Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Brick Works and Curb Alerts

I am continually impressed by any development projects or infrastructure improvements around the city that take something old and underused and turn it into something new and useful.  Whether it's the gentrification and condo developments of Liberty Village and the Distillery District, or the creative use of the West Toronto RailPath and Sugar Beach, I just love seeing the care put in to keep the city current and active.

Another such example is the Evergreen Brick Works (formerly the Don Valley Brickworks).  I only really learned about the Brick Works last winter while I scoped out wedding photographers' websites, as it's a popular spot for wedding and engagement photos.  It photographed so well that Matt and I chose it as the venue for our own wedding photos in May.  There is such an amazing array of backdrops, and mixed materials, ranging from natural to industrial and a whole lot in between.  But there is so much more to the Brick Works than just being a great location for photos.

This piece of art is actually a map depicting Toronto's watersheds,
and has water running through it, and plants growing out of it.
Starting in the late 1800s, the site was home to a brick factory, and the bricks manufactured there were used in the building of many landmarks - not only in Toronto,  but also in Montreal, Winnipeg, and Moncton.  While the factory closed in 1984, the grounds have been been constantly evolving since then, resulting in 40 acres of green space, the creation of a community environmental centre, and programming which is open to the public.  The Brick Works website says it best, describing how in 2010 "Evergreen Brick Works opened as a year-round living demonstration of how past and present can work together to create greener models for urban living." I recommend checking out their website for more information, because I really can't do it justice. There's just so many positive changes taking place, and so much great history too.

We recently discovered that a huge farmers' market is held ever Saturday, year-round, and we've checked it out a couple of times over the past few weeks.  The number of vendors is impressive, but we also love trying some of the foods that are made on the spot, including waffles, crepes, french fries, and burritos - just to name a few.  It's a great place to spend a morning out with the family.  I also learned that a restaurant and cafe opened on the property this past summer.  While we took our coffees to go, the restaurant looked like a nice place to enjoy a - somewhat expensive - weekend brunch.

We will continue to visit the Brick Works and to check out special events taking place, as it's definitely a cause I'm happy to support!

On another note, before we left for the market, we put our old dishwasher out at the curb, with a sign on it that said "Free - it works!".  I also put "Curb Alerts" on both Kijiji and Craigslist (did you know that Craigslist has a "free" section?).  We were only gone about an hour and a half, but we were very happy to see it gone from our curb when we arrived home!  That was fast!  We had a similar experience last year.  After our move, we had a massive box of bubble wrap that we put that out at the curb.  I thought anyone packing for a move might appreciate it.  Within minutes of posting the Curb Alert online, multiple cars drove up as if on a major mission.  It was obvious that they were not just passing by.  So I'm glad to know the alerts work!  One man's trash, right?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The basement: Part 2 - the Walls

In keeping with the last post about the basement floors, we also have to repair our basement wall.  Last week, we began to replace the 17" of drywall that had been cut from the bottom of the wall.  It's not quite done, but almost! 

So the question becomes - "then what?"

We will have to paint the wall after all the work is done, and I'm not crazy about the idea of painting the entire TV room.  As it is, it's not in bad shape.  It's a big room, and painting it would just be a pain in the butt.  So I'm toying with doing a feature wall.  We have also talked about moving our office to this room at some point, by installing some storage cabinets, filing drawers, and a nice long desk. 

So we've decided that now is as good a time as any.  It will hide any of the flaws from our amateur drywalling experience, and will allow us to paint that one wall differently from the rest of the room.

Here is some inspiration I've gathered.... keeping in mind that our ceilings are just about 6' tall.... 

I love the wallpapered background of this one:

If only we had higher ceilings:

I like the way the desk wraps in front of the cabinetry at the left.

The bulletin board background of the next one is a great way to display current cards, photos, notes, and To-Do lists. 

I love the simplicity of the next two... but I think I need more cabinets and filing space...

The next few are divided into two workspaces, which I especially like.  They also have more storage, which is ideal. 

I think I prefer the way this next one is not stuck as two work spaces though.  If you want to spread out one big project, you can sit right in the middle.

The best part about this one though, is the hidden desk!!  How great is that!  Obviously the desk is too high to sit at when the top is closed over.  But it looks so much better when people come over if you can just bury all your papers and other clutter under cover!

Ikea has a similar system:  

I would consider using something like this, except I do want a long built-in look. 

Lots to think about!  I've explored some cabinet options at Ikea, but I'm worried I might have to consider custom built-ins.  I'm afraid to know how much that might run me.  I have to start taking some of this inspiration and turning it into plans though... stay tuned!