Category Archives: Decorating Projects

Going Girly for Anna

Once upon a time Charlie’s room was well decorated and super cute. Since Charlie moved in with Sofia and his old room became Anna’s nursery, the decor has gradually disintegrated into not so super cute. Read: messy, ugly, disorganized, and not at all suited to a baby girl.

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I don’t feel like spending the kind of time, energy, and money I put into Charlie and Sofia’s bedroom makeover, sorry Anna, so I am going for low cost, big impact, DIY projects. Under the reign of Charlie the room was blue and white with yellow-green accents. I haven’t stopped liking those design elements and eventually the bedroom will revert ownership back to Charlie so I don’t want to do anything too permanent.

Between my sewing machine and a bottle of spray paint I am in the progress of girlifying the room for Anna. That is, exchanging the yellow-green accents for hot pink. FYI, I find pink a terrifying colour to work with. It will probably be the most wild room I have created thus far and at this point I am slightly dubious about the results but excited about my list of simple DIY projects. Here is an idea board with bits and pieces of my inspiration. Wish me luck!

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Little Garden in the Big City

My husband and I far too often begrudge the fact that we don’t have a yard. I think in our hearts, though neither of us has ever lived in the country, we are country folk. However, we have chosen to stay in the Great Vancouver Area in order to be close to family rather than follow the dream of moving somewhere where we could own a house and a small acreage.

This summer I decided to stop complaining and make the best out of the little outdoor space we have. The budget for said decision was small and did not include replacing any furniture. I instead focused my budget on creating a little piece of “country life” on my sundeck. A visit to Wigs Nursery and some advice from my lovely neighbor resulted in some DIY hanging baskets which quickly flourished and gave me confidence to expand my little garden. My sundeck now houses a couple decorative plants in addition to mint, basil, tomatoes, and edamame beans. I love that even here in the city my children can walk outside and snack on a home grown tomato.

I happened to have some fabric hanging around the house which looked perfect with my rugs USA rug so I whipped up a couple of cushions to decorate the simple Home Depot chairs. The cats spend 50% of their time lounging on these chair

I happened to have some fabric hanging around the house which looked perfect with my Rugs USA rug so I whipped up a couple of cushions to decorate the simple Home Depot chairs. Though I bought the rug two years ago it only made it onto the sundeck this summer!

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There is some serious mutual adoration between Anna and Papa Price.

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My home made hanging flower basket. Thank goodness for the workers at WIGS who told me which flowers to plant and my neighbor who has taught me everything else!

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A tomato plant for snacking, a mint plant for mojitos, and sunshine for Sheba.

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I would like to say, “here is a picture of Charlie enjoying a nice juicy tomato from our sundeck” but really he is holding the tomato he spat out. Sofia, who did enjoy her tomato, ate it too quickly to be captured by camera.

On one of our many visits to Wigs, Sofia asked to buy some berry bushes. Whilst my original reply was “no, we don’t have room on the sundeck”, I soon realized that our unused 10′ by 5′ bit of “yard” downstairs was beckoning to be used for a greater purpose than hiding toys chucked off the sundeck. I got the kids involved and we tore up the crawling plant which covered the ground then returned to Wigs to pick up three blueberry bushes and two raspberry bushes. It was a delight to get down and dirty with the kids and plant our berry garden and it has brought joy to my country girl heart to watch them truck downstairs and pick a berry snack from our very own little garden.

I didn’t get around to taking any pictures when the berries were ripe but I look forward to sharing more pictures of our city garden next year when the bushes are grander and the berries are ripe for picking!

 

 

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Filed under At home, Decorating Projects, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, Uncategorized

Tweaking the Builder’s Basic Kitchen

Remember months ago when I couldn’t stop talking about kitchens and kept promising to show you pictures of my renovation? Well the time has come! Everything is finished and I finally had the time to do a little photo shoot. Hurray for hubby being on vacation!

I started working on my kitchen almost exactly a year ago when Anna was a mere three months old. I don’t know what induced me to take on re-finishing my cabinets at this stage, perhaps a fatigue induced mania, but the end result was well worth any stress it caused. Though, FYI, don’t paint your cabinets during a humid summer if you don’t have air conditioning, the paint won’t set properly and you’ll have to do it again!

