December 27, 2014

kitchen inspiration

our new kitchen is definitely a vast improvement from our old one.  it's shaped like a U, which is much more conducive to cooking (everything is just an arm reach away).  the layout is one thing that i really like about it.  but the biggest problem with what we have right now is that it is so dark.  the cupboards are dark brown, the counter tops are flecked with browns (i call it the coffee counter top), the lighting in the space is poor, and its located at the back of the unit far from a window.

so...the challenge with this space is to brighten it up. work with what we have (the place is only a year old, so ripping out the counters for new ones seems like such a waste!) to make it what we want.

this image is what really inspired me to look at the kitchen as a challenge that can be solved. the counter tops are almost the same colour as ours and the black splash is quite close as well.  i think lighter cupboards will go a long way to brighten up the space.

(image from apartment therapy)

i am also trying really hard to look beyond all of the beautiful white kitchen pictures i see on pinterest.  they are so darn beautiful!  pinterest has been really amazing to help me visualize the space and come up with other, more realistic, ideas to incorporate into the space - there are a lot of other images that are just as beautiful.  with lighter accessories and counter tops, dark cabinets can look brighter (it may be worth looking at new counter options, although i do feel slightly guilty about this because ours are so new).  i also really like the look of the two tone cabinets - maybe dark on the bottom and light on top?

(images from house beautifulmodern jane, & domaine )

now let's talk storage.  while we do have a decent amount of cupboard space, we sure do have a heck of a lot of stuff!  while purging & condensing has been an ongoing battle, some of these ideas seem smart & practical.  i love the idea of displaying the cookbooks like art in the kitchen - super cute and makes them easy to access. hanging the pots from the ceiling is another idea i have been toying with. i really like the look of this, and it makes grabbing them really easy, but i worry that it will just make the space look cluttered.  i found the post that goes along with the third image really helpful - and actually adopted the same idea.  basically, she talks about how she decided against multiple sets of dishes for one set that is nice enough to be used for fancy occasions, but casual enough for everyday use.

cheap kitchen decorating idea  Simplify + Organize Your Daily Servingware //

while the kitchen doesn't allow for as much change as the other rooms, i think we can still do a lot to brighten the space.  since everything was picked out for us, i feel that right now the space doesn't really feel like "us".  but what fun is getting exactly what you want - it just means we will have to work harder & be more creative to make this kitchen exactly what we want.  challenge accepted!

December 09, 2014

dining room inspiration

i have three goals for this room: i want it to have a beautiful light fixture, to highlight/enhance some of the older pieces we have, and to be functional (because we live in such a small space, this room also has to pull double duty).

goal 1 [light]
ever since i can remember, i have wanted a chandelier in my home.  i love them, and would joke that my dream house would have one in every room!  now that i have a dining room, i finally have the opportunity to put one in. it it doesn't have to be large, but it needs to have character.  if i could find the right one, i think a fancy classic chandelier would be perfect for the space.

but, the room is such a blank slate right now that something modern could also work.  i really like the way the bare bulbs look hanging from the ceiling. different bulbs and lengths allow for a simple way to add character to the room.


via: pinterest
(images from coconfouatotwigs + sand)

goal 2 [decor]
the one piece of furniture in our home that holds the most sentimental value to me is the dining room table.  it was my grandfathers, and the seat cushions were hand made by my grandmother.  we always celebrated christmas eve as a family at my grandparents, with my parents & cousins piling around the table to enjoy a wonderful holiday meal.  it means so much and brings back so many happy memories.  for that reason, i want it to stand out in this room.

the chair cushions are too valuable & old to keep on the chairs. i think refinishing the chairs would help preserve their lifespan.  adding fun patterned fabric on the seat cushions would be a way to brighten up the room and add a touch of modern to such a old table.

these days i am also really loving the contrast of metal chairs against the rustic wooden table.  while it would not work with the chairs we currently have, they could always be re-purposed to another area of the house (we only have 4 chairs anyways).  the faux white fur adds a nice, comfortable touch, and the mesh pattern provides a minimal look next to the beautiful table.

