Young Man’s Fancy

Well, to be more accurate, this gal’s fancy…
You know how Tennyson put it in “Locksley Hall”– ‘In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.’ Well, in the summer, my fancy turns to thoughts of finishing all the many projects we have on the go.

At the top of my list is making some kind of start in our benighted kitchen. We need an architect, we need permits, we need cabinetry… The list is super-long.

In the meantime, here are some images that are inspiring me with respect to our kitchen.
It will be black.

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And white.
delovelydelightfulDream house. Princess Margaret Lottery Home. Found here.

And I think this amazing wallpaper will go behind the open shelves along one wall.
(Imma hafta FIGHT for that design decision, believe me! 😉 )

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I Have a Crush on You

I have a big crush on this little corner of the Paris home of Giambattista Valli:

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via

The weather here is finally getting spring-like so I plan to spend some time on a patio or two this weekend as I return to my university stomping grounds with some dear friends.

Whatever you get up to, have a great weekend!
Happy Mothers’ Day to my wonderful mum, MIL, stepmum and my sisters-in-law! xo

Can You Smell Smoke?

Well now, that’s just my brain, working overtime!
Go get yourself a cuppa (or something stronger)– there are a lotta words in this post.

On Monday you saw my lovely SIL’s inspiration pins. I used those to come up with a look for her kitchen/dining area, keeping in mind words like “young,” “fresh,” “fun,” “family,” all of which come to mind when I think of her, my brother-in-law & their kiddos. I laugh like crazy every time I am with them, so I think that a sense of whimsy without fussiness (who has time for fussiness with two kids under 8?) is important in shaping their space.

Here is what I envision:

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1.  A series of the new Kallax (Expedit’s replacement) shelving units– two tall ones laid sideways along the long dining room wall and one short one on the short wall will provide TONS of storage for this busy family, without taking up too much valuable floor space. What I love about the new version is that they come in truly scrumptious colours, including a minty green similar to the colour in one of my SIL’s inspiration shots! They allow for open and closed storage, a must for my clutter-hating SIL. With some chalkboard tags to label the pretty baskets, everyone will
a) be able to put things where they belong,
b) access and take responsibility for their own stuff.
Even the kids will be able to reach– useful for putting things away (Auntie is a firm believer in “A Place for Everything and Everything in It’s Place,” as is Mummy, kiddos! 😉 ), and for helping to set the table, etc. The baskets & cubbies are big enough to store table linens, the protein powder, Tupperware, toys, cookbooks… the list is endless, really. These babies are not bestsellers for nothing.

2. A bright and cheery rug under the table will bring in the pop of bright colour my SIL would like in the otherwise neutral space (cupboards & backsplash are white, countertops dark). Choosing an indoor-outdoor rug means easy cleaning when spills happen, and it will resist fading in the strong southern sunlight that enters the room.
The coral colour ties in with some cute artwork in the nearby living space.

3. I imagine a chalkboard wall on the short wall at the foot/head of the dining table with room for personalized hanging clipboards and space for a calendar to help keep everyone organized. The top of the smaller Kallax unit there will provide space for a laptop and a task light (seriously, how GOOD are these Ranarp lights?)  for bill-paying/emailing school, a phone, baskets for keys, maybe a file  storage system for incoming mail, etc. And it will all look good while also being VERY practical. The idea is for my SIL not to feel overwhelmed by piles of stuff on the table.
(She and I both have pilers for partners. Luckily, it is their only flaw! 😉 )

4. Okay, Interwebz & family, stay with me here and TRUST ME on this one. I think the long dining room wall needs some visual interest to tie in with and balance the texture of the subway tile backsplash on the opposite side of the room. Which is where my most controversial design choice comes in.
(I can HEAR you, MJ & MB– just bear with me!)
The wallpaper shown here is
a) not removable, after all. Womp womp. BUT, it is STILL a Great Idea because it is
b) very modern and crisp, not old-ladyish or fusty at all,
c) the element that will take this space from “That looks nice, did you do it yourself?” to
“HOLY HANNAH! Your house is AMAAAAAAZING! Honey, this is what I want OUR house to look like!”
There is always one element in every space that causes a client/family member to balk. (See: trying to get men to paint wood.) When that happens, I remind said client/family member that they have asked for my help for precisely this reason: I can see what they cannot. They need to trust me. AJ & MJ, you need to trust me. It’s gonna be BANANAS! So, so, SO very good. It will be the thing that you cannot stop coming into the room to look at, to just stare at because you can’t believe how cool it looks and how you never thought it could look THAT GOOD. And (pinch you!) it’s in YOUR house!

That’s how happy it’s gonna make you.
I promise.

