September 22, 2015

High or low?

A while ago, my husband and I were discussing what project we would tackle after the basement was done. I told him I would love to revamp the main washroom upstairs, which is the only room on the main floor that has not been touched. His reply was that washrooms cost $10,000 plus and that it would take a while for us to save up enough cash to undergo such an expensive project.
Really? Does he know who he is talking to? Mrs. El-cheapo herself! So I decided to do some calculating of my own for the products that I want.
The last time I shared pictures of my washroom, it looked something like this:

Which is a little better than what we started with:

Since this last update, I have:
-painted that god-awful purple counter top
-replaced the hardware on the vanity
-replaced the light fixture
-added trim to the door frame
-changed the shower curtain to a crisp white one
-added some fresh towels
-painted the mirror a solid white

What is left to do? Well, I would like to do the following:

-install new tile flooring in the form of this lovely hexagonal polished marble mosaic for a cost of approximately 20$/square foot {this would be my splurge but it will make the space}. Total estimated cost: $1,700

-replace the toilet for a more contemporary one {also eco-friendly with dual flush and much easier to clean the exterior without all those ugly pipe grooves showing underneath}. Total estimated cost: $400
-replace the sink with a sleek new drop-in style that has a classic feel to it. Total estimated cost: $100
-replace the sink faucet with new retro-looking faucet with elongated handles which are easier for kids! Total estimated cost: $75
-replace VERY OLD shallow tub with new soaker tub. Total estimated cost: $350 
Tub surround:
-the existing tub surround is in good shape but we would have to remove it to access the plumbing that needs some fixing. This one has a nice tile look to it. Total estimated cost: $450

I want to find an old second-hand dresser and make it into a vanity. There are some examples below to give you an idea. I would spray paint it glossy white using car paint for that extra sheen and protection. Total estimate cost: $100

I would add 10% of my total cost for contingency, which would bring my total estimate to.....
{drum roll please}.... $3,500! A far cry from $10,000!
Can't wait to revamp this space! I don't know why I hadn't considered touching it when we first bought our house and renovated the rest of the main floor... what was I thinking? I guess I thought it was in good condition!

June 21, 2015

My kind of gardening

Unlike my mother, I do not have the greenest of thumbs. I do not wish to plant and care for annuals every spring and summer, and I even want my perennials to be easy to care for. Having said that, I still want my yard and home to look good.

My garden and home preparation this year was done over the course of one weekend. I started by adding some earth to my garden as it had some emptier spots where I had removed unwanted plants last fall.

I then added a lovely and thick layer of red cedar mulch {gosh the smell of cedar is amazing!}. As I had already planted shrubs and hostas last year, I didn't have to do any other planting for my little garden, and other than having to remove a few unwanted stragglers from last year, my garden was pretty much ready.

To add a bit more interest and greenery for curb appeal, I picked up to gorgeous Boston ferns in hanging planters and hung them on opposite sides of my garage door. I also picked up a Boxwood evergreen to plant in an existing and empty planter box beside my front door.

Something I have wanted to do since we bought the house 3 years ago was to remove the brown screen door, and I finally did it! Boy does it look good! I love my painted door even more without that ugly screen door taking away from it.

Finally, I replaced the brass light fixture beside the breezeway door to a nice matte black fixture which looks much better with my dark oil rubbed bronze accessories.

All that is left to do now is touch up the paint on the front door where the screen door left its mark, and either repaint or replace the garage door for a beautiful white finish.

The other day while admiring a home, I was trying to figure out what made their front door stand out and look so beautiful. I realized that they added decorative trim and a substantial header to the door. So that is now part of my wish list to do the same {maybe just a header} for the front door, and maybe even the side door and garage door.

A funny thing: when I hung my beautiful Boston ferns, I realized the house number was now hidden by one of them. I quickly ordered a decal from for my front door that reads our street address.

I love it! I think it adds that perfect personal touch to the front entrance. I also added a bright area rug, which is meant for indoor use but for 11$, if it gets damaged by the weather, I won't cry too much.

The front of our home now looks presentable to me and has just the right amount of curb appeal.

June 6, 2015

Two peas in a pod

My sons absolutely adore each other. 

So much so that in the last 6 months or so, they have been sharing a bed... well it is more like two beds. You see, a while back, my kids had the brilliant idea to move Luca's crib into Nico's room. Jon and I agreed because Nico is a bit of a scardy cat and won't sleep in his bed all night by himself. Well, not only did we move Luca's crib {day bed} into Nico's room, they pushed their bed/crib together and have been sleeping that way since December. They even fight over who gets to sleep in "the crack" between the beds.

More recently, we thought of bringing in a queen bed that is currently unused due to our basement renovations. We started taking apart Luca's crib and he just lost it! He was not ready to part with his crib at all. Even after we explained to him that we were giving his crib to his little cousin Seb to sleep at the cottage, he wanted nothing of it. He even insisted that we put the full side rail back on his crib! Poor kid!

About a week later, I asked him again if he wanted to give his crib to Seb, and this time he said yes. I asked him again to be sure and he agreed. I guess he just needed that warning! So I did not wait one second and we started taking the crib and captain bed apart. A few hours later, we had the queen sized bed installed in the boys' room and they were asleep in it together.

