Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Been away.. but back now.. so Happy 2012.

Ok.. so this time I actually have a really good excuse for not posting for a while.
Hubby and I have just got back from a month in the UK visiting friends and family for Christmas.

Sunrise over the Rockies
Had a really wonderful time seeing everyone.. I've never been hugged by so many people in such a short space of time.
We had what hubby and I will forever refer to as 'Our Vietnam' on the way over since the flight was utter purgatory. The seats were tiny [I had 18 inches of space for my SHOULDERS to fit into] so for 3 of the 9 hours of the flight I actually stood up, because it was more comfortable than trying to squeeze into them.
Plus the flight attendants and Canadian Affair staff in their various offices couldn't have cared less.

However.. it's a lesson learned and we'll never ever fly with them again.. so let's move on.

We did a lot of travelling around while we were there.. visiting friends and family all over the South East of England.

These two reprobates are my sisters dogs.. Bella and Duke . They might look like butter wouldn't melt in this photo but they are full on nutcases most of the time. Bella [the little one] reminded us a lot of our beloved Nikki... everything was on her terms.. but she was so adorable you couldn't say no. ;o)

We travelled about a lot while we were there, but one of our very favourite day trips was to the beautiful market town of Ely in Cambridgeshire. I say 'town' because it's really not very big but it's actually designated a 'city' because it has a Cathederal. That always used to be the criteria for cities in England. Nowadays I think they can be designated by royal decree, but that's got more to do with size and population.. so I like the old way better. It's so much more romantic.

The Cathederal in question is just the most glorious piece of architecture I think I've ever seen.

Ely Cathederal

It's right in the centre of the town and when you consider that the builders had no forklifts or cranes or any kind of machinery at all it just takes your breath away.

There's been a monestary on the site since 673AD but work on the building as it appears today began in the 11th century and was completed in 1109. 1109 !!! it just doesn't compute somehow does it ?

The sun was fairly low in the sky so I apologise if some of the photos are a bit dark... hopefully you can still get the idea.

It was £7 to get inside and have a look round, but they told us it costs £3000 a DAY to run the place.. so frankly that seems cheap to me.

All around the perimiter were other
medieval buildings some of which are now private homes.. what a gorgeous place to live.

This one had a kids trampoline in the garden..
You can't see this from the path.. I just stuck my camera up over the wall.. 
hopefully the owners won't mind too much. ;o)

These bulidings below are actually shops on the other side and there's a covered archway through these buildings that leads from the High Street straight into the grounds of the Cathederal.

I must say it must lift your spirits everyday to work in such a beautiful enviroment... it would me anyway.

Inside is even more beautiful.. 
if that's even possible.

There was just so much to take in..

The ceiling in particular was spectacular..
You can see the photo so I don't think I need say anymore.

This is another of my favourite views..

I wasn't sure this photo would come out becauase the light levels were very low.. but happily it did.

Again it doesn't really need require explanation.. just breathtaking. 

Anyway that's enough of me prattling on about our trip..

Just one last photo of inside the church though..

It was  a real tree and must have been 25 feet high..  you can get an idea of the scale from the people standing beneath it..

One of the staff told me they put the decorations on with a hook on a pole.

However they managed it it looked absolutely fantastic.

So onward into 2012..
They're putting my new counter tops in this morning.. so I'll post some photo's once they're done..
Must finish off the Christmas House Tour photo's first though..

Jo xx

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Decoration House Tour - 2011 - Crown Isle pt 2

Ok.. so where was I ?? Oh yes looking at the kitchen in the Crown Isle rancher on the Tour... and I was talking about the gorgeous ceiling.

Here in Canada.. well on the West Coast anyway, interior ceilings in all but THE most expensive homes [and even some of those] are covered in a sprayed on plaster finish called 'popcorn'..
It looks not unlike artex, which we Brits are all very used to of course. But unlike artex.. which is a flexible finish designed to disguise shrinkage and cracking caused by modern central heating, popcorn is a purely to disguise the taping and jointing required when sheets of dry lining [dry wall] are connected. It serves no useful purpose what so ever... it's just cheaper than finishing a ceiling smooth. It's supposed to be decorative, but most people hate it..
In this home however, the builder has created a sort of coffered ceiling with tongue and groove and molding, which has a much less formal feel than a traditional smooth ceiling with detailed crown molding would have had.

