My Garden

Thursday, 24 January 2013

changes around the nest


We moved into our house about 3 years ago. It needed a lot of updating, but we loved the bones and that old school layout (at first I wasn't convinced but I've grown to love it).We have made small changes with painting and hardware. I have also made a few changes behind the hubby's back - this is a bad habit of mine. One that he usually turns a blind eye to...

For 3 years we have lived with, and tried to work around, some pretty awful flooring. Linoleum and carpet - both of which were old (likely installed before I was even born). Linoleum and carpet in and of themselves are not terrible - but they were worn out and stained and well yucky. Our linoleum, for instance,  wasn't even glued down just stapled to the sides of the room - the way that it pulled away from the wall and became all wavy was pretty awesome...

Here are some of the nicest pics of our old floor:

fynn modeling the linoleum
a shot of the old carpet looking deceptively clean here...
So I have been quietly (sometimes not so quietly) lobbying for new floors.  Yes, I did promise my husband when we moved in that I could live with everything as is for 5+ years. Yes, I may have even referred to the floors as "charming," but, well, things change. As I lived with these floors I discovered that I HATE carpet. I HATE crawling around cleaning up spills on our once-white-carpet. Oh and the linoleum - well it was an ugly, textured/pitted, impossible to clean, wavy mess...

So 3 years in, liveable floors have become unbearable... The hubby kept finding his inbox full of ideas that I just had to share with him...  I sent him everything I could find on plywood floors, installing your own, cutting planks, painting sub-floors, etc, etc, etc.

painted plywood plank floors via google images

via pinterest
I love painted floors, love the rustic appeal of these wide painted planks. But, you know, he was never that excited about my latest "guess what you can do with plywood flooring" ideas. I kept pushing for him to give me the green light for one room just one room, but he stuck to his guns. I had said 5+ years...

This fall we sat down and had a serious talk about it. Nope, there was no way I was gonna get plywood planks. He was none too keen on laminate flooring either. But hardwood - now that was worth considering... What? This was all sounding too good to be true...

So how did we go from carpet to battling over plywood floors to getting hardwood??? Well, I will tell you this: it comes from a fundamental difference in how we view the world... as well as our time... I am a lets try this, lets spend as little money as possible and if we hate it in a year we can change it kind of a person. He is a lets do this once, lets do this right and lets be done with it kind of a person. Man, am I ever glad we went with his way...

I imagine that I would have loved plywood floors. There are beautiful pics out there in blogland. I also know that those whitewashed planks would not hold up so well around here. Sooner rather than later they would not look so awesome.

The floors we went with are not the

oiled white oak:
via pinterest

or the barn board:
via google images

or the ebony stained floors:
via pinterest

that I have been dreaming about or pinning like a mad woman... We have chosen for livability, durability and timelessness (as I said my hubby is an install them once kinda man).  Oh and there were budget constraints as well so the sky was not the limit... but I discovered that you can find a take on any of the above floors at a lower price point. The option we chose is not trendy - it's medium brown oak in a satin finish. I love it. The sales guy was a little thrown by my "we want dirt coloured wood, we want imperfections... " description.

Yes, I expect dents, scratches and the like (this is a busy house).  I tell you now:  all future blemishes will be called character marks. I will not be a slave to my floors, but I will admire them for at least a half hour everyday and I may even write them the occasional love letter, oh and I may also overhaul the current decor in our house so that we can really show case our new floors (am I going to far???)...

Here is a sneak peek of our new floors. There will be more to come. Much, much more.

So what home projects have you been dreaming about???

Linking to:

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

questioning my kitchen

What do you think of when you see this photo:

mad men kitchen set
 If you said nostalgia: correct

If you said dated: correct

If you said a spot on representation of my original kitchen: correct

We lived with a version of the above kitchen for 1 year, until I had our second child, who was colicky and kept me up 24/7. In a haze I decided that our kitchen HAD to change (over tiredness and hormones made me pretty productive)...

My inspiration was a kitchen I saw a year prior. Is it weird that I gasped when I 1st saw this kitchen? Is it weirder that I still do? Anywho... I had been lusting after this kitchen for 12 whole months. Dreaming about it night and day (whenever I had the chance to dream, that is).

