Switching It Up: The Story of Dropping the Mattress into the Dining Room

Thursday, July 16, 2015


A few weekends ago I thought it would be a good time to take a chance on an idea Chad's Mom suggested when she visited a long time ago, which was to turn the office on the main floor into a proper master bedroom.

The main issue potential buyers seemed to have with our house was that the bedrooms and closets were too small. Unless we wanted to add an addition, the rooms and closets weren't going to be getting any bigger. Although the footprint of the office is not much bigger than the master bedroom upstairs, the closet in the office is significantly larger. 

Time for a quick switcheroo!

The office before: I stupidly forgot to save the old real estate pictures we had. We have a new agent who took new photos which obviously happened after we made the switch. The only photos I have are ones that don't show the full room. What you don't see in these before photos is a large wrap around desk and several computer monitors. For me the highlight of the room is the great solid wood built-ins. This is also the only room in the whole house I haven't repainted because I liked the colour (it's hard to like dusty rose).
In order to make this change my poor Dad and Chad had to figure out the logistics of getting our king-size bed back downstairs. If you remember from my moving in blog post here, we managed to do this:

Oh hello ugly carpeted stairs! This time we decided the best way to move it was to simply drop it over from our open hallway (balcony, gangway whatever you call it). There was debate over lowering it slowly with ropes or straps but in the end it was just a "one, two, three, let go" kinda operation. Thankfully nothing was harmed.

Chad and I trapped upstairs the last time we moved the mattress

After some re-arranging and hauling all the office things into the basement, here is the new office space, now our master bedroom:
I was worried that the bed wouldn't fit into the nook in the built-ins but I think it ended up framing the bed quite well. I also quickly whipped up some new artwork for the far wall that went with the lighter, tranquil, more relaxing theme I was going for in this room. I'll write up another post about that because it was a great, cheap way to fill up a wall using coordinating room colours. 

I'm not going to show you the new basement office because it's boring but I will show you our old master now staged as a third bedroom. 

Old Master Bedroom Before:
I will admit that my beloved king-sized bed did not really fit in the room but I think we made the best use of space by placing wall mounted reading lights.

New Third Bedroom After:
This room now has a double bed it in and there is definitely more room to breathe. I've put back in the old side tables and even managed to put my old lamps back in. Since I didn't just have another double bed lying around I rigged one up using storage bins and an air mattress. I also borrowed bedding and pillows from my mom (not throw pillows because Lord knows I have enough of those for two more bedrooms). Here's a picture of the bed underneath:

I had to restrain myself from adding too many layers and colours. Since this is for staging purposes I know a lot of people want things to look simple and clean. 

I'm actually enjoying having the master on the main floor and wonder if I should have done it while I still lived there full-time. What do you think? Do you prefer a main floor master or having all the bedrooms on the same floor? 

Also, just in case you're interested, here is our new listing. Feel free to pass it along to someone looking for a cozy cottage with a main floor master.

Le Weekend

Friday, July 10, 2015


Happy Friday everyone! It's been a while since I did a Le Weekend post but there were just so many things that sent me down an internet rabbit hole this week I had to share.

