One Room Challenge: Kitchen Reveal (ish)

Well well well, time has flown! Thanks to Calling it Home for hosting this super fun linking event for bloggers, not to mention the serious design awesomeness coming from the designers. I’ve been so inspired! And jealous. But mostly inspired. I had a bit of a breakdown last night when I realized I wasn’t going to be completely finished, but such is life. I had to stay late at work a few times this week and I seem to have come down with a cold to boot. Excuses, excuses right?

To get caught up, make sure you check out my previous posts from Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 5 (I was in Mexico for Week 4 so I didn’t post). The Cole’s notes: I didn’t like my kitchen and I wanted to stop not liking it. It’s come a LONG way since we moved in, but there are still a few loose ends to tie up; most notably the flooring, which did not come in on time (Home Depot, I’m looking at you). We also have one more light fixture to install. Enough of my drivel though, here it is!

One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY

One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY

One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIYOne Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY

I love the new colour scheme in here! It’s hard to tell from the pictures but the walls are a light celery green, and it looks great with the bold black of the frames and valence, as well as the turquoise accents, like my new favourite linen tea towel. I discovered that Fabricland sells “tea toweling” by the yard/metre so that was pretty life-altering. I have also been looking for the perfect wooden serving tray for ages so I am super excited about that in particular! The patterned bowls, hand soap (on clearance!) and bread basket from Home Sense were also lucky finds, and who doesn’t love fresh basil?

One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY

One Room Challenge 2015 Kitchen

One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY

For the time being, I have made my peace with the faux bois counters. I would still really like a new range hood and a new fridge (you’ll notice I strategically took the photos to avoid it), but I am flat broke after my trip and paying taxes! I think once the floors are done, I can totally live with this kitchen until we renovate it in a few years time.

I’m really happy with how the prints that I made turned out, too. I wasn’t sure what I wanted on the walls here and I like the simple square frames.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY

I’m also SO happy to have the mini shelves gone off the island! It seems like such a small thing but it really makes a huge difference, in the overall aesthetic and making the passage to the dining room feel and look more open.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY

The valence was a massive pain but I’m happy with how it looks. I unpicked it 3 times and it still isn’t perfect but I’m filing it under “learning experiences”. It was definitely tough making it symmetrical, even, straight, and fit in the window with that bold pattern and the knife pleats. On the bright side, it felt really good to get my sewing machine back out, and I sewed this entire thing on one bobbin, about which I kept yelling to my husband “It’s still going! How has it not run out yet?! It’s the Little Bobbin That Could!” It symbolically gave out just as I finished the last hem.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIY

Thanks for reading, and to everyone else who has commented, liked, or otherwise supported me here and on Instagram @cathyatdeardiy. Definitely check out the other linking participants and the designers for some serious eye candy!


[Side note- sorry for all the theme changes recently. I can’t seem to decide on one. I just installed the Genesis framework and I’m determined to learn more about CSS, coding, and other fun web design stuff. So please bear with me!]


Master bedroom progress

So things are starting to take shape in the master bedroom, now that we finally have a queen sized bed! I don’t know how we lasted 3 years sharing a double bed- ok, it’s because we’re not huge people and we’re also quite snuggly… but the extra space is still nice.

When we had our offer accepted on the house, I went on a celebratory shopping spree for what I thought was going to be my sewing room. I picked up some throw pillows from Chapters- including one with a beautiful watercolour design- along with a table lamp from Target and a gorgeous lilac ceramic vase.

watercolour throw pillows, lamp, lilac vase

My plan was to put my papasan chair, a small desk, and our single bed in that bedroom, and I would decorate it with the stuff I bought. Then our double bed could go in the third bedroom, which was going to be our guest room. But once I thought about it more, I realized that it didn’t leave any space for my husband to have his computer and desk.

