31 January 2012

Inspiration Gallery #14 | Chalet Chic

Last night I drove my kid to and from volleyball practice in what most people (who aren't Canadians*) might call a small blizzard.  By the time we arrived home, there was six inches of snow in my driveway waiting for my attention.  Joy.  But out there shoveling in the stillness, with nothing but my own breathing in my ears and the scraping of the shovel and the snowflakes taking their leisurely time drifting to the ground for company, I took a moment to appreciate all the loveliness of winter.  Gawd I love the snow, even sometimes** when I'm knee-deep shoveling it.

While I just enjoy the peacefulness of the season, Daryn gets all misty and nostalgic for skiing.  For the love of skiing.  It's been more than a while since he hit the hills with any kind of ferocity, but this kind of weather ~ all this fresh powder! ~ makes him wistful and starry-eyed about strapping two toothpicks to his feet and throwing himself off a mountain.  I don't share his love of skiing (reference my description in the previous sentence for the gist of my personal feelings on the matter) but I DO have a healthy respect for après ski.  I looooove après ski, especially in beautifully designed, beautifully decorated ski chalets.  So in celebration of the season and of the new snowfall, this Inspiration Gallery is dedicated to all things chalet chic.  Enjoy the tour!

It's the roaring fireplace that plucks my heartstrings. That, and those funky little stools with the deer legs. This traditional chalet living room just screams "hot toddy" and "woolen socks". All over, love.
via here
The view is spectacular through those windows, but it's the spare furnishings, apex ceiling and natural references that make this room work, and work beautifully.  I could happily not-ski here for weeks at a time!
image by Peter Bennetts, via here
How much do those exposed wooden beams, that fireplace and those linens call to me? Like 9-1-1.
via here
Mid-century modern isn't a flavour I usually associate with ski chalets, but the string-backed chairs and curvilinear coffee table allow the spectacular view take centre stage, while the boxy couches compliment the windows. The fur throws are just the icing on a sweet, sweet cake.
image by Francois Halard, via here
It's not your traditional ski chalet but it definitely works. The clean lines, sleek furnishings and neutral colour palette are restful and comforting, while the pops of colour in the dining chairs and artwork add life to the quiet space.
image by Peter Sellar, via here
The stone fireplace and beamed ceiling are du rigeur for a chalet, but the bold, deep grey on the walls and iron accents give it more character than a traditional chalet. White furniture keeps it crisp while pops of red add additional warmth.
via here
More of a lodge than a chalet, and definitely a villa rather than a single-family home, this venue still offers everything you might want in ski-vacation-decor: low-slung, comfortable furniture, moody lighting, furs and fine appointments, and windows that go on forever.  I {heart}.
from here, via here
Last but certainly not least, this uber-modern chalet is uber-stylish. Black shelving, drapery and accessories add drama, natural wood walls and ceiling keep the room grounded in nature, and the orange couches? Well, THEY are the showstoppers. The cardboard "taxidermy" above the fireplace is the perfect touch of levity to ensure this glamorous room doesn't take itself too seriously. Now I just have to figure out how to get there ASAP ...
via here

* I also consider this to be a blizzard, though I don't intend to denounce my citizenship any time soon.  Many subscribe to the "great white north" version of our national identity; I do not.  I love snow, but mostly from the comfort of my toasty warm house, and I'm not ashamed to admit it: I have no pride around this issue that I'm aware of.  I get cold in temperatures above zero degrees, I don't drink Labatt's beer and I am sort of afraid of beavers!  I AM CANADIAN!!
** "Sometimes" might be an overstatement. "Once or twice" is probably more accurate.

  

30 January 2012

BlogPodium: The Rundown!


Apologies for not posting on Friday, peeps.  I fully intended to come home from BlogPodium and the Interior Design Show, distill the day into a witty and informative posting, add the best of my photos and post it up to the web before nightfall.  I knew, however, when I fell asleep on the train home before I hit the first stop on my run that I might be in trouble; I barely made it to 8pm before I was down for the count!  So you know what they say: "best laid plans" ....

I wasn't sure what to expect of BlogPodium and even though I was super-excited to attend (which, if you follow my Twitter feed, you'll know I'm not exaggerating when I say "super") I was also incredibly nervous.  The prospect of being in the same room with such an accomplished group of women and men was intimidating.  How was my little blog going to fit in?  Would I be laughed right out of the room?

