Week One: Design Styles

Happy Halloween! Halloween kind of snuck up on me this year - Adam and I never even got around to carving our pumpkins! I'm not a huge Halloween fan (I can't handle being scared - we watched 'Paranormal Activity' last night and I immediately regretted it when I had to get up in the dark this morning), but I love handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters so I'm looking forward to that tonight :)

Last week I went to the first session of an intro to interior design class I'm taking and it was awesome! Looking at pictures of interiors and talking about furniture for 2.5 hours is my idea of a perfect evening haha. We started with a broad overview of different design styles. Years of magazine and blog reading has familiarized me with various styles, but it was so interesting to break down each style's characteristics and evolution, and to learn how to identify which design style a particular piece of furniture belongs to. My favourite style is definitely eclectic, so here's some eclectic inspiration to start your week!

Images 1/2/3/4/5 via pinterest, no source :(


Mood Board: Blue and yellow living room

Earlier this week, a friend asked me for my thoughts on her living room. She had it all planned out in her head, but her husband literally couldn't see her vision and was worried about having too much going on in the room. So I offered to put together a mood board for her. Even if you don't know the first thing about design (see: me), starting with a mood board allows you to visualize a space in a way that you just can't inside your head (at least for 99% of us). And there's nothing worse than making a bunch of purchases based on what looked amazing inside your head, only to realize in person that it doesn't work (assuming most of us don't like wasting our hard-earned cash). Plus, mood boards are really fun to make (this from the girl who used to cut rooms and models out of Sears' catalogues to play paper dolls with, and preferred them to her actual Barbies).

Here's the mood board I put together for her, based on the items she already had and wanted to add to the room:
  1. Her colour scheme for the room - I love the combination of charcoal, cream, blue and yellow
  2. This Crate and Barrel chair is sadly no longer available, but it's similar to the matching velvet slipper chairs from Backyard and Veranda she scored on Kijiji with the tags still on - how lucky is that?!
  3. She's thinking about adding this pillow to each of the slipper chairs
  4. And she already has these graphic and floral pillows on the couch
  5. Her sofa is a mid-century find from Kijiji, so this Pottery Barn sofa is just a stand-in
  6. I love this sunny Draper stripe citrine rug she wants to add
  7. She's also thinking about adding charcoal and cream trellis curtains
  8. This teak coffee table is very similar to one she just purchased, which looks a bit more orange in the photo than it does in real life
  9. And this artwork by Dan Steeves- a wedding gift from her parents - sits over the mantle
I think seeing it all together gave her more confidence about her choices, but what design advice would you offer?


DIY twine vase

Last night I started out with plans to quickly switch out the dried hydrangeas on our mantle for something more fall-like and somehow ended up with a glue gun in one hand and twine in the other. Here's the final product:

All of the flowers came from our garden and the vase was one I already had on hand - I just used a little hot glue to attach one end of the twine to the vase, wrapped it tightly and then glued the other end to keep it all in place (which means it can easily be removed later). As for the vase that was on our mantle, I filled it with a few handfuls of leaves from the yard and some chinese lantern flowers from our garden:

It needs some more height on the mantle, so I need to find something to stack underneath it. The shallow mantle makes that a challenge - maybe a few small books?

Linked up here


It's here!

That's right, the oh-so-lovely vintage tin I won in Shannon from 8foot6's giveaway arrived yesterday! It's currently hanging out on my mantle, which doesn't look very fall-like, I know (I keep meaning to switch those dried hydrangeas out for a bouquet of chineses lanterns).

Isn't it cute? The tin's yellow colour will fit in perfectly when I get around to tweaking my living room and I love the wrapping paper it came in - I think Shannon's son may have helped ;) 


Fall leaves and a new garden

This picture (of bagged leaves) pretty much sums up my weekend. The good news is that in addition to raking, I also managed to see Adam's band play a show for the Halifax Pop Explosion, go out for breakfast at one of my favourite spots, watch a really terrible movie (Love and Other Drugs) and make a delicious dinner to celebrate my mom's birthday. The bad news is that the raking isn't done yet.

In between raking, Adam and I also started to build raised beds for next year's garden. We learned a lot planting our first garden this year, especially that we need a location with more sunlight. So we decided to create two raised beds in the middle of our yard, which has the added bonus of giving us (really Adam) slightly less area to mow. We purchased some spruce boards at Home Depot and had them cut down to make two 4' by 6' frames. Adam sunk three screws into each side and voila, we had our frames.

The next step is to level the frames by removing some of the sod, so we won't have any drainage issues when we plant our garden in the spring. The frames are 10 inches deep (you need about 6 inches for a veggie garden) and we'll use newspaper to cover and smother the grass, then add the soil from last year's garden on top. We're also going to try forking some shredded leaves into the soil, which will help attract earthworms and other good-for-the-garden organisms come spring (or it will do nothing, either way we've got leaves to spare).