Before:

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The white and grey cabinets and sleek new knobs were a vast improvement over the previous blonde wood cabinets and builder’s basic pulls. So much so that the beige counters and cheap ceramic back splash looked ten times worse. Here it is after just painting the cabinets (this shows the original lower cabinet colour. It was too purple so I painted them a second time with a more charcoal grey):

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Notice at the forefront of the picture the bar height portion of the island. It caused a visual disconnect between the kitchen and the play room and served as nothing more than a drop spot for junk (as seen!).

Thank goodness for tax returns! We were able to replace the back splash and counters this Spring and Voila! Here is how it looks now:

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The kids love that these Ikea stools can spin around! Hazardous for a baby who is still crawling and likes to be close to her siblings!

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Vase and Cutting board from Walmart. Hexagon Penny Tile tile from Ames Tile.

Forever ago I mentioned how I had planned a slightly innovative use of the empty space above the upper cabinets. For a mother’s day present I had my hubby build planter boxes so that we could grow herbs in our kitchen and make use of this otherwise annoying and useless gap between the cabinets and ceiling. Maintenance is not my strong suit so Steve also ordered grow lights and a watering system for the herb garden. Now if you walk by our home at night you will see a purple glow emitting from our kitchen windows. No, we do not have a grow op.  I love this idea and the aesthetics but even with the lights and watering system I have been killing a lot of herbs. I’m still hoping to figure out how to keep them from keeling over but I may end up replacing the herbs with something hardier

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Votive holder from Premium Olive Wood on Etsy.

 

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“Lord give me coffee to change the things I can change & wine to accept the things I can’t” Print from Twinkle Me Designs on Etsy; Picture frame from Michaels; Tray from Lowes; Crystal vase from Safeway.

 

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I added some cute herb prints from Beach House Gallery on Etsy to beautify the bulk head containing the vent above the stove. Picture frames from Ikea.

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The kitchen feels twice as big without the bar height counter and now I can actually watch the kids while they play (and see who hits who first!). We also use this space twice as much now that we have a place to sit at the counter. The kids eat their breakfast and lunch in the kitchen and love to colour or paint when I am cooking or cleaning. It sounds cliche but this renovation has truly enhanced the way we live our life as a family in this home.

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Anna thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate cake I made for staging purposes.

I adore the final look and those in my complex with the exact same kitchen can attest to what a difference a few well place tweaks have made to this builders basic kitchen. I have to admit though, this reno probably isn’t done.  I like the colour of the lower cabinets but it got banged up when the guys were installing the counters so they need to be touched up. So why not try a whole new colour? I’m considering navy blue. I’ll test it out on one door and see how I like it but not until after Christmas. I used monomal paint from Sherwin Williams to paint the cabinets and though it has been hardy enough for my bathroom cabinets, it is not standing up to the constant wear and tear the kitchen receives.  I’ve officially requested that my hubby buy me a proper furniture spray painting machine thingy for Christmas so that I can give the cabinets a proper finish.

The counters and back splash however…perfection! Thanks again to Daniela at Counters and Decor for sourcing materials and coordinating all the trades for this renovation. I couldn’t have got it done without your dedication and hard work!

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Dreams Come True and Dining Room Reveal

I have had little time for blogging this week because my two eldest have been little monsters and I’ve had to take away Netflix privileges (little do they realize this is more a punishment for mommy than them!). I am stealing this bit of time while they are at preschool and Anna is napping to finally sit down at my computer and catch up.

A few exciting things have happened this week among the chaos of parenting, namely Apartment Therapy published an article on the re-decorating I did in Charlie and Sofia’s room. I enjoyed a few hours of fame on their front page before the next “just in” came through and I was shoved into cyber space 🙂 Here is a link if you are interested: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-diy-shared-bedroom-space-for-two-kiddos-complete-with-closet-play-loft-231692

Having Apartment Therapy post my kid’s room was a dream come true. Another dream that is in the process of coming true is having my own decorating business. I have officially been approved for my new name (Fabrictherapy is a bit too narrow a name though I loathe to depart from my roots). Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks I will be launching my website for “The Best Nest”. Cute right? Do you get the reference?

And since I’m home alone I finally had a chance to take some pictures of my new dining room. “New” as in I re-decorated it a year ago but had a baby at the same time so I never showed it to you.

