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.

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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!

Darkness & Light

Renovation chaos continues at Delovely HQ– it took me a looong time to find my tablet and stylus in order to do this post and I don’t even want to imagine what will happen the next time I need to find something to wear that is not one of two pairs of (grubby) shorts and one of two (equally grubby) t-shirts….

One of the things we are discovering (#late_to_the_party) is that one renovation project leads to another and, thanks to a profound difference in working styles (I’m more “start one room and finish it before moving to the next,” and he’s more “do all the similar projects at once, even if they are in different rooms”), every single room in our house is both filthy and full of stuff that Does Not Belong There. Think a headboard for my mum in the living room, paint supplies in the dressing room, ALL MY CLOTHES in the basement, all my shoes in storage bins, etc.

What keeps me going is the fact that I may be within striking distance (*spits superstitiously for fear of angering the renovation gods*) of finishing the decor in the office. Which was not on the initial reno list beyond a little project to make desk drawers. Which quickly escalated into new paint, new curtains, new flooring, etc.

Here is the inspiration for the office make-over. I’m hoping I’ll be able to reveal the finished product to you before, oh, say, Christmas….

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1.  Dip-dye curtains, scooped up from the West Elm sale room ($15 each! Woot!)

2. The colour that has captured my heart– Blackberry Punch, by Benjamin Moore. Looks sooo sharp against the creamy white built-ins in our office.

3. Some crisp and preppy fabric that is not too feminine, since our office is shared space and I must refrain from making it too girly.

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4. An area rug to protect our new hardwood floors from the ravages of our office chair’s wheels.

5. A cute print or two to lighten the mood. (I love this one in spite of its punctuation error.)

6. Jumping on the brass hardware/gold accents bandwagon.

 

I have this thing…

…about changing my living room décor to reflect the seasons. It involves “lightening” the accents in the room by removing the ruby-red raw silk drapes and the warm, nubbly linen and raw silk cushion covers and replacing them with more summery fabrics.

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This year, we are embarking on a big renovation and so I did not want to go all the way– dredging out the seashells and starfish to make the living room feel beachy– rather, I wanted a quick fix that would still say summer without all the fuss and muss, as I figure fuss and muss are to be had in spades in the weeks ahead.

I was lucky enough to score a real deal on some curtains from Ikea. They were in the “As-Is” room and were in perfect condition, but had been used in a display, so could not be resold at full price. I scooped them up immediately, despite the fact that they were tab-tops.

Dear Interweb, I really hate tab-top curtains. They don’t function well and they don’t look good.

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I had elaborate plans to get rid of the tabs by cutting them off and then sewing a channel to make a pocket for the curtain rod and then, out of nowhere, it hit me: there was an easier, BETTER way!

So here is what I did:

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I folded the tabs over to the rear of the curtain and pinned them in place.

Next, I machine-stitched each tab in place along the top (now the bottom) of the tab to create the look of pleater tape without the hassle of pleater tape. I threaded the rod through the loops made from the tabs on the rear of each panel and that, my friends, was that.

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The result?
(A bit hard to see in our north-facing living room, I admit.)
For $20 and 20 minutes of work, I have a light, summery linen look that lets my new cushions with their bright persimmon-coloured birds pop.

Blinded By The Bright


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On a budget? Who isn’t, really?
Here is a way to brighten up for spring (in the northern hemisphere, that is) without breaking the bank.

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Take an IKEA blind and a table runner (or any pretty bit of fabric!) and stitch the latter to the bottom of the former.

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Ta-da! Bright, cheery, custom blinds on a budget!
Total cost: under $25 per blind.
I made two and it took me all of two (very fun) hours.
I love (near-) instant gratification, don’t you?

These are for a friend’s kitchen in her new place. Since I can’t yet show you how they look installed, I made a (blurry!) little gif.

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Happy weekend, everyone!

Facelift

The living room “freshen up” project is now finished. The room had been done by a decorator in the 80s and was ready for a facelift. The homeowners are in their 70s and have very traditional tastes and did not want to spend an enormous amount of money, so the project really was just to update via new upholstery, paint and lamps. There was no budget to replace the upholstery on the oversized salmon-pink chair or the drapes in the same hue, so we had to work around those two elements.

The paint on the wall is a slightly more grey-green version of the Wedgwood blue that was already there. The rest of the transformation comes thanks to tailored, modern upholstery. The blue linen allows the lovely line of the back of the sofa to take centre stage; I had wanted to have one single cushion made for the seat of the sofa, to make it more modern and more inviting, but the upholsterer talked the homeowner out of it, alas. Luckily she followed instructions on the wing-back chairs, whose crisp ticking suits their tailored shape to a T.

The clear glass lamps bring a bit of contemporary sparkle to the room; I particularly love the ikat lampshade & the covered cord of the lamp on the console.

In the end, the new fabrics and a slight switch in paint colour make a big difference. The room looks fresh and updated, but still traditional and suited to the homeowners’ aesthetic.

Shower Me With Ideas

One of my sisters-in-law is in the process of renovating her master bathroom. The room is big and worked just fine, but the style and finishes were dated. She is a young mum with a modern sensibility and good taste– her house is gorgeous, thanks to her good eye and sense of style.

