Friday, October 19, 2012

Halloween decorating

Have you started your Halloween decorating? I've done a little bit but have yet to buy a pumpkin. Hopefully it will all be done this week...I hope!

In any case, I thought I'd share some of the great Halloween decorating ideas I've been pinning. Hope these make you smirk and inspire you to get creative with your Halloween decor.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bring the outdoor in: sun-filled kitchens

If I had a beautiful view from my kitchen maybe I'd take the extra time to clean up after supper- or maybe not! But one thing is for sure, I'd enjoy sipping my coffee while staring out the window:)
Last weekend we went to a friend's new country place and the water access in the backyard made me drool. However while sitting at the kitchen table I realized that the house doesn't capitalize on the beautiful water view. There is a window above the sink that looks onto the water but the view is minimally visible from the rest of the kitchen. This got me thinking about what could be done to capitalize on the view- fellow renovation addicts will know the feeling of walking into someone's home and planning entire renovation projects for them- without them even asking!

Here are some inspirational kitchens that bring the outdoor in:

Now wipe the drool off your chin!


Monday, September 10, 2012

A passion for blue and white decor


One of my very favorite color schemes is blue and white. My office, dressing room and bathroom are predominantly decorated in blue and white- I had to stop myself from using this color scheme throughout the entire house! But I haven't been able to bring myself to paint a dark blue wall as in the third picture- isn't it stunning!
I think what attracts me is that the colors are timeless and classy and work with almost any style: modern, country, traditional, etc. Even the first image above with the modern patterned wallpaper won't go out of style because of the color combination. I'm not the only one loving this color combo, check out Carolyne Roehm's  dreamy book, A Passion for Blue & White.

My very favorite from the above images is the blue and white bathroom- stunning! Which is your favorite? 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Which would you pick??? Area rug choices for our living room

There are so many area rugs I love! I just can't pick the style, pattern, or color for our living room rug. There are so many things to consider- the rug has to be able to mask baby spit up, dirty dog paws, and my husbands size 12 shoe prints!

Here are the finalists I'm considering. Which would you choose???
Radiante Hearts Beige Rug- USA rigs

Treasures Light Blue/Ivory Rog-

Tuscan Senele Tiles Seafoam Rug- USA rugs

Tuscon Trellis Grey Rug- USA Rugs
This rug is available at Home Sense- picture taken on my Ipod, which explains the poor quality.

Of course you'd need to know what my living room looks like before you make your choice, so here are some pictures of the space:

So all you decor lovers out there, which rug to you think would work best in my living room? any suggestions are greatly appreciated. 


Thursday, August 30, 2012

The laundry room is done- almost!

Like many other projects in our home, the laundry room was put on the back burner while we worked on more important projects- i.e. the wine cellar, walk-in closet, etc! Yes, our priorities were (are) all mixed up:)

The gutting of what would become a laundry room began after our basement flooded during a strong rainstorm in the summer of 2008. It then remained in that state until we sloooowly started putting it back together piece by piece in 2010 until 2012.

I unfortunately can't find the flood pictures which would give you a good idea of what the room actually looked like. Here is a description: The room was originally part of the garage but was separated to create a laundry/work space, the walls were shiny varnished wood paneling, the ceiling was stuccoed, the flood was covered in blue, black and white mosaic tile, one wall had a bathtub held in place by a bed of cement (Yes, a tub!), the washer was in one corner of the room while the dryer was on the other corner about 17 feet away, and there were countless exposed electrical wires hanging from the ceiling. Maybe it's better I don't have before pictures since it may cause nightmares!

The original room was divided in two so as to create a laundry room and a playroom. The laundry room is small but it works.

The room is now almost done. Here are some pictures:

  This side of the room is used for storing laundry supplies but also the outdoor spa products (hence the beach towels) and craft supplies.
Cabinetry: $400 at Home Depot
Stool: $18 at Zone on St. Denis Boul.
Clock: $10 at Home Sense
Rug: $19 at Ikea
Looking for a mate sign- DIY

Here is the actual laundry side of the room:

The baskets are from the dollar store ($2 for the large baskets and $1 for the small ones). Much less expensive than any of the other options I looked at. The floor is the original tile that we decided to keep. The artwork is from Home Sense ($34). I find it kind of kitsch but fun- a great option for a laundry room.

The room is bright and cheery. I decide to go with this look after purchasing the clock. I figured that since there was no window in the room, why not brighten it up with color. The rest of the house has a mature and sophisticated character so this was a great place to have fun.

What's left to do:
Caulk and paint the crown molding
Install the baseboards around the cabinets
Install the door into the room
Install a light fixture

One day, soon I hope, it will be complete!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Landscaping part 3: The Reveal

As previously mentioned, we had no intention of re-doing the pavers when we first bought our home (See part 1 of landscaping). That was, of course, until it all started sinking, tilting and simply looking horrible. In an effort to save some money we decided to keep the original pavers in the front of the house. But a little change was done by adding a border of new cobblestone-like pavers along the edges.

Here is the before and after:
You can see the retaining wall tilting in the before picture and the straight wall in the after picture. Also check out the add border- I find it calms the busyness of the pavers. Also notice that the driveway on the left side of the image is paved in the original pavers. Since it did not need repairing it only made sense to keep the original pavers in the front of the house so as to not have two different patterns.

Close up. Now if only I could get the city to fix the sidewalk!

The walkway on the side of the house was changed to the new cobblestone-like pavers. This is why we added the border around the front part of the house, we wanted the two types of pavers to blend. And of course, the great part is that the slope is perfect- no water accumulation along the foundation walls.

Another change was the addition of a black iron fence. I love the way it looks!

As for the backyard, we decided to get rid of the outdoor storage shed- I sold it on Kijiji. The yard looked so much bigger without it! We wanted a place to chill and the shed just took up too much precious space.

The yard went from this:

To this. Look at all the extra space without the shed!

To this:

See other landscaping posts: Part 1, Part 2


Monday, August 20, 2012

Landscaping: getting it done - part 2

The freeze and thaw experienced during Montreal winters means that there is lots of movement in outdoor landscaping. This also means that when laying pavers, the excavating and compacting is key to ensure that you won't have to redo your landscaping the very next year (I've seen this happen- what a mess!!).

As with any renovation, it's important to check on the progress. Here I am (9 months pregnant) verifying the work. The workers were extra nice to me but I think it's because they feared I'd go into labour if stressed.

In our climate it is necessary to excavate at least 12 inches (approximately 3 inches for the pavers and the rest is for rock and gravel).

Excavating for the walkway: 

Check out that belly!
Excavating for the backyard tanning pad:

Once the excavation was done, 2/3 of the area was filled with 3/4 inch crushed stone and compacted with a plate compactor. Gravel was then added on top of the 3/4 inch stone and also compacted. Tip: the compacting is done when you can walk on the gravel without causing an indentation.  The surface must be slightly sloped (3/16" per foot) away from the house for water drainage.

Here is the backyard pad filled with gravel but not yet compacted:

 Check back soon for the final reveal. It's a huge improvement from the before (See the before post)

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