Good Advice

I stumbled upon this little bit of make-me-happy gorgeousness the other day:

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The Everygirl has these prints in her shop. They offer up words of advice that prominent bloggers and style mavens would give to their 23-year-old selves. These women have achieved success in their fields through hard work, many of them “making” jobs for themselves out of their passions. I love the one I’ve posted here, but the others are equally charming. If you have a minute this weekend, check them out.

Bonus Question: What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?

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Heart’s Content

In my dressing room, I felt at liberty to go as GIRLY AS I WANTED with the decor.
I try to rein in my girly decorating tendencies in the rest of the house
(and fail miserably, most of the time), but I just let it all hang out in here! Within girlicious reason. Ish.

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One of the things I was really looking forward to styling was the interior wall of the Murphy bed. I collected images  for months and months, knowing I would use them in an all-white gallery wall over the bed, creating a cozy nook for guests.

Buying “art” is pricey and, while I do have some “real art,” I really just like to frame up stuff I think is pretty or cute. The frames are all from Ikea or re-painted ones I had at home. If you are thinking of embracing the gallery wall trend (which we have done in whole-heartedly around here!), here are some of the things I did to get on the bandwagon without breaking the bank.

I found the adorable Amanda Catherine print of the Kate Spade quote at Homesense and snapped it up. I strung up a sweet little Liberty garland I made with pre-cut circles from La Droguerie and some vintage chandelier crystals I found in London at the top, to camouflage the frame of the bed where it mounts to the wall & to add some softness. This is the inside of a bed, after all.

I kept the frames uniform– I went with all white for a soothing, fresh look that won’t keep my guests up at night. I added one gold frame and I mounted a sweet little box from Ladurée to add some sparkle. I like to use more than just framed images on a gallery wall to add some interest. In this case, I hung some starfish and the macaron box from Ladurée to add some depth to the display.

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Above, you can see that I used one of my favourite Dorothy Parker quotes and layered it over a wallpaper sample from Farrow & Ball. Instant cuteness!

How to get a gallery wall without a gallery price tag:

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1. Frame a snippet of vintage fabric. I got this piece at a vintage fair in Kensington, London. It’s an old piece from France and there is no way I could bear actually cutting it, so this was the perfect solution!

2. Use washi tape to hang pretty cards or postcards that tickle your fancy. I like that the flatness of the taped-up cards makes the depth of the frames and other items more interesting.

3. Keep your tongue in your cheek. I loved this postcard of a WWII propaganda poster. I picked it up at Churchill’s War Rooms and thought that I would have had a Very Hard Time with this particular piece of advice. Also, I often pick up postcards when I am travelling and then they just get stuck away in a box and I never look a them. This way, I can be reminded of my lovely summer trip.

4. Frame cards. They also make great travel souvenirs and are inexpensive and light to bring home. I got these in Shoreditch High Street; they are by an East End artist in London and remind me of William Morris‘ wallpaper designs. You will also see a Ziggy Stardust card I picked up at the V&A and a few more postcards and cards on this wall.

5. Frame wallpaper samples. This darling otter with a fan is one of the images on my beloved House of Hackney  fabric and wallpaper. Since I could not bring home the wallpaper (or convince my fella that we neeeeeeeeeed a wall of black wallpaper covered in naughty animals), I got the sample and framed it up.

In other words, FRAME EVERYTHING.
Frames can be had for a song at Ikea or craft stores and there is precious little that is truly un-frameable, so let your imagination soar.
Hung as a collection, even smallish frames and inexpensive artwork can have a big impact, so hunt around your house and see what you’ve got!

Update: Since writing this post, I have seen several posts around the web about the very topic of gallery walls. Clearly, this is bandwagon on a roll– hop on! 

Murphy’s Law

At long last, the dressing room is worthy of the title “Almost Finished!”

There is still some work to be done, but it has reached a state where it works for both its intended purposes, as a closet/dressing room and as a guest bedroom.

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We got rid of our antique bedstead 😦 in favour of a more practical, space-saving Murphy bed. Which I LOVE! I had the front of it wallpapered in Fresco, by the oh-so-brilliant Timorous Beasties. I will mount my painting of Wallis Simpson onto the front of the bed so that it stays put, even when we pull the bed down for guests; for now she is comfortable just leaning there. The bench (to be painted navy, once spring is here and I can use my paint sprayer again), serves as handy perch for me, but it is very light and easily moved to the side to become a night table for guests. The rug is a Homesense find; I like the way the circles echo the polka dots in the wallpaper.

