Living Room Reveal

Sep 29, 2014

*Updated: More "after" pics added below*

After two long weeks I can finally say that the living room is complete! A big thanks to our family and friends who played a major part in the completion of this transformation. There was a fair amount of plastering involved and with no experience in this area ourselves, we relied on the help of my Uncle and Nick's good friend to do most of that work.  After one coat of primer, and 4 coats of white, we were able to say goodbye to the creamy yellow colour.

You can check out the inspiration board I created for the living room here.

Well without further ado!

Here is a shot of the living room from the realtor listing.


















And the empty room once we moved in.




















And here are  the after shots of our "new" living room!






















































































I'll be posting a "How To"soon for painting a fireplace mantel. I love how ours turned out - the black adds a modern touch and really contrasts to bring out the marble surround. This room is now such a cozy, calm and relaxing place.
We designated a section of the living room to my home office. Read more about that here.


Laundry Room Ideas

Sep 23, 2014

After a weekend of painting, we still have one more coat to apply to the walls, doors and fireplace before the living room and dining room are complete. Thankfully we've had tons of help from our family and friends, otherwise I think we'd be a lot further behind. I'm very excited about how it's turning out...the reveal will be soon!

In the meantime, the next room on our list is the laundry room/mudroom. We aren't changing anything structurally so it won't be a major undertaking, but it definitely is in need of some updating.

Here's our list of items to tackle in the laundry room:

  • Paint the walls, ceiling and trim
  • Remove some of the cabinetry
  • Change both light fixtures
  • Install a shelf over the washer/dryer
  • Install new rod for hanging clothes to dry
  • Add a place to hang ironing board
  • Add tile backsplash above washer/dryer
  • Change cabinet pulls
The space is a little awkward and since we don't have a front loading washer, putting a counter over both units isn't an option. I rounded up a few photos from around the web which I'm taking some inspiration from for our laundry room redo.
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I love how bright, airy and clean these rooms look. Bringing pattern in through rugs, wallpaper or tile is a  fairly easy way to spice up an otherwise lack lustre space and can be completed in an evening or over the weekend. Keeping colours bright and tidy with lots of storage also amps up the refreshing design factor.

Our laundry/mudroom isn't hidden away behind closed doors. It's on the way to the main floor half bath so it has to be something I don't mind our guests seeing. I'm hoping that once we've checked off the items on our list, the laundry room will be a space I like to show off to guests, not steer them away from.

DIY: White with Gold Stripe End Table Redo

Sep 20, 2014

After a few weeks of using the den as our living room, our formal living room is finally coming together. The den suited us just fine, it was super cozy and enough for just the two of us, but it was definitely a tight squeeze for entertaining. The fireplace is also in the formal living room and since the days are starting to get colder, I'm definitely ready to cozy up in front of it.

If you've been reading along, you'll remember I posted a mood board last week to show my ideas for the living room. So far, we have the grey couch and matching chair (both of which are super comfy, we're really happy about that purchase!) and an over reaching floor lamp. I have some pillows as well but they aren't in the fabric I would like, so that will be changing in time. We still need a few more things like a rug, curtains, some pictures, art for the walls, and a storage or ottoman.

As for the end tables, I love the look of the ones in the mood board with the gold dipped legs so I decided to recreate the look using some hand-me-down tables we received.

Here are some before photos. I started by sanding down the table lightly. I didn't want to sand away any of the finish just some of the shine.
















I had some leftover paint in Horseradish by Olympic Paints and applied it to the top using a foam roller brush and a regular brush for the legs. The important step, that for some reason I neglected to complete...is to use primer.  USE PRIMER PEOPLE! I actually applied maybe 5 coats or more which could've easily been reduced. Next I taped off the legs and the lines on the surface and used gold acrylic paint that I picked up at Michael's. Again, several coats were necessary, but the end result turned out great. I love how the gold dried.


















Pardon the plastered walls!


















We're spending our Saturday painting the living and dining room as well as the fireplace. I'll share the finished product, together with the colours we chose, as soon as it's all complete. :)

Friday's Wish List: Fall Fashion Finds

Sep 19, 2014

My Instagram feed has been full lately of stylish bloggers attending fashion week in NY and London. These ladies know how to dress for fall, so I'm taking a few hints from them in this week's wish list for fall fashion finds.
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  1. Floppy hats are all the rage and I'm totally onboard. I've always loved a good hat and these are versatile and chic. 
  2. I'm aiming to fill my closet with more creams and less black. I naturally gravitate towards black in the winter but this cream cable knit is quickly making me realize that cream can be cozy too.
  3. This streamlined military style jacket is a simple essential. You can never go wrong with a sleek style military coat, they go with everything!
  4. Love this alternative to a black boot. I'm definitely a fan of navy.

