Author Archives: Lisa Hann

We have grass!

It’s been a busy few weeks on Burns Lane! We have interior and exterior lighting, we have grass & gardens, front/back flagstone and side walkways are completed, glass showers are installed, and the driveway is ready to be paved. This week the quartz countertops will be installed, and kitchen/laundry/washroom sinks will be next, carpets in the two bedrooms, and staining of the staircase will be underway. We also conditionally sold the townhouse this week, so it looks like a move to the ‘burbs will be imminent (yikes!)

grass 1G on machinedriveway1quad pic

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! I sure don’t know what I would do without mine….I’m very lucky to have had her support throughout this house Build…from paint selection, to flood cleanup, my mom does it all and always, always without complaining. Love you mama! (I need to get a pic of us up on this site!)

Shout Out to Dermot

I promised him I would, so here’s a ‘Shout Out’ to Dermot from Tigerstripe Painting…my favourite trade of all time!  Not only is he a helluva good painter but quite the joke-teller as well. At work, we recently started to kick-off our team meetings with someone telling a joke – puns, riddles, taboo, everything goes – Here’s mine – as told originally by Dermot. This is NSFW (I’ve always wanted to write that).

There were these two guys having lunch one day when the first guy says to the second one, “You ever say one thing to someone when you meant to say something else?” 
“How do you mean?” says the second one.
“Well last week I was at the airport in  Philly and I wanted to come back here to Pittsburgh and the women at the counter had these enormous breasts so instead of  asking for two tickets to Pittsburgh, I asked for two pickets to Tittsburgh.”
“I know what you mean.”, says the second guy. “Why just this morning I was having breakfast with my wife and I meant to ask her to pass the  jelly but instead I said ‘You’re ruining my life you stupid bitch!'”

Shout out to Dermot!! And for the best painter ever, look him up!

Shades of Grey

We’ve had SO MANY PEOPLE come through the house recently who have asked about our imaginative and forward-thinking use of paint colour, and so, a blog post on this topic was obviously required. Grab a pen and paper (and a glass of chard) and take note! (This entire sentence was BS…no one has asked about our paint selections, but I have quickly exhausted my list of blog topics so I thought this would be a thrilling one…(sarcasm).

I would like to think I have pretty decent taste…great taste in music and movies, yes…in friends, of course…in fashion, just so-so…taste in wine, absolutely…paint colours, MAJOR FAIL. Think: neutrals that turn out to be rust-coloured, shades of grey (Christian Grey?) that are inquestionably amethyst, and whites that when painted on the walls look ‘baby blue’ (I WROTE baby, not HAVING a baby – relax friends:). Enter Sarah. Title: Colour Consultant from the ultra posh, Oakville-based Lionsgate Design. Best $150 spent. Here’s what we came up with:

Throughout Main Floor and Upper Hallway – Balboa Mist, part of the off white colour selection. Collingwood was a close 2nd but a bit too dark for this space.

Balboa Mist – Looks great in a bedroom too!

Powder Room – Caribbean Teal, because most of the space is painted in neutral colours, I wanted a bit more pizazz in the powder room which makes the pedestal sink really ‘pop’.



Master bedroom & Laundry Room – Stonington Gray, part of the historic collection. Timeless colour which is great for both traditional and contemporary settings.

Master bathroom & Closet, two spare bedrooms – Gray Owl, This colour actually has a lot of green in it which is my least favourite hue – Sigh. I will have to get used to it.

Main bathroom – Classic Gray. My vision for the main bathroom was white, white, white with gray accents (cabinetry and wall colour). It’s shaping up quite nicely.

Fireplaces – Escartment on the main floor fireplace & Deep Silver on the master bedroom fireplace fireplace main 2fireplace master 2

All trimwork including crowns & interior doors are painted Decorator White.

Now I know why no one has asked about the paint…the ENTIRE HOUSE IS PAINTED IN SHADES OF GREY…….Laters, baby.