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The lacy pendants you have seen before– BMad helped me make them. Okay, he made them, I just bossed him around. Thanks, BMad! I used the good ol’ Ikea hack approach to hang them– those are shelf brackets, mounted to the sides of the Murphy bed. The installation caused my honey to swear a lot, but they are perfect– the bed opens and just skims the pendants without whacking into them. Because the switches are on the pendant cords, I got a multi-channel remote light switch (the kind designed to be used with Christmas tree lights– get them now, while they are in stock!) so that our guests (and I) don’t have to crawl into the closets to turn the lights on and off. I hide the ugly remote in a pretty lacquer box I got in the clearance section at West Elm.

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I opted to hang curtains in front of the closets on either side of the bed because I wanted to minimize the visual distraction of all my clothes. It also means I can use the floor space beneath the clothing racks for storage, too. The bed linens for the guest bed are in the trunk. I plan to build shelves to run along the top of each closet space & over the rack of vintage frocks on the opposite side so I can keep things up there, too.

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My vintage clothes are along the Wall o’ Shoes where I can feel happy every time I look at them. I think vintage clothes are works of art– the craftsmanship in them is far superior to most of what we have access to nowadays– so I want them to be visible, thus no curtains. The shoes are stored in Billy bookcases with doors; I added cute handles I picked up in London at Zara Home. If you have feet bigger than a size 7-7.5, you’d have to store your shoes facing sideways, but my size 7s fit perfectly. Ah, serendipity.

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My mum slept in the nearly-finished guest room last night and she said she felt like she was sleeping in a pretty tent, with all the canvas curtains and the “nook” of the Murphy bed to keep it cozy.

Roses Are Red

 … and pink and white and orange and…

One of the spur-of-the-moment projects I found myself taking on this weekend was a make over of our china cabinet. We got this piece on sale about 15 years ago and it is wonky and endearing and I love it. We use it every day, as our dishes live in it (because our kitchen lacks space for them), but I suddenly thought it could use a little brightening up. And I wanted to use fabric, not paint, to do the job….

Useful, but ready for a facelift.

Useful, but ready for a facelift.

In the end, I remembered Elsie’s shelves and thought, “Hey! I could do that!”  I decided to paint part and “upholster” part of the cabinet’s interior. So I grabbed my (you guessed it) Annie Sloan Old White and painted up the shelves and interior sides of the cabinet. I wanted to use leftover ikat from the office, but didn’t have enough, so I had to find something suitable and suitably cheap to use for the fabric lining.

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I found a Ted Baker-inspired print chiffon scarf at H&M and knew it would look great on the back wall of the cabinet. I used a decoupage product that promised not to be sticky or to require a top coat (because that extra step seemed like the kind of thing I’d rather not have to do…)  and it worked pretty well, once I got the hang of it.  Working on a vertical surface made it a bit tricky, but once I figured out I had to work in tiny “slices,” rather than slathering the whole surface at once, things went more smoothly. The task was easy, but a pain in the backside, so only tackle it if you are feeling patient.

Best of all? The fabric can be easily removed if (who are we kidding? WHEN) I change my mind!

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I like the way the vintage china and glassware really pops against the new interior.

Snowball, Part Deux

This past weekend, I painted the dining room white. I miss the old, warm grey. I am not thrilled. I feel like I have started ANOTHER snowball situation…. Now that the walls are white, I need to get a rug. And some art. And do something about the chairs. And the table. And make a light fixture.

Then I saw this, and I think it might solve all my problems. Or make a few more….

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Rug from Lulu DK.

(You’re welcome. 🙂 )

Making a List…

… and checking it obsessively.

Via Pinterest.

Via Pinterest.

I love a list. A good, old-fashioned “To Do” list that I can check off as I accomplish things. Lately, however, it has felt like our list of projects at Delovely HQ just keeps getting longer and longer without our ever seeming to check anything off….

This weekend is going to be Project List Check-Off around here. As I type, the kind gentlemen from CB2 are assembling our Deuce bed. Yay! That will get the ball rolling in the master bedroom. (It will also, I see now, require a paint colour change on the walls…)

Via Pinterest.