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5. An upgrade from plain black leggins, these vegan leather pants could be toned down for the office or worn for a nigh out.
6.  How I love Kate Spade...that is all.
7.  This fun and colourful tunic dress is a great transition from summer to fall. Would look great paired with tights and boots and will add a spark of colour to my otherwise black and grey wardrobe.

But alas, it is only a wish list.

Virtual shopping is more fun anyways, everything always fits and you never spend a dime. ;)

However... in case you did want to pick up a few items off the list, I sourced some similar items to the one above that won't break your bank. You are welcome!

  1. Floppy hat under $50 here.
  2. Knit Sweater under $20 here.
  3. The military jacket above is already a good find at under $200
  4. Navy boots under $150 here.
  5. Faux leather leggings under $20 here.
  6. Black tote back under $60 here.
  7. Transition to fall t-shirt dress under $50 here.
Happy shopping friends & Happy Friday!

Welcome Fall with a DIY Fall Wreath

Sep 17, 2014

What better way to welcome fall then with a fall wreath? These are quick and easy to make. All you need is some fall decor supplies, a little imagination and a glue gun.

I did this project one evening with my girlfriend who brought her adorable little pups over for a craft date.  We actually reused two old wreaths and some dollar store supplies.

















We just pulled off the scarecrow and leaves so we could start from scratch.
























Here's the new and improved scarecrow! The leaves and other decor are just branches that we picked up from the Dollar Store and cut apart to apply them individually. They're a little easier to manage this way than on wire branches.





































For the second wreath, I painted the letter H with a sponge brush and dollar store acrylic paint then used some jute string to tie it to the wreath. The small florets are really easy to make. Just take a strip of scrap fabric, roll it up and then glue glue glue. They're not supposed to look too perfect.

















I love being greeted by a pretty fall wreath when I come home. Soon it'll be time to add a pumpkin. Until then, I think I'll add some fall decor inside the home and get some fall baking done...I've got rhubarb pie on my mind...yummmm :) 

How are you welcoming fall?

Secret Ingredient Guacamole Recipe

Sep 12, 2014

Happy Friday Friends, and a happy friday it is...we finally got wifi! Yay! (we've been waiting over 2 weeks!)

Although, I'm not going to lie, I think my reno/remodel productivity level is going to slightly drop since I now have permanent, interrupted access to cable and the internet...#don'tjudge.

As for the secret ingredient guacamole recipe...whether it's a secret ingredient or not, I'm not sure. But most people I've shared this with were clueless when I made them guess what the ingredient was, so hopefully some of you out there haven't tasted this before and will be in for a treat.

The typical ingredients for guacamole usually include avocado of course, garlic, lime juice and salt and pepper taste.

The new and improved guacamole recipe includes...something a little sweet, a little tangy, a little yellow...have you guessed it yet?















Well a mango of course!















Adds just the right amount of sweet tanginess to your dip.

GUACAMOLE RECIPE
(serves 4-6 people)

Ingredients
  • 4 avocados
  • 1 mango 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions:

Add first 4 ingredients into a blender, blend, pulse, etc. until nice and smoothy then add salt and pepper to taste. My personal preference is a little sea salt, then a little more sea salt, then a tad bit more sea salt just for good measure. Again, #don'tjudge. Alternatively you can chop the mango into small pieces and add it in after you mix the other ingredients to give a more potent mango flavour to your dip. It's up to you!



















Then grab your fav bag of chips and dig in!

Living Room Inspiration Board

Sep 10, 2014

I can't wait to start painting and furnishing the living room. At the moment we're using the small study as a living room and it's just not cutting it.

I'm pretty set on painting the room and moldings white which means I'll add colours in through curtains, pillows, rugs etc. 

Here's a mood board of how I'd like to see the room come together.

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Initially I was set on a white couch because I looooove all white everything, but after a few nightmares about red wine on my white couch, I decided that dark grey/charcoal would do the trick and will also contrast nicely against the soon to be white walls. I'm sure I could've found an attractive white couch with slipcovers but I also wanted to find something locally and on budget, so that narrowed down the options quite a bit.

I like the fun polka dot fabric for sofa cushions. I'll possibly do another set of cushions in an abstract or geometric pattern as well - the more pillows the better! The floral fabric is for the curtains. I'm picturing long, draping curtains with lots of fabric. I think most of the decor will be fairly modern so I the floral curtains will mix things up a bit.

