Design & Decor Blog

nowhere to put the furniture

new couch nowhere to put the furniture
Can you say mayhem? The furniture delivery guys showed up ON TIME this afternoon. They gave us a window between 11am and 1pm and guess what? They showed up at noon when I was totally banking on them being late. Like significantly late. Aren’t deliveries always late? Apparently not when you want them to be. Anyhow, they showed up with my fabulous new couch, sofa and side tables from West Elm. I’m pretty excited to finally see them in my space. The flooring guys are still working away so it’s a bit tough having all the furniture in my space because now they have to work around it, especially to install the baseboards. But everyone’s working well and patiently and with the delivery of the furniture, we’re getting one step closer to putting my place back together.  Picture above: Designer Lisa Canning and her assistant Kristelle, working on the just-delivered couch amidst the dust and noise of a power saw. They’re so awesome – neither one batted an eye at the chaos.

installing marimekko wallpaper

marimekko wallpaper installing marimekko wallpaper
The flooring installers from End of the Roll just showed up at my door, ready to finish up the job. Yesterday, they installed the new floors throughout the living room and now, just the kitchen and front foyer are left. I really can’t wait to see the whole thing completed. It’s looking amazing already.

Since they’re finished in the living room, my designer Lisa Canning (check out her website at condosbycanning.com) is ready to get the wallpaper up. Our design plan has evolved throughout this process and we’ve agreed that we love Marimekko’s Lumimarja wallpaper from New Wall (pictured above) for the front foyer and on the long back wall of the living room (behind the sofa). Hopefully the wallpaper can go up today – we have to work around the flooring guys! But as you can see, things are really starting to come together.

What are your thoughts on the wallpaper? I just returned home from a vacation that took me to Finland. While in Helsinki, I strolled through the must-visit, typically Finnish design stores like Marimekko and Iittala. I love the playful feeling in their designs and this Marimekko wallpaper is fresh and fun, without being too overwhelming for a small space. What do you think?

learning more about elastilon underlay

elastilon learning more about elastilon underlay
After watching the installation process of my new floors yesterday, I found myself mulling over the benefits of the underlay product that was used. The underlay is probably the most ‘unexciting’ part of this whole process, but I realized how important it was and how easy it made the installation. Since I’d never seen hardwood floors installed without glue and nails, I thought I’d ask a bit more about this product because I thought you, readers, might be interested too. So I checked in with Rainer Knickmann from Elastilon, to learn more about how it works.

Natalie Bahadur: What are the benefits of Elastilon over other installation methods?

Rainer Knickmann: The main thing is the ease of using it. It`s very easy to use, very clean and once you`ve learned how to use it, it`s very quick. It`s environmentally friendly because there are no VOCs at all. It uses a very high tech adhesive that is also environmentally friendly. It was invented in Holland and made primarily for the Western European market but it`s grown since to be accepted worldwide.

NB: Why is this preferable to other installation methods?
RK:
It`s faster to use simply because you do everything in one step. You unroll the Elastilon; it`s a foam pad that by itself gives cushioning and a lot of sound dampening, something that most condo boards and apartment owners appreciate. In addition to that, it has an adhesive on one side that actually holds the floor. It also has elastic properties so that it expands and contracts with the wood flooring as the climatic conditions change with temperature and humidity. This way, you`ll always have nice tight joints. The material expands with the wood and then contracts again as the wood contracts and pulls it together. Rather than fighting against the nature of the wood, the way conventional installation methods do, this actually works with it.

NB: How do you install it?
RK:
It comes in a roll with a film on the adhesive. All you have to do to install your floor is unroll the material with the adhesive side up, place your flooring on it. Once you`ve got it started, you pull the film out from under the flooring as you progress. Because of that, you don`t need all the other equipment you`d normally need. No nails, no compressors, no glue or trowels. You don`t have to spread glue, which often gets all over your hands and all over the space and all over the installer himself! It`s just much cleaner to use.

One of the nice things is if it`s being used in a home, you can do a room or two and not disturb the rest of the family because there`s no smell from the glue. The only mess or dirt comes from the sawdust from cutting wood.

The environmental aspect is a big deal, too. There are no harmful VOCs emitted from this product.

NB: Anything else interesting about Elastilon?
RK:
Elastilon is developed to allow you to lay hardwood floors directly onto cement construction. A further advantage of that is that it can be used to install solid wood flooring on a cement surface below grade, for example, a basement floor, provided that the basement is reasonably dry, etc. You do not have to first build a plywood subfloor, which of course is more expensive, time consuming and takes up space and uses more resources. All you need to do is put down 6 mil or thicker plastic film with the Elastilon on top. It definitely saves you time and money when installing a wood floor in the basement.

