Spring/Summer To-Do List

This worked so well for the winter that I thought I’d do it again! I love making lists, and the satisfaction I get from crossing stuff off of it motivates me just enough to keep going. Our summer is going to be mostly taken up by digging up and water proofing our foundation, which is pretty much the least exciting thing ever to blog about. So I might be kind of quiet here in the coming weeks, and will mostly be busy digging, moving plants, and making sandwiches for the horde of people helping us.

Here’s what I’m hoping to get done, in between resting my sore back. I reserve the right to add, subtract, or modify at will.

  1. Put the finishing touches on the kitchen. Do you recall from my One Room Challenge reveal post that our flooring didn’t come in on time? It actually came in the day after the ORC deadline. *shakes fist* Just imagine how good this will look with charcoal grey rectangular tiles!One Room Challenge Kitchen Dear DIYWe also need to install the last light fixture and order our new fridge, which we are super stoked about. A new fridge was not in our reno budget this year but my parents offered to foot the bill because they’re awesome (and would like somewhere to put a champagne bottle that dispenses ice when they come over).
  2. Finish our master bedroom. Now that our carpets are installed, our room just needs some pictures on the walls and the closet doors back up. Bonus points if we manage to find a new bed frame- I’m on the lookout for something with straight lines, but we haven’t decided yet if we will buy or DIY.
  3. Hem the curtains in the guest room and set it up for actual guests (not just my cat). No, you’re not experiencing déjà vu, this just never got done on my Winter list. It’s even worse now since we got the carpets installed, because everything had to come out of there and we had to take apart the bed to get it out the door, so that is currently in pieces in the middle of the floor with the mattress leaned up against the wall. Not an ideal sleeping position! I’d actually really like to have some sort of a desk station inside the closet where I can store all my sewing stuff. My mom always had her sewing desk inside a closet and it worked really well, for both organization and hiding the mess when you need to!
    closet sewing station

  4. Bring my style board to life in the living room and install window treatments- yup, this got bumped from the Winter list, too! One of my neighbors “casually” mentioned that she noticed we don’t have curtains up yet- welcome to small town Ontario! I love all the natural light that comes in since tearing down the old curtains but I’d like to put something up that will give us a bit of privacy without compromising the light too much. I really love the look of a natural woven fiber blind with white panels and will probably go that route.
  5. Restain the solid maple dresser I scored off Kijiji last year. My husband has been using a horrible small MDF dresser since I have known him (2007). His boxers and undershirts have to be folded in a specific way to fit inside it and it drives be bananas! I’m going to stain it with leftover Special Walnut stain from my dresser makeover.DSC_1622_
  6. This will probably get bumped off the priority list and might only get done next summer… but I’d love to do something with our sunroom. Right now it’s full of stuff that we moved out of the bedrooms during the carpet installation, but we’ve got our old sectional sofa in there along with a cute little table that I found at the ReStore and it has the potential to be awesome. It would be a great space to enjoy an afternoon nap or a cold drink- I can imagine euchre tournaments and board games happening here with friends.sunroom_bright

The one great thing about having a long list of stuff to do is that I can pick and choose what I want to work on, depending on my mood and productivity level! It really is amazing how much work there is to do around the house- any house, not just ours. I’m grateful that we only have 1100 square feet of space because we already spend so much time just cleaning and maintaining it, let along the time it takes to do all the projects we want to do!

Hope you come along for the ride,

-C

Living Room MCM-Inspired Style Board

Mid-century modern (MCM) style is definitely having a moment right now, and Chairish is curating style boards from bloggers featuring items from their MCM collection. I stumbled on the Chairish site a while back and thought it looked really cool- kind of like a cross between my favourite second-hand shops, Home Sense, and Etsy all in one.

Since I’m thinking of tackling my living room next, I thought I’d put a style board together for what I’d like the room to look like. I built it around a few central pieces: our sofa, a cowhide rug that I’ve been wanting for ages, and a pair of truly awesome blue velvet chairs (that I definitely do not have the budget for, but a girl can dream, right?).

Ikea KIVIK loveseat and chaisecowhide blue velvet armchairs

After that, I looked out for fun accent pieces by pulling colours from the artwork we have in our living room: a photo print by Greg Taylor that my sister bought us, which was taken in the park we got engaged in, and a limited edition print of Tom Thomson’s Silver Birches.

Greg Taylor Photography Bell Park Photograph

Here is how I combined those items for my MCM-inspired living room style board:

layout

The great thing about MCM style is that it lends itself really well to mixing and matching different styles, finishes, textures, and colours, which is something I’ve always done. I remember once in university I was wearing brown shoes with a black belt and one of my friends tentatively asked, “Um, can you do that?” and I responded that clearly I could, because I was!

