Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dreaming in Two Tone.

My modest kitchen cabinets have been painted since forever.

My husband painted them battleship grey and white when he moved in.

That sweet munchkin is taller than I am, now!

In 2000, I added shaker detail to the top cupboards and painted the whole shibang yellow. (But, oddly, I decided that picking out the trim in white would be a good look.)

In 2009, I fell in love with two tone cabinets. In 2011, I'd forgotten I already knew and posted about them again. This time, I did something about it.

I've had this yellow (or some version of it) for 14 years.

I am ready for a change.

And here we are today:

Stay tuned.......

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reflections on the ORC

You can catch up on all the posts here, starting with the reveal.

Back when I was, oh, 17 or so, I wanted to become an Interior Designer.

At that time, there was one program (maybe two) in the country--the closest one was two whole provinces away from me. The program would take five years. Five years! An eternity to a 17 year old. And the brochure made the fatal mistake of suggesting that my work, at the end of it, would be more about office design than residential.

Much to my lasting regret, I never pursued it. I had no idea just how stretchy a fabric life really is. I didn't know about forks and paths and how opportunities can come up--but only if you start.

My bedroom. It lanquished for a few years until I just made the decision to just start, already!

I was thirty when I thought of it again. There was a much less ambitious program from the faculty of extension here at home. But there came a point in the program when I was told the truth. It was highly unlikely I'd ever actually be an interior designer. In fact, because of provincial regulations and the building code, all I could be was an interior decorator. No, actually, it was even worse than that: all I'd likely be fit for at the end of it was working in retail. You know, at a kitchen design place, or a flooring place, Ethan Allen, whatever--and without becoming an interior designer, I wouldn't be able to move walls.

We moved a wall to make this.

And I didn't how how to sell. Hated the very thought of it.

So, that's not what I wanted, either. (And I'd just had my first child, so the timing was really bad to continue anyway.) That was, oh, about seventeen years ago.

When I said doing the One Room Challenge (hosted and trademarked by Linda, of Calling It Home), was an experience of a lifetime, this is what I meant:

For me, it is like I have been plunged into an apprenticeship in head on real-life full service design.

1) There are a million choices for every single detail.  A million decisions to be made. It is utterly overwhelming. Unfortunately, I am the sort of decision maker who likes to consider all her options before deciding. For example, the RAST nightstands. I googled RAST. I looked up RAST on Pinterest. I found all kinds of them. I decided, finally, on what we'd do. But then, then came the hardware. Lots of things to look at. Lots of things to think about. What choice to make? How?

2) Every decision I made was built on the one before it. What if I made the wrong decision? Not only would that particular decision be wrong--but all the ones which came after it. Good grief. At times it felt like I was just flinging bits and pieces together with no rhyme or reason to them and hoping it all worked out.

3) The client, especially when it's your own Mom, is a challenge, too. They say renovations are a test of a marriage: I don't know why I thought mothers and daughters would be immune! Fortunately, we have an excellent relationship and can figure out our boundaries as we go along. For example, we made a rule early on that we could call each other only five times a day, each.

As well, Mom has an amazingly creative brain. So, after I thought I'd considered all the options and made a decision, she'd almost inevitably say, "You know, we could....." and "What about this?" Eventually I had to tell her--when I've made a decision (finally) I've made a decision! It's not that I didn't want her input, not at all, but we had to approach it delicately. My poor brain had been about to explode.

4) When your handyman is your hubby, there's a certain amount of finesse that has to happen there, too. I was shocked by how much he took on and did for us, though. That part was wonderful.

5) Before this, every single time I have approached decorating, it has been with things already in place. It has NEVER been from scratch, considering all the elements all at once. Terrifying. Now that it's done, exhilarating.

I had a vision, I brought it to life.

Mom's bedroom on the left, the inspiration, from Amber Interiors, on the right.

I want more.

Just as soon as I recover.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ORC7: Mom's Bedroom is Done!

I hardly know what to say.

After seven stressful weeks we're done. Every day for the last week, I thought, tomorrow, we'll be done. Tomorrow we'll be done and I can finally take my pictures. Well, that day has come. We're done. I took the pictures this morning. Boo rah.

Here are all the posts in the series as we went along.

