The TIny House Kitchen is Almost Done!

I wish I could say the same thing about the house though. It's been clear now for weeks that we won't make the bf's birthday house deadline which is in a week. I'm really hoping that we'll have a house for my birthday... in 4 months! Haha... But for now, our next mental deadline is Pacquiao-Mayweather fight (May 2). We're hoping to have pay-per-view and have friends over. But we all know how our deadline is like, it's just a wish. 

But we're looking at the bright side which is the kitchen. It's almost done! We can now see the light at the end of this very very very long tunnel that we lovingly call The Tiny House Renovation.

Here's where I left you in the last kitchen update post. The cabinets are in place but that's about it. 

Tada! Tiles!!!

As cliche as subway tiles is, I love it!!  The counters (which is just tile with tile trim, I'll share details in another post), and the shelf are installed. That shelf will house majority of our dinner ware which is not a lot so it will do.

Next up is painting the cabinets. As I've said in my last post, we wanted a grayish green color based on our inspiration photo. Here we are trying on different colors, we added a bit more yellow to the right most swatch to achieve a greener hue.

Tada! Paint!! Haha... 

Here they are with our copper handles. As seen on previous photos, our free cabinet doors already got a nickel finish handles, which are fine. But we wanted copper so one night, after they finished all the painting, we did a painting of our own. Well the bf did. He spray painted all the hardware copper and we installed new ones for the smaller cabinet. I did the measuring and he did the drilling. 

We're actually unsure of the copper color the first night we installed them as they looked too red with the few bulbs we had at that time, but morning came and we love them! It's just the right color. We also spray painted the new handles for the smaller cabinet so they'll all match.

We had the niche shelves stained the same the same color as our window. We wanted touches of wood here and there to warm up the space. Obviously there's still masking tape around the shelves, but I can already imagine cute cooking condiments bottle placed in there. Also a nice basket that will hold garlic (I love garlic!!), onions, and such. I don't cook so that's the only ingredients I know. Haha... 

I love how the tiles and the cabinet look against all the navy. And speaking of the color, how do you see our cabinets? Greenish gray, or grayish green? The bf and I are debating, he sees it as gray, and I see it more as green. We've had argued about color more than just a few times and I always tease him that he's colorblind. So green? Gray? Black and blue? White and gold? Haha.. And for the record, I see that dress as black and blue, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, google it. Mind-boggling.
Oh and I totally forgot about the dining table we bought, it has storage! 6 small drawers, which means additional pantry space. Yay! I'll show you when we unpacked it, can't risk having paint dripping all over it so it will stay in plastic until we're totally done with this level. 

So that's our small kitchen, and I absolutely adore it. We're still missing a few details, the three wall lights, and the countertop of the small cabinet. We had a tile breaking incident so we have to buy another one. But overall, I love the direction we went with and I know this little corner will serve as well.

Next, we're shopping for a fridge, a retro-looking fridge that is, wish us luck!

Tiny House Renovation: The Kitchen (Plans and Progress)

Let me start this post by saying this... I don't cook. This is in no way the best kitchen set up out there, on the contrary, our kitchen is so minimal I'm not sure how functional it will be. Haha.. Before even starting the Tiny House, I had drawn kitchen designs and cabinet layout for what I think will be best for us in terms of storage. But, we got free kitchen cabinet doors and drawers so we use those instead and I threw all my drawings away.

And that's not the only changes we had along the way. As you see in the floor plan below, we're supposed to have the fridge beside the stairs, and build a floor to ceiling shallow pantry cabinet, hiding the fridge from the rest of the space.

LAYOUT

So this is the layout of the original plan. Plus I thought of having a full cabinet beside the counter to house microwave, convection oven, and a whole lot more of storage. But then the bf was not sold to this layout since it would make our small space, smaller, blocking the stair wall and the crystal chandelier we're planning to install there.

He actually got a point. I was only thinking of maximizing storage since the space is small, but I'd love to have a full view of the chandelier and the gallery wall we'll install on the stair wall. Plus the space will feel so much larger without the big pantry storage blocking the view. So here's the revised plan...
Instead of placing the fridge and pantry beside the stairs, we're just putting another counter with drawers on the left, and a hidden side compartment for the microwave and oven. The fridge will go beside the long counter. Even with just the line drawings, you can see how much more spacious the kitchen feels.

