Feb 27, 2011

Weekend Scores: Mid Century Inspired Spring Collection at Superstore

It has been cruel and cold here in C-town of late. -30 with windchill. So we've all been pretty cooped up in the Prairie House. Yesterday we had a bit of a reprieve (warmed up to a balmy -6) so I ventured out to Superstore. For you non-Canadian readers out there, Superstore is Canada's answer to Target - but with groceries. I'm one of the few lucky women whose husband prefers to do the grocery shopping. Either that or he is secretly annoyed with the extra purchases I bring home after every grocery trip. Joe Fresh clothing is at Superstore. Joseph Mimran is the creative director of the line and also designs for Club Monaco. It's dangerous to even walk by. Butter? No I forgot to get butter but look at these adorable boyfriend crop pants! ay. We always starve during the weeks I grocery shop.

Anyways. After being inundated with cold and bleak and white and slushy mud for months, Superstore's new Spring home line which was just launched is the antithesis to life in Calgary since last November. And with inspiration from mid century modern colours and designs. The most coveted items? A pink bathroom collection! I sent hubby back today to pick up some items for El Pinko (I wasn't allowed to go).

Flamingo pink bathroom accessories. Flamingo not included.

Same collection in yellow, and green and aqua (not shown).

Shower curtains

Bird clock - I picked this one up for baby's room

Picnic tablecloths

Oh colour, how I've missed you.


Feb 22, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

I've been in the heritage business since 2005. Educated and trained on the westcoast where rain boots reign, water, naturally, is the number one enemy to any heritage home. The ultimate goal of any successful heritage project on the coast is to keep water out and mitigate any areas damaged by water that got in. By the time I left Vancouver, me and water issues, well, we were tight.

But since moving to Calgary (1 year ago today!!!), I have to be honest, this ice thing is really throwing me under the bus. I understand the basic physics of freeze/thaw but had no idea the extent of its potential wrath. And again, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Calgary a semi arid desert?

Feathered ice on our bedroom window. Coldest room in the house. Which is why I resort to sleeping on the couch on especially cold nights.

We've had an 'unusually usual' cold winter and snowy winter this year - unusual because of the excessively long stints of cold (below -20) and usual because, well it's Calgary and the weather here is totally nutty. I wonder, on days like today, when it's -24/blizzard and meanwhile in Vancouver, the crocuses are blooming, why people 140+ years ago decided to settle here, build a mud hut and call it a day? Am I just not bred right for Prairie life? Too much Mediteranean blood? Do I need to just buck up and finally purchase a function > fashion winter coat?*

Ice Dam gone wild, Banff, Alberta, 1910 (Photo courtesy of Peel's Prairie Province PC007250)

Freeze-thaw, apart from its obvious effects, is sneaky - a trickster - causing the house to shift so that doors that once opened smoothly get stuck, floors to sink slightly. And as soon as it melts, everything shifts back the other way.

My lazy susan corner cupboard in the kitchen, for example, has developed a stick on one side. I am holding back from sanding it down as I'm sure it will work itself out in the Spring. The floor in the downstairs bathroom is dipping down towards the outer wall. We have ICE on the interiors of our windows that we didn't restore last summer.

Anyone up for a snow cone from my living room window?

Even more exciting is the massive ice damming wreaking havoc on our roof. Ice dam? I thought roofs were supposed to be waterproof?? Well, as it turns out, we have no insulation in our attic. And while this makes for an extraordinary show of icicles, the lack of insulation leads to heat escape, causing ice in the eavestroughs to freeze and thaw. This ice backs up into the soffits, then the roof, further freezing and thawing with the temperatures. When the ice expands inside the attic, it pushes roof nails out, which causes leaks like the one in Lily's room this past summer.

When the ice in the attic thaws, it of course causes all kinds of interior leaks depending on how far back the ice has made it in your roof. Like the one in our kitchen window sash a couple of weeks ago.

In short, ice dams are like having your very own glacier. In the attic. Lucky us...

There are solutions. And they are actually quite simple. Add insulation and venting. Keep ice build-up free from
eavestroughs over the winter and snow build-up clear from roofs. We know what we have to do. Yet, knee deep (in snow) in the midst of a winter that doesn't appear to be ending, with the occasional water leak in the kitchen and a pet glacier in the attic, we are struggling with putting up the money for what we should do, in lieu of booking a trip to Mexico.

At this moment... Mexico is winning...


* I'm having a hard time with this... why is it so difficult for anyone to design a coat that is both warm and cute?

Feb 20, 2011

Hallway After'ish

Not nearly finished - but getting there...

To Do:
Front hallway tile: Black & White weave mosaic tile

Refinish $5 table (midnight blue?)
Simple mouldings and some pictures.

= hall happiness.


Feb 14, 2011

My Valentine...

Well I must have done something right this Valentine's Day because look what hubs picked up for me from my 'store of want',* Kit in downtown Calgary on Saturday.

Eames Hang-It-All in all its fantastic glory. My first Eames...

Jumpy claps!!!

And why did I have to photograph it on my dining room table 2 days after it arrived to its new home? Well, could be because the wall looks like this....

Reason #2035 why hubs is in a sales job (but he's still really cute)

FYI: Plaster walls do not like screws and anchors. I did read online tonight that masking tape helps when drilling into plaster walls. We'll give it a shot tomorrow and hopefully post some 'after' shots.


*Store of want: a store that contains within it everything that embodies your idea of a perfect life. Kit is that store to me. Dwell magazine in a store. Sigh.

Feb 8, 2011

The Hallway Makeunder

Our hallways have been one of the more frustrating spaces in the house. Remember this lil' before nugget?

All wallpapery and penitentiary and pink. In the summer we had them painted by Janet's Painting who I from time to time have the urge to call just to hear her stories and make my house look pretty.

The base of the hallway wall, for WHATEVER outrageous reason, is faux concrete block. Funny I haven't come across that design in other MCM houses nor has it had a revival of any sort since then. Weird. As we found out, the only colour that looks good on faux concrete block are shades of concrete block.

Faux concrete block and baby who thinks she's helping.

Original entryway tiles. Not sure of the name of this tile (it's like a lino) but I spent one long long evening cleaning them with a toothbrush and they still looked like this.

As I automatically default to 'purist', we left the baseboards in their original untouched, albeit rough original state after having the walls repainted. Ever since we painted the hallway, there's just been no love. It just feels old and dowdy and still a tad penitentiary.

And the table I picked up at the Interfaith for $5 with the glue globs on top is not doing it any favours.

So recently inspired by my girlfriend's office, owner of Speckles & Weeds - an adorable and witty local greeting card company - we decided to paint the baseboards a glossy version of the same grey (Benjamin Moore's Escarpment CC-518).

Speckles & Weeds boardroom

This is a big deal for my purist roots. Like piercing your daughter's ears when she's 6. Below inspiration for the rest of our plans for the hallway. I'll post some 'afters' tomorrow.

Hallway inspiration. Eames Hang it All that I'm currently saving my allowance for. Merci Door Sixteen