As you can tell by this layout, I think it’s perfectly OK to mix black, brown, and grey. Here, I mixed black pieces (the floor lamp, chevron pillow, accent rug, and bone box) and a warm medium brown (the cowhide, storage unit, and bar cart/side table) with our grey sofa thrown in the middle. To add in some colour and textural interest, I chose blue velvet arm chairs and colourful throw pillows in different patterns. The teal patchwork pillow is also cowhide; repeating textures is another trick to keep the overall design cohesive.

Here’s another look, this time with a numbered source guide included.

layout_numbered

  1. Chrome lamp / Chairish
  2. Bar cart / Chairish
  3. Sofa / IKEA
  4. Throw pillows / Pier 1 and Etsy
  5. Art work / IKEA
  6. Throw pillow / Pier 1
  7. Floor lamp / Canada Lighting Experts
  8. Entertainment console / Chairish
  9. Rug / IKEA
  10. Bone accent box / Chairish
  11. Brown cowhide rug / Pure Rugs
  12. Blue velvet armchairs / Chairish
  13. Accent pillow / Pier 1

Creating style boards is a great way to plan out your vision for a space, and it was a fun exercise to browse Chairish with an imaginary budget! Their services are not yet available in Canada, but if you’re lucky enough to live close to the border, there are ways around that. Now I have a great starting point and I know what to look out for to complete our living room- if only it was as easy to actually make it a reality!

Note: this post is not sponsored. I’m not affiliated with Chairish or any of the companies featured in this post. Links to sources are current as of the post date, but may no longer be available.

-C

Living Room Progress Pics

Hi there! I’m back after a much-needed break. It was great to relax over Christmas and New Year’s, and then get back into the swing of work for a few weeks. And then I swear I tried to get some posts up, but turns out my domain name expired because someone hacked my credit card and the auto-renew didn’t kick in! Oops. I know it cost one friend a lost argument with her husband, and for that I am very sorry.

Today I thought I’d share some pics of how our living room looks these days. It’s easy to forget how much we’ve actually done when it changes a little bit at a time, so it’s nice to see the comparison with the “before” photos from the real estate listing!

Dining Room Before:

dining room 1

Dining Room Today:

Dining room and papasan chair

Dining room with lantern light fixture

I really love that light fixture. I splurged on it and I’m so glad; the initial anger about how much it cost has been replaced by a warm fuzzy feeling about how awesome it looks. You can read about where I got it here! The chairs were a hand-me-down from my sister and I’ve reupholstered them twice now; the fabric is from fabric.com.

Living Room Before:

living room 1

living room 2

Living Room today:

Living room fireplace and KIVIK sofa

A very realistic portrayal of a typical Saturday in our house (without me in my usual spot on the chaise). I’m surprised the cat didn’t waltz through the shot actually.

Living room entrance shelf

My shame shelf is less shameful these days- putting up the mail organizer really helps cut down on the crap. I still haven’t quite figured out the books/picture frames/knick knacks to display here, but I’m on the look out for some cool looking bookends and maybe another basket or two. Al actually found a neat looking old wire basket in the basement so I might scrub it down and give it a facelift with some spray paint if it fits!

Front entrance organization

We put the mail organizer on the wall inside the front entrance closet so it’s right at hand when we walk in the door.

Closet organization

Not mentioning any names, but one of us has a shoe problem, so we bought a couple of chrome shelves from Canadian Tire to keep the closet organized and get the shoes off the floor.

Salvaged wood frame gallery wall

And here’s what I’m most excited about: we finally put up our salvaged wood picture frame gallery wall! We got these frames as a wedding gift, but there was never room in our apartment for them, so I’ve been waiting for 1.5 years to put them up.

Salvaged wood frame gallery wall

I love them! I’m going to be posting about how to hang a gallery wall soon, so stay tuned.

I’m really happy with everything we’ve done so far in this room. We still have a few things left to do, like mounting the TV above the fireplace and figuring out window treatments. We also need to put the quarter round/shoe molding back on the sideboards now that we’ve officially decided not to sand and refinish the floors (maybe one day, but not now). They are actually in great condition, they’re just a bit on the orange side for my tastes. But you gotta pick your battles, right?

Next up: we’ve finally made some decisions on our bathroom reno and will be placing orders for our vanity, tub, and faucets in the next week or so. Yay!

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Living room furniture decisions

While we procrastinate about finalizing decisions for our bathroom reno, I have been distracting myself with thinking about our living room. You may remember the modular sofa that we made a custom slipcover for– and while it has endured pretty well, it’s still 30+ years old and a bit saggy. It’s also really low to the ground and feels small for the space. I’ve been on the lookout for its replacement for a little while, but I’ve been having a hard time getting my husband to commit to one. I found this gorgeous navy blue sofa at a local interiors store back in the summer, and it was on crazy sale because it was a floor model… but realistically it was still out of our price range, and we weren’t convinced that it was the right colour (thanks to the lovely Krista for modelling).

sofa at MyHome interiors

When we asked around some of our friends and family for furniture store recommendations, we found out that my sister and her husband had scored their gorgeous leather sofa in the as-is section of Leon’s for a few hundred bucks; since hearing that, it has become hard to justify spending a lot of money. Plus we would like to have kids eventually, so we decided to focus more on cheap and durable than a high-quality investment.