Via Pinterest.

Here is a sampling of our “To Dos”:

Master Bedroom:
-sand and fill crown molding
-paint– walls, molding, trim
-pick up rug from US shipping address
-repair, paint & hang taxidermy heads
-install new bedside lighting
-figure out bedding

Dressing Room:
-build & install closet hanging system
-sand and paint crown molding; touch up walls
-hang curtains on window and in front of clothing racks
-detach, shift & reattach Murphy bed
-ORGANIZE
-paint bench
-hang artwork
-fix and install overhead light
-install pendant lights

Dining Room:
-paint walls & trim
-repair & fill doorways
-build and install pendant lights
-paint china cabinet
-paint (?) dining table
-purchase bench and 2 new chairs
-list some of existing chairs for sale
-paint remaining existing chairs
-hang artwork
-lay rug (replace?)

Kitchen:
-gut and renovate. Sigh.

TV Room:
-repair and paint walls
-commission built-in
-order and install radiators

Deck: 
-build it!

Living Room & Hallway:
-paint

If I can make a small dent in a few of these projects this weekend, I will be one happy homeowner!

What are you up to this weekend?

Via Pinterest.

Via Pinterest.

Ensconced

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I have big dreams of getting some really gorgeous wall-mounted articulated sconces for our TV room. The ones that have stolen my heart represent a significant financial investment.  As in, the pair will cost $770 USD, before shipping, duty, etc. We will get them someday, but for now, we want to save some cash for the bigger projects we have on the horizon.

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I have also been admiring this baby online for a while– it’s a simple IKEA hack and it looks great.
Which is why, when I stumbled on these cuties online on Sunday, I thought to myself, “Self, this might work….”

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So, I headed off to Target to check them out, figuring that
a) they would look chintzy in real life,
b) the lameness that is Canadian Target would (once again) let me down by not carrying them.
Imagine my shock  JOY when I saw not one but TWO of them, right at eye-level, and ON SALE for $18 each!
Can I get a hallelujah for Canadian Target possibly (finally) getting in the game?!
(Fingers crossed, fellow Canucks…. Seriously, the lampshade selection was AMAZING this weekend! Yay!)

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I knew I had two IKEA brackets at home, so it was a matter of using some of my favourite Command Strips
(I am in no way affiliated with the product, I just LOVE it!),
phutzing around until I was happy with the cords and the height of the sconces, screwing in the lightbulbs,
and ta-da!
I will get Edison bulbs this week, but for now I think these look pretty cute.
Also, it’s all a bit trendy, so the low-cost, easily-changed nature of these lights is perfect for a decor hound like me.

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Oh, also, M had a fit about all the white furniture and insisted we get something NOT WHITE, thus the grey couch cover. I am learning to live with it. He also (during the same incident) had a bit of a freak-out over all the artwork piled up all over the house, waiting for walls to get repaired, sanded and painted, so we decided to just hang it all up. We created a “gallery room” in our TV room and it, combined with some luscious sapphire-blue velvet curtains, really makes the space personal and cosy.
Which helps me to reconcile myself to the fact that we may now never get around to actually fixing the walls…
You can see one side of the room in these photos.

Ibex You Can’t Guess…

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…what I scored!
You may recall that I have been stalking mighty fake taxidermy trophies online, but I was a bit trigger-shy at the prices. Thus, although Choice #1 was this fella, I was awfully chuffed when I stumbled upon not one but two almost-as-good specimens this past weekend while on safari at Homesense.

Both are damaged– the one I’m calling an ibex is missing some paint on one of his (her?) horns, and the ram (?) has an actual HOLE in one of his horns. Which means I got them at a discount!
(Though, to tell the truth, I felt the discount was a bit chintzy– 10% off items that would otherwise not sell [not everyone is as willing to do repairs as I am], is hardly a steal….)
Still, with the help of a birthday gift card, I got the pair for under $40.
Given the trendy nature of these items, I’m a lot happier paying less, rather than more, for them.

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Some minor surgery to the hole-y ram’s horn, a few coats of spray paint (the hideous, faux-bronze plasticity of the ram, in particular, must be eradicated) and these lads will be ready to add a little flair to our bedroom wall!

Stay tuned…