Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Cool Modern Toddler Beds

Do you remember how old your child was when they first climbed out of their crib.  You walk into the room and think, hey, that's not where I left you, I totally put you in your crib.

We were lucky, it only happened a couple of months ago with Jackson so he was over 2 years.  Time to upgrade him to a toddler bed, a twin is going to be too big since he and Sloane will be sharing a room.  I would love to get a fab designer bed.  Here are some of my favourites.

The Natural Toddler Bed made by Highland Woods on Etsy for $500 CAD.
Echo Toddler Bed by Kalon Studios for $475

Classic Toddler Bed by Oeuf for $648

R Toddler Bed by Rafa Kids for 550 Euros

Hiya Toddler Bed by Spot on Square for $499

Monday, 25 March 2013

Finding Modern House Numbers

Last year we painted the front of our house.  Bye-bye bright orange, hello battleship grey.  Now it's time to add some accents to complement the architecture of our home. First up is to get some new House Numbers and a Mailbox.

I don't know what it's like where you live, but mid-century architecture is rare in these parts which makes search for appropriate pieces like a treasure hunt.  Here's the results of my web research.

sausalito house numbers - zincParagon Modern House Numbers

Top Left:  Neutra House Numbers in Aluminum from Design Within Reach $24.00 USD each.

Top Centre:   Sausalito House Numbers in Zinc from Chiasso $14.00 USD. Also available in Espresso

Top Right:  Parragon Modern House Numbers from Atlas Housewares $25.84 USD.  4" Stainless Steel on Black Poly Fibre backing.

Middle Left:  Modern LED House Number by Luxello from Surrounding Modern Lighting & Interiors $57.00 each

Middle Right:  4" Modern Font from Modern Dwell Numbers $21.99 USD each.  Also available in Black and Bronze for $28.99 USD each.

Bottom Row:  All from West On Letters
Left:  3" Ribbon Black Annodized Finish
Centre:  4" Ribbon Condensed Natural Satin Aluminum
Right:  5" Ribbon Deep Natural Satin Aluminum

I knew what I wanted and was I ever surprised to find them at my local  Lowe's for $7.97 CAD each.  They are 5" Black Ribbon Elevated Mount numbers.

The Hillman Group 5-in Black Ribbon Elevated-Mount Number 2The Hillman Group 5-in Black Ribbon Elevated-Mount Number 1The Hillman Group 5-in Black Ribbon Elevated-Mount Number 4

Click here to see how they look on our house.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Choosing A Colour For The Front Door

As many of you know, The Hubs and I have been working really hard on our house over the past year.  One of our biggest accomplishments is the facelift we did on the front of the house.  We love the architectural style, although it is unusual for these parts, but were definitely not in love with the colour scheme.  Here's a referesher of how it looked when we bought it 5 years ago.

We have done a ton of work to the yard, there's actually 4 fewer trees now than in this picture.  The front has been painted, we changed all the hardware, numbers, mailbox etc.  What remains are new light fixtures and a new front door.  Here's how it looks today.
We're probably going to get the same style, flat panel, although there are some fantastic retro designs by Crestview Doors which are out of our price range.  The big question is what colour to paint the door.  Believe it or not, the door is the same colour in both pictures, the purple is not as bad with the grey but we're definitely not going with purple. So, I uploaded the picture to the Benjamin Moore Personal Colour Viewer and tried out some of today's most popular colours. 
Basil Green
Bermuda Grass
Scotch Bonnet
Jet Black
I've got my favourite, and The Hubs has his too (and they're not the same, shocking!), but I'm curious to know what you think.  Let me know which one you like the best. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Awesome Murphy Bed and Desk Combos

When you are a family of four and you live in a small 3 bedroom bungalow (without a basement), it is really important to use the space you have in the most efficient way.

Sloane is going to be bunking with Jackson in the nursery and I'm still surprised how well all their stuff fit in there.  This means we are going to be able to keep the 3rd bedroom as a guest room / hobby room for The Hubs. 

