The Reno Files

Hey all.

I am flipping the switch on the pretty photos today and bringing this here blog back to its roots. Trevor and I have been so focused on the inside of our house and growing our perspectives businesses that we have 

a) neglected taking photos of some of the house work we have been doing for blog sakes as we just need to "git er done" sometimes &

b) in the last few years we haven't been taking on the huge projects at home because of time and those mentioned businesses

However, this spring/summer we kind of ran out of options for waiting from some of them. While we have been focusing our energy on beautifying the inside of our home the outside while still looking nice is starting to need attention. You know that 20 year house itch right. Everything starts failing at once. For those of you that are newer here, our home is approx 70-80 years old but had a major renovation/addition 23 years ago. That means last fall our roof was past due and needed to be done and now [although we could see it happening and knew it was coming] our porch needs a massive overhaul for beuaty and safety purposes.

They poured a concrete slab but then faced it with cheap bricks that just completely broke down and fell off with weather change and water leakage.

This left the ledge our porch unsupported and it began to crack and fall off. 

Any step too hard on the ledge and another little piece came off. I keep flinching every time the UPS guy uses the front porch instead of the main door. I actually had planters blocking it at one point.

You can see above the sheer amount of brick shards everywhere and that's after cleanup.

We built out the poles when we moved in to give them more bulk and they have been this taupe colour ever since. [paint colour too is changing]

Alright, so I've shown you the mess now for the plan


We decided since we are quite sure [well about 98.9% sure anyways] we are never leaving this home. We bought in a wonderful market 8 years ago, although we still felt the pinch then. This house was a huge step for us but it has risen in value and we have made it our own. Having said that we aren't leaving means, we knew that this porch needed to last. We did not want to do the maintenance every 4 years of restaining and fixing wood. Re-pouring the concrete was out because as I said the original house is old and it moves so, who's to say we repour and it won't crack in a couple years with our crazy hot and cold winter weather.

We are making the investment and having a Trex porch built. We have had experience with the product and know it's worth. We hunted down all the colours, held them against the brick and I think [or I hope] we got the right colour. The difference between wood and the Trex was about $2000.00 for the sake of clarity but when we calcuated the cost and time of upkeep on the wood over the next 20+ years, we decided it was worth the difference.

This is the colour we chose. It is called Island Mist. It is a warm greige tone but has a bit of black in it. This photo is a little browner than it really looks. Our future plans include changing windows [because the argon is failing and they are all cloudy, and also were installed wrong; a common story with the things we have been changing in our home since we moved in] The windows will be black because I love them and am in a desperate attempt to stop my house from being a beige builder blob. Our front porch furniture is also black so the bit of black in the decking will pull all of that together.

My handsome man using the concrete saw to chop off the rest of the ledge so our contracter can get to work this coming Monday. I can't wait. I had to move a bunch of garden plants preparing for a new step we are adding into the garden and I am ready to plant this porch up. I didnt fill any of the planters up here as I just didn't want to have to lug full planters. The front of our house is a little sad right now but not for much longer.

Moving on,


The Oliver and Rust Studio.

Back story. This business started in our garage. I was working as an unsatisfied dental hygienist and started painting furniture. I also got back behind my sewing machine and grew this idea out of paint brushes and thread.

We were throwing our vintage shows in the garage testing the area for love of vintage twice a year.

The furniture part of the business really took a back seat as hauling furniture needs 2 sets of hands. When we had Emma and then Trevor also started his business, picking up furniture at night just started becoming impossible. Another side effect was sanding in my garage while also trying to sew "clean" fabric was a regular s@*tshow. I'd be covered in sawdust and paint and then try to cover everything and switch gears to sew pillows.


The sewing operation still happens in the garage. We have massive tables everywhere. Cutting, ironing, sewing. My poor husband.

I have commandeered most of the space. The shop doesn't have room for this part of the business and even if it did by having it at the shop I would NEVER be home.

Jill flippantly said one day as we were moving crap out of the way trying to make room one day for our bodies to get to work, "why don't you turn upstairs into a studio?"

She didn't know it but she gave one of my brain squirrels a nut and he just ran with it.

I started formulating a plan on how to broach the subject to Trev and convince him we needed this.

Little did I know I hadn't even got my full speal out and he ran upstairs to our garage attic [kind of like a loft] and starting carrying stuff down to throw out, donate and tag for the family recipients we have been storing stuff for. It was like I had set off a tornado. He was going to get his garage back and nothing was going to stop him. We spent 2 weekends organizing all our stuff that was up here and moving to shelving on the main floor. We had so much stuff we hadn't used or looked at to donate it was kind of awful. Awful but good. We found homes for a lot of what was up here, contacted the family members for their items and made a general game plan of how to proceed up here.

This is the future studio. The electrician had already been here at this point to get the wiring ready for lighting for us. The basic concept will be white. White walls, white floors and black windows. This space will be where I sew and work when I'm working from home. The sewing, photo shoots etc will all happen up here. Fabric storage will also be moved up here out of our main garage. It's currently all housed in totes and looking sad.

The bonus part of this for me is that, and any other self employed can attest to this when I am home I never truly feel off work. Our exercise equipment is in the garage, all my gardening equipment, anything related to our cars etc like a normal garage. Every time I walk into the garage my tables and sewing stuff are looking at me nagging that I should be working. When they go upstairs I can close the door at night and they are out of sight our of mind which I think and hope will help my "mind" a little bit. Now if I just left my phone and computer up here too we'd be laughing.

 Another view looking back at the stairs. There is 3 windows up here for a ton of natural lighting.

The current state of a part of our garage. The table in the front of the picture is actually where Jill or myself stand to cut fabric so we have to move everything every week right now as all of the stuff beside it waits to be re homed at my brothers when he moves or back upstairs in the studio.

 Just yesterday the framing was completed. Going up the stairs this is now the "door" to enter the studio.

and this is the view directly from walking through the door. The nook and window to the left of the photo is where I will be sitting with all my machines to make pillow happiness.

Next step, more electrical and insulation. Woo hoo for pink!

Thanks for coming along on this journey.

Talk soon,

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