(images from country living, refinery 29)

goal 3 [function - storage & pantry]
since the dining room table is the most important part of the room, something small that can be tucked into the corner would be ideal. i fell in love with the idea of using simple bookcase as a pantry (decorated on top with a beautiful tray & vintage bar bottles perhaps).  it would be a perfect place to store home canned preserves and some of the more beautiful serving dishes we have.

bookshelf pantry
(image from sweet tidings)

[function - laundry room]
the laundry closet is tucked in this room (it was originally labelled a den), and the door requires quite a bit of room to open.  the dining room table is already a tight squeeze, and this restriction isn't helping.  ever since we saw the place, we both instantly saw the potential for a sliding door in this spot (it was actually sort of weird, it was the first thing out of our mouths).  the first image is what started this whole idea - if only the laundry closet were slightly larger! and, if finding an old door proves difficult, there is a wonderful tutorial on how to make one.

55cade2461f547e2db50d18db1a030e4  Perfect for small spaces! sliding door DIY (click through for tutorial)
(images from liz marie blog & a beautiful mess)

this room needs a lot of work. it's a blank canvas just waiting to be painted.  i am not as sure about this room as i am with the bedroom or bathroom either, and know my ideas and tastes will change as we get started.  i cannot wait to share the process and the finished outcome!

November 26, 2014

yarn wreath

happy hump day! i have a cute project to share today :)  a while back i saw a picture of this adorable festive wreath made with yarn.  i loved it & wanted one of my own.  the only problem was i had no clue where to get one.  so i decided to make my own!

what you need:  foam ring (circle or squared edges, whichever you prefer). yarn. ribbon.

what you do: take the end of the yarn, and wrap it around the foam once.  you can either tie a knot to secure it, or wrap over the end a few times to secure the piece.  then you keep wrapping and wrapping and wrapping.

in order to get the best coverage, i went around the ring a few times, wrapping in chunks without forcing the yarn to shift direction.  as you can see from the picture below, there were gaps in the yarn.  because i used yarn that changed colours, i tried to stay consistent with the colouring each time i went around.

once i was happy with how the yarn looked, making sure i didn't miss any spots, i cut the yarn leaving a few inches, and wrapped/tucked the piece into the wrapped yarn at the back of the wreath.  for the final touch, i tied a piece of pink ribbon to the top.

this project was really fun to do - a perfect craft to make while sitting and watching a movie or listening to a record.

November 24, 2014

chalkboard wall

for months we have been talking about getting a chalkboard for the kitchen. somewhere to keep track of grocery items we need, recipes we've picked out for the week, or fun notes to leave each other.  today i came home to a beautifully finished patch of framed chalkboard paint!

this was a really quick project - b was able to quickly apply coats between errands.  all that you need is : chalkboard paint, a brush, painters tape (if you don't trust yourself to make a straight line), and if desired, a wooden frame to rest on top & frame the chalkboard/hide the edges.

in order to make sure the square would fit perfectly in the frame, b lightly traced both the inside and outside edges of the frame onto the wall using a pencil.  the tape was then run in the middle of these 2 lines, making the rectangle that will become the chalkboard.

after applying 2-3 coats of chalkboard paint and letting it dry between coats (following the directions on the tin), peel the tape off & hang your frame.  two coats of paint on our wall did the trick.  and, don't forget to condition the surface. to do this you rub the side of a piece of chalk over the entire surface and then erase it. this leaves a coat of chalk dust that will help provide better erasability.

voila, the beautiful finished product!  i love that the chalkboard adds functionality and the frame adds character.

November 13, 2014

bathroom inspiration

this room is a bit of a challenge in our condo.  it's small and has no windows. as someone prone to dark colours, this room is going to be a difficult one to do.  its used for shaving (him) and makeup (her), so it needs to be bright.

between the two of us we have come up with 98 different ideas on how to do this room, and they change weekly.  i have a feeling this is going to be one of the last rooms we do so that we can make sure we agree on something and stick to the same idea(ish).

one thing that i am loving these days is wallpaper and wainscoting.  it's a simple way to add some fun to a room without overpowering it.

