a peek inside the fishbowl

17 Sep, 2012

Reno post #40 – heart’s desires

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno

Given that my last reno-related post included a snap of The Bookshelf of My Dreams I thought it would be interesting to list the things that we had originally wanted to include in our home reno and struck off the list for budgetary purposes. There are a bunch, but off the top of my head I know it includes:

  • a wood-burning stove/fireplace
  • main-floor laundry (this was removed from the list pretty early because it was evident it wasn’t going to be cheap) and then it evolved into a…
  • a laundry chute
  • … which dropped the laundry into an improved laundry area in the basement. Guess what? Our decrepit laundry area has not changed one lick.
  • a pergola where the old garage used to be
  • custom shelving in the basement
  • a pretty pond/water-feature in the backyard (it seems ridiculous to even mention this, but if I’m being honest I might as well also mention that I secretly wanted koi in there too.)
  • professional landscaping/fencing
  • … and here’s a biggie: awesome new furniture. Ha. Ha.

Smart people budget for new furniture in their reno (imagine!). We naively thought our furniture would “do” for the time being but it’s clear to me now that upgrades will be in order sooner than later. We did manage to snag some great deals on appliances from Universal – so that’s good – including this gorgeous duel-fuel GE Profile stove:


… and I can’t wait to see it in place.

We definitely need to buy stools for our breakfast bar, a couch for the family room, and some kind of unit to house our PVR, DVD player and the video games, but that will have to be it for the time being. I would have loved for the girls to get new beds and writing desks but it’s not going to happen right now, and let’s not even discuss the cost of window coverings. Hint: it’s crazy expensive. :(

I’d hate for this post to be all about the stuff we don’t have, because that’s not what I’m thinking about at all. I am immensely grateful and happy with the things we were able to keep on that dream list: that bookshelf, an amazing mudroom for a busy family of four, a cedar garbage and recycling enclosure, an awesome back deck, a gorgeous kitchen (it’s going in this week!), and a stunning family bathroom that features The Best Shower Ever.

Custom renovations are a funny thing, aren’t they? Every single one is as unique as the people who live there and reflects their wants, their desires, their dreams.

I know a lot of people reading this have recently completed renos or are slowly planning their own. I’d love to hear about some of the things on your “want” list. Is it a hot tub? A walk-in closet? Granite counters? A treehouse? :)

p.s. I’m slowly updating the set of reno photos over on my Flickr page. You can see them all here!

8 Responses to "Reno post #40 – heart’s desires"

1 | Carly

September 17th, 2012 at 7:48 am


We just moved into a brand new home 2 years ago and I’ve already (mentally) renovated the entire main floor.

I’ve always wanted a den/living room area and then a separate family room for TV and hanging out – which we have. But what I really wanted and couldn’t find in any of the resale or new homes we looked at over a five year period, was a kitchen large enough for our dining room table (which seats 6-8). I wanted a big enough space for it so that I could skip on having a formal dining room. But, no luck.

Also on my list – quartz countertops. I love our kitchen with two-tone cabinets and glass tile backsplash, but the quartz was out of our reach. Ooo, and cork flooring in the kitchen too – something more forgiving on our feet than the serviceable ceramic we have now, but hardier than the hardwood we had in our old home. Maybe someday!!!

Last on the list right now . . . a finished basement. On my list of things to do before I go back to work after my mat leave is the clean things up down there BIG TIME. It’s such a disaster of a dumping ground.

Enjoy the new kitchen going in this week!!! So exciting!

2 | Brenda A.

September 17th, 2012 at 8:00 am


I continually add to my dream list of home renos! I covet your stove. Deeply! We bought our house 8 years ago and it came with a stove. A cruddy, melted button, basic stove. We (read “I”) have been waiting for the thing to die this whole time so I can get a new one! It is going strong much to my chagrin!

3 | Krista (@kristahouse)

September 17th, 2012 at 10:15 am


I love home magazines that feature renos but I always wonder how the homeowners “do it all”. The cost of the renovation and all the new stuff that goes along with it. It all looks magazine perfect :)

4 | Deanne

September 17th, 2012 at 2:01 pm


We just finished our home extension and I really would like some family/living room furniture to “fill it.” I just don’t know what is the right furniture to get for the space just yet.

Normally I wouldn’t be in a rush since we like to take our time sourcing pieces and don’t like things too matchy-matchy but with 10 weeks to go until baby #2 arrives, should we get a move on or it will never get done.

5 | Heather @smart_spaces

September 17th, 2012 at 3:37 pm


You amaze me with your reno! You are doing an entire home and we are just doing the kitchen. Your reno looks good and I have been following along with the blog and the photos.

6 | Heather Cameron

September 18th, 2012 at 11:05 am


Oh, that stove! Is that a griddle in the centre? Sigh.

Where do I start??!! My want list includes quartz countertops, a laundry room with a window, a stove with two ovens….well, to be honest, what I REALLY want is a house by a body of water — but bigger than a koi pond!

I’ve just started to draft a blog post about the mini-makeovers in our two bathrooms (I hear the pipes being cut as a I write). In it I am explaining that while they won’t be my “dream” bathrooms — money, space and my feeling that this will never be my forever home have something to do with that — they are my “day dream” bathrooms with a few drawers, nicer faucets and a toilet that saves a ton of water.

Maybe you can tell yourself those poor koi would find it a bit too chilly today anyhow!

7 | binki

September 18th, 2012 at 1:19 pm


Just in the final tuning phase of our plans. Our coolest feature is sunken shelves on one wall with all the wiriing handled via a tube that leads from tv to the dvd/stereo that sits in a sunken shelf below the flatscreen (big move from the tube Trinitron we currently own). All wiring is hidden. Other than that, um….the gas stove thing is certainly on my list. Just bought a new glass top though that I hate hate hate. I’m just happy for more space, new paint and a bigger family room.

8 | Alison p-h

September 18th, 2012 at 6:11 pm


I love dream lists!
1. Backsplash for the kitchen. Blue/turquoise glass tile.
2. Update the bathroom. I have visualized it and I think there is enough room for a double sink.
3. Wood burning stove for our fishbowl. We have a room that is called the fishbowl. Windows on three sides of sunroom. A stove could make it a four season room.

Happy dreaming.

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Surface tension - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] book, and watched avian-related antics in the backyard. I will say once again for the record that expanding our bird feeder set up was one o
  • andrea tomkins: I'm happy to hear! Thank you for letting me know Inge. :) Merry Christmas to you!
  • Inge: Our family still uses our Advent Envelopes inspired by you! I think we are going on twelve years now. Thank you for the inspiration! Merry Christmas!
  • Mort: I'm usually very good but was gripped with mild panic at the drug store Saturday when I suddenly realized I'd forgotten my mask. Normally there's a ba
  • Michael: You could mix up all your ingredients and form the dough, cover the put it in the fridge. This will cause the dough to perform a slow rise, so if done
  • Sally Dowe Marchand: Wow. Well done. I too have done something as absent-minded as walking into a store and taking my mask off. Inside right so remove it. I immediately re
  • sassygirl: i like hearing your voice on the browser version. it’s well done! (:

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!


Connect with me at these places too!

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter