Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Finding the light

I am loving the way light streams into the condo during the day time.  Our bedroom, living room and kitchen always feel so light and airy.  Except when the sun goes down, that is.

Now that the days are becoming shorter, and the sun is setting earlier, it's getting pretty dark in our main living area.  Since we have yet to install a ceiling fixture in over our dining table, there are no lights at all in the living/dining room.  Unless you count the blue glow coming from the television, which is not ideal for painting my nails.  Or reading.  Or doing anything, really.

At the moment, we don't have any side tables, or a proper console/hutch for the television, so a table lamp isn't an option.  Which leaves a floor lamp as the answer.  This is very exciting to me, since I am in love with so many of the different styles of floor lamps these days!

This STUDIO floor lamp from ZONE is one of my favourites!

But since our floor lamp needs to take up as minimal space as possible, a small base is what we need.  I picture it squeezing in beside/behind Cedric, next to the window.

And based on the available space, I think something along the lines of these styles will work best...

The big dipper arc floor lamp from CB2 ($229)

The ALBI floor lamp from Zone ($218)

The BAROMETER floor reading lamp from IKEA ($69.99)

The NYFORS floor reading lamp from IKEA ($79.99)

The FLEX floor lamp from ZONE ($186)

I obviously like the IKEA lamps' price tags better.  However, we do have a $200 gift card for ZONE which has been burning a hole in my wallet for a few weeks now.  Right now, I am really liking the last lamp, Mr. FLEX with his traditional shade.

To keep you in the loop, here are a few pictures depicting the current status of our main living space.  

You can see our new dining chairs, tucked between Cedric and the kitchen, which we love!  Our table, however, has yet to arrive and we've actually be notified by Phillip Van Leeuwen that it won't be delivered until December of this year.  Yes, that is almost a year of waiting after we made the purchase over boxing week in 2011.  

Basically they manufactured the wrong one, which delayed the process along with a host of other reasons.  They've been pretty sympathetic about it all and will be sending us a $100 cheque (not store credit, actual money) and will be delivering and assembling the piece for free.  

Here's a reminder picture, as I assume you've forgotten what it looks like (we have!)

Until then we live with this random wood table hidden under whatever tablecloth I have on hand!

The next picture below shows how we really do need a proper hutch for the television.  Although our swivel stand for the has served us well, I can't stand how all the cords and wires are visible in the back.  Which is why I've used baskets and urns to try and disguise them!

On a side note, the beautiful teal and brown urn you see in the front of my vignette is from my dear friends Christine and Vanessa.  They always give the most thoughtful birthday gifts!  

This is the type of hutch I am on the look-out for.  A beautiful mid-century teak piece, with clean lines, timeless style and loads of storage.  I've seen them advertised on kijiji and craig's list as well as in antique shops anywhere between $150 and $1000.  

I think between the old craig's list trunk we're using as our coffee table and a nice mid-century hutch, we'll be able to balance the very modern finishings of our condo to create a more eclectic, lived-in and well-rounded style.  While still taking inspiration from "coastal modern" of course!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Painting laminate furniture - project complete!

Ok, now that the summer of weddings has ended, I've found some time to complete my book shelves.

Remember how our old laminate book cases went from this: 

to this:

Huge improvement, right?

Too bad the painting fairy never showed up over the last 4 weeks to finish my project, though.  I still needed to give the back of the all-white case one more coat of paint as well as paint all of the shelves (4 per book case).  

Once I realized said fairy wasn't showing up found some spare time in my life, I finally tackled the rest of this project.  

I took the same steps painting the shelves, as I did with the actual book cases.  It took one afternoon to paint the shelves and then another 2 days for them to sit out on our balcony drying.  

Without further adieu, here are some photos of the final result!

I love how the blue back turned out.  I think the white pieces look really fresh and the colourful accents keep it feeling playful and not too serious.  I'm sure the shelves will be ever-changing because that's my idea of a good time :)

I'm happy I decided to keep the book chase in the living area solid white.  The plan is to move this book case to another room once we eventually purchase a proper hutch to use as a television stand.  So the fact that it is all-white will make it easier to match with other things.  

I like adding colour by layering framed art at the back of the shelves.  We have a few pieces that still need to be framed.  Can't wait to get on that!

In the end, this project probably took me a total of 10 hours and cost roughly $140.  Overpriced, probably.  But I'm totally happy with the result and the fact that I didn't have to spend money on brand new book cases.  So, I say to all of you wondering if you should paint your brown laminate pieces of furniture, go for it!  It's amazing what a coat (or four) of paint can do!  

And 10 points to those who noticed my blue ikat pillow!  I sort of made him centre stage in the last few pics :)  It's a new purchase from Home Sense this weekend for $24.99. I love their pillow selection, and I think it ties in with my colours wonderfully. 

Next on the condo décor to-do list  is hanging bedroom curtains.  I purchased some black-out curtains from Bouclair Home last week and am dying to mount them.  Our bedroom never seems to get too dark with the city lights at night time and bright sun in the mornings.  

So, I know there isn't a painting fairy, but do  you think there is one who hangs curtains???

Monday, August 20, 2012

My best friend's wedding

My best friend forever got married this past weekend!  It was such a whirl wind of excitement, planning, emotions, anxiety, fun and most of all love.

I am so happy for Ashley and Matt, who are now taking a well-deserved "mini-moon" together, to relax after this big event.  They are planning a larger-scale honeymoon to Italy next May.

