Thursday, June 30, 2011

Favorite Homes

The photos above are of a home that was featured on the "House Crashing" section of the blog Young House Love. My favorite part of this house is that you can't tell the age of the house by simply looking at the interior. It could either be a comfortable new build or a well loved older home- but either way is a well done mix of the two.

Monday, June 27, 2011

DIY Project Five- Painting an Outdoor Table

I bought this folding, solid pine, unfinished table at Value Village for $4.99.



What you will need:

- table (preferrably unfinished- otherwise you have to sand down the stain/paint)
- sand paper
- paintbrush
- paint (I used a exterior paint & primer in one)

How to do it:

Similar to DIY Project Four- Updating Old Chairs, give the entire table a light sanding (including the underside) and using the paintbrush, prime and paint the table (2 coats should do it). What's important when painting something that will be exposed to rain is to make sure you paint everywhere in order to keep moisture out.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bohemian Outdoor Space?

I recently found (i.e., took out of the garbage at work) some dark grey, plastic chairs. Two of them looked similar to this...

And the other two look similar to these... All the chairs are in really good shape and should not have been in the garbage.
I have friends who are in the process of creating an outdoor space... on a tight budget. They already bought a 4-piece wood conversation set (with beige cushions) but want a dining area as well. They have a round wood table similar to this...

The table top is in rough shape and could use either being sanded and re-stained or painted.
I am going to try to convice them that all the above furniture could look really nice together in a sort of bohemian outdoor space. The chairs are great b/c they are all stackable which means they don't take up a lot of space when stored and since they are plastic they can be left outside. Once the table is re-stained or painted and protected it will also be weather tolerant. Throw in some colourful outdoor fabrics like...

... and some inexpensive but cute accessories like...

... and you have a really unique (and functional) outdoor space.

New Shows

Summer Home with Karen Sealy.

Home to Keep with Peter Fallico.

So far (only 3 episodes in), both shows are refreshing in that they involve realistic renovations done on actual budgets in average family homes. Also, it is nice to see that they seem to be re-using and re-purposing materials as much as possible.

Watch the videos online at

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Decorating an Old, Lower, Rental Apartment

The biggest challenge I have had with our apartment in Montreal is making a 100 year old apartment that has never been particularly cared for and needs work, into a welcoming and comfortable second home. Now that we are going to be there twice a long as we origionally thought, I want to fix up (or at least disguise) some of the things that are still bothering me about the place.

Pros of the Apartment-
high ceilings (except the bathroom) ~12'
stays cool even when it is hot out (without air conditioning)
freshly painted throughout
no carpeting (hardwood floors and ceramic tile throughout)
lots of space (and closets including a walk in) ~900 sq.ft. in total
large windows for a lower apartment
inexpensive rent
within walking distance of everything (e.g. work, subway, groceries, etc.)

Cons of the Apartment- these are all despite being thoroughly cleaned several times...
dingy looking bathroom- mostly do to overuse/inappropriate use of caulking e.g. around bottom of vanity
wood floors that need to be refinished
trim around the floors needs to be replaced- trim is actually about an inch off the floor probably b/c there used to be carpeting
kitchen floor tiles are cracked and missing grout in some places
some areas are dark- especially the hallway and front entrance
hallway outside the apartment needs to be repainted!!

For me, the pros outway the cons. Certain cons are things I cannot do anything about (e.g. the condition of the hallway outside the apartment) but some I can (e.g. lighting conditions inside the apartment). In addition to bringing down our larger sofa and dining table and chairs that have been in storage, here is my plan:

1. Makeover the bathroom; remove all the caulking and reapply only what is necessary, redo the tile grout, install quarter round to finish the floors. These jobs do not cost a lot but require time and work- which I am willing to do.

2. Buy a large, long runner to cover/disguise most of the kitchen floor (including all the cracked tiles). I am thinking the IKEA Egeby rug (80x250cm) which will match the area rug we have at the front door.

3. Install some more lighting. I am going to replace the hallway single light fixture with a 2-light pendant fixture that I bought for $5 at my local Habitat for Humanity Re-store. It was a fake-brass colour and I have spray painted it a matt black so that it now looks like its cast iron.

4. Adding indoor house plants. Not only do the plants add life to the space they also clean the air.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DIY Project Six- Painted Planters

This is a very simple and inexpensive project. I bought the paints ($1 each) and terracotta planter dishes (3 x $1) at the Dollarama.



What you will need:

- terracotta planters and plants
- paintbrush
- paint (I used a mixture of acrylic paints)

How to do it:

The directions below are for use with faux plants. If you wanted to use real plants in the planters, you would have to use an oil based paint (better with moisture) and consider not painting the inside of the planter(s).
Start by creating the colour of your choice by mixing the acrylic paints together in a plastic container with a lid. Using the paintbrush, paint the inside and outside of the planters and dishes. Once they are dry, paint the undersides of all pieces. Repeat until the colour completely covers the terracotta. Once everything is dry, place your faux plants inside and enjoy.
Fast and effective.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Creative Re-Use Ideas

The 3Rs: Reduce-ReUse-Recycle

In my attempt at researching creative ways to "Re-Use" my own household items (especially the things that we go through a lot) I came across some very unique ideas and wanted to share them.

Wine Corks

Glass Jars

Wine Bottles

Friday, June 10, 2011

Green Website

For those of you interested in "going green", check out apartment therapy's website re-nest. It is loaded with creative ideas for making your home (and life) more eco-friendly.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sofa News

Another reason to love JYSK. They now have a sofa similar to the IKEA Ektorp but for $100 less. I personally don't love the loose fitting slipcovers but they seem to be great for anyone with children.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Low Cost- Big Impact

If anyone is looking for a cheap and cheerful piece of art- Walmart has indoor/outdoor canvases that are colourful (actual art is very similar to the pictures above), large (2 x4'), on a 2-inch thick wood stretcher frame (i.e., look like they should cost more) and only $24.99!!
FYI- If you go looking for them, they are in the garden center.