Tile Style (Last One, I Swear!)

I swear this is the last tile shopping post (You can read about the other two here and here.) and I can't wait to show you guys what we actually ended up buying!  I'll give you a preview: The total cost of all the tile, mortar, grout, heated floors and even a couple of pre-fabricated shelves rang in at just under $1,300!  We were thrilled, since the tile was the largest purchase in our budget and we had expected to pay more.  Let's chalk it up to some smart shopping (if we do say so ourselves) and the lovely girl behind the counter at the tile shop who offered us a significant discount after we expressed appreciation for all her help and were laid-back about her answering the phone a couple of times while helping us.  

Our last stop in our tile search was actually a Home Hardware Tile Outlet that we passed on our way out for dinner one evening.  I noticed some really funky and modern tile displays in the windows, but a u-turn can take time in Toronto traffic and by the time we had parked, we realized that the store had closed about a minute earlier.  We headed back the next day though, and were greeted by fabulous displays and many of our favourite tiles (like the mix-and-match hex tile in the top photo) as well as some new contenders.  Sorry in advance for the cam pics. :)

I sort of fell in love with some of the clearance granite tile.  It was so shiny that it was almost mirrored and the clearance price even fell within our budget!  The caveat was that the quantities were very limited and we knew we would need to decide quickly.

Of course, there were plenty of trendy subway tile options, but I really liked these soft bevelled tiles, which seemed like a good compromise between the visual interest of the bevel and the clean lines of plain tiles.

They also had fabulous porcelain tiles that actually looked like marble.

And Corey contemplated carrying our hardwood look into the bathroom with tile...

The owner pointed out that some of the polished porcelain looked almost identical to the granite... and it was priced even lower than the clearance granite tile.

I liked the black and the light grey.  Corey preferred either the black or the charcoal.

They also had a fabulous array of retro-inspired tiles at good prices!

... And some pretty shades of glass.

We were also tempted by some of the more colourful porcelain options.

And the displays (which initially drew us in) made it easy to picture ourselves making some very bold choices...

Wow, right???  Those bright colours tease me, but I really do want to try to keep our bathroom a little more subtle in our colourful house.  The real estate broker in me screams "THINK ABOUT RESALE!!!" and I find myself heading back towards a basic palette of white, black and greys.  

I really loved the black granite and the polished porcelain tiles and I dug up this inspiration photo, which had actually been my mother's favourite.

And that is how we found ourselves lugging home a couple of samples (black and charcoal polished porcelain) to test drive.

What do you think?
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Exactly One Year Ago, Today...

... Corey and I first visited our dream house! 

I think I told you guys part of the story of how we found our little new/old house.  I actually blogged about it in three parts (links below) and I even described all the houses and got you guys to guess which one we actually purchased!  That was fun and we were excited at the time, but I'll share a few more of the details today.  Since Corey was also really involved in the process, we'll tell you about it together. :)

Taylor: I remember the morning the sale of our condo went firm.  I was so happy that I cried.  After everything we'd be through in the condo, it came as such a relief.

Corey: I also felt an overwhelming sense of relief that we were going to be okay, that we were going to move out of the condo and find you a house... us, but YOU.

Taylor:  Why me?

Corey  Because you hated the condo so much.  You never really wanted to live there.

Taylor:  Fair enough.  That part is true.  So, do you remember me calling you at work that same day and telling you I was booking some showings for that evening?

Corey: (laughing) Yes, I do!  I remember laughing to myself and thinking, "Of course you did!  Why wait an extra minute if we didn't have to?"

Taylor:  We had wanted a house for so long and I couldn't wait to get started.  Also, if you recall, we had less than two months to be out of the condo. 

Corey:  Yeah, that's true.

Taylor:  So, I narrowed our search and booked showings at the five houses that BEST matched our criteria.

Corey:  We only saw four...

Taylor:  We ran out of time and if you recall, we were arguing and worn out by the end, so I cancelled our least favourite.

Corey:  Oh, I recall....  Actually, that one probably wasn't the worst one.  Remember that house that smelled awful!

Taylor:  The haunted house?  Yes, that one creeped me out!  Okay, so let's start with the first house.  Remember how much you loved it?

Corey:  I do!  I loved the layout and the size.  I thought it was just perfect.  My only concern was the backyard because it had three different levels.

Taylor:  That was a great house!  I remember you getting really excited about it being on a cul-de-sac.

