Craving Summer

I know. I live in Canada. Where it is cold for MUCH of the year.
But I live in the part that is also REALLY HOT for a part of the year. And that part is sorely missed right about now.  Like most of North America, we had a hard winter here and it just…. won’t…. quit…..
Spring is not even really in sight.

Thus, when I stumbled on this house tour over at Remodelista, it really made me ache for summer breezes, long days and warm nights up on the rooftop patio.

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Is it spring yet in your neck of the woods?

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Just Because….

delovelydelightfulsource unknown; via Pinterest

I thought about calling this post “Places-I’d-Love-to-Call-My-Own-But-It’s-Probably-Best-That-They-Are-Not-My-Own-Because-if-They-Were-I’d-Never-Ever-Leave-And-That-Would-Be-Just-Plain-Anti-Social.”

Then I thought better of it.

You’re welcome.

delovelydelightfulsource unknown; via Pinterest

delovelydelightfulsource unknown; via Pinterest

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delovelydelightfulsource

 

#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!

Keep Your Fork, Duke…

…there’s pie.

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Okay, maybe there isn’t pie, but there is a new dining room at our house.
Okay, maybe there isn’t a whole new dining room, but the one we do have has had a facelift. Thing is, the facelift has taught me, among other things, Important Lessons On How To Never Become a Famous Blogger.
Namely, paint your rooms in dark colours that, while they make your heart sing, do not enable the taking of decent photos. Looks like the ABM girls have nothing to fear from me. 😉

Our dining room here at Delovely HQ is in the middle of the main floor. Since Delovely HQ is a semi-detached house, built in the 1920s, the centre room has no windows of its own. It did, however, have French doors at both ends, which I loved. M, on the other hand, did not. And so I sacrificed and gave in when he said he wanted to take them down. I am still sad to have lost them, but I must agree with him that getting rid of them has opened up the flow of the main floor in a very pleasing way, one that is sure to increase once we build our deck off the back of the house and we can swan right out onto said deck, cocktails in hand…
I digress.

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You may remember that I made the mistake of painting the dining room white, in an attempt to be all “oh, look at me and my all-white house full of airy lightness!” Except that the white paint was boooooooring and made the room look pokey and small and, weirdly, even darker than it did before. Hm.

Here is how we fixed it:

1. I repainted the walls in a colour that makes me swoon with joy every time I see it– Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball is a dark navy with a teal-y undertone. It’s so dark it’s nearly black. Totally my speed.

2. M agreed to let me have our outdated dining room furniture painted. We had it done by a pro and ended up with a brand-new-looking set for a fraction of the cost of buying new. I had the table painted in Great White , three chairs done in All White, two in Blue Ground and three in Stiffkey Blue. The multi-coloured chairs not only help to tie in the colours of the rug, but also to keep the room looking current and fresh.

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3. We invested in the Slip Bench from Crate and Barrel to add some interest to the seating. Getting rid of the French doors meant that we were able to shift the table and chairs to along the party wall, leaving more space to walk through the room and more space to access the china cabinet than we had when things were centred.

4. We bought grown-up lights. I chose the Capiz Orb Pendants from West Elm in the small and medium size and had M wire me up two Plog-it cords in pale grey. We staggered the height and the alignment of the globes over the table, for interest’s sake. Bonus feature: we didn’t have to fuss about lining up the ceiling hooks from which they are swagged (our electrical box is centred in the room, so we had to pick swag-able lights). I LOVE these lights. I had M put them on a dimmer so they just glow like beautiful moons or lanterns over the dinner table.

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5. I re-purposed the chalkboard I made for our kitchen several years back and hung it horizontally over the back of the bench. I added a few mirrors– the vintage, gold-framed one was smashed & the frame was broken when I got it and I finally got around to having the glass replaced & the frame repaired. It cost less than $40! It would have been a bit more to get the antiqued glass I really wanted, but I was in a rush and didn’t have time to wait for the antiqued glass to come in on special order.

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6. I added two vintage-inspired bevelled mirrors I found at Target for about $25 a piece, and the antique swing-arm sconces I picked up at The Door Store in the spring. I have a few ideas of bits I’d like to add to the wall, but for now it’s fine.

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What is really funny (now ) about the dining room facelift is, like our office facelift and our TV room gallery walls, it just sort of happened, snowballing out of the Misguided White Walls Fiasco. Yet, also like the office & the TV room, it is now one of my favourite rooms/projects in the house.
I wish you could all come over and see it in person– I’m a lousy cook, but my dining room looks pretty enough to eat!

 

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.

Rituals

 

I guard my Sundays jealously. Ferociously, really.
I like to start off the week/end the weekend quietly.

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From September to June, my Sundays afternoons are given over to  Girding My Loins.
I mean, Getting Ready For The Week Ahead.
Part of the prep is the ritual of having a restful soak.

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Since we (finally!) finished our bathroom reno last year, I can really indulge.
Something that smells pretty, something that looks pretty , a soothing cuppa and a good read are all part of the ritual.

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Light Me To Bed

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For the final instalment in this week’s candlelight theme, let me invite you into my boudoir. Hee!

In the fall, I was given a truly lovely gift: a little votive candle from Diptyque. It is, in short, a luxury of the highest order. For good reason: it smells divine! The scent is lavender– perfect for the bedroom because it aids in relaxation and makes one sleepy. As someone who does not fall asleep easily, I find that my luxury candle has become a necessity. When the votive size had been spent, I made sure to replace it, splurging on the full-sized version this time.
It sits alongside a photo of my beloved, departed “Men” and whatever book I am reading.

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I love my recently-acquired nightly ritual of lighting the candle, filling the room with lavender scent and then cozying up in bed.

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Have a lovely, restful, candlelight-filled weekend.

Life’s Little Luxuries

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Glossy magazines.

A good ol’ gossip session with a girlfriend.

A satisfying, engrossing (if not overly-literary…) read.

Truly yummy wine.

Snuggles with a cat (or three…).

Time to oneself.

These are life’s little luxuries.
Here is another one: candlelight.
If I had my way (and I often do!), I would light our home solely with candles.

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In the deep, dark depths of our northern winter, I thought I’d bring you some images of  a few of  the candles that keep our house warm & glowing.

On Collections, III

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In the end, although I like some design tension in a vignette, I decided to go with a soothing, cohesive look when displaying my little collection of glass stoppers.(After all, M does call the living room my “Zen Room”…) The pretty bowl from West Elm has a floral pattern and colour that are echoed in the Domino book, and the curved lines of the candle holders also tie in with the organic, curvy lines of the stoppers, bowl, and patterns. Of course, some flickering candle light adds sparkle, and that is never a bad thing, is it?

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I was fooling around with the settings on my camera and ended up with these pale, sort of washed-out photos, with only the aqua of the book showing up in colour.  I kinda like these shots, as it turns out…

delovleydelightfulHappy Birthday to my step-mum and Happy Friday, everyone!
Why not try (re)arranging a few collection-based vignettes at your house this weekend?