The room needs a double bed (it's what we have already), a desk & chair, and open floor space.  Immediately, I thought a Murphy Bed would be perfect.  They even make them with a desk for when the bed is put away.  How perfect is that?

The shelf and desk top double as the bed supports so you don't even have to clear them off when guests come over.

Desk on the side is a nice idea, functions independently from the bed, but worry it's not big enough.
The most versatile with 3 different configurations.
Of course, these are all super expensive, into the $5000 range.  We're gonna look into DIYing it.  We'll let you know how it turns out, but it might be a while.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

New Company Launch: Ten & Co.

Congratulations to my friend Christen who has officially launched her new company Ten & Co.  Working from her background in business education, interior design, and as the principal of Oatley Interiors, Christen and her partner have created a line of luxurious, modern rustic inspired, home linens.

Here are some pics I stole from her website.

These dishcloths are 100% Cellulose (plant based material), antibacterial and biodegradable.

The napkins and tea towels are either Linen or Poly.

All the products are locally designed and made by hand via a silk screening process.  Bravo!

These linens, and much more, can be purchased directly from the company website.  Happy ordering.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

DIY: Removing Panelling and Wallpaper

Flashbacks anyone?
Remember that wood panelling from the 1970's that was in everyone's basement. Well, we've got some here in our house, but not in the basement. There is one wall in my dining room / kitchen that is covered in the panelling. And it's painted (by the previous owners, I swear), the same colour as the rest of walls, but this one is panelled. So where the other walls are smooth plaster this one has a slight woodgrain texture, vertical grooves, and most noticeably, seams between the panels.

We started renovating the dining room and kitchen last year and have been going back and forth on whether to remove the panelling. The big question is "Why is it there in the first place?" I think someone put it in to be a feature wall in the room and it just got painted over at some point. My husband worries that is was used to mask a horror wall of crumbling plaster. To make matters worse, we knew there was (some) wallpaper behind it, they didn't quite cover it all when putting the panelling up behind the bulkhead / curtain valance.

Before - Painted Panelling

So it could be a gamble, should we just paint it like all the others before us? For me, it's been on the list of Stuff That Has To Go for a long time. I crossed my fingers, hoped for the best, and went to work. This is how I tackled the project.

Here's the tools you will need to remove the panelling:

  • prybar
  • olfa knife
  • hammer

1. Use the olfa knife to cut the caulking where the panelling meets, the baseboard, ceiling or other walls, and the seams if necessary.

2. You may not need to do this, but we had to completely remove the baseboards because they were installed on top of the panelling and we wanted the save them.

3. Gently insert the the prybar behind the panels to remove the little nails. For me they were just around the outside so this was really easy. Don't push too hard or you could damage the walls behind.

4. Remove the sheet and throw it in the bin for the dump.

5. Use the hammer to remove any nails, your prybar may work for this as well, depending on what type you have.

Now it's time to tackle the wallpaper. A friend recommended using diluted fabric softener solution and it worked great on the border in the kitchen so I tried it here. This stuff was much more stubborn. I'm pretty certain this wallpaper is 50 years old. To make matters worse, they overlapped the seams requiring a double application. That's when we discovered the second layer of wallpaper under the first. With every step this job got bigger and bigger.

All the layers on the wall. Left to Right - the original plaster walls (in mauve), 1st layer of wallpaper 1950s?, 2nd layer of wallpaper 1960s?, and the painted panelling. The black squiggly lines are globs of panelling glue just to make it a little more challenging.
Supplies for removing wallpaper

  • paper tiger
  • fabric softener
  • bucket
  • rag
  • sponge
  • putty knife
  • white vinegar

Paper Tiger at work
1. Use the paper tiger to score the wallpaper. This makes lots of little holes for the water and fabric softener to get behind and start working on that glue. I didn't have one, and really didn't want to run out to the store or delay my project, so I used a sewing tracing wheel, because I already had one. It's a little wheel with lots of little points on a handle for tracing patterns from paper onto fabric. It worked great, but took it's toll on the tool, so if you use it for sewing, get a paper tiger.

