Archive for ‘Products’

Thursday, March 1, 2012

after the storm

Recovering here from a week afflicted with that mean coughing bug that’s been making the rounds and monday night’s hail storm, my poor house and some damage control is in the works, yard drainage issues setting us back a good month now. I’m beginning to think this reno process enjoys our company a little too much, right when you think you’re nearly done, the rug of course gets pulled right from under you. What’s a little more work thrown into the lot? they won’t mind kinda deal. Mind we do of course but there’s not much you can do but bite your tongue and keep on.

And as quickly as the gopher assisted bamboo came crashing down the cable railing installation on the decks and stairways went up as well, much thanks to the guys at Pacific Rigging Loft, Inc. in San Diego. Honest dudes that did not take us for a ride and the kind of quality and good workmanship you dream of. Very nice solid stainless steel poles and cables and we finished the top rail ourselves, custom cutting, sanding and oiling mangaris handrails to blend in with the rest of the house, soften the look of the steel frame. Success.

Monday, February 20, 2012

guest shower/tub

A jack of all trades here and if ever he loses his day job there’s some comfort knowing he could build houses, less likely to starve is more like it but in this construction slump, who knows? And as I write this, I picture some heavy eye-rolls directed my way so in my defense I’m also proclaiming he’s officially retired from any more masonry work; ceramic, glass, stone tile, it’s all in the past now. Guest shower and tub done! and just 2 more to wrap up.

Izola shower curtain

Thursday, February 16, 2012

still here

My trip’s been postponed til next month now and I’m still here nudging away on the house, it’s all for the best as our crew has diminished from 3 to 2 now, just me and dude are left to wrap it all up.  So yeah, after nearly 6 months of Cali surf and sun and being the extra hands to help out with our house my brother just left to return home. And no, we couldn’t have taken on this project without all the free labor and critical support from our families, so very thankful for all the good will.

Finally countertops on the brain lately and we went with a Silestone quartz. We were back and forth on the color, from a lighter shade with a natural vein to a flat light grey with no natural vein, the decision’s been made now and there’s no turning back, you’ll see soon enough, the install is late next week.

And then I came across these morroccan tiles and I thought oooh pretty, colorful and fun and so very different from what we’re doing. I do love it though, the colors and patterns do inspire just perhaps for another house, another kitchen, another lifetime maybe..

photo from TimeOut New York

photo from Kitchen Clarity

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

wood burning stove

It’s up and running finally, my brand new contemporary European Pallas Back wood burning stove that I got nearly 2 years ago for half the price on ebay, a score with a few glitches of course. The first stove they shipped arrived damaged with half of the wood crate missing, really? Take two and the second stove arrived intact at our front door. There was then the dilemma of moving this 500lb cast iron beast to sit in storage for over a year, which it did until we were finally ready for it, traveling up our sloping driveway to the road again, through the front door and into the house. It took a few people and a furniture dolly and if that wasn’t enough, try purchasing adapter pieces for a metric European stove when you live in the U.S., a country who’s main system of measurement is still the imperial system. And the photos I’ve seen of this stove model prior to purchasing it were all ones where the stove was set up right against the wall, and me knowing nothing about wood burning stove rules/regulations I soon realized that that’s an impossible scenario, a wood burning stove has to clear the wall by 18″ for fire safety. We also had to address the dude who built the chimney in the first place screwing up the measurements, the stove now needed to be an inch more off of the ground to have it line up right into the wall so yeah, we had to build up the section directly under the stove with some concrete and tile to match too. We figure one day after a good long break from building we’ll attempt to build a stone wall directly behind the stove so the heat can radiate off of that, super efficient.

Fact being, there were too many trips to fireplace shops, different solutions from different salespeople, some advice completely wrong and my words of wisdom after all of this, if you’re not certain get a second opinion. Henning’s Wood Burning Stoves in Vista was great help, and even when their parts did not fit onto our Euro stove they directed us to hit up a sheet metal place that could custom make something to fit and Addison Sheet Metal near the beach in Carlsbad did just that, delivered real quick too, nice! And considering our furnace isn’t running yet and we jumped the gun on moving in, having a wood burning stove to heat up the house now is ideal, it’s so efficient and it doesn’t take much time nor wood for the house to be toasty warm. Good thing we have lots of firewood from the trees we cut down when we first bought the property, that and the scraps from construction should last us for many, many years, sweet!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

a concrete countertop and on the other side of the ocean

Another year under our belt and despite my new kitchen not installed yet, no grand dinners at home cause of it, we still managed to have a relaxing holiday with lots of good food and drinks while we worked on the house with pandora radio keeping our ears happy. If you don’t know, it’s a personalized internet radio service site that’s free and it usually gets it right with its suggestions, sometimes it f***s with me though and thinks I must be a jazz fan, that and some random nobody metal band, really? An immediate thumbs down on those selections. Overall pandora’s a great service for music fans (free too) while we work on the house. The guys this week started building a concrete countertop for the downstairs bathroom vanity, hope it works.

