Europe Bound!

Jun 17, 2015

We're taking a break from DIYs and renos and will be spending the next 2 weeks exploring 5 countries in Europe. I'm so excited for this trip!

Follow along on Instagram (@thesimplyinspiredblog)  for updates and photos of our adventures. Blogging will resume upon our return but for the next two weeks I'm more or less checking out from the social media/email sphere (except for insta!)

We're lucky to have family and friends house (& cat) ssitting for us while we're away...thank you!

Check back in a few weeks for more house projects and I'll be sharing some Scandinavian homes from our trip.

Living Room Updates

Jun 12, 2015

Last week I shared my frustration with our living room. It was feeling a little drab and uninspired to me and was in much need of a little sprucing. I made it my mission this week to transform the space and with some small changes, a little DIY and a trip to Home Sense, it's feeling much much better!

The first step I took to brighten up the room was rearranging the layout. We removed the cabinet we had been using as a TV stand and relocated it to the dining room (it actually suits that room better!). Then we pushed the couch back closer to that wall (there's still enough room to walk behind the couch) and turned the rug horizontally. I also decided to try repositioning my desk so my back is to the window and the desk is out in the room more. This new layout defines the "office" space more and brings all of the furniture together. In a room this size bringing furniture further into the space usually looks and feels better than having everything sit around the edge of the room.

I added seasonal summer colours through new throw pillows and a striped throw - which is actually a  towel and is a much better price than a throw!

The fireplace mantle also got a colourful makeover. Instead of photos, I used pink and green craft paper in two white frames to keep with the  colour theme. The addition of a bookcase near my desk also injected some more colour into the room through my books and some accessories.

Once we removed the cabinet that the TV had been situated on, I debated leaving the TV out of the room all together. However, if it didn't go in the living room it was going in our bedroom (NO!!), so I decided to make it work in the living room. Not wanting to purchase a new stand for the TV, we brought up the one from downstairs, and although I was hesitant at first, I really like how it looks. It's a nice, sleek and modern contrast to some of the other more traditional pieces in the room; and next to the black fireplace it doesn't stand out too much.

And a few more shots! I've been thoroughly enjoying this new space. Bright, airy & fun!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

I'll be heading to the farmer's market tomorrow and spending some more time in the garden because we finally have summer weather!

Bathroom Reno | Part 1

Jun 10, 2015

Well here it is, the first post all about our bathroom reno. And actually, it's more like a bathroom creation because we're building a new bathroom in an existing bedroom to create an en-suite. You can read more about the before and after layout plans here.

I stopped by a local wholesale supplier yesterday morning and needless to say, it was overwhelming. I've spent a lot of time browsing Pinterest and the web to figure out what styles and looks I like, so I thought I had a good handle on what exactly I wanted pricing on. But even when you have what you think is a specific idea of what you want, there are still several more options. For instance: fixture finishes, size of the shower (32", 36", 60"?), shower head and hand held shower head, or just one or the other, should the door slide to the right or left, should it slide at all, where should you save and where should you splurge...and the list goes on!

After some more thought and consideration, I did start to make some eliminations and the decision process started to get easier. Even though each bathroom layout and reno is different, and no person's preferences or desires for their bathroom are exactly the same, there are a few details that helped me in my decision making that I think could definitely be universally applied.

1.  If you're buying a new bathtub...sit in the tub! And get your significant other too as well if they'll also be using the tub. When choosing a standalone or enclosed tub, give thought to how important is to you to have somewhere to lay items like a book, candles, shampoo or a glass. There is usually little to no room for this on a standalone tub. Nice shelving or a small table nearby are easy solutions for this if a standalone tub is your preferred choice.

Once the hardwood was removed, we used a skill saw to cut a trench in the floor to determine the direction of the joists. Luckily for us they are going horizontally which will work in our favour for running the new plumbing. 

2. If choosing a rain shower head (which is quite popular and trendy at the moment) opt to get a handheld shower head as well. This will make cleaning the shower easier and is just a nice extra feature to have as you can select whether you want one or both of the shower heads on at any time. Many manufactures offer a kit with the rain head and handheld shower head which is usually the most economical option.

Another good point when considering faucets and shower heads is maintain an open mind. My first choice of shower heads and faucets would've put us way over budget. So I went back again, tried another brand and a different but similar style and our prices dropped significantly. I'm a believer that faucets are one area that you do not want to skimp on quality, however I quickly took note that there are several quality brands out there in a comfortable and reasonable price range.

The half bath in the master will eventually be added to the existing full bath in the hallway to enlarge that space. We tore out the drywall in order to add the plumbing for the shower in the new ensuite, which will be going on the other side of that wall where you currently see a door. 

3. If you have the space and you're designing a new shower from scratch, go as big as you reasonably can without compromising your budget or the rest of the space in the room. I don't think anyone will ever complain that they wish they had a smaller shower. I was a little concerned with the costs of a larger shower, but when you compare to a smaller size, and weigh the importance of a larger more comfortable shower, it was obvious that this was the way to go.

