31 March 2011

Our Budding Art Collection

Just under two years ago we received a generous cash gift from a family member and made what was at the time a crazy decision for my husband and I: we used some of the funds to purchase our first piece of original art.  Feeling very much like grown-ups after living for years with reproduction prints and university posters (excluding, of course, the amazing original artwork of young Master J and Miss A) this purchase launched us not only on a love affair with one artist in particular but also on a quest to develop an art collection of our very own.

Our first purchase: "Inanimate Love" by Sarah Joncas

Fast forward to today and our collection is developing slowly but surely.  With the purchase of several more pieces by our favourite artist Sarah, we've recently expanded our repertoire to include work advertised and sold on the artist's hive Etsy.com.

Among other small pieces - an 11x14 palette-knife painting and a small 8x6 portrait painting which will both be amazing new additions to the office - we committed last night to a modern abstract painting for our dining room that is a complete departure from anything we've brought into the house before.  It's bright, it's loud, it's bold and it's huge: 40x40 inches!  It will make a substantial and fantastic statement in our otherwise fairly traditional dining room, and will (I think) create just the right amount of tension between modern and traditional that I'm looking for in the room.  Placing the new addition against the freshly painted, gallery-white walls will just be frosting on the cupcake!

Though hubby has yet to be 100% convinced this is the right move and the right piece, I am totally confident.  How can we go wrong with a piece as spectacular as this?

Relaxed State of Mind
"Relaxed State of Mind" by Erin Ashley

Our current art family:
"Magdalena" by Sarah Joncas
"Loves Me Not" by Sarah Joncas

plus another Sarah Joncas commission that I for some reason can't include a picture of (darned technology!).

We're adding:

"The Flapper" by Carol Schiff
"Friends of P" by Davs
"Hummingbird #1" by dimdi
"Hummingbird #2" also by dimdi

Framed with white matting and either white or bronze frames (I love to plan, but I'm still debating the details), the birds will be a beautiful compliment to the foyer wallpaper, which is already en route from the US!

As our collection grows and develops, so too does my appreciation for all the artistic talent in the world.  It's amazing to me that a person can look at a blank canvas and with nothing but their creativity and a brush or a pencil or a piece of charcoal, create a piece of artwork that is expressive, endearing, beautiful and unique.  It's really an incredible gift and I'm so glad we've been able to tap into the enormous creative talent that lives both locally and abroad to bring a bit of that distinctive style and flair into our own home.
On that note, I will wish you an early Happy Weekend.  J plays the provincial volleyball tournament this weekend (all weekend!) starting Thursday night, so this gym-mum and #1 cheerleader will sign off until next week!

30 March 2011

Living Room - In Process

Design Objective: Casual comfort with modern, mid-century, vintage and exotic influences (so basically, eclectic)
  • Hem curtains
  • Reupholster bench seating
  • Find fabric and sew pillows for bench seating
  • Install (and paint) chair rail
  • Extend curtain rod slightly on the south wall
  • Install and paint a coffered ceiling treatment
  • Do something about those god-awful fans (just not sure what exactly)
  • Move treadmill to the basement rec room
  • Reupholster yellow chair and install them flanking the dresser on south wall
  • Sand and paint window trim
  • Sand and paint door frames & trim
  • Get a plant, a big, tall, deep green one with huge leaves like giant lily pads.  Yup, that'd be nice ...

looking in from the office at the north wall
taken from the back door, looking at the east wall
the view of the south wall from the north corner

29 March 2011

Inspiration Gallery #2 | Mellow Yellow

I don't know whether my most recent obsession has its roots in my craving for springtime and sunshine, but lately I am everywhere noticing - and loving - the color yellow!

How can you go wrong with bright, cheery bursts of lemon, citrus, butter, mustard or golden sunshine?  There is never a wrong way to embrace yellow: i
ncorporate just one or two elements in your room for a zingy, eye-catching display, or wrap yourself in all four walls and just try to get the smile off your face each day.  I will definitely be diving in to the trend this season: those dotted ice cream bowls are calling my name!

