Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Condo: Week 3

Can you believe I moved three weeks ago? (though technically I didn't move IN to my new place until the next day). Crazy! I thought I would be posting all the time about painting and projects...but clearly I forgot about flu season and the craziness of the holidays. Oh well, 'tis life.

I thought I would share today all the things I am loving about my new place- because so far there are no regrets about making this big move!

1. The Neighbourhood
I now live in the entertainment district, which is only a 15 minute walk from my old condo. I didn't expect it to feel so much different- but it REALLY is! I am so much closer to shops and restaurants and I have been taking full advantage in this crazy busy month. I now can walk to HomeSense, the LCBO, Bulk Barn, Dollarama, and Winners (plus a lot of other places) in just 5 minutes. There are tons of great take-out places around here and I have already hit up the sushi place downstairs three times :).


I also am now a 10 minute walk to Union Station, which is so handy as I take the train out to Pickering at least twice a month to visit friends and family. And just a one minute walk away is one of my best friends!

2. The Commute
Speaking of the neighbourhood, my commute has changed a bit too (basically I take a different streetcar than I used to). I miss being able to jaywalk one lane of traffic to grab the streetcar, but I love how my new route transfers from streetcar to subway INDOORS. No more waiting in the flipping cold for a late streetcar on my way home! And my new route has the new streetcars, which are really nice, though my old route will eventually get them too.

3. The Space!
I still can't get over how big this condo is compared to my old condo.


I currently have no place to put away a lot of my stuff and I keep wondering WHERE I put all these things in the old condo?? But I have very little furniture still so hopefully I can improve on that soon. I am still getting used to sleeping in a bedroom, and in having a den! The den is definitely my "junk room" right now...which is very dangerous. I need to get some cupboards and shelves in there stat!

I did finally gain access to my locker, so I moved a lot of "locker stuff" down there and now the den junk is just stuff waiting for a home up in the condo (like books). The main space is less cluttered now! Oh- and my locker is slightly larger than my old one as well! So that is a nice bonus.



4. The Parking Spot
I never had a parking spot before, but I am really enjoying the convenience of it with Cam visiting me every weekend. I gave him my spare keys and fob so he can come and go as he pleases. It is also ridiculously spacious for a condo parking spot. I have never seen anything like it...You can actually fit a car in on either side. It is a bit of a hike (the spot is a couple buildings over), but I learned how to get to it through a series of doors that connect the parking garages so that is great during these cold months.



5. The Building
One of my biggest concerns with buying this condo was that the builder of this condo has a terrible reputation in Toronto. However, this building is pretty mature so I don't think anything crazy will pop up now. I also find the management and security here to be awesome. They are so friendly and helpful and concierge knows EVERYONE'S name and unit. In my old building I doubt the security guard even knew I was a resident, let alone my name.

I also really like the amenities here. I finally hit up the gym, which is much larger than my old gym. Cam has been enjoying the large lap pool when he visits (I haven't gone swimming yet). There are also free fitness classes, a spa, a theatre room for watching movies, and a lot of other stuff I haven't tried yet. Everyone I have met so far in this building has been super friendly so hopefully I meet some nice people too!

So there you go- 5 reasons I am loving my new place! I think back now to my old condo and I am shocked at how small it was and how not-as-awesome that neighbourhood was and I am so happy I moved here!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Furniture!

I know...I disappeared for a week. What ever bug I had basically ruined my week and then I was super busy at the end with our company Christmas dinner and catching up on some Christmas shopping. Anyway- I wanted to share the two new pieces of furniture I got last weekend for the condo!

As you may recall, I sold all my furniture with my old condo, and therefore this place was looking a little sad- my TV was sitting on a box of books, and my table was a warped, folding card table.

Even though I would really like to upgrade my borrowed loveseat to a couch, my first priority was actually getting my TV off the ground. Do you realize how expensive TV stands are? Holy moly I was blown away by the cost of every TV stand I liked. And so many lacked any sort of storage! Finally, after a week of scouring every retailer's website, I came across a really nice-looking "natural wood" TV stand with 3 drawers on the Home Depot's website. I really liked it so I ordered it and planned to return it in store if it didn't work in my space!

The next morning, however, I was browsing Walmart's website and found the EXACT same TV stand for $50 less and faster delivery!! I quickly cancelled my order with Home Depot, ordered it from Walmart, and it showed up at my door by the end of the week (they had to leave it at my door since the concierge said it was too big to be left downstairs with him).


