home, home decor, interior design, nursery design, Uncategorized

AWKWARD!

We all have them. Those weird places in our homes that we’re just not quite sure what to do with. I’ve run into a few strange, architectural issues and had to really think about what to do with them. So … the answer to almost every design problem is …..

PAINT

Yup. It’s that simple. Well, ok, there’s a little more to it.

You can use paint to erase or emphasize. Usually with awkward spots you want to make them blend in, or at least not stand out.

These two are easy ones.

When painting a wall with a fusebox cover or a ceiling with an attic access, simply paint them the same colour. Some of your husbands are going to suggest painting them with the trim colour like you would with a window or door. DO NOT DO IT! Who wants to have a fusebox as a focal point in your beautiful room?!

Then there are the ones that make you tilt your head, rub your chin and go hmmmm.

In one job the kitchen was an original 1950s kitchen. The previous owner had cut the corner out of one of the upper cupboards and it’s door to make room for his new fridge. This created a really awkward angle in the cupboard and, more importantly, it prevented the door from opening.

The solution to the door issue was to leave both doors off and create an open cupboard. But how to address the weird angle…

The solution, again, was paint. We had chosen a bright red accent for the inside of the cupboard. Painting the cupboard as it was only emphasized the step that had been cut out for the fridge. Continuing the red paint to the original shape tricks the eye and the step becomes almost invisible!

Some issues are truly architectural. Really think it through before you begin. It’s a lot harder to fix than paint.

During my own kitchen reno we took a wall down between our kitchen and dining room. Unfortunately, we have a beam which supports the lower half of our split level home. So, obviously, we couldn’t just remove it. The solution in this instance was to cut the wall at the same level as the beam to create symmetry and consistency. Plus, it made the ceiling transition go away as the dining room as a stippled ceiling and the kitchen smooth.

Oh, and my carpenter came up with the crown molding solution. It makes much more sense from the front.

Of course, your home will have its own uniquenesses. I hope these suggestions will help!

Happy decorating!

home, home decor, interior design, nursery design, Uncategorized

Homing

Here we are again …. or is it still? Home. Stay home … lockdown … grey zone … whatever you call it we’ve been living this merry-go-round life for over a year and we’d all like to get off the ride.

Many of us have used this time to freshen things up. Painting, renovating, cleaning. Me included, as you know. While cleaning out some storage bins in our back room I discovered a quilt that I thought had been lost. It’s not a pristine, fancy quilt. It’s a bit (well, more than a bit) ragged and worn. We chose it from a pile of quilts that belonged to the Bearded Guy’s Great Aunt Mary after she passed away.

As it turned out, a couple of days after I found the quilt the weather turned extremely cold and we needed just one more thin layer on the bed to be cozy. Mary’s quilt was perfect. As it’s a summer quilt it has no batting so was just enough. But it was the next morning when the sun from the window was shining on the quilt that I noticed how lovely it was and how loved.

I only got to know Aunt Mary a little at the end of her life. She was the sister of the Bearded Guy’s paternal grandfather. Mary was a nurse. She was a widow for many years when I met her. And she had a dry sense of humour. She was a small woman, like me, so I felt a kinship with her.

Mary’s style was quite fancy and classic, so I wonder what it was that she saw in this quilt. It is colourful and random. Each block is comprised of multiple scraps of fabrics sewn in the shape they were found. They are framed in white and the whole thing is trimmed in yellow. Not at all like the tidy rooms in Mary’s spacious apartment.

But it was loved, as evidenced by the frayed and vanishing fabrics in the squares.

It got me thinking about some of the other treasures I have hidden in cupboards in my home. Precious things holding memories of happy times. I started really looking at the things in my home. I took inventory of the things on display and wondered why I had chosen to put some of those things out. I got rid of a lot of stuff and replaced many items with pictures. And I started using those treasures instead of hiding them away.

I filled the back of my car with the items I no longer saw as beautiful and donated them. I’m sure the Bearded Guy hoped that my love of random old things had gone with them. It wasn’t gone, just changed. I still like to shop at thrift stores. I’m pickier now, though. An item has to mean something or remind me of someone. And when I look at those things that are now displayed in my home I smile. They make it easier to stay home.

The quilt is still on our bed. And we’ll love it until it’s nothing but threads.

One day we’ll be able to fling open our doors and roam the city as we used to. Until then, I’ve decided to enjoy my home … putter in my garden … waive to my neighbours … and be grateful for the sweetness of all those memories.

home, home decor, interior design, nursery design, Uncategorized

Farmhouse

Alright … let’s talk Farmhouse!

I love this design style for it’s clean and casual feel. It incorporates lots of wood and soft fabrics, baskets and, of course, plants. I’m a thrift store shopper with an eye for unusual vintage pieces and they fit in perfectly with this decor. The trick is to not overload your space with these items. I would suggest you decide on 3 items to start collecting to incorporate into your space. Then you can build from there as you expand your designing to the next room. If you start in the kitchen, for instance, you could collect colanders or wooden spoons. Enamel wear is also great to collect. This sweet enamel pitcher instantly adds a touch of farmhouse.

