I feel so fortunate to have been asked to contribute to a feature in the 4 Mothers blog. One of the '4 mothers' is my dear friend, Beth-Anne Jones who has been nothing but supportive of me as I've taken the leap to start my own business. It fact it was partly due to her encouraging words over a year ago that pushed me to finally make the leap. I feel very lucky to have a friend like her. Check out the feature here!!
So you already know that I have a thing for chair makeovers. It's my secret obsession really, which I guess isn't so secret anymore. My dear friend Sarah, who sadly just moved away with her family to Chicago, is one of my latest chair makeover recipients. She very kindly blogged about her fabulous new chair here. To quickly recap, she had a special family hand-me-down chair whose funky plaid upholstery just wasn't working for her. In a matter of days, the amazing Charlene @thebigstuff.ca transformed her chair into a thing of beauty!
Sarah runs the blog Shine on Mom and has great insight on all things related to parenting in today's world and offers a great online venue for Moms everywhere to connect with each other and share their experiences. You can check out Shine on Mom here or follow on Facebook or Instagram .
If you've read my blog before you'll know how much I love a good chair makeover. It never ceases to amaze me how much better a chair can look with some new fabric or new paint or both! The chair makeover I'm working on for #projectvalleyanna is no different. I just received some progress photos of the dining room chairs and I couldn't wait to share, they are that good!! They will literally transform the space and I can't wait to see them all moved in. Until then, have a look and I'd love to hear what you think.
I've literally been scheming for weeks! Fabric scheming that is!! It's my favourite part of my work, I almost always begin a project by pulling together a strong fabric scheme from which to build out everything else. My love of fabric is deep and I could literally spend hours in my favourite fabric stores touching and feeling each and every option. Fabric is such a tactile experience, it's best experienced in person and not online. My secret horde of fabric in my attic is proof of my slightly concerning obsession with fabric. I'll buy a yard or two of any and all that I fall in love with for some future project that may or may not ever materialize. Some women horde shoes, I horde fabric (ok, well maybe shoes too but that's another story). Fabric scheming speaks to my intense love of pattern and colour and achieving that perfect mix of both in a space. I thought I'd share a few that I've been working on lately!
I'm in the final stages of wrapping up one of my favourite projects so far and thought it was high time to share some pics of what's been going on over at Project Willowbank. This is an older home in Toronto that has great bones but needed a little love. I've been working with the owners on various areas in the home; living room, bedrooms, master bath, etc. Some rooms needed complete gut jobs and others were more of a decorating challenge.
As we're still in the finishing stages I've shared some sneak peaks below, final photos to come in the New Year!
I love a good chair makeover. It always amazes me how with some effort (some more than others) you can literally bring new life to an old, outdated chair. I've done a few of these over the years with varying degrees of DIY and thought I'd do a round up of them here. Hope it provides some inspiration for you, especially this time of year when some extra seating is likely in need. My first chair makeover was this one below. I found these chairs on Craigslist, had to go pick them up in a super sketchy part of town on a dark and stormy night but I persevered and am so glad I did. But that was the end of my effort for these chairs as I handed them over to the very talented, Charlene Gilmour of the Big Stuff and she turned them into the beauties you see now in my living room! My first real DIY chair makeover was this lovely little chair I inherited from my husband's mother. She had inherited it from her mother and I'd always admired the lines. Of course I don't have before photos of it as I wasn't forward thinking enough at the time. But it was a mid brown wood stain with light blue velvet fabric and ivory ribbon trimming it. I painted it and re-stuffed the seat (it had previously been stuffed with horse hair, NOT even kidding). I added one of my favourite graphic fabrics, this is called Cats Cradle and is available at a variety of fabric stores. It's a great addition to various parts of my home depending on my mood. Sometimes it's in my master bedroom, other times it's in the guest room or when needed it I've pulled it into my dining room for an extra dinner guest. My most recent chair makeover was this lovely faux bamboo chair and ottoman that we inherited from my husband's grandmother and have at our family cottage. The seat cushion covers I left to the experts at Tonic Living but I armed myself with 10 cans of blue spray paint and went to town updating the colour from it's original natural bamboo. I am thrilled with how it turned out and is now my most favourite spot in the cottage to curl up with a good book.