Week 1: Introducing Mom's Bedroom
Week 2: Moving Backwards
Week 3: Working with Inspiration
Week 4: Eeek Week
Week 5: Cross Your Fingers
Week 6: Not Gonna Make It

My Mom is a recovering hoarder. We have been working on decluttering her house for several years, now. Just in the past two, we've turned our attention to decorating and sprucing up her spaces once they were cleared. I love organizing and given her needs, that's where we've focused most of our efforts so far.

But not this time.

This time we took on a decorating project, pure and simple. In fact, I turned to her yesterday and said, you realise, Mom, we haven't solved any problems or come up with any solutions. All we did was create a pretty room.

And she turned to me and said, what do you mean? I can sleep in my bed.

Apparently, she had found the room so depressing, and so ugly and so sad that unless she was expecting company, she never cleared the room enough so she could function in it.

I hadn't known, even though the before pictures tell the story.

You can see more "before" pictures in Week 1. When I look back at them now, I feel like crying. No, your screen didn't suddenly break out in spots, those walls were really bad.

I don't think she'll find the room depressing anymore.

C'mon in!

Ta da!

There used to be a large stuffed closet and a left over space on this wall.

From the side:

The east wall:

Ready for the DIY run-down?

Drapes (above) made by Mom.
Headboard (below) made by me, with help from my husband and my Mom.
Pillows and duvet made by Mom.

 sorry about the spots on my camera lens (cringe).

My husband rebuilt the bench from a thrifted coffee table and I upholstered it.

Mom made the bedskirt from fabric in her stash. The trim is new, though. We discussed various options and I sent her out to find the silver. It wasn't 'til we put it on the bed that she realised it echoed the headboard. She was so happy to "discover" it. Funny Mommy. I told her that's why I was here!

The Rasts from Ikea, hacked, of course. My husband built the mirror frames and I painted them.

This incredible blanket. Mom made it after I found the Moroccan wedding blanket from our inspiration picture. I hadn't been expecting her to do that at all, but she found some chinchilla on sale and just went for it.

Isn't it a beauty?

And a very last minute addition: the lamp base on the dresser. Thrifted. Spray painted. I brought a lampshade from home.

A little last minute shopping and styling by me (which I realise leaves a lot to be desired, but it is fun to learn):

all shiny and sparkly

And Mom has a gorgeous, glamorous, softly sparkling room to call her own.

Boo rah.

This was an incredible experience. Now that it's all over, I'm glad I took it on. Many, many thanks to all of you out there who left me kind, encouraging comments. Dealing with my Mom and my husband in order to get things done had its moments of frustration, as you can imagine, and knowing I wasn't alone helped tremendously.

Even though its cliche, I have to say this really was an experience of a lifetime. Being an interior designer/decorator has been a life-long dream of mine and I felt like I was given the chance to live a little bit of that dream for the past seven weeks. For that, I will always be grateful. I confess there were moments I wondered if I had lost my mind. And I wondered if it would be worth it.

It was.

It most certainly was. Many thanks to Linda of Calling it Home for throwing down the gauntlet. I will be back in October.

If you haven't done so yet, please check out the incredible projects by both those invited to take part (who were wonderfully supportive of all the rest of us) and those by the linking participants. You will be glad you did.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

ORC6: Not Gonna Make It.

Mom sewing away on the Kenmore she bought when I was born.

What an incredible and wonderful five weeks it has been. Like everyone else in the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda of Calling It Home, both invitees and insane party crashers alike (known as "linking participants" in more refined parts of town) I am exhausted.

And I'm not done.

Rather, I should say, "we." We're not done--and my Mom is actually quite relieved. She felt rushed by the deadline I imposed upon her for this challenge--and it led her to stay up late nights, and in her words, make foolish mistakes with the sewing. No, she feels she can continue at a more natural and easier pace. So, stay tuned! I will post again at the Calling it Home's linking participant final reveal page.

She told me tonight she's really excited to be moving into such a glamourous room. She's anxious to see what it will look like --as am I (though I think for different reasons!).

Were we too ambitious?

After all, we decided not only to do over a bedroom while DIYing all but the light fixtures (and I even thought I might do that at one point) but also to take out the closet, rewire switches and put up new drywall. Then, when I was over the other day to put up the curtain rod, Mom reminded me her window doesn't close properly. (Apparently it never has since she had her renovations done over twenty years ago. I wish we had addressed that when we had the room all torn up five weeks ago!)