Corey:  Oh yes, all I could picture was our kids breaking city by-laws and playing hockey on the street.

Taylor:  You loved that!  I loved the galley kitchen!  It was a TOTAL gut job, but it was much bigger than the kitchen we have now.  I remember having a moment upstairs when I thought to myself that I could see our future kids in those rooms.  

Corey:  Cute!

Taylor:  And then we moved on to the second house, which turned out to be our house.  Although, it didn't feel like it at the time.  Remember?

Corey:  I remember being so caught up in the first house that we didn't pay as much attention to the second.  Although, I do remember thinking it was charming and that it had a good backyard.

Taylor: Yes, I remember liking the neighbourhood but thinking it was a little like a smaller version of the first house... especially upstairs.  I feel like the layouts were really similar.  Anyway, we didn't pay as much attention to this house and we moved on quickly to the third house.  I remember it snowing and us getting into an argument.  I remember it because you were walking so fast (to get away from me) to the third house that I couldn't keep up.

Corey:  You're a great real estate agent with everyone except me.  You were so harsh and bossy with me as a client.  You had an idea of what you wanted and you just walked through houses saying "yes, yes, no, yes..." and expected me to keep up.

Taylor:  Yes, I know.  I just knew exactly what I wanted us to buy and I didn't want to waste time.  I needed you to just trust me.  Anyway, the third house... I liked the garage but I was afraid of all the steps leading to the front door.

Corey:  I remember seriously worrying about you with all those steps.  Especially with groceries, or especially once we had kids.

Taylor:  I remember there being lots of cats inside...

Corey:  Oh yes, the "cat house"... I remember thinking the floor was wavy.

Taylor:  Yes, we were worried about the structure.  I did like the sloped ceilings in the bedrooms, though.  I think we had stopped arguing by the end of this showing but this is probably when we cancelled showing number 5.

Corey:  Then we were off to New Toronto!

Taylor:  I LOVED the neighbourhood!

Corey:  Until we got out of the car.

Taylor:  Oh yes, there was a weird smell in the air, but that's not what turned me off of the house.  I remember thinking as I walked up to the front door that it was so quaint that there was literally a white picket fence outside.

Corey:  But you felt creeped out in that house.  I remember you didn't want to go into the basement.

Taylor:  I know, I felt really weird in that house and I joke that it was haunted but it still makes me shudder to think about it.  

Corey:  You know, for someone who loves horror movies and haunted houses, you didn't want to live in one. :P

Taylor:  I wanted to like it!  That kitchen was almost the size of our main floor in this house and the backyard had that little gazebo and it was big enough for us to have a backyard wedding.  But I just felt so uncomfortable there that I couldn't leave soon enough!  I don't know if I ever told you this, but when we were walking upstairs I was looking at the pictures on the wall and that is when I got the WORST feeling.  It sounds crazy, doesn't it?

Corey:  No...  I don't know what creeped you out so much but you definitely felt uncomfortable there.

Taylor:  I was glad to get out of there!

Corey:  So we headed home to talk about them.

Taylor:  You loved the first house and I was ready to make an offer there.

Corey:  Yes, I did.  I was really attached to it, but the seller wasn't taking offers until the weekend.

Taylor:  I'm really glad, because it wasn't the neighbourhood that I had wanted...

Corey:  In hindsight, me neither.

Taylor:  And I woke up the next morning with total clarity.  

Corey:  Correction:  You shot out of bed at 6am saying "We shouldn't buy that house!  We need to buy the OTHER house!" and I knew exactly what you meant.  All I said was "okay."

Taylor:  How did you know I meant the second house?  It wasn't even in the running... Or had I been trying to talk you into it before bed?

Corey:  You tried to talk me into it a bit, but I knew it couldn't be the fourth house and I was pretty sure it wasn't the third.

Taylor:  Well, I remember you being sick that day, which allowed me to draw up the offer and have you sign it right away.

Corey:  And then you went to work...

Taylor:  Yes, and there was already another offer on our house, but we got it!  And the rest is history.  Do you think we made a good choice?

Corey:  Yeah, I think we did.  It's a lot of work, but so charming.  It's perfect for us, and eventually, it will be renovated exactly to our liking.

