The Time Mike Holmes Fixed our House

I completely missed our Blog Anniversary last week!

On July 5th, we officially turned two!

I had plans of a whole Blogaversary week with my fave stuff, behind the scenes etc, but heck, summer happened, and so did work in our backyard. However, I will give you one flash back post!

I was talking to a good blog friend a few weeks ago, and mentioned that my lifelong dream was to have my own show on HGTV, and that we had loved being on Holmes Inspection. She gave me the WAIT WAIT WAIT, you were on HOLMES INSPECTION? And I was all like “yeah dude, Mike Holmes fixed our house! It’s on my blog!”. Then I realized I posted about being on the show on my 2nd ever blog post. Back when…oh about two people read the blog (Thanks Moms!)

So I said to myself. “Maybe my new readers don’t know about the time I cried on international TV, and Mike Holmes saved our butts”.

Here’s the scoop. We moved into our place, and had big problems from day one. We were in over our heads, and had spent ALL our money on buying the place. We had a home inspection (from a VERY reputable company) but a lot of things were missed.

Mike, Damon & the team stepped in, and fixed all the problems hiding behind the walls of the Storefront.

I wont spoil the show for you, so head on over to HGTV and give it a watch!

Watch Moisture Madness
Watch our episode “Moisture Madness” on

For my American & International readers, I don’t think it will let you watch it on the Canadian site, and I do not see whole episode listed as streaming on Keep an eye out for our episode on your local listings, or give it a google and see if you can find it.

Our Episode: Holmes Inspection Moisture Madness.


We get a ton of questions about the show. Here are answers to your most asked questions!

Whats Mike Like? Exactly as you see him on TV! He is kind, friendly, funny, and cares sooo much about quality construction, and helping people! The first time we met him was literally when he knocked on our door in the show. Nothing is scripted. He is genuine, and it was awesome to have Mike and his team come to our rescue.

Did we have to move out? Yep! We had a lot of construction going on, and some safety concerns, so we moved out for the duration of the show. We stayed at Grant’s Mom & Dad’s place, and the only time mid construction that we came back to the house was when you see us come back in the show.

How did we get on the show, and why did we apply? It was Christmas time, the house was falling apart around us, and no contractors were returning our calls as it was the Holidays. Defeated, we were sitting on the sofa watching TV, and a Holmes Inspection marathon was on HGTV. El Granto turned to me and said we should apply. I said, oh our house isn’t THAT bad, is it? He said…well, yeah it is. We emailed them our story via their casting call on I drafted the email, read it back aloud to El Granto, and burst into tears, as yeah, it did sound pretty terrible when you put it all on paper. Our story must have been compelling, as they picked us!


When did the show air? It aired in September 2011, a week and a half before our wedding! Don’t worry, we still got married, although we did have to postpone our honeymoon, and never did get to go to Europe. Instead we took a short tropical honeymoon six months later.

Did you have to pay? How much? Sorry guys, we’re not discussing anything about money. That’s private!

Would we do it again? OF COURSE! They saved our butts! We owe Mile & the team a world of gratitude and I don’t know where we’d be without them. We now have an awesome home, that we are loving putting our own stamp on.


Let me know if you have any more questions, and I will do the best to answer them.

Have you ever be on TV? Have any television aspirations? What did you think of our episode?


Real Estate….Movies?

When we were looking to buy our first home, we looked at a LOT of houses. From scouring the MLS daily to Open Houses on weekends and weeknight showings. We saw our fair share of homes; over 100 to be exact.

During that time we witnessed various marketing initiatives from the estate agents selling those homes. We saw everything from MLS listings without a single picture, to websites created just to sell one house. We had bags full of sell sheets, flyers, magnets, flashlights, pens etc. I thought I had seen pretty much every real estate marketing technique around. Until I stumbled upon this You Tube video from a local agent.

Instead of a sell sheet, this agent decided to sell the lifestyle. He showcases how someone would use the home, and while doing it, he manages to tell you all the cool stuff about the house without saying a word. You see the neighborhood, public transportation, parks, quiet street, parking, spacious entry, gorgeous bathroom, walk in closet,  (strange) wine cellar above the bedroom, a chefs kitchen with pot filler, gas range, big fridge & farmhouse sink. Then it shows the technology the home has, with baseboard vac, a/c and a nest home thermostat. Finishing off with nice comfortable dining room perfect for a lovely dinner, and an outdoor deck.