My anxieties couldn't have been further from my actual experience: BlogPodium was awesome.  The panel, dubbed the "media mavens," was witty, engaging, thoughtful, hilarious and most of all, incredibly generous with their experience and expertise.  Conversation was lively and ranged widely over and around the core topic (blogs + media), and I took away pages and pages of notes.  What stood out after a few days of mulling it over were these key messages:

  1. Create a "brand": Take a strong view within your blog, with an original voice.
      
  2. Develop brand consistency: Stay on point and remain true to your message.
      
  3. Be authentic: Post original material that is personal to you, and showcase your own work. Show yourself!
The course of the discussion made me a little uncomfortable: I've never consciously considered what my brand might be, so I'm not even sure I have one.  And if I'm not even sure I have a brand, how do I ensure my posts remain consistent with it?  Who am I within the context of the blogosphere, and how do I make my presence original, distinctive and personal?

Ah, I don't know.  Yet.  But I am going to spend the next few weeks figuring some things out, which means you may see some changes come about in the next little while within the blogs layout and in the content.  I'll keep you abreast of any radical shifts and as always, feedback is more than welcome: it's appreciated!

A few more take-aways from the symposium that I'll also keep in mind:

  • Edit, edit, edit! Spelling and grammatical errors do not a successful blog make, nor does overly-verbose writing. These are elements that are simple to correct, and as I struggle with all three to varying degrees (especially the wordiness!), I'll definitely be working on them.
      
  • (Net)Work it, baby! Collaborate with other bloggers to build your own. Add blogs to your blog roll, trade sponsorship and target guests post (either guest on another blog or have someone be a guest on yours). Along with other blogs that appeal to your personal interests, be sure to network with blogs/bloggers that align with the content of yours. Chances are if folks enjoy a blog that's similar to yours, they'll enjoy yours as well. Like prospers with like.
      
  • Develop mad photography skillz! Taking excellent photos is key to keeping existing readers, attracting new ones and, if that's your eventual goal, getting yourself noticed by traditional media outlets. Get yourself a camera and learn to use it well; post original and creative photos, preferably showcasing your own work, to your blog and to other media outlets like Pinterest. And always, always watermark your pics.
      
  • Credit, credit, credit! I am always diligent about citing my source for any photo I use in my postings that isn't mine, but I am not diligent at all around tracking down the original source if I happen to use one that's already been re-purposed on another site. It's never my intent to cheat someone out of the credit they deserve, and going forward I'm committed to making a more concentrated effort to get to ground zero on the artists whose work I'm borrowing and ensure they receive proper recognition.
I'm so grateful for the opportunity to attend and Money Pit Love will only benefit from having been there.  It was also amazing to meet so many great people, and put real faces to online friends.  I definitely made some love matches among the participants ~ you know who you are! ~ and I'm excited to see what's in store (and reconnect with new friends!) at the next event in May.

Thank you to the creative geniuses behind the BlogPodium series: Lindsay Stephenson of Aubrey + Lindsay's Little House Blog, Jennifer Flores of Rambling Renovators and Shannon Fitzpatrick of Hoopla Event Design & Styling.  Your inaugural event was an amazing success, and I'm looking forward to being a part of the community that you're building.  Congratulations!

Tune in tomorrow for Inspiration Gallery #14, and on Wednesday for the photo rundown of my favourite elements of IDS12.  Ciao for now!

  

26 January 2012

'Mirror, Mirror On The Wall' ... The Little One's Mirror Is Finally Finished!

Well, almost: the spray painting is done.  But since I haven't quite decided exactly how I'm going to embellish it, I thought I'd just go ahead and post the big reveal anyway!  I'm impatient like that.

We started with a $50 mirror that I bought off Craigslist ages ago (more than a year), which was always intended for A's room but that's been collecting dust in the basement since I could never find the time to get painting.  Being cooped up for weeks at a time does wonders for your motivation, though, and since I was pretty sure I would absolutely lose my sh!t if I didn't do something - anything - during my incarceration convalescence, out came the spray cans and (after a day or two) the face mask, and I got down to business!

Here's the pretty sad before:


Ugly, no?  It had some damage to it as well, most notably in the corners where the fluted edges were clearly exposed to a little bit of abuse.


Minimal damage aside, I was really attracted to the wavy shape of the frame and the size was fantastic.  At three feet by three-and-a-half feet, it's a real statement piece.  I was fairly confident that with a couple of coats of paint, it would be perfect in A's room.