Right now we’re both too busy watching The Mindy Project finishing up painting the last few rooms and putting up curtains to worry about office space, since we both have laptops. But eventually Al is going to want to set up his fancy computer somewhere, and it will have to be in one of the 2 spare bedrooms. Since we have different ideas of what a clean desk looks like and where tools belong, it’s probably best if the room he uses as his office is not the room that doubles as a guest room, so the room with the double bed will be my sewing room when we don’t have company over. This doesn’t leave enough room for my papasan chair, and the stuff I bought to decorate doesn’t match the quilt that goes on the double bed. BUT! I tried the vase and the lamp on the dresser I repainted, and the throw pillows on our bed, and they actually look really great in there with the new paint colour (Behr’s French Silver). I had actually been thinking it was a little blah looking with our grey quilt, and had wanted to get some more colour in there anyway. When I found a cool drawer storage box from HomeSense to corral jewelry, hand cream, and other crap that lives on my dresser, and I was sold.


Now our master bedroom is grey with a little hit of purple and blue, and I really love how it looks! We still have to put up the geometric print white curtains I found from BouClair, but it’s really coming together. Hopefully the white keeps it nice and bright in there, since I am basically like a house plant that needs as much natural light as possible.

If you haven’t checked out Design Seeds® for colour palette inspiration, it’s definitely worth a visit- I perused it a lot when I was wedding planning. I found some great palettes there for our master bedroom- how gorgeous is the agate one?

design seeds mineral palette

design seeds agate blues palette design seeds crafted hues palette design seeds floral palette

Have you had any decor or design dreams that didn’t quite turn out the way you wanted, but worked in a different way? Sometimes I’ll even buy something that I have no idea what to do with, just because I can’t live without it… and then I only figure out where to put it much later. But it all works out in the end!

signature 6

Top 5: Upcycled Home Decor

If you couldn’t tell from my DIY Bucket List, I happen to love making lists. In the spirit of one of my favourite movies/books of all time, I’m going to start an ongoing series of posts with my “Top 5” whatever. Today, it’s Upcycled Home Decor! All of these feature something that was almost garbage, but with a bit of creativity and some elbow grease, turned into something awesome. No matter how “green” your outlook or how fat your wallet is, I think everyone can appreciate how ingenious some of these are!

So without further ado…

Top 5: Upcycled Home Decor

5) Crates >>> coffee table. All you need is a board to attach them to for the base, and something to put in the hole in the middle. I like how this one doubles as a plant holder, and the storage space it lends makes it super functional for small rooms.



Or you could place the crates vertically for more height. I love the pop of colour and grey wash of this one, too.

sincerely yours truly crate coffee table

(SincerelyYoursTruly on Etsy)

4) Drawers >>> under-bed storage. How cute are these repurposed old drawers from HoneybearLane? I can’t handle it. Way cuter than the plastic ones we picked up from CT. I’ve seen countless cheap dressers at Value Village that this would work on… just paint, attach casters, and put new drawer pulls on!

HBL rolling drawer storage

(Honeybear Lane)

3) Pallets >>> reading nook. What, you didn’t think I’d make a list like this without mentioning pallets, did you? I love pallets! One of my friends actually forwarded this example of a reading nook for little ones when I made my pallet trunk and I would love to try it one day… maybe when I finally feel ready for babies (I just checked… nope, not yet).pallet daybed

 (Under the Sycamore)

and my number one favourite example of upcycled home decor…..


Are you ready?

1) Wood door >>> headboard. Ohh, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. I even found the perfect door the last time I went to Almonte but sadly we do not have the room right now. Take an old door, add a bit of crown molding, paint it or leave it rough and weathered and voila! This works well either with a vintage, chippy finish like this

hometalk headboard


…or with a more smooth, modern finish like this.

grand design co headboard(Grand Design Co.)

Also, how cute are those ruffled pillows with the sweet floral pattern? And the shade of grey-blue? And the stretched canvas print above the bed? I want the whole bedroom!

Ok, your turn. I know there’s tons more cool upcycled stuff out there, what’s on your list? Bonus points if you can name the movie I was inspired by!