Obviously, we loss tons of storage with this changes, and yes I'm planning to learn to cook eventually, but for now, I guess this will be enough. The bf does cook and he said this is enough so I believe him. Haha.. We'll have 6 drawers for pantry needs. One very long open shelf for plates. bowls, glasses, cups, sugar, coffee, tea, and other bottled stuff. 2 drawers for cooking pots / pans. Plan to have rod to hang cooking utensils and such. Also 3 other big drawers for misc items that I still have no idea what to fill with. Under the sink will be the trash, and the other half will house a water filter system. For now that's the plan, hoping that's more than enough for two people. Oh in case you're wondering where our stove will be, we'll be using induction stove. Originally, we're planning to have the counter built-in induction stove but apparently, those are VERY expensive.  So we'll just buy the induction cooker you place on top of the counter, much cheaper. Hehe.. Plus we can keep it in the drawer when not in use. I'll let you know how that we'll work out for us.



DESIGN

As far as the design, the only thing I knew from the start is that I wanted white subway tile. Ooohh subway tiles.... I know, too predictable. It's all the rage in kitchen design this days. But it has a certain charm. It's trendy now, yes. But it's also classic and vintage as well. I wanted something that I would like in the next 5 years, and a simple white subway tile is my best bet.

Since we've got one big element down, the other decision to make is the cabinet color. What color would the bf and I agree on? He doesn't like black for those, and both of us doesn't like white. We like green in relation to our navy walls, but what kind of green? Then I saw this image and knew it would be perfect. 
I'm talking about the wall color below the subway tile. It's a subtle green, and we both like it, so sold.


Here's the design element board for our kitchen. 
Since our third level is mostly dark with the brick and navy walls, we wanted this area to be bright and the white tile would do the trick. We're loving copper these days, so we'd love to incorporate it throughout the house. We'll try to paint the existing handle that came with our free cabinet doors (I'll share the "free" story some other time) a copper shade, and we'll install three copper lights above the floating shelf.

As for the fridge, originally, we're planning to just purchase any fridge since it will be hidden from view, but with the changes in layout plans, the fridge will be front and center so we wanted something special. We both love a retro looking fridge, and if budget weren't a factor, we'll probably go with a smeg. But the cost of that fridge is the cost of our entire third level so we'll have to find another option. We saw a nice looking vintage fridge but we have no idea how to make it work and oh my old fridge doesn't have much storage. They don't even have shelves on the door. So we'll try to look for any nice fridge that's not stainless, white or black. A great color would be nice but we'll see what we'll find.

This is the kitchen last week. All the cabinets are in place but still not painted and finish. Oh and we have floors! Yay! We'll of course, have a half-wall around the small cabinet on the left because obviously, it's weird to have a floating cabinet beside the stairs.

See how small our kitchen is? I'm now doubting our storage capacities.. haha.. We decided against upper cabinets just because we wanted the tiles to go up to the ceiling and we wanted a very open and airy feel. Down the road, maybe we'll install one, or we'll add some sort of storage beside the fridge, but for now we'll just try to enjoy the minimalism of this space. Ooh, we also had a niche shelves installed, as you can see on upper right of the counter. That would be where our cooking stuff will be (oils, spices, etc) so yeah I though about this a little.
So that is our kitchen. That's where I'll learn how to make food, that's where I'll learn to bake in our small convection oven, that's where I'll make smoothies and salads on days that I feel fat. Haha.. 

And because we're talking about kitchens, I'll leave you with a very non-related photo, the Tiny House at night.
Sometime soon, I'll be curling up on the sofa in that corner, either watching tv or staring at our subway tiles.



Tiny House Decoration: Turning a Shelf into our Office Light Fixture

Haven't been posting so much DIYs lately, and by lately I mean years, except for a few here and there. I started this blog full of DIYs, I'm very eager to see transformation, add that to the fact that I have so much free time. When I started having real projects, my time for those dwindled, and let's just say I found the bliss in hiring people to execute my ideas. Haha.. 