I started by taping up the mirror.  I tried a couple of different methods, but the one that worked best was to loop the tape around my right wrist and use the same hand to dole out and steady the tape while using my left to align it to the edge of the mirror and smooth it down.  Like so:


Want to marvel again at how ugly it was in its original incarnation?  Let's take a moment ....


Ugh.  OK, that's enough.  Moving on!

I realize now that the first coat of spray paint was pretty thick, but in fairness my judgement was more than slightly compromised on account of the fumes.  Even with just one coat, though, I knew it was going to be a successful experiment.  Just look at how much better it looks after only the first application!


Fast forward several days, several cans of spray paint, one face mask and many hours of being more than a little bit high as the paint fumes wafted through the house in the air vents (major drawback to spray painting indoors!), and here's the finished product: what an amazing after!


I don't really know what's up with that weird grid pattern showing up in the mirror itself: I'm thinking it's a reflection of the camera flash in the bevel, but maybe it's ghosts?  Really, super-straight-laced and nerdy ghosts?  Ghosts of painter's tape or rulers, maybe ... who knows?  But moving beyond the weird lines, are you CHECKING how beautiful that baby is???  Bee. Yoo. Tee. Full.

There are some areas that could be improved upon, places where I obviously applied the paint a little too thickly and it dried in a sort of crinkly, crackled way.  Like this:


It's not ideal, but I actually don't mind the effect.  At least, not enough to sand it down and spray it again; I have my limits.  And since the mirror had tons of funny little grooves and swirls in the frame that the paint didn't entirely penetrate (you can see one at the top of the photo, just at the edge of the frame and slightly to the right of center), the patchy parts just look like additional texture.  The intent of that texture can totally be overlooked (ie. there wasn't any) ... at least it can in my opinion!

The question still remains around what I'll end up doing around the perimeter of the mirror:


I feel like it needs something glittery or sparkly to take it from "interesting" to "spectacular," but I haven't landed yet on what exactly I'd like to use.  I'm sure I'll stumble on it eventually but until then I'm going to hang it "as is" in her room, so we can get used to the look and feel of it.  Overall, I'm super-pleased with how it's turned out: I will definitely use spray-painting as my method of choice for future quickfire presto-change-o's ... I'll just make sure I set up shop outside next time, versus in.

Want to take one more look?  Oh, OK ... twist my arm:


Awwwwww, yeah baby!!!  Love it, love it, love it.  More pics to come once it's properly installed in her room!

On another, completely unrelated note, I'm so excited to report that I will be attending BlogPodium on Friday!!!!  I am incredibly lucky in that I was on the wait list for several weeks before a spot opened, and you better believe I snapped it up like that.  I feel very privileged to be attending; just being in the same room with other bloggers of the caliber of both the conveners and those attending would be enough for anyone.  To have an opportunity to mingle with them, interact with them and benefit from their wealth of knowledge and experience is really unbelievable.  I promise to write down everything they say, and will of course take a ridiculous number of photos to share with you next week!  Now the only question remains ... what will I wear????


  

25 January 2012

'May The Best House Win' ... Is It YOUR House??

Today might be your lucky day, peeps!  The good folks over at Proper Television (the masterminds behind such hits as 'Canada's Worst Handyman,' 'Come Dine With Me Canada,' and 'Junk Raiders,' among many others) have opened up a casting call for a new HGTV program/competition called


Earlier this week I was contacted by a PT rep, inquiring as to whether I or any Money Pit Love readers might be interested in such a venture.  So what say you, folks?  Are in interested in being first in line for a new HGTV program?  Does your house have what it takes to be a grand prize winner?  Here are the deets:

May the Best House Win is on the hunt for house-proud home owners in Toronto's various neighbourhoods.  The show is looking for home owners who believe their home is a one-of-a-kind, brag-worthy, downright perfect showpiece.  And a perfect home deserves to be shown off.  May the Best House Win is the ultimate Open House experience - giving participants a chance to brag about their living space and a vie for $1000.

Each home owner will host a home tour for three guests.  The guests will get a chance to tour the home, secretly give their opinions, and rate the home out of 10,  hoping that at the end of the experience, it’s their home that comes out on top -
 May the Best House Win.


May the Best House Win 
consists of 13 episodes; 52 house-proud home owners will be selected to participate in the ultimate open house experience.  
The audition process if well underway. Filming will begin as early as March.


Selected participants will be required to be available for 4 consecutive days to complete the filming of the episode.  
Each participant will receive an honorarium for their time and the ultimate winner will receive the prize of $1000.


