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...
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.
Here are a few things I plan on doing around the house in the next few months that will not cost me a penny!
1. Organize the linen closet - it's a bit disorganized. When we first added the shelving and painting there wasn't much in it, now we have found a lot more use for it, so it needs to be reorganized. I have lots of extra baskets, so I won't have to buy anything to help me out. We also have hooks already that we could use, so all free!
Closet last summer
Closet today - needs some work...
2. Stain the TV unit - I already have the stain from doing the picture frame in the living room, and Matt already added a piece on the front of it that got ripped off (he literally ripped off a door when we lived in the condo) and stained it, so it really just needs to be sanded down and stained again. Have the sander, have the stain - all is free!
Just a bit of stain to make it new again
3. Clean the front porch - my pretty chairs and table in the front are really dirty from the winter, and so is the porch. So I'm going to scrub and wash all of it, along with the windows and railings and stairs, and sweep the walkway and add some curb appeal that way, because my garden is definitely not doing it at this point.
Porch last summer (geez, porch still pretty gross)
Marmalade view of dirty chairs and deck last week
4. Organize the basement bookshelf - when we first built it, it was in the winter, and since it's colour coded (which by the way looks pretty, but is a pain in the a$$ to find the book you are looking for), it was organized based on the number of books we had at the time. In the summer or when we go on trips (and actually have time to read), we tend to rack up a lot more books, and in the past year we have accumulated a lot. Most of these books tend to have white or black spines, so those sections of the bookshelves are jam-packed. It's not quite working anymore, so I'll have to reorganize it.
Bookshelf last year
White books (behind the frame and first row there are a million more)
*sorry for the bad picture quality, just taking quick shots*
5. Sew pillowcases - when we put the drapes down in the basement, we had a lot of extra fabric, so I decided to make matching pillowcases for some pillows that didn't really match the basement decor. So that still hasn't happened. I have the pillows, have the fabric, have a needle and thread. Just need to get on it!
Fabric draped on the pillows...but not really a pillowcase yet...
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!
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!
On Saturday we got a small tabletop tree, which is really the only thing that could fit in our small house! I used silver and red decorations, and I only need a tree skirt now to hide the ugly red plastic base it came in! We got the tree from Home Depot - it is real - and simple decorations from The Bay, Canadian Tire, and Pottery Barn (yep, a lot of variety). Oh yeah, and I also have the jeweled diamonds from my florist, because we used them at our wedding!
Ohhh Linus tree...
A bit fluffier with some prompting...
Missing a star on the first night...
You can see the ornaments a bit better in the daylight
Now have a Pottery Barn snowflake as our star on top!
Goes pretty well with our room colours!
Here's the tree...and our new carpet...and our new lamps in the dining room...
So way back in July I posted this inspiration board on the blog:
I wanted to incorporate the Hudson's Bay (HBC) point blanket in the Queen's colours into our living room/dining room somehow. Matt decided to do a big canvas of the colours and we planned on putting it in our living room above the couch. Since then, the HBC pattern has exploded in popularity, and just in time for Christmas, The Bay is selling tons of this multi-coloured stuff, and although beautiful, it is quite expensive! We finally got around to this project a few weeks ago, and it took a bit of time to get it all done, but here are the photos that explain the process:
The first step was getting a big 3x5 canvas and acrylic paints from DeSerres near our house
Then it was painted in our living room wall colour - Benjamin Moore's Cloud White (Eggshell)
The stripes began - green first, and a laser level was used to keep the lines straight
Next was red - you can see we used old dollar store divided TupperWare containers to hold the paint
Next was yellow - we actually ended up painting this a slightly different yellow.
This one was more of a primary yellow, but we wanted a richer marigold colour in the end
Last was blue - indigo, specifically
We used the backing to our eventual dining room mirror from to paint on
**EDIT - I forgot about this the first time around...
All was almost lost when Matt's hand slipped...luckily water-based paints wipe away pretty well!
Last it was the points - this indicated how big the fur blanket was when it was traded - 2.5 looked good!
*Note - Matt told me that 2.5 points was inaccurate for our painting size (1-1.5 points would be closer)
Each colour took 2 coats and red took 3 - it took a few days since we only had 2 brushes
When it was dry it was taken outside and a varnish coat was added to make it glossy and even
Now that the painting was done, the frame was next
Matt wanted it to appear "floating", so a thin strip was glued to the larger frame pieces
*Note - that Elmer's Ultimate Glue is amazing - it stuck to Matt's hands days after washing!
