A BFD Reveal: Table Time!

A month ago a family member asked for a table she could have in her kitchen that a small dishwasher could sit on top of. A dishwasher that has to be easy to move as it’s one of those needs to plug in to the sink jobs and takes up a good part of the kitchen when being in use. The immediate go to was some sort of butcher block type deal with wheels… there are a lot of tables around that you can buy online that fit the bill easily. But will they fit? Will the dishwasher be at the right height? Do we get to build something if we order it online? (decidedly not) So! THE GRAND PLAN.

Very scientific product development.

This is actually how most of our projects start… on a napkin or a small scrap of paper! So it’s off to Lowe’s we go!

The shape was borne out of an idea Keith had for a shelf way back when with an S body and then different coloured shelves to offset the woodiness of the frame… First we nailed all the wood pieces together, and added in wood glue between the nails to reinforce and stick them all together properly. (a combination of nails and… No More Nails) This was the most efficient way to be able to take some of the older 2×4 pieces we had in the workshop and turn them into a colourful and functional piece to add a bit of sparkle to kitchen!

Now… What to paint the coloured shelves…

Rust-oleum red gloss automotive enamel spray paint at Lowes.ca
If you knew what a freak for strawberry based decor this person was in the 80’s… There really was no other option as far as colours were concerned! We chose the auto gloss for the even coverage and shine!

Then we picked up some sheets of MDF, and similar to the wood, used nails to hold the pieces together, some more No More Nails on the outside of the boxes to stick them to the S frame and got er done by following up with screws to finish the whole thing off. Sturdy AF.

This took approx 3 weekends total (2-4 hours a day depending on task, and we didn’t always work BOTH days of the weekend…) once everything was set and dried, but look at the final product!

All in, this cost approx $100 to make (not incl wheels) and provided the un-relaxable Keith with HOURS of activity and personal growth and satisfaction. On to the next project!

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BFD Projects: We Made a Table!

A friend of our s was getting sick of her dark wood, condo-sized side tables in her bedroom and saw our post of Keith’s (and therefore also OURS) post on these little coaster tables we made and asked if we could make something like the below for her.

While the folks at Humboldt Art Dept made a lovely version of a larger table on their own…

We decided to have 4 small tables attached per table instead… and we were thinking that this would still be able to fit nicely on the nail legs we get from Home Depot (yes those are 12″ nails we used for legs. Which meant using tools and cutting stuff.

Started with 4 x 11.5″ high pieces cut from 6×6″ wood beams from Home Depot
(one 8 ft beam is $30)

And we thought that maybe then we could just add in more nails to better support the structure… but we were wrong. The nails looked dumb and Beetlejuice-esque but without the Harry Belafonte party in the shrimp cocktail. So Keith then thought, what about wood doweling instead (you know, it looks like a curtain rod?) on the exterior of the 4 sides? Also easier to level as opposed to getting it right with like 10 nails. Ew.

See? Tables & doweling! It’s a table leg! It’s a curtain rod! It’s magic!

We weren’t sure once the tables were put together if we needed to add in more colour or take some away… But our friend we were making them for has had about enough of the wood look for the moment…

You can see the painted white and gold tops, but them rest of the tables are naked as the day they were born!

So we painted the rest of the sides with white gloss spraypaint (and some of that leftover gold paint from our stumpy art project) to lighten things up a bit and voila!

Up next! Side tables for dogs! (jk, but at the same time we live in a pretty dog crazy area so….)

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

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BFD Reveal: A Bathroom Revamp Project for Bath Time Fun!

Our friends Sarah and Rob moved further out from the centre of the city a few years ago to get some more space for their little guy and to cut down on commute time for their jobs. The best thing about being in the burbs? You got enough space for your bathroom to be bigger than an urban bedroom AND room for like 5 of them if you want (generalizing of course, but they deffo have at LEAST 3 bathrooms, and room for 2 more so…).

A popular service that we, as BFD provide, is a customized shopping list and room design plan based off of a home visit and collaboration with people looking to redo rooms in their house that just need some guidance and an inspiration springboard to get started. We find people tend to use approx 50-75% of the products we suggest, and if nothing else, you have the measurements of the room broken down for a contractor to use when ordering products, which in the case of bathrooms and tile, can be VERY helpful indeed!

So, the before:

Oh hello there, bathtub and vinyl flooring… You’ve probably been pretty comfortable up until now but…. GUESS WHAT?

And our recommendation (all links in this doc ARE clickable):

And the final product! (it’s 90% done, FYI, but you probably wouldn’t know that unless we told you…)

Ta dah! (this was a closet that cut in from the bedroom beside the bathroom before) WAY more useful now!

Although they were originally going to do subway tile, they elected to use a 2:1 shaped faux ceramic on the wall and a 1:1 (24″x24″) on the floor because the tiles were much bigger, easier to install, and one less thing to have to order/organize (they were both part of the same tile family). YES, that’s not real marble! (the honeycomb on the floor of the shower is, though)

Yup, this is deffo a 1000% improvement from that cream
blech standard bathtub and separated toilet section they had before!!!

After the wall mounted fixture for the bath was ordered, there ended up being a whole bunch of issues around availability and eventually they got the fixture, only to open the box and find it was the wrong one! Long story short they found another one locally and grabbed it! Black bathroom fixtures especially, though very en vogue, are NOT easy to find in Canada in store or online, so if you do happen to come across a set you like a word to the wise: get it right now. Do not wait. (and no, you can’t sub a wall mounted sink fixture for a bath fixture… unless you like watching paint dry, water boil, golf…)

There is MORE where this came from, everyone, as there is also a bathroom in Sarah and Rob’s room that is being renovated presently, AND a front entrance makeover on it’s way too! Stay tuned for more updates. And, if you would like to get in touch with us about some help with a project that you’ve been lacking inspiration for and need some help with, drop us an email anytime!

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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!

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