Creating higher baseboards

I have always hated the baseboards in our home.

They’re small, uneven and crooked and don’t reflect the charm and character of our 100 year old place.

The problem I faced in replacing them was that they are solid wood, held in place with 3 inch nails and all the walls are lathe and plaster. Removing the existing baseboards to replace them with new ones would have been a huge undertaking. The damage to the plaster walls would have required extensive repairs that I just didn’t have the time or patience for.

I decided to try an old trick that I had seen online years ago, which would give the illusion of higher basboards but without the struggle am\nd mess of a full replacement.

The trick simply involves installing a small piece of trim about 4″ above the existing baseboards and them painting the area in between white so that it looks like the baseboards are actually higher thn they are.

Have a look. It might be something for you to try if you find yourself in the same situation.

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Refinishing an heirloom dining set

I’ve done a fair amount of refinishing in my day from handrails and staircases to furniture pieces and I can honesty say that this one was the most stressful.

This country style dining set had a lot of sentimental value to the client, so when I took on the task of refinishing it to give it a more modern, elegant look, the stress set in. What if it doesn’t turn out? What if I ruin it? It was the first piece of furniture that they ever bought and it had a lot of memories attached to it.

It was a long, tedious task that in the end turned out pretty good, after many hours of sanding and stripping and staining and re-staining.

This set looks so much nicer and fits the space beautifully.

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2 very different backsplashes

A beautiful kitchen backsplash can become the focal point of any kitchen and is often an expression of the homeowner’s style and taste, a bit like art work.

Recently, we did two very different backsplashes, one in a condo and one in a house.

In the condo, the clients chose a modern glass subway tile in a traditional brick pattern.

This is a beautiful blend of the modern and the traditional and is a timeless look that lasts for years and years.

In the house, the clients chose a porcelain mosaic tile with a more rustic look.

Two very different backsplashes, each beautiful in their own way and each finishes off the kitchen beautifully.


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The Pinnacle

Recently I had the opportunity to do more work for people who have been clients of mine for the past 7 years. I helped them with their first condo at Maple Leaf Square in Toronto:

and then was contracted to do their second one at The Pinnacle:

This time I was asked to repaint the main living area and master bedroom/closet since it had been 7 years and it was time for a change. I chose Benjamin Moore’s Quicksand for the main are and Castke Gate for the bedroom.

The next part of the project involved removing the wall to wall carpet in the master bedroom and closet which was badly worn. We discussed buying more of the hardwood that was throughout the rest of the unit and carrying that into the bedroom and closet.

In the discussion, the idea of tiling the area came up, which they seemed to really like. I agreed to doing the tile as long as we picked a tile that would be elegant and warm and not look like bathroom tile. I had never tiled a bedroom before, so I was a bit apprehensive, but thought, hey, why not? We chose a beautiful gloss 12X24 tile which would be laid in an offset “brick” pattern.

It was a fairly big job as we had to move out all the furniture out and disassemble the closet organizing units so they could also be moved out. Then once the tiling was all done, everything had to be moved back in and re-assemled.

A lot of work but in the end, I love how it all turned out:


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Wood and Pipe Bar Table

Furniture pieces made from wood and gas pipes has become a huge trend as people gravitate towards a more casual, rustic and vintage decor style.

I’ve seen tables, islands, book cases, beds, all made from wood and pipes.

I’ve worked with wood and pipes in the past and always loved the look, style and simplicity. The ability to easilly cutomize the piece to fit your needs and wants is a big advantage. It’s also a very cost effective way to make furniture.

Here’s a couple of things I’ve made in the past:

I decided to make a counter height “bar” table for myself.

In sourcing the materials, I knew I wanted solid oak and I found that if I put 3 oak stair risers together, it gave me almost the exact dimensions I wanted for the table and at $17.99 each, how could I go wrong.

So 3 stair risers side by side, a piece of oak 1X3 on each end and a piece of oak 1X2 all around the bottom edge to give a “chunky” look was all I needed. After the top was together and sanded, I took my Rockwell Sonicrafter and gouged the edges and top to give it a distressed look. Then I stained it in Jacobean from MinWax.

The pipes, which come in galvanized or black and are available in many sizes, came from Lowes and Home Depot. I chose 1″ black pipes to achieve the right scale and not have the legs and frame too thin or too thick.

The result is a vintage distressed bar table that fits the space perfectly. Now to find stools……….


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Aspen Springs Kitchen Reno

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….Ikea gets a bad rap which simply, isn’t fair.

I recently did an Ikea kitchen install and I can tell you first hand, that the quality of their kitchen cabinetry rivals and in some ways exceeds many of Ikea’s competitors kitchens.

Easy to plan online, easy to assemble, easy to insall, easy to customize.

With a wide range of finishes and sizes available, it is also easy to find exactly what you like and need.

Here are some photos of the old original outdated kitchen:

When we arrived, the clients had already removed all of the old cabinetry ( a great way to save time and money):

And here is the new, modern kitchen – new cabinetry, new farmhouse sink and faucet, a new stainless range hood, a new white subway tile backsplash and a fresh coat of paint:

This dark, outdated kitchen is now bright, clean and modern!



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Mid Town Basement Reno

Here’s another basement renovation completed a while back.

This one was a lot of work as we needed to relocate and change a 2 piece bath to a 3, relocate the laundry and add a bedroom.  This meant gutting the existing finished basement except for a couple of walls, digging trenches to lay the new drains and running miles (seemed like it anyway) of new plumbing and electrical.


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