Riddle Me This

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“Trad With a Twist”

I love a quiz. Not a math quiz or anything terrifying, but the kind of (deeply intellectually challenging) quiz one might find in, oh, say, a trashy women’s magazine. My favourite kind of quiz, however, is the “find your style” kind of quiz. Sure, I already know my style, but I still like to play along. Sometimes, I even try to throw the final result by NOT answering truthfully. (Cue Rebel, Rebel.)

Here is one I took the other day while drinking in the loveliness of Lonny Magazine.
Turns out I’m “Trad With a Twist.”
So, what’s your style?

Image source.

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Snowball

Have you ever renovated, updated or made over a space?

If not, I am here to let you in on a secret: a small change leads to more changes.
A big change, leads to MANY changes.
Thus it was with our new flooring upstairs. Once it was in, the whole tenor of the second floor changed so much that we began to see all the things we’d been ignoring for….um…. years. One day, M said to me, “Well, I guess you’d better find a bed.” And so, the hunt was on.

In the end, we went with the Deuce. It really is a great-looking bed, even though it requires that we get rid of the box spring (seriously, do you need a brand-new, totally bed-bug free, queen box spring? I can totally hook you up and then it wouldn’t end up in landfill…).

And then, I started thinking about how to bring it all together with a few little updates.
Snowball, anyone?

Here are some of the ideas dancing around inside my noggin at the moment:

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1. The Deuce bed by Novogratz
2. Jumpin’ on the faux taxidermy bandwagon
3. Sconces, instead of bedside lamps. These ones make my heart go pitter-pat.
4. Ordered this baby online for a deep discount. Can’t wait to see it in person!

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5. Since we need new sheets anyway, why not these?
6. Drool-worthy much?
7. As above.
8. One of these on our white duvet covers would be rather gorgeous.
(No link because I can’t remember where I found them. Womp, womp…)

Work it!

Remember the Office Inspiration post? Well, here are (most of) the details from the (very nearly) finished office.

I needed to update all the storage & organization bits in the room, but did not want to invest in all new boxes, files and bins.  I decided the solution was to give our existing ones a facelift with the help of some fabric and some paint.

I wanted gold accents, so I had to find a way to take the trim on our Ikea storage boxes & magazine files from silver to gold. Removing the hardware and painting, then replacing it was not an option; the boxes would not have survived the surgery.

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Some of the boxes were black, so I sprayed the silver trim gold & then went in with an artist’s brush and some white paint to cover the black/gold-overspray. I do not recommend this if you are in a hurry. It took FOREVER! Lesson learned: spray prime entire surface first, then do gold spray on hardware, then paint. I rushed right in with the gold paint and then the white paint = I needed about 6 coats of fiddly, artist-brush painting to cover the dark lids. Sigh. Learn from my haste, Interwebz.

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For boxes whose lids got a paint job, I covered the bases in one of two fabrics. I just cut a strip of fabric a couple of inches wider than the height of the box and long enough to wrap all the way around. I used a combination of spray adhesive and glue-gun action to adhere the fabric to the boxes. Then I re-attached the newly-gold outer label hardware and ta-da!

Some of the boxes were already white, so I just sprayed the label hardware gold and covered the lids in fabric. Using spray adhesive and hot glue, I pretty much just wrapped the lids like they were presents.
That will never be opened.
Because they are glued shut.

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I found some cute file folders at Target in the $1 bins (woot!)– they are a natural colour and have metallic designs on them, so they look cute with the new accents in the room.  Now to find the time to reorganize our file drawers. (The entire contents of our filing system may have fallen down the stairs in a moving incident during the floor refinishing bonanza…. We may have just shoved the files back in the drawers any old which way because we were tired and highly cranky….)

I also re-jigged the magnetic bulletin board I made a few years back, covering the board with fabric and painting the frame Blackberry Punch (after trying three different versions of gold…). I sprayed the little clothespin magnets gold, too. I sprayed a woven box and a few Ikea tea-light holders gold to keep storage looking pretty and to keep pens, pencils, letter-opener, etc. accessible.

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I invested in new frames for the gallery wall because I wanted white ones and the images in the frames all came out of mis-matched, random frames. I did paint the one on the lower right side, next to the M. I love the way the white frames look so crisp against the dark wall. It makes me happy every time I see it!

