2022 Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 7 – Français 101. Sometimes the gift of a well-crafted cocktail and good company is all you need. I am so fortunate to have had a rock-solid support network of friends and family to help me with the production of this year’s advent calendar in the midst of moving and renovating my new house.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my boyfriend Michael, my parents Scott and Trudy, my friends Kasia and Matt, Erin, Finn, and Lauren for their donating their time and talents to help me with the house, Blitzen, and maintaining my sanity over the past couple of months. Special thanks also to my realtor Matt Love and my interior designer Melanie Neault of Launch Your Space for supporting me with the purchase and styling of my new place.
To say I’m in a busy season of life would be an understatement. At times, it’s felt truly overwhelming trying to keep up with everything on my to-do list – my day job, writing for Ottawa Magazine, producing Blitzen, TV and radio appearances, managing other paid partnerships in October/November, and renovating a house. I’m trying to give myself a bit more grace and understand that home renovations require patience and money in equal measure.
If you haven’t been following along with my new home journey on Instagram, I took possession of a new home on October 6th. It’s a mid-century duplex and my partner Michael and I have been slogging away updating the upstairs unit to get it ready for rental.
When I took possession, the upstairs unit had been rented by the same tenants for 12 years and there were some interesting design choices. The wood-burning fireplace had been covered in a hideous peel and stick mosaic that looked like an assortment of melted marbles. The bathroom was painted Barney purple, and the kitchen was a real delight of peel and stick everything.
White melamine cabinets had been transformed with black woodgrain stick-on appliqués, the backsplash was made of tinfoil, and the walls were covered with a blue and white trellis-patterned wallpaper. To say it was a lot of look would be an understatement. The flooring in the kitchen was a dated off-white vinyl.
Since moving in, we’ve painted every possible surface in the upstairs unit, installed new blinds, scraped off every inch of peel and stick, painted the cabinets a beautiful sage green, removed the emerald green laminate countertop with a honey oak butcher block countertop, installed new brass hardware, new undermount sink, new terrazzo-look porcelain tile floors, and subway tile backsplash. We’ve done a lot but there are still a few more items to cross off the list before we can begin renting on Airbnb – including receive our short-term rental license from the city.
The main floor is coming along more slowly as we’ve prioritized getting the upstairs unit ready for rental but so far we have the living room furnished and the dining room is coming along. I hope to have the main floor finished by the spring but I’ll be waiting 3-4 months for the beautiful checkerboard tile floor I’ve selected for the main floor to arrive.
Fear not, dear reader, I’ll be sharing full before and afters room by room for both the upstairs unit, the main floor, and the basement transformations as we go. If you’re looking for more day-by-day progress and insights, be sure to follow me on Instagram.
Even though there have been myriad frustrations and unexpected expenses thus far, I’m fortunate to have good friends and family to help me through. This Français 101 is a riff on the classic French 75 that is the perfect celebratory sipper – whether you’re popping bottles after another successful DIY, a career highlight, or just the end of the week.
Be sure to join me on Instagram Stories tonight at 5 p.m. Eastern for more trials and tribulations from my home improvement journey and a step-by-step walkthrough of how to make this cocktail.