What’s been happening!?
It’s been 6 MONTHS since my last blog so I figured it’s time to update you all on a few things that have been happening.
July: We kept cracking on with our kitchen transformation, I had a visit home and spent some time at Sunset Island. I also had a work event in Boston with some clients. It's always good reconnecting with people who have played such a vital role in my career. Nothing beats family and friends.
August: The kitchen progress heated up and neared completion. We took a cheeky trip to Zakynthos, Greece.
While I was loafing on the beach I finally ended up reading "Shoe Dog." If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I love how Phil Knight was able to rely on a few key individuals who would run through a brick wall for him, without hesitation. If you’ve ever doubted the importance of having a great team around you, this book will assure you of it's significance. We also painted our garage door!
September: At work, we made a full-court press on continuing to improve our quality. This caused a few challenges and more stress than I’ve ever endured since moving to England. I doubted myself multiple times throughout this and became pretty negative about the likelihood of us reaching the heights we aspired to. I thought about blogging during this experience but I felt fraudulent. Could you imagine the horror if I wrote about how I was actually feeling on a blog I’ve decided to name “Pinch of Positivity?” (jokes)
At home, my carpentry skills were put to the test as I had to install flooring around the tiles we laid. I ended up using a brown flexible caulk to marry the porcelain tile with the flooring. This was more difficult than I anticipated as the floor wasn’t level so I had to carefully build up the bed joints to have the tile meet the flooring on the same level.
October: I bought a Tanglewood guitar to help deal with stress. I’ve always used music as an outlet to express myself and I’m grateful to Maggie for listening to me try to sing. My voice is analogous to a screeching barn owl who’s impaled itself on an exposed horseshoe nail. In the middle of October, I shot off to Asia to attend a trade show to promote our MK and John Wilson figure blades. This was my favourite trip to China. I was more comfortable this time, the smog wasn’t particularly bad, we went golfing and received good news about the continued growth of our brands.
November: We had a massive flood at work which threatened to breach the factory. Liam, Waddoups, Molly and Glen showed up to help (Shoe Dog) which filled my spirits with renewed confidence. Fortunately, the River Don didn't overflow and all was safe. We also began disassembling our old plating plant and made progress with our introduction of robotics.
At the house, I pulled out the sledgehammer and began deconstructing our handrail system. We also steamed off the textured wallpaper to prep for plastering.
We had an incredible visit from our friends Kara and Doug! We both have so much admiration for these two—incredibly smart, driven and both exude charisma that would put JLO to shame.
December: We’ve seen great improvements at the factory. Everything is trending in the right direction and we have an infectious momentum carrying into the new year.
As we continue to work on our home, my skills continue to evolve and confidence is building. I have thoroughly enjoyed improving my tiling skills—it’s surprisingly easy once you’ve built up the courage to try it a few times. I’m a big fan of the HardieBacker cement board. I laid this down over the top of our wooden floors and used tile adhesive for the bed joint.
By using this methodology, you’re sure to have a level substrate. I’ve learned how important it is to set myself up for success by trusting the notches in my trowel to provide the right mount of adhesive for the bedding. This eliminates the likelihood of there being uneven or “floating” tiles.
We’ve finally implemented a bit of colour in our house and strayed away from our mostly Scandinavian colour pallet.
The Himalayan Green from Valspar adds a nice contrast to the home and is one of the first things you’ll see as you enter 8 St. Albans.
I love the disparity between the dark green feature wall and the rest of the space. When the carpet gets installed on the stairs, we’ll be one step closer to finishing this project.
The icing on the cake will be the installation of the handrails and the banisters. To have this done professionally would cost thousands of dollars. Instead, we’ve gone with 4 pine posts which have been coped to fit the stairs, a pine handrail, a few zip bolts to seamlessly connect the posts to the handrail and several 19mm black tubes we purchased at ironmongerydirect.com.
I was listening to a podcast recently where the speaker encouraged all of us to take one room in our house and to make it as beautiful as we can. While beauty is undoubtedly subjective, we’ve made honest efforts to do this in every room of our home. The pure joy of turning vision into reality is something that drives us to continue taking on these types of projects. The installation of the banister and handrail will test us, but it’s these types of challenges that engender growth.
Our fingers are crossed that we’re able to transform this space into something we’re both proud of; stay tuned for the final reveal!
Lastly—Maggie and I went our separate ways for Christmas. Wilson was brave and stayed in a kennel. I got to spend time with my family in Saranac Lake—my nephew Will is the cutest.