The Riley Bungalow

Projects are finally picking up again over here at The Riley Bungalow. TJ is back in Toronto, and we are in reno/organization/let's figure out what to do next mode. But hold up. Let me start from the beginning.

On July 18th 2016 we sold our condo bought this little house in Toronto. 


Cute, right? It needs A LOT of work. Luckily, TJ is a multi-talented, build anything and learn how to install a light fixture in 20 minutes kind of guy. On top of that, my dad, his dad, and my brother in law, Lucas, are all construction dudes/experienced builders. Since we spent all our dough on the house, we really have no budget for any of the work that needs to be done, or to hire any contractors. 

And so comes the challenge of making thing beautiful on our own on a teeny budget.
That's where I come in.

So here you have it, a bit of before and after magic.
We started our work in the living room. After we bought the house the owners stained the floor and I was not particualry happy furious about it. Tj and I sanded the floors with an electric hand sander to reveal a more natural wood.  It turned out even better than the original floors. I would reccomend renting a floor sander if you'd rather get in done in a day and not get a serious arm workout for a few hours at a time over a week (anything to save a buck, over here!) In hindsight it would be worth it to rent a floor sander. 

The thing I disliked most about this space was the wall that separates the kitchen from the living/dining room. I wanted it gone completely and to have a open space, but it's a load bearing wall so that would be a very bad idea.

Instead, TJ and his dad cut a window in the wall, allowing the space a little peek a boo action while still maintaining the privacy of the kitchen.  At first I was disappointed not to have it fully open, but it's actually fantastic. We found a piece of pure white quartz for $500. TJ and Lucas installed the pot lights, and voila. 

See that big wood unit built into a niche in the the wall behind the table? TJ and Lucas, and my dad tore that wall down and rebuilt it, creating closet space on the other side of the wall, which is our bedroom. We'll get to that soon, but first a few tips on decorating on a budget.


We renovated and designed this space whole area for under $3000. 
Here are 3 ways we saved money creating this living/dining space.
1. We purchased our Ikea Ektorp sofa couch and Jennylund chair off craigslist for $220 and $20 and bought a brand new slip cover for $145, and $91. We saved hundreds of dollars and love our 2 comfortable new pieces. 

2. We bought the mantle tile on clearance at The Home Depot for less than half the original price and installed it ourselves with Lucas' help.  He borrowed a saw from a friend, which can be rented from most hardware stores.  The lovely folks at The Home Depot will give you a lesson on how to install tile if you're feeling brave enough to take on a tile project.

3. The only item in this space that I was NOT on sale when we bought it was our Shari Table from Structure.  However, I did a ton of research and it was by far the most affordable table in this style available at only $299. Be prepared though, it was a massive pain in the ass to put together. Not for me, because TJ did it, but I have never heard so many swear words come out of his mouth. Moral of the story is, we almost always purchase pieces that are on sale. 

Often I will find something I like online, and then wait until it pops up on craiglist, or research until I find something similar for a fair price.  Here are examples of a few pieces I loved but couldn't afford, so found something similar at a reasonable price. 


This leads me to the bedroom.  I wanted to create a space that is cozy and inviting with a laid back boho vibe. The use of different textures is important to me in bringing any space to life, so I added some Macrame and faux fur accent pieces.

Next I hope we can do something about this monstrosity of a kitchen. Unfortunately the after picture doesn't exist yet. I'll be working on my dream kitchen post early next week so come back and check it out if you're as nerdy about reno's as me!





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