Here is the frame - unstained and being held together with string for support until full assembled
The staining begins - using Minwax in Chestnut
We did two coats - I was worried the second coat would make it a lot darker, but it really just evened everything out
I really like how it turned out, and we are going to use it to stain our media hutch in the living room too!
Attaching the painting to the frame was pretty easy - 4 silver L-brackets
The frame was hung with two eyelets and picture-hanging wire
The finished product - now ready to hang!
Took quite a bit of muscle to drill this whole into a brick wall, but he did it!
Yes, he is wearing an "Evil Dead: The Musical" t-shirt...
Here it is! I like the sort of vintage look to it.
Before the painting picture...
...and now! Really brightens up the room!
View from a different angle...
Goes well with both the living room and dining room
*Oh yeah, and you can see I did a dry run of my Christmas table in the background...post on that soon!
So I can't take credit for this project - Matt did pretty much everything. I only contributed by making line width suggestions, making sure he signed it, complaining about the smell of the stain, holding the frame up while he attached the canvas to it, and taking a LOT of pictures...so pretty much being a nuisance while he worked. Good job, hubby - this was all you!
Blog posts are among the many things I have not bothered doing this week - procrastination at it's best. Here are a few things in general...
1. The Leaves - last week I finally decided to tackle my outside - mainly rake the leaves and sweep the walk. I did as much as I could with the leaf bags we had, and had to leave the rest.
The front is completely done - raked, bagged, swept - it is as good as it will get until the Spring!
Isn't that plant in the bottom right corner beautiful in the fall?
The back is mostly done...we ran out of leaf bags and this is what was left
Stored the table and chairs too, but that planter is too heavy to go anywhere!
View from the other direction
We also did the side alley, but I didn't take pictures of it - it was the biggest miracle. It's a shared path, and it's super creepy and dark, and houses the garbage and air conditioner and many other things I never really touch...plus I don't really know the 3 neighbours that live in the various apartments next door
I procrastinated getting more leaf bags, and when I went finally on Thursday, they were all sold out.
This is now what my backyard looks like today. The only thing good about falling leaves is that my house lets in so much more light in the winter!
2. Cleaning - now my house isn't so gross, and I didn't take pictures of it all, but there are the typical week-old tumbleweeds of dust and hair rolling around, the shower drain is starting to get clogged (there isn't enough Drain-O in the world to dissolve all my hair), and the windows need dusting. In particular, the outside of the front window...
Oh...did you think this was for Halloween? Nope - allllll natural. I decided to leave it for Halloween...yet it's still there a week later...It's sort of pretty in the right light!
3. Halloween - my brother had a Halloween/housewarming party/Jessica's birthday party last Saturday. I decided that if I actually got a costume together, I would go. Well...Saturday hit and we had to go to Value Village to drop off a whole bunch of house stuff and clothes we were donating (another procrastination - the big chair is FINALLY out of the kitchen!), so I thought I'd pop in to see some costumes. Well...those Queen's students will remember Phase 2 around Halloween - INSANELY busy and smelling like people smoking weed and old clothes...so I left. No costume. No party attendance. We were also supposed to rent scary movies, which Matt procrastinated on, but ended up watching "Scream 4" - entertaining but predictable, and "Paranormal Activity" - both # 1 and 2. Wow....so scary. I don't think I've slept well since.
The day before Halloween I freaked out because we didn't have a pumpkin or candy, so got both, but a sloppy leftover pumpkin because we had waited so long. Supposedly there are no pumpkin patches in Toronto. So Matt gutted it and decorated it and I completely forgot to take pictures. So all we had as decor was the pumpkin, some lanterns outside, and my real spider web in the window. Still had about 100 kids, and a lot of leftover candy which I have taken to work in attempt not to put myself into some sort of diabetic coma.