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5. On that long, wallpapered wall, above the Kallax units (in the gorgeous, minty green), I propose a gallery wall of all white frames. Some pieces might be permanent, some might be Real Art, some might be cute finds you pick up here and there, some (I hope) will be art made by my adorable niece and nephew.
It’ll be so great!

6. Finally, my SIL and I are going to DIY us up a series of the groovy Himmeli pendants in a few different sizes. The Pinterest is a-buzz with tutorials and we are relatively clever ladies, so I figure we can manage it. And then we will make my honey/my SIL’s big bro wire up all that Himmeli goodness. Because he loves his baby sister to the end of the world, so of course he will do it with a smile on his face. (And some swear words. It’s how he rolls.)

Alright, let me have it. What do you think?

DIY Off-Piste

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If you are a DIY-er like me, then you know that projects do not always go according to plan… Sometimes, the thing you have envisioned so perfectly in your brain (which, for me, usually involves lying awake at night, figuring out how to make that vision into reality), ends up looking….well…. a bit crappy. There is even a big trend in the blogosphere of posting your most hilarious DIY failures.

But, sometimes, things work the other way and, though your finished project ends up looking nothing like your original plan, it ends up looking…. SO MUCH BETTER!
This is what keeps DIY-ers going– this SO MUCH BETTER THAN I IMAGINED result is the equivalent of DIY crack, Gentle Reader. It’s like seeing a unicorn.

I had just such a unicorn moment last week when I finally got around to making over a picture frame I picked up in the As-Is room at IKEA for a whopping $7.  I liked it because of the size of the mat– I am a sucker for an oversized photo mat, I must say. But I hated the cheap, damaged, faux-wood frame. Of course, as you know, I never met a bargain I didn’t want to paint, so home it came with me. My original plan was to  copy er, emulate these frames:

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I got started with my Annie Sloan chalk paint, but not even Annie would cover the weird, slick surface of the laminate frame. Frustrated and in a hurry (when am I not?), I wiped off the paint and gave the frame a quick sanding and then primed it. Next, Annie Sloan, but the colour was too yellow. So, I added a couple of coats of Farrow and Ball’s All White.

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And then, the unicorn moment: being in a hurry, I started to paint on the gold (how I LOVE this gold craft paint— it is soooo perfect!) before the white was totally dry, figuring I’d just go back and tape off the clean lines once things were dry and then fill in the gold up to the tape line. BUT, the gold paint goes on in a beautiful, sheer way and I really liked the way it created an ombré effect. Luckily, I had to sleep on it, as the paint was not dry enough to tape off. When I returned to the project the next day, I realized that the way the white and gold faded into each other really could not be improved upon.
Another coat or two of gold to add depth and I was done.

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And, then, I put the mat in and the sample of Timorous Beasties’ Thistle hand-inked wallpaper and there, Interwebz, was the unicorn: it looked sooooo good!  SO MUCH BETTER THAN I’D IMAGINED!
(Even M had to admit it was an impressive finished project. 😉 )

Also, just signed up for Bloglovin‘. I know. I’m very late to the party.

 

 

#WIP

More on the now-ubiquitous gallery wall today. I still love a gallery wall, even though I fear it is the avocado-coloured kitchen appliance of the new millennium…
I like gallery walls because they offer a way to showcase a lot of pretty things in a way that “reads” as one big “piece.”  But, a word of warning: in order to work, a gallery wall needs to have a variety of things on it.  A good gallery wall is not your grandmother’s “rogues gallery” of school portraits. 🙂 To look current, aim for a range of sizes of frames, a range of items (not everything should be a print or photo in a frame), a range of textures and works that are both vertical and horizontal in orientation.

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Here is a little work-in-progress in the corner of our dining room. It was born of the need to camouflage the thermostat (I still dream of getting one of these, but M is not on board, alas), which stands out like a sore thumb on our newly-dark walls. I started off with the round shelf and the gold K, then added a few cards from Rifle Paper Co. and a couple of other cards I found at Indigo and framed up in IKEA frames.

The table and the candles added some interest lower down, but I knew I would need to keep my eye out for a few more pieces to complete the look.

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When I found the little figure at IKEA, I had to have him– I have always wanted to hang a series of these along a long hallway. I used my beloved 3M Command Strip to hang him on the wall. The tiny mirror was a Homesense find– it had a black frame, but a quick coat of spray paint fixed that in a hurry!

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 You can see that I still have a couple of spaces to fill (don’t worry– I have some horizontal items for those empty gaps), but things are looking better all the time. I was not happy with the corner until yesterday, when I added the large piece at the bottom; I was feeling that the stuff in the corner was too “bitty” and teensy-looking.    I love the way the larger piece balances things out and I am a BIG fan of hanging artwork low to the floor.

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More about the frame on the larger piece on Monday.
Have a great weekend!