Happy (Almost) New Year! Matt and I are keeping it low key...like every year, lol. Making a great dinner: herb crusted beef tenderloin with gruyere mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables, plus something yummy and chocolate for dessert! Last year we watched started watching Dexter over New Years, and this year we are doing Mad Men. I know, so boring, but I'm not a big NYE party fan - I'd rather just drink wine and eat great food and be with my amazing husband. I hope everyone has a safe and happy night, and a great start to 2012. Here are some NYE inspiration pictures I found on Pinterest and had on file from last year:
Up tomorrow? Ohhhh those resolutions...
Yesterday I featured some of the major projects of the year, and of course, with all of that, comes plans for the upcoming year. We have a list too daunting to tackle in a year - in fact, it will take multiple years, and lots of money that does not currently exist. Again, a lot of people ask me "what are you going to do when its all done?" - I just laugh and say that it will NEVER be done. I estimate it would take at least 5 years to get everything on our list done, and by that time, we'll probably want a bigger house, and it will all start again. Yes, the projects can be tiring, and straining, and frustrating at times, but they are also fun. I like watching the house evolve and I like that I can work with Matt to design our house. Oh yes, we disagree A LOT, but we have always agreed to not buy or do anything until we both agree on something. I won't ever come home with anything that Matt wouldn't like, and he won't rip out walls or do any handy-work until we've talked. That's how we work and not kill each other when our house is mid-renovation!
Anyway, from the very daunting list, we've pulled a few things we'd like to get done in the next year, and I'll also discuss a few long-term projects that will eventually be addressed...maybe if we win one day through the Heart and Stroke Lottery Calendar my mom bought for us!
1. Paint, Paint, Paint!
This is my major contribution in our house. My friend Mike likes to joke that Matt does all the work and I just crack the whip. Actually, he's not joking, I believe he thinks it really happens. He has a "Free Matt" campaign he would like to start - anyone want a t-shirt? Anyway, although I am not very handy (but willing to learn), I do have a lot of vision and ideas, and I also can PAINT. We painted our bedroom and dining room together, but I painted the living room and basement myself, plus the closet shelving. So there are a few places that paint is still required in our house, and luckily it's an inexpensive way to update a room!
a) Hallways - both upstairs and downstairs. We got a quote from College Pro in the Spring for them possibly doing the hallways while we were away on the cruise, but it was pretty expensive so we decided to keep it as a DIY project. Now that my parents got Matt an incredible ladder for Christmas (it is like a transformer - it has SO many configurations), painting way up high will be a bit easier. We are probably going to paint the hallways the same colour as the basement - Benjamin Moore's Moonshine - it's a pale gray. It looks a bit off-white in the basement, but with more natural light, it will show up more grey. I am thinking about going a shade darker - not too sure yet. Check out the two last pictures and let me know what you think! The ceiling and trim will continue the "Cloud White" trend, as I want it to match all the trim of the other rooms.
Current downstairs hallway colour - pale beige of sorts
Upstairs hall - same colour - has a bit of gray undertone with natural light
BM Moonshine in our basement on walls and ceiling - pale gray but looks paler here than it is
BM Moonshine in Natural Light - via Young House Love on Pinterest
One shade darker - BM Gray Horse via Leah Lee on Pinterest
b) Spare Bedroom - right now the spare bedroom is the same seafoam green as was in the dining room. It actually doesn't look bad in the space, but it doesn't match the bedding and needs a fresh coat on both the walls and wainscoting. I'm not sure exactly what to do here - the duvet is chocolate brown and deep red on cream, and the sheets are deep red to match. I'm thinking about doing a brown (not too dark) on a warm cloud white wainscoting. What do you think? This will probably be my March Break project room!
Here's the current green room colour
An inspirational photo via Pinmarklet
Another Pinterest find
c) Railings - easy job - not sure if I'm going to stain or whitewash or what, but these railings need some finishing!
Main floor railing - probably will stain to match the floor (or eventual floor) colour
Basement railing - may be fun to add a bit of colour to this one?