  1. Inside Closet  is a blog I stumbled on a few weeks ago and if you like French fashion and decor then be prepared to lose a few hours. Just look at this French women who casually has a handmade tree in her living room!  I love that the author describes the blog as one that shows girls who ask themselves as they're getting dressed: "What the fuck am I going to wear this morning? Yet always end up looking different, beautiful and comfortable in their own shoes."
  2. While reading a old favorite, Desire to Inspire, I came across this stunning kitchen makeover from Amy Sklar Design Inc. This kitchen was actually in her own home and I love that she resisted the urge to take down all the walls and open it up but rather make it a petite jewel box. The light fixture, the walnut counter top-all so good!
  3. From Amy's design page I clicked on her blog tab only to find out that her blog From the Reservoir is a project she started after loosing her mother to cancer."Since beginning on February 23rd 2014 it has been my goal to wear a piece of her clothing, jewelry, or an accessory that she passed on to me, for a total of 365 days (Not in a row, sorry, I am also a mother of two, a small business owner, wife and friend. I tried to do it in a row, and it almost broke me.)  I believe it is a fitting tribute to this incredible woman with the greatest sense of style I've ever known. A digital archive, a love letter, a journal, a remembrance for your children and future generations. I love you mom". I read the whole blog in almost one sitting. It is a beautiful tribute to her mom and extended family who had amazing clothes. She also does a great job of mixing vintage with modern. 
  4. I've loved Pencil and Paper Co. since seeing them in a magazine spread many years ago. I sadly was not following them on Instagram and boy was I missing out on all the sneak peeks they give. Like this kitchen in the perfect shade of grey with a vent hood that I'm keeping in mind for my next kitchen. 
  5. Well isn't this just perfect-A Guide to Wes Anderson's Paris-double hipster and I'm all over it. Messy Nessy Chic is another Parisian sharing her what she calls her "cabinet of curiosities." If you're anything like me this should give you a few hours of being a virtual tourist. 
  6. Although Apartment Therapy isn't a new find (you can see our bathroom makeover here and our Iqaluit house tour here)  this house tour reminded me why I love the simple but graphic punch of black and white. 
  7. The Kitchn, which featured our kitchen renovation here, showed off a spectacular kitchen remodel of an Eichler home. This led to me reading up on all of Karen and John's projects over on Destination Eichler ,including their  DIY concrete countertops and the Semihandmade doors on their Ikea kitchen.  
  8. In the spirit of more DIY, here's an excellent way to dress up a boring closet door
  9. Ever since we got back from Ireland, I've been craving Irish soda bread. This recipe looks worth a try.
I hope you have a lovely and relaxing weekend. I'm going to try and sort through a few more pictures from our Ireland trip, maybe while making the above soda bread? 

A Trip to... Ireland (part one)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


I guess I should stop saying I'm going to post again and then never write anything. I've been working on sharing a post about our trip to Ireland for a few weeks now but keep getting distracted with projects...damn you house that won't sell! I wanted to share this because it was a trip that I didn't really plan for, or have any great expectations of, and we ended up having such a lovely time-a real shock for this type A planner. We wandered, we drove, we stopped in pubs and I got my fill of shopping at all the European stores I usually have to pay ridiculous duty on. 

An Irish friend of ours was back in Ireland and invited us to stay at her family home along with her long-distance boyfriend. There's nothing more Chad and I like to do then ruin a romantic trip for someone, so of course we said yes! Her and her family were absolutely the best hosts and their home was something that looked right out of a tourist brochure. Bucolic scenery, farm animals, a thatched roof, a guest cottage, ruins, and miles and miles of green.

I will apologize in advance for the number of photos. I'm going to spread this over two posts because I just had so many gorgeous snaps of rolling green hills. Trust me, this was a trip where we spent a lot of time saying things like: "well isn't this stunning", "this is so quaint", and yes, the cheesy "fifty shades of green" was mentioned a few times, but can you blame us. 

Our first stop was Dublin where we stayed at the Clarence Hotel owned by Bono and the Edge of U2. This was not the main draw for me, it was definitely more the great location and the simple Arts & Crafts style interior that drew me in. 
The only guide that I used for the whole trip, mostly because our friend was such a superb one, was the Design Sponge Dublin City Guide. I used that to pick the hotel and then mainly for shopping recommendations. I'm not going to go into detail about what to see in Dublin in terms of tourist attractions. We mainly wandered around, checked out Trinity College, St. Stephen's Green and the streets around Temple Bar. It was the day of the historic gay marriage vote so the streets were packed with people celebrating. A few of my recommendations are:
  • A meal or drinks at the rooftop restaurant of The Dean (or just a peek at their lobby)
  • Popping into Folkster to pick up stylish new and vintage clothes and home wares
  • Having a to-die-for-burger at Bunsen 
  • Visiting the Powers Court Centre a huge Georgian building turned shopping arcade to check out Article and vintage jewelry

After a day and half in Dublin we set out in our rental car for our temporary home base in Urlingford, about a half hour away from the city of Kilkenny. This was about the time that all those cheesy phrases about just how green everything was started. 

