“Neutral Nursery” Progress

Today I’m sharing how the nursery is coming along. If you want a reminder of where we started, check out this post for some seriously old school wallpaper and this post for my plans.

So far we have all the furniture and the window treatments figured out, which were slapped together from a couple of old panels we had kept from our very first apartment. I was super impressed at my ingenuity of adding the black panel to the bottom of the beige ones and when I showed off my accomplishment to my husband he said “But they were already curtains anyway, right? All you did was stitch them together and change the length?” Huh. Next time he can sew. Slight segway: I will never NOT buy curtain rods from IKEA. For the price, look, and quality, they hit the sweet spot for me! The sweet spot being a ~$20 price tag, that is. The finials match the dresser knobs nicely too.

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One project that has kept me busy lately is lining the drawers of the change table. This was my first attempt and there was definitely a steep learning curve! I can post more about this if anyone is interested, basically I just used wrapping paper cut to size and Mod Podge to adhere and seal it. Now the insides of the drawers look nice and fresh! I shared this on Instagram a while back, obviously I move closer to real time in social media land than in blogging land, so you might want to check me out there @dear_diy.

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I’m not sure what to do above the change table- a shelf? Artwork? It might be nice to have the wipes and Penaten or something within arms reach so we don’t have to be opening the dresser drawers while trying to restrain a pee machine.

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(Happy to report that I have since removed the price tag from the laundry hamper- for someone with “attention to detail” I sure miss a lot of stuff. Perhaps I should remove that from my resume when I start looking for a job again?)

I really like the idea of a shelf/storage/hook combo unit like this one from Finding Silver Linings.

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So far the only ones I’ve found run about $50-60 at HomeSense. They also tend to have more of a “rustic” look which doesn’t really jive with the mostly modern look I have going on. I think I have hit upon a solution, I just need to convince my husband that we really do need more storage (when does anyone ever NOT need more storage?!).

Stay tuned, I’m hoping to wrap this room up in the next few weeks just in case Baby H decides to make an early appearance!

-C

Front Entrance Shelf Styling

First things first, hope you like my new theme- I was getting tired of the cutesy pink bunting banner. Time for a more modern and streamlined layout! I’m still tweaking things so let me know if anything strange happens. Ok now for the actual topic of today’s post:

Hooray! I have a shame shelf no more. Do you remember what our front entrance shelf used to look like?

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Womp womp. Pretty sad, right? It’s been on my list of things to improve around the house for a while and I’m really happy with how it looks now, after unpacking our (many) books and adding in a few decor pieces- most of them functional! A while back, I shared my Winter To-Do List, and it’s helped motivate me through more than a few slumps where all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with my cat and Season 5 of Gilmore Girls. I’ve managed to tick a lot of things off, like finishing the paint in our third bedroom. So I rewarded myself with a little retail therapy courtesy of Home Sense, and now it looks like this!

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My inspiration for styling the shelf came from good ol’ Pinterest, where I found this from Up to Date Interiors:

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You can check out Kathy’s post for her great tips, which I loosely followed. Basically, start off with groupings of books and then add in whatever objects (or “tchotchkes” for the Lorelai Gilmores of the world) you want! What makes this look for me is grouping the books by similar colour, and also using a variety of finishes/colours on the items on display- gold, silver, black, white. I opted to stick with black and various finishes of silver and brass since I haven’t quite hopped on the gold bandwagon yet.

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I love the little wooden men with the hearts- they came from my mom’s last visit to South Africa. The lantern and the silver picture frames all came from HS, along with the wood/brass boxes. The black collage frame was one my husband made for me a few years ago. I just noticed all the photos feature either a canoe, a lake, or my cottage- can you tell I’m missing summer?!

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As great as it looks, it’s still super-functional. The cubby on the bottom shelf holds our gift cards, receipts, Canadian Tire money, spare change… anything that usually collects here! Al and I each have a spot to put our phones and keys, as well as stuff like receipts and other paper that hasn’t made it to the filing cabinet. I’m still on the lookout for a couple more things to finish it up, like a big metal “H” and maybe a terrarium??

But for now, I’m calling this one a mission accomplished!

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Coffee Table Revamp

Yesterday I saw a post on Tin Barn Market‘s Facebook page about a coffee table that was redone in Annie Sloan’s French Linen Chalk Paint, which got me thinking about my own coffee table makeover. I did this about 2 years ago and I guess I knew that one day I would have a DIY blog, because I documented the process. And who doesn’t love a good Before and After story?