2. Gallery Wall
Not sure whether I will put a gallery wall of pictures in the dining room, or up the main floor stairs, or even in the empty space in the living room, but I definitely want to add a mix of photos and art in a collage in our house - they are always so interesting to look at! Here are some inspiration photos I like for various reasons, gathered from Pinterest. Also another project I can tackle myself!
Like the black and whites - this would work best going up the stairs
Perfect symmetry, which I usually love, but not the look I'm going for this time
Very cool for a stairway!
More black and white beauties of all shapes and sizes!
Oh YHL, how I love your mix of pictures and art - great for the living or dining room!
3. Backyard Entertaining Space
This was something we started to do last year with the tables, but we really want some bench seating with storage underneath to free some space chairs would take up. We could use it to lounge, or pull a table up for dining. Here are some inspirational pictures gathered from Pinmarklet.
Current backyard - looking to add bench seating to that fence corner on the deck
I like the back bench and the colourful top
No storage, but still a simple bench design
Sectioned pieces to move around the design
I like the rustic look to this long bench
4. Gardening - Take Two
So this year's gardening efforts were a fail. At least we now know what will spring up in the, well, Spring, and what we want to yank out and what to keep. The backyard is in pretty good shape, will probably just add in some annuals to fill it out. The front, however, is a jungled mess that needs some structure and good ol' TLC!
Current back garden - nice and green
Just needs a few pops of colour from some annuals
Yeah...not really pretty...
Thinking of sectioning off the front and creating a path
Or adding some tiers to make it more organized
5. Lighting Purchases
So we have a lot of bad lighting, and replacing them would be nice. We need new lighting for: the front hallway, the upstairs hall, the living room (ceiling and floor and table), the kitchen, the hallway closet, the spare bedroom ceiling (although I may just spraypaint this one and keep it), and the other spare bedroom. This won't be a rush, but we'll be keeping our eyes out for a good deal to replace some of these lights in the next year.
Spare bedroom light - not too bad, but may spray it dark brown or brighter gold
Upstairs hallway light - going to string a light from this outlet from the wall to the ceiling, and add a little chandelier
Front foyer light - little chandelier needed here too!
Other spare bedroom light - anything but this would be good
Kitchen ceiling fan - never used, so simple lighting would be better
Hallway closet light
Living Room - already took out the bad chandelier and capped it, but now need a light to fill it!
6. Refinish the TV Unit
This unit just needs to be sanded and stained to match our living room furniture - another March Break project.
Just needs a little facelift!
These are some things we'll be looking to do, but doubtful within the year, due to budget, time, and sanity!
Basement: new carpet in den/office and on stairs, built-ins for TV area in den, reinforced stairs, enclose and add storage beneath, move wall in bathroom back and get new vanity and fixtures and re-tile, finish laundry room and add storage.
Kitchen: completely redo kitchen - new floors, cabinetry, appliances, lighting, and probably make half-wall into the living room with breakfast nook - may involve adding a small addition to the back - VERY FUTURE PROJECT!
Living Room: get new couch, curtains
Dining Room: get new dining table and chairs, curtains
Main Floor Hallway & Stairs: new runner for floor and stairs
Spare Bedroom: new room lighting, side table, mirror, curtains, rug
Upstairs Closet: add hooks, more storage above
Master Bedroom: new chaise for under window, curtains
Middle Spare Room: this will probably be an eventual baby room, so will need to refinish gross parquet flooring, paint, add furniture, knock down door to closet and build storage, curtains, rug, all that baby-related stuff. With that will probably come baby-proofing the whole house? We do have a lot of sharp edges...I have the bruises to prove it!
So yeah - the list never ends! There is probably many things I forgot too! Anyway, lots to keep us busy! Happy New Year!
So I've looked back at the past year...technically we've only been in our house just over 10 months, but it's almost a year, and so I've compiled a list of the top 11 house projects of 2011. Actually, I did ask Matt for his input too, and our lists were quite similar. I'll mention the variations as I go.