It can also be used over radiant or in-floor heating, which is becoming ever more popular. The installation requirements are a bit different than a normal installation but as long as those are followed, it works perfectly well to allow you to lay a solid wood floor.

a sneak peak at the new floors

new floors a sneak peak at the new floors
So, we’re about halfway done with the flooring and it’s looking great! The guys from End of the Roll are working hard and have installed about half of the flooring in my condo. As I’ve mentioned before, I chose a bamboo wood in Solid Onyx from Tarkett. I love the colour. It’s so dark, rich and dramatic.

But before they began laying the floors, they needed to install the underlay. My condo board was very clear on the regulations. The underlay needed to have an IIC rating of 62 so I had to be sure to comply with the building code. In determining which underlay to use, I was introduced to Elastilon, a new product that makes the installation of hardwood floors faster, easier and cleaner.

Elastilon has been used in Europe for nearly a decade but is relatively new in North America. Instead of mucking about with nails or staples and glue, Elastilon boasts a simple non-toxic peel-and-stick technology, which bonds directly to the hardwood and creates a permanent seal that will prevent the wood from warping, gapping or buckling in future. Even more beneficial, the Elastilon expands and contracts with the wood in varying levels of humidity, preventing any distortion to the floors.

Its thickness adds comfort underfoot (I can feel the difference already!) and minimizes sound transfer – a big concern when you live in a condo like me. And because it’s so simple to use and doesn’t create a mess, floors can be installed in about half the time usually required.

These guys from End of the Roll are amazing – they’ve worked so quickly and efficiently and things are really starting to come together. Stay tuned for more!

back-to-school month: win a kodak all-in-one printer!

kodak esp 7250 all in one printer low res 535x353 back to school month: win a kodak all in one printer!
If you’re headed off to school or your son/daughter is, there are a few things you need to know. Apart from realizing that a ‘courtesy rinse’ of your dishes is just icky, you need to come to terms with the fact that the school library is not always your best friend. Yes, it is filled with a plethora of information, but dealing with old photocopiers and printers can be frustrating — especially when a paper is due in 15 minutes.

Picking up an all-in-one printer is one of your best investments for school, and this Kodak model has all you need to make sure the year is a success. Not only does it have Wi-Fi technology {you can even print wirelessly from your iPhone!}, but there are tons of specs that make the ESP 7250 a winner:

  • can scan, copy, or print {and let me say, I scanned an old photo and the scan was impressively better quality than the original}
  • prints 32 pages per minute in black and up to 30 per minute in colour
  • replacement ink cartridges are super inexpensive: $10 for black and $18 for colour {great for the student budget!}
  • 2.4 inch colour LCD display screen

Good news, folks: I’m giving away one of these great Kodak all-in-one’s so you can hand in all your papers on time and also decorate your place with photos of family and friends. To enter, just leave a comment below letting me know how you decorated or plan to decorate your dorm/college apartment, and I’ll pick the best answer as the winner.

Good luck!

*Contest closes September 10th, 2010 at 12pm EST. Open to all residents of Canada, except those in Quebec. Not open to any Transcontinental Media employees, their families, or any other persons with whom they reside. Prize value is $200. *

ripping out the old floors

condo old floors ripping out the old floors
Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Today I’m having the new floors installed in my condo. I have chosen a bamboo hardwood in Solid Onyx (a deep, dark chocolate brown) from Tarkett. They’re being installed by End of the Roll Milton and the process got started today. The guys showed up before 9am and within 20 minutes, they had all the old laminate floors ripped out.

I have to admit, there’s something a little bittersweet about the process. I’m super-excited to have the new floors installed and to see what the final product looks like. But watching the old floors come out, I found myself flooded with memories of when I first bought this condo seven years ago. My father and brother-in-law worked tirelessly one weekend to rip out the awful pink carpet that was there and lay the new laminate for me. They were no experts at the process (neither had done it before) but they did it with love for me and I’ll never forget that. My entire family chipped in and dedicated their weekend to helping turn my first condo into my first home.