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I took a West Elm dip-dye curtain (that I snagged from the sale section for $14!) and, since I wanted a horizontal, rather than a vertical dip, I cut the curtain in half and, using some inexpensive white muslin ($3 a yard), made two curtains with simple rod pockets at the top.

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Finally, I decided to embrace the whole, “colour code your books” trend. This is the cheapest update you can think of: it’s free! You do need to invest some time, but it took me less time than I thought it would. I’m still a bit on the fence about it– sure, it looks great, but I’m not sure I can FIND my books…. My previous system was a “by topic” system, so I could easily find any book at a glance. Now, I have to know what colour the book’s spine is… I’m pretty visual, but I’m still not convinced that this is the most sensible way to file stuff.

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Once my Serena and Lily round rattan rug arrives and I find the perfect ceiling light fixture, the room will be done! Yay!

Nailed It!

True confessions: power tools kinda scare me.

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Which pains me because it goes against the very grain of my feminist core.

But I designed and M built our office desk/Ikea hack/faux built-in about 6 years ago when I INSISTED that there was NO WAY LHR and GraphicDefiner were going to be our Christmas guests with our office in a state of unfinished horror.  We got the built-ins done and the floor and paint done and then we never got around to building the drawer fronts– they had to be custom-built because we hacked Home Depot kitchen cabinets to make the desk and, thus, standard drawer fronts would not fit.  We were out of steam and out of time.
And so they stayed frontless.
For YEARS, people. YEARS.

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To say that these frontless drawers have been a bone of contention would be to understate the matter.
A lot.

So, when we got our new floors and I fell hard for Blackberry Punch and the office stopped being Vomit Brown and totally uninspiring, I was fired up to get some drawer fronts made, come hell or high water.

Which drove me to do it myself.
Which meant overcoming my fear of power tools in order to use both the chop saw and the air-compressor-powered nail gun.
Baby, there is NO TURNING BACK! While I may not be Ana yet, I am HOOKED!
What took me so long???
I want to quit my job and BUILD STUFF.

Here’s how I did it. (With M’s help to get me over my terror of Big Noisy Power Tools.)
We wanted Shaker-style fronts, so that made it pretty easy.

First, I laid in some supplies:
5/8 inch MDF, cut to size for each drawer front
1/4 inch x 3 inch poplar trim (we chose it because the grain is subtle and it is easily painted out)
Ikea drawer pulls in appropriate lengths
No More Nails adhesive (I had planned to just use this, but M insisted we also nail the trim pieces on, for increased durability. Good idea.)
Pencil for marking measurements
Measuring tape
Sandpaper for sanding the edges of the trim
Wood filler
Primer, paint, spray paint

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Here’s what I did. I started by measuring the horizontal pieces of trim and marking them. I also marked each one with a “B” to indicate which side of my measurement line the chop saw blade should be on; if you don’t do this, you run the risk of losing the width of the blade from your cut, making your trim piece too short.

Next, I dry fit the horizontal pieces and measured for the vertical ones.

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Next, I glued the pieces in place, starting with the bottom horizontal piece, then the vertical ones, then the top horizontal one.  It’s important to schmear the glue so that it does not cause the trim to sit a bit high on the drawer fronts. Next, get out that nail gun and close your eyes and pop a few nails in at the corners and in the middle of each long piece of trim. Fill the dents where the nails went in and sand them.

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Some primer and some paint, a little bit of Antique Brass spray paint to jeuje up the Ikea drawer pulls and, voilà!

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Turns out, pizza boxes are the perfect tool for supporting drawer pulls while you are spray painting them!

It only took six years.

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More office makeover to come. Stay tuned! 

Dream a Little Dream

So, about the whole “let’s be grown-ups and [finally] get a bed-stead” thing. There were quite a few beds in the running. I started out here, but M vetoed it, saying the legs would just be near-lethal tripping hazards.
You’ve got to admit, the man has a point. But letting go of this one really hurt.

Next, I thought about upholstered headboards/footboards.
Again, M pointed out the problem with keeping them clean. Again, he has a point, particularly since one of my pet peeves in life is that he seems to be very hard on pretty much every piece of furniture we own. Couple that fact with our tendency to have coffee in bed on weekend mornings and the upholstered bed began to look like a very bad idea.