I personally think the agent did a great job with this video. It appeals to young couples looking for something with a new build feel, with some charm. If I was in the market (and had $869k to drop on a house) I would definitely go for a showing.

What do you think? Seen any other real estate videos?

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of real estate. Congrats to Wendy at Old Town Home for making the leap, quitting her job and becoming a real estate agent in Old Town Alexandria. I am envious of her following her passion!


*Just to clarify this is not my real estate agent, I don’t even know him! Just found the video online and thought it was great.

Printmakers Cabinet – Frame Supplies

It’s starting to get warmer out again. Do you know what that means? It’s finally warm enough to stand out in our unheated garage for more than 30 seconds, and be able to operate saws and equipment without mittens. Yep kids, that means it’s project time.

I have had my eye on a new media cabinet for the living room for a good long time. There’s nothing wrong with out current cabinet per see, it has just seen better days, and its not really our style. The little cabinet was a big box purchase of El Granto’s from his college days. It has done us well, but its not really big enough for all our electronics, and its center shelf is sagging a bit from the weight of our receiver.

So a new cabinet it is! As we love Restoration Hardware, I fell fast and hard for this fellow; the Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet.

Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet
Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet

The cabinet has three shallow drawers for remotes, magazines and the like. Three fold down doors to hide your electronics, and three deep drawers for dvd and other assorted storage. There are two sizes available. We liked the 55″ wide one, as it would hold our 46″ tv and not be too big for our small space. The only problem is that the cabinet has a price tag of almost $1000. Not really in our budget, especially when we want to add a new sofa to the living room sometime in the next decade.

So we did decided to take things into our own hands, and looked into building a similar cabinet. I checked my go to spot for furniture plans; The Design Confidential, and low and behold they had plans for a similar cabinet. Awesomesauce.

The Design Confidential's plans to build an RH inspired Media Cabinet
The Design Confidential’s plans to build an RH inspired Media Cabinet

We printed out the plans, looked at the vast lumber and cut lists, cried a little, and then decided to nut up and take on this project. I had helped my dad make drawer boxes in the past (and by helped, I mean watched) and the rest of the cabinet was held together by pocket screws, so I felt confident that we could bumble our way through it.

The first hurtle was deciding on wood. I loved the antique pine finish of the RH cabinet, so I decided pine was the way to go.

Last weekend we walked the dog and our Ikea cart to my favorite place on earth; our local lumber yard Downtown Lumber. I love this place. I have yet to find a wood product they don’t have, and they’re happy to rip things down for me on request, which is awesome since we don’t own a table saw. I called ahead and confirmed that they could cut me 2×2 pine boards that we needed for the first step of the project; the frame.

When we got to the lumber yard, paid for our order and went to the back to pick it up. We watched the yard worker pull beautiful solid straight as an arrow kiln dried pine 2×10’s down from the shelf, and rip them into our 2×2’s. Yep that’s right, they used 2×10’s to cut our 2×2’s. Now if you’re unfamiliar with wood, 2×2’s are like the lowest wood on the totem pole, and quality is usually crap. The 2×2’s are cut from the smallest pieces of wood, often young wood, and they are usually found twisted and turned like a corkscrew. That’s why a framing grade 2x2x8 will only cost you about $2 at the big box store. To have 2×2’s cut from 2×10’s is like making hamburgers with prime rib. Expensive, but amazing.

We watched in awe as they ripped down our lumber order and smiled like bank robbers as we carted it all home. (Yep, I say “carted” as we literally dragged it the 3.5km home on a cart. Hobo style.)

Cartin it up
Cartin it up

After we got the wood home, we set to making our cuts. I soon noticed that our 2×2’s looked a bit bigger than I was expecting. The big box stores 2×2’s usually measure in at 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ . Our fancy schmancy lumber yard boards were 1 3/4″ x 1 3/4″.

The lumber safely arriving at home
The lumber safely arriving at home

That was great news for us (who doesn’t like bigger wood, eh eh?) however it threw the plans a monkey wrench. After some quick math we opted to lengthen the frame by an 1″ to compensate (as to not skew the drawer sizes). However we didn’t want to futz with the height, as it was already quite high, and we didn’t want the TV to be any taller, and harder to see.