All interested home owners should contact
 besthouse@propertelevision.com or 416.598.2500 x297 for details.


Click here for the official website.

So if your home is beautiful, unique and/or special (and I know many of them are!) and you reside within the city of Toronto, why not throw your hat in the ring?  Show off your design and decorating talents, and maybe win a cool grand in the process.  I'd love to hear if you decide to apply so let me know, and good luck!!

PS - I wasn't paid or perked by Proper Television in any way for this promo. I just thought you might be interested, and wanted to pass it along!



  

23 January 2012

The Monday Report

I'm addicted to Pinterest. There, I've said it.  I joined up last week (was it just last week???) and since then have been staring and sorting and pinning beautiful images 'til my eyes are ready to drop out of my head.  How did I live without this before?  And WHY?

Regardless of how late I am to the pinny-party, I'm there now!  If you haven't already, pop over and check me out.

In other news, I've been working on some little projects in between dying of the black plague.  I decided late last week that A's mirror had been sitting in the basement collecting dust long enough, and hauled out my can of spray paint to have a go.  Important lessons were learned:
  1. My ability to estimate spray paint requirements for a project is vastly under-developed. I fully expected that one can of paint would be enough for a 3' x 3.5' mirror, and I was W.R.O.N.G. Working on my second can now, and may go back for a third. Time will tell.
      
  2. Face masks are really, honestly, truly, indisputably necessary. I gassed myself nearly to death on day #1, spraying away with abandon with an uncovered face. Stupid. I figured I should stop when I was thisclose to passing out and nearly fell down (not super-great for someone already having enough difficulty breathing this week!) and spent the night tossing and turning with nightmares that my lungs were white inside and a little shellacked.
      
  3. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience to get just the right coverage and finish.  On the second day I was pretty frustrated, in that I expected to apply one or two coats and ta-da! It'd be ready to hang. I'm on coat four and I still see some shadows under the paint. The coverage is good, but it needs more before I'll be satisfied, so I'm having to keep my impatience in check.
I'm also working on the fabulous new mailbox I found at Rona over the weekend: perfect shape, perfect size, perfect weight.  Just not the perfect colour.  It's currently a very utilitarian stainless steel but our preference is for black, so it's downstairs in the pit with a first coat of black Tremclad as well.  I think, though, that I forgot to shake the can before I sprayed (can I blame it on the cold medication?) because it's a little thick and sticky.  I think I'm going to have to sand the first coat lightly to get rid of the bumps before applying a second but again, lesson learned!  By the end of these projects I'm going to be a spray painting pro!!

No pics yet that I can share with you of either project, since I want them to be before-and-after surprises, so I'll leave you with a totally random picture of this gorgeous bathroom, for no reason other than it made me happy to look at it.  'Til tomorrow!

via here

  

20 January 2012

NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Or: How all my kitchen dreams came crashing down (for now) when I picked up the mail today

I picked up the mail today and in it was a big fat manila envelope from my favourite fabric folks, Tonic Living.  Yay!  I mentioned on Wednesday that I had ordered a swatch of the quite-possibly-absolutely-perfect fabric that I was thinking of using for the roman blind kitchen and as the jumping-off point for the whole rest of the scheme, and it was finally here (and I say "finally" in that sort of exaggerated/exasperated/excited way, but full disclosure: it was actually a really quick turnaround.  Like, super-quick. It just seemed like forever because I was super excited and therefore impatient).  I didn't even wait until I was fully inside the house before I ripped it open and there it was in all its glory.

Except its glory is BROWN.  Not grey, like I thought it was and as it appeared on my computer monitor.  No, not grey at all.  Brown.  Brown, brown, brown!!!  And, it goes without saying, all wrong for the kitchen.

Say it with me now: NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

True story, just look at it:


Now look a little closer:


OK, it's probably still looking a little grey but trust me, it's all-out brown, peeps.  I'm so sad.  It's definitely a gorgeous fabric and I stand by my claim that it would make a gor-gee-ous roman blind, but it would be someone else's kitchen, not mine.  Despite my absolute confidence that this is THE fabric, it's actually not. *sigh*

So it's back to the drawing board for me, and if you happen to stumble across a sort of modern-floral print that combines grey, red, yellow, orange and/or deep purple, give me a holler.  I'll take all the sourcing help I can get.

