a peek inside the fishbowl

19 May, 2005

The living room. is done. Phew.

Posted by andrea in: Misc. life

They came Tuesday morning, minus one Donna Dowling who may or may not have been having her baby. A perfectly understandable reason not to be here, if you ask me.

They came a little earlier than planned. Five minutes before I heard them drive up Mark called from work to tell that Belinda Stronach had jumped ship and joined the Liberals.

THEY’RE GOING TO BE HERE IN FIVE MINUTES, I said, trying my hardest not to sound like I’m hissing. What I really wanted to say is: are you nuts these people are coming over to finish our living room and you’re calling to tell me that changes are afoot in our already screwed up political system? I DON’T CARE WHAT’S HAPPENING TO OUR COUNTRY RIGHT NOW OK?


I spent the morning rushing around the house like some kind of wild rabbit with Attention Deficit Disorder. Hippity hop over here, pick up that thing, hop over there, drop that thing and pick up another thing, hop over there, decide that the floor needs to be washed etc etc. I wasn’t able to focus on anything, so it stands to follow that I didn’t actually complete anything either. The house looked pretty much like how it started when I was done. Ha. Great!

I also spent a couple hours taking and printing up some photos to fill up the new frames we bought. I thought it would be easy to choose a few since we have so many. But in fact this proved to be the reason why it was so hard. We have 5000 digital photos, and another thousand (give or take a thousand), tucked away in industrial-sized D-ring binder photo albums. So I decided to start from scratch and take some new ones that morning. It was almost easier that way. I think they turned out great, and the frames are beautiful.

(Later in the day Mark came home and pointed to two of the photos on the mantle and asked if those were the photos that came with the frame. I had to gently remind him that no, indeed, those were taken on our honeymoon …. in which he was an active participant. Doh.)

The Team girls (I feel like we?re on close terms now, so I can call them “the girls”) got to work as soon as they arrived. What troopers! They lugged in the shelves, all the knick knacks and doodads, and started setting up.

Sherri lucked into the task of unpacking the boxes of books. I use the term “luck” very loosely. Did she know what she was in for? Did she know how many books there were? I tried not to hover and say things like WATCH OUT THAT IS MY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE ENGLISH PATIENT, (signed on a day that I had nothing wittier to say to brilliant wordmaster Michael Ondaatje but “great book!”) But they all proved, early on, that they appreciated books as much as I do. They were careful and there were no unfortunate incidents.

*** Mark says I have a problem. So what if I treat my books as if they were my children? I love them! Would you dog-ear your children? Bend their spines in unnatural ways? I think not. ***

Sherri spent a long time arranging the books in a very artful manner. She is, after all a designer. It was pointed out to me by one of the others that she colour co-ordinated the spines of some of the older books in my collection. I hadn’t actually noticed. Everyone has their own filing system, right? Be forewarned, that I will be regrouping the other books by author after the final pictures have been taken. :) I’m a weee bit OCD about them. Can you tell?

Otherwise, the set up went really well. Furniture was pushed into place, pictures were hung (thank goodness someone else was doing the math) and the rug was rolled out. I looooove the rug. I picked a great rug!

And then there’s the mantle. On our shopping spree they chose something for over the mantle that is not something that I would have picked in a million years… but actually looks great. I picked up a cool red vase at Blueprint on Wellington that fits in pretty nicely too. The girls appropriated some old pussywillow branches for it – a bunch I had used elsewhere in the house – to create some hight on the mantle. I see where they’re coming from but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about dried vegetation. I will leave it there for now.

The window treatments are perfect. They were hung later in the evening – and tada! – one nice new room. We are all extremely pleased with the end result.

I am sooo embarrassed about the state of that room before. Ugh. Why, why, why did I live with it for so long? Why did it become so easy to ignore? Why can’t I have week-long stretches where I pick up lots of extra energy and tackle these things myself? Oh, so much self-reflection.

Sarah and Emma are happy with it, well, mostly happy. The first thing Emma did when she saw the couch was flop down on it with a big happy sigh. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a comfortable place to sprawl. Her eyes were as wide as saucers when she saw the finished room. But we had a little bit of trouble explaining it all to Sarah. Something set her off and she cried a bit, bemoaning the loss of “couchy.” We explained that it was indeed the same couchy, but that he was wearing a new suit of clothes and had extra stuffing put inside him. Couchy feels great now! But if you truly love couchy, you will not jump up and down on him ever again. RIGHT?

She got over it after awhile, but her attachment to the old furniture is understandable. We adults are just happy to change it all, chuck it for something new, but the girls have grown up with it. The living room has been like that since they were born. Even before! I spent a lot of time on that couch when I was pregnant. So on some level they knew that couch even when they were in-utero. :)

They learned to walk along that couch. They took their first steps on that carpet. We’ve played and napped and read stories in that room. It’s shaped their lives, so to speak.

BUT HOW DOES IT LOOK? You are all are wondering, I’m sure. The publication date of the final article is to be confirmed, but if you are in the Ottawa area you should be able to read about in the May 28th edition. If not it will be the following Saturday. I’ll post my own pics on that day too, just in case you’re reading from afar (and I know many of you are.)

I’d like to take a moment to thank:

The Ottawa Citizen
Sherri Macki, Chika Design
Donna Dowling, Donna Dowling Custom Interiors
Nicole Henwood and Marisa Ciamprone-Tiwari from the Algonquin interior design program
Da Silva Upholstering
Kravet Canada
Bonds Decor
Carpet Sense & Flooring
Linens N’ Things
Marchand Electric
Flores Painting, “Taking the pain out of painting”
Jack Vaillancourt, JRV Electric
Enrique Alvadaro, AE Flooring
Dominic Micucci, Ceramic Tile & Marble
Ana Gomes, Distinctive Drapery and Accessories

Mary and Gary Tomkins, master quarterround installers and assistant mantle-painters. Thanks as well to those who visited the site via the Citizen and have been following along on our decorating adventure! Have I forgotten anyone? I hope not!

Truly, this is the living room we have always wanted. It is amazing. We love it.

Next up: the basement. Wish us luck. It’s a jungle down there. Are there any contests coming up for that? :)

2 Responses to "The living room. is done. Phew."

1 | FabGirlie

May 24th, 2005 at 12:19 pm


Waaaaaaaaaaah! I wanna SEE!

2 | Cindy

May 25th, 2005 at 8:32 pm


Why are there no pictures yet of the finished product??? We’re dying out here!!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


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