Posts tagged with "house"

change and productivity

I spent the last few days converting the guest room1 to my new office, after giving it two coats of The Plaza and moving my computer out of the bedroom. This decision was spurred by the fact that I found myself spending an unhealthy amount of time in a single room of the house, the exceptions being when I was eating or pooping. Now my work area is delightfully bright, and I have a view of the summer foliage out of the front of the house.

new office with cats

With half the furniture now moved out, the master bedroom looks especially minimal. I’m keeping some of my photography lighting in there, including a large softbox, which is a decoration that fills the room nicely but also makes it look like a cheap porn set.

I used to be trepidatious about certain things, like committing to a paint colour or walking into a room with large numbers of people, but now I find it a lot easier to get over my anxiety. It makes me think my anxiety used to affect me more than I realized. Doing things that were out of my comfort zone was a test I needed to give myself every now and then, but now I don’t find those things to be uncomfortable at all, and I tend to act without thinking too much or overanalyzing.

I wonder if this is what normal feels like. And how much of it is personal growth versus the medication.

In either case, it’s nice to be getting thing done again, when I had so recently found it hard just getting out of bed. Someone related to me his experience on pharmaceutical psychotropics, and he said the period was marked less by what he wrote or created, and more by what he did or people he met and connected with. For me, it seems to be manifesting itself as a period of change and productivity.

  1. Which, until last week, looked like this. []

downtown condo

About a year ago I leveraged the equity in my current house to buy a downtown condo. It’s under construction now, due to be finished in another two years. My original intention was to rent it out or sell it (depending on market conditions around the time of closing), but ever since I came back from Europe, I’ve been flirting with the idea of moving there myself and renting out my house instead.

I’ve missed that feeling of connection after walking in cities that were bustling and full of life. There’s a certain intimacy to urban living that I long for, where everything is within walking distance and people are all around. It doesn’t help that I work from home in a sleepy area in the east end, mostly inhabited by retirees.


27 storeys of glass and metal.

It’s an extremely tempting proposition. I’d finally have a balcony and view from a corner unit on the sixth floor, close enough to the ground to do some people watching but far away enough to stay private; something I’ve missed greatly from my first years out of university. I’d have big south-facing windows to fill the place with light in the mornings. I’d be in the heart of downtown, just a block off Elgin, walking distance from the Rideau Centre, Byward market, and the NAC. I’d have access to the 4500 sq. ft. recreation centre which includes an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, fitness facilities, a private lounge, and guest suites.

The condo is also a lot more my style, as these are modern, New York-inspired lofts (most of the suites taking their names from NY neighbourhoods and landmarks), each one with hardwood floors, individual HVAC and stackable washer/dryers, a flush European-style kitchen, and 24-hour concierge service. I get to pick out my colours and finishes soon, and I’m already planning where I’d want to put my furniture.

But I don’t know if I can give up the place I have now, due to the luxuries afforded to me by the extra space: a spare room I can use as a photo and Tai Chi studio, a giant closet, and least of all, a living room large enough to host intimate house shows or small gatherings.

Large Print

Large print

Large print

I finally got a large print made for myself, of the frozen lake from my trip to New Hampshire. You really need to see the original from the entry (on black) to get an idea of what the picture looks like, because the shot I took above doesn’t do it justice as I was exposing for the general area in my living room, losing much of the detail of the picture. At over 48″ wide and 32″ tall, it cost me a pretty penny, but it was oh so worth it.

After some extra tweaking on my end to bring out the contrast, my awesome printer brought out the trunks of the white birch trees in the left forest using Photoshop, adding a touch of contrast and detail. The picture was laminated with a matte finish, so there’s no glass to reflect (and hence distract), from he windows. Then my framer used one of her new framing techniques where she takes textured fabric and stretches it over an inside border (instead of a mat board), then adds a frame that’s smooth but not flat1. The colours fit right in with the walls, while the border and frame matches the couch.

It’s the first picture I’ve used to decorate the main floor of my house, because I’m really picky about the stuff I put up on my walls. This one was chosen because the sky, the sunset, the ice and the patterns in it, all speak emotion to me, which is what I try to achieve in my pictures, and something I enjoy looking at.

  1. This means I sign, stamp, and number the picture on the picture itself, since there’s no mat board to write on. []

Got My House Back

House stippling

The house is finally back to its’ former glory. The exhaust pipes to my water heater and furnace have been replaced, the holes in the ceilings have been patched up, sanded, stippled, and painted.

This means a few things of significance:

  • I get to dress based on mood again. I would come home and hang my clothes off the banister, then put the same clothes on in the morning, because my closet doors would be taped shut to prevent dust and errant paint/stipple from getting in there.
  • I get to sleep in my bed again. The entire bedroom was a mess, so I had been sleeping on the couch for almost three weeks. It felt weird to go back to a big mattress, like I was sleeping on some sort of unlimited surface area.
  • I get to use my photo/Tai Chi studio. Almost all my furniture was moved to the guest room. I haven’t been able to practice my Tai Chi, or take pictures of things against a drop sheet.
  • I have the use of my main computer. Playing games on a laptop screen doesn’t cut it when you’re used to three 24″ monitors, and music sounds the way it’s supposed to when you have a decent subwoofer.
  • No more time off work. I’m lucky in that I have such a short commute, but being there during construction still meant that I lost two days of pay.

I spent most of the weekend wiping dust of everything downstairs — walls, mirrors, decorations, counter tops. The splatters of paint were taken care of with a bottle of Varsol and a Q-tip. A few paint touch-ups were needed too, but nothing too bad. Then the house got an overall cleaning, to get rid of the evidence of muddy boots, dirt, and random pieces of garbage brought in during the whole process.

My back and feet are still sore from rushing to get everything done, but it was oh so worth it to have the cozy comfort of my house again.

The Return of Water

Well, I have water. And hot water too. I’ve been doing loads of laundry and dishes in the dishwasher. Not to mention sweet, sweet BMs on a toilet.

Bathroom ceiling

Bedroom ceiling

But my bathroom and bedroom ceilings still look like this. Not to mention the coarse dust on everything and the uprooted furniture. I had several entries with pictures to post, but my colour-calibrated monitors are sitting in the spare room. I have no idea when the contractor is going to be back to get everything dirty again. Otherwise, I’d do some cleaning.

Either the construction company is on holiday (which contradicts what the worker said), or they’re dodging me, because I haven’t been able to get a hold of anyone for days now. I’m stuck in limbo here, literally living in the living room (what a fitting name). It’s left me rather sick and unmotivated.