In other news, I'll be spending my weekend reading one of the five new books I picked up at Recycled Reading in Milton; it's an awesome little shop chock-full of pre-loved books of every vintage and variety.  Today's haul includes some literature, both Canadian (which I'm a huge fan of) and otherwise, and some slasher thriller novels (which together with dill pickle chips are my guiltiest pleasure).  I'd like to say I'm cracking the Can-Lit first but I'd be lying: the murder mystery is first on the docket!

Have a great weekend!

19 January 2012

Time to VOTE: Which Exterior Pendant Should We Choose?

It was quite some time ago that I blogged about a funny little thing our house did while we were away on vacation in Cuba.  We had barely started burning in the hot Varadero sun when the house registered her feelings on the matter: she up and threw the porch light onto the ground, smashing it into a million pieces.  The in-laws, naturally, were a bit surprised, especially since it dropped like a sack of potatoes in the middle of the night, and made a sound like a gunshot when it hit the concrete porch.  I can just imagine!  It must have scared the pants off them.

Anyhoo, with all the Christmas shopping and holiday planning and whatever, I didn't really give a new light much thought.  I mean, I thought about it, especially every time we've ordered pizza and I would fret and worry they wouldn't be able to find us, and what if they didn't get here within 40 minutes but wouldn't honor the guarantee because our house number wasn't properly lit??  But the pizza made it to us every time without incident so it didn't really feel all that urgent to replace it right away.  Besides which, there wasn't much that jumped out at me when I leisurely passed through the lighting aisles at Home Depot and Rona and Lowe's while shopping for other home- and holiday-related items so I knew it was going to be a more detailed search that would require some actual time and attention, which I didn't have so much of over Christmas.

Third week of January, though, and I'm thinking it's pretty much time to get on this horse.  So today I dragged my "sick" child (remember when you could be suffering from the bubonic plague and still have the energy to run around and make blanket forts and colour and chase the dog around the house and just generally spin in circles and drive your half-dead mother insane?) out into what essentially amounted to a small blizzard and together, with steeped tea in hand, we spread our germs around the local boutique lighting store while narrowing our field of options to four front-runners.

So basically, this is an opinion poll.  Our four finalists (and since I'm going with a bit of a beauty pageant theme, let's call them Britain, Japan, United States and Denmark) are very different and I like them all almost equally for very different reasons between them.  Daryn's not much for the ad nauseum discussion about pendant lights ~ he's more about "Does it hang from the ceiling? Great. Does it light up? Super. Discussion over." ~ so it's up to you.  Which do you like best, and which would you choose for our house?  Here's what you're working with:


Not great, but it will get better, I assure you.  And yes, that's totally a gratuitous shot of my beautiful, gorgeous, magnificent, amazing magnolia tree (just starting its spring bloom last year): drink it in.  But I digress.

A little closer, this is where the light hangs:


So keeping in mind that yes, the mailbox and currently-whited-out house numbers will soon be replaced (with something that looks sort of like this and this)



Which would you say is the best fit for the house?  Which of these four will you vote for?


Again, here's the house and the lighting options together:


So what do you think?  Weigh in with your vote in the 'comments' section below!

18 January 2012

DIY Corkboard

Don't get excited: I haven't actually made it yet.  When I do I'll caption the post title as "DIY Corkboard Reveal," but you know ... I had to get you hooked somehow :)

Truthfully, though, we're having a wee bit of a debate and maybe you want to weigh in?  The latest item up for discussion right now is ~ you guessed it ~ a DIY corkboard for the office.  Specifically, we can't one hundred per cent agree on
  • whether or not we need a corkboard at all, and
  • if we do, whether this fabric is the perfect fabric to cover the cork portion
Chevron Remix, Bermuda through Tonic Living

The space we're aiming to fill is this one:


The plan is to re-purpose a vintage picture frame (I've spent days scouring Craigslist but so far no luck); we're aiming for one that's 16x20 or 20x24, and preferably one that's a little frilly and ornate to create some cool kind of tension with the modern fabric.  I'll paint the frame white (of course), wrap the cork board insert in a little batting and then the fabric and, if I'm feeling adventurous, maybe add a little piping around the edge of the frame/board in probably the red colour, just to make it look a little more "finished".

We're at sixes and sevens with the plan, though.  Daryn likes the fabric quite a lot (he's got a thing for geometric designs and since I insist on populating the entire house in huge, lurid flowers, he takes his favourite patterns whenever he can get them) but worries that once we start tacking paper and whatnot up against it, it'll ruin the overall look and feel, and just look messy.

