31 January 2012

no-spend diy art project

My blogger pal Tiffany, at Living Savvy, endured a no-spend-month challenge throughout January. She created lots of decor goodies without spending a dime. So impressive! So today she is hosting a no-spend party and I submitted a no-spend diy art project that I completed recently. 

I needed new art for my refreshed dining room I'm working on (tulip table is arriving today, so check back soon for the reveal), but I didn't have anything left in the budget. So I took an IKEA Ribba frame that I already owned with a picture in it that didn't appeal to me any longer, and painted right on the cardboard backing that it came with. 

I painted a coat of white primer, and left the brush strokes showing. Then I used some watercolour paints and simply created an abstract masterpiece! Ha! 

Anyway, very simple, and no cost, so it works for me and my dining room. Thanks Tiffany for hosting this party and for inspiring us to be creative instead of buying new! 

29 January 2012

before and after: upcycled DIY nightstands

I'm so excited about this project - turning two ugly '60's endtables into pretty white nightstands for my master bedroom.

DIY endtables

I found the pair on Kijiji for $15 and snapped them up not only because of the bargain price but also because they have a simple, mid-century modern shape and both a drawer for closed storage as well as an open shelf for books and magazines. 

First, I removed the hardware, filled in the holes with wood filler, and lightly sanded. 

Then I used a CIL primer for laminate surfaces, let it dry, lightly sanded, then painted a coat of CIL glossy trim paint in white. I let that dry then added a coat of polycrylic high gloss for a protective shine. 

I added wallpaper to the back of the shelf, and as a liner inside the drawer. I simply cut to size and used an adhesive spray to hold it tight. 

And finally I drilled new holes in the centre of the drawer faces for new knobs I picked up at a vintage store. 

And voila! They turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. They are now in my master bedroom. Hope this helps you spot some diamonds in the rough! 

27 January 2012

green idea: repurposed airline carts

In my weekly search for inspiring repurposed and upcycled home decor and design ideas, I came across a fellow blogger's fantastic post about repurposed airline carts. I am so taken with these that I am simply going to send you over to A Room With A View to see these neat vintage carts that have been upcycled by Skypak. Thanks Liza for this great post and for finding this great resource!

 All images from Skypak via A Room with a View

26 January 2012

green idea: creative diy headboards

I have headboards on the brain because I am making one this weekend for a daybed. Headboards, in my opinion, are so important in completing the design of a bedroom, and they offer an opportunity to express some personality. You don't have to spend a lot and you don't (and I'd venture shouldn't) have to buy one with your bed frame. I think it is much more interesting (and eco-friendly) to create one. Here are some wonderful examples.
via Kaboodle

via Molitli

via Homes and Gardens

via Jamie Herzlinger

Centsational Girl


via Apartment Therapy

via DecorPad


via Apartment Therapy
Check out even more here

25 January 2012

the one room challenge- week 2

Well I am in a white-out after this weekend. Not from snow, from my all-white office/reading room. I painted the walls pure white during my second week in The One Room Challenge, a 6-week challenge with fellow design bloggers to finish decorating a room.  Last week I told you a bit about the spare room in my condo; this is the inspiration photo I have chosen as my favourite. 

from the Marion House Book
As my philosophy for design is to minimize consumption, re-purpose when possible, and use eco-friendly products when they make sense,  my office makeover will follow that creed. The paint I used on the walls last weekend was CIL Naturaliving no-VOC paint in "White on White".  I have a pretty low budget and plan on creating a lot of things from scratch or upcycling. I already have a desk, a daybed and a credenza, and I am only purchasing two new pieces of furniture- a desk chair and a filing cabinet. And I'm going to keep my eyes open for interesting thrift store finds as I go. 

To make sure I stay on track, I am going through the proper design process for this room makeover: 

1. Figure out what style and mood I want to create and find inspiration pictures I swoon over.
2. Create a mood board with colours, furniture elements, lighting, etc. This will keep me on track throughout the process when I get distracted by a great pillow that really doesn't work with the design. 
3. Lay out a plan. Set a budget. Make a list of things to buy or DIY. 
4. Proceed with accomplishing everything on the list and see the space come together. There is room for a little tweaking along the way. 

