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?

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All In The Family

My sister-in-law has great taste. Her home is chic and modern and crisp and fun, just like her and her family. So I was really flattered when she texted me last week to ask for help with some design advice.  Quicker than you can say “Pinterest,” I was on the job! I set up a joint pin board for us and I started pinning away with my ideas to help her update her kitchen/dining space to make it more functional for her busy family.

Here are a few of the things on her “Must Have” list:

-a “command centre” to keep all my adorable niece & nephew’s school forms, calendars, etc in order
(Did I mention that my niece and nephew are ADORABLE?!)
-space to store stuff— table linens, my brother-in-law’s protein powder (man likes to work out!), all the trappings that come with kids, etc.
-new light for over the table
-cupboard storage reorganization

Not surprisingly, she and I are really on the same page with respect to the vibe/feel of the space– she even pinned some stuff that I had envisioned in my head but had not yet pinned!
Here are some of the images she added to our joint pin board:

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Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

These inspiration photos are very similar to what I had in mind for the space.
Stay tuned to see what I’ve got up my sleeve in Wednesday’s post!

#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!

Take it to the Mat

I have a bit of a habit of picking up “things to frame.” I do it a lot when I am travelling. Then I come home and put them all in my “things to frame” folder.
Where they generally languish for years.
YEARS, Gentle Reader.

Let’s face it, I’m too cheap impatient (ahem) to get things professionally framed, so I like to do it myself. I like my frames simple and my mats big because the latter can make even little souvenir postcards look like Real Art. I think the best source for simple, clean-lined, inexpensive frames is IKEA. The trouble is, sometimes your “things to be framed” do not match the available mat-opening sizes. But, given that IKEA stuff is pretty much designed to be hacked, here is a quick and easy hack anyone can do.

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I found the black frames for under $10 each (not on the website, alas) — I immediately fell for the wide black mat and the way it made the framed piece seem to float. I wasn’t so stuck on the plasticky black frames, but since I have a spray painting obsession, I was not too worried about them– I knew I could jeuje them up in a jiffy.  I bought three of them and then looked around for frames with the right sized opening to fit the slightly creepy line drawing postcards I picked up at the Louvre about 10 (!) years ago. I found some cute frames  with the appropriate-sized mats on sale for $3.99 each– I couldn’t have custom mats cut for that!

By layering the mats, I was able to get the larger frames’ mats to “fit” the small postcards and now I have three cute frames to use with any 5×7 “things to frame” that may make their way into my possession in the future. Win-win!

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I admit that I am not stuck on the gold frames– I think spraying them gold made them look a bit cheap, but I have a couple of options in mind to fix that. If the prints were more modern or funky, the frames would probably look fine, but the gold frames look too traditional for me when paired with these particular images.  Oh, well– it’s fun to have another project!

delovelydelightful(Once again, grainy photos– SUCH a dark room!
It’s cosy, but it blows when it comes to taking photos!)

Let’s Go Shopping In Paris

And by shopping, I do mean pretend internet shopping. For my pretend home in France. Oh, heck, for BOTH my pretend homes in France– clearly I can’t be confined to Paris all the time, so I’ll need a place somewhere near Antibes as well.

Here is some loveliness from Caravane to add a little brightness to dark winter days here in the northern hemisphere:

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3 & 4

 How about a new dining room table (the link for which I cannot find…) for my fabulous apartment in St Germain/Montmartre/ the 4e?  I’ll need some pretty storage to organize my bibelots in my Parisian pied a terre, so I’ll add this whimsical little bunny canister and this colourful tray to my (incredibly chic, Provençale) shopping basket while I’m perusing the wares at Petite Friture.

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What would you buy if you were shopping in Paris?

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!

 

Warm Glow

 Our dining room is FINALLY nearing completion. I still have a few bits of “artwork” to hang on the walls & I need to get a decent pad for under the rug, but I was so excited to get the lights up that I couldn’t resist Instagramming some photos of them.

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To my utter delight, @westelmtoronto re-grammed & tweeted my image of our dining room!
Talk about a warm glow. 🙂 Thanks for the shout-out, West Elm!

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Once I get things all set in the dining room, I’ll do a proper post.

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. 🙂 )

Eat With Your Eyes

I am dreaming of a dining room “refresh” to update our current dining space.
I’m thinking of something along these lines.

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Tolix chairs… Mmmmmm.

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Turquoise? Don’t mind if I do!

(With apologies to the sources of the above images– I forgot to record them. If you know whose these are, please let me know so I can give credit for the beautiful work.)