# 11: So Many Acorns...
My attempt at gardening, better known as weeding and raking and talking to squirrels
I only really put this in at # 11 to showcase what a little TLC in a garden can do. I am in no way a professional gardener...actually I am not a gardener at all. What little knowledge I gathered was from my mom, my grandma, and a coworker, Sonia, from whom I plan on seeking much more future advice. Anyway, this year we decided to see what would pop up in the garden and go from there. "Go from there" meant staring at our crazy garden and not knowing what to do with it once it exploded into life. I decided to start small - weeding our back stone, raking years of leaves from between the budding flowers, and constantly sweeping away acorn pieces that littered the backyard. My friends Jess and Carolyn contributed with a pretty little purple plant which I potted, only to have it torn apart by a squirrel the following day. So....house project fail? Perhaps, but at least we'll be aware for next year, and have a head start on what to do then.
That's our house on the left, when we first saw it in November
A close up of the front garden in November
The backyard was in better shape than the front, even in the fall
With a little weeding and TLC, the front garden was very green and lush, if not a bit wild for my taste...
I have since removed some of the old wood chips and done a lot of soil turning
Stole our house light, but added some colour to the drab backyard
Oh yeah, and amidst my outdoor adventures, I made a friend that loved me enough to do this when I went inside
...and George is still here today, sometimes with his lady friend Georgia, and although looking chilly in the snow,
he is happily taking shelter in the neighbours' shed when he's not visiting me
# 10: Ahead of the Trend
Painting the Dining Room Navy
For once I had an idea that came to be before I saw it in the multiple house magazines I read. I wanted to paint the dining room a dark blue, and we ended up choosing Newburyport Blue by Benjamin Moore. My first idea was actually to use navy Phillip Jefferies grasscloth, but the amount of work wallpaper adds and large increase in price all lead to paint being the better choice! It is dark and rich, and adds some drama to our main floor. It was a drastic change from the seafoam green that was left behind, but it was a fun change!
Here it is shortly after we moved in
Moment of truth - first cutting in!
Of course it wouldn't be painting without me getting it in my hair...
After two coats, it was done!
Looks darker in the evening, and more blue in the natural light, but I like it either way
# 9: Musical Chairs
Rearranging the Living Room
Defining the space wasn't a major project, and involved more purchases than anything, but figuring out what to do with our dining room turned living room space was a first step in creating a welcoming environment in our house. I just did a post like this recently for the living room, so I'll keep it short.
Living room our first day in the house, although you'd be surprised how often your house looks like this during renovations and painting and pretty much always when you don't have people over or aren't staging pictures!
After some chair and accessory purchases, we played musical chairs with the layout
More furniture purchases,displaying some art work, and mounting the TV, the room is much more complete!
*Note - Matt put the TV mount in his Top 11 list - I wanted to get a smaller TV and get much smaller speakers instead so I did not add this to the list of major jobs, but I will admit it looks better now!
Once we get rid of the tree, I will post pictures that do not have a holiday theme!
# 8: We're Definitely Not in the Suburbs Anymore
Front Hallway Storage without a Closet
When you are looking at a house for the first time, you miss many things, like the fact that there is no hallway closet. That isn't surprising in Toronto, but in the suburbs, it's a staple....so is a grand foyer (pronounced FOY-AY and not FOY-ERR like in US), but at least we anticipated it being missing. So when it came to organizing our coats and shoes and everything else, we were at a loss. We have some closet space in the basement, which is where the majority of our coats and winter gear and some shoes live, but our day to day stuff needed a space that wasn't on the back of chairs or scattered throughout the hallway. So when I saw this post on Young House Love, I headed straight to Ikea to get a storage unit of my own. It was perfect for our narrow front hall, but we still needed coat storage. Home Depot had some hooks that Matt installed and we were set after a bit of decor.
State of the hallway on our first house tour post-purchase
Super-skinny shoe storage!
Hello, shoes! Goodbye clutter!
Coat racks pre-hooks
Coat racks post-hooks - much better. Oh yeah, and the mirror helps a bit too with decorating the space
A little front curb appeal always helps the hallway too!
