In the spring my husband and I had several conversations about all the yard work we had to do this summer. Almost every inch of our property needed work, with the exception of our back porch and raised vegetable garden, which we built a few summers ago. We got started with some fencing in the backyard, and once that was done we started discussing the structure I wanted at the back of the yard. I wanted a place to hang out in over the summer months, and the conversations started with a deck with pergola roof, then turned into a covered roof so it could be used in the rain, then turned into a screened-in structure because I hate bugs, which then turned into a completely sealed structure so I could also store our outdoor furniture in it in the winter. What was maybe a 2-weekend project turned into a 3 months of weekends project. While this endeavour monopolized our entire summer, I look at these photos and I start tearing up. This she-shed is my dream come true. And we built the entire thing ourselves. (Before you start looking for step-by-step instructions, let me tell you that you won’t find any. We “winged” this and while it’s totally sturdy and meets all of my needs, we’re no experts). Unfortunately we finished it with only a few weeks left of warm weather, but the fact that we finished it with only working 1 day a week is a miracle.
I would like to thank the wonderful people at Farrow & Ball Canada for once again supplying me with paint for yet another one of my painting projects. This was built with basic pressure treated posts and a sort of bead-board style rough plywood for the exterior (and plastic corrugated sheets for the roof) so what were inexpensive materials and not very pleasing to the eye. I knew I was going to paint this structure and lawd half mursey was that ever an undertaking! I used their wood knot & resin primer in eggshell, then painted the exterior with exterior eggshell in Studio Green, and the interior with exterior eggshell in Yeabridge Green, and decided to stripe the floors with both colours. I will always sing the praises of Farrow & Ball paints, and now I can do so with their exterior paint. It worked like a charm and the rough plywood exterior thankfully only needed one coat. The colours are gorgeous and add drama to the exterior and a bright and cheerful vibe to the interior, whilst blending in with the tree and eventually the plants I’ll have planted next year. I could not be happier with how the paint turned out.
I mentioned to my husband one day that we should try to find some old windows for the front wall. Having no real plan in my mind we started searching Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace looking for old windows, ideally a couple leaded or stained glass ones to group and make one large window. Then husband stumbled upon a Kijiji ad that turned out was posted by Northern Art Glass, a stained glass artists’ studio a few blocks from our house, who were selling off about a hundred windows they had removed from a home (and replaced with newer ones). We went to look at them and were thrilled with how beautiful they were (despite being in rough shape) and they were selling them for $30 each! We had already built the front opening of the she-shed so husband took some measurements and realized that we could use 8 of the windows of a particular size and have them cover the entire opening. If that wasn’t enough of a miracle, when we went to pick up the windows they told us because we were buying so many they’d be $25 each! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! A whopping $200. Another miracle. And our house has all leaded windows so it gives the impression that the shed has been there as long as the house has (1940).
We had a bit of a hard time figuring out what hardware to use for the windows so they could all open and close without us having to worry about wind blowing and smashing the glass, but in the end we ended up with simple chain and eye hooks to prop open the lower horizontal windows, and my genius husband found some bronze lid hinges on Amazon for $12.50/4 that work perfectly for the upper vertical windows. And then sliding latches on each one to seal them closed.
On each side of the she-shed we installed barn door tracks and went to Habitat for Humanity Restore and found 2 gorgeous solid oak doors for $40 a piece. On the entrance side (the photo above) my husband built a screen door, and on the other side the opening is a screened frame so on really warm days all the windows can be opened, and both doors can slide back for air flow from one side to the other. With those openings screened in, and all of the windows having screened frames, and with the floor boards being siliconed in each of the seams (I told you I hate bugs!) this is a completely bug-free zone. So no matter how bad the mosquitos might get, I can relax out here and not fret. I should also point out that this area of the yard is shaded all day except for maybe 1.5 hours in the late afternoon so the clear plastic roof was a great choice as it keeps the space really bright and should not get too hot when temperatures soar.
Before I get to the interior, I will warn you that aside from the polka dot rug (H&M) and the floor lamp and basket (Homesense), everything else was sourced from around the house. With this project and the subsequent landscaping projects I have coming, there was really no budget nor time to do much else. The art I bought a couple of years ago from my friend Sara for I think $40, and all of the textiles and the hanging rope chair are brought back from past trips to Mexico. I’m hoping I’ll have some funds in the spring to have husband build a platform along the back wall and have seat cushions made, and then we can buy a projector and screen so we can have movie nights out here. When I dream, I dream BIG! In the meantime I have gotten as much use out of the space as I can before winter hits. I have even worked from home several days and spent it out here, and hope to get a couple more days in this week too.
The day of this photo shoot I dumped all of this black mulch around the she-shed to hide the dirt. We have lots of landscaping work to still do back here but you’ll have to wait until spring to see what we do. And the day before the shoot I picked up these sweet retro Solair chairs on sale from The Modern Shop. I was sooooo relieved because I’ve always wanted these, and wasn’t sure what I was going to put here that would look decent enough to photograph. Score x 4!