Any way, here is where we are at now:

the faux barnboard mirror frames and the legless headboard

The headboard is done except for attaching the legs.
The mirror frames are finished. My husband did a fabulous job!

The bench is done.

gah--I hate all those pulls in the fabric!  It was a slippery beast. This was our original choice for the headboard. Thank goodness we didn't use it for that!

One support for the curtain rod is up.

I thought I had found a stud--but when I drilled, I didn't hit anything. From long, frustrating experience, both Mom and I know that we need to use really good anchors. and I mean, really good anchors--so I had to interrupt myself for the billionth run to Home Depot this week. Then, of course, I ran out of time.

The nightstands still need to be assembled, (though I did get the handles attached, finally. Drills lowon juice don't actually work all that well! It took me a half hour just to do two drawers.) The pendant lights need to be wired in and hung.

As for the sewing, the pillows are finished.

Mom says she made an error in making the duvet cover, so she had to rip it all out and start over. That's the bad news. The good news is that she now has enough fabric to make the pillow cases.

The bedskirt is almost finished. She's visiting me on a break at work tomorrow to show me the trim she's considering.

The drapes may or may not be done. That depends on what sort of treatment we're giving the heading.

So, Friday, I hope to be able to pull all the different bits and pieces together and make a gorgeous glamorous room.

I hope it makes her cry (for happiness, of course!)

Do visit the other linking participants too see some incredible room makeovers!

If you'd like to catch up from the start, here are the weekly progress reports:

Week 1: "Before."
Week 2: Demolishing the closet
Week 3: Working with Inspiration
Week 4: Eeek Week
Week 5: Cross Your Fingers

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May Goals

I have been utterly consumed with making over my Mom's bedroom.

Whatever goals I had for April completely succumbed to the One Room Challenge.

I haven't done a thing towards getting the April goals accomplished since the last progress report except pick up the rejects from the consignment store and drop some of them off for donation.

Last month was absolutely crazy. Between that and work (and work is only going to get more demanding as the busy summer season gets going) I have felt as though my life is spinning out of control.

Dishes are piled as high as skyscrapers and creating urban sprawl.

All of my rooms are like jammed up freeways. Clutter like cars idling everywhere. Can't move. At all.

(I would include some of the pictures I took, but it's too depressing to call them up onto the screen, edit and post. Also--time consuming. You know what a messy house looks like, I'm sure!)

It is more than past time to get back to basics.

What are they?

1) Grocery plan once a week.
2) Record expenses once a week.

These two things are essential to my sanity and to achieving our goal of becoming debt free as soon as possible. Both took a back seat this month. I have almost no food in the house--and we're flling into the trap of stopping at the grocery store each day and buying ingredients for supper. Time consuming. Wasteful.

A messy house is somewhat OK, just annoying and unpleasant. Messy finances are just not OK, ever. Of course, having let most of April go by without recording anything, I'll need to spend a specific amount of time to catch up before I can keep up.

3) Household Chores:

make my bed
pick up bedroom
laundry (wash one, dry one, fold one, put one away)
swish and swipe both bathrooms
pick up and put away items on the min floor
wash dishes.

stock bathrooms with toilet paper
clean toilets
clean out purse and wallet
wash kitchen floor
wash bathroom floors
clean microwave

Looking at the list like this, it seems so easy!

The daily routine can't take more than half an hour--and though the weekly chores are all over the place in terms of how long they would take (stocking the bathroom isn't anywhere as time consuming as vacuuming, for instance) it all seems eminently doable.

So why don't I do it?


No use going down that road if I am just going to blame myself.

4) Health:

I have noticed a significant drop in my stamina since I stopped working out. Nine hour shifts are killing me. So:

Workout 3 to 4x a week.
Get lots and lots of sleep.

And that's IT.

Of course, I've developed this horrible habit these past few months of making sensible monthly goals and plans--and then being totally distracted just a few days later by some project. Cross your fingers nothing like that will come along and lure me away from this boring but sensible (and oh so necessary) path.

As well, I am still working on My Mom's bedroom--the reveal is May 8th, so I'll be pulling out all the stops until then: so these plans are really only for the last three weeks of the month!