This holiday I also caught up on frivolous stuff too like watching the entire season of PBS’s Downton Abbey and Showtime’s The Tudors. I’m a sucker for period dramas and stories, the costumes, the accents, the politics of the day, it always manages to be an all encompassing escape for me from my everyday. It reminds me of the last time I met up with my parents in Laos, it sort of became a long history lesson via film for me as well. Because of how hot it can get during the day it’s normally an early rise and shine for everyone, all our errands and visiting at my family’s textile shop is done first thing in the morning and usually back at home by noon, safe from the blazing afternoon heat. My afternoons then would be spent watching random dvds I’d find over there, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. No theaters around and it’s the only way you get to watch any kind of foreign movie so I’d stock up on all the older period flicks, my history lesson for the day while waiting for the sun to cool down. In a remote city in South East Asia and yet at the same time I’m swept away in the stories of the English countryside, completely opposite ends of the spectrum and just like that though it happens. So yeah, it sucks that my family’s far away and if only the other side of the world was just a short trip away, how nice that’d be, hopefully soon I’ll see everyone again.

Early morning traffic in Vientiane, Laos

Make way for the tuk tuks too.

My cousin, Mali rummaging through all the handwoven silk.

Getting groceries for the day. Vendors selling their fresh produce, farmers markets all along the street everyday all day, supermarkets don’t exist here.

No lack of amazing street food too.

The original Emerald Buddha Temple is in Vientiane. Humble temple grounds, it’s a quiet retreat right in the middle of the city that’s still standing after so many battles and wars, so much history here.

Our mode of transportation in the ‘hood with my mom.

And every night we get pretty sunsets along the Mekong River right behind our house.

Friday, December 30, 2011

interior doors

This latest task of installing the interior doors for the house feels like it’s taking forever, a total of 9 solid mahogany wood doors we custom ordered through Timberline Mouldings in San Marcos and Lee at Builders Trading Company in Leucadia had 3 interior solid fir doors in his shop that we got for the rooms downstairs. Of course all 12 prehung doors were unfinished so for the past couple of weeks we’ve been knee deep sanding, staining, clear coats to smooth and matte, then screwing the doors into place to level before installing the hardware, also having to stain and install all the mouldings too, yeah, what a process! So many steps and you know I’m happy to not see another door for a long time, like never again suits me fine too. Almost done and not sure what my final consensus on the doors are yet. Right now I’m thinking I like how the fir doors turned out, the grain’s not so busy and the color more consistent, mahogany looks a bit busier and the variations in color, etc. just not feeling it so much, who knows? it takes a couple weeks for the clear coat to completely dry to matte and  I’m hoping it’ll grow on me then, whatever the case, it’s too late to change my mind, it’s been so much work and you can’t exchange custom ordered doors. Construction and reno pains, right?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Kind of low maintenance when it comes to hair, make up stuff, but one thing I try to keep up monthly is a visit to the semi-permanent eyelash salon. Luckily I have decent length lashes to start with but I can always count on Holly at this little hole in the wall shop called Poshe in San Diego to work her magic, she follows the length of my natural lashes and makes them thicker, lots of volume and mascara is a thing of the past now, no more possible raccoon eyes, it’s genius. Try it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

a cedar closet

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

Found 5 boxes of these unused miscellaneous solid cedar panels that someone was about to throw in a dumpster, they’ve since been rescued and it’s now a brand new cedar wall in the master bedroom closet. An afternoon spent nailing cedar panels with Neil Young for company and when he sings, “everytime I think about back home, it’s cool and breezy” I couldn’t help but think, that’s an understatement folks, we both know well that Winnipeg right about now is freezing. The cold definitely brings out the Canadian in me, and why when complaining about my freezing fingers and toes it’s always punctuated with an “eh” and all my sentences there after are too until I find a heater and warm up? Strangely it’s been so frickin cold here lately, we are getting a rare spell of chilly Santa Ana’s, who knew they blew cold? Then I look at the temperature and it’s only 11C, not even close to how cold Canadian winters are where I grew up. Just maybe 11C along the SoCal coast feels colder than below freezing in Winnipeg? NO, not buying it, more like too many winters away from Winterpeg for me and I’m just really thin-skinned now. And funny the wall we just put up looks like bacon, good thing it smells of cedar,  fancy, huh? and free, I like it. All this wood paneling is like a sneak peak of the infrared sauna I have my sights on for a corner under the stairs, the space is limited but this model should slide in by a hair…sauna, yes, please.

Bacon and Neil Young, that’s this closet’s memory.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Little Punky Brewster (not so little anymore) bringing us some artisanal jewellry from Haiti via Only 23 hours left before the sale ends, support the artisans, their efforts to rebuild after the devastating earthquake, their mission of sustainability and self-sufficiency with handmade colorful recycled-paper and paper-machier bead jewelry. And not just jewelry, go mad and link together the beads to make garlands to decorate the house with for the holidays, that’d be pretty, holiday decor with a conscience, an inspiring story.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

lights, action!

We’re lit folks! Our building inspector called in the work order the other week, power transfer’s complete, temporary power pole is history and it’s all legit. The next time we’ll be seeing the inspector again will be when the house is done, our FINAL inspection.

One of 4 Random lights that I bought last year on craigslist that came from a production studio warehouse in L.A., it was a smokin’ deal, the thing was I had to purchase 4. One’s up now, right over the staircase set against a large picture window, our bright transparent orb in the corner. So HOT!