# 7: An Indoor Fence...Another Reason to Hate Home Depot
The Master Bedroom Lattice Headboard
This project started when Matt decided he wanted a headboard. He wanted to make it out of distressed wood, but with our fancy wardrobe and more modern finishings, I didn't think it would go. Then during a trip to Home Depot to pick out trim for the basement, Matt sees lattice fencing, and gets all creative and wants to build the headboard from it. I can't see it, refuse to buy it, and that's that. But with constant lattice obsession, I cave and he goes back to get it for our room. Ohhhhh Home Depot...the bane of my existence. Yes, it helps us on projects, but it seems like we live there sometimes, and creates new projects that were never meant to be. Again I end up liking the end result, so I can't complain too much I suppose.
Before the headboard and other decor
Lattice headboard done - painted and mounted to the wayy
Other view, with some furniture upgrades thrown in too
# 6: Grade 10 Optics Lesson in Practice
The Dining Room Mirror Construction
Again I did a recent post on the mirror, so this won't take long. The mirror was on the ground since we moved, because I wanted a nice frame around it so the screws into the wall wouldn't be seen. This project was put on hold for a while, but eventually we got some wood to back it, and Matt took over, building the frame, spray painting it black and then silver (the original idea was the sand some of the silver back to give it a tarnished look, but we only did this a bit because it looked better all silver), and then mounting it to the wall. I used this application on my grade ten optics test about adding light to a room without buying more lights - most of my students got it right - add a mirror, which also makes the room appear larger. Teacher WIN!
This was in our dining room for a long time before it became part of a mirror...
Skipping a few steps gets us here - to a framed mirror in my basement
Spray painting outside - at this point I thought George got into the paint, but it was another squirrel altogether...
Spray paint takes a LONG time to dry when its zero degrees outside
End result? Pretty mirror and brighter dining room (with Christmas prep well underway)
# 5: Making Martha Proud
Organizing the Linen Closet
The linen closet upstairs was a disaster to start with - the "organizer" that was there was not a practical use of the long and narrow space, so I designed the way I wanted it to be, and Matt built me some beautiful shelves, which I primed and painted, and then filled up the space. There's still space now to rearrange or add more storage which I like.
Original "organizing" system left by owners
Matt's shelves - cedar - it smelled like a beautiful sauna in here for weeks!
...until I painted them - primer and 2 coats later the paint stuck
...and more paint in the hair...
More space and organization!
Oh Martha Stewart would be proud...all that's missing is a tiny chandelier above (hmm, that's a good idea!)
# 4: Matt Plays Carpenter
The first house project: the built-in basement shelving
The first project we tackled in our house was the basement. I needed a workable office space and the couch wasn't cutting it. We were going to go Ikea crazy (which we sort of did anyway), but Matt wanted to do some built-ins of his own in a little corner nook. Along with that came filing cabinets and closed storage cupboards, which ended up looking great! To be honest I did not have any faith he could do it, since I've never seen him do anything like this besides painting and some light repair work around our old condo. Wow - did he ever show me, and now he may do some more built-ins in the TV area on the other side of the chalkboard.
My "office" shortly after we moved in
The carpentry begins - not an easy feat with slanty walls and floors
Shelf faces on, doors made
Primed and painted
The colourful bookshelves were thanks to Ikea and my decor
More storage for all the binders
# 3: Long Live the Home, Short Live the Marriage
The PAX Wardrobe Assembly
So I will admit that Ikea products have come a long way, even in the past few years. We have a lot of stuff from there, but our first HUGE purchase was the PAX Wardrobe system for our bedroom. We have a tiny closet, and we really needed space for clothes. That closet now only holds my dresses and our laundry. Build this yourself at your own risk - it is heavy and big and frustrating to construct with an Allen key and I swear for a few hours I did not want to be married or live in a house with this wardrobe. Once it was all done and assembled I calmed down and realized that I now had a closet and my husband back, and it was good. It fits perfectly in our bedroom and stores everything we need! It will be staying when we eventually move, and the new owners better appreciate our effort!
Old owners wardrobe system
Oh how I love organization!
Ooooh it lights up!
# 2: Copyright Infringement?: Our Hudson Bay Point Blanket Painting
So I wanted a sort of comfy rustic look to our living room, and I thought that maybe a great Canadian-themed painting would tie it all together. Matt's parents have an HBC Point Blanket at the cottage, and I love the Queen's colours simplicity, and Matt thought he could paint it. He did paint in high school, so we got a canvas and a laser level and took a shot at it!