Our Wedding: Décor

Although I spent a lot of time on the invitations and stationary, decorating our wedding ceremony and reception hall was a big job too. Since our dinner was held in the restaurant of Spectacle Lake Lodge, it needed some tweaking to have the look I wanted… Mostly this involved hunting through flea markets or stores for the right item, but I also made a few key pieces.

For our ceremony, I was tempted to make a program to match our invitations- but one of my first DIY projects was refurbishing an old flea market frame into a magnetic chalkboard, and I knew it would look awesome as our program. To write out the program, I did a few Pinterest searches until I found an example of one I liked. Then I used a chalk marker to write, erase, and write again until I was happy.*


For our seating plan, I loved the look of salvaged window frames that I found on Pinterest. I found the perfect window at Tin Barn Market, a really cute shop in Merrickville, ON.  I printed out the seating plan and traced over it on the window using white Sharpie markers (water soluble, not oil). At first I was using clear tape to stick the paper to the underside of the window, but I had to do some emergency tweaking the night before the wedding and I discovered (duh) that I could just literally put the window on top of the paper and trace over it without using tape!


When I found a really cool piece of driftwood at my family’s cottage a few summer’s ago, I knew I could make something unique with it. Our wedding gave me the perfect excuse to figure out what exactly! I bought tealights and glass holders from Ikea, measured the diameter of the glass holder and bought a forstner drill bit from Lee Valley (I actually bought the wrong size at first, which is why I am now banned from measuring things).  My husband drilled holes into the wood where I wanted the candles to go, and we hot glued the glass holders on… you could also drill deeper so that the glass just sits in the recess. We paired the driftwood with photos of both of our parents and sisters from their respective weddings.


One traditional wedding item that I never planned on getting was a cake topper. I just didn’t think it was for me, and everything else about our wedding was not really all that traditional (for example, I opted not to wear a veil… and DIY’d a fascinator instead). But then I made the mistake of doing an Etsy search for a cake topper and I found this adorable pair:


How CUTE?? I guess they were more steampunk than “rustic elegant” but I had to have them. Maybe it was all the Daft Punk I was listening to at the time… or maybe they reminded me of a Get Up Kids album cover, a band my husband and I both liked when we were dating.  They were one of the few things that I really splurged on and spent more than I reasonably should have. But je ne regrette rien!

For our gift table, we made a card box out of old wood pallets. We more or less followed a tutorial I found on The best part about a wood pallet project is, it’s FREE! Well, providing you have the necessary tools and hardware lying around anyway. We scored our pallets from the loading dock at my workplace, but I’ve seen them in big stacks at Canadian Tire, Home Depot, and at the Ottawa Trainyards. I also made a bunting banner to go with it. Admittedly, it is large for a card box but now it does double duty in our living room as a storage box (you can see how we made it here).


To put the finishing touches on the hall décor, I used aqua blue glass vases to tie in our wedding colours in various spots. Some of the vases I filled with artificial cherry blossoms, and I used one of the larger vases with a large pillar candle on the mantel, along with my flea market lanterns and Ampersand sign (an Etsy find). For our “guestbook” I wanted to do something unique, so I went with these adorable wooden hearts. We put the hearts in a keepsake box I found at the Third World Bazaar a few years ago, and once they were signed our guests placed them in a mason jar. Finding the mason jars at flea markets was probably the most time consuming thing I undertook for the wedding- I paid anywhere from $2-20 for them depending on how much energy I had for haggling!


(bottom left photo credit My Tran Trung)

All of our decorations really pulled our “rustic yet elegant” theme together… plus it was so fun shopping for everything! Stay tuned for my next wedding post: our flowers and centrepieces!


Note: all photos taken by LilyCreek Photography & Art Studio except where otherwise stated.

*Although easy to wipe off with water at first, when I tried to erase the chalkboard weeks after our wedding the chalk marker wouldn’t come off. So if you want it to be temporary, you may want to avoid the chalk markers and stick with good ol’ chalk. I found this really awesome link on Pinterest that shows how to do a faux hand lettered chalkboard, I’m definitely going to do it that way in the future!