December 20, 2012

I love it, I hate it

Our plan for the kitchen island was to have some kind of wood table at the far end that would be used for our daily meals.

I always thought it would be wonderful to do a live edge, walnut slab counter but was open to other suggestions.
It just so happened that while Steve was finishing our floors, he came across a very large, single piece of walnut at Exotic Woods in Burlington and texted me a picture of it.
It was gorgeous!  And just the right size, so we went ahead and bought it.

It was actually a bit more than 2 feet longer than we needed, so we cut off the end and will use that in the main floor powder room.

The slab did have some HUGE holes and cracks in it that needed to be filled.
Steve taped the back side of all the cracks and slowly, bit by bit filled them with epoxy resin.  This process took a lot longer than we expected.  We were actually starting to wonder where all the epoxy was going!  Seriously, he would pour in a cup or so of resin in one crack to top it up, and the next day it was completely gone!  As if he never poured any in at all.

But eventually it started coming together.  We left the epoxy clear instead of colouring it brown like many companies who make these tables do.  
I love being able to see into the cracks-- gives it a bit more depth, I think.

So, it was all working out and looking pretty much amazing.

But then Steve needed to shave down one side of the slab with a skill saw and asked me to hold the end steady while he cut.
In hindsight, I now realize that this was when it all happened!

See this nasty stuff here?  Actually it's just walnut sawdust. 
But it turns out I am allergic to it!!  
I have eaten walnuts many times in my life, and am not allergic to anything else that I know of.  But 2 days after getting my face and arms covered with the offending sawdust, I broke out in a horrible, itchy, red and swollen rash.  Contact dermatitis my doctor called it.  Similar to a poison ivy reaction.

I'll spare you the pictures of my face, but this was what my arms looked like for 2 weeks.
And did I say that it was intensely itchy?  Like wake-me-up-in-the-night itchy.
Benadryl and Claratin used with a prescription cream eventually cleared it up, but not in a hurry.

So of course the big question is, can I even use this gorgeous table now?  My sister is already trying to find a place for it in her house!  No sympathy.
My doctor seems to think I should be OK once it's sealed (which has been done now).  
We haven't been using it full on yet, but I have touched it a few times and seem to be OK.  
Thank goodness!

Steve thinks I'll appreciate it more after all it's put me through.
Maybe one day.  
For now, I'm still suspicious and just growl at it now and again.

December 12, 2012

Moving in

Well, I'm exhausted, haven't eaten a decent meal in a week, and overwhelmed with my seemingly endless to-do list, but we are finally living in The Bennett house!
The whole family is really happy to be here.
The move out from our old house took a lot longer than expected.  We thought we de-cluttered enough to make it fairly easy work, but 10 years of stuff just seemed to be endless.  Toys, and paint cans, and junk drawers and stuff under the beds was seriously never-ending.  And of course, since we are living so close to the new owners, we couldn't exactly leave the place dirty either.  So the good part of a day was spent scrubbing, wiping, patching holes, painting and vacuuming.
But we got it all done, and this is what we're living with now.

This is the guest room--our current room of shame!  But it's not all that bad, really.
This is our kitchen/dining room/family room.
Although we are still waiting on our counters and oven (a story for another post!), it is pretty livable now.

The front living room isn't too bad either, except that none of our furniture really fits anywhere in this house--mismatched stuff everywhere.

I have been doing quite a bit of cleaning at this house as well.  And some unpacking.  But the problem is that we don't have organized space to unpack stuff to.  
I decided to tackle this right away by building our Ikea PAX units.  I had our contractor size our walk-in closet area to exactly fit 4 deep units on one side, and 2 shallow ones on the other.  
The plan worked out like a dream!  This is what the cubbies looked like before.

And this is how perfectly the PAX units fit.

With some of our stuff in place.

And the other side.
I need sliding doors and a few more shelves, but we're almost there.

In the middle, I mounted an Ikea mirror on hinges (I saw this done in the showroom and thought it was brilliant).

Behind it are hooks for necklaces.  
Very neat and tidy.

We've still got a lot of work ahead of us here, but at least we can comfortably live though the rest. 
And in the meantime, I'm really enjoying everything about this house.  Especially the view out the back.  
This is how we're falling asleep every night (partly because we don't have any blinds or drapes yet!).
I think it's absolutely gorgeous. It doesn't feel like we're even in the city.