Friday, 24 October 2014

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Basement Blitz - Before & After Teen Boy's Room

 As some of you know, we had a film crew in our house a couple of weeks ago filming a pilot for a TV series (so not a TV show yet but maybe one day!). Since my husband is a director, we were contacted about shooting a pilot and well, let's just say now we have a room in our basement. The show concept would feature the four Toronto champs from last year's Canada's Handyman Challenge that form a "reno dream team". So they decided to blitz a room in our basement and make it into a bedroom for my 17-year old son.  It was two days of madness but lots of fun, and of course, an amazing room at the finish!

One of the challenges this room had was hiding the electrical panel which is in the far corner and is one of the focal points.  So we came up with the idea of housing it behind a dartboard.  All you have to do is push on the frame of the dartboard and it opens up to the electrical panel.  What most people do is place a door here and I really didn't want that, because to me, it adds more attention to the area and everyone knows that the electrical panel is behind it.

Another focal point in the room was the door which is in the middle of an outside wall (above) and leads to the cold room under our front porch.  This door cannot be removed and is right in the middle of the room. Instead of drawing more attention to it by painting it out white, I decided to paint the door and the trim the same colour as the walls - Moonshine by Ben Moore.  The reno dream team then decided to put a guitar holder on it and an old broken skateboard.  I thought this was a great design idea because my son is really into skateboarding and guitar and the guys were able to use one of his broken skateboards.

My favourite thing in the whole space is actually the way you enter ... through a barn door!!   I've always wanted a barn door/loft door in my house so this was a great opportunity to try one.  Instead of going with a standard door, they decided to make me one and added their own touches.  I just love it!!!  This is a great way to make a space just a little different than the ordinary.  You can also see the door from the other part of the basement so it adds some visual interest at the end of the hall.

One other cool space they created was the desk area which is on the opposite side of the room. They used two existing shelves that my dad made for me about 30 years ago, and then cut an old door and fit it to go between the two bookshelves.  They also mounted one on the wall and placed the TV on it with some crazy lights behind it.  I love this idea.   In a society where we just throw everything out and start over, it was great to utilize what we had and re-purpose an old door.

So this is what the top floor of my house looked like during the filming...about $60,000.00 worth of cameras.

This is what the basement looked like before the carpenters arrived and I've also included a pic of what it looked like during the madness.  (I like pretty pictures so before pics are always hard for me to show but I realize people need perspective.)

Here's a pic of his upstairs bedroom before the move to the basement. (It was never usually this tidy!)

Bedding:  Ikea & Homesense
Pillows:  PC, Homesense & Ikea
Chair, Side Table & Lamp: Ikea     

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Teen Room - Painted Furniture & Cheap Decorating

So it's been quite a while since I updated you on my daughter's teen room (like a couple of months).  If you haven't been following along, you can see where I started from here and the progress here.  I painted 1 1/2 walls black (which was custom but very close to Ben Moore Black Iron 2120-20) and the rest of the 2 1/2 walls white ( Ben Moore Soothing Mist OR483) so it's quite dramatic. 

 I finally got around to painting the furniture as well, which I'm absolutely loving. Keep in mind that all these painted pieces of furniture were purchased at garage sales, auctions or found.  The dresser we found at an auction about 20 years ago, and it's been white and green and now black.  The book shelf we found at a yard sale (before pic is below) and I painted the outside black and the inside white.  Then I found this amazing Kate Spade double-sided gift wrap at Chapters.  It's got gold polka dots on one side and black and white stripes on the other.  Beautiful!!  So beautiful, in fact, that I decided to line the back of the bookshelf with the black and white and then frame a swatch of each.  Talk about cheap decorating.  I had these frames I wasn't using, so I was able to just take the pictures out and leave the back on and glue the wrapping paper to it. 


Since this book shelf is long and narrow,  I decided to attach the paper with the stripes going horizontal instead of vertical.   I absolutely love the black and white stripes against the dramatic black wall.   Oh ya, I also decided to tie a feather boa around the boring lamp shade to add some drama.   

Here's one more update - I also got some big, over-sized fur cushions from Pier1 Imports and a couple of chevron cushions at Fabricland ($10 for just the cover).  If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that these chevron cushions keep moving to other rooms.  Not sure if they're going to stay in this room or not.

So there's your update!  

I just want to remind you that decorating does not have to be expensive, and painting a piece of furniture can really bring new life to a space.  You can check out some other furniture I've painted around my house here.

Have a great day!!!

Monday, 6 October 2014

My Backyard Garden Before and After

 I actually can't believe just how far this space has come.  We've been in this house for just over five years, and it takes a good three years for a garden to get established and to truly look like a garden. I'm sure you've heard this before, but it's worth repeating: the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps.  

Gardening is one of my passions.  I think more because I like things to look good and that extends to the outside.  When we first moved to this house, there were no plants in our backyard or our front yard.  The other challenge was that the space is quite small.  Most people think that because they have a small yard they need fewer plants, but the opposite is actually true.   The more height, width and dimension you can give to your garden (or any small space), the more you will trick the eye by giving the illusion of more space.  This is why I decided to do rows of shrubs and perennials. I chose to layer my garden with Emerald cedars and Morning Glory lining the back fence, separated by Rose of Sharon and in front of that I placed Hydrangeas and then Peonies.  I separated my Peonies with Sedum and in front of them I have Salvia and Asters.   I then placed Boxwoods in front of them and separate the Boxwoods with annuals.  The Boxwoods and Emerald Cedars provide winter interest and the other plants bloom at different times of the year so there is visual interest
 throughout the year.

The pic above is when the perennial Blue Salvia was out and the photo below was taken later when the Sedum is starting to colour and the Fall Asters are out.  The perennial Blue Salvia is one of my favourite flowers.  You may have noticed that I love blue/purple in my garden and unlike most perennials, this plant has a long bloom time.  It blooms for at least a month.

So here's the before pic of my backyard.  Actually, these Emerald Cedars I put in the ground the day after we moved, so picture it with no cedars and no bunny.  See, it's not a big space but by putting a lot of shrubs and plants in rows, I visually doubled the size of my backyard.

I like to add some whimsy and quirky elements to every garden, so I placed old shutters that I got at a garage sale against the fence for the Morning Glory to climb.  Morning Glory is a great  filler if you are waiting on other perennial vines to get established.   You can just throw the seed down and they will come up.  They also self-seed so they will come up the next year.

Here's a close up of a Rose of Sharon (above) and perennial Blue Salvia (below).  To see some close ups of my Peonies when they were in bloom, you can go here.

Here's one more close up - Fall Aster.

Hope this gives you some ideas (and hope) if you have a small backyard.  If you want to see a beautiful country garden that I toured this summer, you can check it out here or on my sidebar.

I've had a lot of requests to show the room that was done in our basement a couple of weeks ago, and I'm working on it and should have some pics soon.  I'm also working on some very cool fabric designs which I hope to share soon.  I've been doodling and designing for years so I'm very excited about showing you some of my designs.

One more thing, people keep telling me they are having a hard time commenting and I've tried to sort it out with Blogger but no one seems to know what's wrong.   I know you can comment if you have a Google page, but for some reason I'm having a hard time publishing it.    I've also had people say they can't follow me by e-mail, but I think this has been fixed so you might want to try again.  If you have a g-mail account you can just click to follow. 
Sorry about this.  
I'm not good with tech - can you tell?  It's actually quite amazing that I even have a blog.  

 Thanks for all your love and support!!