When designing a shower, check with what suppliers offer first before deciding on what size you want to go with. Most come in standard sizes and custom shower doors and bases can quickly become very expensive. If you can work with whatever is already available then that's usually the best way to go.

Well I hadn't fully intended on this being such a long and wordy post so thanks for sticking with me. 

Happy hump day and more updates on the bathroom coming soon!

Living Room Lull

Jun 5, 2015

I've been so pleased with the progress we've been making on the house to date. This week we started taking up the hardwood floor to start the bathroom en-suite construction and overall things are coming along nicely. However, over the past few weeks I've been having doubt and uncertainty surrounding the living room. This is basically how the room is laid out now, minus the winter greenery decor and dark throws.

There's no doubt that the room has been on a break, or a pause shall we say; receiving no attention or experiencing any activity. But now, after months of lulling, I've had the sudden urge to bring the room to life!

Although... it's not as easy as that because I'm not sure what the room needs.  Normally I can identify exactly what I need to add, remove, or change in a room to improve it to the way I envision it to be but I'm drawing one big blank when it comes to the living room.

In an effort to get the creative juices flowing, I've been scouring the internet for inspirational images. Here's a few that I like and why I like them, feel free to chime in below with your thoughts. Keep in mind that the room is a little disproportional because it's long with ample room on either side of the fireplace.

There's a bright and welcoming combination of colours in this photo and several different textures and surfaces. I really like the light colours of the rug and how the room decor all ties together. I've debated whether a new and lighter rug in our living room for the summer season would do the trick, but I'm going to try re-decorating with the current rug and some new accessories before I decide on that investment.

This room/photo is so calming to me. The wood detail on the wall is a feature I've considered before and it certainly adds to the space. I'm also fond of the bright pillows and brushed gold sconces.

There is no doubt that there is a lot happening in this photo! And although I think it's a little much for my taste, there are aspects of it that I like; the clear coffee table, the coloured lamps and the colourful pillows throughout. A glass or clear coffee table is a good choice when there's a lot of other furniture in the room and in my case, a lot of darker and heavier materials and furniture. I'm definitely leaning towards exchanging my dark wooden coffee table with a clear or glass one with sleeker lines and thinner legs.

This is another photo which just makes me feel so relaxed and cozy. Again, I think it's a combination of the great natural light and the airy and white table furnishings. The rug seems pretty heavy but it's not coming across as such. I'm thinking of maybe flanking the fireplace with white shelves (similar to above) or built-ins for extra storage and to add some more detail to that otherwise long and vacant wall.

I chose this room because although it has a dark coloured couch (like ours), the mood doesn't at all feel dark or dreary. The gallery wall is also a fun decor feature, I'm dying to add one to our home!

Another dark coloured sofa & another gallery wall! Maybe I should take a hint? Both photos also have airy coffee tables, which as I mentioned earlier, definitely helps the room flow better and feel less clustered. Light coloured pillows here also do the trick, together with the neutral striped rug.

I'm definitely not considering adding any dark paint colours to the living room but I chose this photo because of the beautiful floor to ceiling built-ins. I would love similar built-ins to our space. I also enjoy the pops of colour which make a statement but aren't too overpowering. 

As a self proclaimed lover of white, I know incorporating more colour into the living room will be a challenge for me. But after putting together this post of inspiration photos, I know that injecting  colour is definitely the direction I need to head. I hope to play around with some floor plan options over the weekend and give some more consideration to the overall layout of the room. 

Stay tuned for updates & happy friday! 

photos via: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

Summer Table Setting and A New Look for a Sunroom

Jun 2, 2015

After last week's cottage and nautical themed post, I was feeling super inspired to do some coastal decorating of my own. So when I visited my parent's home over the weekend, I decided to give their sunroom a nautical inspired makeover.

The furniture that was previously in this room is actually now in my sunroom, so the room has been in need of new furniture for quite some time. We picked up this lovely new set at Home Sense as individual pieces. It actually all came together perfectly and even matches the outside deck furniture. The rest of the decor was pulled from other parts of the home.

I opted to keep the decor fairly clean and simple so as to not take away from the views of the sunroom, which overlooks the garden. A few pink accents help to bring in the summer season and add a light feminine touch. In a small space, glass tables are a great choice because they let the light flow and don't visually obstruct the room as much as a solid surface table would.

You can never go wrong with fresh flowers as a centrepiece. The height of this orchid allows a clear view of everyone around the table for easy conversation and interaction. For simple beachy candle holders, I used two small votives, filled them with decorating stone (that can be purchased at the dollar store) and added a tea light - simple and inexpensive! The nautical coasters were a purchase from Chapters last year.

This room is now ready to host guests for a laid back brunch or an evening dinner.