Displaying posts labeled "Li’s House"

My credenza makeover

Posted on Wed, 5 Oct 2016 by KiM

Yesterday I shared my dining room makeover, so today I thought I would show you what happened to my credenza. Some may love, some may hate, but it’s working for now so I am going to enjoy it until I can maybe afford something fancy. 

Soon after we moved in I noticed  was selling a bunch of pieces of this walnut veneer (??) vintage furniture in Montreal so off we went with my mom’s massive SUV and trailer and picked up this credenza, a headboard, 2 side tables and an armoire. All for an awesome price (or free because some of it he just wanted to get rid of). I loved the somewhat brutalist pattern in the doors and still do, and it fits PERFECTLY in this alcove (7′ long). It has SO much storage with pull out drawers behind the doors on the left and right sides and drawers down the centre. 

Pre-makeover of the room it was pretty cute. But then we went and refinished the floors grey. Then I had that hemlock dining table made (blonde and grey wood). After that the orange tones of this credenza were just AWFUL. We looked into buying Ikea kitchen cabinets to fit in the alcove and getting a marble top made but the cabinets alone with shelving/drawers inside would have been over a thousand dollars. YEAH. NO. And I could not find anything this long that wasn’t a gazillion dollars. 

After much thought, I committed the worst crime of all and painted the credenza. It was a bitch of a job but in the end, saved me a ton of money until I can afford something totally fabulous. 

I painted it  by Farrow & Ball that I used on the alcove windows and doors. I figured this was the safest colour choice, and I wanted the dining table to stand out and this to blend in more. It sat like this with an unfinished top for several months. Why you ask? Because I was determined to purchase a piece of white carrara marble for the top because I am obsessed with white carrara marble. Husband called around and we got several insane quotes for around $3,000. UH NO THANKS. Seriously?! We managed to find one place who offered to cut us the piece we needed for $800. I was game, and we visited their warehouse, then the showroom, then the warehouse, then the showroom (why we had to do this I still don’t know) and several emails in between and I was all CAN YOU JUST CUT ME A DAMN PIECE OF MARBLE ALREADY? So guess what happened? Absolutely nothing. After a few emails asking when our marble would be ready, we never received a response. I was fed up at this point and decided these people could go to hell, and I came up with a PLAN B. I enlisted husband to search online for a really nice looking white marble paper. And he found a roll on eBay for a grand total with shipping of $50.77. 

I was nervous that I would screw up the measurements and cutting but I managed to do a decent job.

I had curled the ends over the side in this photo and not done the front yet, but I realized this would not fly as this paper was VERY thick so I cut the sides off and re-cut separate side pieces. The beauty of this whole project is that this credenza had this raised part on the top so when covered in the paper it looks like a really thick piece of marble. I think in the end this looks better than if I had of stuck a piece of marble on this already raised top. 

I sooo dig the pattern on the front of this beast. Too bad I didn’t shut the middle drawer tight. YEESH!

Here’s a detail shot of the marble pattern. There are some air bubbles that I need to poke out, and I probably should have installed it with one of those squeegee things to really get the air out but I was a paper virgin and didn’t know any better. 

And voilà! My credenza transformation. 🙂

My dining room makeover

Posted on Tue, 4 Oct 2016 by KiM

Progress on my house has been slow, and every room had finishing touches that never seemed to get done, like stupid baseboard trim. Thanks to a photo shoot of my home a couple of weeks ago (so exciting!!!) my husband and I finally completed the majority of the rooms, and I spent last weekend shooting the dining and living rooms. More photographing required, but it is a good start, and today I would like to share my dining room in its current state (I say that because I am always changing things around and on the hunt for decor items that are more fab than what I currently have). So above is what the space looked like right after we moved in. Boring white ceiling that did not showcase the amazing curve, horrible HORRIBLE mahogany coloured stain/varnish/crap on all the window trim, doors and corner built-in. All of the hardwood on the main floor is oak and was stained this hideous yellow/orange. Whoever thought red trim and orange floors was a good idea was a complete moron. The previous owners took the chandelier with them and left us with nothing hence the lack of overhead light. The table was the rather small and narrow one from our last house with some random chairs and a bench. This room needed a COMPLETE overhaul. Note: The photo above was taken with a very wide angle lens – the room is 10’x14′ and the alcove is about 1.75′ deep.  