Display your baskets and wooden cutting boards to add warmth to your kitchen. And nothing says Farmhouse more than a bright, white apron sink. Even the linens you choose will add to the style. Flour sack tea towels in a stripe or check are perfect. Baskets, when displayed on the wall, provide texture in themselves and also in how light plays off them.

Plants are great for all kinds of reasons. They brighten any decor and bring a bit of nature inside. Even if you can’t handle live plants, artificial plants can provide the same feeling. Or try air plants that draw moister directly from the air so no watering to forget. And herbs can be beautiful and useful for snipping and adding to your favourite recipe.

While working on my own home I created a beautiful Farmhouse element in my stairs to the basement family room. My dilemma was that there was existing ceramic at the bottom of the stairs and hardwood on the landing at the top. The stairs are below ground so covering them with hardwood would be risky. Plus, my challenge is that I am not able to purchase any kind of flooring. My solution was to strip the layers of paint from the treads, stain and seal them to match the existing hardwood. I left bits of the paint in the cracks and dents to add to the rustic look. Then I painted the risers the same colour as the walls in the family room. This connected the hardwood at the top to the ceramic at the bottom. What do you think?

Whatever room you are working on remember your “golden rules”. 1. Work in groups of 3. 2. Be sure to repeat a colour to keep your home cohesive. 3. (and most important) Rules are meant to be broken. If you love it … go for it! It’s your space.

Baby, Baby Accessories, Baby Quilts, Handmade Baby Things, home, home decor, interior design, nursery design, Uncategorized

New Year, New Digs!

Wow! Where did the time go? You’d think being locked down, isolated in our homes the time would drag, but it’s been anything but for us. I took a break over the holidays, however, after a quiet Christmas and New Year I’m back at it, transforming our home.

The first thing I wanted to tackle in the new year was moving my creating area out of our spare bedroom and into the beautiful new space I created while updating our family room.

The spare room had become a dumping ground for everything that didn’t have a home while we worked on the other rooms, so it was really hard to even think of sewing or creating in there.

In my new space, I wanted to make sure it was bright and open with an efficient use of space. I had to be sure, however, that it wasn’t going to be just a dumping ground and that I could keep it tidy easily as it is part of our family room.

There are a few architectural issues to work around as well. Our home is a split level. There is a bulkhead jutting out into the space which is a bit awkward (it’s the bottom of the closet in our front entrance). Fortunately, there were pot lights already installed on the underside of this bulkhead which made it the perfect space for my desk.

Keeping with my challenge, I bought no new furniture for the space. I moved my existing bookcase from the spare room and modified it to fit the bolts of fabric. I repurposed an old desk we already had there and softened it with a feminine, vintage chair. A friend donated the light fixture, which is perfect in the space. As a bonus, I now have a cutting/pinning table thanks to an old card table we’ve been storing and had planned to get rid of.

Tada!

I’ve been sewing up a storm in my new space. I love it!

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Finding peace

How is it the middle of September already?! The summer of this crazy year has come and gone. The golf clubs have been put away, no one is swimming in the pool anymore and you can smell Fall in the air. So it’s time to get back at it.

I’ve worked my way to the bedroom. It’s almost done, just a few little touches left, and it feels so lovely. In this insane time we are living we all need to find a space of peace. A place that is calm and tranquil. That was my goal with this room.

I chose a colour that is soft and cool. It reminds me of the Carribbean Sea and of sage leaves and the bearded guy’s eyes. When I open my eyes in the morning it makes me smile and in the evening it helps me settle.

Colour is such an important part of life. It can change our mood … affect our energy … inspire and delight. And there is an endless choice. There are times I can choose the perfect colour in seconds and other times, like with our bedroom, I changed my mind several times. But when I finally settled, everything else I had planned for that room fell into place.

I hope you find the colour that is perfect for you to find some peace.

Bedroom Moodboard

Baby, home, home decor, interior design, nursery design, Uncategorized

Painting Palooza

So I thought I should show the finished bathroom, for those of you holding your breath. Before the “big reveal”, though, I thought I’d also update you on my painting progress.

For the moment, painting has moved outside until the carpet is installed in the family room. There is movement there, however, it’s happening in small steps so as not to exhaust the bearded guy … and possibly risk our marriage.

I just finished coat #2 on the backyard shed trim and I’m praying it doesn’t rain before it has time to dry. It’s not picture worthy (it’s just a shed) but it got me thinking about how important prep is. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it makes to your finished product. In addition to scraping the loose flakes off I sanded … and sanded and sanded. The sander removed paint, dirt and mold/moss growing on the bottom of the doors. That is what eventually will cause the rot. Where ever that stuff is is where the wood is getting wet. Getting it off will allow the paint to adhere and help seal the water out.

I must say, the trim looks pretty decent considering how old it is.

So, my tip today is to invest in a good sander. (Doesn’t have to be big. I just have a little mouse sander.) You’ll be happy you did.

Ok … back to the bathroom. (drum roll)

Here’s my mood board/inspiration board:

And a reminder of the old:

And now … with the new paint and a good decluttering:

TADA!