Then I removed 10lbs of bubble wrap and popped it open (the box...and the bubble wrap). I was concerned about the wood of the TV stand going with the reddish tones of my condo flooring, but I found it to be super pale and neutral in shade so I was alright with it!


Then Cam came over and I put him and his car to work right away because I had ALSO found a table on Craigslist that I liked! So I made him drive me over to a condo in the west end where I picked up a table and two chairs for $125. The table ALMOST wouldn't fit in Cam's car (and I thought for sure I wasn't going to fit in either and would need to take the TTC home). But somehow we all made it home in one trip.

I had wanted a 42" diameter glass table and that is exactly what this table is! Such a find! The chairs are in OK condition, but I think I am going to look for a set of four upholstered chairs.


After we set the table back up (it came apart to fit in the car), I got to work assembling my new TV stand. This thing was a beast, with enough parts to put Ikea to shame, but I got it all together in the end! The drawers are a little smaller than I would have liked (it doesn't store nearly as much as my old TV stand), but I really like it!


Then, as you know, I got sick all week. I sure was glad I didn't put off putting the TV stand together! On Sunday, my mom and stepdad came by and dropped off my old childhood dresser. Hurray for no longer keeping my clothes in stacked boxes! This dresser isnt quite big enough for my needs (I think I need something with deeper drawers), and the colour isn't working in here, but for now it is awesome to have a place to put my clothes.


I still need quite a bit more furniture, but now I am feeling a little less like I am just temporarily living here. :). I have my eye on a couch I really like right now too...just need to convince the cheapskate in me that it will be worth the investment! Why did I have to go and have such expensive tastes?

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Condo Home Tour!

I had plans this weekend. I was going to go to the paint store and get some samples (thank you for all your suggestions!), I was going to make a trip to Ikea to buy some stuff for the condo, I was going to CLEAN and finish unpacking. But a big ol germ bug decided my plans were not as important as his plans to make me sick all weekend. So here I am, home on a Monday with a bad cold, having spent most of my weekend in bed. I even ran a fever at one point. I am no good with colds.

Anywho, being home on Monday meant I could actually take some nice photos of my new space in the daylight. Though I didn't really clean because I am exhausted from fighting this cold...but hey- that is a "true" before photo- right? At least the lighting is good- I hate before photos where the lighting is totally different from the afters.

Let's begin!

Floor plan:



Ignore the furniture in this floor plan- it is representative of what I hope the "after" of this space to be! The condo is 733 sq ft and the balcony is 32 sq ft. My old condo was only 394 sq ft- so this place is nearly DOUBLE the space!

Front Entry/ Den






The front hall is a little hard to photograph, but there isn't much there right now anyway. However there is a lot of space to build in some storage, so that is my plan! I want to get some shoe storage and a couple stylish hooks for coats because the coat closet is a little far from the door. The den will eventually be storage and an office/sewing room, though right now it is still full of stuff destined for the locker. I don't have the energy right now to work on that.

Bathroom:



The bathroom is a fairly standard size for a condo, but it can definitely be improved to allow for more storage. Condos don't often have linen closets, so once again I will need to find a place for towels in here! I also plan on one day putting in a larger vanity to help with the storage issue. For aesthetics, the room just needs a good paint job and for the grout in the shower to be redone (I am planning on using one of the grout pens to even out the colour)

Bedroom:



I love love love having a bedroom!! The room is about 11x11ft, with each corner kind of cut out by closets, the HVAC system, and the door, but it still feels huge to me! I originally thought I would get rid of the small closets and build a single one, or use the den as a walk in, but they have really grown on me so I think they are staying. The dresser is on loan from my childhood bedroom but I don't think it'll work long-term for a variety of reasons. However, for now it is great to be able to put my clothes away.

Kitchen:



I love the giant kitchen in this condo! It is 12 ft wide and the island is 6 ft long....soooo much room for cooking and baking! I keep forgetting I have all the space and that I don't need to do all my prep in a 1 ft space. My dishwasher is still broken, but I have ordered the part I think it needs and then I can toss that dish drying rack and get even more counter space back. The island has HUGE pot drawers, which is turning out to be one of my favourite features. The cabinets are a little worn, but still in decent shape, so my plans in here revolve around handles, appliances, faucet (remember how I won one from Delta at Blogpodium? So excited to finally order and get it installed!) and backsplash. The tiny little handles currently installed are the WORST. Impossible to open with wet hands and constantly surrounded by fingerprints from trying to grasp them...they will be going soon!