But, when we got together recently for a family Thanksgiving celebration, she told me that she is flummoxed over having to choose…. a shower curtain! Yes, it’s true: after all the hard work and the gazillions of pleading/bossy/begging phone calls to contractors, homeowners can feel just plain overwhelmed when the time comes to choose the finishing touches. It’s as if all the energy has gone into to making the BIG choices– tiles, vanity, countertop, faucets…. And then there is nothing left over for the final decorative choices.

So, she asked for some help. Since I LOVE this part of decorating the best (Fabric? Accessories? Yes, please!), I was only too happy to have a little think on her behalf and to put together a couple of inspiration boards for her.

Here is the first one. Everything is from West Elm, which I love for it’s sensible price points and high style. I love that West Elm understands that decor is a big investment for most of us and that most of us need to live with our decisions for a long time. But they manage to make very useful, stylish stuff that also stands the test of time without being boring– their designers have a sense of humour, of whimsy. (How cute is that tissue box, shaped like a little ceramic house?)

Here is my first recommendation for A’s shower curtain and a few little accessories to tie in with the circle/geometric motif.

Pretty in Pink

Here is the (mostly) finished dining room.  I wanted the space to be welcoming and contemporary, without being trendy, but to also respect my mum’s love of traditional style. I think the result is crisp and modern, feminine without being frilly, classic without being stuffy. I think part of why it works is that it is a small room that is not afraid to make a big, bold, colourful statement.

Design Brief:
Re-use all the (mismatched, outdated) furniture and the lovely chandelier. Replace the carpet. EDIT the very full storage cabinets and keep only the truly beautiful, useful items. Replace the skinny faux curtains with functioning ones, to allow for privacy in the evening. Take the room from dark, tired and dated to fresh, modern, feminine and bright.

We found the gorgeous stripe with the cherry branch print (I used it to make the statement curtains) and that drove our colour palette; all the colours in the room were drawn from the fabric. The walls are a smoky, lavender/grey, the ceiling is pale lilac under a wash of cream-coloured pearlescence, inspired by the ceilings of old Parisian bistros; the effect adds coziness in the evenings & a mellow warmth during the day, counterbalancing the cool colour of the walls. The wool carpet is a darker shade of the wall colour. The carpet and paint on the furniture, the two biggest investments in the room, are neutral colours, so my mum can change the fabric on the windows and the chairs in the future.

We updated my great-grandmother’s dining room suite with a coat of  warm cream spray-lacquer, opting for a pale lilac drawn from the cherry branch striped fabric for the inside of the hutch. Tip: if your painter tries to talk you out of something unusual, stick to your guns! I knew the lilac interior would make my mum’s (ruthlessly edited) collection of dishes and beloved figurines look AMAZING, so I had to really insist to the painter that I was right about it and please-and-thank-you could he just do it?  Rather than replace the hard-to-fit hardware, we just painted it in the same pale lilac, too!

The sideboard was a Goodwill find and getting our (actually very wonderful) painter to lacquer it in a high-gloss hot pink also took some convincing. It looks pretty great, though, right? I think it adds that oh-so-necessary sense of humour and fun to the room. Formal dining rooms can be so, well, formal.

The mosaic mirror adds sparkle and reflects light from the wall of windows. It also makes the room seem bigger and reflects the pretty contents of the hutch, so that diners on both sides of the table can see them.

More photos (including MUCH BETTER “before” pictures!) over here.

Le Big Reveal

Design Brief:
Unify a jumble of comfy, much-loved bits of furniture,
acquired over time and representing a mixture of styles and eras.

Use the homeowner’s existing pieces, recycling as much as possible
in order to keep room in the budget for her must-haves:

an area rug

curtains

So, without further ado, here it is!

It was the hottest week of the year, but that did not stop me from using the awesome paint sprayer to unify the wicker furniture with a coat of charcoal grey. The 1920s settee, chair and table, in particular, look AMAZING in this new, dark colour.

The rug, from West Elm, brings a hit of contemporary design into the space, to keep it from feeling too girly or too theme-y. We wanted to keep the cottage vibe of the room but with a modern edge.

The Big Stuff made the seat cushions (and they did an excellent job, as usual!) in the gorgeous yellow buffalo gingham check that was our starting point. Once the client saw that fabric, the whole room just fell into place; we let the fabric dictate the rest of the palette.  The grey and creme floral and all the ribbons and trims came from Designer Fabric Outlet, and the polka dots were a twin duvet set from Ikea–thanks to my trusty shears and sewing machine, it is now the upholstery on two of the  dining chairs and has also been transformed into cushions, including some reversible ones, for the rest of the seating. We drew the yellow from the check out to paint a curvy little chair and placed it in the corner, with a view of the garden.

Curtains add some privacy and can be drawn in the evening if it gets cool. The tea-towelling I used along the border of each panel picks up on the yellow and evokes a bit of the south of France at the same time.

Rewiring an old, broken lamp and giving it a coat of the same yellow as the chair brought it back to life.  The other lamp belonged to the client’s mother and sported an antique gold finish; a quick coat of charcoal grey and it was ready to provide some much-needed light for reading in the evenings. I recovered both lampshades and added whimsical oversized pom pom trim in charcoal grey, including a pom on each finial! I think every room needs a touch of something to make you smile, don’t you? Tired of the pom poms in a few years?
No worries– some neutral linen shades are an easy and inexpensive update.

To see more, head over here.