happy birthday house!

it’s hard to believe it was one year ago this week that we took possession of our house and moved in. hard to believe in the sense that not only has a whole year in the house gone by already, but also that we managed to move the week before christmas with pierre having been away for an entire month up until five days before the move. i don’t recommend this. i’m looking at you, liz.

this has been an especially trying year, as we adjusted to our new responsibilities as homeowners, but more so as we finalized our renovation plans, bent over backwards to bring everything in line with city bylaws, and then in one emotional rush decided not to do the renovation after all. luckily, everyone involved was very supportive of our decision, and every time i share the news with someone and they respond, “oh thank god, i love your house just the way it is!” i want to give them a hug.

as a result of the planned renovation, in 2011 very little progress was actually made inside or outside the house. it sure seems like we did a lot of stuff, but we were really just spinning our wheels. (i don’t really want to think about the number of times pierre took the towel bar down in the bathroom and poly-filled and painted, only to have me decide it was going to go back up in the exact same place again.) it’s only now that we know our four walls are going to remain upright, exactly where they are, that we feel we can really start to make this house into one we feel we actually live in. i referred to us as “squatters” more than once last year, mostly because of exchanges that went a little something like, “um, there’s water all over the kitchen floor.” “yeah, that pvc pipe under the sink wasn’t cut properly; it’s too short.” “oh. so…” “we should stick a box under it. we’ll fix it when we renovate.” “right… okay.” squatters! (i’m happy to report pierre installed a new pipe earlier this week.)

anyways, now that we’ve been in the house for a year i thought it was about time to take people on a tour. below are some of the photographs i’ve taken over the course of our first year here, and many that i took yesterday. these are by no means “after” photographs; think of them more as “in progress.” and also, because while those apartment therapy house tours are kind of wonderful, they tick me off in all their perfection (no one’s house looks like that!) so i took these photographs without picking anything up off the ground or even making the bed. sorry for the mess.

this little bistro table was an apartment-warming gift from pierre’s oma and it made the move to the house with us. it’s starting to rust in places (four winters on an apartment balcony probably didn’t do it any favours) and one of the chairs now tips over backwards due to a bum leg, so a visit to moss on the danforth may be in order this winter.

the picture hanging on the wall is a print of the photograph that appears on the cover of the current edition of my favourite book, 84 charring cross road, which pierre obtained from the rights-holding family in australia for my 22nd birthday.

for most of the past year, our living room looked like this. then, once we knew we weren’t going to be building a dining room off the back of our house, we needed to turn this room into our dining room because it was the only one big enough to fit our rather large, handmade table. so we cut our cable, said goodbye to our billy bookcases, and have temporarily moved our apartment-sized kitchen table for four into this room while we make arrangements to pick up our dining table for ten from my parents’ house. so this is what the room looked like yesterday:

yes, those are paint supplies in the bottom-right corner. the main thing we still have to do before bringing our dining table home is paint. a dramatic “after” post awaits you sometime in the new year.

also, does anyone want to buy a kitchen table and four chairs and a rug? we’re not going to need them pretty soon.

on the flip side, for most of 2011, our dining room looked like this (above). but now it’s a work in progress living room (below). you’ll notice there’s nothing really in it. and maybe that it’s not very functional. all our stuff (mostly books) is downstairs right now, while we plan out a custom shelving unit to fill the big wall.

right now, the aforementioned towel bar is down. but i’m thinking of putting it back up. after i paint. white is not the friendliest colour for a bathroom. the hollow wood door is also awaiting a replacement. i threw these crystal knobs up everywhere in the house because i love them, even though we don’t have mortise doors. yet.

another instance of a crystal doorknob where it doesn’t belong, but those old doors are really hard to find. hopefully by this time next year i will have managed to unearth the three that i need to complete the house.

i undertook restoring this sewing table and recovering this chair over the summer.

our spare bedroom also needs a coat of paint and i’d like to build some shelving into the closet and move all our coats and shoes out of there. eventually this will be our nursery, but for now it’s a holding cell for discarded items of clothing.

gotta get some shelving built for this closet, too.

the door that leads to the basement is probably the project i’m most proud of from this first year. you can check out that before and after post here.

yep, i should totally paint that door in black satin, too.

the basement will probably be the biggest project we undertake in this house, but for now it still looks pretty much exactly like it did when we moved in.

the basement isn’t usually this jammed. every single one of those bins is filled with books that will eventually make their way upstairs again.

right now only our parsley is still thriving, but we got an entire summer of herbs and berries out of our backyard this year.

i think that pretty much completes the tour! first project of 2012 will be the dining room.


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