Throwing in a progress shot below. You can see why this was absolute hell to paint. Add in 8 windows to get the full picture of how much time I spent painting.
A few months ago the folks at Eternity Modern emailed us about a blog feature. I had not heard of this company before so I took a look around their website and was delighted to know they are headquartered in Vancouver (Canadian eh!) and have an appreciation for some of the best classic mid-century designs. They carry sofas, lounge chairs, dining tables and chairs, sideboards, office chairs and more, of the designs of geniuses like Hans Wegner, Eero Saarinen, Le Corbusier, Finn Juhl, Warren Platner and many more. I was asked to review a product from their shop and I wasn’t sure what to choose at first, until I came across their version of the Noguchi Freeform sofa & ottoman. I have dreamt of owning a curved sofa for quite some time, and knew I would never come across one in the wild here in Ottawa, land of some of the most boring vintage furniture, so as soon as I spotted this sofa I was sold.
The 9 or so weeks I had to wait for my sofa to be made based on my fabric selection were the longest 9 weeks of my life. Selecting fabrics was a bit agonizing too – Eternity Modern has options for this piece of either bouclé wool, cashmere or velvet (or custom, using your own fabric!). They will send along fabric samples which is VERY handy to help with the decision making process. Given the amount of cats I have I knew velvet would be ideal for me (so easy to wipe the fur off!), but picking colours was tough. I was torn between rose mauve and ginger cider for the base and ottoman but after asking on Instagram it seemed the ginger cider was the winner. I then chose slate pebble for the back rest. That done I started thinking about furniture placement in my living room. This sofa is rather large – a little over 10 feet long. and it ranges in width from left to right to form the curve so it’s the perfect sofa to have at an angle. The ottoman is no slouch at almost 4 feet long.
I realized once it arrived that I would have to rearrange the entire room to fit it at the longer end as it really it quite large and needs a fair amount of space. The photo below shows an “aerial” view (me standing on a chair) so you can really get an idea of the curves. It is absolutely gorgeous.
And I have to say it’s really well made.The velvet is beautiful and I hope wears well over time. It is perhaps a bit more firm than I would prefer (I just noticed the site says “cushion softness customizable”) but I’m sure it will soften in time. I had a nap on it the other day and to be able to spread out with the cats around me was fabulous. 🙂
I am really happy with my purchase (keeping things real here – I received a discount on the sofa, it was not free of charge). The only issue that came out of this whole process was with the shipping. Perhaps my fault for insisting the sofa be delivered on the estimated day the shipping company had noted on their site as I had booked the day off work, but when only one guy showed up and could not get it off the truck, I climbed in, unwrapped some of the packaging and helped carry this beast (I think it weighs over 200 lbs) into my garage. I was so excited to finally have my Freeform sofa in my living room as I had sold my previous sofa right after purchasing this one, that I was willing to do anything to get this in my house!
I am in love. It really is the sofa of my dreams.
A couple of quick notes about Eternity Modern: the designs are all identical to the original, shipping is free over $1000, their prices are great and totally reasonable for the quality of their products, they have a large selection of really beautiful fabrics. And did I mention they have a Canadian site? That is key for me as I detest spending money on exchange rates, duty, handling, and all the other fees that mysteriously pop up when shopping internationally. They do have a US site and have warehouse and distribution centers throughout the world.
I took a few shots around the room to show what else I have going on in there since I really did have to rearrange everything to fit the sofa in. It was alot of fun to work it into the space and create a new, lighter zone in that end of the room. I’m still going to be fussing with the layout a bit and the accessories but this is what I had going on during photo shoot day.
My husband bought me this swing-arm lamp about 10 years ago off eBay from the Netherlands I think, and it has been in a box in storage waiting for the perfect spot all those years. When the sofa arrived I realized it matches perfectly with the colour of the back rest. I’m so stoked to be able to finally use it!
My sister Jen was doing a tour of all the ice cream shops in the city she could find over the summer, and took this photo of my niece Adelina on one of their stops. She had eaten black ice cream and I had to have this photo blown up. I found a vintage frame in storage and for under $20 I have new art over my fireplace.
Where my last sofa was became the plant and book zone.
Across from the sofa I added some Panton chairs and a lucite table under my antique mirror (collage in the reflection that is hanging over the sofa was a new purchase for the space by Stephanie Clayton via Artfix Cultured Studios)
I’m always on the hunt for new art for my home, so I was stoked when the folks from ArtPhotoLimited (a start-up based in France who just launched in the UK) ed me recently. My absolute favourite medium is photography so this was right up my alley as they offer a wide range of fine art quality photographs in limited editions. The themes of their art are broad – wildlife, movies, vintage, landscape, street, sport, and many more including my favourite – architecture. I selected the photo above for my upcoming living room refresh. It’s a limited edition of 30 titled La lanterne by photographer Strec Gil from Metz, France. I chose 90x60cm and it was sent to me unframed (they offer framing) so off I went to Ikea and chose what ended up being a really terrible quality frame (the Lomviken, but I guess at $35 I deserved a frame that barely stayed together and bowed in the middle, though maybe because I could not use the mat?). It is printed on beautiful pigment baryta paper and I was very pleased with how sharp the photo turned out. I’m excited to get my new sofa and rug and see it all in place. Thanks ArtPhotoLimited!