It softens the modern cleans lines of the rest of the finishes and also serves to draw the eye upwards showing off the mixed 8 and 11 ft ceiling heights to their best advantage.
The  different ceiling heights also help deliniate the one large space into zones, living/kitchen/dining.

None of which relates to the Tour or the decorations per se.. but these 5 homes are all SO much more than just a Christmas showcase.

Back to the kitchen then.. in the photo above you can see the mix of dark stained cabinets on the lower portion of the island and the solid Maple cabinets above.. but walk round the other side of the bar and...

I hope you can see from this shot that the lower cabinets on the other side are painted in a dark charcoal blue.. very French. A wonderful touch.

You can also see the stone clad fireplace... another feature that draws the eye. The design team suspended a few simple baubles, [using the decorator's best friend.. fishing line] in front of the chimney breast, in keeping with the white and silver theme..

Very easy, but extremely effective... and the joy of it is, you can use the cheapest old shatterproof balls, and because they are designed to be viewed best from a distance, no one will ever know. ;o)

The Dining room is open to the rest of the great room.. I've mentioned that already I think.. but the lower ceiling height and the 3 surrounding walls give it a sense of cosy which can be very hard to achieve in these big open plan rooms..

The mid century modern dining suite was set for four, again using a mixture of natural elements: with the greenery and the white narcissus...
and sparkle: from the silver ribbons on the chair backs and the glass candlesticks and silver chargers & cutlery.
There's an imaginative use of mirror in this area.. Not only the floor standing Silver framed piece you see in the first photo......

But also the substantial black framed example above the sideboard.. which the designers again adorned with sparkle..  Plus the cute and effective mirrored letters set up to read  H O M E  down the wall at the far end of the room.

Now, the real Narcissus' used were a lovely touch, but if you couldn't get hold of them I think real [or even fake at a push] Orchids would also look fabulous.. and of course 'bulbed' Orchids grown in a pot last for ages and would look great as the focus of any table setting possibly right through to the spring. 

There were several nice touches that I will take from this design..
The white fabric runner against the dark table cloth gave the effect of a tuxedo, very much in keeping with the hollywood glamour feel throughout the house.
Aside from the natural wood tones inherent to the home itself, only black, silver, white and glass accents were used. This created a monocramatic scheme which allowed all the natural greenery to really pop.
And I really like the use of the glitzy 'jingle bell' wreath on the mirror... and the silver bases on the table lamps. Sharp !!

Actually the lighting throughout the home was cleverly used, helped in no small part by the fact that when the house was built the pot lights in the ceiling were put on zoned dimmer switches, so light levels could be varied from area to area. That's a relatively small additional expense at that stage of building a home.. but boy oh boy it makes a huge difference.

Through then to the master bedroom suite, where again the designer used a shaggy white rug borrowed from Home Depot to brighten the space, and the hollywood theme was really punched home with the corner tree..

On our 'sneak peak' tour the night before the public event, the square hammered platter on this bed was one of my absolute favourite things.. and I wasn't alone in that.. was I Tony ?? ;o)

Another original idea that I think I'll pinch in the future can be seen on the tree..

Yes.. those really are old photographs.. and yes you do recognise the blonde lady in the middle..

Now I will be the first person to admit that a lot of
ideas that I and I'm sure other designers use are .. shall we say 'borrowed'  ;o) from magazines or photos or other rooms they have seen.
But this was a genuine stroke of genius apparently... and I'm certainly going to pinch it.

The design team harnessed a very literal interpretation of the glamorous theme and used black and white photography of old movie stars and incorporated them into their tree design..

Marilyn Monroe was an obvious choice since she epitomises everything associated with the word glamour... but the idea would work equally well with family photo for a more personal touch.

Looked gorgeous..

As did the ensuite.. which was really an all singing all dancing example of a private bathroom..

It had a huge shower with enough jets to make for a pretty good carwash ;o) and I'm sure all that plumbing didn't come cheap...
Plus a toilet that had enough gizmos on it that it probaly makes breakfast in the morning.
But again it was the accent pieces that elevated the room, because now that I have a chance to study the pictures, I can see that the finishes, whilst nice, are actually pretty run of the mill.

The tiles are a basic white subway.. nothing special there. The sinks are Kohler from Home Depot.. I know because I have them in both my bathrooms at home.
The vanity is nicely configured with a make up table between the sinks, giving both users of the room lots of space. But the slab doors are very plain and would not be expensive.. I know that IKEA has a range exactly like this for example.. and the mirrors on the walls are all plain, standard size, bevelled edged frameless mirrors available at any DIY store.