Okay, back to the drawing board. M asked for wood or metal.
I looooooooove this bed (it looks so great in the French farmhouse where I live in my head….), but it is not practical in our space and I worry that leaning against the “headboard” would not be comfortable.

So, a wooden bed would be the way to go. Trouble is, most of these are very traditional and a bit, um….. fustier than I am aiming for in our room, where we already have a fair bit of traditional going on. I want to bring in a bit of modern crispness & some vintage industrial vibe to create some pleasing design tension in the space.

Enter these babies. I found them in the most unexpected (to me) place– Ethan Allen!
You can choose from about a dozen different colours.
I have a major thing for the dark navy (not shown, so you should really surf on over and check it out)….
It would be sooo gorgeous in our grey room!

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My first crush was on the Quincy bed:

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M deemed it too girly, as I knew he would.
It’s particularly swoon-worthy in the aqua or the navy.

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Not the way I’d style it, but I thought you should see it “dressed.”

But then I found Barrett. Oh, Barrett, you are so very lovely. You are tall and quiet; your simple, clean lines bridge the traditional and the modern without an iota of fussiness. You are confident and do not need to be flashy. You also look über-sexy in the dark navy….

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This is the best shot they have of it “dressed”– not very helpful, is it? Once again, imagine it with MUCH less traditional styling.

I went to visit the beds. The Quincy is a looker, there is no denying it.
They did not have the Barrett in the showroom, but they had a similar one.

And you know what? These beds are HUGE. Truly ginormous.
The top of the mattress comes up above my WAIST!
I’d need a ladder to get into one of these beds!

Also, they have enormous wooden supports down the middle underneath (I am talking tree-trunk-esque, people) and these would be visible as you climb the stairs to our second floor, as the view from the landing is straight under the bed. Finally, I think the scale is just plain too big for our room. Rather than looking edgy and “look at me, playing with scale! I’m such a risk-taking designer! Aren’t you surprised by how good this looks?!”, I think either one would just look like it had been crammed into a too-tiny room.

Maybe you can get one of them in some gorgeous, juicy colour and I can live vicariously through you?

Bette Davis Eyes

I have been wanting to show you our new office for a while now, but we still have a teensy-tiny way to go before we are finished.

So, in the mean time, I thought I’d just tease you a bit with a few previews.

First, I found this humungous, oh-so-pretty basket at Homesense. And I said to myself, “Self,” [I said] “You need to have that as your recycling basket for the office.”

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And, just like that, a makeover was born.
Like Venus rising from the ocean, the vision came, fully-formed, to mind.
Nearly-black navy walls;

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crisp white trim;  dip-dye,  some ikat & some pom poms,

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…maybe a chevron or two, antique gold & natural rattan accents…..I could not wait to get this room jeujed up!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

What the Deuce?!

Today I visited a couple of beds in person that I’ve been stalking online.
They are very pretty and I promise to share them with you at some point.
BUT, they are BIG.
Really, really BIG.
And our master bedroom (like all the rooms in our wee house) is not. Not at all.

While I do not belong to the “I must have a master bedroom big enough in which to play football and/or land a 747” school of décor, and while I firmly believe that an oversized piece in a small space can be the stuff of design genius, I am pretty sure that, in this case, the result would just be to make our room look cramped and over-stuffed.

Soooo, when I stumbled on this baby, I had to ask myself… could this be it? Could I have found The One?

The Deuce bed by the Novogratz (es?) for CB2 ticks a lot of boxes for me: modern with a nod to the traditional, mimics a style of bed I LOOOVE but which is usually made in gorgeous antique wood that not even I would paint (and if I can’t paint it, I don’t want it!), not too tall, space for cats to hide underneath, a headboard to lean against in order to read, no need for a bedskirt, re-paintable down the line if I need a change of pace…

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Below, you can see it in situ.
Okay, not in OUR situ….
(How fabulous is that room?!)

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High Anxiety

 I have it.

I am trying to commit to buying a bed for our bedroom (as opposed to for the guest bedroom). I have expensive taste. And I’m fickle; I love to decorate, so I don’t want to commit to some Major Investment Piece and then feel stuck with it forever when I get tired of it in a few years. I’m terrified to make that kind of commitment. Is this what it means to have cold feet?

So, while I am working out this very first world problem, how about this clever, pretty, simple, chic DIY idea?

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Want a few more? Check out these ideas.