Instaweek Recap

It’s been a busy week! We accomplished some more yard work, and exterior maintenance. We also hosted a BBQ, went out for a motorcycle ride, and got started on some small woodworking projects! I will be back next week to share more, but here’s an Instagram recap of what we’ve been up to!

I love working on a small project, just for creativity's sake.
I love working on a small project, just for creativity’s sake.
We took El Granto's baby out for a spin. Woot!
We took El Granto’s baby out for a spin. Woot!
Testing out dark trim.
Testing out dark trim.
Raising the grain on a small woodworking project.
Raising the grain on a small woodworking project.
The days of windows open weather are limited. I will take very moment I can get.
The days of windows open weather are limited. I will take very moment I can get.
DUDE! I got to hold a Paralympic Bronze Medal!
DUDE! I got to hold a Paralympic Bronze Medal!
Choosing Paint colours for the exterior rear of the storefront
Choosing Paint colours for the exterior rear of the storefront
This dog kills me. How can I leave him and go to work?
This dog kills me. How can I leave him and go to work?
This is what happens to chalk paint when you accidentally leave it in the garage all winter. Oops.
This is what happens to chalk paint when you accidentally leave it in the garage all winter. Oops.
Our backyard mural hasnt faded much. We contemplated painting it in solid (but the chalk paint is kapoot) Any rec's on fading it more?
Our backyard mural hasn’t faded much. We contemplated painting it in solid (but the chalk paint is kapoot)

What have you got planned for this weekend?


Adventure Time

Today I leave on a big adventure. I haven’t gotten to travel a lot thus far in my life. I didn’t go on exotic or cultural vacations as a kid, I wasn’t born overseas (El Granto was born in South Africa!) or backpack through Europe on my gap year (El Granto moved to Alberta and taught snowboarding!). In fact, I haven’t really been overseas since I was a kid. The farthest I’ve flown since then was Vancouver or Las Vegas.

Continue reading “Adventure Time”

Spring in my Step

I think we are all letting out a collective groan this week as we see the calendar mark the first day of spring yet winter boots still reside on our feet and snowbanks border our yards.

There is one thing that I’ve found immensely helpful in overcoming the winter blues;  I’ve started prepping for my upcoming trip to Denmark. (Guys I leave for Copenhagen in 12 days!) Escaping Toronto has given me the push I needed to pamper myself with a spring makeover of sorts. I’ve treated myself to new glasses. A new haircut. New shoes, clothes and El Granto got me a fancy new purse. I’ve pampered myself like it’s summer, and it’s been a game changer.


We also went out shopping and got El Granto some new duds, and I have to say there’s more skip in his step as well. I find I never buy or do anything for myself in the winter months. Before Christmas I’m buying & making gifts for others. Post holidays I am penny pinching, and the last thing I’m thinking of is getting myself a treat. But march rolls around and I haven’t got myself anything new since October and heck I could really use a new pair of jeans and dammit my socks have holes in them!

My therapy of choice is “invest in me”. Man is it feeling good.


I even said screw you winter and wore flats today (high of +4 and sunny!)

What have you done just for yourself lately?

El Granto’s New Baby

In the last 5 years our lives have gone through a lot of change. We got engaged, married, bought a house, got a dog etc. We became grown ups (well as much as we ever could). In the midst of saving for and paying for all these large milestones, one of El Granto’s passions got put on the backburner.

El Granto loves motorcycles. Especially the cafe racer variety. He purchased his first motorcycle about 7 years ago. A 1972 Honda CB360 lovingly named Penelope. She was a good little bike, but as she was 40 years old she needed some help. He had her running well for a while but when the above mentioned real life things came up, poor Penelope started to show her age. She ended up needing more work than was viable, and last spring El Granto sadly put her up for sale.

Ever since that day, the poor guy has had a sadness in his eyes when he watches a cafe racer (or any bike really) drive by on a sunny summer day. He looks wistfully at our friends motorcycles stored in our garage. He had new motorcycles set as his desktop wallpaper and I often caught him pricing out new bikes and doing quiet math sorting figures and determining how much he would have to save to make a new bike a reality.

After 3+ years of saving his pennies, El Granto has finally made his dream a reality. This past Saturday a truck and trailer pulled up in our neighbourhood and a nice man unloaded a shiny new 2014 Triumph Thruxton 900 and started it up. The odometer stated 000000km’s and the man handed El Granto a folio and a set of keys and said “She’s all yours.”

The grin on his face was priceless. More excited than a kid on Christmas, El Granto had gotten his dream new toy (I may have even seen a tear). He walked around it looking at all its shiny chrome and listening to the purr of the engine. He donned his helmet and gloves and took her around the block coming back to the garage with his horn blaring getting our neighbours to come out and see the new toy!

As it’s still (woefully) winter here in Toronto, he had to unfortunately pack her away in the garage and wait for spring.

I have caught him out there in the cold garage with a light on happily sitting on his new bike. Playing with the steering lock, or removing the cowl. He can’t wait for sunshine and dry pavement, and I can’t wait to see his smile as he revs her up and takes her for a spin.


