Third Bedroom Plans: Neutral Nursery

I’m super pumped to share our plans for the third bedroom, and to announce our most exciting project yet: parenthood! Baby H will be joining us in February 2016, and I’m eager to continue the transformation of what was formerly known as the “forest” room.

forest wallpaper in the guest room- before
Ahh khaki green wallpaper and carpet, how I don’t miss you in my life…

carpet after…here is the blank slate from which we start

I’ve been inspired by spaces with a neutral palette and different textural elements, with some African animal motifs thrown in. I love this look for a nursery because it’s gender neutral and classic. If I’m being completely honest I’m not crazy about the plethora of brightly coloured kiddie stuff out there, and I’ll be spending a lot of time in here too. I also read somewhere that high contrast is good for a baby’s development… perhaps I should have lead with that.

design sponge nursery
Design Sponge

huffpo neutral nursery
Huffington Post

project nursery black and white nursery
Project Nursery

Finn Room

Using the photos above for inspiration, and a few shopping trips to Ikea, I made a style board on Polyvore using their Create tool (side note: I’ve prepared style boards before and this was by far the quickest and easiest method I’ve tried!). We chose the paint for this room when we first moved in with the intention of one day putting the nursery here, so we’re not changing the walls from the off-white they are now; although we might do some kind of feature wall with a painted pattern or stencil. Ditto the flooring, which is now a lovely oatmeal-y berber carpet that I would fully take a nap on. These are not necessarily the pieces I’ll be using, I just wanted to give the general idea of where I’m heading with this. But if you want to know sources for anything pictured, leave a comment and I will hook you up!

Modern neutral nursery

This room will also feature some fun projects… we are looking to save money wherever we can right now so you know that I will be browsing Kijiji and DIY-ing my little heart out. If you follow me on Instagram @dear_diy or read this post, you’ll have seen the zebra head that I copied from Anthropologie, which saved us $100.

collage

I’m so happy with how he turned out! I’m still looking for a name for him. Right now my top contender is Giraffe, because I kept getting confused and saying I was making a giraffe instead of a zebra (baby brain anyone?). I’ve also scored this awesome little dresser on Kijiji that will be doing double duty as a change table.

change table dresser

Yeah, that’s my garage, it’s currently under quarantine since I don’t want to take chances with bed bugs. You know what they say, fool me once…

Looking forward to making this a cozy space for both baby and us! Are you loving the neutral nursery trend like I am?

-C

One Room Challenge: Week 3

Stuff is happening in the kitchen! I’m a little behind on the One Room Challenge schedule- week 1 was supposed to be the plan, week 2 was supposed to be progress, etc. But I had my certification exam for work right around the time I decided to be a linking participant so that kind of delayed me. I’m happy to report that I am now a Certified Cytometrist, so my weeknights and weekends are no longer taken up by studying!

Deciding to participate in the ORC has really made me take a hard look at our kitchen. We are planning a full renovation in a few years time, so when we moved into the house our goal for the kitchen was to make it bearable until then. Painting the cabinets white and updating the hardware made a huge difference, but there’s no getting around the non-standard height and overall aesthetic of the angled design. I’m still not sure if I will be able to do the Ardex overlay on the counters… I think it will look really great and make a huge difference, but not having a kitchen for the few days it will take to do it is a big deal. Looking at pictures like this from Little Green Notebook make me think it would be worth it though!

LGN Ardex counters

I’m hesitating because I don’t want to do something just for the sake of having a great “After” shot, and I need to decide if it’s really necessary as a stop-gap until we renovate it. Participating in the ORC has given me a great kick to get started on a project that I have been putting off for months, but it’s also made me a little self conscious about other people looking at my house, and I feel a bit of pressure to make it look as good as possible. We have a ton of stuff on our to-do list over the next few months, like installing carpet in the bedrooms, starting our bathroom reno, and working on the basement, so I have to think carefully about the cost:benefit of refinishing the counter tops before I dive in!