Easter Weekend Update

flooring dining

Dining Room to front. Powder room and garage to the right.

flooring throughout

Kitchen to right. Looking back to front.

flooring main fp

Main Floor fireplace

flooring main floor fp2

And again.

flooring front

Front ‘living room’. Not exactly sure how we will utilize this space!

flooring big window

My favourite part of the house. 16 foot family room, gas fireplace, tongue&groove ceiling.

floorin kitchen

Kitchen with pantry on the left.


Powder Room

flooring upstairs hallway 2

2nd floor hallway

flooring master fp2

Master Bathroom

flooring master fp

Erik’s fireplace.

flooring master bed

Upstairs hallway into master bedroom.

floor upstairs hallway

Master bedroom to upstairs hallway


Cedars!! BEST DEAL EVER. Hurry to Home Depot.


Backyard porch to shed and cedars.


There’s a phallic joke here somewere….


14 done! 42 more to go!


Where’s Waldo?

flooring selfie

Eye surgery selfie!

Rules of Thumb

To say that we’ve learned a lot throughout this build is an understatement. Here are a few rules of thumb (some of which we learned the hard way), which have worked for us when building the new house.

  1. ‘Is that your best price?’ – It’s never their best price, so ask. If they won’t budge, then walk away for a day or two. They’ll be back if they really want the job. And if they don’t, there’s other fish in the sea. (Can you tell that this is my philosophy on break-ups as well?)
  2. Get multiple quotes – We chose three quotes per job. It’s a lot of work collecting all these quotes but you can save a lot that way too. We’re not exactly sure how much we’ve saved by doing it this way, but I can tell you that this week alone we saved eleven big ones. Eleven THOUSAND big ones. I’ll drink to that!
  3. Pay Wisely – Seems obvious but here’s a story: One of the trades this winter worked about 5 days in 2 weeks…they were sick, it was too cold, they had jury duty, their kid was sick, the Olympics was on, the dog ate their homework … Yet, they wanted to be paid on their normal 2 week schedule! Hell no! The trades will pressure you to open your wallet, even if they don’t deserve it. And always hold back a little extra to ensure they come back to finish any final work that is required.
  4. Keep Records – Document every nickel. Why? You will need to reference it at some point, I promise.
  5. Do your research – One of the best websites that was suggested to me by a friend is called I visit this site daily to review products, explore ideabooks from top designers, or just flip through the thousands of pictures for inspiration. Want ideas for a dog washing station? Check. Inspiration for my future wine cellar? They have that too. Reviews on my new LG Washer & Dryer? You betcha. Advice on how to survive a new house build with your partner? Well, that brings me to my Next Rule of Thumb.
  6. Fight Fair – There’s been yelling. There’s been days when we don’t speak to each other. There’s been tense moments…in public…at Home Depot. And this was BEFORE we started building the house! We try to fight fair, remember that we’re a team, and try not to hold any grudges (written with grit teeth;)
  7. Follow the Plan – This we say often. Do not make any changes to the structure or design of the house without speaking to your architect. Thinking that you can make changes on the fly, doesn’t always work out the way you were expecting. I’ll leave it at that and forever hide a plant over the one mistake I hope none of my visitors ever notice.
  8. Payoff your neighbours – Yes, we bribe our next door neighbours. Don’t judge. Whether it be Keg Gift Cards, bottles of wine, or more bottles of wine ‘just for putting up with all of this’, it goes a long way. Anything to make the stress of our build less painful for them. If there was such thing as a ‘Neighbour of the Year’ award; we’ve won it.
  9. Everyone is on the take – Sorry, but this has to be said. If you think your hardwood guy is just ‘being nice’ by referring you to his friend who does tiling, you’re wrong. He’s making a cut. And who’s paying for it? You are. The referrals can also be really obscure…Why would my kitchen guy be getting a commission on flagstone for my patio? Well, he is. And somehow, someway, you are paying for it.
  10. Last Rule of Thumb – Have FUN. This is/has truly been an incredible experience and we are so lucky to have built our house from scratch. Although stressful, we have managed to have a few good laughs and I hope one day we can look back at this blog and reminisce about how much fun we had during this adventure.