But for the Tiny House (and this post officially starts the #tinyhousedecoration segment), we're planning to do a little DIY here and there. And since we already have workers doing the house, some parts of the projects we're (will be) allocated to them. Gotta work with what you have right? ;)

Let me introduce you to our light fixture for the office.
Tada! HAHA...

But seriously, that's what our fixture is made of. The bf's family discarded one of their metal shelf during their renovation (forgot to take photo of the actual item but it's just like that only taller), and as the hoarder that we are, we kept it. The Bf is the mastermind of all this, he's the genius in making something out of scrap. Remember this post? Well those are not scrap, but still. I also posted this and this on instagram, he made those as well. Anyway, we'll be doing a lot repurposing for the Tiny House, and this one is first on the list. 

No process photos, but he used the shelf part, cut it in sections, and had our welder welded them together. It really is simple to do but I won't be able to have thought about this, really. I love love the end result.


It's perfect for the space since we wanted a visually light chandelier. Something modern, but not too modern. Geometric and interesting that would pop against the white ceiling, and something that can hold more than 1 bulb since this will be our main office light, it needed to be bright.


It can hold 4 bulbs, yey! Obviously we don't have bulbs yet, that will be next on our shopping list, we'll be going for LEDs, mostly in warm-white. But for the office we're doing this main light in cool-white. I love warm bulbs, but the bf finds them too dark and not condusive to work, in short, nakaantok. Haha

We painted them in gold, because well, we love gold, and it looks great with both our white and black paint colors. Sooo thankful for the bf's wild imagination, now we have a nice light fixture for almost nothing. It cost us a can of spray paint, 4 bulb socket, wires, and an hour of welder labor. Not bad for a very unique piece.

Now that you've seen our very clean looking ceiling, here's the reality of the loft.
Hoards. Lots of them. That's just 2% of what we have. Haha.. See those back to back wood furniture in the middle? Those are old bedside tables that we'll repurpose into our shared desk. But that's still down the road, we have so much more to do, and by we, I mean our workers. So goodluck to us, and them.

How I Choose Wall Colors

Many of you who answered the survey (again, thank you!!) requested for tips and advice in decorating, which I don't usually do since it's really a huge topic that's very hard to expound. Tips on what in particular? Advice on what topic? It is so general that I'm having a hard time to explain my thoughts and ideas. So I'll try to just do a topic or detail at a time.

As I was thinking on what to share today (or tonight, as I always write at night time), I thought about our navy blue wall and how we came to that decision. So I thought, how about giving some tips on choosing wall color? It's still a very vague topic and there are a lot of things to consider, so I'll just try to give you general ideas on how I do it. As I'm writing this, I still don't know how to properly explain my process so I'll just write whatever pops in my head. Hehe

(few seconds later......)

So... I think the best helpful thing I can do is use some of my projects as examples and give you reasons on what made me decide to choose that particular color.. Okay? Game.

(You may click on the project name to view the reveals of those projects)

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This was my very first official project years ago. They had a lot of wooden furniture that they intend to keep and be part of the design. I wanted the space to feel fresh, but make all the wooden pieces be part of the space rather than be out of place. So I went with a shade of green. (Look in the color of nature for inspiration, they are gorgeous!) Obviously, wood and green looks great together (hello tree!), but I didn't want to have a bright or saturated green. Their furniture are all vintage and classic looking, plus we wanted airy and fresh, so I went with a subtle muted green. It's not bright, but fresh that looks great with their existing pieces.

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On all of my projects, I asked clients on what's the feel they like, do they have a preferred color(s), etc. But of course, I don't always use their preferred color on the wall. I can put in accent pieces, accessories, curtains, etc. But I wanted a starting point, and if their favorite hue would look great on the wall, then why not. With this client, she likes green. But I didn't immediately pick which green and painted. We first selected the accent wallpaper and pick the color from there.  If you'll have an accent wall like this, you should select the color that coordinates or complement that accent, or else, everything will look choppy. (See next example, I'll explain it further)

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I chose this very textural wallpaper with lots of different brown tones in it. I still love this project to bits, everything just coordinates nicely without being boring. Anyway, unlike the example above where I chose almost the exact color as the wallpaper, in here we painted the wall and cabinetries in lighter shade of the paper. It means that they are still in the same family, they have the same undertones, so they don't clash but instead they just plays well with each other. What I do is hold different swatches beside the wallpaper and see which best coordinates with it, it's hard to explain, but you should see it especially if you have big swatches. And you should have big swatches, I'll get to that later.