How about that house, could you ask for anything more idyllic? Our jaws literally dropped when we drove up the long gravel lane way. A highlight for Chad was finally seeing the aga stove he had heard so much about from our host's Mom when she visited Montreal. I obviously had to take a picture of him in front of it. Just because I can, here's a little photo montage of all of Chad's favourite things in Ireland. 

After getting used to driving on the right hand side of the car and road he absolutely loved all the tiny roads and hairpin turns. I was freaked out by the lack of shoulder and the way the trees and hedges almost made a canopy over the road. 

We also spent a day in Kilkenny, Chad visiting the Smithwick's brewery and me shopping. I wandered into the Kilkenny Design Centre to buy some gifts and then found the beautiful gardens of the Butler House behind. We met up to tour the castle, walk through some of the narrow streets and of course grab a pint. 

Is that enough pictures for you to look through in one sitting? Don't worry I still have a part two coming, where you can see more rolling green hills and probably a few more pictures of Chad. I'll also tell you about two of my favourite attractions on the trip. Not surprisingly, both of them were historic houses where I wanted to take home the entire kitchen of one and steal a few decor pieces from the other. 

Kitchen Ideas-Round Two

Thursday, April 30, 2015

So.....we still haven't sold our house for anyone who's wondering. Apparently everyone thinks it's too small. It's not small-IT'S COZY PEOPLE! I'm trying not to spend all my waking hours obsessing over what we should do to try and sell it and I suppose, like Chad says, I should leave that to the real estate agents. Well, that's easier said then done so in order to distract myself I'm spending my time in the most therapeutic way I know how....making pinterest boards and obsessing over what I want in my next kitchen.

When we moved into our current house the biggest job we (Chad) did was to completely gut the kitchen. You can read about the plans here and see the process here to finally get to this:

Hey there shiny kitchen! 

While it's hard to say what we'll do to our next kitchen without knowing where our next kitchen is, I know we (Chad) will have to do some kind of renovation as I rarely like what's in our price range. Even though I love our kitchen there are few things I'd do differently the next time around.

High Gloss Cabinets- they were Ikea ABSTRAKT in high gloss white and grey (which seem to be similar to the new SEKTION cabinets in ringhault high gloss grey) and they show any little smudge or fingerprint. 
Tile Floors-I'd also love to have continued the wood floors into the kitchen. 

Our quartz countertops are amazing and have held up to Chad's abuse. I love the built in microwave, the seamless cooktop, the ice-maker and the garbage disposal.

In terms of the style of the kitchen, I've made a little round-up of some kitchen trends I wouldn't mind using in our next space whenever or wherever that may be:

Via: 1, 2, 3,
This is a classic for a reason. If this next house is a house we plan on staying in for a while, maybe I should keep it classic and timeless. I love this combination mixed with brass and black. How amazing is that modern black light fixture in the top photo! Nothing says timeless and classic more than marble but would a Chad-kitchen survive marble? Would every little etched mark kill me or make me want to kill Chad? One of my favourite designers Orlando is redoing his boyfriend's condo and aptly named the project Orcondo. You can see his plan for the space in image three. I can't wait to see all the marble and brass goodness in that one. 

Via: 1, 2, 3, 4
Dark, coloured cabinets are still going strong. I love the look in our kitchen but would definitely go with a painted finish rather then high-gloss this time. I'm loving black, navy blue or army green and may be ready to take the plunge and paint both the upper and lower cabinets. The Remodelista outlines the pros and cons of soapstone (via number 4) and it seems like the only real con is that it is prone to nicks and scratches but it sure does compliment a dark and stormy kitchen.

