10 January 2013

Office "Pin"spiration

I think it's fair to say that I've been very honest about my obsession with Pinterest. I don't know why you wouldn't believe me but if you don't, I have proof. I plainly said it here, and it's totally obvious here. And if that doesn't convince you, go ahead and check out my profile and you'll just see how much time I waste over there. That is, LOTS.

So it was only natural that when I started thinking about the task of decorating my very own office, I immediately turned it into a pinny party and fired up the search engine. Where better to find my perfect office than Pinterest, home to all things glam and gorgeous?

It turned out to be an incredibly helpful exercise, too, which surprised me. At the heart of things I just love looking at beautiful photos of beautiful spaces, but when I looked back again at my Home Office inspiration board, a few commonalities jumped off the page at me:

  1. I'm a linear thinker. Nearly every photo I pinned featured boxy, linear bookshelves in a major way. Most were crammed full with books, office supplies, binders... even artwork... all neatly lined up and orderly like someone was taking attendance.
  2. Home is where my books are. All my favourite spaces look like libraries.
  3. Light and bright is where it's at. Specifically, it seems I'm a sucker for huge windows, but a lick of white paint will do too. 
  4. I clearly have a "type". Where I thought I was pinning a bevvy of photos that dramatically differed from one another, it turns out they all look exactly the same. With a few variations here and there. But still... basically identical. Which is good news! It means I know what I like.
They seem so obvious when I think about it -- all four couldn't be more true about me -- but I'm not sure I would have been able to distill it so simply were it not for my Pinterest therapy session. Here are just a few of  my faves.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Is there something you absolutely need to have in your home office to make it a comfortable or homey or productive environment? Link up to images of your own offices in the 'comments' section... I'd love to see them!


08 January 2013

Workin' 9-to-5, What A Way To Make A Livin'....

Classic Dolly

Because I am neither independently wealthy nor am I married to someone who is, I have to work for a living. Luckily I've led a bit of a charmed life in this area, having historically worked with interesting, engaging people, or been doing interesting, engaging work. My newest role is notably exceptional because here, I'm doing both. Professionally, this an amazing time for me right now.

I'm also lucky enough in this role to be awarded another enviable luxury: beginning next month, once we've launched our first annual conference (a major undertaking), I will work from home on a regular basis. Which of course means.... I'll need a home office!

When all four bedrooms in a four-bedroom house are taken up with people, that doesn't leave a lot of room for office space. No one likes to cuddle up to their printer at night. But what we do have is this awkwardness right here:

Coming up to the top of our stairs, this is the vista: our "landing." The landing, mind you, is 10 feet by 13 feet, excluding the real estate of that little nook on the left hand side. It's huge. And horrifically awkward (as you can see by the placement of the previous owner's furniture.)

Through the door frame to the right, we're looking at the doors to my mum's room, and the family bath. Dead ahead through those double doors is the master bedroom. Here's what it looks like from there:

You can see what we're dealing with is less than ideal, but if there's to be an office in this house, this is where it must be. All 10x13, weird-angles-and-funny-walls of it.

I've been obsessing about its possible layout for a few weeks now (basically, since I realized work had presented me with the opportunity to push full-steam-ahead on a decorating project that wasn't even on the horizon at the time!) and I think I've come up with a workable arrangement. It'll look a little something like this:

There's a rug somewhere in the mix, too, but it cluttered up the image. I also can't decide whether I'd like it smaller and focused on the desk, or if I'd like to extend it all the way across the room. The first option I think makes the most sense visually, but maroons the bookshelves and artwork on the opposite side. The second will link the whole room together, but risks looking like a river between the top of the stairs and the master bedroom.

Designers, decorators and stylists (professional or otherwise)? Time to weigh in! If this were your room, what would you do?

Note: All photos are courtesy of Century 21 People's Choice Realty Inc.

03 January 2013

Introducing The NEW Money Pit

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I gave you a sneak peek of the new house. Just a few photos, to whet your appetite, but nothing too revealing... the way a first date should be!

But now that we're committed (we've "put a ring on it," so to speak) and the dust is starting to settle, I think it's time to show a little leg, don't you?

So without further ado, let me present...