I love styling bookshelves. Much to my hubby's dismay, I do it constantly. Like in the middle of a movie or TV show we're watching, inspiration will strike and I have to get up and move things around. It never ceases to amaze him that I feel compelled to do this as often as I do but for better or for worse, right?!?! I spent an afternoon last week at a client's home and she asked me to take a crack at her bookshelves. It was like Christmas came early for me! I was thrilled to get a shot at moving someone else's stuff around and got my styling fix for the day.
I LOVE collecting little 'objects' that will be perfect to add to the never ending styling of my bookshelves. I picked up a few new additions lately and have added them in. Target have some fabulous finds right now in their Threshold gold collection. The wonders of Target never cease to amaze me.
Here's a look at what my bookshelves look like today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring…..
Isn't it sad that I'm already dreaming of summer?! Seriously, it's only November and Winter hasn't even arrived yet and already my mind has turned to my most special place, Kennebunkport, and all the days that await me there this coming summer. If I really had my way I'd be spending a long weekend at the Tides Beach Club on my favourite beach with my hubby in one of the lovely and cheery Jonathan Adler designed rooms. Only 8 more months till Summer! Sigh….
You've no idea how excited I was to come across this blog post by Amy of Commona My House blog. Seriously, I squealed like a little baby and that's saying something for me, I'm not someone who squeals lightly. But this, this deserved it. You see, I have wanted an etagere in my master bedroom for ages. But the $4,000 Jonathan Adler version I covet, is not going to happen any time soon. There are just too many other priorities, like food and shelter. You get the idea.
Which is why this DIY idea is so fabulous. I LOVE making something from nothing and this seems like a pretty straightforward project and gives me the look I'm after at a price I can stomach. It's a $90 shelving unit with $12 worth of spray paint to take it from this:
Into this thing of beauty:
This is SO happening in my workshop this weekend! Will post pics of my finished product as soon as it's complete!
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I don't know about you, but not all the homes I work with have picture perfect windows. In fact many have less than ideal windows in terms of size or architectural elements to work with. But sometimes you have to make lemonade out of lemons so here's a little trick I like to use when you are working with less than ideal window size. And PS, this took me less than 1 hour to make by following simple instructions for making a window valence box. Have a look at this little home office. The window is pretty nondescript. It's not a great size, it doesn't have a beautiful vista to look out of, but with the simple trick of hanging the window treatment considerably higher than the window actually reaches, you trick the eye into thinking the window is much larger than it actually is. And with the explosion of lovely blooms this fabric provides, it distracts from the not so exciting brick wall it looks out.
Don't know about you, but I'm inspired!
I've owned two houses in my lifetime. And I've been lucky enough to renovate the kitchens in both of them. Both of them were horrid, really, when we got them but with some great ideas and a lot of hard work I think they were both drastically improved from how we first came into them. Have a look for yourself…. House #1
Now this one was a much longer process. This home is our 'forever' home and so we took more time to live with this terrible kitchen to be sure we included everything in our reno that we wanted. In fact, we did a 'mini reno' kind of refresh so that we could live with it for over 5 years before we finally ripped it all out. Before starting this reno we consulted with Natalie Hodgins of Sarah Richardson Design to plan the layout and to gut check our thoughts re. layout (no island, peninsula instead), yes even designers hire other designers! This was a big project and we didn't want any regrets. In the end it was all worth it (I say so now a year after the reno has been completed and I've forgotten what it was like to live in the basement for 2 months!)
The bedrooms at the cottage were particularly rewarding to decorate. These were rooms that couldn't be slept in due to the smell of old mouldy furniture and fabric. So to be able to rip everything out and start again with fresh paint, fresh new mattresses and new bedding, etc. was a dream come true! I think the changes were pretty impactful. After we ripped out all the old wallpaper, we had a serious decision to make. The walls were simply particle board walls with seams every 16 inches. I love a board and batten look at a cottage and I was lucky enough to convince my team that it was the way to go. It hid the seams and didn't require us to re-drywall everything, saving lots of time and money. I may have been regretting it after they stuck me with painting each and every last board but it was well worth it in the end!