The cabinet hardware is very nice, and the taps were beautiful.. no expense spared there.. but the bath albeit a jetted example was a faily standard deck mounted tub. Also not a huge expense.. again I know because I have just done all the research before buying one myself.
Yet even though mostly very simple and unexceptional materials were used, the few expensive touches.. the taps, the quartz counter tops, the good hardware bring an enormous bang for the buck which make this room seem very special indeed.
Just goes to show that with home design.. you really DON'T have to spend a lot of money to make a good impression.

So there we have it.. the first of our Christmas Houses.

Love this glass and brushed nickel coffee table.. I must ask Sharleen where it came from.

I really enjoyed this home, and thought that given that most of the items therein were begged borrowed and stolen, that Sharleen and Bethany [with much assistance from clever local home stager and Tour committee member Alice East] did a marvellous job.

Alice was the driving creative force behind this home's Christmas design from last year's tour too.

More natural elements in the kitchen, these trees are made out of stripped tree bark..

Stylish simple and not over adorned works just as well when mixed with more glamorous accessories.


This last shot really sums up the essence of this home's decorative theme for me..
The warmth and comfort of the soft shaggy rug... the shine and sparkle of the glass and silver accents, and the outdoors brought indoors with the cedar sprays. Nice job ladies. ;o)

More to come... stay tuned.

Jo xx

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Decorations House Tour - 2011 - Crown Isle

This evening I've been invited to an afterparty for the Christmas House Tour, which took place last weekend.. so I thought I should get started showing you the homes that took part.

I've already admitted that it was an enormous amount of work, and I now understand why the professional designers who take part are loath to do it more than once every 3 or 4 years.
Plus of course I had familiar surroundings and objects to work with.. it must be so much harder when you are starting from stratch in an unfamiliar house with a client who may or may NOT agree with your vision. Which is why I so admire the other designers who worked on the project, both this year and in years gone by.

So if I'm ever asked to take part again it will be a totally different challenge.. but I'll take a year or two off first I think ;o)

Right.. let's start showing you guys some pictures... but where to start ??

Well I haven't got all the photo's yet, which is my own stupid fault.. We were taken for a sneak peak tour on the Thursday evening before the official Tours on Fri and Sat, and guess which daft cow forgot to take her camera.
Not a problem I thought.. I'll take them over the weekend.
Except that as it has transpired, two of the houses that I couldn't get to until Sunday had already been stripped down by the designers and/or homeowners. All is not lost though since photo's were taken by others and I've been promised copies to share with you guys soon.

So while I wait for them to arrive, let's start with the pictures I took myself.

Of the five homes that were decorated this first one is the newest... in fact it's only 2 years old.. and if you want to see it in it's naked state, which is an interesting comparison, it's actually up for sale, and the sales listing is here. It's worth a look because I could only take pictures in the dark, and the pouring rain meant I didn't get a shot of the front of the house at all. ;o(

Lots of lovely craftsman touches with this house, and cream and white carried throughout.

It's on the market with lovely local realtor Jane Denham, who Bill and I have met at several open houses over the last few years.

It's a bit of a hobby of mine to go looking at open houses, a passion I inheirited from my mum.. you never know when your dream house is going to come on the market, plus it's a great way to get ideas and to keep track of what the local market is doing. I sold houses for 15 years back home and it's in my blood, so you'll hear no apologies from me about it. ;o)
But I digress..
It's a beautiful rancher, on a local Golf course development called Crown Isle... and was decorated by Sharleen Whiteside and her design partner Bethany. Sharleen's website Waterfront West is a useful tool for people looking for waterfront property on Canada's west coast... and even if you don't have 3 or 4 million dollars to spend, the photographs alone make the site worth a visit. ;o)

The weather was vile the night I took these shots, but I wanted you to see the tree in the front garden..

Of course you can't see the movement but the lights in the tree, which were shaped like icicles, had strobe lights that ran down the shaft of the cover. It looked like blue rain drops running off icicles... gorgeous.. although Sharleen did tell me they weren't cheap. ;o)

Once inside there was a slate floored hallway with this console for keys and stuff.. I really liked the birdcages full of baubles. It's a simple idea but with great impact, and it's easy to mimic or re-jig for a variety of looks to suit anyones taste.

