Rainy Days & Mondays

Inspired by this room today.

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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. ūüėČ

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 M agreed to let me have our outdated dining room furniture painted.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. ūüôā 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.

Shine a Light

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I saw a similar DIY on Cityline and thought to myself, “Why, those would be PERFECT for my dressing room makeover!” And, since I already had the Ikea candle-holder/planter thingies, all I needed to do was find the covered cord kit I wanted in order to jeuje up the Cityline version, which used plain white plastic cord. Turns out, finding that cord was not as easy as I thought it would be: it seems that North Americans just don’t want pretty, brightly-coloured, fabric-wrapped electrical cord. Brits? Heck, yeah– they are ALL OVER it and you can order it online in a myriad of gorgeous colours. But British electrical cord is not compatible with North American electrical current, as anyone knows who has ever moved from one side of the pond to the other and had to have all her existing lamps rewired… And so, I had a problem. I could order some from Portland, but it was a replica of vintage cord, so the available colours were pretty muted; the most exciting colour they had was a sort of rusty red.
Good looking, but not a good fit with my design vision, alas.

Then, one day, I was walking along and there, in the window of one of my favourite shops, Ziggy’s at Home, was a display of Plogit cords! Perfect! ¬†And they are designed in Canada = awesome! ¬†I zipped in and asked whether the cords came in hot pink and, when the answer was “yes,” I quickly snapped ¬†up two of the remaining three.

Many months later, I enlisted the help of my dear friend BMad to help me with the transformation. He is an artist, photographer, sculptor and all around handy guy, so I knew he’d have the tools. Over I went to his place last ¬†Friday morning and, in under half an hour, he completed the metamorphosis of my candle/plant holder thingies, making them into pretty pendants with a modern edge. Now I can’t wait to hang them!

Here’s how we he did it:

1. Mark the centre of the bottom of the vessel.  These are metal (tin?) so we used a regular hole saw, but you can also get bits that allow you to drill into glass, if you would like to transform a glass container.

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2. Hold the bottom of the vessel steady and sloooooowly drill a hole with the pilot bit, then keep going sloooowly with the hole saw bit. Make sure you choose a hole saw a teeny bit bigger than the socket.

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3. Flip the vessel over to finish drilling from inside, if you can reach with your drill. We put a scrap of 2″ x 4″ under it to protect the surface of the table.

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4. A file will smooth the rough edges of the metal.

5. Unscrew the Plogit socket (or the socket and cord kit you got at the hardware store) and insert it through the hole from the bottom, reattaching the neck on the inside.

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6. Put a bulb in it and there you go! It’s all ready to hang!

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You’ll have to wait until the dressing room gets finished before I can show you these babies¬†in situ, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of the process because BMad and I were so thrilled with the results!

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Thanks to Arren Williams, all-around clever guy and talented designer/stylist for the “spark” of the idea!
And thanks to BMad for doing the drilling and filing.

Juxtaposition

I am a big fan of a little tension in décor; I think the best rooms have a bit of the unexpected in them.
I also think it is this element of surprise that keeps a room from looking dated.

I like the idea of suspending a pretty-yet-industrial pendant over a feminine, traditional chaise in a floral print to create a spot for putting your feet up and enjoying a good book. Play with scale– the large pendant will keep things from getting overly cutesy– as well with a mix of styles. Layer a bright, modern flat-weave rug under the chaise and add a chunky brass table (for your cup of tea or glass of wine!) and you have a perfect, girly nook that looks crisp and contemporary, rather than frilly .

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(Rug, cube & chaise from here.)

Tip: this look works because the woven metal of the pendant shade echoes the shape of the trellis print in the dhurrie rug and the lime of the rug ties in with the same colour in the floral. Easy, right?

Dreaming of Spring

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These days, while I still love my signature greys and whites and blacks, I am also feeling drawn to bright, juicy colours.

Here are a few little items that have me feeling covetous…

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(I am all about getting new, colourful Tolix chairs for our dining room!)