Every kitchen needs one and I'm not talking about a stove or a fridge or even a coffee machine (but absolutely without a doubt I couldn't be without mine, I am NOT a nice person without coffee) but I am talking about a command central zone. You know, that place where you can drop everything; keys, change, mail, school work, the list goes on. It was critical that I incorporated one into our new kitchen (which we JUST finally finished, well except for the window treatments but more on that later). Honestly, it's the best use of this little unused space in our hallway leading to the kitchen. I gave up a little closet space for it but it was worth every inch. Now there is an organized place for all the clutter and it stops it before it gets into my kitchen, bliss! As with most of my projects, I injected a good amount of DIY into this little nook as well. What is now the magnetic board was a chalkboard I picked up at HomeSense. The frame had just the right amount of whimsy to it and was the colour I wanted. I simply glued aluminum sheeting onto the chalkboard part to make it magnetic, covered the aluminum with this cheery polka-dot fabric and trimmed the edges with some ribbon. Voila, a customized magnetic board pretty enough to fit in with the rest of the decor in my new kitchen. I loved the polka-dot fabric so much that I used it to cover this $50 stool from Target (it was a terrible red chenille covered thing) added some nail head detail and it's now the perfect perch for kiddos doing homework or art projects while keeping them close by.
Needless to say it could be improved. The kitchen, along with a small adjacent bedroom, completely blocked the view to the lake. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the whole point of coming to a cottage? The Lake, the views, the peaceful scenery?? The natural answer was to knock it all down and open it right up so that you could make a meal while not feeling like you've been put in a corner. Nobody puts Mommy in the corner.
Without the centre wall, we can now enjoy the beautiful view that the property offers from all parts of the cottage.
I'm working with my favourite kind of client right now. They are not only fun and easy-going but even better they are adventurous! They aren't afraid of a little pattern and are willing to jump in head first to include interesting elements in the search of a fabulous space! The mosaic tile we've found for their master bath that will run from the vanity to the ceiling is so perfect, it hurts. I don't think I've ever had tile envy before but I sure do now. Check out these beauties….
What's a cottage without a comfy spot to curl up and read a book, take a nap or watch the storm roll over the lake?? It's an essential part of creating a relaxed cottage vibe and ensuring you and your guests have an enticing spot to encourage that relaxed behaviour! Not always an easy feat in today's fast paced world….
This little nook was one of my favourite parts of the cottage. The chair was inherited with the cottage and with a little paint (ok 5 cans of spray paint), some fabulous new fabric (thank you @tonicliving) it's my absolute favourite spot! See old CAN become new again and even better in my opinion!
It's been a very busy year for me! My hubby was lucky enough to come into a family cottage that needed some serious love. This place had heart it just needed a few structural changes, new electrical, new plumbing, new floors, new bathrooms; ok the list goes on and on. But it was a fabulous place it was simply stuck in the last century. It was in desperate need of some serious TLC and a heavy dose of white paint! I truly believe that white paint can make everything better! This project was a decorators dream! A blank canvas, start from scratch kinda job and I was just the girl for the task. I'll post room by room the changes and the many DIY projects I undertook to transform the spaces into what they are now, hope you enjoy!
For some reason I LOVE decorating girls rooms. They seriously have a special place in my heart. Maybe it's because I can channel my inner girly girl and go all out in a way that I couldn't in another space. My daughter's room was no exception. I can honestly say it's one of my favourite rooms in the house. There's nothing like pink and purple and full out, no holds barred girliness that makes my heart flutter! The best part of this room is that I found the bed in my neighbours garbage (along with a matching desk which I've put aside for another project) and fixed it up to be as fabulous as it is now! I really have become that creepy garbage picking lady but it's worth it for a room like this one.
I made the valence to hide a simple roller shade and I love to repeat a pattern in a room which is why when I found this $2.99/yard striped fabric end and could repeat the stripe from the wallpaper I was sold!
This was my first attempt at hanging wallpaper which I did with 2 children underfoot. I plopped them in my daughter's crib (which she had outgrown), the kids thought it was hilarious and surprisingly they played happily while I got on with the wallpapering. It's a small miracle the lines are straight - I was one determined mama that day!
I have young children. Naughty young children. They spend about 75% of their waking hours in the time out corner. I've decided that on occasion I too need a time out, mostly just to get away from them. But rather than the corner I much prefer to retreat to my bedroom sitting area which is my little 'time out' corner. Who knew being naughty could be this good?