Laser level on coffee cup painting accuracy!
Frame was built and stained too, because having it framed was a ridiculous cost!
Done and goes perfectly in our living room
This was actually Matt's # 1, since it was his actual "Work of Art"
# 1: Wedding China Does Not Belong in the Basement: The Dining Room Sideboard
This was my # 1 project because I think it really pulls the dining room together, it gave me an appropriate space to put my wedding china, and it helped a lot on Christmas Eve when organizing and serving all of the food. It will add a lot of value when we sell, and it just looks so damn pretty!
Of course it starts off with the wine racks
Which becomes shelves
That get lifted off the ground and closed up with doors
Ohhh Royal Doulton - how pretty you are in your new home
I painted the baseboards to match the trim in our dining room
And a beautiful poplar stained top to finish it all off!
Add some new lights and decor and that's one great dining room piece!
Good job, us! What a great year!
Didn't Make the Cut: The Great Fall
Stair Railings Project
Funny enough, I didn't even consider this project. Yep, in October I fell down the basement stairs. It was definitely more my general clumsiness than the lack of railings, but we figured it was just good sense to add them in, so we did - to both staircases! Matt had this in his list instead of gardening at # 11 - because he obviously thought my gardening was less than stellar...
Odds are I will fall again, at least this time I will have something to grab onto!
So that's it - our 11 top house projects of 2011! I will let you know right now that this post took about 5 hours to complete, with breaks here and there. Figuring out what to put in, formatting, uploading, writing...wow it takes a long time. Up next? House Resolutions for 2012!
Here are few pictures that my family shared from the past few weeks:
At my aunt Andrea`s house - my cousin Andrew really wanted to be on the blog
Adam and Jessica at their house on Christmas Eve
Red envelopes with red presents from Momma!
Family picture around the dinner table
Christmas cracker crowns
Here`s a picture of our dinner - lamb, potatoes, zucchini, kale
Parents` house decked out for the season
Uncle Brian and cousin Tara
Mom and Grandpa
Tara and Andrew with Grandpa
Best I could do with a grainy dark photo of the cousins from my dad
Another B&W of the family
Littlest of the 17 cousins
It's been a few days and now I have time to recap on the few weeks surrounding Christmas. The weekend before Christmas we went to three Christmas gatherings in a row! On the Friday night, we went to our friend Adam and Emily's who had a housewarming and Christmas party together. They have such a nice house - I wish I took pictures! On Saturday night we went to my brother Adam and his fiancee Jessica's house, where they had a potluck Christmas party with a lot of their friends. I haven't seen many of them since they were in elementary school together, so it was nice to see what they were up to. We made pulled pork poutine and a caprese salad. On Sunday night, I went with my parents and Adam and Jessica to my aunt Andrea's house to have dinner together - she has a beautiful house at Avenue & Lawrence, and she made an incredible dinner!
I creeped on Facebook and found this cute picture of Adam and Emily from their Christmas Party on Friday
Adam & Jessica's Foyer
Red and Gold Christmas tree
Baby blue and white living room
The end tables were pine from my parent's houses - Jessica white-washed them and they look incredible!
Gave them two of the pearl wreaths from the wedding
Such a pretty mantle
Just what the holidays are about!
Cute chalkboard and frame that Jessica made
Andrea's beautiful house!
Ohhhhh love the baby grand!
Nice way to dress up a chandelier - Pottery Barn ornaments work everywhere!
Beautiful Christmas decor, and love the oversized stockings my cousins have had since they were babies!
Jessica, Mom, and Adam
Cousin was playing with my camera - B&W photo of yummy cheesecake!
This year I taught right up until the 23rd, so it was a hectic week of last-minute shopping, cleaning, cooking, and organizing! Somehow Matt and I got it all done and were able to host dinner for his family on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve morning, mid-cleaning
Lots of holiday cards, and an early gift from Matt in the little blue box!
Table cloth and napkins cleaned and ironed, and table reset!
Unwrapped candles and put the finishing touches on the table (after I broke one of the tapered candles...)
Organizing the snacks!
Of course had to write on the chalkboard!
Ready for guests!
