Travel Diary Entry 2 | Home Decor

Jul 27, 2015

This second home tour from our European vacation is of the delightful Airbnb we stayed in while in Gothenburg. We've used Airbnb on three occasions and in three different countries (Canada, USA and Sweden) and each time the experience has been a great one.

Location was key for us on this trip because we didn't want to be spending any time commuting to the main city centre. This apartment in Gothenburg was centrally located and belonged to a very kind and accommodating host.

The decor style is best described as a casual and clever mix of Scandinavian Bohemian.  Burnt orange and deep dark teal infused fun playful colours, while the modern kitchen cabinets and sleek low backed couch supported the traditional scandinavian appeal. An exposed brick wall is a visual delight in the main living space, adding beautiful texture to an otherwise white walled space.



Large windows extending to the ceiling allow ample natural light to flow through, giving this apartment a bright and airy feel. One of my favourite elements is the plank tile in the kitchen which flows seamlessly into the oak hardwood. The planked style provides visual rustic appeal while the light grey colour and sleek lines offset a cottagey chic feel.

Another favourite feature of mine is the large rustic light which hangs over the dining table. This simple piece is full of character and charm. Although quite the statement, as the only hanging light fixture in the main living/dining room area combined with the blank white walls surrounding it, this fixture stands out perfectly without being overbearing.

We couldn't have been happier with these accommodations,  it felt like it could've been our own!

This week, after much deliberation, I'm giving our vintage kitchen table a makeover. Hope to share the before & after with you soon.

Thanks for stopping by today and have a great week!

DIY - Installing Laundry Room Backsplash

Jul 20, 2015

It's been a week since we revealed the new look of the laundry room as a result of some much needed upgrades, which included adding a backsplash tile. This was my first time tiling and  overall it was a good experience and the process was fairly straightforward. We have more tiling in our future so this smaller area was the perfect starter project to test out the waters.

Read on below to hear about the ups and downs of installing the backsplash and some tips that you might find helpful if you're taking on a first time tiling project.


 Knowing What Supplies to Get 

My first step in finding out what supplies I would need was searching online. Once I had a general idea, I headed to Rona and was lucky enough to find a great store associate who helped me find everything I needed. He even helped me stay budget friendly - for instance, you can get a square notch trowel without the wooden handle for a fraction of the cost. And you can use the same trowel you use for plastering to apply your mortar.

Mixing the Mortar & Grout

Having the right consistency of mortar and grout is a key component to properly installed tile. All of the YouTube videos I viewed said to mix your mortar with a drill. I had a drill but not the attachment so I went ahead and mixed it with a small gardening hand shovel and as of right now, that has worked out fine. If I had been tiling a larger area or a floor I might have went out of my way to get the drill piece, but for this smaller area I was pretty ok with going the hand mixing route.

The grout on the other hand didn't go as smoothly. Apparently, the secret is having your grout at the same consistency as peanut butter - mine was definitely a little harder than that. When I was applying it, it would continuously crumble and wasn't going on smoothly at all. It dried in clumps in some places so I ended up having to use a plastic scraper to remove the clumpy grout from the tiles. It turned out ok in the end, but I know now for next time to add more water to get that smooth peanut butter texture.

Application

When you're ready to start applying your mortar, it's best to start in the centre and work your way out to either side. Apply the mortar in a thin layer, go through it with the square edged trowel and then hang your tile. Make sure you follow the drying times that are marked on your mortar packaging. After your mortar dries, it's time to apply the grout. Work in small areas and make sure to go over each area several times to ensure the grout gets in between all the tiles and be sure to scrape away any excess. Check the packaging to see how long to wait for it to dry then go over the tile with a wet sponge. Finally, take a cloth and buff the tiles to remove the glaze that can be left behind.

And that's it! It was definitely a project or trial and error but I'm very happy with the end result. Start in a small area first to get accustomed and comfortable with the process. In the end, you'll be left with beautiful looking tile, adding a lovely finished look to any space.

Good luck with your tile projects!

Weekend Project: DIY Laundry Room Updates

Jul 13, 2015

Happy Monday friends! I'm excited about today's post because a project post is waaaay overdue. This project is especially noteworthy because it was my first time tiling (I'll share details on that process later this week)! Upgrades to the laundry room have been on my agenda for a while; I bought the tile ages ago but was having trouble carving out the time to get it done. This past weekend turned out to be the perfect time - the weather was mediocre so I didn't feel bad about staying inside, and I finally had all the tools and supplies I needed to get the job done.

If you're a regular SIB reader than you'll recall that we gave the laundry room a small makeover back before Christmas. We removed excess cupboards, gave the whole space a fresh coat of paint and installed new oil-rubbed-bronze light fixtures. You can see below that this certainly made a big difference; but since the laundry room isn't hidden behind closed doors, I wanted add some more decor to amp up the style and make it feel like a finished and decorated part of the home. I posted a few inspiration photos in a previous post which you can check out here. I'm so pleased that the final look of our laundry room fully meets my design inspiration standards! 

