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.