I, on the other hand, am worried that the chevron pattern will be much too busy, and will compete with the other pieces of artwork on the wall.  The colours are absolutely perfect, and blend beautifully with everything else; we actually couldn't ask for a better fit, colour-wise.  I'm just concerned that if a piece of fabric that's approximately 6x8 looks this strong on the wall already:


will it be way too much on a 20x24 corkboard?  We would almost need some papers tacked up there to break up the pattern, no?  I don't know.  My gut says go for it but it took us eight years to get the office to its current state of nirvana ... we don't want to ruin it now that it's so good!

So what are your thoughts?  Will this look great, or gaudy?  Opinions welcome!

Bloggy post script - Yesterday I ordered me a swatch of that fabulous new fabric I mentioned in Friday's post, which hopefully will be here soon.  Once it arrives, I'll post an update about how beautiful/amazing/perfect it is (because it will be) and then it's a trip to the paint store for me to pick the perfect purple!

  

17 January 2012

Look Out, World: I've Embraced Social Media!

I've been sidelined for the past few days with a super-wicked (awful, horrible, miserable, rotten) cold.  I won't bore you with all the phlegmy details but I've gone through an entire box of Kleenex, 40 mugs of tea and haven't slept since last Thursday.  I feel like I'm on death's door, but you can draw your own conclusions.

I'm at the stage now where I'm still too sick to do anything much but am so BORED of being stuck on the couch.  You know that feeling?  I'm going a little bit stir-crazy!


I spent the day online but without anything creative to write about, I decided to quietly get serious about this whole social media thing.  Sure, I've got the blog and I have a personal Facebook page, too, but it's not enough!  I've recognized for a while now that I need to build up my online presence so today, without anything new or interesting to report, I decided to focus on the fundamentals:


Money Pit Love is now on Twitter and Facebook!

Yup, that's right!  I've embraced social media and I'm too excited to have finally entered the 21st century :)  I'm also following some fabulous folks via Twitter, and "Like" some great sites via FB, and it's just a matter of time before I'm all over Pinterest like a dirty shirt (I'll let you know when). What's more, I feel pretty good about getting active and building my web presence one tweet/like at a time!

So if you've got a moment, pop on over to Facebook (Money Pit Love) and Twitter (@moneypitlove ~ or you can follow me via the button on the left nav bar) and check me out!


As for my health stats, I'm hoping to kick this cold to the curb sooner rather than later and get back to busting out all over the house.  I was loving the blistering pace I set last week and can't wait to haul out the tools and get to work on some other projects that need my attention.  Stand by for a critical question about the office in tomorrow's post!


  

16 January 2012

Thank You & Welcome!


Thank you to Tonic Living for featuring our dining room curtain reveal on their Facebook page ... we appreciate it!  And if you're joining us from Tonic Living, a warm welcome to you!!


  

13 January 2012

The Great Kitchen Cabinet Debate Has Begun ...

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on our curtain reveal!!  We couldn't be more pleased with them and yes, Daryn has very much come around.  At first it was a bit of a shock to both our senses.  We've been living without drapes for, like, nine months, so going from blank wall/window to something so vibrant and all look-at-me! took some getting used to.  I loved them right from the start so I adjusted in about a minute (actually, it was overnight, but same diff) while hubby took a smidge longer.  Having been up for nearly a week, though, he's one thousand per cent on board.  He actually really likes them (score one for me!!)  He's a slow-to-warm-up kind of guy but once he's there, he's so there.  And he is so there.

Now you'd think that being flush with the success of the curtains would convince my better half of the innate wisdom of my ways but sadly, not so.  That's just not how it works in our house :)  My Doubting Thomas doesn't, as he puts it, have the "vision", and his patience for discussing decorating issues ad nauseum has its limits too, even when I'm trying to illustrate an idea for him.  Especially when I'm trying to illustrate an idea for him, come to think of it, which is probably because I have a tendency to flog an idea like the proverbial horse.  Meh, I'm enthusiastic ... so sue me! ;)

Which brings us to our current debate.  Since I've been doing so much work around the house this week and last, finishing up not only a whole bunch of little projects that have been niggling at me for weeks and months (or in some cases, years) as well as a few spur-of-the-moment big tasks, I've also been yammering on and on about the house non-stop (fun for hubby ... NOT!).  I'm obsessing about every little thing: a nick I accidentally put in the office shelves about a nano-second after we got them mounted (grrrrrr); how much water do the new plants need and how often (now? how about now?); and whether or not to replace the lamp shade on a resurrected vintage lamp, to name just a few.