Ashley had a beautiful garden party style wedding in her Aunt and Uncle's backyard.  Her colour scheme was gray and yellow with accents of white and green.  It was so fresh!  The wedding was complete with the big, crisp white tent, lanterns, lush greenery, a bathtub of beer (yes - bathtub!), white twinkle lights and an in-ground swimming pool that some guests (and the groom) may or may not have jumped into later in the night.

To keep it simple - it was perfect.  Ashley totally blew my mind by executing the most beautiful backyard wedding I could have imagined.  I say she blew my mind because she was never one to day dream about all the details of her future wedding or go crazy with a wedding pinterest board before (or even after) she got engaged.  Unlike me, her best friend, who awkwardly purchased wedding magazines without an engagement ring and who basically had a wedding planned for every season so that I would be prepared.

Ashley went into her wedding planning with a fresh pallet, free of any preconceived ideas or plans.  And I think that is great.

Her concept was that she wanted to DIY as much as possible, keep the cost low while filling everyone up with the love her and Matt share along with delicious food and lots of beer and wine.  She didn't want things to feel stuffy, overly formal or too "planned out".  Kind of like a fancier backyard BBQ with a wedding to kick things off.

And she succeeded in doing just that.  The wedding reflected her and Matt perfectly.  They are a very down to earth couple, who focused on the important aspects of the wedding without getting caught up in the silly details which is so easy to do.

Here are a few pictures of the wedding venue, so that you can have a small appreciation for all the hard work Ashley put into her special day.  All while looking amazingly beautiful, I might add!

And here are a few action shots during the ceremony which was held in the front yard.

In the limo, on our way to the wedding!  These are Ashley's beautiful sisters on the left.  

And the bride, herself, who could not have looked more stunningly beautiful.  Matt's a pretty lucky guy!!!

The photos above were taken by me and a few of the wedding guests.  Here is a sneak peek from Ashley's amazing wedding photographer Tiffany Richard from Photography by Tiff.

Congratulations Ashley and Matt!  I wish you the all the happiness in the world as you grow together in your marriage!


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Painting laminate furniture

How was your long-weekend?  I hope it was a nice combination of fun in the sun, socializing with friends and family, topped with a generous dose of (insert favourite beverage here)!

We had a great weekend - my first weekend spent at the condo actually!  It was nice to wake up and enjoy our new space instead of having to rush off to work.  I still sort of feel like I'm on a vacation, living in someone else's home.

Although we were quite busy socializing with friends, I did find the time on holiday Monday to tackle a portion of my painting project.  And for my first attempt at painting furniture, I think it went pretty well.

Saturday, Derek and I decided to shop local and we hit up the Benjamin Moore paint store on Beachwood for our supplies.  After leaving there having spent almost $140 we decided that it probably wasn't the most economical store for our project.  Live and learn, right?!

We purchased all the necessary supplies that any beginner requires...

  • a small foam roller
  • an angled foam brush 
  • paint tray with disposable liners
  • a large plastic drop cloth
  • sanding block
  • paint
The nice lady at the store suggested we go with their Aura Interior Paint.  Maybe because they claim that it is the finest paint they've ever made, "offering the most advanced way to bring colour to life", but probably because it's the most expensive.  Either way, she hooked us.

One gallon of decorator's white (CC-20) cost us $73.  (GASP!  That $!@% cray!)  We went with the satin finish.  The good news is that it's a great colour (can you call white a colour?) and I plan to use on other pieces of furniture.  It also comes with a built in primer which meant I could skip that step.  The website insists that "Aura paint covers like no other, with even the deepest shades never requiring more than two coats."  My project actually required three coats.

For the accent colour in the back of the cabinets we chose Pool Blue (2052-50).  It came to about $25 for a quart of the Aura in satin finish.  We both loved how refreshing it felt, and it really reminded me of my inspiration photo:

Monday arrived and Derek helped me set-up on our balcony before leaving to play golf.  I'll admit, it was a little crowded out there, but I managed.  Condo living = learning to deal with tight spaces!

Before I got started I was pretty nervous, having never tackled such a project.  But I remember something I read recently about how beginner DIY'ers shouldn't be scared or hesitant and need to just DIVE IN!  So that's what I did.  Without thinking about it too much, I got to sanding and painting right away!

Here's a little timeline of photos for you....

After one coat.

After two coats.

Three coats!  I actually only did two coats on the back since I would be painting it in pretty pool blue.

After one coat of pool blue:

Digging the blue!

And they are in!  I had to cut my painting session short to head out to my soccer game, and I was only able to finish one coat of blue paint on the one unit.  We still need to paint all the shelves too.  Over all I'm pretty happy, and I think once the shelves are up and they are styled it will look more "coastal modern" and less "little boy's room".

As for how I edged around the inside with blue paint, I actually sacrificed one of my eye shadow brushes.  The angled foam brush the lady at Benjamin Moore suggested just wasn't doing the trick and since it was a holiday everything was closed.  

A few other things I learned:
  • wait the complete hour and a half before applying your next coat
  • watch out for drips and catch them as soon as you can
  • light, smooth coats are better than thick ones

Although I may not have used the best painting techniques or overspent on supplies, I'm glad I decided to just dive right in.  Even if they are not perfect, I think it's a great improvement from the dark brown laminate we started with!

Do you agree?

Derek actually commented that the inside of our condo is beginning to resemble the colour scheme on the outside of the building!  Maybe we were subliminally inspired by the outside design!

I am itching to finish painting so that I can style my book shelves!  Derek said he might tackle the rest of the painting which would be nice.  I will keep you posted on how it goes!