While on the subject of art, I had to share this absolutely stunning home of painter Aurel Basedow in Lake Como. Aurel’s abstract art is gorgeous in his home, particularly the resin-finished pieces against the chalk?lime? painted walls. (And those hex tile floors!!!) Breathtaking! Via MilK Decoration, photos by Mads Mogensen
Over the Christmas holidays I was pretty busy shooting photos around my house. Reason for that was last Friday I had the absolute honour of having a house tour feature on Design*Sponge. !!!!! And because I only randomly feature photos of my home on here, I thought I should share a bunch of the photos here for you folks as well. You can check out the tour here which includes descriptions of each space and a list of resources. I am fortunate to have been included on Grace’s blog before she shuts it down in August. D*S has been around even longer than our beloved DTI so this is really sad to hear. Thank you D*S and particularly Kelli Kehler whom I worked with on this feature. Now on to the photos…
It has been a while since I shared anything happening around my house but unfortunately there hasn’t been much going on because I LOVE SUMMER and there is no way I’m going to spend what little free time I have not lounging poolside. I have insisted that since my husband and I don’t take any vacations over the summer that we do something fun each weekend and lately that has been visiting some flea markets. As a result I have some photos of my finds from those jaunts and a few other purchases I have made lately (nothing major though as I also need to sell off some furniture to make room). I also received some new books that I wanted to share.
Let’s start with some of the new bits and bobs I have acquired. First, up is a photo of a spot in my living room where I now showcase some pieces from my main squeeze and the best collector of vintage fabulousness there is, Rhett Baruch.
The purple steel cube sculpture and brass vase on the mantle are from Rhett. Now 2 of the coolest things I own. Also new is the curved glass vase on the floor I picked up last weekend at the McHaffie Flea Market. The perfect lead-in to a photo of all my scores from that trip:
As much as I try, I can’t seem to quit collecting West German pottery so there are 3 new pieces of that, along with some glass, some studio pottery and a couple of animals to bring some of the wild in. 🙂 The glass and WGP is from Sherry and Gordon’s awesome booth Off the Wall Retro.
Another recent trip was to Montreal to check out the St-Michel flea market. I always score there but no furniture though which was a bummer. I did however come home with this:
I’ll show you where I put most of these. (The light is yet to be installed in my media room. I have a little painting project for in there too so I’ll share that once it’s completed).
That adorable little black glass lamp is lighting up my dining room sideboard. (Most of the items on there with it are from Vanier Moderns)
That 80’s funky pedestal is now a plant stand in my dining room.
The solid marble (!!!) pedestal is in my foyer topped with my gorgeous new West German vase (with smaller vase on the tulip repro table, and a Chinese plant pot I found at Value Village for $3.99).
Not sure what to do with this pretty white pot so I stuck it by my plant table so the next time I buy a big plant I’ll remember to plant it in that. 🙂
Two new pieces of art fit perfectly on my neutral toned gallery wall in the bedroom. Top right is the one I picked up in Montreal and the woman’s head up at the top is brass and wood on burlap – LOVE – from Off the Wall Retro.
I almost didn’t buy her but someone left a DM on my Instagram story about her and I realized what an idiot I was so I ran back and snapped her up. (She’s an original so they priced her at a whopping $30). I hung her on this wall so I can see her every time I walk down the hall to the main bathroom.
Oh – and I repainted my kitchen! (In case you missed this in one of my pets on furniture series) It was a dark blue before and I frankly am not a big fan of blue. I used up some of the leftover paint from my dining room makeover – Farrow & Ball’s Picture Gallery Red. Get this – I hate red more than blue! This red though is out of this world. I absolutely adore it. Such a warm and cozy colour. Now I just need to get some new cabinets and a decent stove and I’m all set! 😉
Ok now on to the new books. Tuttle Publishing sells the cutest little books about gardening that I absolutely love. These 2 make wonderful additions to my growing collection. The first is Miniature Japanese Gardens that shows you how to create simple Japanese-style container gardens using inexpensive plants and materials that are available everywhere. Diagrams demonstrate how to organize the plants, and step-by-step instructions on how to build and care for your mini gardens. (By Kenji Kobayashi)
They also sent over the book Stylish Succulents. I adore succulents so I was stoked to add this to my pile of gardening books. This one could have been called “planting for dummies” because it describes each step of making some of the most beautiful succulent arrangements I have ever seen. It even shows you how to make a succulent wreath! So freaking cool!!! This one is by garden and green interior designers Yoshinobu and Tomomi Kondo, collectively known as TOKIIRO.