There was lots of simple but effective art used throughout this home.
The entrace opened into a fabulous 'great room', which for the Brits reading this means an open plan living/dining/kitchen combo which is a popular architectural style over here at the moment. Personally they aren't my favourite.. since if there are no walls there's no privacy either.. plus I've never been good at clearing up in the kitchen and I wouldn't want my guests looking at mess all night.

That having been said, the dining area of this great room was sectioned off, to create some deliniation, and the kitchen was truely spectacular, so I wouldn't complain too much ;o)

Sharleen and the team chose a cream and white theme with silver accents throughout the house and she had a lot to do since pretty much all of the furniture did NOT belong to the homeowner.

Begged borrowed and stolen from various sources the assorted pieces came together really well though, and the colour scheme worked beautifully with the rich wood floors throught out the house.
The huge shaggy rug in the living area was a particular favourite of mine.. and eveyone elses apparently, it came from Home Depot.
I know I've seen it in there before but never thought it could look as good as this... but I'm going to go back and look at it again now, because we need something like it for our family room.

Curly willow was a favourite material this year and several of the designers used it. In fact natural marerials of all kinds showed up over and over again. This was a lovely example, used to accent the work area in the kitchen.

The kitchen itself didn't need much adornment, since it is a thing of beauty, but some more natural materials [the greenery] just set it off and drew the eye up to what was actually my absolute favourite architectural element in the home.. the gorgeous tongue and groove ceiling.

Sorry to post and run half way through a house but I'm off to the thankyou party so I'll sign off for now.

There's loads more to see though so if I'm not too late back I'll post the this home later.
See yer
Jo xx

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Decoration Home Tour [ Halfway through ;o) ]

So It's now Saturday morning and I'm grabbing a quick 10 mins to do a blog post to let you all know how it's going.

I confess it was an enormous amount of work, and my friend Ali who owns Daduza, which you can read all about here who was going to help me some was rushed into hospital on Tuesday.
But she and the baby are fine !! so that's fantasic news, and her mum helped hugely by loaning me some lovely things from the store, which everybody loved.
I must say the shower curtain which I borrowed to warm up the downstairs loo looks so beautiful that I don't think it will be going back.

I thought when I was in the store that the colours would be good.. but they are perfect.. and everyone that's seen it has said..  'oh that HAS to stay'..
The towels she loaned me for the laundry look lovely too... and they're bamboo.. which is just sooooo soft and of course very enviromentally friendly..
Plus those soft greens and blues are absolutely my favourite colours at the moment.. so I might well be buying those too. ;o)

My wonderful husband even made cookies... which have gone down a bomb I must say..

Everyone yesterday was so nice.. and lots of them wanted info on aspects of our decor and the contractors we used..
So it sounds like there will be some nice feed back and maybe even some jobs for those guys too..

OK.. so I'm running out of time because the next tour starts in 10 mins, and it's throwing it down today so I'm going to run and get towels so people can wipe their feet..
I'll be taking more photo's of the other houses on the tour over the next couple of days so there's lots more to come.. plus of course I'll do a couple of posts on my house..

Have a great weekend all... more soon

Jo xx

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas Decoration House Tour.. A look back

Well yesterday.. for the first time this year we actually woke up to snow.
I've lived in BC now for almost 10 years and this is by far the earliest that we have ever had snow.. in fact last year we got a dump of the fluffy stuff on Nov 30th and that was the earliest ever, so we beat that by almost 2 weeks.
Does make for a Christmassy mood though which is just as well since the Christmas House Tour is just next weekend.

Everyone loves Christmas decorations don't they ?? add that to our natural desire to have a look round other peoples houses and you have a recipe for a great fund raising opportunity.
Each year, in my home town, local charity Anderton Therapeutic Gardens organises just such an event.
In short 5 local home owners offer to have their homes Christmas decorated by 5 designers and then tickets are sold for a tour of those homes... and they sell like hot cakes.. let me tell you.
The people who follow my blog already know that this year I am taking part by offering up both my home and my services as decorator... and over the course of this week I'll try to do a post or two to show you how it's going.

One thing that did get done today is that my lovely hubby had a chance to put the outside lights up..

Blurry but you get the idea.
Inside I've had to wait for the painter to finish but he did today so over the weekend I shall pull all my bits and pieces out and have a sort through to see if I need to supplement my own decorations with a few new bits and pieces.  
Now.. having attended every one of these tours since they began 5 years ago, I was delighted last year for the first time to take part as a volunteer, helping to marshall happy visitors round one the the homes involved...
I was also lucky enough to be allowed to take some photographs of 3 of the homes... and one of them I have already posted about and you can see that house here.