I'm leaning towards a blue, white, gold and brown colour scheme as you can probably tell. Neutral but not boring. 

Now for my favorite part in making all this happen....shopping!

Happy Hump Day!

Summer Picnics & A Recipe

Sep 8, 2014

I love picnics.

They can basically happen any time any where...in your local park, on the bank near a river or pond, in your backyard, or at the beach. And it's fun eating food on the ground!

As the days start to get shorter and colder, I'm enjoying the last bits of summer with picnics whenever I can.


























Enjoying a backyard picnic for 2!
























Then we cheated and moved to the deck table...the grass was damp!
 






















We feasted on BBQ chicken, lemonade with basil leaves, quinoa salad, figs, peaches & cheese for dessert.

The chicken is the store bought ready made BBQ kind which is delicioussss. And especially convenient for a picnic. Don't knock it till you try it.

I made the salad ahead of time. It's super quick to put together and is very tasty either warm or cold.

Quinoa Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa
  • Chopped Avocado
  • Chopped Green Onion
  • Edamame
  • PC Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette
Cook your quinoa and edamame. Once cooked, mix in green onion and avocado. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in vinaigrette. 

I'd love to make this vinaigrette from scratch because it's delicious and can be used with so many dishes. 

Here are some other food ideas are easy for picnics:

  • deli meats
  • caprese salad
  • pre-cooked corn on the cob
  • smoked salmon and crackers
  • fruit skewers
  • brushetta, guacamole (or other dips) and chips or baguette
  • berries and chocolate


Now all you need is some friends and family, a great spot in the sun and a blanket!

Design Dilemma: To Paint or Not To Pain Our Fireplace Mantle

Sep 4, 2014

This week I'm hoping to finalize our paint colours for the living room and dining room. We aren't making any structural changes to those rooms so we can go ahead and get the cosmetic work done.

We're debating whether or not we should paint the fireplace mantle. Since it's such a focal point in the otherwise long and narrow room, I want it to pop; either as a colour against a white wall, or as a white mantle against a coloured wall.

Here are some photos of mantles I love.
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I really love the dark grey mantles with a white wall. Our surround is marble so the grey paint would really bring out the colours in the marble. But I also think a white mantle against a coloured wall looks so crisp. Decisions Decisions!

What do you think? White fireplace or white walls?

In the meantime, we made some real reno progress Tuesday night. Carpet is up in the 2 spare rooms and we've brought all the old wooden closet doors to the dump. Next? Order new hardwood! (I would recommend ordering your new flooring before taking up the carpet so that you aren't walking around on plywood, but we don't use those two rooms so we just close the doors and go on our merry way).































And just as we started doing this, the battery in my camera died so I apologize for this iPhone pic!

More progress on these rooms to come.

Tomorrow's Friday! :)

Figalicious Breakfast Smoothie

Sep 3, 2014

It's figalicious, t-t-t-t-t-tasty tasty!

Sorry I couldn't resist! A little cheesiness in your day is a must.

I have acquired a new love of fresh figs. I've been adding them a lot to salads and smoothies or just snacking on them with cheese.



















This smoothie is very refreshing and flavorful.





























Figalicious Breakfast Smoothie:

  • Handful of strawberries
  • Handful of raspberries
  • 4 or 5 leaves of kale
  • 2 fresh figs
  • dash or two of almond milk (depending on how you like your smoothie consistency)
  • Heaping spoonful of coconut greek yogurt (vanilla will do just as nicely)
Mix all ingredients in your blender, top with chia seeds and enjoy!

Insight for the Day: Starting Again

Sep 2, 2014

I'm sure that like me, most of you have started something in your life that you really enjoyed and loved to do but as life developed and changed around you; with new responsibilities, schedules and commitments; finding time became more and more challenging.  

For me, this was playing piano. I took piano lessons growing up and played casually through university, but once I graduated and started working full time 4 years ago, I didn't make time to play anymore.  





















The piano sat at my parent's home collecting dust and acting as a placeholder, until this summer when I decided to take lessons again. I am so glad with my decision! Starting over again was a little intimidating but after a few lessons I'm starting to catch on again and it feels great. I love the challenge of learning a new piece and also the reward of finally completing one. 














Is there anything in your life you would like to start again?

PS. Check out this month's challenge over on The Everygirl; they're challenging readers to commit to one month of self improvement and growth. With piano lessons checked off my list, I think I'll finally learn to knit. 

 #TEG30DAYCHALLENGE