Which takes me to my project… The room is really Nico’s room so has a lot of pictures of him and projects that he made on display. Since the wall above the bed is bare, I decided to create a gallery wall of a combination of Luca and Nico stuff. I started by laying out my selected grouping on the floor until I was satisfied with the look. Starting from the center and working your way outward is definitely the easiest.

The collection includes each of the following for each child: an ultrasound picture, a baby picture, an older picture, a birth announcement, and a piece of artwork {for Luca it is his first drawing in a frame, and Nico is a collection of small canvases he painted}. Everything surrounds an art piece given to Nico by his late great-grand-mother, Maman Estelle, which really ties all the colors together. A few other random pieces I chose because I really like them! For example the "What would Spider Man do?" poster I had DIY-ed for Nico.

Here is the final grouping:

Not too serious but not too casual that it looks disorganized. It makes the space very personal for both kids.

As a headboard, I was going to recover Luca's crib mattress with Nico's old duvet cover. But Nico made a good point: because he has a twin sized quilt and a twin sized duvet, if he EVER gets a bunk bed, he will need both {smart kid} so he didn't want me to cut up his duvet cover.

As an alternative, I chose to buy a curtain rod and simply lay the duvet over the rod. That way, it is still usable in the event that we do get a bunk bed down the line.

Finally, in an effort to provide a bit more display room, I chose to hang two shelves that my dad made for me ions ago above the Nico's dresser. 

I am beginning my hunt for a night stand for the fan and clock, two necessities in my family! I would like to find one in the same wood tone as the shelves to tie the two together. I still need a bed skirt and more than likely a bedspread as the white knit blanket looks a little sad... and finally a few more pillows should complete the look.

Overall , the look achieved makes the room feel "on purpose" as opposed to "in the mean time".

We will see how long it lasts until they can't stand each other... the fighting now is over one wanting to cuddle with the other, and the other not wanting to... eesh!

May 27, 2015

Table centerpieces

My mother-in-law has a gorgeous farmhouse style table that is nice and long. With a narrow and long table often comes the challenge of "what do I use as a centerpiece that won't look out of place". As I also have a long and narrow table {it measures 42" by 90"} that is also in a farmhouse style, I figured I would experiment with different centerpieces and take you along for the ride!

For most of my looks, I feature artificial flowers and a mix of things I have around my home to show how easy it is to pull a few things together to make a more complete look. A rule of thumb is to always make groupings in odd numbers. Three is better than two, and five is better than four, etc.
My first option is what I currently had on my table. A large platter with a vase full of not-so-fresh artificial flowers, a smaller glass jar with a flower and a small apple green lantern. The decorated platter is laid over a long apple green table runner. 

My second option features the same table runner and vase with flowers, but this time with a simple decanter and mason jar.

The third option features three place mats in a row in alternating colors, with hydrangeas in the decanter, green calla lilies {this used to be my wedding bouquet} in a mason jar and a small mercury glass vase.

A fourth look shows-off a basket of flowers in different containers. The basket sits on a simple white dish cloth.

In fifth place, I show a different kind of runner: three round place mats in a row with a simple vase of flowers on the center place mat.

A classic look in sixth place is a tray which holds a blue pitcher, napkin holder with matching napkins, and a small jar with large faux flower.

It is always nice to have a taller item and to have varying heights thereafter, as is shown in option number eight.

Finally a last look features the alternating color place mats, the calla lily vase, the mercury glass vase and an actual real plant!

After playing around with these, I decided to stick to this look:

Hope this inspires you to try some centerpieces of your own.

May 15, 2015

And the winning inspiration board is...

So, I received my fabric swatches for my new business office, and to my surprise, the blue and green inspiration board won!

It turns out the creamy background of the fabric is almost identical to the creamy paint color I have on the walls {and was hoping to keep}, called Avocado Mousse by Sico. 
Gazebo, Cloud

Plus, the bright green matches the curtains I currently have in the space which are brand new! I would rather use what I have and like, than to replace it for no reason.

I have already painted the striped wall to match the rest of the room. Poor Luca was wondering what was happening to his room! But he and Nico have been sharing a room for months now. I have ordered and received the above fabric and have added a section to the bottom of my curtains.

I absolutely love the look and the splash of print and color. But I am not ready to quit my day job to become a seamstress full time!

I ordered enough fabric to cover a bulletin board {either magnetic or cork board} for the wall opposite the window, which is my next project for the space.

I will also be working on DIY artwork using the blues and greys to balance out the amount of green that will be going on in the space. You may remember I had inserted a few inspirations of artwork in my board:

I have already added a slipcover to my computer chair. It is meant for parsons chairs but is stretchy so it works just fine! I ordered it in grey and will add a pillow eventually to add a bit more interest and color.

For storage, I am planning on getting some sort of bookcase from IKEA:
KALLAX Shelving unit IKEA You can use the furniture as a room divider because it looks good from every angle.
Or something like this:
BILLY / OXBERG Bookcase IKEA Adjustable shelves can be arranged according to your needs.
It has to be able to accommodate a printer so I will be keeping that in mind when making my selection. That will fill the wall where the stripes used to be.

I am excited to see the space develop! Hopefully Luca will not decide he wants his room back...