But never one to remain single-minded and keep myself on track (hello, ADD?  It's April calling...), I'm finding my thoughts straying more and more to bigger projects that I'm chomping at the bit to take on.  The biggest of them is tackling the kitchen cupboards: I'm itching to paint them.  Right now they're a lovely 1970's mid-stained oak (I think?) that have a distinctly orange hue (and by "lovely" I mean dated and tired and sort of sad).  They need a refresh something awful and painting them would be just the ticket, but what colour?  My answer is: purple.  Daryn does not feel the same (read: he's absolutely horrified).

Now before y'all take up the hue and cry on his behalf, let's clarify what colour purple I'm really talking about here.  I'm not talking about this:

Barney via here

because that would be ridiculous.  And also ugly.  And I'm not talking about this, either:

The Phantom via here

because even though it's a much better shade of purple than Barney's and it would also be totally bad-ass to have tone-on-tone skulls on my kitchen cupboards, it's still a little "grape soda" for my liking.  But am I wrong in thinking a rich purple-black like this would look amazing in a kitchen?

Black Tulip via here

Daryn seems to think so ... just the word "purple" is giving him heart palpitations :)  He argues that since we have nothing else in the house even remotely purplish, plum-coloured cabinets will stand out like a sore thumb.  He's also worried about the commitment issue: while paint is just paint, and can be painted over, painting over cupboards is a bit more involved than the usual slap-dash wall jobs.  And finally, purple is not a standard kitchen colour and is more than a little "out there," and Daryn is not an "out there" kind of guy, finding it exceedingly comfortable to be an "in here" sort of thinker when it comes to decorating.  And I agree: all valid points.  Sort of.

I should back up, though, and give you a few more details (just to, you know, justify my sense of urgency to do it right now and to reinforce the rightness of my colour choice :)  This is our ugly little kitchen right now (except that the chalk board has been cleaned up):


Sexy, right?  We've been thinking about painting the cupboards for years (and years and years and years).  We've been living those four huge paint swatches for ages, which I slapped up back when I wanted to choose just-the-right-white in anticipation of painting them some time soon.  That was four years ago.  Since then, we've chosen the perfect white for the uppers (Benjamin Moore's Mountain Peak White, which will also be pulled up to the ceiling and all the trim to give the room some visual height) but haven't gotten any nearer to actually getting those bad boys painted.  It always seemed like too much money to have them sprayed professionally (at least, when push came to shove we always chose to allocate our funds elsewhere) and doing it myself appeared to be well beyond my time, energy and abilities.  But not being peskily employed for the time being, I have lots of time during the day to fill up with projects and I'm game to try!!

Here are the deets:

The floor we've got covered: having purchased so much tile over the years for other projects that either changed direction mid-flight or never took off at all, we've basically got Crazy April's Tile Emporium in our basement.  We have more than enough (we think) to redo the floor ~ it'll be a medium-grey porcelain tile designed to look sort of like limestone ~ and even if we need an extra few square feet, it would be easy enough to order.  The counters have to stay "as is" for the time being but eventually I'd like to install white Caesarstone for a clean, simple look.  Lighting is as simple as a trip to Rona for a more modern track lighting fixture, and I'm pretty easy when it comes to hardware.  I'm going to shift the cupboard handles from the middle of the door to the bottom, opposite the hinge so they look like normal doors.  Simple, modern handles with clean lines and in polished chrome will balance out the dated pie-crust cupboard doors.  So the only element that remains in debate (aside from the wall colour, which will be determined once we settle the cabinet issue) is what colour to paint the lower cupboards.  I vote for deep, dark purple, and Daryn wants anything but.

The purple will stand alone in the house but I'm thinking we have so much white married to so many colours that one more will hardly be an issue.  I also happen to think that all colours "go" with all other colours (just look into a field of wildflowers to support my theory) so as long as we choose a colour with a red base, the tones will coordinate well.  And it should also be noted that while the kitchen can be seen from the (white, red and orange/brown) living room, it really stands alone as its own room.  Of all the common spaces in our home, the kitchen is the most contained and can handle a distinction in palette.