City Toile (White) Screen Printed

with simple decor it's all about the details.  these gold fixtures and mirrors make a simple bathroom look so much fancier.

(images from, color me caitie)

the one thing you can never underestimate is the power of the extras - towels, bathmats, shower curtains, storage.  they are such a simple way to add to a room without doing all that much.  

green is my favourite colour, so i am absolutely in love with the first picture.  the emerald accent is beautiful.  it makes a simple black and white bathroom look like so much more.  i am also drooling over the shelves in the second photo (with the beautiful dramatic dark back) and baskets in the second photo.  such a great way to store extras.  using a dresser as a vanity is something i would love to do, but worry about space. i even have the perfect dresser for it.  such a nice way to add some character.


so many ideas for such a small room. it's going to be hard to decide, but no matter what i know we will pick well & love it.  cannot wait to share what we decide!

November 09, 2014

tray redo

this dark tray wasn't doing anything for the dark coffee table it was sitting (in addition to giving me a splinter every time i touched it). what easier way to spruce it up then a coat of paint.

as you can tell, this was a very low budget project.  the tray was actually free, given by a family member.  the only "tools" needed were sandpaper, white paint (i had grabbed a sample container of white for $5.00 at home depot for a previous project) & a fun paint colour for the top coat (i picked up this paint from michael's using a 50% off coupon). 

first i painted the white on the dark tray, so that the shade of yellow wouldn't be tinted darker.  after the white dried, i painted a few coats of the yellow paint (the original shade i painted was too dark, so i did a second layer in much lighter, sunnier yellow), letting it dry fully between coats.  finally, after the yellow paint dried (i waited until the next day), i aggressively sanded down the edges, corners, bumps and patches to bring out the shades under.  in some spots i sanded right through all the layers of paint to the wood.

this was my first attempt at distressing a painted item, & am quite pleased at how it turned out. the yellow adds a fresh pop of colour, bright with just a hint of worn. i thought it looked too new with just the paint - the scratches and scuffs give it character.  now i just need to find a home for it.  best of all, it was surprisingly easy.  have you ever tried distressed a freshly painted item? how did it turn out?

November 05, 2014

bedroom inspiration

i have been in serious bedroom design mode lately.  so many amazing and inspiring ideas floating out there.

the one thing i knew i wanted when we moved in was dark grey walls. our bedroom has a very large window that lets in a lot of light, so we can go a shade or two darker without making the room feel dark & dingy.


while i love my bed frame - the malm frame from ikea (complete with under the bed drawers for storage), the frame is very simple. i really like this idea of revamping the headboard to give it a bit more character.

(image from sugar & cloth)

and no bedroom is complete without a cozy blanket on the bed.


so much possibility!  this is one room i am really excited to work on.

October 26, 2014


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what a difference a little texture makes

our bathroom is very much a work in progress, with a lot of potential ideas on the go.  but, that being said, very little has actually been done to the room.  everything is white - the walls (still the horrible builders paint), shower curtain, vanity, shelves, and bath mat.  the room just feels blah, and it has been driving me crazy!

so yesterday we finally hung a nice (still white) textured shower curtain, and i am so surprised at how much it adds to the room. it looks a million times better already!

October 20, 2014


welcome to our little corner of the internet. i'm so glad you stopped by.

just over a year ago we moved into our tiny 640 square foot apartment that we had just bought (eek!) - myself, my photography loving aspiring chef partner, our two crazy adorable cats and our hilarious fish.  it's a one bedroom in a condo building that hadn't even registered when we moved.  and while it's nice to have everything sparkly and new, the unit came without the character or history that older homes have.

so, that brings me to why we have decided to start this:  it's a way to explore and share ideas and projects on how we turn this little square box into a unique, warm and inviting home.  i have had a million and one ideas on things to do since we looked at the unit over a year ago, with more crazy and fun ideas popping in my head every day.

and no blog of ours would be complete with plenty of photos of food, the cats (sorry, i just cannot help myself), and the sorts of shenanigans we get into.

i cannot wait to get started!