But the time has come for a change and it looks like that time is now! The installers are busy working away – I’ll keep you updated on their progress!

painting the ceiling

condo ceiling painting the ceiling
Next step in my renovation: Painting the ceiling. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t too concerned about painting the ceiling. It just seemed like one more job to add to the never-ending list of things to do. But my brother-in-law Paul insisted that we just do it. Especially since I’d painted the walls white, you could really see the difference in the ceiling colour – it was dingy compared to the new clean white walls. So Paul showed up bright and early on Saturday morning, ready to work! We picked up one gallon of ceiling paint (the kind that goes on pink and dries white) and taped off the edges. In less than three hours, Paul had painted the ceiling in my living room and kitchen. Now that it’s dry, I see that he was right. It looks bright and fresh and makes a big difference. Thanks, Paul! You’re a brother-in-law extraordinaire!

the new ikea catalogue is here!

…And they’ve pulled out all the stops for the 60th anniversary of the cheap chic showcase, which is now officially the biggest publication in the world, hitting 198,000,000 copies. Insane!

I’m loving the folkloric look that graces a bunch of the new merch -a reinterpretation of ethnic and global influences, loaded with embroidery and other hand-hewn details.

ikearoom the new ikea catalogue is here!

The star of this look, in my opinion, is the new Klippan Navestad 2-seat sofa cover ($329). This is “Trad/Rad” in a nutshell, and turns the very cool lines of the Klippan into a stunning statement piece.

ikeaklippan the new ikea catalogue is here! For a sweet, artisanal accent, look no further than the new Birgit cushion ($20). Love those delicate embroidered flowers…

ikeabirgit the new ikea catalogue is here! And another stunner from the Birgit line – this beautifully embroidered crisp cotton duvet cover and pillowcase set ($80/King).

picture 1 the new ikea catalogue is here!

Birds and botanicals flit across Krokek —  a new upholstery option for the Skruvsta swivel armchair ($199).

ikeachait the new ikea catalogue is here!

You can’t go wrong with a set of three tea towels for $6 — especially when they’re as vibrant as the new Ellakajsa prints. The very definition of cheap and cheerful!

ikeateatowel the new ikea catalogue is here! Cosy up to new Birgit throw - 100% wool, with a magic-carpet vibe courtesy of yet more decorative embroidery ($50).

ikeathrow the new ikea catalogue is here!

And although it’s not part of the “haute folk” vibe going on here, my top fave new find from the catalogue is the rather delicious new Kivik furniture series. I’m quite taken with the Two-seat Sofa (shown here in Tranas light brown, $769)… Looks so deep and comfy!

ikeasofa the new ikea catalogue is here! Have you had the chance to scour the savings yet? What’s YOUR fave new find from the IKEA 2011 catalogue?

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the downside of renovations

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. It seems I have to keep reminding myself to just breathe these days. If you’ve been following along with my blog posts, you know that I’m mid-renovation right now. I’m working with the talented and infinitely understanding designer Lisa Canning and we’re making great progress. This process is turning out to be a lot of work (Lisa is doing most of the hard legwork!), a lot of decisions and a lot of fun. But there are moments when I see my home turned upside down and my heart stops. But I just have to remind myself: It’s only temporary. Everything will be returned to its rightful state soon enough.

So here’s how things are looking right now:

condo kitchen the downside of renovations This is my kitchen minus its cabinet doors. We’ve sent the door and drawer faces away to be lacquered white. I think it’ll look great and am excited to see the final results but seeing my kitchen like this makes me unhappy. And reminds me I need to get organized.

condo floors the downside of renovations This is the living room. We’ve removed the baseboards in preparation for laying new floors and installing new baseboards. The flooring is from Tarkett and I’ve chosen a bamboo wood in Solid Onyx, a deep, dark brown. I think the new floors will make an enormous difference and can’t wait to have them installed. Installation is scheduled for Monday by the folks at End of the Roll, Milton.

condo bedroom the downside of renovations And finally, here’s my bedroom. My bedroom isn’t even getting a makeover but it’s become the storage space for all of my old furniture from the living room because there’s nowhere else to put it at the moment. So basically, everything I own has been crammed into my bedroom.

So, as you can see, my home is turned completely upside down. I can’t wait to reach the end of this process!

choosing an armchair for my condo

I was away on vacation for the past two weeks but I’m back now and I’m really excited to return my focus to my condo makeover. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working with Lisa Canning, a wonderful designer who is demonstrating so much patience as I hem and haw over furniture choices, colours, patterns, fabrics. Right now, we’re trying to find the perfect chair. Below are a few we’re considering. Even though you (readers) have only seen glimpses of my space in previous posts, I’d still like to know which one you like best! Leave a comment below and share your opinion!

chairs for condo choosing an armchair for my condo

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