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Gray is all the rage these days. It's all about the gray, 'bout the gray, no color! Haha.. Seriously though, it's so in trend right now and for good reason.  It's a great neutral that goes well with almost anything. It could be french chic like the example above, or modern industrial like the example below. But gray is also very tricky as you can see the undertone very clearly. So you should make sure that those undertone goes well with your finishes and pieces. The gray above has a hint of blue in it which gives it a cooler feel. I chose that particular gray since the flooring they have has the same gray tone. If you can see on the left (beside the curtain), the floor has a tint of blue as well. Don't mind the right and bottom floor part, it's not the true color since we had a warm light turned on. So basically, the finishes should play well with your wall color as well.

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This particular gray has a yellow undertone. I'm not sure if you can see what I mean, but if you compare both photos, you'll see the difference in tint. The latter has a warmer cozier feel. I chose this shade, well, because I wanted to be have a warmer cozier feel. Haha.. I know, that's not helpful at all. All the wood tones plays nicely with the warm gray as well.

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Now, in here, instead of bluish gray like the House of Femme photo, this walls have a grayish blue. Yep, there's a difference. The client wanted an airy beachy feel, but they don't have much natural light, and they have a very dated marble floor. The flooring stayed since it's in a fairly good condition (albeit old looking), and it will be expensive to replace them. So we have to work with it. To have the beachy vibe, we wanted blue. But if we painted the walls a clear fresh light blue, the floors would look so out of place and well, old. So we grayed out the blue to make it "dirtier" to coordinate with the floors. Of course the yellow sofa, and light wood tones around helped in making the floors feel like part of the space rather than stand out. To be totally honest, we didn't get the right wall color right away, we have to tweak it to get to this point. So again, you should do big swatches to really see the color.

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This kitchen also has dated marble counter. It's so trendy back in the day that you'll see a lot of old houses with this finishes. They are renting so replacing the counter is out of the question. They wanted white cabinetry but white would just highlight the "dirtiness" of the counter. What we did is painted the upper cabinets an off-white shade, and the lower cabinet a dark warm gray, similar to the grains of the counter. The walls are painted a lighter warm gray, and we installed an off-white backsplash tile and flooring. So everything has a yellow undertone in it which makes the counter looks intentional. They had a white fridge so we can't do anything about that, but you see comparing the fridge color to the counter, that it clashes with it and makes the counter look old. 

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If you're not sold on gray and wanted a lot more warmth, you can go with taupe. In this bedroom, I chose a medium taupe on the upper wall, and a very light shade below. Why did I do a separate color you may ask? Well, I just wanted some sort of treatment on the wall rather than a plain color. It just add an extra oomph. Most of the furniture in this room are new so we have no problem coordinating with existing furniture. The floors are a yellowish wood which looks nice with taupe walls. 

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This is another grayish blue example. It's for a kid's room, but I didn't want to make it too young. This wall color would grow with them. To make it more fun, we painted the doors and crown molding a dark blue, and have pops of oranges for contrast. This room is for 2 young boys, but it could go with them up to their tween years. 

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I've shared mostly neutral space, so here's a little something with a little bit more color. This is an office for a women's org, so I wanted it to be feminine. I'm firm on having pink walls, but then I don't want it to be a young pink, not a fan of bubble gum pink. So I chose I shade of pink with grays in it to keep it muted and not too bright. As for the yellow divider, I got the color of that from the flower on the accent wallpaper. This color should work well with a girl's room without being too in your face childish.

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For this loft space, I went with a warm white since we'll have a lot of colors and I wanted them to be the star. White is the default color and I see lots of houses with white walls. It's safe, and neutral so most people who's afraid to commit goes with white. It's great for walls and it matches everything, but it does not look great in any room. If you have a dark room, meaning very minimal natural light, do not paint it white. Most people thought that painting a dark room white will make it brighter. What it'll do will make the room look more dreary and uninspired since you'll see every shadow, every dark corner with white walls. This loft has tons of natural sunlight so white works well here, it's bright and airy. White in dark rooms are still dark and dreary. 