A little peek into the room because I had to show you what the gorgeous curved double doors with stained glass leading into the room from the foyer look like. These doors slay me. They are so freaking fabulous. Especially now that they aren’t mahogany!!! The colour is by Farrow & Ball. 

And this is the space now. All new everything! 

The vintage reproduction tulip chairs and credenza I picked up in Montreal from . The paint is on the walls and baseboards and on the ceiling by Farrow & Ball. I have gone dark with most of this house so I decided to go with light colours in here for something a little unexpected and to make this house not seem so cave-like. And mostly so my family will stop poking fun at me. 

The cushions are upholstered in brown velvet which is not my first choice but given I have many cats, velvet is really the way to go. One day I will have new cushions made (the foam is basically disintegrating) and upholster them in something crazy like red or a deep burgundy. The rug I picked up at Homesense, and its super duper low pile makes it the easiest rug to clean I have ever owned. We had the floors refinished and had about 2 colours to choose from in the grey family (annoying) so we went with Minwax’s classic grey. Luckily I love how they turned out. 

Rona is my all-time favourite source for plants. Their selection is ridiculous and prices are amazing. This guy was I think $16. The pot is maybe from Rona too. (I could use a newer, better one. Maybe in brass). 

To the left of the plant in the corner is my version of a bar cart. I hunted for one for months and could not find anything suitable for the space so I went up to my dressing room, pulled all of my shoes out of these plexi cubes, hauled it downstairs and filled it with booze. It was formerly used at a Club Monaco I worked at years ago as a sweater display and when all the old fixtures were getting tossed, I nabbed this. Total score. I have used this in about 8 different applications over the years. 

The grey velvet curtains are soooo soft and I love them. Awesome with cats because you can basically shake the fur off. I paid about $80 or $100 for the set at Homesense. Because they have a pocket at the top and they are thick they don’t stay open enough so I had to go get some tie-backs. I found these at Lowe’s for a few bucks. One day I would like to find some super blingy vintage ones. 

On the opposite side of the room is this special little set-up. This is a vintage radio my husband of picked up for a song. He re-attached the funky fabric, re-hydrated the wood, tore out the old radio guts and replaced it with a bangin’ speaker, a subwoofer and Bluetooth! WOOT!!! PARTY IN THE DINING ROOM!!! Items on top of the radio are vintage, and the lighting bolt light is from  

The table was made by my husband out of hemlock that was uncovered about 100 years after being sunk in the Queen’s Wharf in Toronto. The variations of colour in the grain, particularly the grey, is absolutely incredible. My husband had a little help from at , and had the simple raw steel base made by .

We found this light fixture in Montreal at . It seems to be a big hit with anyone who comes over. 

I adore ceiling medallions and I placed an order a little while ago for a whack of these for just about every ceiling fixture in the house (from ). This one is gorgeous and is perfect ceiling bling.  

Some fennel and hydrangeas from left over from the photo shoot in a vase from . 

I’ll talk more about my credenza in another post. It looked nothing like this when I purchased it. On it are my collection of glass and silver and some antique class portraits. 

I found the metal wall sculpture a few weeks ago when I was in Montreal getting my tattoo sleeve completed. It was from the same store I purchased the lucite pedestal below it – . Plant again from Rona. We replaced all of the noticeable switch plates and outlet covers around the house with antique brass art deco style ones from House of Antique Hardware. And because that damn thermostat is right there on the main dining room wall I splurged on one of those cute  thermostats from Home Depot. 

This built-in hutch is filled with my favourite dishes EVER – South African Wonki Ware from , some West German pots and vases to fill the voids, some treasures from Italy and the best salt & pepper bottle grinders by Menu. 

I could not get a decent photo of this swinging door that leads into the kitchen but had to share anyway because swinging doors are so rare these days, and it has this really cool glass panel to push on. (We always leave it open). 