4. Miscellaneous Other House Chores - like the dry cleaning. And getting an oil change for my car. These are mundane tasks that I inevitably put off EVERY SINGLE TIME they are required to get done. Why? No clue. I got the oil change and tune up 1500 km later than I am supposed to (which isn't that many days, really, considering I drive about 100 km per day, but still), and that annoying "perform service" beep is finally not happening anymore every time I start my car. I asked Matt to take in the dry cleaning - this is everything since we got back from our cruise in August (3 dresses), plus some dress pants, Matt's suit, and of course, the pillowcases from the Home Sense pillows I got thinking I could wash the marks out of them and found out they were dry-clean only. So the pillows have been sitting without cases upstairs along with the cases in the "to be dry cleaned" pile for at least a month. So, finally did that, and the pillows are back in the living room!
Finally got a good picture for the big frame on the shelf in our bedroom - it's of the Trevi fountain in Rome. We wanted a black and white to go with all the others in the room, but it was so hard to make Europe pictures NOT colour since they were so incredible there - will use those pictures for the gallery wall in the dining room eventually.
There's the Trevi! Mmmmm could really use a Gelato right about now!
And finally....still no top to the sideboard (waiting until we have some furniture to match the wood stain to), but here's it with the trim done and a bit of stuff on it.
A few things to note - I think the sideboard turned out great, the alcohol section at the left end will be removed when we get a bar cart, and we desperately need a coat rack in the hallway.
Also, that brown wicker basket is full of leftover candy...
5. Blogging - of course. There's been lots of little things I could have posted about, which really I should save and post about separately every day this week to fill up days of blog posts. My view stats go up the day after a post, and of course steadily decline until the next post. Except lately...there has been a lot of random traffic. Some common search parameters to find me are usually the paint colours I use, "Pax Wardrobe" for our Ikea system, or something about shelving or renovations. BUT....about 20 times a month I get "science of married" as a search parameter, which can only mean someone has not saved my blog link and must search for it each time. I'm flattered, but seriously, save it to your favourites. Or even better - use Google Reader! It saves some much clicking of different blogs daily. I seriously have about 70 on my list, which works about to be about 100 posts a day to sift through (hey, Apartment Therapy usually does 40 per day of those), so Reader makes it a lot easier!
So here's the random stuff from the week. Sunday Matt and I made tapas - and I seriously helped! We made some goat cheese and red wine shiraz jelly (from President's Choice - great new line of around the world products to try) in puff pastry (more a dessert than anything), some sliced chorizo with roasted peppers, some garlicky shrimp, and "patatas bravas" which is pretty much potatoes, with a tomato-like sauce. Tapas also equals a lot of garlic, chilies, and paprika, plus olive oil, but it was all incredible!
Mmmmm tapas! Oh yes, that is "from scratch" aioli in the top right as well!
I have been taking pictures of the pretty leaves, and made a friend in the process named George - he is grey and bushy and is always awaiting me when I step outside. He has been getting fat lately, and I commented to Matt that he has probably been finding Halloween candy and eating it. Matt scoffed at me and said he was simply fattening up for winter...well...
This is George...he is eating a Mars bar...so HA to Matt!
PS - I absolutely did NOT give him that Mars bar. Please know I do not encourage the wilderness that is my backyard. This week alone a cat tried numerous times to get into our house on Halloween!
The leaves in my backyard last week
The leaves today - almost all orange and falling
By the way, I use Photoscape to edit my pictures - just learning how to use it!
Okay, that's it for today. Will post tomorrow on "Movember" and the weird hair that it once again growing above my husband's upper lip...only 24 days left in this month, thank goodness!
A few weeks ago during our crazy Home Sense binge, we bought an area rug for our living room floor. It had all the colours we wanted - greys, navies, beiges, and creams, and was big enough for the area. It was all good on paper...but then we saw it on the floor...
Ohh....it's very busy...
...and too big for the room....
So rug = failure. Oh well, at least we returned it and got our money back. It was good in theory, but now we know we want something much more simple, smaller (actually need to section off the room better because it very long (it was originally a dining room), and with less colour tones.
We also need to get something up onto those walls - geez! We want the big HBC canvas above the couch, and I want it very rustic and cozy (I know, very odd to my usual style, but I think I'll like it)! Oh yes, and need to dry clean those pillow cases (YES - DRY CLEAN - I obviously did NOT read the labels when I took a slightly marked up pillow with the intent of cleaning it up)...and mount the TV....and get a new couch...and new lights...wow, this room is really still a work in progress...
...and fix my CAMERA! Damn that spot - it's all Matt's fault - he dropped in when we were in Europe...