Via: 1, 2, 3, 4
Patterned tiles are another trend that continues to have a place in my heart. While it may not be neutral it is still a classic as many of these patterns have been made for centuries. If you love patterned floors and haven't started following I Have This Thing With Floors on Instagram, you are missing out. So much patterned floor eye-candy!

While cement or encaustic tiles are the most traditional, there are some recent ceramic tiles that have all the pattern at a fraction of the cost. Lark & Linen Interior Design gives a few sources here

Via: 1, 2, 3, 4
A white kitchen with the warmth of wood-another good option! You can use a little- like on an island- or a lot-like all of your bottom cabinets. I like the modern look of mixing the white and wood so that it's a traditional update. Fingers-crossed I can get an island in my next kitchen.

Via: 1 & 3, 2, 4
Now this is an option that would also involve lots of smudges and marks but it may be worth it to have a gorgeous industrial style kitchen. The key is to mix in rustic elements like worn wood. The Remodelista lists how to get steel the look with Ikea components here

I obviously haven't narrowed down any of my choices but it looks like I may have some more time to mull this over. What about you, which kitchen trend are you loving? Would you incorporate any of these into your next renovation?

Beachside Apartment Makeover II

Monday, April 20, 2015

When we last checked in on our Beachside Apartment Makeover I promised a mood board, furniture layout and a source list...well it took some time but I think it was worth it. Just in case you missed it, the first post HERE outlined what we were working with: a bare bones apartment near the ocean in San Diego that was off to a great start but just needed some cozy-ing up. Here was the living/dining room before:

Of course I couldn't just do one option, not with all the great online resources those of you in the US have. Here are two options so my lucky beachside couple can pick the one they think will best fit them.

OPTION ONE: Boho Surf Meets Mid-Century Modern

In this option I added all the important finishing pieces: a rug, drapes, pillows, artwork and accessories for what I'm calling a laid-back boho surf meets mid-century modern room. I found this amazing rug on ebay and used it to pull out all the colours in the room. I added some additional furniture pieces for storage and for seating and of course used her stunning beach photos for personal, completely on-trend, artwork. I've mentioned it before but it's super important to hang your artwork at the right height. You'll notice in the before pictures that the art is a bit small and hung too high for the space.

I've also gone ahead and added a mantle surround for the fireplace. Now, this isn't something they have to do-especially since it's a rental, but for a few hundred dollars (or even cheaper if you can find an antique or second-hand one) you completely transform all that orange brick and give yourself additional display space.

OPTION TWO: The New Coastal Casual

As in Option One this moodboard is all about the key finishing touches. This time I went with a more neutral rug and then let the drapes and cushions add the pattern and interest. This feels fresh and modern and layered but not overwhelming. The rug and drapes were a steal from Target (R.I.P. Target Canada) and then the chair was a splurge.

With both these options, the moodboard can be a starting point for the style of the room and then certain pieces can be swapped out for vintages or second hand ones. This couple mentioned they wanted to try and shop some of the room at antique stores or flea markets and it is totally possible. Here are my suggestions for things to look for:

  • Chairs- it's easy to find great mid-century modern chairs that may need to be recovered but have great bones. Reupholstering isn't cheap but you'll have a solid chair in exactly the fabric/colour you want for potentially less then new
  • Sideboards and Dressers-the small cabinet and media console above are from Ikea and Westelm but could easily be sourced vintage or second-hand. A less then perfect piece can easily be painted and will almost always be less money and better quality then new.
  • Books and vases-load up on accessories at flea markets. A pile of books can be used as a stand to display items or used on it's own to fill shelves or tabletops.
  • I've found it hard to get the right size rug vintage or second hand but Oriental or Persian rugs are often cheaper on ebay or craigslist so keep an eye out.
Drapes, lamps, throws, sidetables, pillows- I've always had better luck buying new or handmade on sites like Etsy. 