Living Room:






The living room is really nice and large and I have been slowly getting some furniture in here too (see the new table and TV stand??). The couch is a loveseat on loan from my mom while I search for a nice big one. I thought the TV and couch being angled away from each other would be an issue, but I have been finding it perfectly comfortable. You can see the doors to the bedroom and bathroom on the right of the bottom picture. It was really nice to have Cam be able to play his guitar and watch TV this weekend while I slept off my cold in the bedroom. That definitely wouldn't have been pleasant in the old condo when everything was in one room!

Overall I am loving my new condo and my new neighbourhood and feeling really good about making this leap. I really feel that this condo has so much style potential and that these before pictures will be a distant memory in just a few months!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ideas for the New Condo

I am hating this stage where I know there are soooo many projects for this condo and so many things to buy, but all I want to do in the evenings is sit in my PJs and eat Peppermint Bark Haagen Dazs (yes, that is a thing and it is as good as it sounds). It completely stresses me out because I am so used to living in a new and fully decorated home...but these things take time (and money!).

So far I have ordered a TV stand, which will hopefully come on Friday! I am not sure if it will go with my floors, so I will let you know how it looks on Monday. For couches I think I am settled on the idea of a sectional with a chaise, and I have fallen in love with the Quinn Sectional at West Elm, but their Canadian store rarely has furniture in stock so it may be a no-go. I like sectionals where the chaise can switch sides so I am keeping an eye out for other options.

I have decided the couch will go along the wall and face the windows. It just makes a lot more sense to have the city as the view when sitting on the couch, and not a wall. I didn't buy a condo with a wall of windows to turn my back on them!


As for a dining table, I am thinking of getting a small glass round table that can fit 4 chairs. I don't entertain people for dinner often, so I don't need anything crazy. I also made some adjustments to the living room plan...I'm thinking 2 armchairs?! I always wanted armchairs :). One would need to be a slipper chair, since Cam needs an armless chair for practicing guitar. And then I am going to try and sneak a bookcase like this one from Crate and Barrel onto one side of the couch.


Oh, and for the front hall I am planning on getting some shoe cabinets from Ikea (like two of these, but I will make a single top out of a plank of wood). And for the den I am currently thinking of storage/bookshelves along one wall and a fold down table with a comfy chair for the other wall.

For the bedroom I have been thinking of a storage bed for a little extra clothing space. I still need to get a dresser too! I am also toying with the idea of a slim console table with a mirror above it on one side  of the room to store the throw pillows under and provide a tiny spot for doing makeup and hair.

And besides all the fun furniture buying, I still need to paint the whole condo and upgrade some hardware in the kitchen. And fix my broken dishwasher. And price out new appliances. And find a money fairy.

Do you know any good light grey/beige "griege" colours? There are too many options out there and paint chips are taking over the condo!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Move

Moving day was pretty horrible. My plan was to move out of the old condo in the morning, then move into the new condo in the late afternoon. Since I had sold all my furniture, I just rented a large rental cargo van for the day. Moving OUT was pretty straightforward. Cam and I got up ridiculously early and my Dad came at 7:00am. I picked up my van and was back at 8:00am, and then we moved everything into the van and we were done by 9:30am!

Thankfully the condo let me park the van outside all day (albeit I needed to maneuver that sucker into a tight space), so we just hung out inside while I waited for the keys to my new place. Late morning I found out there were a couple of hiccups with my mortgage money coming in and that the other lawyer for the sellers did not take wire transfers (which is the normal way to move funds in real estate transactions). So I spent all day sitting around in my old condo playing the waiting game! We ordered some pizza for lunch, my dad went home, and at 4pm Cam and I locked up and drove to the condo, hoping beyond hope that this stupid thing would be done by 5pm.

I had a few minutes to walk around and take some last photos!





It was really weird seeing the place empty. It felt kind of like a dorm room, with all the empty furniture. I was surprisingly not sad, but I definitely was pre-occupied with stressing over moving into the new condo.

I originally had the elevator booked at the new condo for 1-5pm...and that time was slowing slipping by. I had called the management office earlier and they let me extend my elevator booking until 8pm, even though they don't usually allow move-ins after 5pm. However, 5pm came with no keys. My lawyer and I had been in touch all day and I could tell he was getting more and more frustrated. Basically because he had to close the sale of my old condo and get the new mortgage funds (which got delayed because at the last minute they wanted new financials from the condo corporation), there simply wasn't enough time to courier a cheque out to Markham to close my new place! This is why lawyers ALL use wire transfers now!!! So my new place didn't close!