So with only a week now to go before the 2011 event.. I thought I'd take this opportunity to look back at another of the homes that featured on the 2010 Charity Christmas House Tour.

I have to say that this was my personal favourite of the 5 homes on last years tour..  the house had a warmth and charm that many much grander homes sometimes lack.

This is the home of Karen and Andy and it's located in the heritage soaked village of Cumberland... about 3 miles inland from where we are on the coast. The village features some of the oldest homes in the area, since it was built in part to hosue the immigrant workers who came to Vancouver Island in the Victorian era to help build the railway.

Sorry 'bout the reproduction quality, but you get the idea.
Despite its rustic appearence the home is virtually brand new.
Karen told me the story of how she and her partner bought the home as a half built shell when the bank repossessed it from it's original owner in 2006.

There was no roof and the inside had no rooms, yet undaunted Karen and Andy [mostly Karen] finished the home off themselves despite having little building expertise or experience.

The kitchen opens into a large open plane living space.
So inspite of having a full time job at a local hotel Karen installed drywall and insulation, painted walls, worked on the plumbing and laid hardwood floors. She even helped install the roof.
Aside from the kitchen which they decided to have professionally finished, virtually everything else has had Karen or Andy's hands on it at some point.

Not that you would ever guess that the builders of this lovely home were anything other than seasoned pros. The finishes are beautiful and the details are extraordinary.... and Karen was largely responsible for the Christmas decor too..

Coming in through the front door I was greeted by an adorable model village meandering up the stairs like cottages creeping up an alpine slope.

The handrail was decked out with an impressive lit garland.
Rich blonde floors give an immediate warmth to the space.... with the entrance leading past the stairs into an impressive open living room.

The overall colour theme of the holiday decorations was red, white and green.. which are of course the traditional Christmas colours, but there was a freshness and lightness of touch... and it didn't feel in anyway, old fashioned.

The living room is dominated by a huge floor to ceiling stone and rock clad fireplace, with a wood burning insert in the grate... and the fabulous 7 ft tree at it's side.

More green white and red, but not stuffy.
The lounge leads through into the dining room, which was the one area of the home where Karen got some help with the decor.. a local floral artist helping with table arrangements and the greens for the chandelier, and the chair backs.

But the table was all hers and I thought it was gorgeous..
Just perfect for a huge family feast, it featured a sunny burst of bright yellow crockery, gold and red linens and cranberry glass dessert bowls..
It looked good enough to eat, and I am definitely going to take some inspiration from this for my own tables this year.

Beyond the dining room the rich mahogany [professionally installed ;o) ] kitchen is very much in keeping with the Arts and Crafts feel of the home's interior... but with all mod cons... including a huge mudroom off to the left complete with washer and dryer.

Do a 180* and you'll see the master suite..

Keren really had thought of everything, decorating their large comfortable bedroom with simple votives on the window cill, and red and white linens which gave a nod to the season without being cliched.
No Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer bedpsread in here. ;o)

She'd even put some festive red towels in the lovely Victorian inspired en suite.. perhaps my favourite room in the house... but then I'm a sucker for a claw foot tub and a bit of tongue and groove in a bathroom ;o).

Even the summer house got the Christmas treatment..

So there you have it.. a warm, rich, comfortable home with no pretentions to be anything other than what it is.
I hope mine turns out half as well next weekend.

Jo xx

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kitchen Reno [ Part 2 of MANY !! ] ;o)

Yesterday I started to fill you in on the second stage of our kitchen renovation, and today you get to see the tiles and worktops.

The existing worktops when we moved into the house were PINK !! and not just a pinky tone mixed into something else.. no full out Dusty Rose PINK !

Here's a photo of the original kitchen in all it's orange, pink and green glory. Yuck !

See !! I said it was pink.
This photo also shows the original kitchen island.. you can just see it in the bottom left hand corner.
It had a tiled counter, which believe it or not also had a pink undertone to it. Another of the reasons why we chose to switch it out for Bill's beloved Teak jobbie.

You can also see clearly the way they typically finish counters in this part of Canada .. which is to wrap the counter surface up the wall about 3 inches..
Once the Quartz goes in though it will look like traditional British counter with no extra back bit.

You can see that there are NO tiles between the worktops and the underside of the cupboards either... and of course that will change now too.
Butternut Rum laminate.