A before with our old dining set, paint, mirror and light:

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I’m a fan of a neutral envelope with pops of colour but before the dining room was beige on white on beige on falling apart dining furniture. I kept my plate wall which is a favorite element of mine but added pops of colour by having the drum shade re-finished with blue slubbed silk and a banquette custom made with kid friendly navy faux leather (FYI, not so cat claw friendly). I also made funky new covers for my Craigslist find, Chinese Chippendale chairs (do you remember their previous lime green corduroy covers?). The dining table we had custom made by Lalji home. Having the pedestal base rather than legs at four corners makes it way more comfortable for jamming people around the table when we have guests over.

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I love, love, love our new dining room and how it now relates to the rest of our house and I’m so happy to (finally) share it with you!

Source List:

Dining table: custom from Lalji home

Dining Chairs: chairs vintage, fabric from Fabricana, foam from the Foam Shop

Light fixture: Home Depot, recovering of drum shade done by The Victoria Lampshade Shop

Banquette: custom design, faux leather from J.Ennis, made by the Quality Sofa Makers,

Paint colour: Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore

Mirror: vintage

 

 

 

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Coping with Sundecks

Everyone has different coping mechanisms. For me, when I’m taking a break from the curled up in a ball crying phase, I cope (probably more effectively) by blogging. It is not uncommon for me to stop mid cry and ask my husband something like, “would you prefer a settee or chairs for the balcony?” Because that is where my obsessive compulsive brain has been going lately when not walking in rounds of negative self talk.

Currently we live next door to a construction site and we spent last summer with our balcony door closed, trying to escape the clouds of dust caused by the combination of drought and the copious amount of sand loading going on next door. This summer I’m determined to pretty up the space and not have it just be my children’s dirty out door “playpen”. I want an adult space where Steve and I can go to relax and enjoy the sun set and the frog’s song once we’ve put the kids down.

I get annoyed by all the large and luxurious patios and backyards shown in design magazines around this time of year. If you live in Vancouver or anywhere within spitting distance you are lucky to have a square of grass much less a sprawling backyard. Thank goodness for the internet! I set to searching online for inspiring small space outdoor decorating, focusing mostly on small sundecks since that is what I am personally looking to decorate. Here are some of the fantastic spaces I found.

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Sophisticated Monochromatic

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Parisian Petite

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Outdoor office

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Zen Spa Space

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Global comfort

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Country chic

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Cozy cocoon

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Modern Bohemian

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A colourful retreat

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A classic look

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Garden retreat

Colour me inspired! I hope you are inspired too! I’m planning on choosing a few of the pictures over the next few weeks and doing some blogs on “how to get the look”. If I had a larger, more interactive reading pool for my blog I would ask you to pick your favorites so I can search out the product for you but alas, I am a small fry. However, if you do see a look you really fancy give me a shout and I’ll make sure to include it in one of my blog posts.

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Filed under At home, Decorating Projects, Eye Candy, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, General, Mental Health, Therapy

Introducing my friend, Cadsoft

My brother and sister-in-law have recently done some gorgeous updates throughout their townhouse. I was particularly impressed when my DIY-shy sister took on the task of wallpapering an accent wall in their dining room. I would never dare such a feat, even with the help of friends, and I admire her guts. The result was gorgeous and has amped up the overall wow factor of their living/dining room.

Their kitchen/playroom has sadly been left behind in the dust of their other renovations. Let’s be real now, not many of us can shell out the cash to touch every room in our house at one time. However, since they have done such a wonderful job with the rest of their home I decided to have some fun using my new cadsoft skills to show them 3D presentation of a re-vamped kitchen/playroom area.

To start with, my sister has graciously provided me with some current pictures:

Current Kitchen

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Current Playroom

The accent colors in their living/dining area are currently teal and yellow/gold,  but my sister mentioned her affections are straying from teal to navy, so I’ve come up with two design plans.In both versions of the design I have incorporated their current shelves as well as the child sized table. As you’ll see below the look is fairly simple but you have to remember that this is a play area so it gets busy-looking pretty fast once you have all the toys in there. I’ve included a design board with sources and prices for each scheme.