FLOORPLAN: When you receive an e-design I always include a floorplan so you get a sense of exactly where everything should go.

SOURCE LIST: This is pretty straight forward. If you decide not to go the vintage/second-hand route I have a list of everything you need to make your room look just like the moodboard.

So what do you think? Which option would you go with-Boho Surf Meets Mid-Century Modern or The New Coastal Casual? I can't wait to see what they pick and if there is anything they want to change I'm always happy to do one free revision. If you're interested in getting your own e-design done send me an email here and we can get started right away.

Bland be Gone!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


When Chairish contacted me and asked if I wanted to take part in an activity that would require me to browse through their site (which I already do), pick whatever I wanted (which I wish I could do) and then create a style board (which I love doing) that highlights bright,bold colour- of course I said yes!

If you don't know what Chairish is then you're either one of those lucky people who gets to jet around the world and frequent antique markets all day (and I hate you) or you're someone who has hours and hours to search through Craigslist and doesn't mind dealing with the hassle of picking things up from sketchy locations and questionable people. If you haven't browsed through Chairish's curator approved, online market for vintage and used furniture then you are about to get lost down an amazing rabbit hole of goodness-thanks internet!

I was asked to pick from a selection of vintage rugs and then design a room around that rug. I picked the brightest and most colourful one.

I know what you're thinking, because it's also what my Mom said when she first saw it, "ummmm... well, that's interesting. It looks like a rug for a kindergarten class." 

To me it immediately had the potential to be the centerpiece of a vibrant, jewel toned room that was part Mid-Century Modern, part 70's glam and anything but juvenile. 

I loved how this room came out! What do you think? Could you be convinced to walk away from a boring, bland neutral room into a jewel box of a space like this? It just feels so happy to me. I'm very tempted to get rid of all our furniture in the move and just buy everything on my Chairish pinterest board (don't read this part Chad). 

I pulled all the colours in the room from the rug, added just enough white accessories to not overwhelm the space and refrained from using any pattern apart from that amazing grasscloth wallpaper- also found on Chairish! If you're not quite ready to leap into the deep-end of colour, why not take a few small steps and try one colourful piece like a rug and then keep all the other pieces neutral? Or pick a bright couch and then keep the rug neutral? I know you've often heard the rule about keeping larger pieces neutral but sometimes that's just boring. Look at how many colour combinations you could pull from this rug or even from the couch. 

Everything I used in the room was sourced from Chairish. Here are links to all the individual pieces (please buy them before I do):

Gene Meyer Multicolor Triangular Rug
Schumacher Waiyevu Grasscloth Wallpaper

Nicolette Quilted Sofa

Cylindrical Hand Embroidered Pillow

Solid Elm Turquoise Asian Bench

Orange Slice Serving Tray

1960's Saarinen Armless Executive Chair

Large Oval Cobalt Blue Vase

Danish Modern Lounge Chair by Nanna Ditzel

Round Rattan Cubes

Mid-Century Teak Tea or Bar Cart

Vintage Framed Tiger Needlepoint

Vintage Italian 1950 Blue Vetro Opalina

Lana Lucite & Chrome Console Table

Mid-Century Hexagonal Glass Lamps

Puces De Vanves by Artist Hardie Cobbs

Geometric Cut Out Wood Wall Sculpture

Geometric Cut Out Wood Wall Sculpture II

Saarinen Tulip End Tables

Lacquered Vintage Bassett Triple Dresser

Orange Leather Mirror

Interlocking Rings Sculpture
Since you made it to the end, let's just take one last look at my new favourite room. Thank you to Chairish for letting me play around in their amazing site, have a great weekend and I'll be back with the second part of the beachside apartment makeover next week.

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