So obviously the first thing that had to go was the pink and as I mentioned yesterday I replaced it with a laminate called Butternut Rum..

I have to say it has been incredibly servicable, and was a great colour for hiding the dirt.. which as my sister will tell you is an impt factor in many design choices. Just kidding..  ;o)

Being a laminate it was also inexpensive, and since we chose a shiny finish.. which was newly available back then, several people who've been to the house even thought it was granite... 'Til they got up close.. ;o)

We used a local company called Colonial, who specialise just in worktops.  They have 5 or 6 branches on the Island and the BC Interior, and their service was super so I'm going there again.
All the local builders use them, and I remember when I was looking the first time I went to a local Kitchen company to see what they had to offer and the chap said to me.. 'you might as well go to Colonial direct, because if you order counters from me I'll just go to them to buy them'. What a nice man ;o)

I've picked a Quartz rather than a Granite because; it's harder wearing, I liked the colour choices better AND it's cheaper... so result !!
Cambria, the company that makes the range we chose from, call all their options after British place names.. but I didn't let that sway me.. Honest !!

Cardiff Cream... too yellow !!

We looked at several options, and brought 3 samples home. [ To see photos of all the samples I looked at, click on this link ]

The first choice 'Cardiff Cream' we dismissed straight away because it was too yellow.

The original idea being to use white subway tiles with a stripe of glass mosaic tiles through it.. so the tiles made the 'Cardiff Cream' look dirty.

One the pieces called Brecon Brown, was very similar to the Butternut Rum..  and in fact both Bill my hubby..  and Bill my builder..  liked this one best.
Of course they are both colour blind.. but that really didn't affect my decision. ;o)
I was tempted to go this route because the floor and the teak island naturally have the same warm brown tones, because the laminate was chosen to compliment them.. so it would have been the sensible safe option.

The final choice, Newcastle, has an off white base with flecks of chocolate, smoke, black, cream and mocha colours in it.
It was my favourite sample almost from the start.. but I was still drawn to the safer Brecon Brown, if only because we already knew that the colours and tones in it worked with the kitchen..

So what did I choose ??

Drum roll please ;o)

Yes.. no surprise really I picked the New Castle.. actually this photo makes it look more yellow than it is.. hang on I'll get a better one..

There that's better...

I went for this in the end because: 
1. the contrast between the Brecon Brown and the white subway tiles was a bit too sharp for my liking, and
2. because our kitchen faces north west and is surrounded by 100 ft pine trees so it can be quite dark.
I think the lighter counters will help to lift the light level in the room.. Hope it does anyway.

So having picked this we took the other samples back and set about trying to find a glass mosaic for the stripe through the subway tiles.

Lots of tiles sheets were bought.. and lots were returned.  Sigh !!
Some worked beautifully with the tile..
Some worked beautifully with the worktop.. but nothing worked with both.
We did have a stand out favourite.. but it didn't work with the subway tile..
Mostly because in some places.. like behind the sink for instance.. there is so little backsplash ['cos of the window] that there wasn't enough room to fit a stripe.

Then hubby had a brainwave.. Yes !! it does happen !!
Scrap the subway tile and have all glass.. so that's exactly what we're going to do..
and here's the tile..

It's got a mix of watery blue and green glass tiles, and a tumbled marble that matches the tone of the base colour in the counter exactly..

The light from the undercabinet halogen spots make them glitter like jewellery.

I LOVE them !!!

So I've ordered the counters, which will be about 6 weeks, what with Christmas etc... and that suits me 'cos Bill the contractor's tied up 'til Jan anyway.
The tiles are a stock item at Home Depot so I'm going to wait to buy them because about once every 3 months HD has a tile sale.. and I might get a bargain..

I've hired a painter [ a guy Bill Larson uses ] to repaint the walls in the kitchen and breakfast nook, plus the ceiling in the kitchen, nook and family room.
I normally do all my own painting but the idea of 'cutting in' the walls to the ceiling above the cabinets was more than I could stand, so I'm going to pay a pro to do it.. and then if it's no good I have someone to shout at.
He's coming in the morning actually..
At least that way the walls will be tidy for the Christmas House Tour which is rushing towards me.. more on that tomorrow.

And there you have it.. still not fully decided on the sink.. but I'll decide over the weekend.

Have to go take all the breakables off the shelves before the painter comes..
See you all tomorrow

Jo xx