12 December 2008


Our house used to be covered in ivy. We know because it's still there, cut back to ground level, but bits of it still cling to the brickwork. I wish we could let it grow back, but even a minor amount of research proved it would be a bad idea. Ivy climbs by rooting into what it's climbing on. This, obviously, causes major damage over time, destroying bricks and masonry, and potentially letting pests in.

I've got it into my head to replace it with a less-obnoxious climber. There's something romantic and beautiful about a building swathed in greenery. That's probably why people let ivy have its destructive way in the first place. Seeing its evergreen leaves peeking out from the snow around the foundation, however, almost makes me want to reconsider.

I haven't done any research yet on other climbers, but I'm intrigued by Virginia Creeper (see the pretty colour it turns in autumn!) Luckily, there's still ample time to look into alternatives. I will not rest until these naked walls are suitably adorned :)

04 December 2008


Does anyone know whether placing a plant--in a glazed ceramic pot--on the radiator will harm the pot in any way? I know the plant, a French lavender I brought inside for the winter, will enjoy the extra heat, but I'm concerned the glaze could be affected or even that the pot might crack. The rad is pleasantly warm at the moment, but it can get fairly hot. The plant really gets the best sun on there, though. Any advice you guys can share would be most appreciated!

02 December 2008

Mirror in the Bathroom

Given the sheer number of things that can go on in and around one's house, it's funny what can cause you to break out the exclamation marks. We got a bathroom mirror!

Or, more precisely, we finally hung the bathroom mirror.

When we moved in, the main bathroom was lacking a mirror. For over a year we've been making do with a tiny hand mirror, albeit a magnifying one (look at all those pores...) Although the bathroom was mirror-less, the foyer came equipped with a lovely large mirror by the front door. I surmised that it would be perfect in the bathroom. I was right.

Meanwhile, we entertained ourselves with endless deja vu as we spent the year repeating the same conversation with various people:

"Oh, you need a mirror? I know a place where you can get a great deal."
"No, we have the mirror--we just need to hang it."
"Oh..." Followed by a perplexed silence as the other person ponders just how lazy and/or incompetent we are.

Granted, although it turned out to be fairly easy in the end, it seemed like a big deal--big enough to put us off taking care of it. When you're not particularly handy, century-old plaster walls seem an insurmountable challenge (especially when you're used to modern drywall). Never mind that so-called hardware stores have screws and sinks for every type of surface but plaster. But that's another rant.

(FYI--metal screw sinks, the kind that look like ginormous screws themselves but have a hole in them in which, once they're embedded in the wall, the actual screw gets placed, work just fine. Use a drill and work carefully to avoid crumbling the plaster. They, of course, can be found in the "drywall" section of the nails, screws, and fasteners aisle.)

The "new" bathroom mirror looks awesome. It's got odd rivets on its sides, which makes me think it used to belong to a dresser. The frame is dark wood. The glass is scratched and a little cloudy, with a few of those black spots that mean the silvering is wearing off. It's exactly what the otherwise all-new bathroom needs to keep it from looking too sterile. It completes the space. And now I can fix my hair in the bathroom!

Better still, I ended up solving the bathroom waste bin quandary. If you'll recall this post: Trashy, I was in need of nice-looking bins that didn't require a second mortgage. I decided to go ahead and buy the marble one I'd found, only to go back (repeatedly) and find the store never again had it in stock (just the matching accessories and a mocking space on the bottom shelf where the bins had once been). It was clearly not meant to be (also, I ended up using my gift card on clothes). So yesterday, I happened across square, solid bamboo waste bins...for a reasonable price...and the store happened to have exactly two of them. No photos, but they look great, and if we should want to upgrade later on, they'll work in the downstairs washroom as well.

Our next consideration now is what colour to go with when we eventually repaint. Much as I like dark hues, I don't think dark brown (see photo above) is exactly the ideal shade for a bathroom. Here's what we're working with:

Shower and surround tiles

Floor tiles

I'm thinking a deep, rich plum would work well. Suggestions?