A Wee Bit Cold

While the East coast is getting hit with a big snowstorm, here in Toronto its cold. Like really cold. For the third time in three weeks its dipped into the -30’s with the windchill. For my American friends that’s about -22 Fahrenheit.  A week an a half ago it actually went below -40c (-40f).

While it was only -32 when we woke up this morning, we were greeted with frost on the inside of our front door.

Frost on Doorknob


Yes, I know I live in Canada. Yes I know it gets cold here.

However Toronto usually doesn’t get this kind of cold. We are usually buffeted by the lake and get very little in the way of snowfall, and usually we are about 5 degrees warmer that other areas. Apparently Mother Nature decided to teach Torontonians a lesson this year, and show us what a real winter is like. (p.s. it’s a bitch)

So as you can imagine, we haven’t done much on the house in the last few weeks! We are working away on a lighting project that we hope to finish this week. We are bundling up on the sofa watching Klondike, and HGTV on repeat. The dog refuses to go out for walks, and wants to be underneath blankets at all times, and we had soup for dinner last night (I hate soup.)

Excuse me while I go drown my cold weary bones in hot hot coffee.

Storefront For Sale

We’re selling the Storefront and moving to Paris! Not. Well unless the unchecked lottery ticket in my purse pays out.

Nah, we are not selling our house. We’re still madly in love with it, and have many more plans and projects to finish yet. However if you are looking for a storefront conversion of your own, one just came up for sale in the neighborhood. Since we moved into our house, I have become a little obsessed with other converted storefronts. Its the same way when you own a unique model car or motorcycle, every other person who owns similar make or model is a friend. You wave at each other on the street and there’s just this untold bond. Or again, maybe that’s just me.

If you’d like to join the Storefront club (by the way, it’s awesome, and full of super cool attractive people.) There is a recently completed modern storefront conversion for sale in our hood.

I have been following the renos of these two semidetached storefronts. They happen to be located on our evening dog walking route, so we have seen them go from structurally questionable uninhabited structures to pretty awesome modern conversions.

Before - Google Streetview undated image
Before – Google Streetview undated image
Before - Undated Google Streetview
Before – Undated Google Streetview

Here’s an image from my post on Storefront Conversions showing midway progress on the two storefronts.

Mid Conversion (Spring/Summer 2013)
Mid Conversion (Summer 2013)

In the last few weeks the finishing details really have been coming together. Last week when walking past I noticed a for sale sign on one of them, and of course I just had to check it out. In the name of Storefront love, not just being a nosy neighbour.

So kids, if you’ve got $895,000 in the bank and would like to live in a converted storefront in my neighbourhood, this place may be for you.

(photos from MLS listing)

Specs: 3 story semidetached, 3 bedroom, 4 bath, 1920 square foot. Lot size 16.67×92 feet. (Its the house on the right in these photos)


I like the use of black windows and a mix of materials. The pop of cedar is a nice touch.


The open concept house opens into the diningroom.


Then heads into the open plan kitchen with high gloss white cabinets. A staircase leading upstairs is on the right.219174

The large kitchen features high end appliances. I believe the cabinets are Ikea.


The glass wall & staircase keep with the open plan.


The bathroom finishes are all sleek and modern.


The master is located all by itself on the third floor. Complete with ensuite bathroom and master rooftop deck.


I’m going to take a page out of Old Town Home’s book and weigh the pros and cons of our house and this one.


Pro’s: With the third floor addition, this house has about 400 square feet of space more than our house. I love the addition of the third floor master & deck (I am lusting after a rooftop deck big time). We have a private master deck, but its not half as big. I love that they kept a lot of windows, and the place is light and bright. It is also 4 feet wider than our place, so it seems a lot bigger. They waterproofed & finished the basement. This is something that would never happen with our place, so it gets me a bit jealous. They also managed to cram 4 bathrooms into the house. With our 1.5 bath, this has me super envious. Not to mention a master en-suite. Want.

Con’s: No garage. This one would be a deal breaker. Motorcycles don’t really fit in basements very well. Not to mention an ever growing list of wood working tools. The backyard is also a bit small. As you may have noticed, I am also a bit of a traditionalist. Although I do like  a modern home, I cant help but wish they’d kept a few of the older features. Mainly the brick. They painted the exposed brick on the sides, but stuccoed the front and  back. Me no like stucco. There was also a nice brick detail pattern that was removed. The kitchen is a bit of an odd layout. It is a huge kitchen, but seems fairly empty with cabinets along one side. The living area is small in comparison, and I feel like they could have used a better kitchen layout, and given some of the space to the living room. Although that roof top deck is awesome, it’s also the main outdoor entertaining spot. So guests will have to traipse through your master bedroom to get to the deck. If you are bbqing out there, it also means getting your food & dishware up two flights of stairs and through your bedroom.

Conclusion: It’s a great house. Perfect for a young couple. Would we sell our place and make the move? I would consider it if it had a garage! But alas, without a garage we are staying put in our beloved storefront.

What do you think? Is this storefront conversion up your alley?

(I am in no way affiliated with the owners or agent of this property, I am just a nosy neighbour!)