Here's a reminder of how the laundry room looked when we purchased the house. 
The amount of yellow that was in this room still amazes me.


Here is how it looked after we made some midway upgrades a few months ago.
(oops! Still need to paint that radiator!).


And after a DIY project filled weekend,  we were able to cross every item off our laundry room to-do list which I first made back in September.
  • 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 (purchased a drying rack instead)
  • Add a place to hang ironing board
  • Add tile backsplash above washer/dryer
  • Change cabinet pulls
Here's the  final result!

I'm actually excited to do laundry now! I also feel much better about the view of the laundry room from the kitchen as well. I don't mind showing off this space at all.

Here's a recap of the changes we made to add a little glam to the laundry room + a small source list:
     - Backsplash tile (from our local Paint Shop)
     - Spray paint cupboard door pulls (from stainless steel to brushed gold)
     - Add coordinating shelf (picked up at Kent, pre-finished in a lovely colour that matched the tile      
       perfectly)
     - Install under mount lighting (Ikea plug in lighting. Similar to this.)
     - Add chalkboard wall decor and other wall art (already owned). 
     - Add hooks to hang drying rack (already owned).

Did you work on any projects this weekend? Let me know! 

And don't forget to check back on Wednesday for a run-down of the ups and downs of my first tiling experience. 

Travel Diary | Home Decor Edition

Jul 6, 2015

Hello again! We are back from our fabulous European adventure. After two wonderful weeks exploring and walking, tasting and laughing, we have returned and are happily back on Newfoundland soil (there's no place quite like home, even after visiting some very charming places!).

We crammed 5 countries into 2 weeks, starting in Sweden and ending in Belgium. We visited museums, parks, wineries and beaches; ate local food, drank local beers; slept in lovely hotels and not-so-lovely hotels; took a plane some trains and busses; and made many wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
Amsterdam stole my heart!
Of course, being the interior design enthusiast that I am, and more-so, the white and scandinavian decor obsessed person that I am, I just had to scope out some beautiful interiors while we were in Sweden.

This first home belongs to young, DIY inspired friends of ours who live in Gothenburg, Sweden. They were so lovely and had us over to their place for a typical Swedish dinner of herring, salmon, potatoes and salad. Needless to say, it was a delicious meal with great company in a perfect setting. Their apartment is a beautiful mix of DIY and repurposed decor paired with modern and sleek furniture pieces. Over the past few years with the help of their parents, they have been transforming their apartment into a spacious and stylish place to call home. Come on in and take a look!



The first thing I love about this bedroom is the simple and classic plank flooring. Secondly, I love displaying a few items of clothing on this black clothing rack. You might think that it would make the room feel cluttered but it doesn't have that effect at all. And thirdly, how fun is the artwork display above the bed? Simply hang a string using thumbtacks then attach your favourite pieces of art using binder clips or clothes pins. Easy, simple & attractive!


Scandinavian decor doesn't always have to be white (although it always has a lack of clutter!). Case in point, this very unexpected pop of turquoise on the ceiling, which is also mirrored on the top of the shelf above the sofa. There is a great mix of materials and styles in this room - from the glam chandelier to the wooden crates acting as storage - everything feels perfectly in place and comfortable without being matchy or boring.

This apartment is full of functional DIYs, like this unique shelf unit used for displaying books, plants and trinkets.  A few pieces of wood and some concrete paver stones and you've got yourself a one-of-a-kind display piece.

A shot from underneath the chandelier looking up at the turquoise ceiling.  Unfortunately we didn't travel with my best camera so some of the colour and lighting is not quite how I would like.

The living room for another angle.  It was probably around 10pm at this point and it's still extremely bright out! One of the many beautiful features of a Swedish summer. 

This is probably my favourite DIY of the day. Love the cooper, love the bulb! This lamp makes my interior design heart swoon. 


You might be wondering where the TV is - well, most Swedish homes opt for a projector and screen, which I am personally a huge fan of. I am really not a fan of decorating around a TV! The screen fits neatly under a bookshelf in this living room (you can see it in the second photo) and there is no TV to take up space or distract from the decor.  Needless to say, I'll be transitioning to a white screen and projector in the future.


And last but not least, another great DIY to round off this scandinavian inspired home tour. Concrete blocks hold cooper piping in place which then act as candle holders. I would really love to give this project a try!

So there you have it, the first update on our trip and a taste of Swedish decor. I'll be sharing more in the next few weeks plus some general photos of our travels.

We are home just a few days and are actively working on our garden and house. I'm excited to start some new projects over the next few weeks, as well as checking some others off our list!

Hope you're having a great Monday!