 So then, here is step #2: my mood board. 

And step #3: my to-do list (if crossed out they are complete!)

-order eames plastic armchair (reproduction) 
-paint room
-purchase file/storage unit
-DIY fabric headboard for daybed
-DIY wallpaper projects
-DIY art 
-DIY pillow covers
-find industrial-look hanging lamp for above desk
-find vintage lamp
-create magazine storage solution
-style and finish room

I hope you follow along with me, as well as with the other 14 gals who are taking on this challenge. See you next Wednesday!

23 January 2012

the art of storing magazines

As I get deeper into the One Room Challenge, in which I am refreshing my office/reading room, I am thinking about my very large magazine collection and wondering how to store and display them all. The solution must be something cheap and/or homemade. So I've been looking around and have found some ideas. 


I have a weakness for magazines and books as decoration within my home, so they will always play a big part of many of my rooms. I love these DIY storage ideas. Which do you think I should try?

not a builder basic bathroom

My brother - the builder - has a townhome project on the go and has asked for advice on how to turn a small-standard-layout-builder-basic-bathroom into something a little more special, without spending a fortune.

Actually, there are a few easy ways to do this, and they make all the difference. Some nice tilework, a an open, floating or vintage vanity, a framed mirror, and bling lighting will amp up a basic bathroom.

Sullivan Design Studio
In a small space, I like the floating vanities with open space underneath. As long as there are some drawers for storage, it is functional yet gives an open feeling. And I'm also a fan of using a furniture piece for a vanity- vintage is even better.

via DecorPad
An upgraded countertop from laminate to granite or marble is a reasonable cost for a small vanity. Or you could check out some environmental options for countertops here.

by Kevin Oreck via cococozy
Tiling doesn't have to be the expensive glass kind. Inexpensive subway tile is 100% more interesting than drywall.  And good light sconces on the sides, along with a cute hanging light overhead will wow. I wrote about mini chandelier lighting in the bathroom here.

Architectural Digest
In a small room, these upgrades will not add all that much more to the overall cost. But they have a big return on investment.  

Raven Inside Interior Design contemporary bathroom

via House Beautiful
Aren't they worth a little extra effort?

19 January 2012

global design inspiration: Sweden

This room by Swedish stylist Jennifer Jansch calls to me.  I love the all-white shell, the industrial low-hanging pendant, the colourful rug, and the modern sectionals mixed in with the ottomans. Mixing styles makes for such a refreshing room. I might suggest this one is modern/swedish/industrial/bohemian?

18 January 2012

the one room challenge!

I'm thrilled to be participating in the One Room Challenge, created and hosted by Linda over at My Crafty Home Life. Fifteen design bloggers will be blogging every Wednesday for the next 6 weeks about our progress in redesigning and decorating one room that needs to be finished! 

Check out week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5, week 6.

My room is an office/reading room. I currently rent a condo with a small, long and narrow room with no windows, but with fantastic french doors. Right now it is a blank space with a single bed and my desk.

I want a light and comfy space to curl up for some reading, and a functional area for my desk and office needs.I'm thinking of going with a white scheme, like some of the inspiration rooms below, but there are some others here that I love as well.

                                                                      Source: blog.stylizimo.com via refresheddesigns. on Pinterest

                                                             Source: themarionhousebook.com via refresheddesigns. on Pinterest

                                                                Source: designspirationsk.com via refresheddesigns. on Pinterest

                                                                  Source: decorpad.com via refresheddesigns. on Pinterest

                                                                   Source: housetohome.co.uk via refresheddesigns. on Pinterest

                                                            Source: adesigndock.blogspot.com via refresheddesigns. on Pinterest

                                                                    Source: houseandhome.com via refresheddesigns. on Pinterest

What do you think? Next Wednesday you will see what I have decided to go with, and I will show you a design board with the elements I need. I will be trying to put together this room using a mix of new and old, and with sustainable design in mind. If you have any ideas, please send them my way. I'd love to hear from you.

Make sure to hop on over to the other participants in this challenge to follow along as they finish a dynamite room of their own.