Side by side view:

It’s clean and fresh and I just love it! Whether you do or not, I hope it inspires you.

Enjoy!

Crafts, home, home decor, interior design, Uncategorized

Tile (part 2)

In part 1 I painted the porcelain tile of my tub surround. Next came walls and trim and finally … the ceramic tile floor.

The sad, beige, mid-80’s tile was great when the bearded guy bought and installed it all on his own. And even better was the WHITE grout he used …. IN THE BATHROOM! Anyway, I digress. The tile has seen better days and it’s time for a change.

Now remember, part of my challenge is not to replace any flooring. So it must be painted.

Ceramic is a little different from porcelain as it is more porous, however, it’s a floor and will be walked on so it has to be durable. That’s where Tino comes in. Tino is my helpful associate in the FLOORING department at my local Home Depot. He recommended Custom MPB (Multi-surface Bonding Primer) to give me the grip I needed for the paint to adhere.

I was going for a handmade, concrete tile look.

To get that look, here’s what you’ll need.

You’ll need the Custom MBP, paint (preferably in gloss as it is the most durable), a stencil, painters tape, a roller and a stencil brush. I used the trim paint with the stencil. Here are the steps I took:

Step 1: Wash and rinse your floor to get all dirt and grease off.

Step 2: Tape the fixtures, baseboards, walls, etc. that meet the floor.

Step 3: Roll a thin layer of the Custom MBP on the floor. **This applies a gritty layer on the floor for the paint to adhere to. Try not to overlap as you roll to avoid creating uneven amounts of grit. If you have heavy spots you can sand them down after it dries.

ALSO – it is blue and will stain so don’t wear good clothing and be neat with your application.

Step 4: Roll your base colour evenly over the floor. Let it dry for 24 hrs and then give it a second coat. Let that dry completely.

Step 5: Apply your stencil pattern. I as really lucky to find a stencil that fit perfectly on 4 tiles. I used a stencil brush because I wanted an uneven, handmade look, but if you want a more precise pattern you can use a roller. Start with the tiles where you can use the full stencil pattern. And start at the furthest spot working toward the door so you can get out when you’re done.

Once you finish the whole tiles you’ll need to start cutting your stencil down to fit the spaces that are smaller. Plan that out carefully so you don’t run out of stencil before you finish. It’s a great idea to buy 2 of the same stencil to make sure you can fit all the spaces.

Depending on the foot traffic you expect you may want to apply a sealer. 2 coats. 1 North/South and 1 East/West to create a strong bond.

Here’s a tip for removing the tape when you are done. Score between the tape and the floor with an exacto knife or box-cutter as you pull off the tape. And pull slowly. This will avoid lifting spots off the floor that may not have dried completely.

And here’s the finished product!

I just love it! It feels good to walk on and finishes the room off perfectly. We’ve had it for about a month. We’ve dropped stuff on it, washed it, dragged things across it and we have no chips or scratches.

So be brave and go for it!!

home, home decor, interior design, nursery design

Tile (part 1)

I have to say that I am so glad people have realized that keeping the (almost) permanent fixtures neutral is the way to go. Things like flooring and tile.

We have been in our home for about 38 years and have lived through many decorating styles. It was built in the early 1970s when the colour pallet was Harvest Gold and Avocado Green. My tub surround was not really gold and not really green …. with a brown border. Ya … goes with NOTHING. The tragedy is that it is still in pristine condition. Perfectly white grout lines and no chips.

As per the challenge, can’t replace it … so it must be painted!

First let me tell you what not to do so you avoid my epic fail. I had painted a ceramic back splash in my daughter’s kitchen which only required a light sanding and primer before painting. This tile, however, is porcelain. Not porous and completely smooth. Nothing for the primer to adhere to, even after sanding. After literally washing the primer off the tile I decided to connect with the experts. I called my local Home Depot and spoke to Alanna in Paint. She told me what to use, that she had it in stock and that there was a very short line up to get into the store (just re-opened during Covid-19). I hopped in my car and raced right over. As per Alanna, here’s what I needed:

Step 1: Tent off the area you are painting as the spray WILL go places you don’t want it to.

Step 2: Lightly sand and wash the tile with CLR or another cleaner that will remove grease, rust and other water build up issues.

Step 3: Before spraying the whole area, do a test spot in an area easy to hide. If that spot works spray an even coat of the Rust-oleum Tub & Tile all over the tile. It doesn’t have to be a thick coat. What this does is create a texture on the tile that will allow the paint to adhere to it. Let that dry overnight.

Step 4: Paint your tile! Gloss paint is the best for this application as it is the most durable. Apply a coat with a roller and let it dry overnight, if possible. Apply the second coat and let that dry and you’re done!

Voilla! Fresh, “new” tile. It even covered the porcelain soap dish.

The Rust-oleum product will work on the tub as well, however, we’ve decided to leave that to the experts and have it re-glazed professionally.

I hope this helps relieve some of the fear you might have if you are considering trying this. The prep is key so don’t skip it. Good luck and happy painting!