I think we're going to try making leaf mould for next year, which sounds disgusting but is actually a really good organic compost. From what I've read, you just store leaves in black garbage bags for a year or so, and I really like the idea of putting our leaves to work instead of just getting rid of them. Have you ever tried it? Any advice?


Bedroom mood board (take 2)

On Wednesday, Adam and I moved out of the guestroom and back into our bedroom. We've got a pretty crazy set-up going on right now (picture a bed and dresser pushed together in the middle of the room, surrounded by a ladder, painting supplies and a dog bed), but I have a seriously sore shoulder (do you think it has something to do with the constant sanding, patching, priming, and sleeping on a futon for the past few weeks?) and needed to sleep in a real bed.

Anyway, while Adam and I were laying in bed catching up on episodes of Parks and Recreation (Treat Yo Self), I started looking at the walls and thinking about our neutral colour scheme...and it just didn't feel right. So I subtracted a few elements and added a few others and came up with this:

  1. I revamped the colour scheme to include some colour (go figure). I love this light grey colour for the walls (Benjamin Moore's Alaskan Husky), which acts as a soothing backdrop for champagne, charcoal and green accents.
  2. Since I already DIY'ed one, the black and white lamp stays.
  3. I'd like to add a neutral accent chair to the room (this one is from West Elm) and a cozy throw will bring in some darker colour.
  4. These night stands from Ikea are very similar to the ones I recently refurbished, but I still need to find some eye-catching pulls.
  5. Accessories like this Crate and Barrel vase are a great way to add pops of colour to the room without breaking the bank.
  6. I found this black and white striped pillow on Etsy, but I'd love to sew something similar for our dog Maddie to sleep on (of course it needs to be removable so I can throw it in the wash).
  7. This is our current dresser with a little photoshop colour treatment. If only it were that easy in real life! Painting our dresser a similar shade of green is now on my to-do list.
  8. I'm keeping the white bedding, which we already have, but I'm going to DIY an upholstered headboard in a charcoal grey.
  9. I'm NOT sewing another set of 9-ft. curtain panels, so our silky champagne set stays (these curtains are from West Elm, but the ones I made are very similar). They add a little glamour to the room and help disguise the off-centre window behind our bed.
So that's the new plan. I'm head-over-heels in love, but what do you think?


Buh-bye textured walls

Remember how two of the walls in our master bedroom used to look like this?

After a whole lot of sanding (I used my trusty Black & Decker mouse sander and lots of 80 grit sandpaper), a skim coat and primer, they now look like this:

I swear this is a real picture - detail on a white wall is hard to capture!
The sanding was the hardest and most time-consuming part of the process (I worked for a couple of hours at a time over several evenings). For the skim coat, I used DAP plaster of paris - which I found surprisingly easy to work with. It does harden really quickly, so mixing small quantities at a time was a must (the thicker it gets, the harder it is to spread evenly). I followed Linds' from Little Orphan Aggie's advice and waited until the walls were primed to look for imperfections. The good news is that I only have a handful of small spots to touch up (I'm adding 'plasterer' to my list of careers that could've been, right after 'accountant'). The walls definitely aren't perfect (my camera just makes them look that way), but they blend nicely with the two walls that weren't textured (which aren't perfect either) and keep our house's character.

Although I can't wait to paint, I have to take a break from the bedroom to work on the basement for a bit. We're taking advantage of some energy-efficiency rebates and insulating our basement and crawl space with spray foam, but we have a little demo to do before the company we've hired can do its thing. But demo's supposed to be fun, right?


Black and white lamp DIY

I finished sanding the walls in our bedroom on Saturday (!!!) and on Sunday I applied the skim coat. I'll do a before and after post once the walls are primed, but now that things are moving along (knock on wood), I've started working on some of the pieces for the room (hint: see lamp above).

You may remember the black and white lamp from my inspiration board (which you can check out here). The plan was to spraypaint our current ceramic table lamps white, until I accidentally shattered one while trying to straighten its lamp shade (apparently I'm stronger than I look). Since I wasn't loving the shape of those lamps anyway, I took it as a sign and moved onto Plan B. I found this lamp in our basement - an old Value Village purchase that I spraypainted black, never used, and was then commandeered by Adam and his bandmates for screenprinting:

I spraypainted it white and added the broken lamp's shade. You can't really tell in the picture, but it has a really glossy finish, which I love.

So no matching table lamps, which is fine, since we never used more than one lamp at a time anyway. What projects did you get up to this weekend?


Living room inspiration

Even though I'm in the middle of making over our master bedroom (and if I'm being honest with myself, I'm still at the beginning; sanding the walls is just taking so long it feels like I should have at least reached the middle by now), I've been thinking about tweaking our living room. The problem is this couch:

Technically there's nothing wrong with it - it's actually a really comfy and relatively expensive couch (though we scored it for a great deal on Kijiji). Adam loves it (did I mention it's really comfy?), but I'd prefer something more modern. Unfortunately a new couch couldn't be lower on our list of priorities, so I decided to shake the room up by selling our hibiscus wing chair. Despite loving it when I bought it, I wasn't loving it anymore (it didn't help that our cat thought it was his personal scratching post, so it was almost always covered with a blanket - not pretty). And then I came across this picture (I love you, blogland):

In terms of colour, it incorporates a lot of what I already have going on - blue, green, black, white and dark wood (we're planning to replace our current floors with something darker next year). The good news is that I think I can rework the room without spending a lot of money by switching out the pillows on the sofa...

