Re-Arranging Our Living Room

Jan 28, 2015

Sometimes when decorating your home, it's easy to get stuck in a rut, without even realizing you're stuck there. It's common for people to move into a home, set their furniture out in a way that makes sense at the time, and walk away. Even though there may not be anything technically wrong with the current layout of your home, playing around with different layouts and stepping outside of your comfort zone can sometimes reveal a whole new space. It's important to remember that decorating and design is ever-changing and ever-evolving.

A few weekends ago Nick and I had an epiphany and re-arranged the furniture in our living room. Up until then, I hadn't thought at all about moving anything around, but am I ever glad we did! The new layout is by far our best design decision to date. The room has all of a sudden become cozier, more functional and it feels much bigger. This layout makes so much more sense.

Take a look for yourself, what do you think? Here's how the room started off when we first moved in (can you believe it?)
And here's how it looked just before Christmas.
And here's the new & improved room.

No shortage of owls here :) 

As you can see, I've left the greenery up on the fireplace mantle. I'm still really enjoying it, and to me, it doesn't feel Christmasy at all. I think I'll retire it to storage once Easter comes around. I recently picked up that small blue basket from Dominion. It was on sale and is the perfect size for storing extra throws and blankets for cozying up by the fire. We moved the coffee table from the TV room into this space which has really helped define the sitting area. Another way we created distinct space in the room was by placing the couch closer to my desk/office area, so it now acts as a room divider of sorts.

If you'd like to give something different a try but you're not sure where to start, or can't visualize a new layout, just begin by moving some things around. Worst case scenario, you move it all back. On more than one occasion I've moved things around thinking that the new look would be better, when in fact it was actually best left as it was, but you won't know until you try. Plus I think changing things up is so much fun!

Entryway Makeover Round Two

Jan 26, 2015

As of late, I've been feeling a little discontent with our entryway. You may recall that I revealed the first entryway makeover back before Christmas (which you can see in full here). At that time, I covered the bench seat with some black fabric and switched out the pillow, but the fabric was just laid there and the pillow belonged in the living room, so it really wasn't a permanent fix. Since then the space hasn't received much focus.

I felt it was looking a little random and uncoordinated, and not in the creative, intentional way. As the first space you see when entering a home, the entryway is definitely deserving of a little attention.

I decided to tie the room together by recovering the bench seat and pillow in coordinating fabrics. Luckily I was able to choose from some fabric that I already had on hand, left over from other projects.

I first made the seat cushion for the bench when I purchased it over 2 years ago, so it was starting to look a little worn and limp. Once I removed the old fabric, I decided to add an extra layer of batting to smooth out and revitalize the cushioning.

**Instructions on how to make the seat cushion**
Have a piece of plywood cut to size, cover it in a thick foam cushion (I purchased mine from Fabricville) then use quilt batting to hold everything in place by wrapping the batting around the foam and stapling it to the back of the plywood.
Next I covered the seat cushion with the new fabric, pulled it tight, and stapled it to the back of the plywood.

Within 10 minutes I had a fresh and colourful new bench seat!
Lastly, for the bench makeover, I made the envelope style pillow slip cover (tutorial to come!).
I also decided to replace the green table by the door with a more suitable one that we had been using upstairs. (Upstairs is still in "before" mode so I didn't mind moving the green table up there).

And after those few changes, here's the result:
I'm happy to report that I feel much more satisfied with this space now. The red and brown colours throughout bring everything together, creating a coordinated and welcoming entrance to our home.

Friday's List: IDS Toronto Showcase

Jan 23, 2015

During this weekend last year I was still living in Toronto and was attending the Interior Design Show. I had just started my Interior Design Technology program so going to the show felt like a possible look into my future. Alas, all things happen for a reason and I'm no longer living in Toronto. So since I'm missing out on this year's show, I decided to showcase some of the exhibitors as part of today's list.

If you've been following along then you'll know that each Friday I post a series called Friday's List. There are no requirements for what type of list I post, I simply enjoy having a consistent weekly feature (well mostly weekly!) and it also switches things up from my regular posts about decorating and our reno.

Here's a look at some of the amazing exhibitors from this year's IDS Toronto. 

