Current obsession: German Schmearing

No, German schmearing is not a sex position. That I know of. German schmearing, otherwise known as lime washing or whitewashing, is a treatment for updating brick. It’s also something I’ve become obsessed with since becoming a homeowner. I randomly came across it on Pinterest one day and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

When we had our house inspection ahead of finalizing purchasing our home, one of the comments our inspector made about the exterior of our house was that the mortar needed to repointing in places and the brick had unfortunately undergone some kind of treatment over the years [he suspected power washing] that removed the veneer or finish from the original brick. Because of this, the brick is a muted colour and was susceptible to damage, and when I later found out about German schmearing, I thought it could be a perfect solution to our strange orange brick.

While the brick is original and is from the Victorian era, it’s pretty basic. Really basic. It isn’t laid in lavish patterns and isn’t fancy. I’m not complaining, but this is another reason why I am partial to giving our house the schmearing treatment. Repointing the mortar as well as dealing with the washed-out orange brick colour might make it look less barfy.

Since then I’ve been obsessed with finding more German schmearing images on Pinterest to further convince myself that this might be a practical solution that would ultimately validate my want to change the strange colour of our house.

But I am hesitant. I would be completely covering the original brickwork. On the other hand, our home is one of very few homes in our neighbourhood that is original brick. All the homes in our neighbourhood are from the same era, but 97% of the houses have been covered in siding over the years. So in my mind, I’m helping to preserve the brick, kind of. By covering it. Kind of.

I’m definitely having a “yeah, but” back-and-forth in my head. I still don’t know what to think, so I’m putting it here for some feedback. And validation. Please validate my ideas. Because I think I could really nail it.

What do you think? Honestly.

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.

A trip to Rideau Antiques in Lombardy, Ontario

During the Christmas holidays Robert and I had one day where Cora was in playschool and we both had the day off. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but since moving to Canada two and a half years ago, Robert and I have had maybe three or four dates. That’s just what happens when you move to a different continent from everyone you know and you know zero people therefore you know zero babysitters. This is just our life now.

Moving on, because I don’t want this to sound like some sort of absurd misery-brag, but Robert and I had this one unicorn day and wanted to make the most of it. We started our day by going to the most adorable afternoon tea followed by going to Rideau Antiques in Lombardy, Ontario.

To say Rideau Antiques is intense and amazing is an understatement. It reminded me of some sort of abandoned Harry Potter set where all kinds of objects and treasures are piled up to uncomfortable heights and held together by magic and / or positive thinking.

When my parents visited us in October they took a trip to Rideau Antiques ahead of us and strongly advised that if we visit to not bring Cora, and they were right. It’s not the type of place you’d want curious little hands pulling at something from the bottom of a teetering pile.

It’s such a very difficult place to describe outside of the medium of gifs.

That sums up our entire visit. It was amazing and surreal and if I’m honest, overwhelming. Once you head inside the main building it’s stuff and things everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Neither of us could figure out how big the rooms were because it was impossible to gauge where the walls and ceilings were.

I will admit that at this point in our visit, I had a minor panic attack as I quietly questioned the structural integrity of the building. Look at how much stuff there is … Can the house actually support this much? I’m in the middle of the house RN and I have no idea where the closest exit is.

SPOILER ALERT: I survived completely unscathed and in perfect working order, so this may be a cautionary warning to people who may be sensitive to their surroundings or claustrophobic. And if I’m being honest, if you are a person that commands a lot of space or you are currently heavily pregnant, I would not suggest you go very far into the house. There were places where we didn’t go because the aisles were too tight or we felt that if we tried to turn around, we would knock into a lot.

If you stick with it you can find amazing things. If you go with a specific item in mind, I would urge you to ask the owner Clifford where to find a certain item and he can point you in the right direction. His knowledge of where everything is in that store is one of the lesser-known wonders of the world.

I’ll be heading back soon in search for the perfect door knob for our pantry door.

Our Victorian pantry – after!

Updating our pantry was not only my first project this year, but the first project I worked on in our new home. It was the perfect small project to get me back in the swing of DIYing; it was a small space, it didn’t take long to complete, looked absolutely atrocious beforehand [which always ensures an excellent after] and cost me around $15 to update.

As a reminder and in case you haven’t seen any decent horror movies recently, this is what our pantry looked like before

… Followed quickly by what it looks like now! I started updating our pantry by first of all, scrubbing it thoroughly. I used warm, soapy water with a bit of vinegar to clean the walls and underside of the stairs. When I removed the shelves, I found mouse droppings on the little shelf ledges – they most likely ended up there when the shelves were wiped over the years. I can confirm that as much as I love mice, we don’t actually have any in our home and the little poops are from some time ago. Still, as soon as I discovered said poop, I resorted to the bottle of Lysol wipes left by the previous owner and wiped the shelves, shelf ledges, stairs, walls and floors thoroughly. Because food.

After a thorough clean, I removed the extra nails, filled the holes and the many gaps of all shapes and sizes. To show that my ‘before’ pictures are not entirely exaggeratedly yellow, above you can see my first round of filler [first round of many in some places], which itself is off-white. Our pantry really was a nondescript shade of children’s nightmares.

I ended up giving the pantry 3 coats of semi-gloss white paint. I decided to keep the original shelves as they were already the perfect size and I figured it would be wasteful to replace them. They already worked perfectly, so it would have been frivolous to replace them. I cleaned them via chemical warfare with Lysol then covered them in my go-to faux marble contact paper by d-c-fix [I’ve used contact paper on a lot of projects. If you’re curious, you can see them all here. From kitchen counters to coffee tables. Also, you can see my tutorial on how to easily apply contact paper here!].

I am so pleased, and dare I say proud, with how my first project in our home turned out. However, I’m not completely finished with this space. I want to update the pantry door as well as get the sweet little pantry light working again [see more about me rescuing it from a life of paint on my Instagram here].