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Ick, I hated those vertical slats. This table was taking up a lot of room in our apartment without offering any kind of storage space, and the yellowish finish was not really my style. I was inspired to fix it up instead of scrapping it by this picture of a stained wood top coffee table that I found from The Feminist Mystique:

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You often hear people complaining that they don’t like their furniture and can’t afford to replace it- but a little bit of elbow grease goes a long way! This coffee table came from my sister and brother-in-law when they moved to Thunder Bay for school, and it totally didn’t match any of our stuff. But it was free a good size, so we picked up some stain, some paint, and a piece of wood to fit a shelf on the bottom and Bob was our uncle! Actually Bob is our friend, but that is neither here nor there.

This was one of the first pieces of furniture (maybe the first piece of furniture?) that I ever attempted to refinish, and the main thing I learned was that it takes time, patience, and sanding. A lot of sanding.

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Haha, neighbors! You thought you were going to have a quiet evening? Noooo.

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After I sanded the snot out of the top, I applied Minwax stain in Special Walnut (couldn’t find Regular Ass Walnut anywhere).

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Once the top was stained, we did a few coats of polyurethane and removed it from the frame after it dried. Then we disassembled the frame and went to town bashing the slats out, so we could install a shelf on the bottom.

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My husband made the shelf out of a pine board that we purchased from Home Depot, and attached it to the frame with screws.

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I painted the frame with white paint- in retrospect we should have used melamine but the guy at Home Depot talked us out of it for some reason. Not the biggest of deals but it probably would have been glossier and had a nicer finish if we’d ignored him and used melamine anyway. After a few coats of paint, we attached the stained top, and voila! The finishing touch was finding storage boxes that fit our board game collection, which made a huge difference in our living room.

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I was really happy with how it turned out, it was a huge improvement in both appearance and functionality. We use our coffee table all the time- way more than we use our kitchen table or dining room table! Most often you can find us eating here.

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Ikea Råskog Craft Cart

I am trying to get creative with storage in our apartment, since we have been running out of space lately. Ever since we got engaged and got married, and acquired grown-up things… but we somehow still have most of the stuff we had when we were students. Except for the things we lost in the Great Bedbug Episode of 2011, but that is a whole other story.

Anyway, I have amassed quite the collection of crafting/sewing supplies that I used to keep in a cupboard in our kitchen (as much as I complain about the lack of space in our apartment, our kitchen is pretty big). Whenever I wanted to work on something, I would schlep all my fabric, buttons, thread, hot glue etc into the living room and take over the coffee table. Then when we actually wanted to use the space (like for example when we binge watched seasons 1-3 of Downton Abbey) it was a pain to clear it all away. Solution: craft cart!

When I saw this cute little kitchen cart at Ikea I thought I was the only bright spark who ever thought of using it for craft supplies… then I searched for “Raskog craft cart” on Pinterest. Oh well, at least I knew it was a good idea!

And so I give you my new craft supply storage solution. Props to my awesome husband who figured out the right way to attach the various nuts and bolts, when I was convinced they had just made the bolts 1/4 inch too short.

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The top shelf has some small tin pots for scissors, pens, hot glue gun, etc and my sewing kit. The middle shelf is for my current project, which will eventually be a baby mobile, now that I know how to make one. The bottom shelf has all my thread and other craft supplies stored in recycled pipette tip boxes (hooray for working in a laboratory!).

How about you? Do you have a Råskog cart or other nifty storage idea/life hack?
-C

 

Coffee Table Storage Baskets

Ok so this is a lame non-post but LOOK WHAT I FOUND! I have been looking for some nice baskets for our coffee table ever since we refinished it and added the storage shelf. Our board games and magazines were all over the place. It was really hard to find a storage basket that would fit on the shelf and would also fit a Monopoly box!

Last year when we finished the table, I found these ones from Pottery Barn but they were really expensive. So every time I went to HomeSense I would browse their baskets, measure them and sigh disappointedly as I once again left empty handed.

Luckily I didn’t give up hope… because today, I found them! For a paltry $17! And even my skeptical husband, who has an embargo on throw pillows and anything decorative, admitted that they were a “significant improvement.” I’m calling that a win!

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