2. Dilute the fabric softener. I filled the bucket up halfway with warm water and added a capful.

3. Liberally apply the solution to the wallpaper. Do this in manageable sections. You will need to keep the paper wet, if it starts to dry it gets sticky again so don't try to do the whole wall at once. I found removing each vertical piece, seam to seam, worked well.

4. Keep re-applying the solution to keep it very wet. It should start bubble up a little. After 10-15 minutes and 3-4 applications, it time to start removing.

5. If you are lucky, the entire piece will come off in tact. Use the putty knife as needed. We have hard plaster walls and I did not have to worry about the putty knife doing damage. If you have drywall you will have to be much gentler.

Pull off the entire sheet, if you are lucky. I was generally unlucky.
6. After all the wallpaper was off my walls were still covered in adhesive. Get a clean bucket of fabric softener solution and apply to the walls using a similar method as above. Use the putty knife to scrape off the excess glue. The next step is to mix a 2 water to 1 vinegar ratio in a spray bottle. Spray the wall, let it sit, then sponge off with a bucket of warm soapy water. Finally the walls are clean!

Clean plaster wall at last. Patching and painting still to be done.
After all that work we discovered the walls were in great condition!  There are lots of little holes to patch from the panelling nails and other hardware used to hang pictures and shelves. My husband's nightmare did not come true and now the wall will be the same as all the others, not some weird painted panelling.   The answer to why the panelling was there in the first was is "To cover the wallpaper"!  I found in a few places, on both layers of wallpaper, where someone had started removing and, I am assuming, they gave up because it is work and much easier to just go over top.  I know painting the panelling is a common solution for a quick fix, but if you can, remove it and repair the wall, it's something you won't regret.

And to all of you who are wondering, what is up with the green carpet?  We know.  It's on the List too. 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Kijiji Finds: Harvest Tables

Recently I saw a house with a very large kitchen where the back of the house was bumped out to create an eating area with wall to wall windows on 3 sides.  It was big enough for a table that could seat 12 to 14 people, and I thought, what a great place to put a harvest table.

I headed straight for Kijiji expecting to find some old, vintage tables people were looking to sell.  What I found instead was a great local cottage industry.  Turns out there are several companies who make one of a kind tables from reclaimed wood, hand made and designed by local artisans.  They struck me as pieces of usable art.  I especially love the combination of the rustic tables with a clean, modern or contemporary decor.  The contrast creates a wonderful dynamic.


The four pictures above are all from Tree Green Team.  I love them all so much I can't decide which one is my favourite.  Solid tree sized pieces of walnut, maple, and ash are used for these tables.  The character of the wood is preserved by sealing with a clear finish, so what you see is the true colour and graining of the wood, no stains here.  All of these tables showcase a "live edge", meaning the edge of the table is actually the edge of the tree, giving it an organic quality.  Many of the bases are metal trestle type, letting the beauty of the wood top be the feature.  Pairing them with mid century teak and wishbone chairs is brilliant.  Here are the Kijiji links:  Top Left & Right; Bottom Left & Right.

Kijiji: Reclaimed wood harvest tables and more  Kijiji: Reclaimed wood harvest tables and more
These 2 tables are made by AG Designs.  The top of the leg comes right up to the top of the table, you can see the end grain and know it is a solid piece of wood.  This is one of my favourite design details.  The table on the left has not be made totally smooth on the top so the weathering this wood has experienced, as part of an old barn I am guessing, shows through.  It is again paired with clean white minimalist chairs.  Kijiji Link

Kijiji: Live-Edge Walnut Harvest Tables, benches, coffee tables Kijiji: Live-Edge Walnut Harvest Tables, benches, coffee tables
Chaos Tables produces beautiful live edge tables as well.  Here are two examples with an apron and 4 wood leg design.  Kijiji Link

Kijiji: Rustic – Reclaimed – Wormy Maple – Live Edge Harvest table
This table top is made from "wormy maple" by the Great Canadian Table Company.  Kijiji Link

 Which one is your favourite?