostbusters.

There is no Dana… only Zhoul… and that unbelievable upholstered headboard

Don’t front like you didn’t slam your fridge shut while screaming a few times as a kid pretending you’d just seen a ghost dog ‘writhing and snarling’. Allow us to introduce our Dana 1.0 meets modern scandi ‘Teenage Dream’ bedroom inspiration board!

– 1. Marble and Brass Shelf CB2.com – 2. Art Deco Brass Shelf Bracket Anthropologie.com – 3. Marble Look Self Adhesive Vinyl Rona.ca  – 4. Rose Quartz Drawer Pulls Etsy.com  – 5.  Pastel paint colours from Behr.com (available at Home Depot)  – 6. Masking Tape Wall Design from Pinterest.com  – 7. Grey Duvet set from Ikea.ca  – 8. DIY Hollywood Vanity from DecorSnob.com

It remains to be seen what the touch customer will think of our little decor suggestions, but there’s fairly inexpensive ways to do the whole Hollywood glam look with a modern twist, as long as you have a handy person to make a vanity, a painty person to help with your feature wall… and a… sticky person to make your plain wall shelves into ‘marble look’ with some contact paper from Rona (if you don’t have the ability to do the real thing… A Lack floating shelf from Ikea is the easiest to cover in our opinion as it’s as right angled as it gets, and decidedly less heavy than the real thing (which would need super strong walls and anchors)

The finished product is coming soon… along with the kitchen reno reveal, which is 98% finished. Which. Is. So. Close. #weknow #ugh

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