Woooh. That came out longer than anticipated. But there are a lot to choosing colors and I haven't even scratched the surface. If you really want to go in depth in colors, read the blog of Maria Killam. She explains colors so well and in details, that's where I learn more about undertones, and many of my knowledge about color. Yes, I get my education from the interwebs. haha

Anyway, to summarize this very long post...

1) your paint colors should coordinate with your finishes --floors, wallpapers, cabinetries. It doesn't need to match, they just need to complement each other.

2) You should have big swatches to try on different times of the day to see if you really love the color and if it really does coordinate with all the other element in the room. I really don't do this (I'm brave like that, haha), but it will surely give you peace of mind and confidence to go with a certain color.

3) If you have dated finishes like the marble examples above, you should consider them in your decision or else they'll look more dated than ever. If they are yellowish or dirty looking, gray down your paint and have it in yellow undertone. Do not use fresh clean colors with your dated marble.

4) Do not paint a dark (no natural light) room, white. If you're bold, just embrace the darkness and paint it a dark color. It will be cozier. But if you're not into dark colors, paint it something else aside from white. The "More Than a Starter Home" living/dining area doesn't get much natural light, yet we still manage to make it bright looking without going with white. I honestly don't think white would look great in that living room, especially with those floors!

I guess that's it? I have no precise formula in choosing wall colors, it's just a collected knowledge and having the eye to see what will work, and what won't. I have looked upon hundreds of different interior images and read countless of design blogs and articles that I had some sort of initial inkling as to what colors would work. But don't worry, you can do it too. Just do your research, study your space and finishes,  go have big swatches of your preferred colors, and you'll get a wall color you'll love.


Tiny House Renovation: 7th Month Update (Interior Photos Galore)

If you've read this blog for quite some time now, then you'll know that it's such a dream for me to have this Tiny House. I'm really thankful and I feel so lucky every time I stopped for a minute and just comprehend the thought "We have a house." WE HAVE A HOUSE!! What?? And we're so close to the end of this renovation that we can now see and touch the walls (yes, we actually petted the brick walls a couple of times), we can imagine our furniture in place, our frames on the wall, us lounging in the sofa, or working together at the loft office. We can see it vividly that the wait is becoming more and more intense.

My excitement means that I have a lot of photos documenting the process and it's becoming more challenging to do it in one single post. Before it was easy, oh we put up frame work, and we poured concrete, there's the steel frames, and exterior walls. It's all the general structure of the house. But now that we're doing the interiors, there are a lot of details I'd love to share to you all! So for this post, I'll do all interior updates, but from this point forward, I'll be doing per area/ or per detail posts so I can share more. 

 Since we're finishing the house from up down, let's start at the loft shall we?

You've seen this before, but there's one difference. We finished the floors. We didn't do vinyl or laminate, we basically just sealed the existing plywood subfloor. We're not too nit-picky with those details, we're fine with the industrial raw look. But we have a lot of laminate flooring remaining from the 3rd floor (which we got for free, we'll tell you the story soon) so it's still up for negotiation if we'll do that for the loft as well. We just needed 30 additional planks, I'll see if we can get those so we'll have an actual finished floors here. Either way, I'm happy.

The other side of the loft is our fence wall. We used cyclone wire, the one you typically use for outdoor fence. We like the look, and we wanted it to be as open as possible for air circulation.

We just put wood trims on the side to have a more finished look. We love it, it's weird, it's open, but sturdy enough to act as wall. 

The view from the loft is quite nice, you'll see the brick walls, big windows, and the chandelier, same one we used at our showroom (which I don't have photos of in our showroom reveal, weird).

The moment we bought the bricks, we asked them to install it right away. We wanted to see how it will look ASAP! And now it's all here, it just brings so much character to the space. It's like having an NY apartment right here in QC. Haha... 

Oh, and we have stairs! We no longer need to use the scaffolding to go up the loft. Yey! Though it's quite steep and not the most comfortable to use. Either that or it will eat up a lot of floor space, something we don't have much of. So we'll just suck it up and be careful. Haha.. We painted the railing and and steel parts same color as the wall so it will not be visually heavy. We didn't want it to be the star of the space, we wanted it to just blend in. 