So that's the story of the first time we saw our house.  It's a good lesson that first impressions are not always best.  We were so preoccupied that evening and emotions were running high, but when I had time to think, I was able to prioritize my criteria and that is how we ended up buying a smaller house in an ideal neighbourhood!  Here are the first pictures we ever saw of our new/old house... before it was even ours:

And here are some of my favourite posts that covered our move and early renovations:

The master bedroom on moving day

Pulling up the old flooring in the dining room

Painted and decorated entrance hall

Before and after pictures of the living room

Thanks to all of you for following along this past year.  We have loved sharing our adventures with you and we hope you keep reading as we continue to make this new/old house our home!

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Crate and Barrel-O-Fun! (You guys didn't tell us that we'd actually ENJOY making our wedding registry!)

With our wedding just six months away, Corey and I are starting to feel pressure to knock a few more things off our wedding "to do" list.  Making a registry was something I had sort of been dreading because it feels so greedy... Like making the longest Santa's wish list ever!  Since we've lived together for years already, we've also been trying to brainstorm things that we actually need/can fit in our house.  When you've lived together for any length of time, you find that you already have SO MUCH STUFF!  I loved the idea of a cash registry... until I said it out loud and it sounded sort of... well, greedy.

In the end, we decided on a combination of a cash registry (which allows people to choose what sort of purchase their gift helps with, like another greyhound or a kitchen reno) and a more traditional registry at a store people would recognize and be able to access.

We ended up choosing Crate and Barrel, because so many of their accessories match our eclectic style and blend seamlessly with the vintage and locally-made pieces we already own.  I also really love that they work with artists to design custom lines and they offer many unique handmade pieces.  I recall the classic registry advice: Look at what you already have and where you purchased it.  If you recall our living room in the condo (below) you'll see that two of the only four items which were not handmade or vintage were the vase (which I use for staging all the time) from Crate and Barrel and the butterfly throw pillow, from sister store CB2.

So, as far as finding new items for our home, C&B was a pretty obvious choice.

We attended one of the "Wedding Parties" at the Yorkdale location and were excited at the prospect of having our registry questions answered and actually getting to hold all the cutlery.  The feel and balance of cutlery is very important to us and we knew we could never choose a new everyday set just based on aesthetics.

We arrived two hours before the store opened to the general public.  Isn't there something sort of decadent about shopping privately?  It made us feel sort of fabulous.

Talented manager, Tina Dennis, had styled the "goodie table" beautifully.  The food looked almost too good to eat... Almost!

We sipped fruit juices and espresso and giggled as we learned to use the scanner.  I can see how people get trigger happy with that thing!  Something about it makes you want to just scan everything and it's easy to find yourself debating about exactly how many ramekins or cheese knives you'll actually use.  Corey, how many fancy cheese parties do you think we'll host next year?  

In order to avoid the pitfall of over-zealously registering, we used the following few questions before scanning each item:

1.  Have we discussed buying this before today?
2.  Do we have a place to store this?
3.  Will we use this more than twice a year?
4.  Would we consider purchasing this on our own?

If we can answer "yes" to all four questions, we scan away!  Note- We really did find that we needed ramekins. ;)

One of my favourite things about the Yorkdale C&B is that it's so beautifully styled.  There are colourful vignettes everywhere that I'd love to copy in my own home.  We had fun browsing the eye-candy.

We ended up registering for several items (a few large, but mostly small) but I think we're most excited about the Essential Dinnerware Set.  We already have four place settings at home and we are in love with this set.  It's durable, the lines are clean and modern, and the white dishes make food look great!  We've been wanting to buy more place settings for a year, but we've held off because we knew it would make a good registry item.

We also found some great linens, kitchen tools, decor items, storage baskets and even containers for Corey's lunches.  Love this store!

After my DIY Terrarium post, you can imagine my excitement at finding these jars of pretty rocks and glass!

Corey and I both loved the Span Gateleg Dining Table.  The way it tucks away would make it perfect for apartment dwellers, but we imagined tucking it away in the family room, to unfold on occasions when we need the extra table space.  Wouldn't it be the perfect "kids table" at family gatherings?  We liked it so much, in fact, that we added it to our list.

Finally, we arrived at the flatware and probably spent an hour weighing each set in our hands, examining matching steak knives and pairing them against our dinnerware.  We finally settled on a set that we are really excited about.  It's modern (but not crazy), feels great in your hands and the proportions are perfect.  If you're curious, it's the Stanton Satin Finish.

We returned home exhausted, but we were both surprised by how much fun we had!  The staff were all so nice and encouraging and a wedding chore we had been dreading turned out to be quite easy.  What are your "must have" wedding registry items?  I'd love to know!
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