Last week we headed to West Elm after Matt picked up his marathon run kit. I was planning on purchasing various mercury glass items (I'm obsessed) but then came across the PERFECT dining room table. It goes so well with the other furniture in our living room and our side board. So we went back today (after measuring the dining room), and bought it. It's going to take a few weeks to come in, but it will be here in time for Christmas! It's the Mix and Match Table, with solid wood top and base. We also got four Porter upholstered dining chairs (our table seats six but we have two navy chairs in our living room that we'll use when necessary). West Elm is having a 15% off dining room furniture event, so we got a great deal.
This table and chairs (in sand stone) is our set - the table is actually a bit darker than this.
The style is very similar to our living room coffee table
I also had my eye on this doormat last time, and got it today. I mentioned to the salesgirl that I couldn't wait until winter to put it out. Matt asks "why can't you put it out now?", and I say "because they're penguins...and it's not snowing!" He looked at my like I was nuts, but the salesgirl got it. *Sigh....those boys just don't understand!*
Oh yes, and guess what? We found a living room sofa there too, so waiting for a sale! It's the Bliss Sofa . They also have a chaise and a chair and a half that are nice, but we don't need them. It's a bit smaller than our sofa now, which is fine, and it doesn't have multiple cushions, which I love, since I am also sliding into a crack between the two on the one we have now, haha.
Pretty, and I'll stain the feet darker brown.
Oh yeah, and since we bought such big items, I skipped these mercury glass log vases...for now...
Ohhhh tiny white pumpkins - how I love you!
Front door - the mums are in bloom and the fall wreath is up!
PS - I know you love my photo-editing skills to get rid of our address. Better than this time at least.
Wow - I didn't kill a plant - it's a miracle! Must be all that water I'm feeding it...who knew?
Green apple switched up for a red one
A few lanterns too!
More to do - painted pumpkins in the front at least!
So I have a lot more time on my hands since I finished summer school so I looked to all my blog stats for the past month to see what people were creeping on or searching to come across the blog. Here are the most popular posts (PS - I wrote "hottest" post and then I thought I sounded like a nerd so I deleted it...). The titles link back to the original post if you want to see more!
1. Highlights of Joni's Wedding - I found out that if I added titles when I linked my posts to Facebook, and added "with" - it was posted on other people's walls and more people saw the post. So Joni and Blair, you have so many people who love you. You are BY FAR the most clicked people on my blog this month, haha. If you really love these two, I also did a post on Joni's Tea Shower, and her Bachelorette Weekend.
2. Dining Room Curtains - This is also related to the most searched term which was "Emmie Kvist Curtains" which are the ones we have from Ikea in the dining room. There were also a lot of searches for navy blue dining rooms, and I got a few comments on liking both the colour and the curtains from multiple people, which was nice. I wrote this post way back in October so it was surprising it was so popular this month - usually the ones I post most recently on Facebook make up most of my stats.
3. Bedroom Posts - this one was more from people clicking the tag "bedroom" on the sidebar, and the main posts in there this month were about the guest bedroom painting and decorating, Other than that, there were only posts from the end of the year last year in January about upcoming projects, and way back about our master bedroom decor.
4. Adam's Wedding Posts - all of them! This took over most of the stats, which again, is probably due to the fact that I tagged the friends and family who were in the posts on Facebook, and I did so many posts about the wedding in general. The first one was the wedding outtakes, then the father-daughter dance, followed by the ceremony, the reception, and even their launch party from before the wedding. Even did posts about the showers - one at Great Cooks and one at her Dad's House.
5. Shopping - again another tag search - I had to actually go back to the blog to find out what is in this category. I do quite a bit of shopping, but never remember to take pictures or post about it. Maybe I'll do that this week with all this time. Anyway, some posts covered shopping in Vancouver, and buying stuff for the house. Nothing exciting in this category, but if you want some great outfit and shopping posts, visit my friend Veronika's site at Veronika's Blushing!
6. Basement - Again, haven't done much to the basement for a while, which actually requires a post itself - it is a disaster, haha. This is good, I'm thinking of more posts to write. So the first post is about free house projects, of which I have done one, so I should get on that! If you go further back, there are a few posts on the progress here, here, here and here. By the way, the shelving no longer looks like this because it is overrun by books - new organization will have to happen because colour just isn't working for me anymore!
7. Sideboard Project - probably the one I am most proud of. I think it really makes our dining room look great. This was done in December and it took a while to do everything. The Ikea cabinets were first, then the base, and then the stained poplar top. The decor changes quite a bit (it's much different than the picture to the left and that was taken in May), but overall I still love this room. Now for more dinner parties so we have an excuse to use it.