Anyway, I called Budget Rentals and extended my van rental for another day, then we drove back to my mom's in Pickering. I was so beyond stressed out and upset. I couldn't book the elevator for Friday or even Saturday because it was booked for TWO weeks solid. This meant I now had to move in one bin at a time and couldn't bring in furniture! At my mom's I consumed a bunch of wine and chinese food and went to bed super stressed. I should also mention that this was mine and Cam's anniversary and I had hoped we would be moved in and could go out to dinner...but instead he spent the night trying to help me relax.

Friday Cam and I drove out to Toronto and finally got my keys since the lawyers closed the deals first thing in the morning. Then we went to the condo and finally opened that door!! Mom and Lee showed up with the van later in the morning and beyond all miracles the guys who had booked the elevator finished early and we were allowed to use the moving elevator for 1 hour! Just enough time to get everything in!!



We got to work cleaning and I returned the van and got us some lunch! Then at 3:30pm my new bed showed up. Again, I hadn't been able to book the elevator and I was stressed about sweet-talking whoever had it booked to let me borrow it for 5 minutes, but thankfully those people also finished early and the bed people had no problems! I was finally able to stop stressing!!

Mom and Lee headed home and then Cam and I had a bunch of unpacking to do. The cable & internet guy came in the evening as well...and then finally we were able to kick back and relax with some take out sushi. Overall it was a super stressful move...but thankfully everything settled into place and now I just have a LOT of furniture shopping to do! Remind me of this day if I ever say I am moving again...


Monday, December 1, 2014

New Condo!

Hello! I am finally all moved into my new condo!! It ended up being a huggggge nightmare to move, but I think that is a story for another post, because today I want to share photos of my new space. I am so excited to finally be in here! I was going to take some nice "before" shots, but I was so busy with errands that I missed all the natural light, so an official tour will have to wait a week.

But let's begin!

The condo was super duper dirty when I bought it, but my parents and Cam helped out and scrubbed the place clean! I still need to wash the windows and floorboards and fun things like that...but I am so happy it is clean. Feels much more like home and just seems like everything is in much better shape.




I loooove my kitchen (even though my dishwasher is leaking...hahah). I am so not used to actually having to walk to places to get things while I am cooking, but those giant pot drawers make up for all faults in here ;). The oven was a nasty disaster....I don't think it had been cleaned since the condo was built over 10 years ago and there was still a sticker on the front! But I ran a self-clean cycling and got my scrubbing muscles out and now it is spotless and feels like new.



I've got a little card table set up right now (which is the only place I can keep my wig since the stand needs to clip onto something). My Mom and stepdad also lent me a loveseat, which is working out great until I can buy a new couch. My TV stand is...a box. Hopefully I will find something I like soon! My side tables are boxes and bins that have yet to be unpacked. I have no surfaces in the condo, except the kitchen counters, so decorative items and books are remaining packed. But I got my Christmas tree up on Saturday! Hopefully Santa gets my change of address forms!



I am loving having a real bedroom. My new bed is in and the queen size didn't seem that much bigger than my old bed, but it feels great when sleeping! Lots of room to spread out. Right now I just have the box spring on the floor. And my dresser is a bunch of moving boxes (I blacked out my underwear and bras because that seemed weird to post on the internets). My Mom has a dresser I can use so hopefully I'll get that in the next couple weeks. There was just no room in their car with the loveseat in there. The bedroom definitely needs a coat of paint. It looks nice in these photos, but its a dirty off-white in person. I'm thinking of painting the bed alcove something fun while I plan out what I want to do with the space long-term.


The bathroom was one of the grossest spots in the condo (except for maybe the furnace filter, which looked like it hadn't been changed in 10 years), but my wonderful mom spent 2 hours scrubbing it down and now it is looking great! My shower curtain looks great with the tiles too. There is no storage in here, so please excuse the mess. I need to get a medicine cabinet and maybe one day a larger vanity.


My den has become the catch-all space for junk right now. There is a lock on my locker door (whether from the previous owner or someone there illegally, who knows), so I need to wait for the management office to open so they can get someone to cut it off. A lot of this stuff will then be moving down there! The locker is a great size, so I am happy about that. My parking spot is really awesome too- lots of space around it to back in and out. I haven't decided if I am going to rent it out or not (they rent for about $150/month), but so far it has been really handy for Cam visiting.

I am really excited to start working on this condo. There are lots of little projects to do and a LOT of painting to start working on....hopefully by this time next year it will be looking a lot nicer and a lot more like home!
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