Apart from all this introspection, we have actually gotten some work done. The holes have been patched, including a rather tricky one in the bulkhead above the sink. I also got the ceiling, trim, and 3/4 of the walls painted since my last post, and it’s looking great! I had a last minute change of heart with the wall colour and took it back to HD to get adjusted, and I’m glad I did. Truth be told I wish it was darker still but this was as dark as I could get it without buying a new can. Here’s a sample kitchen from Behr painted with the colour I chose, Pale Celery.

kitchen pale celery

We also ordered in our floor tiles, and I think they are going to make a HUGE difference. Like I said, down the line we will plan a major kitchen reno, so for now we just want a more attractive alternative to the beige and rust linoleum. Peel and stick tiles fit this bill nicely and the ones we ordered are pictured below.

ceramica coastal grey vinyl tile

They are TrafficMaster Ceramica in Coastal Grey and can be used with or without grout. Now that the walls are mostly painted, I’m starting to visualize how it will look and I’m pretty excited to have it come together! If you missed out, check out my Week 1 post to see what our kitchen used to look like, and my Week 2 post for the general plan. You can also follow along in real-time(ish) for my Instagram updates @cathyatdeardiy. Be sure to check out the other week 3 posts too.

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I won’t be posting next week because I’ll be in Mexico with some of my favourite ladies. So I’ll catch up with you on Week 5!

-C

One Room Challenge: Week 2

As I mentioned in my last post, I am a linking participant in Calling it Home’s One Room Challenge, and for my room I chose to focus on our kitchen. You can check out the Week 1 post for the photos of our kitchen from the real estate listing- it has come a long way!

Today I’m going to share some photos of how our kitchen looks now and my plan for the ORC. Our kitchen is not huge and it’s hard to take good photos from all the angles, but here is my best attempt.

The view from the dining room:

Kitchen makeover before

Kitchen makeover before

Kitchen makeover before

Kitchen makeover before

And the view from the hallway on the opposite side:

Kitchen makeover before

Kitchen makeover before

Because I am a list-lover, here is the breakdown of my plan:

  1. What I’m definitely doing:
    – Painting the trim, ceiling, and walls
    – Changing out the light fixture
    – Pulling up that awful lino and putting down peel-and-stick tile
    – Hanging a curtain
    – Fixing the cabinet doors that don’t close properly
    – Organizing our sink with a soap dispenser and a holder for cleaning supplies
  2. What I might do, time/patience permitting:
    – Paint my fridge?!?! (Sadly, replacing it is not an option- ditto the old-school portable dishwasher)
    – Use Ardex to turn the faux-bois counters into faux-concrete counters (you didn’t think that was real butcher block, did you? Noooo, my friend)
  3. What I would love to do but am having a hard time convincing my husband probably won’t:
    – Replace the sink
    – Replace the faucet (complicated by the fact that it is super old and it will be hard to retro-fit without having a hole somewhere- one of the cold taps is hooked up to the softened water and the other isn’t. #hardwaterprobs #ruralprobs)

Note that #2) and #3) are interchangeable. Also, I am buggering off to Mexico in the middle of this so that might throw a margarita-drenched curveball at my plan!

You can also check out my Pinterest board to get a more visual representation of what I’m scheming:
Follow Cathy @ Dear DIY’s board One Room Challenge: My Kitchen on Pinterest.

Be sure to check out all the other Week 2 posts from ORC participants, as well as the featured designers!

ORC-LP-Blue-250x183

Chat to you in a week,

-C

One Room Challenge: Tackling the Kitchen

I’ve always wanted to participate in a blog linking party, and the One Room Challenge sounds like a great way to a) get to know some other bloggers and b) give myself the kick in the pants I need to finish our kitchen. Since we moved in, we have painted the cabinets, removed the scalloped border above the sink, replaced one of the light fixtures, and installed new hardware; but it is still far from done.

kitchen during 2

The ORC challenge involves sharing progress of your room each week, from the planning stages to the failures, modifications, and (we hope) eventual triumphs. I’ll be posting each Thursday with my progress on our kitchen, so be sure to check back to see how I’m doing, and also check out some of the other linking participants!