I really love this room 🙂

My raised vegetable and herb garden

Posted on Wed, 27 Jul 2016 by KiM

Last summer my husband decided to build a garden in our backyard. It was not planned out and in the end I was really not happy with the quick and dirty execution of it. Basically it looked like crap. (No offense husband dearest!) This summer I insisted he destroy the existing garden and WE come up with a plan for something much more aesthetically pleasing. We did a quick google image search one day for raised garden beds and came across a photo very quickly that we both loved. It was essentially a big rectangle with an area cut out in the middle to walk around in. Simple yet a great layout. And let me say right off the bat that if you’re thinking of building a garden GO WITH A RAISED GARDEN. Weeding is actually FUN when it’s not back-breaking!

We found a super resource of cedar so we went with unplaned cedar to keep the cost down (in the end it cost about $380, and the garden is about 6′ wide and 18′ long). The wet spot above may or may not be me having just hosed down cat pee. 

We placed it against the side of our garage (that one day in the not so distant future needs replacing). We have grand plans of building a screened in gazebo type shed thingy next to it so we can hang out with the cats and not have to tie them up with leashes/harnesses. 

This garden is fairly large but aside from the gazebo and a larger back porch we don’t really need anything else back here. Note the random ferns. They are all over our property. I had no idea they grow like weeds. Best looking weeds out there I’d say! 

The wood on this side of the garage was rotting so husband found something called plytanium. It’s an outdoor wood with grooves to look like planks. I decided to hell with it, we would leave it unpainted and I don’t care that it doesn’t match the rest of the white garage because at least it blends in with the garden. I thought that would make a prettier, more organic backdrop although the plants have grown so big in the few weeks since they were planted that it doesn’t show much anyway. 

We left some space between the garage and garden in case we need to do any maintenance to the garage and filled in the area with mulch. I could not bring myself to remove the ferns so they can stay until they get too big and then I’ll transplant them. 

The garden was constructed several weeks ago but only this past weekend was the gate finally built to keep out any critters….

…like cats. 🙂 Luckily they have no interest in veggies. 

So this is the space inside the garden that allows us easy access to all sides. Mulched all in there too. Yet another stray fern lives within. 

NO BENDING!!!

We planted a ton of herbs – thyme, sage, dill, oregano, lime basil, red basil, thai basil, lemon basil, lettuce leaf basil (yes, we like basil), cilantro, parsley, rosemary and mint. 

For vegetables we planted ghost peppers, 10 types of tomatoes (WUT?!?! I just found this out when getting husband to list it all off – he’s the one that went to the garden centre), green beans, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, red and green peppers and lettuce. 

We have a ton of work to do on the rest of the property (don’t even get me started on how terrible the front yard is), but I am soooo happy this is finally done, and done right. 

My bedroom transformation

Posted on Tue, 28 Jun 2016 by KiM

I know it has been ages since I have mentioned house progress on the blog but the gift of a new rug that happened to work really well in my master bedroom gave me the swift kick in the ass to style and photograph my just-about-complete space. My bedroom has been a slow work-in-progress for the past year or so, ever since we FINALLY purchased a king-size mattress (memory foam – our first one and we love it). This rather large new mattress was a god-send since we have many cats, most of whom love to sleep with us. The room is about 10’x12′ which for a master bedroom in a 4-bedroom house is pretty freaking small. It basically fits the bed and not much else, which is fine because we each have our own dressing room. OH YES!

Here is a photo I took about 10 days after we moved in (with our old queen mattress) 2 years ago.

And this is what it is looking like these days…

I was looking for an earthy, natural theme and colour scheme so it is all about reclaimed wood, plants and brown tones. I was recently asked by  to pick out a rug to feature on the blog and this beauty above was what I chose. A 4’11” x 8’10” hand-knotted antique wool rug from Afghanistan. It is absolutely beautiful and fits perfectly in this room (and tones down my orangey birch hardwood floor). It took me days to pick out a rug because they have such an amazing and large selection of , , , , , , etc. Endless possibilities! And I was stoked to find out they are based in Montreal (YAY Canadian!) and New York so shopping is a breeze! (They now offer free shipping on all orders shipped to Canadian provinces and the continental United States with a 30-day free return policy).

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Thank you so much  for this absolutely gorgeous rug, and giving me a reason to finally shoot my bedroom even if it is not quite complete. 

