Thursday, 20 September 2012

Phase I. Main Bath.d. (FINAL)

Main Bath:
Located off the Kitchen Nook, a wall was removed to incorporate more space. Without moving plumbing around, doing the grunt work ourselves, and re-using much of our existing fixtures and accessories we saved time & money. All said & done, this room totalled about $300.

We chose this dark wood hacked-out-of-the-box cabinet to visually pull the hardwood from the Kitchen into the space. It houses bath accessories & miscellanious Kitchen bits & bobs. When deciding not to install upper cabinets in the Kitchen, we wanted a "pantry" nearby to house extra small appliances, so incorporated a space in the Bath. Not too shabby, eh?

Completing a renovation of this scale on a character (oh! what a character!) home is bordering insane on our tiny budget. Late nights, massaging numbers, drywall/plaster dust frosting on everything... our littlebig home is coming together. Totally. Worth It.

patterned wall paint tutorial

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Phase I: Kitchen.d. (90% Complete)

After the three five eight week delay, and a summer that focused our efforts on exterior fixing & other life adventures, this Kitchen is now up to date. Good thing, because we are spending a lot of time in here these days.

Structural reconfiguration of space, reinforcement of floors, hardwood, customized wood cabinets and island, granite countertop, stainless appliances, apron (farmhaus) sink, upgraded electric & plumbing & gas, craftsman trims & mouldings, ceramic backsplash, open shelving, lighting, & some choice temporary decor. We have liftoff... whoot!

Soft-close drawer hardware (the man was a farmhand in his first incarnation this life - with these soft-close features I hope to not be woken up at 4-in-the-morning with ramming cabinet doors). The cabinets themselves are a huge luxury, and where most of our budget was spent, but well worth it ( AJ @ Mirage Woodworks' high quality craftsmanship milled from solid wood). They are so amazing I want to eat them.

Time: co-ordinating with trades takes time, flexibility, and the ability to stay cool.

Style: at times, we wonder about the temporary fight-club-esque IKEA default in order to establish functional space, but then look at our budget, the clock, and cut ourselves a little slack here.

Real proud of the teenager and giving him props for being such a good sport in this journey in so far. He has happily commenced his self-education on culinary wizardry. Yum diddly nomnom!

Non-stop baking & choice yuppie martini parties before fall kicks us into Phase II renovations with round 2 of ubiquitous drywall dust.

and the Island:
The home-built island will add more much needed storage (from lack of upper wall cabinets), and hide those chunky appliances off the counter. Presently, we have a hidey-hole in the Main Bath to house baking paraphernalia and other kitchen bits. Butcher block top will double our workspace & satiate the oblong work triangle.

There will inevitably be changes to decor as we settle-in... but for now there are other projects to get up to snuff. Truckin' along here...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Urban Farming.b. (Philosophy)

Our History:
In our twenty-something years, "getting back to the garden" was taken literally to heart... and we moved to the Farm. We not only moved our little family, but we moved our friends too. There were legendary gatherings, parties, weddings, making babies, and a general time of innocence & confidences.

We moved past our homesteading experiences and evolved our ideals into an urban setting. We were still committed to farm, but our foundation of beliefs had grown past self preservation and into reaching a broader audience to produce a potentially higher impact on the Planet.

The Urban Farm reaches a greater amount of people in our community through: being visible with our food-producing yard, and integrating our own successes with reliance on others. It is a model based upon reducing carbon emission (staying local), creating a safe & supportive environment (by an invested community), and transforming how we live & how we sustain ourselves on a day-to-day basis (sustainability).

There is an outrageous amount of faith leaping involved when you wake up in the morning.

Residing in this Urban setting, we are reaching out for people to make a commitment to sustainability right now. The most common barrier we hear from city-folk is that they can't begin their ideal healthy life without a chunk of land (common phrases amongst leftover hipster thirty-somethingers: "we're just waiting to find the right land to make our homestead", "can't wait to start living off the grid when we find our forever land!"). Move away from the idea great amounts of land are necessary to "get back to the garden", and begin sustainable practices wherever you are now. Apartment balconies, Community Gardens, Food not lawns.

Learning is steep, mistakes are rampant, embarrassment is inevitable, things break, humility is egregious, tears, laughter ensues, love isn't lost, gratitude begins each day again.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Urban Farming.a. (Urban Foraging)

Urban Foraging:
We make friends with our neighbours who have neglected or plentiful fruit trees & rhubarb bushes (or other delicaciestreats), harvest for them, gift in return some baked goods, and use the remainder for our table. This has been catching on as a trend with people like Out of Your Tree Saskatoon, along with other trends in Urban Foraging & Guirilla Gardening/Seed Bombing.

The trees (with the man being a previous Arborist) receive some care, the land-owners receive tasty treats & full clean-up, and we lower our food-costs & keep our diet healthy (who doesn't want to eat applecake & ice cream for breakfast? weirdos, that's who).

We have a small freezer in use for a limited time until it is cold enough outside, and we transfer our foraged bounty to the outside freezer: an old dresser inside the front porch.

It's true, folks, this labour is extremely time consuming (harvesting, coring, prep. baking/canning/dehydrating), but we just LOvE and nomnomnom.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Phase III: Garden.a.

The man & myself have accustomed our dirt-diggin' ways into becoming Urban Farmers: living off our land in an Urban setting. Moving was difficult, as the 223 garden was carefully tailored with irrigated raised beds & berry bushes, and we knew our neighbourhood well enough to Urban Forage apples, rhubarb, pears, plums, and other goods we did not have space to grow ourselves. Had it all... and now we must begin again. Yay?

Large lot. Full Southern exposure.
These were the selling feature of this home: more important than kitchens and bathrooms... we could change those things. Can't change location. 

Original Material:
Our very nice neighbours have politely described this yard in the hands of it's previous owners as "unkempt". Sh-yeah... no kidding!
So... what to do? We conclude to mow it down, let it grow, and see what comes up. How convenient because we also ran out of money & time! Ha!

There was once care put into the planting of the perennial flowerbeds (which have bloomed surprise bouquets for our breakfast table), with medicinals and edibles among the decorative.... all which have been overgrowing with grass and weeds for 5+ years. But now we know what we inherited, and instead of bulldozing it all we will salvage echinacea, green onions, rhubarb, lilies, lavender, chives, and bleeding hearts for the bees. 
Spring 2013. Garden veggies here we come! (The delay of gratification is a cultivated skill.)

Next Up:
Now, as autumn's rosy fingers squeeze each sunrise a little later and later each day from our bigsky, we are mapping & measuring for future plotting, gathering resources, and dreaming...

Phase II: Living Room.b.

Dreams: There is an eclectic range here on the vision-board... hmmmmmm.

Elements of Design: Open space feeling. Clutter is visual: heavy fabric texture and pattern. Storage solutions. Colour is strategic. Rich, thick pile, herringbone, but bitingly streamlined and minimal with firm roots in traditional airs. 

Sacrifices: We are surrendering to the challenges of our tiny budget being eaten whole by the wise investing power of a Kitchen and other essential repairs (btw, the roof got an emergency set of shingles.. the last squeeze out of our fix-it fund), and accepting the even realer reality of compromise for design dreams.
Can't say we are heartbroken as the challenge is a good one and we are just all so very happy to be here and working at it day by day. So... yeah... feel free to send us money if you are interested in seeing a project completed... heh heh ;)