8. Painting - another category search - we have definitely had some painting adventures both in this house and in the condo. I do most of the painting, although when Matt helps, he does the harder stuff - all the trim and edges - because I can't stay in the lines very well. Here are the posts: painting the basement, the master bedroom, the dining room and living room, the linen closet, the HBC painting, and the guest bedroom. Up next for us are all the hallways and the kitchen!
9. Kitchen - in this category we have the little butcher block island I built from Ikea, the kitchen chalkboard, and the some painting projects for spring and summer (of which the kitchen is one!)
10. Decor - lots of posts in this category, and besides a few mentioned above, there was one about spring and summer decor, and even all the projects from 2011. Way back was all the Christmas decor, the dining room mirror project, and just some mini-projects here and there. Most of my inspiration now comes from Pinterest, so I need to do more posts that link to my boards there, and I need to look at them more often to keep inspired!
Search Terms: Emmie Kvist Curtains, Science of Married Life (probaby one of my coworkers navigating), West Elm Tangle Rug (we have it in our living room), Paint Colours - Moonshine vs. Revere Pewter (both Benjamin Moore), Yellow and Grey Decor, Unfortunately I Married to Science (this one made me laugh), Peter Fallico - Married (don't know if Peter is married, although he is gay, so probably about 50% of you readers are out of luck trying to snag him), Finger Numb - Spraypaint (ohhh yes, so many people have had similar experiences! - *Update - it did eventually get feeling back in it, but it took over a month!*), Pax Wardrobe (ohh geez, what an ordeal!)
Referring Sites: Google (obviously) - so many countries - but the main ones are the US and Canada, Facebook (and Mobile), Pinterest, My Wedding Planning Site (probably still linked from The Knot), and then other search providers like Bing and Yahoo. By the way, that picture on the right is my most recent Pinterest desire - peanut butter chocolate cheesecake...wow.
Well finally after weeks of having the curtains, buying a curtain rack, washing and ironing them, and FINALLY hanging them, I have a house post to write. A pretty small one, but work is work!
The curtain rack is from Home Depot. Matt measured out the distances and used the laser level to keep it straight. We went a few inches above the top valence. Then I heard "oops!"
This is oops - a chunk of our window frame out from the drill slipping. Gotta love DIY projects...
Once the curtain rod was up, it was time to add in the curtains. They are Emmie Kvist from Ikea. They are navy and white, with a bit of gray in them, which will eventually blend well with our hallways when we paint over the beige that is currently there.
Here they are! They come with ties, which we tried, but I like them better free. It'll be nice to tie them back when we are using the dining room and need to get into the sideboard.
What do you think?
Okay so they are bit short...we forgot that they aren't through the rungs right at the top...oh well - I still think they look great! Makes the room look a lot taller and adds some elegance to the dining room. Last project before Matt leaves for Vancouver!
I know, I know - I'm a slacker. There isn't a lot going on right now, I swear. On the home front, I am currently washing the Ikea curtains for the dining room I bought a few weeks ago, and we got a curtain rod from Home Depot yesterday (I don't love the Ikea ones), so that will at least be done soon...I hope! Here they are, hopefully they look good in our navy and white dining room! They are Emmie Kvist (in case you wanted to you!)
On the social front, Matt's dad had a retirement party on Thursday (I didn't go because I was a bit under the weather and already working late at work), so yay for that! So I guess that's not really too social for me...but at least I actually left my bubble of the house and went to Joni's wedding shower on Saturday! It was a great afternoon of cupcakes and tea and presents and family. Loved it!
Family love - sister in law, me, bride to be, momma, mother in law, and aunt (in law?)
The bride and her MOH!
Mmmmm delicious cupcakes!
On the family note, Matt is for sure going to Vancouver. He is leaving on family day, and will probably be gone for about 8 weeks (could be longer - who knows). He'll be home on the 2nd for 4 days, and then I'll be out there visiting him the week after over March Break. Pretty much home for 4 days every 2 weeks until he can come home for good! I hope it's not for too long! Ugh - taking out the garbage and shovelling snow and cooking for myself...I am such a wimp, I know, but I will miss him for many reasons besides that whole love thing, lol. Speaking of love, tomorrow is Valentine's day. I'm not such a fan and a believer in it. So enough said. I will eat some chocolate to celebrate, however, if necessary!