Not complete: the curtains are what I purchased at our first trip to Ikea after moving in and not knowing what I would do in here. I think I would prefer something darker. The bed legs are eventually going to be wrapped in the reclaimed wood of the rest of the bed. I have been waiting a year and am hoping this post will embarrass my husband into finishing it FINALLY! Oh yeah, so built the entire bed from some red oak he got from a guy who was taking down a wood-clad workshop/shed thing. It is beautiful wood. The resulting bed frame is fantastic and I am so happy with how it turned out. HOORAY for handy husbands who build stuff!!! I also need to find pillows that fit the pillow cases that came with the duvet cover as they are an odd size. 

We mounted the Artemide Tolomeo lights that I had installed on either side of the stove in the last house on the bed frame and I love how they look against the rustic wood. The wall colour is  and the door panels are  by Farrow & Ball. 

The side tables are Kartell Componibili from . The vintage printer drawer I bought in P.E.I one summer while visiting the inlaws. The burlap storage bag is from that seems to be out of business. The blanket is old and gross from Ikea. 

This fantastic shelving came from my favourite vendor at the Morrisburg flea market because they have ALL THE WEST GERMAN POTTERY – . It came apart and was unpainted so I was able to do what I wanted to it. It is filled with plants, some of my favourite earthy West German vases, and my collection of Oaxacan pottery I have brought back from trips to Puerto Vallarta. The hanging pot on the left I brought back from in Sayulita. The one on the right is by from The Modern Shop. The girl head vase was a gift from Lisa. The dream catcher was purchased at the made by .

I finally caved and agreed to have a TV in the bedroom. A wise decision. It is so cozy watching movies in bed. Because it is rather large and ugly I did what I usually do and surrounded it with art to hide it. Above the door is a vintage map of Ottawa embroidered with a heart by  from . Deer and raven prints by . Buffalo print by 100th Meridian from  Vintage saint painting from . Skull and ribcage drawings from . ‘Mr. Wolf’ original mixed media by Dulce Tapp from . Vintage mounted butterflies from a flea market. Horse photo by . Original oil painting I had commissioned for husband of our dearly departed Cheeks. And last but not least, ‘Animal’ by . 

This gorgeous walnut bench was made by our friend and master wood worker Matt Wallace of . Vintage toolbox with handle removed and amber glass bottle to the right of it from . The toolbox and bench aid to hide the cord and plug for the TV. 

I am dying of shock that this little succulent grouping I made a few months back is still alive and thriving. 

My beloved leather Eames shell chair from . 

Driftwood and shell mobile also brought back from Sayulita. 

Eos feather pendant light by

I am so in love with this duvet. It is by (Xander Vervoort and Leon van Boxtel, designers based in Amsterdam) and is hand painted in Gujarat, India.

The cats adore it too. Mostly because I shoved the duvet inside for these photos. 🙂

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New art (again) in my living room

Posted on Wed, 25 May 2016 by KiM

I had been trying to find a large piece of art for over my sofa for months and months and could not find anything that really shouted “BUY ME I’M PERFECT” or that wasn’t bank-breaking since my taste in art changes frequently. I had a photo printed on canvas as seen in this post and had no where to hang it but over my sofa in the living room (also seen here when I received a new sofa) which made me realize how badly I needed something BIG and BOLD and DARK because I am enjoying my monochromatic dark grey theme I have going in there. When I spotted randomly on Instagram I fell in love. Now I generally hate art behind glass because glare makes me nutty and taking a decent photo of it can be difficult. I did some searching for options on printing photos (the photographer Amanda emailed me a high-res copy of the photo to have printed myself since she lives in Bali and I’m in Canada) and came up with printing it on photoboard (1/4″ thick, dense white material). is based in Toronto and offered this at a really good price considering I decided to go 40″x40″. And no, this isn’t a sponsored post. I came up with this all by myself. 🙂 Because my is a very handy guy who is into woodworking, I asked him to fabricate a frame for the photo to make it look more weighty and less poster-y. The result is exactly what I was after. I think it is a dramatic addition to the space. It is in keeping with my dark theme, will not irritate me when I try and photograph it, the printing turned out fantastic and sharp, and the frame was exactly what I wanted. BOOM. 

(Sources for just about everything are in this post. Sadly the cats would not leave the new wool covered sectional sofa alone so it is now up in our 3rd floor storage-supposed-to-be-library space awaiting that transformation and the old sofa with 999 claw marks is back.)

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