We also have this to consider:

photo via Tonic Living on Facebook

See that fabric on the far left?  That beautiful grey one with the purple/magenta dahlia?  Yeah, it's entirely possible that this is THE perfect fabric for the roman blind in the kitchen ~ soft yet punchy, delicate yet graphic and most of all, the perfect purple-black!  I might be in love (just waiting for it to show up online so I can order a sample and confirm my feelings), and how can something that I'm assuming is so right be wrong?  Take a look at some shots I'm using for inspiration:

via here
via here
via here

via here
via here

I know, right?!  OK, so tell me: what do you think?  Would you be so bold in your own kitchen, or am I better served to paint everything white and just use a bold colour on the wall?  Is this an inspired idea, or just a crazy one?

12 January 2012

Dining Room Curtain Reveal ... Finally!!

I mentioned on Monday that we had purchased a curtain rod, brackets and some rings during our impromptu IKEA excursion on the weekend, and while I'm sure you've guessed by now what we used them for, I'm so excited to make the big reveal!!!  But first, let's go back to beginning of the curtain saga for a quick recap ...

Do you remember way-back-when, when I was obsessed with finding just the right fabric for our dining room?  I cleared out
Designer Fabric Outlet for their samples and laid out oh, say, a hundred of them on our dining room table to live with for a few days.  It looked more or less exactly like this





Try though we might, however, none of them really felt right.  And then I did a little surfing and through a post written by Jennifer at Rambling Renovators, I was turned on to Tonic Living.  Their website was awesome, and I must have ordered a thousand or so swatches, all of which ALSO littered our dining room for days while we tried to make a decision.  I found my favourite straight away: a beautiful teal fabric with a magnolia branch and blossom pattern that made my heart stop in my chest.  What would look better against our window that frames our magnolia tree, than a magnolia fabric?  Easy enough for me to decide, but hubby wasn't convinced.  In fact, he hated it.  Couldn't even look at it.  And despite my protests to the contrary and much effort to convince him otherwise, he wouldn't be swayed.

In the meantime, naturally, the universe decided to mock me a little bit.  In that same week I received that month's issue of House Beautiful, and what did I find among the pages?  This.




Not cool, House Beautiful.  Not cool.

It renewed my commitment to win Daryn over to the
dark magnolia side, however, so that night I launched a new attack and wonder of wonders, it worked!  I got the green light!  I'd like to think he came around because the fabric grew on him over time, or because he saw the wisdom of my ways and decided I really did know best.  I'm guessing he agreed just to shut me up, though.  But whatever!  Victory was mine, and I ran with it!!

Several weeks flew by with no news of my curtains.  There were back-orders, delays and shipping issues from the supplier.  But once the fabric actually arrived at TL headquarters (more than two months late), Tonic Living made amazingly quick work of the project and soon enough my drapes were on my doorstep: YAY!!!  And happiness looked a little something like this




Now I won't lie to you: seeing them all packed up so neatly in a big, bright, busy pile renewed not only my love for them, but also Daryn's skepticism.  He had been keeping it fairly well in check during the waiting period but receiving a huge lump of fabric that we couldn't take out of the box (for fear that the kids would ruin them before we could get them hung) didn't do anything to placate his concerns that they would be too loud, too garish, too busy and too turquoise-y (though for the record we have nothing against the colour turquoise, either individually or collectively, that I am aware of).

And now the search was on for a curtain rod and brackets that would both span the 9-foot window and hold the weight of the curtains which, to cover a 9-foot window, is not insubstantial.  We hunted high and low, searching for rings and rods that wouldn't break the bank: we searched in vain.  Home Depot was the priciest and Home Hardware the least expensive, but even so we would have been looking at a $60 price tag at minimum.  Not so bad if they were going to be displayed, but as our dining room has a built-in valance so these bad boys weren't even going to be visible, which made sixty bones seem a bit steep.


I had all but lost hope but in the excitement of the holiday season I didn't give the curtains a second thought, to be honest.  Which brings us to this past weekend, and a spur-of-the-moment trip to IKEA, and a BIG SALE.  We managed to snap up some curtain rings (with clips, since the curtains are simple panels), a rod and three brackets for $25.  Yes, you read that right:



  TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS!!!  

THAT is a price I can live with.  And of course, having purchased the hardware we needed there was no question as to whether we were going to wait until the next day and a reasonable hour to hang those babies.  At 1AM Daryn pulled out the drill and away we went!  We yanked down the old tracks from the ceiling and badda-bing badda-boom, a little zip-zip here and there and we were done.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  And now, our dining room has gone from this ...


to THIS ...


From thiiiiiis ...


to THIIIIIIIS ...


And my favourite view of all?  Looking from the living room sofa straight through the office to this ...


I am seriously in love.