House and Home, 2009

Belgian style kitchen
via house and home

Things I LOVE about this kitchen: clean simple lines, classic cabinets, sturdy surfaces, tone on tone colours, texture, ah the list goes on...

Since teleporting, or any other (perhaps more realistic) form of drastic overhaul, was not an option I had to pay homage to this kitchen by referencing it, not ripping it off (which I would have infinitely preferred).

I read that Linda Reeves and her team decided on iron mountain (by benjamen moore) for the cabinets. So off to the paint store I went and purchased the same colour in their flat aura finish.

There was a lot of wall paper stripping, handle changing and prepping. It was a process and I will not bore you with the details of all the pre-paint scrubbing, sanding and priming that were required. There are countless tutorials on-line that can walk anyone through the necessary steps. If I can offer one piece of advice though, it would be not to get all over-confident and think you can skip steps or take short cuts. If you want your paint to hold up to the wear of everyday life, then you better follow the steps.

So in the end I came out with this:

Nope, it is not identical. But it's the best I could do.

2 years later I am still loving my kitchen. I love the changes that I made. Love the open shelves both for their beauty and utility. Love the paint colour and the durability has been surprisingly good.  But I find myself mulling over change, yet again. This time it is on a much smaller scale.

I am being pulled in 2 very different directions, and am stumped on how to proceed (now lets be clear - I would be making references to either kitchen I am still not in a place where we can overhaul)...

Choice 1:
Thomas Smythe

Things I love (that I can incorporate into my own space, lets face it, if I could I would teleport this beauty into my home as well):
  • open/airy feeling brought into a small kitchen (I have a very small kitchen)
  • dark lowers and white uppers that blend into the wall (note I will be keeping my "open" shelves)  

Choice 2:

House and Home
Things I love:
  • cozy
  • dramatic
  • seamless 

So what do you think I should do? Light and airy or cozy and dramatic? Or should I leave well enough alone? What would you do?

Oh and incase there was ever any doubt that I live in 1965's best... you wanna see the controls for our oven????
and yes, they are mounted on the wall...

Linking to:

Sunday, 13 January 2013

fleur de lis

 Okay, fine, I admit it I am french crazy, there, I said it...  happy now?

I don't know what it is, maybe it's their years of perfecting it, but the french have style... they just do...

What does the above admission have to do with, well, anything... I'm getting to that:

I have been a little uninspired lately in the furniture department... I have all these pieces taking up real estate in my basement, just waiting for me to get in the mood (the furniture painting mood) and I just haven't been. With all our house renovations (more on that later), Christmas, New Years, and basically any other excuse I can dig up; I just have not been painting.

Today I went down to assess the pile... I stood there, staring for a long, long time (this is how I work, so if you ever see me blankly staring don't be alarmed I'm actually working...).  Then it came to me, all at once I was in a manic state paintbrush in hand...

And voila, my latest creations were born:

First Up:
plant stand/pedestal table; available at Old Strathcona Antique Mall, booth 202

plant stand
  1. I painted the plant stand using homemade chalk paint (plaster of paris mixed with flat paint)
  2. I used my fleur de lis stamp on the top and created a pattern
  3. I distressed and sealed the table top using clear coat (non-yellowing) varathane.

Next Up:
side table; available at booth 105, Rocky Mountain Antique Mall

side table
  1. I painted this table using white homemade chalk paint as the base coat
  2. I used a dry brushing technique to apply a few different shades of white paint onto the table 
  3. I used the same fleur de lis stamp to create another pattern on the door and drawer fronts
  4. I lightly sealed the whole piece using clear coat varathane. 

So there you have it my 2 newest tables.

Oh and just ignore the obvious signs of renovating and poor photo quality - I have no patience to "stage" these days. The best I could do was make sure the dogs were out of the pictures and attempt a little photo monkey magic...

Anyone else out there holding off on projects until the right inspiration hits????

Linking to:

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Here is my booth at the Old Strathcona Antique Mall:

It's something I've been waiting to show you for a while now, but now I have the perfect excuse...

You see the folks at the Old Strathcona Antique Mall have decided to kick off the new year right with a sale starting Friday, January 4, 2013. I have decided to take full advantage of this and offer 15% off EVERYTHING in my little booth (#202 for anyone who hasn't visited before) for the duration of the sale.


Hope to see all you locals there!!!


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