The NEW Money Pit

Entrance | Foyer
Powder Room
I've got big plans for this teeny tiny little room, and it involves a lot of wallpaper...
Dining Room
I'm not going to lie to you... it's a weird layout. The hall opens directly into the dining room which, as you can see, is connected to every other room. It's *almost* a through-way, but still feels like a room too. It is by far the most difficult room to plan in terms of decorating. The only thing I know for sure is that I want/need a round table, and that I want to paint that tray ceiling in black chalkboard paint. Getting a little resistance from my better half on that second one.
Media Room
The previous owners used this room as their dining room (because they couldn't figure out the whole hallway/dining room situation either) but we've turned it into our media room. It works exactly like I imagined. It's perfect.
See that island? I love it. LOVE IT. I've never had an island before, let alone one that seats 25 (6, but who's counting?!) And that stove you see in the back, there? Yeah, that's totally gas. BOO-YA! I win.
Living Room
Also? My very first fireplace. I've been pining for one since I was twelve years old, and now I have one. It's every bit as good as I thought it would be. My gas bill is going to be ENORMOUS this winter.
J's Room
We're upstairs now. J's room is at the very front of the house ~ his are the three windows beneath the black cupola. It's the smallest bedroom of four, but he chose it because it's the only one that has 10-foot ceiling and HUGE windows. He's a natural-light junkie. 
A's Room
Next door to J, hers takes up the remainder of the front half. If you check out the 'Exterior' photo, the other four windows belong to her. Three in her bedroom (as pictured) and one in her....
Did I mention she's just turning 10? Possibly the luckiest 10-year-old in the freaking galaxy.
The "Family" Bath
Which really means "J's Bath" because everyone else basically has their own. Not even kidding right now.
Mum's/Matt's Room
So this is the fourth bedroom, which is currently being used by my mum until we renovate the basement. Once her apartment is built, this will be my brother's room when he's home from university. Eventually, when no one else needs it, it will be an exercise-room-slash-man-cave for Daryn. Eventually.
Master Bedroom
Master Bedroom
Dudes, it's huge. H-U-G-E. It's borderline ridiculous.
Master Bath
Master Bath
That shower. 'Nuff said.
The Basement
All the way back downstairs now, this is the sort-of-just-a-little-bit finished basement, with a lot more work to go until it's ready to be inhabited. Right now it's full of boxes, but you can see the appeal. Three huge windows, tons of space and a walkout. Perfect for an in-law suite. Now we just need to git'er done!
Out the back door, and you can see why we stand out a little on the street. We're the only ones with bright red siding in the entire neighborhood. I hated it at first, but now it's growing on me. Mould again? I won't say no.

And that's the Money Pit in a nutshell! I've kept photos of one room behind -- the landing / office -- for a very good reason: we're in the process of decorating it right now! I will be working from home more in the new year, which I decided was the perfect excuse reason to spend some time, energy and dineros on making it picture-perfect. Much of next week will be focused on the office transformation, with some special focus on all the awesome things I'm finding on Craigslist and Kijiji.

Note: All photos are courtesy of Century 21 People's Choice Realty Inc.


02 January 2013

Money Pit Love Quickfire Q&A

First, let me get a little housekeeping out of the way:


Next, I thought since I basically announced my imminent demise to the bloggerverse and then checked out for months and months, you probably have some burning Q's (or at least some mild interest) in what's been going on around the Pit since I nearly died of real estate-related stress.

I won't drag it out very much -- I'm assuming you've already assumed I'm alive, given that I've posted a few times and even turned up on Twitter, which probably sucks all the suspense out of the mystery of whether or not I'm dead. Still, I expect there are some things you're curious about, and since I'm all "turning over a new leaf" up in here (a new, Money Pit Love-coloured leaf, to be specific) I thought I'd get you up to speed before we launch into all the new happenings around these parts.

Ready for the Money Pit Love Quickfire Q&A? Here we go!

Did you sell the house??!
YES!!! We took less (much less) than it was worth, but in the end we avoided bankruptcy and debtor's prison (both good things).

What did you learn from the experience of buying a house before selling your existing property?
To be fair, if the mortgage rules hadn't changed when they did (the week before we listed) and the market not flattened so quickly in response -- specifically, had we sold in the neighborhood of our original asking price, within a reasonable few weeks of listing -- we would have said it was the best risk we ever took and probably wouldn't have hesitated to take a similar risk in future. After all, why not? High risk with high return, right? As it turns out, our experience was completely the opposite of that. We rolled the dice, and we lost. Are we bitter? Not especially (more accurately: not anymore). But we'll definitely be more conservative if we ever decide to move again, and we certainly won't put in an unconditional offer on a new place until the old house is sold.

Is your blood pressure back in the normal range?
Yes. Just.

When did you move into the new house?
We took possession on November 16 and spent the week cleaning and painting. The big moving day -- when we officially changed addresses -- was November 25.

[Editor's Note: When this author says "we" and "spent the week painting" in the same sentence, it's easy to correlate the pronoun and the verb. Do not be fooled. "We" certainly did take possession of the new house on the 16th, but it was the "Daryn" half of the "we" (along with his dad) who painted. The "April" half of that "we" packed some things and generally mooned about, and then drove around town with a dead squirrel in a shoe box, bawling her eyes out. But that's another story for another day. Carry on.]

Do you love it?
Weirdly, yes. "Weirdly" only because I hated the house when we first saw it (cried on the way home after the showing and declared, in that completely rational and not-at-all-dramatic way that I have, that I would never be happy if they made me live in that house... NEVER!!!) but it's grown on me. Like mould? Possibly. But the good kind. It's the penicillin of real estate.

It's a nearly-new, three year old house. Can it still be the Money Pit?
YES!!! A thousand times, yes. Brand new it might be, but we have a long (long.... loooong) way to go until it's 100% ours. We've taken some small steps in the right direction, which I'll share with you over the next few weeks, but there's TONS to do (Daryn is cringing right now as he reads this over my shoulder. There might be some crying later. Boys just don't understand.)

And that's the scoop! We're moved in, but still living in boxes. We've only just begun to scratch the decorating surface, and I hope you'll stick with me as we revamp an entirely new Money Pit. Tune in tomorrow for the full set of "before" photos!