ORC-LP-Blue-250x183

I’ll be sharing more photos of what the kitchen looks like now in my next post- I’m in the middle of studying for a certification exam for work and I don’t have time to drag out my Nikon to do it justice.

To tide you over until then, here are the pictures of our kitchen from before we moved in:

kitchen 2 kitchen 1

I’m looking forward to getting this off my list and can’t wait to see how it looks in 6 weeks time!

-C

My Winter To-Do List

Christmas is in 5 sleeps and I have 2 more work days until 1.5 weeks vacation! I am really looking forward to some time off, and time spent with family. I’ve had some health problems lately that have caused a lot of emotional and physical stress so I am totally due for a break! Looking around the house, there is a ton of stuff that hasn’t been getting done, mostly due to the aforementioned health problems. When I feel crappy, all I want to do is camp on our new sofa and watch Gilmore Girls (thanks Netflix!).

jess rory

Stop being so dreamy, Jess.

I’ve been baking like crazy too… it’s like therapy for me. Cookies, brownies, gingerbread, shortbread, chocolate bark, cakes, cupcakes… it’s been out of control. My husband was actually complaining that I’m baking too much. The other night I was in the kitchen and he actually said “Are you done baking yet?!” and it wasn’t because he wanted to eat the cookies.

baking
Recipes: Espresso brownies | Candy cane chocolate bark | Rum cake

But it’s time to pull myself out of the funk I’ve been in and get back to work. As much as I still love our house, I am starting to realize why people buy brand new houses that need zero work; it kind of sucks living in a house full of half-started renovations! I was chatting to my mother-in-law and she said something that I’ve been thinking about. I had mentioned how we hadn’t put any pictures up in the house because it’s just another thing to dust, and we are generating a lot of dust while we work on various things. She laughed and said but then you’ll start the kitchen… and then the basement… and then something else. She’s right- I’m tired of living in limbo. Our basement is full of half-unpacked boxes that get opened when we need something (and can remember which box it went in…). We have pretty much only unpacked the essentials, like our furniture, kitchen stuff, and clothes. Realistically, it’s going to be 3-5 years before the big stuff like the bathroom, kitchen, and basement are tackled. I don’t want to wait that long to hang up the reclaimed wood picture frames we got as a wedding present from my family in South Africa!

gallery wall vignette with reclaimed wood picture frames

Reclaimed wood frame gallery wall

You know we are currently working on our plans for the bathroom– we’ve been to showrooms and have pretty much decided on the type of vanity and tub we want, we just need to commit to one and get it home so we can start knocking walls down. A lot of this will get done by my husband and maybe a friend or two if he does some arm-twisting. I’ll probably be helping more with the tiling, painting, and finishing touches than sledgehammer wielding and pipe installing, so here’s what I’m going to aim to get done this winter:

  1. Third bedroom: finish sanding and patching the holes left from the wallpaper removal, paint the walls and trim, and rip up the carpet.
  2. Kitchen: patch the walls, paint trim and walls.
  3. Guest bedroom: hem the curtains, put some pictures up and get it “guest ready” so we stop using it exclusively as a laundry storage room.
  4. Living room: touch up some of the paint, figure out window treatments, organize the front closet with a shoe rack, install the wall-mount for the TV above the fireplace, work on my shame shelf (I need to hang up the mail organizer that is still leaning against the wall… my shame has multiplied), and figure out what to do with this piece of furniture that came with the house.media playerWe can’t seem to find the right spot for it. It’s an audio cabinet that has a record player and radio player with built-in speakers. I wanted to turn the front wood panels into doors somehow with shelving for extra crockery and maybe a liquor cabinet?? But maybe we should just sell it on Kijiji.
  5. Master bedroom: finish hanging curtains, find a chair for the corner for the cat to sleep on as an accent piece.

Aaaand if I get all of that done, I’m definitely going to deserve the trip to Florida that I am still working on convincing my husband we should take! Are you suffering from winter hibernation yet? Want to motivate me to get started at all? Leave a comment below!

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