 

World map, Urban Barn; Curtains, Pier 1 Imports; Table, basket, bookshelf, Ikea; Rug, RugsUSA; Chair, Crate and Barrel.

World map ($199), Urban Barn; Curtains ($39), Pier 1 Imports; Table ($369), basket, bookshelf, Ikea; Rug ($199), RugsUSA; Chair ($199 each), Crate and Barrel.

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The navy version of this room incorporates some fun elements like a gallery wall of framed kid’s art. I’m ever conscious of the bottom line so I love the idea of hitting up Value Village for a collection of second-hand frames which can be unified with paint. Filling the frames can be expensive too, so why not make your kiddos feel extra special by putting their artwork on display? In this version I added a third bookcase for extra toy and book storage.

Blue paint, Benjamen Moore' Van Deusen Blue; Dining set, bookshelf, curtains, Ikea; Rug ($150), RugsUSA

Blue paint, Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue; Table ($269), chairs ($99 each), bookshelf ($59), curtains ($59), Ikea; Rug ($150), RugsUSA

 

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Navy Playroom

I couldn’t resist giving their kitchen a virtual facelift by painting the cabinets, changing up the counter, and adding some back splash. I also switched up their rectangular dining table for a round one to allow better movement around the table in the eating nook.

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Navy Kitchen

I have a clear favorite but what do you think? Either way it’s been fun practicing my cadsoft. These 3D presentations are part of what I hope to offer if I do on-line interior decorating in the future, so every bit of practice is good for me. Thanks to some friends I have a couple more rooms lined up to render, and I’m looking forward to sharing those in the future.

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The Accessorized Elephant

The last few months have been a busy time of growing and creating. My body has been busy growing this little piece of heaven:

Anna Kathleen LaRoy. Born May 1.

Anna Kathleen LaRoy, born May 1, 2015.

and my hands have been busy decorating.  I spent my last few months of freedom (that is, having only two children), picking out fabrics, sewing pillows, hemming curtains, and DIYing art for friends and family.

I was delighted when my sister-in-law invited me to help create a “big boy room” for my four-year-old nephew. In the distant blogging past I was brainstorming how to artfully (and cheaply) address a large blank wall above his bed, what I called “the elephant in the room“.  We decided to go with one of the most simple ideas, using pictures from children’s books as artwork. Picture frames can get expensive so we decided to mount the pictures on white card stock and hang them from gross grain ribbon with clothespins.   Super heroes are among my nephew’s favorite things so I headed to Value Village to pick up a couple second-hand books which cost a whopping $1.50. The ribbon cost about $5.00 and I imagine my sister-in-law picked up the paper clips for a couple dollars. Accessorizing a whole “elephant” for under $10. Not bad.

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The card stock acts as a nice frame for the pictures and adds substance to the thin book pages. If you decide to DIY a project like this I highly recommend using a paper craft trimmer for cutting out the pictures and card stock so you have a perfectly straight line lest the art take on a ghetto appearance.  Cutting the pictures to different sizes adds visual interest and allows you to crop out the words.

The big boy room conversion also included painting walls, buying new bedding and accessories, as well as adding some better lighting.  My sister-in-law picked out a stellar grey and white comforter and we worked from there, adding large doses of navy and some orange accents. Convincing my sister-in-law to paint a wall some colour other than a shade of grey was a hard sell, but as you can see, the wall behind the artwork is a gorgeous navy and guess what? She loves it! Here are some before and after pics.

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Before

 

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After. I happened to have an orange pouffe sitting in my son’s closet from when I changed his accent colour from orange to green. Score. More closet room for diapers, free pouffe for my nephew…an excellent launching pad for jumpy children.

(In  a perfect world where little children don’t have grabby little fingers we would have done a third row of pictures lower down since odd numbers always look best; but…)

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Before

I bought his gorgeous lamp base from Value Village for $7 and gave it a boost with a coat of orange paint and a new shade.

After. I bought his gorgeous lamp base from Value Village for $7 and gave it a boost with a coat of orange paint and a new shade. Adding some navy ribbon to the shade was an easy way of adding some additional pizazz.

All in all a successful project that we are all pleased with. It’s amazing what you can accomplish on a limited budget. I always enjoy the challenge of finding creative ways to stretch a dollar. Thanks Di for trusting me and giving me a space to flex my decor muscles!

 

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