Style Garage Gus Modern

kinder GROUND Modular Carpet

Montauk Sofa

Garman Furniture "Rocker"

Urban Barn

Mini Gardening

So many beautiful and innovative finds. I'm in love with this vertical mini garden and the modular carpet seems like such a fun and creative way to add carpet into your space.

If you're in the Toronto area this weekend and looking for a bit of inspiration, be sure to stop into the show.  For a list of exhibitors and speakers, check out the IDS Toronto website.

Office Organization & A TV Cabinet Re-Invention

Jan 20, 2015

I'm extra excited to share today's photos with you because I took them using my new photography lighting kit! The kit is basically those umbrella stands with light bulbs facing them, which you normally see at portrait studios. They use really bright, soft, light bulbs which give the feel of day light. This is my first shoot using them so there's no doubt that I'll need a little more practice, but I'm so glad that I can now take good looking photos at night and not have to worry about getting all my photos in on the weekends.
Now...on to today's post. For a lot of us, January is a time to get re-organized, so I thought sharing my office organization with you would be suiting.

With purchasing a new home comes a lot more paperwork, and although I've always maintained our documents in a fairly organized manner, it was time to take things to the next level. Not only did I want to be more organized but I also wanted to add some colour to my filing system and desk area.

The first thing I set out to do was to get all of our documents, stationary and office supplies in order and assigned to their own designated place. Enter the old TV unit that was handed down to us by my parents. At first, I had no idea how I would use it. I started putting bills, documents and office supplies in there simply because there are a lot of drawers and it has doors so you can easily hide everything inside. When I realized that this unit would make perfect sense to store everything in permanently, I picked up some organizing trays, colourful files, labels and coloured tape and set to work.
Finding a proper home for all your odds and ends makes finding what you're looking for so much easier. It also looks a lot neater, and for me, just knowing that everything is organized makes me feel better.

Next, I wanted to inject the space with colour. I love the red and green tape (it's Scotch and I picked it up at Staples). It's similar to washi tape and has many purposes. I used mine as labels and also for posting notes on the cork board. The weekday clothing pins (picked up in Florida) which I strung on some jute string on the cork board, add colour and fun and serve an organizational purpose. Just because office usually means work, bills and finances, doesn't mean your space has to be dull or boring. Injecting a bit of colour has made this one of my favourite spots in the house.

This knock-off  "Good Morning Beautiful" mug, originally seen at Chapters, is an easy DIY! Simply write your message on the mug using a Sharpie marker and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the mug in there while the oven cools completely.

So, before you decide to toss your old handed down furniture, take a moment to see if you can repurpose it, saving time and money and also leaving you with a unique item or piece of furniture.

As for the lighting kit, you can probably tell from the windows that these photos were taken at night. I think the lighting kit did a pretty good job at creating a natural looking light. No more dark, poorly lit photos on this site!

Friday's List: Currently Coveting

Jan 16, 2015

I've been taking it easy these last few days since I've come down with a bit of a head cold, but I promise there will be more DIY projects and house updates on the way soon. I have lots planned for the near future; I can't wait to get working on it.

If you've been following along then you'll know that each Friday I post a series called Friday's List. There are no requirements for what type of list I post, I simply enjoy having a consistent weekly feature (well mostly weekly!) and it also switches things up from my regular posts about decorating and our reno.

Today I'm sharing a mix of home decor items that are currently on my radar.
Spot the turquoise trend?

There's a lot of DIY potential here too. I'd love to knock off the copper and green Anthropologie clock. And I've already got plans for a DIY floor pouf.

Of course I had to include an owl item. This painting is so colourful & fun, I love it.

I'm also mentally planning ahead for our master bedroom. I like both of the duvet covers included here. Both have fairly neutral colour schemes and some simple lines and geometric patterns. The sconce lighting is the perfect alternative to bedside lamps.

I'm spending the weekend working on some home office organization, which I'll be sure to share soon.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Photos: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16

Winter Decor Inspiration

Jan 11, 2015

Do you also find that your home feels bare and boring once you've taken down all of your Christmas decor? I struggle with the feeling every year; I'm never ready to pack away all the lights and greenery.

This year I'm looking for some inspiration of ways to keep some decor around for the winter months.

From these photos, I think the trick is to incorporate elements like branches and greenery into your everyday decor. Candles, faux fur rugs and blankets add a feeling of warmth and coziness too.

Photos: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/