Tag Archives: quartz counter

Not Just Another White Kitchen

One of my delights as a blogger and a member of Choices Interior Decorating Program is to share the work of my classmates. I’ve mentioned recently that my kitchen has been under going renovations. My “back splash” is currently torn up dry wall so I’m not exactly ready to show pictures yet but I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a kitchen done by Daniela Hammond of Counters and Decor.

Though I have chosen my own finishes, Daniela has brilliantly sourced materials and coordinated trades for me. I am plenty willing to design a kitchen for a client but Daniela will certainly be someone I will coordinate with again in the future. She is prompt and hard working, and generally a delightful person to work with (not to mention she gets the best deals in town on counter surfaces).

Here is some of her own work. The mix of materials (notice the combo of butcher block and stainless steel on the island), and the pop of blue make this kitchen a winning modern design with a creative twist.







Her out of kitchen decor is fabulous too!


This is the living area beside the kitchen: clean and modern with pops of colour to add interest.

Thanks for letting me share your work Daniela!

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Master Bath: Glamifying Builders Basic on a Budget

I contemplated calling this post “Baby Bedroom Makeover” since  the master bathroom will have a bassinet placed in the bathtub for baby Anna’s first first few months, but decided to avoid the confusion. Besides, this makeover was for me, not her.

I’ve been wanting to makeover the master bathroom (okay, every room) since we moved in and about six months ago I slowly started working towards that goal. I knew that we wouldn’t have the budget for a real renovation so some budget savvy DIY ideas and smart shopping would be necessary to make the greatest impact for the least amount of money.

* please note that when I speak off “saving” and “splurging” that in my world, anything over $200 is pretty much a splurge. This high-low is for those of us who decorate on a shoe string.

My “master” bathroom is a mere 8 feet by 5 feet so picture taking was a bit of a challenge but I did my novice best to display some of the work I’ve done in the bathroom. But first a before picture. Truthfully, it is a picture of a neighbor’s  slightly larger bathroom which has the same finishes mine used to have (I’m terrible at remembering to take before pictures).

No offense neighbor but boring, boring, boring.

No offense neighbor but boring, boring, boring.

My goal was to create a luxurious master retreat with deep colours and some much needed sparkle. The cheap blond laminate cabinets were not pulling it off so I painted them black to tie them in with our bedroom furniture and bought new crystal hardware to add some bling. I had custom overlays made in order to add interest and dimension to the flat cabinets. Save! $150 for cabinets that look high class ($100 for overlays, $50 for paint and knobs, blood, sweat and tears shed during cabinet re-finshing: priceless). I’ve seen bathroom cabinets with this kind of look on sale for thousands of dollars.

I used painters tape on my cabinets to help me visualize what the pattern would look like:


Before, with design taped out.



After, with custom overlays.

I have to admit that I am super picky about lighting, particularly bathroom lighting so I knew that this would end up being a splurge item. The clean lines and subdued sparkle sold me on this vanity light right away though I had to choke down the price tag. Splurge! This beauty cost over $300 (Vancouver Lighting). Know how I said a couple posts ago that I was still waiting for my electrician to get back to me? That’s still the case, but I was tired of waiting to write this post so here is the manufacturer’s picture of my light.


The builders beige/cream/yuck on the walls wouldn’t do either so with the help of a good friend I painted the walls a dark toned green, one of the colours used on the gallery wall frames right outside the bathroom. Save! $60 for paint (okay,the Benjamin Moore paint was a bit of a splurge but much cheaper than hiring a painter!). I know light, spa like bathrooms are popular but I prefer a dark, luxurious feel for my bathrooms (see pictures below).

The counter was a birthday/Christmas present from my hubby. I picked a lovely white quartz with small green/blue stones which reflect the wall colour. It also has flecks of glass which add some sparkle. We saved by going to a stinky, dirty factory location and picking out remnant stone. Removing the counter top by ourselves also helped to cut costs. Stone, sink and installation cost a total of $350 (kind of a splurge, but in comparison to alternatives it was a real save; Archstone). I found the new faucet on sale at Lowes for a song (see in last picture).


It turns out it is hard to capture a quartz’s sparkle with a camera.

The final touch of bling was the ever so inexpensive mirror from Lowes. I love their selection of mirrors and the prices can’t be beat. $60 for this beauty (see full mirror in last picture).

The medicine cabinet was also a save since I stole it off the wall in my kid’s bathroom. I splurged on a custom shower curtain with designer fabric but saved by sewing it myself. I avoided having to do pattern matching on the shower curtain by doing the bottom third in a different fabric. I added some pleating to the bottom for an extra touch of fancy.

Snagged Ikea cabinet;  custom shower curtain with Robert Allen fabric.

Snagged Ikea cabinet; custom shower curtain with Robert Allen fabric.

Hard to show off the shower curtain without sticking you with a big picture of my toilet. I avoided having to do pattern matching on the shower curtain by doing the bottom third in a different fabric. I added some pleating to the bottom for an extra touch of fancy.

Hard to show off the shower curtain without sticking you with a big picture of my toilet. I haven’t put anything above the toilet yet because I’m hesitant to make this wall look too busy. Any suggestions?

Overall, I left the main builder’s basic elements intact (tiling, bathtub, flooring) but with a few fancifying touches I was able to give the bathroom the feeling of a total makeover for under $1300. Looking at that number now, it seems like a lot but given the impact it was well worth it. It was a bit annoying to do the work so slowly but necessary due to my lack of energy in early pregnancy. As well,  spreading the costs over a period of six months helped us to be able to afford touches like the quartz counter. Here is the best after picture I could get of the overall effect of the makeover.


Next week I’ll be showing you how I added some fun and funky to my children’s bathroom for under $150. Stay tuned!



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