A couple of weeks ago I happened to be at our local Ikea helping a friend shop for her nursery (so exciting!) when we spotted the KIVIK sofa and chaise sectional for 25% off in the as-is section. I called my husband to try and and convince him to let me come home with it, but being the rational guy he is, he wanted to take some measurements and do some comparison shopping first (ugh, I know, right?). Thanks this time to Sarah for modelling.

Ikea KIVIK loveseat and chaise
So when I got home we looked at similar models online from other furniture stores, and realized that we could spend upwards of $2000-3000 for a sectional from a store like EQ3, Structube, or Urban Barn… or we could spend under half of that on the KIVIK sectional. We didn’t even need to get the saggy, faded floor model to score a deal, because they were having a BOGO-50% off sale on living room furniture, and it comes as two separate pieces! I know Ikea is not the greatest quality, and the other stores sell Canadian made, hardwood frame sofas which explains their higher costs- but at this stage in our lives, the 10 year warranty that Ikea offers is sufficient and while we save money for our bathroom reno, we need to pick and choose where we invest carefully.

porter sectional EQ3
Porter sectional from EQ3- $2299.00; assembled dimensions 100″w x 66″d x 33″h

Ikea KIVIK loveseat and chaise
KIVIK loveseat and chaise from Ikea- $929 CA (regular price); assembled dimensions 110 1/4″w x
64 1/8″d x 32 5/8″h

I looked up online reviews for the KIVIK like the good little GenY-er that I am, and people seem to be pretty happy with it. The cover can be washed, the cushions can be removed and flipped, and the chaise can go on either side of the loveseat to form the sectional. I also really like the style of it, it’s neither super modern nor traditional. Possibly the best thing I read about it is that it’s a great napping couch. Sold! It’s pretty similar in style to our old sectional, but it’s firmer and not as low to the ground, which had always been my biggest complaint about the old one. We opted for the Tullinge grey-brown colour, which I think will work with a lot of different décor options.

Do you have any as-is furniture steals to brag about, or any feedback about the KIVIK sofa? Ever make your friends model sofas for size perspective? Tell me about it!

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Ch-ch-changes (big and small)

The first few weeks we had the house were spent frantically getting it ready to move in: painting every surface (ceilings, trim, walls, and all the required mudding and caulking) and ripping up the carpet.  Having a hard deadline for when we needed to be out of the apartment really helped us be productive and work towards meeting our goal, and then we were really busy moving and unpacking all the essentials at the house.

I can’t say we have been as efficient since moving in, and I’m trying to be ok with it. I find it really annoying having mess/tools/half finished jobs everywhere I look, and I have a hard time sitting and relaxing when I know there is so much to do, so I tend to burn myself out until I physically can’t do anymore. I’m trying to force myself to just accept that it takes time, and everything I want to accomplish can’t get done right away. We both have full time jobs and not much vacation time, as well as the usual obligations to friends and family that everyone has- and I don’t want to feel like our home is one giant chore, I want to enjoy it! So I’m giving myself permission to relax and take things one step at a time, and if we have friends over and we need to move the sander off the coffee table and drop cloths off the couch before they can sit down, who cares?

Anyway.

I don’t have any of the high-impact big reveals to share, but these are some small things we’ve done that have made a big difference:

  1. Changed out most of the outlets and light switches for new ones; DSC_1651_
  2. Finished painting the bodies of the kitchen cabinets, removed the old scalloped border above the sink (which necessitated a very time consuming patch job), and installed a new light above the sink;kitchen progress(Side note- the cabinet doors don’t close perfectly since painting/re-installing them, and we are still trying to decide on a paint colour as indicated by the paint swatches everywhere, but still, progress!!)
  3. Put up a mostly decorative mailbox (all our mail goes to the local Canada Post, but maybe a kind neighbor will slip a note in there asking us to mow our lawn more often?); DSC_1642_
  4. Bought some new light fixtures for the hall, dining room, and foyer, as well as a floor lamp from HomeSense for our living room;DSC_1588_
  5. Installed most of the doors that we painted white, and upgraded the hinges and hardware;IMG_2625This picture also shows off one of our new light fixtures! What’s that? You want to see what it looked like before we painted, removed the carpet, and replaced the light fixture? OK!
    IMG_2152
  6. AND perhaps most exciting of all, we have finally upgraded to a queen sized bed, and moved our old double into the guest room! We also bought these cool reading lights that we mounted to the guest bed headboard, and hung green curtains that look great with the quilt. So far the cat has pretty much claimed this space, which is great news for our friends with allergies. Guess we’ll just keep some Aerius on the nightstand.

DSC_1600_

DSC_1599_Up next: more painting, more light fixture replacement and installing curtains in our bedroom so no one charges my husband with public indecency. Hooray!

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