Stockings hung on our "mantle"
Wrapped a scarf around the tree stand to hide it!
Christmas Eve was our first big hosting duties - I got to use the wedding china and lots of serving pieces for the first time, and it was nice to have people over to see all the work we've done in the past months. For appetizers, I coated some goat cheese in pecans and thyme, and I baked a brie with cherry shiraz jelly on top, both served with crackers. I also found a great recipe from the Barefoot Contessa for rosemary and chipotle roasted mixed nuts - it was such an easy recipe and they had a great kick to go with the sweetness. For dinner we made lamb, similar to the one we had about a month ago. It was cooked in root vegetables and red wine, and slow-cooked in a dutch oven for almost 7 hours. From there the juice was reduced to gravy, more red wine was added, and the entire house smelled delicious. With that we served fingerling potatoes, steamed baby squash, all on a bed of kale. We got fresh bread from Cobs to serve with dinner as well, and to sop up any excess delicious gravy. Matt's mom made a pomegranate salad (seeded by Jamie), and some cookies and treats for dessert. For dessert we did creme brulee, which turned out really well! I wish I had taken pictures of all the food!
Roasted chipotle rosemary mixed nuts
Lamb and baby squash from a few weeks ago, but we did potatoes instead of polenta
Christmas morning we have a tradition of making a great breakfast, relaxing with coffee and tea, and opening gifts, just the two of us. I know a lot of our friends stay at their parents' houses on Christmas Eve, but I really enjoy this time to create our own Christmas traditions. For breakfast, we made Rosti, had some bacon, and lots of fresh berries. We always have a bit of ice wine as well, usually purchased on a wine tour in the previous months. We actually got this bottle duty free before our cruise!
Good morning, sunshine!
Rosti (basically shredded potatoes and shallots)
Silver bead bracelet and pearl earrings from Matt
Year of bracelets - Tiffany from Matt, Links London from Matt's parents, and not shown is a Pandora bracelet from my mom - first charm was an apple with the little gold worm!
On back order - my mercury glass Owl from West Elm - can't WAIT to get it!
Best present EVER!!! Can't wait to do this puzzle and show my students my geeky chemistry-loving present!
Essie polishes from Matt in my stocking
Loving "cocktail bling"!!!
We spent Christmas with my family at my parents' house. My brother and Jessica and cousins came over in the early afternoon, but it was only my parents, us, my grandpa and uncle for dinner - a quiet year compared to some! We had the traditional turkey with great mashed potatoes and vegetables, and a yummy Pandoro cake for dessert - I want to try and make this myself - it is nice and light and delicious with berries and whipped cream. My contribution was a brie with cranberries, apples, and cinnamon.
Mom's Christmas tree
Christmas table, complete with hanging snowflakes
Crystal stemware even!
Mom with the Pandoro cake!
Boxing Day we spend with my dad's giant side of the family in Bowmanville. I made some Christmas cookies and brownies for the occasion, and caught up with everyone I hadn't seen in a while, since we didn't do our traditional Thanksgiving at the farm this year. Even my cousin Mischa was there, who has been in Australia and New Zealand for over two years! After all the family gatherings, it was time to relax, which is exactly what we have done for the past few days. We have gone to the gym as well, but the rest of the time is this:
Sweet dreams Matty!
So since we have been renovating a lot lately, and the last major post was about the dining room, I figured I would do one about the living room as well. Here it is, over a year ago, before we even moved in, followed by when we moved in 10 months ago:
Yep, it was a dining room...
Evening we moved in
We really didn't do much with it until June, when we painted:
Benjamin Moore's Cloud White on the walls (eggshell) and trim (semi-gloss)
Then not much again until the fall, when we did some rearranging to accommodate some new chairs, and then we kept going from there. Here are some pictures of the new "stuff" and how the living room looks now:
New navy chairs, wicker vase with holly, pillows, and stool, all from Home Sense
HBC point blanket canvas that Matt painted and framed - see that work HERE
Room today - with new carpet, coffee table, side table, LOVE painting, and mounted TV and front speakers
The coffee table is the Benchwright Coffee Table in Mahogany from Pottery Barn - we used all of our PB and WS gift cards from our wedding towards this purchase and didn't spend a cent of our own money!