El Granto measured the cuts, I cut them on our new miter saw; Martha. (It’s named Martha because the saw is a Mastercraft brand, and Martha Stewart is the master crafter…see it makes perfect sense, right?)

Martha the compound miter saw
Martha the compound miter saw
The wood cut waiting for pocket holes
The wood cuts waiting for pocket holes

DIY TIP! We keep all the cuts for one project in a milk crate. This keeps your offcuts from mixing with your good pieces, and ensures you don’t forget anything.

Then El Granto started drilling the pocket holes for assembling the frame. OMG there are a bucketload of pocketholes. We cut all the frame & supports, and drilled all our pocket holes. I counted them up and El Granto made a total of 104 pocket holes. This isn’t even counting the holes we’ll need for attaching the shelves, sides, back and top. Holy hell batman.

El Granto Drilling Pocket Holes
El Granto Drilling Pocket Holes

Here’s a video of El Granto drilling some pocket holes. He attaches the Kreg Jig with a regular clamp directly to his small work table. This makes the whole thing steady, and keeps the clamp from digging into the wood. Yep, that’s Green Day playing in the background. El Granto has his garage stereo hooked up to his phone so he can blast inspiration woodworking music, like punk rock or heavy metal.

We brought the wood in, and let it warm back up, and I laid out how the front of the frame is to be assembled.

Wood cut, pocket holes drilled, ready to be assembled
Wood cut, pocket holes drilled, ready to be assembled
Frame laid out
Frame laid out

That was enough work for one day! The frame assembly will have to wait for next weekend.

What did you get up to last weekend? Any big woodworking projects you’re taking on this spring?

Today in Toronto – Spot a Super Holmes

To kick off Mike Holmes’ new show Holmes Makes It Right which premiers tonight at 9pm on HGTV, Mike Holmes & some Holmes “look-alikes” will be gallivanting around Toronto in capes between 11am-4pm today. Spot a Super Holmes or a Holmes Look Alike and enter to win $5,000 cash or prizes from Milwaukee Tools and Roxul!

Check out the contest page here for more info, and watch HGTV Canada’s Facebook page and twitter today for hints on the Super Holmes locations.

As you may know Mike saved us from our leaky mess of a home when he fixed our house as part of a Holmes Inspection episode. Check it out here. We owe the world to Mike & his team, and we’re excited to see the families and homes he’s going to help this time around!

S#%t my Dog Does Part I

My dog can’t actually speak, but I’d say his actions speak louder than words. When he wants something he will hit it with his paw (if he wants food he hits his bowl, he hits the door when he wants to go outside and smacks you in the face when he thinks you’ve had enough sleep on a Saturday morning). There’s nothing quite like a dog slapping you out of a dead sleep. If he could talk I think he would be saying “get your lazy ass outta bed and play fetch with me”.

My dog does a lot of weird stuff. I thought I’d share with the world, so they too could see what a bizarre vizsla he is. So here goes, a (semi) regular post entitled S#%t my Dog Does!

As a puppy he wanted to sit on the sofa arm
Fully grown, he still thinks he should sit on sofa arms
He loves hanging out in the bathtub
He photo bombs
and he thinks people are for sitting ON

He also believes rakes and brooms are the spawn of Satan, and that they should die. (This is him as a puppy, but he still does this to this day.)

Does your dog like to do weird things? Does he hang out in strange places?

Painting in 30 Seconds

I lured you in with the post name didn’t I?

You figured I had some magic painting technique that would revolutionize your painting and blow your mind?
Sorry, no can do.

But I DO have a really cool video of us painting our master bedroom. Continue reading “Painting in 30 Seconds”

How it all started

A year and a half ago, El Granto and I purchased our first home. A 100 year old storefront in downtown Toronto. It was recently converted, had a beautiful reno, was ideally located, had a yard for a future dog and a garage for El Granto’s motorcycle. Perfect. We signed the papers, and moved in a month later. Then the skylight leaked, the sink leaked, the brand new dishwasher didn’t work, the basement leaked, the storefront window leaked and the icing on the cake; the dryer vent leaked into our bedroom ceiling making for a hell of a mess days before Christmas. We were in trouble. Luckily we received some awesome help from Mike Holmes and his Holmes Inspection crew.
Here is our story!

Watch Moisture Madness
Watch our episode “Moisture Madness” on