(here's a badly photoshopped version of what that might look like)

And adding a new chair - I recently scored this chair on Kijiji for $20. I love the shape, but I'd like to sew a cream slipcover and re-upholster the cushions.

I'd also like to bring in some yellow - like in my inspiration pic - with pillows for the chairs in the room:

(I couldn't resist another photoshopped illustration)

Maybe a trip to Homesense is in order...


Keeping it in perspective

I'm spending every free moment de-texturizing the walls in our master bedroom (which hopefully means I'll have some progress shots soon), so I thought I'd share a few pictures from our honeymoon in Iceland. The trip was a nice reminder that even though I love obsessing over our home makeover, there are more important things in life than hardwood flooring and a new kitchen - like spending quality time together and seeing and learning new things.

Of course it doesn't have to be a vacation - how do you keep it all in perspective?


Honeymoon on Ice: Shopping Round-up

I hope eveyone had a great weekend, whether it was a long one or not. Adam and I got back from our mini-honeymoon in Iceland last night, and I'm already missing the friendly people, breathtaking scenery and amazing food. The prices, not so much. We didn't do a lot of shopping on account of the jaw-dropping prices, but we did discover this awesome eclectic antique shop in downtown Reykjavik.

Since I couldn't squeeze a new dining set on the plane home, I had to restrict myself to a few small items - like these vintage blue and white linen napkins (the price is in Icelandic Krona):

This glass horse and cart (don't try to understand it, I just love this little guy):

And, finally, this embroidered teapot, sugar and creamer set - I'm planning to frame it to create some unique wall art:

During our trip, we also bought a really beautiful map of Iceland that I'm planning to have plaque mounted and this funny little elf for our growing collection of Christmas tree ornaments:

And since my mom was nice enough to house- and pet-sit for us while we were away, we bought her this candle as a thank-you gift - it's made to look like one of Iceland's famous wool sweaters:


So that's my shopping round-up. Now to get back to sanding the walls in our master bedroom...


Plans for the master bedroom and a mini-honeymoon

Welcome to new visitors and a big thanks to everyone who's left a comment recently - they are so appreciated and please keep them coming!

As I shared on First Time Fancy yesterday, I recently started work on our master bedroom. Before I can get to any of the fun stuff - painting, decorating, etc. - I have to sand down two textured walls (the loud sigh of unhappiness goes here). I've finished the first round of sanding (and I now have a pretty good idea of what I'll look like when my hair goes gray), but it will probably take another round or two before the walls are nice and smooth and ready for paint. Once that's done, this is the plan for our neutral-themed room:

  1. This is the wall colour - Benjamin Moore's linen white. It's one the of their Pottery Barn Fall/Winter Colours and I think it's the perfect backdrop for this room.
  2. I've actually already sewn these floor-to-ceiling curtain panels (we have 9-ft. ceilings in our bedroom, so it's a whole lotta fabric). The fabric is made to look like rough silk and the colour is actually champagne, although it looks darker in this picture. They'll cover the entire wall behind our bed to help disguise an off-center window (the window itself will get a white, 2-inch wood blind).
  3. I love this curtain rod by Umbra - it's one of the darker elements that will help ground the room.
  4. Matching table lamps will provide another touch of black. I'm planning to spraypaint our current lamps a glossy white and keep their black linen shades.
  5. These Ikea night stands are very similar to the ones I bought at a yard sale for $10 each. I'm adding glass knobs and I'm thinking about adding trim around the bottom to dress them up a bit.
  6. This step likely won't happen until the spring, but I love Pergo's chocolate walnut laminate flooring. We're still going back and forth between laminate and hardwood, so for those of you who've made the choice, please share your advice!
  7. I definitely want to add some texture to the room with natural elements like this jute area rug.
  8. I LOVE this bed. We already have white linens, but the fabric headboard is a future DIY project that will also help disguise the off-center window. 
Of course there will be lots of other elements in the room - art, a blue dresser that needs to be painted a yet-to-be-determined neutral colour, a floor-length mirror with a chunky black frame (that I'm thinking about spraypainting oil-rubbed bronze) and plenty of accessories. I'd also love a rustic wood bench like this one for the foot of the bed.

But first, more sanding...after Adam and I get back from our mini-honeymoon in Iceland (we leave tonight)! Sure we'll miss out on pumpkin pie, but I think soaking in the Blue Lagoon, touring the Golden Circle, hiking a glacier and eating lots of delicious seafood will make up for it :)

An early Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!


Guest posting at First Time Fancy

Today you can find me over at Kerry's blog, First Time Fancy. I'm giving a mini house tour and sharing my latest home improvement project, so make sure to drop by! 
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