The carpet is from West Elm and is called the Tangle Rug, in the cream colour.
*Also notice the HBC fleece point blanket my mom got to go with our room
This is the Chloe Side Table, also in mahogany, also from Pottery Barn
The TV and front speakers are now mounted and can turn side to side. This involved a lot of wiring behind the walls but nicely covered in the middle, which leaves us with a "mantle" space of sorts
Matt's parents bid on this painting by Susan Meingast at a charity auction this past summer, and gave it to us as a gift - it goes perfectly in our living room, and actually has the word "love" written throughout it in multiple places
Different views of the room
Most of the major Christmas stuff is put away, except for our tree!
So that's our living room to date! At some point we will stain the TV hutch to match the other furniture pieces - it's a bit beat up and needs it badly. We are also going to get a new couch, and some new lighting. No rush at this point - I'm pretty happy with the way the room turned out!
Found this on a few blogs I follow, but started through the blog Fat Mum Slim. You can find all the details HERE. January's photo a day challenge - feel free to play along! Leave me a comment with your blog/facebook/twitter/instagram link so I can follow you too! Didn't get an SLR for Christmas, but did get some Henry's gift cards towards it - going to aim to save up enough for my birthday in March.
It's been over a week, and lots of family and friends whom I have seen over the past few days have been asking for updates - awwww so much support - thanks everyone! It's been a busy few days with hosting duties and family obligations, but I now have a lot more free time in the next two weeks (I am off until the 9th), so there will be multiple posts coming soon, including recent living room furniture pieces, Christmas decor throughout homes I have visited, resolutions and recaps of the year, and inspiration photos for future projects.
Mid-cleaning on Christmas Eve day!
We started the sideboard project a while ago - you can read about the progress here and here and here...our dining room before we moved in looked like this:
This is after we moved in and painted it with Benjamin Moore's Newburyport Blue:
Then once it was built, it looked like this:
Now finally, it looks like this:
Finished Room - still decorated for Christmas...I really need to wash all that linen and clean the tableware...
The last phase of the project was adding a top to it. We originally were going to go with granite or quartz, but after I saw this post from Jen Ramos' Made By Girl blog, I knew that I wanted to use wood. Here's her sideboard, and she used Ikea cabinetry too - this eerily came out less than a week after our cabinets were installed - it was clearly fate! Here's my inspiration picture:
Once wood was clearly the way to go, we had to decide on a wood and stain. We thought oak or maple would be good solid choices, but those come with a hefty pricetag. I went back to Jen's post and saw that she used poplar, which is a soft wood, but is still suitable for kitchen surfaces, as long as it is treated properly. We spent $70 on the wood, cut to our exact specifications at Home Hardware, instead of the $250+ we would have spent on oak or maple. Here it is when we got it last weekend:
Then we used Minwax's Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, which supposedly allows it to soak in and prevent all of the stain from soaking into the soft wood and lessening the number of coats of stain required. You only had to leave this on about 20 minutes, then it was safe to stain. We used Minwax Stain in MIssion Oak Gloss, which is a medium-dark brown. It was actually a stain and polyurethane in one, since we needed to seal it too. It took two coats, each done a day apart and with a very fine steel wool sand between, and then we left it for a few days before attaching it to the cabinetry. We noticed it was a bit tacky, even after several days, so after a few quick Google searches, the answer was found. A very light sanding with oil (we specifically used baby oil, lol), and then finishing it all up with automotive rubbing and polishing compounds, back to back. Wow...it was a lot of layers of things, but the result is a healthy, shiny coat (geez, you'd think I was talking about a horse...) that looks great in the dining room!
Stain Coat # 1
Stain Coat # 2 - Much glossier!
Finished product, now glossy and smooth!
View from the hallway
Oh yes - and you can see our two new sphere table lamps from West Elm we got last week to go on each end
A little sparse right now in terms of decor...but it's getting there!
At least it's done before Christmas!
A friend posted this video on Facebook - it is the perfect mix of all the BBC Earth movies I love so much, and of course, the soothing voice of David Attenborough, all set to a great song.