Monday, October 31, 2016

A Victorian House Tour: Come On In


We have lived in this 2700 square foot Victorian semi-detached house for 3.5 months now. It is surprisingly easy to adjust to all the extra space, surprisingly easy to fill it, despite the 900 square feet we lived in for five years. It has also been surprisingly easy to fall in love with this house. I expect the soaring ceilings and the beautiful glass chandeliers have something to do with that.

I don't have a lot of energy or focused time to blog these days. (I've been spending a lot more time on Instagram and have even revived the This Dusty House Facebook page for updates that don't warrant a blog post, but don't seem to quite fit on Instagram.) I do, however, want to share a proper, in depth tour of this house, because guys? If you like old houses, this one is gorgeous. So, I'm going to take it room by room, and while I make no promises, I'll do my best to not take forever sharing the whole house.


Today, the entryway.

It's a new thing for us to have an entryway at all, let alone one this large and this grand. In the bungalow, the front door opened directly into the living room, and in fact, banged against the couch when it was opened fully. When guests came to visit, shoes were piled awkwardly in front of the door. and in the winter, fingers of crusty salt worked their way across our living room floor. Here? Our entryway regularly fills with random things on their way in or out of our house - not to mention the mixed pile of toddler and adult shoes that never seem to make it back on the shoe rack - and we barely see them throughout our day.




The entryway runs down the centre of the house, the artery that leads to all other rooms. To the left, Isabel's play room. To the right, the living room. At the end of the hallway, the dining room, and just behind the stairs, the kitchen. The stairs make a statement, the beautiful original railings leading the eye up towards the upstairs bedrooms.

We've been making plans for this entryway. This area of the house will, hopefully be one of the first to see some changes, though none of them particularly large. We want to create some kind of well organized coat and shoe storage in the corner where the large wardrobe currently stands. The wardrobe is a beautiful piece, but the interior is incredibly inefficient and I find the whole thing kind of cumbersome. I think I would prefer a configuration of hooks and a bench with baskets underneath.


And then there's all these wide white walls. They're calling out for a gallery wall, I think, but there's a debate between Mark and I as to which wall. He wants family photos running up the stairs. I wonder if the better wall for a mix of family photos and artwork would be the large white wall running down the hallway, perhaps with a sideboard or console table beneath the gallery. Or both? But, perhaps that would be overkill. Perhaps we should do a gallery wall on the stair wall and one large piece of artwork on the hallway wall.


I do know that in this blank space, we're going to add a full length mirror. We already have the mirror. The house came with a piano, onto which someone had mounted a mirror. Mark removed it, but the mirror itself is still in great shape. I want to add a frame and hang it in this space.

Even without these touches, I love the entryway. I love how full of light and contrast it is. I love how it leads directly into every part of our home, a space that welcomes and pulls people in. I love its warmth and elegance.

Now, it just needs a little bit of an infusion of our personality, and it will be perfect.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

One Week With Eden


One week ago, Eden came into the world. Her birth was one part beautiful, two parts surreal, one part gory, two parts traumatic, and, best of all, all parts fully in the past. I am grateful she is here and I am grateful for how she came into the world - at home, in the comfort of my own bedrooom - but I am also grateful that it is over. And now, we're one week in to settling in, now a little family of four.

So far, that settling seems too be going fairly well, depending on your definition of success. We are sleeping ok, surprisingly. Isabel decided now was a great time to start sleeping through the night again, and Eden sleeps as well as any baby should, waking to eat two or three times between 7:30pm and 6:30am. She's a noisy sleeper though, grunting and squealing through the night; it's taking some getting used to, but one week in, I'm finally starting to sleep through her night time serenading.


Isabel seems pretty taken with Eden. Every morning, while she watches her cartoons, we let her hold her little sister, propping Eden's head up on a pillow, her little sleepy body draped over Isabel's lap. Big sister is not always the most gentle, and we sit close to make sure she doesn't shove Eden off her lap in a toddler fit.

But is she adjusting? I'm not sure yet. She's getting more screen time than I'm entirely comfortable with, screen time that has expanded from Netflix cartoons to iPad games and YouTube Kids. She's enjoying the increased control she has over her media consumption; I worry about how much she's consuming, and the quality of it. What is this period of adjusting our family going to do to our toddler's brain?

But today, we finally managed to get out for a bit. I took Isabel to a nearby playgroup and sat back and watched with Eden tucked into a ring sling as she ran around the large gymnasium, fully in her element among dozens of other toddlers and toys. Today reassured me that we will get back to normal, even if that normal looks a little different than it did before.


So far, so good.