Okay, enough for now. No specific weekend plans yet, but it is family day on Monday so will probably go out to dinner on the weekend, maybe see a movie (the vow?), and relax with Matt before he leaves! Have a great week everyone! :)
So with the lack of house renos going on and my January photo challenge over, I have been pretty absent from the blogging world. Actually was pretty absent from all the world up until a week ago. Just relaxing in the house and enjoying not having much to do! We escaped the house arrest last weekend when we went out for my friend Meghan's 30th birthday at Joey Don Mills. Great night seeing friends, eating good food, and celebrating with an incredible cake!
Stole Kori's pictures from Facebook because they were better than mine of the cake!
This past weekend Matt and I went out for dinner on Friday night with both sets of our parents together. We went for drinks at Canoe, which has a great view of the city, and then to Benihana at the Royal York for dinner. I ate a lot of food, but it was pretty good, and they had really pretty desserts that I took pictures of. Wish I took a picture of my top - pretty purple with ruffles from Banana Republic, but alas, I did not. So here are the desserts instead!
Today I went to a coworker and friend's wedding shower. Dawn is getting married in a few months and it was nice to meet all her family and friends - there were a lot of ladies in one house at once. Lovely afternoon of lunch, presents, and a beautiful cake and delicious cake pops (my next baking project, as well as Marta's!). Can't wait for my Valentine's day bouquet of them from my work wife :p No pictures of the shower yet, but I'm sure some will be up on Facebook soon for me to steal and add to this post.
Next weekend is Joni's wedding shower! She's not getting married until June, but one of her bridesmaids lives in California and is home visiting, so is hosting a shower for her since she may miss things closer to the wedding date. So at least I'm being a bit social and getting out of my comfy spot on the couch!
On the home decor front, we are really slacking. Our next project will probably be painting the upstairs and downstairs hallway, but we are really in no rush for that. I erased the "Merry Christmas" from both of the blackboards today..that's progress I guess. I did finally frame my LOVE prints that I ordered from MadeByGirl's Jen Ramos. One is Hope's Christmas present, and one I got for myself. They are sitting in my dining room right now.
The gold one is for Hope
The silver one is mine
They actually look pretty good together in this room!
On the teaching front, exams are finished, marks are done, and the new semester began on Thursday. Have a brand new group of students (and thank goodness because my 10 applied science class was going to be the death of me if I had them any longer). This semester I have another grade 11 university chemistry class, and two grade 10 academic science classes. They seem pretty good after only 2 days, which is a nice start. Looking forward to a slightly less stressful semester in terms of classroom management. Also, Marta is now back which keeps me sane on those crazy days! The Christian band performed just before exams for Grade 8 Parent Night and they did as good a job as possible considering only a tiny fraction of them could make it. The play has been on hiatus for exams, but will start back very intense tomorrow. The goal is to get the first act done by the end of the month. We have only really done 7 of the 30+ songs, but we are going to get through at least another 6 this month. It's going to be a busy February!
Matt just found out that he is to go to Vancouver for about 8 weeks - not sure when he is leaving, but he will be there at least that long, and they are flying him back every two weeks for 4 days. Yep, sucks, but one good thing is that instead of him coming home mid-march, they are going to fly ME out and back so I can spend some time there over March Break! Never been out west before so that's an exciting trip! Not sure when I would go, and nothing is set in stone, but something to look forward to for sure!
Here's my January Photo A Day Challenge for Day 16: Morning
My morning wouldn't be complete without a warm beverage. Most days it is tea - right now I'm loving the Tetley "Sooth" Ginger-Mint Herbal Tea. Starbucks for a hot chocolate WITH whip is my treat only once a week. I took these pictures on Sunday as my weekday pictures would be pretty dark - I get up, leave, and arrive at school in complete darkness from November-April each year!
My snowy backyard in the morning. Yep - I shoveled the path. I actually took this through the glass in my kitchen window - turned out really well surprisingly enough! The only thing that's missing is George!
The sunlight streaming in to our bedroom. This is the only room that gets a decent amount of light all day long. Oh yeah - I took one of my Christmas presents from Matt - the West Elm mercury glass vase, and put the faux flowers into it and only our ledge. Frees up some space on the night stand. The little lemon candles I got from a student at Christmas too - they smell amazing, and have real lemon seeds in them!
The rest of the house only gets sun until about noon. In the summer, even less with the leaves on the trees! But, for now I will enjoy my bright dining room in the morning! Geez, I really need to throw out the poinsettia, half of the leaves are actually on the ground around it!
Up Next Tomorrow: Water
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!
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!