Modernist Bowls
ice cream bowls available through West Elm
photo via Mostaza Seed featuring Cow Parsley wallpaper by Cole & Son

photo via Interior Design Trends

Yellow & White Buffalo Plaid Infinity Scarf
photo via Etsy.com: remixedbyjacki

Bananas Oxfords Shoe Size 8 1/2 yellow canvas lace up oxford
photo via Etsy.com: FabulousDresses

Spring 2011 fashion finds - photo via Sensational Color.com

photo via Decor8

28 March 2011

Foyer ~ Before

Design Objective: 1930's traditional/glam
  • Paint interior of front door
  • Add moulding and trim to the transition between foyer and dining room
  • Replace existing chipboard closet doors with mirrored ones
  • Install floor to ceiling boxed shelves and bench storage inside closet
  • Paint inside closet
  • Lay new floor tile
  • Wallpaper walls
  • Paint ceiling and trim work
  • Install new ceiling light fixture
  • Edit our closet contents and donate, donate, donate!  Or throw out.
  • Add artwork and finishing touches

25 March 2011

White Wonderland

Whomever doesn't believe in the transformative power of paint has clearly never experienced the beauty of fresh white paint.

Our dining room and office are in a shambles right now with furniture jammed in the centre of room, and stuff piled on stuff piled on stuff: a few days ago, our painter Shawn applied the primer to our chocolate walls, and you would be amazed at the difference even that first coat made.  Now - five days and five coats later - the effect is amazing.  Where once the room was dark, small and maybe a little dingy, now it is light, bright and fresh.  It's like a deep breath of spring air after a dark winter.

The most wonderful aspect of white paint wasn't revealed to me until today, though.  This was my first opportunity to see our new color in bright daylight from dawn until now.  In the evenings with interior lighting, we already know our white has a deep creamy appearance, almost like pale candlelight.  But who could have imagined that one color - white - could shift from pale blue at dawn to yellowish-green in the morning sunlight, to soft true white just after lunch?  With one color selection, we've ended up with an endlessly shifting palette that brings the outdoors in ... in a word: amazing!

I'm excited to show you pictures of the transformation next week, once we get the furniture back in place and can live comfortably in those two room again.  Until then, I leave you with some photos of beautiful white rooms below and wish you a very happy weekend!

photo via Country Living.com
Pink wall stencils | Living room | Living rooms - best of 2010 | Living room design ideas | PHOTO GALLERY | Housetohome
photo via Living Etc.com
Naturally serene: Cream and white makes a comfy home
photo via Style at Home.com
photo via House of Deva
photo via Design Wonderland
photo via Design Wonderland

24 March 2011

"Office" ~ Before

Design Objective: N/A

I'll let you in on a little secret about why we're not doing much to decorate this space in a traditional sense: THIS will eventually become the other half of our kitchen!  Eventually ... not now.  Likely not even soon.  With a little patience and a lot of careful planning and saving, we hope to demo the wall (ie. "The Great Divide") between the kitchen and office and integrate the two spaces.  For the time being, however, we want to make this room as functional as possible but spend as little money as possible.  Hence: the shortest list you'll find in all the Before section.

  • Paint
  • Move couch and desk to basement rec room
  • Move buffet table (currently in dining room) to office; flank with  book shelves
  • Hang artwork
PS - please excuse the mess in these photos!  They were taken only for posterity, not looks ...

South wall, backing on to bathroom/bedroom wing
North wall (aka: the wall that will eventually come down), backing onto the kitchen

23 March 2011

Dining Room ~ Before

Design Objective: Mid-Century modern with traditional/classic influences and features
  • Repair, sand and spray paint hutches (2) and wall units (2)
  • Line back of wall units with wallpaper
  • Wall paper accent wall (north wall) behind wall units
  • Paint remaining 3 walls
  • Install rope lighting under curtain valance
  • Select fabric and have custom curtains made; hang
  • Replace chairs?  Not sure about this one ....
  • Spray chandelier and tone down the number of crystals.  Maybe.  I'm thinking about it.
  • Add artwork on the painted west wall

View from the dresser (southeast corner)
View from the photo wall
View from the northwest corner
View from the table

Inspiration Gallery #1 | Spring Colors

It's my own fault for not believing the weatherman when he said snow was on the way.  After such a long, grey winter I am ready for spring to arrive (I was delighted to see my first robin on my lawn this past weekend!) and I woke up this morning to snow ... SNOW!  After weeks without, Old Man Winter has struck again.