Looking up, you'll see our fence and the olive green chandelier. Again, most surface are navy. The main elements of this space are navy, bricks, subway tile for the kitchen, whites, wood, and greens, with splashes of colors here and there through accessories and art.


We love this chandelier so so much. It's wrought iron, it's ornate but not too feminine, it's visually light but really heavy. It's actually anchored to our roof steel frame just to be sure. I actually bugged our foreman on how sturdy it was, in which he replied "Ma'am matibay yan, kahit tao kaya sumabit dyan" Ok then. 

Full view of the back side of the 3rd level and the loft. 

The small room at the back will be the powder room which will be really special as I'm planning to wallpaper that thing. That's our kitchen counter to the right, and we'll have another small counter to the left of the door. We changed our original plan on having the fridge to the left of the powder room to not cover up the stair wall, we'll share kitchen plans soon!

Well that is the almost done spaces. Don't be fooled, going down the stairs (to the left) will lead you to the 2nd level which is still looking like this. HAHA

The door to the right is our main bathroom. They already started framing the ceiling, and will be dividing the space in two-- bedroom, and dressing area. Originally, it will be divided with an actual door, but we wanted to keep it open for now so we'll just do an arched wall. It will make sense when it's done. 

The view standing at the stairs. Again, installed huge windows here to let in lots of light. It's definitely not as bright as the upper levels, but this will do for a bedroom area. We're hoping to see a lot more progress for the 2nd floor this week which is necessary if we really wanted to have a presentable space come end March for the Bf's birthday. It's highly doubtful that we'll be done by then, more like impossible. But maybe we could have a meal at the 3rd level at the very least? Though we might not have running water so I have no idea how it will go. Guests + no functional toilet = disaster. 

But we're still happy that it's feeling more and more like a home nowadays. If we're not out or working, you'll see us hanging in here. We even started hauling some of our stuff from their storage room up the loft so it's now full of our collected items. We're not even halfway done in getting our stuff together and it's looking like hoarder central up there. But like this house, everything will fall into place. That I'm sure of. 

Next, I'll share our semi-DIY light fixture at the loft, and the 3rd floor flooring. They are done and they're looking great! I know I'm such a tease, I'm sorry.



Thank you (and a sneak peek)

I've always been meaning to do a little survey for this blog. I have no idea who reads, what you want or not want, or what you guys do enjoy seeing here. I blog mainly because I love to share my thoughts on decorating and what I do. Having no idea if people actually reads the posts leads me to not do it often. Well, I know some people do drop by, but it's just too quiet here I feel like I'm talking to myself, which I actually sometimes do. HAHA

Anyway, I'd just like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the survey. (If you haven't yet, please do! ) Now I know I'm actually talking to real people. It feels good to read your comments and I'm quite amused that some visit here everyday. WHY?? I feel so guilty now for posting so rarely knowing that some comes here daily. But really, to everyone who took part on the survey, thank you so much! I'll take all your answers to heart and give more time to improve Decor Me Happy. You guys inspire me!

I'm also surprised to know that people prefer design projects posts. My love for the Tiny House made me assume that people love it too! HAHA... But I guess because every Tiny House posts are construction related story (boring), it's not that interesting to many of you yet. BUT that won't be for long, we're on the last stretch for the 3rd and loft level so we'll be doing the decorating soon enough. That is if we finally find the time to sort our boxes upon boxes of mess.

Here's a little something I posted on instagram (@elleuydecor) recently...

Would you believe that those are taken at the loft office? What was once just an airspace above the bf's former room, is now a room that can hold furniture! Just a few cabinet knobs to be installed and we're done at the loft. That's where we'll store all our stuff to be sorted before they go to their permanent space when everything is done. So not looking forward to the sorting part. 


Oh and a sneak peek! Looking down at the living room.. Blue walls, brick walls, our chandelier installed. It's looking quite wonderful in here. 

Last night, they hook-up our electricity temporarily so now, we get to enjoy the space at night too! I'll be posting a full Tiny House update very soon, I have a lot of photos I don't even know where to start. Soon enough, the Tiny House Renovation will be the Tiny House Decoration. hehehe...

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