Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Reluctantly I welcome October. I'm not a lover of fall. I listen to people get excited about the cooler weather, the change of the sun setting, the leaves falling from the trees. But me - I like the heat, the long days of summer, the rainbow of colourful flowers sprayed across the gardens. I love the waters edge and the sound of the shore, and prefer to wander there when the sun is warm on my back. I'm really not a cold weather girl.

I have decided that I need to think of all the positive things about fall and October. Warmer clothes are needed, but who doesn't like cozy sweaters and soft fabrics like corduroy. And things just taste different with the cooler weather - in a good way. Soup, apples, dark grapes, squash, it all makes the cooler season more comforting.

The fun of Halloween swirls around everything all month long. Cheerful pumpkins on doorsteps, spooky decorations everywhere, and waiting out all of October to catch a glimpse of cute little trick or treaters.

The thought of putting the garden to bed for the winter makes me sad. This year it is a bit more difficult to take the idea of the leaves turning colour and needing to be raked up..... we just put the new sod down at Cardinal House this past week. Pout!  I wish I could turn back the clock to June and have the stretch of summer in front of me to play in the new garden.

Audrey Hepburn may have said it best....

While October nudges in and leaves the door open for winter to follow, I put the garden to bed and prepare for the promise of spring.
I have purchased a few spring bulbs for Kya and I to plant. She is excited at the colours we have bought so far {purple allium, pink tulips}, and that one of the tulips is called Ice Cream Tulip.

So Welcome October. 
Bring on your hues of gold, rust and deep red, excite us with your Halloween fun. 
I can see beyond the mounds of fallen leaves to the garden design for spring. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cardinal House : A Few Before and After pictures

I have such admiration for bloggers who post on a regular basis, I just can't seem to get it together to do that. So without further delay here is an update on the renovation of Cardinal House.

For readers who are just joining in on the tour - the house is a 1960's bungalow that sits on a pretty treed property. Truthfully the tree's, the lot size and the potential to update the house is why we bought it.

new foyer

This is the new entry. What has changed? All floors were replaced with new antique hardwood flooring. The staircase railing didn't exist before - it was a wall. The hallway was where the double door entry closet is. The new hallway, entry inset {with the mirror} and powder room {behind the entry inset} are all new. There is a new longer window that allows light to pour in to the front foyer and hallway.

Before - the foyer

Somewhat the same angle of the front entry before. You can see just the top of the handrail on the staircase on the right - now it is a new banister. The closet door is gone and the new hallway to the bedroom's takes it's place. The hallway on the left is now approximately where the new closet is.

and from this.......


to this........

new entry

Notice that the front entry tile area used to be on the outside of the house - it was previously the front porch. The tile is by Tycos Tile in Toronto.

new dining room

The new dining room offers the vista of the yard through the long windows and glass doors. At the end of the original dining room there used to be a set of sliding glass doors with a wooden deck just outside.


I don't have a long shot of the dining room - but this is pretty much the volume of the room before. The opening leading into the kitchen before is now closed with the kitchen counters and stove on the other side of the wall.

New kitchen/family room

The space between the counter and island in the new kitchen is approximately where the old kitchen sink resided. This just a portion of the kitchen now, but it gives you an idea of how much it has been opened up and the view beyond the windows.

old kitchen

The new entry door is black with black side window panels. This area used to outside of the house on the porch. Richard and I wanted to have a more inviting entrance so we bumped the front of the house out and added a covered porch area.

new entry
old entry

Richard and I wanted to make the master suite a comfortable spot that also took in the view of the yard. So the room was expanded out by about 7 feet, the ceiling vaulted, large windows added and a glass door to the outside lanai. It's so nice to be able to wander out the bedroom door to the covered space that includes a wood burning fireplace.
New linen, curtains, a rug to cozy the room and some artwork are on my to-do list.

new bedroom - bed and bench via Eloquence

the opposite wall with the French Wedding Armoire.

opposite side of the room

and before.......


before - where the armoire is now

It is all the finishing details of artwork, rugs, fabrics, that need to be added. I believe that to make the house look natural it needs to happen with a layering process over time, otherwise it will look fabricated. Reviewing my pinterest boards help remind me of the essence that I want to achieve in the end for Cardinal House. I know over time it will all settle in as if it was there forever.
In the meantime we are dealing with muck and landscaping - more on that shortly.

A beautiful gift from Richard's brother for our new home.

K's Adventures :: School Days

After a year and a half of part-time pre-school, our four year old Granddaughter started 'big school' this month. Kya is well adjusted, a happy girl who has the biggest heart; so we felt going to full day would be an easy adjustment for her. But that big heart and her attachment to her Mama made for tears several mornings when she was dropped at school.
What is a Grandmother to do ? Make a promise of a new Barbie if she is a 'brave girl' for the rest of the week. It worked ..... until she went back to school on Monday. But the routine set in and her tears dried, so Kya felt more Barbie's were in order. Yes - she is smart. We played with her newest leggy doll instead.

But the tables turned this week and one morning Kya was dry eyed as several of her classmates had their turn for tears. And there she was comforting the other four year old students. The sweetest part of my Granddaughter is her enormously generous heart and everyone around her feels the power of that - even her little school yard friends. 

Among the necessary paperwork for school is the updated medical details, this required a trip to the doctor. Her mother came straight from work and met us at the appointment. On the way to the doctor's Kya asked me in a very concerned voice 'is my Mama ok'. I explained to her that the doctor appointment was for her because the school needs a certificate to show she is healthy. She told me rather indignantly 'I am healthy'.
I felt so guilty - I knew that they were going to give her a couple of required shots when we arrived. Tucked in my purse was a special Halloween cookie for her.

Two nurses rounded up each side of my Granddaughter to get the shots done in one motion together. My daughters nervousness was interrupted by Kya's curious nature as she asked the nurses on each side of her 'hey, what are you two up to'. Mama laughed {for a moment}, K cried and thankfully Grandma had open arms and a big cookie waiting.

And so, these school years begin. Hard to believe because it was only yesterday that Kya was born.