I'm still holding on to my spring dreams, though, which is why I am loving the juicy bursts of color that are cropping up on creative websites everywhere.  If you're in the mood to start your seasonal planning or are just in the mood to wrap yourself in color, check out these photos below and the links they originate from.  I don't know about you, but I'm ready to
fling into spring!

photo via Etsy.com: Sparkles Kitchen http://www.etsy.com/shop/sparkleskitchen?ref=pr_shop
photo via Etsy.com: Paula Jean's Garden http://www.etsy.com/shop/paulajeansgarden?ref=pr_shop
photo via Etsy.com: Holly Doll Handmade http://www.etsy.com/shop/HollyDoll?ref=pr_shop
photo via Etsy.com: Marmalady http://www.etsy.com/shop/Marmalady?ref=pr_shop

22 March 2011

Basement Bathroom ~ In Process

Design Objective: 1970's disco-inspired shaggin'-wagon realized in a bathroom

Started shortly after the main floor bathroom renovation began (though the space planning happened concurrently), the basement bathroom is also well on its way to completion!
  • Install faucet and sink
  • Select, purchase and install over-the-sink pendant fixture
  • Install shower jams, and shower door
  • Scout and install towel hooks
  • Spray paint fan cover on ceiling
  • Purchase accessories, such as a bathmat, garbage can, artwork, soap dispenser, etc.

21 March 2011

Kitchen ~ Before (#1)

Design Objective: 1950's kitsch + cozy + cool
  • Sand and paint the window trim
  • Sand and paint upper and lower cabinetry
  • Replace hardware
  • Install a backsplash behind the sink, and wall-to-wall along stove wall
  • Level the stove (soooo important)
  • Tile the floor
  • Find the perfect fabric and have a roman blind custom-made
  • Paint walls, including the stairwell to the side door
  • Replace light fixture
  • Install under-cabinet lighting
  • Permanently install dishwasher (versus keeping it portable, which is a hassle)
  • Replace or cover or otherwise find a solution to the countertop problem (the problem being that it's ugly and old)
  • Clean out and reorganize the fridge.  Replace if possible with a more energy-efficient model
  • Reorganize cupboards and storage


A note about the kitchen: down the road, somewhere in the distant future, hubby and I intend to demolish the wall separating office and kitchen to create one huge, expansive and gorgeous kitchen in the centre of the house.  It will be around this kitchen that all activity in our home will centre and to which all design in our home must connect, so our hearts and minds right now are set on a sleek, streamlined space warmed up by lots of wood (hello, American black walnut or teak or similar) and marble, a la:

photo via homeklondike.com
photos via kitchendesignnotes.com
photo via theluxehome.com

Until such time that we have the finances (and collective will) to make such a renovation happen, I'm contenting myself with updating the dark, poky little kitchen we have.  "Tarting" her up, if you will, to make it a more cheerful and relaxing place to be.  So in the meantime, before my sleek and gorgeous kitchen is born, I'm aiming for a relaxed '50's vibe to tide me over until the real work starts.


Back in the Decorating Saddle

It has been an interesting time around our house these past few months, and those interesting times unfortunately have diverted my attention from my fledging blog.  Not any longer!  Recent events have put design back into the forefront of my life and reinvigorated us to tackle our honey-do list.

And WHAT A LIST!  My most annoying habit (if you ask my husband, and/or anyone who knows me even marginally well) is that I love to start projects, but peter out in energy or interest and never finish them.  Coupled with a never-ending task list, I am often frustrated by our lack of progress and by never
really feeling like I accomplish much of anything, despite my many, best and sometimes rather frantic efforts.  Again, not any longer!

Yesterday I sat down with a pen and paper and gave some careful thought to the good, the bad and the ugly-that-has-yet-to-be-dealt-with on our journey to making this house our perfect family home.  The lists, as it turns out, are long and scary. 
Very scary.  But I ask you: what could be more motivating to get stuff done than writing it down for the world to see and making myself truly accountable for crossing each item off?  I say: Nothing, that's what.

So over the next few days you will see a bevy of new posts comprised of my to-do lists, warts and all.  Each post will begin with a "design objective", a short overview of the look and feel I'm targeting for each space which will work equally well keeping my eye on the overall target as it will to give you an idea of the look I'm aiming for.  We'll consider these our "Before" file, and I'll be using these to keep me on track as I jump
back in (with both feet!) to our interior makeover process!  Happy reading!