As always, I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

ORC 5: Cross Your Fingers

My husband helping me with the headboard as we lose the evening light.

Do I have time to update you?

Do you have the time to read it?

It is time for hopes and prayers--as in--she hasn't a hope or a prayer of getting done on time.

If you are one of those doing the One Room Challenge, created by Linda of Calling It Home, whether as a bona fide invitee (who post their progress on Wednesdays) or a party crasher like me, (who post on Thursdays) chances are, you don't. So, I really should make this short and sweet. But no promises. Blog posts tend to run away on me, just like whole room decorating projects, it seems. (In fact, I have never decorated a room quite this way before. The process itself has been quite eye opening--and deserves a blog post of its very own.)


The first week we tore down Mom's closet in the bedroom--I talked about it in Week Two. We figured she'd be sleeping on the floor for maybe a week, tops. Poor woman. It's been the full four weeks since we started. (Week One in the series is the beginning of the series, not the end of the first full week. That's Week Two. Just think of the numbers of the weeks as indicating the beginning of the next week--except everything is supposed to be finished by Week Six which means there's really only five weeks, altogether, of this insanity. Did you get all that? Never mind. Week One is here. Week Two. Week Three. Week Four.

Where were we? My mind is racing in six million directions.

1) Man, it's hard to work on a room that is 20 minutes away by car and you don't have one. (My husband and I share our only vehicle.)

2) How am I going to get it all done when there's only 166 hours between now and the moment I need to hit "publish" for the reveal post and I will be working, at my place of employment, for 36? I'm supposed to have a part-time job, people.

3) I actually have to photograph the room on Tuesday. So, fewer hours. (Can't calculate. Brain tired.)

4) Should I talk about how much time my Mom and I have wasted this week trying to find a frame for the two mirrors she already has? We looked at tile and discussed how precise it would have to be. Also costly. Also time consuming. For five whole seconds I thought about making Jenny Komenda's sea urchin/sunburst mirror. We finally, finally settled on a store bought solution: these frames from Micheal's and spray paint.

Only to discover, of course, that the mirrors were a smidge too big.

So, I went back to my original notion which was to recreate a barnboard look with stain and pine fence boards.

Hubs has both a router and a miter saw. Note to self: be nice to hubs.

5) Oh right, Mom on the floor. Hopefully she'll be able to move back in tonight. The room and the ceiling is painted. The baseboards are in, caulked and painted. The window hadn't yet been done when I was there on Tuesday but it should be done now.

6) The samples I ordered from came today. Nice. I ordered them four weeks ago. Good thing we didn't wait for them.

6a) We don't seem to have Looking Glass spray paint (by Kryon) here in Canada. Nor Rub'n'Buff. Strange.

7) The punch list: (everything finished is in a different colour. What we accomplished this past week is in blue.

The Bones of the Room:

--Remove closet (done, week 2)
--patch and spackle holes (done)
--Patch, tape and mud drywall. (done) Sand.
--Align junction boxes in ceiling to be equidistant from back and side walls (done)
--Move switches (done)

--Design, buy, prime and install baseboard moulding (We went with some gorgeous stuff from Home Depot rather than the cheaper route of cobbling together our own.)

--Paint and caulk, and paint again.

--Wash walls, ceiling, and trim

--Paint walls, ceiling, and trim

Isn't it purty? Why yes, there is colour on the ceiling. A very soft pink. (That yellow line is delicate surfaces painter's tape. Great stuff.) And yes, the carpet will be cleaned. And my camera lens. Sorry 'bout that.)

Pendant Lights
--buy (done)

cut to the chase: install pendants

also: install new wall plugs, toggle switch and all corresponding cover plates. 
Hard Furnishings.

Headboard --DIY
--buy plywood, cut it (done)
--cut frame pieces for outline
--cut legs
--attach frame pieces and legs
--buy foam, (done) cut it, attach it. (done)
--buy batting (done)
--buy top fabric (done)
--assemble foam, batting, and either muslin or front fabric and staple to the headboard
--find, borrow or buy electric stapler and staples (done)
--find, buy (done) and apply nailhead trim
--cover legs
--attach legs to bedframe

cut to the chase: Upholster headboard, attach legs, attach to bed frame.

--buy Ikea Rasts (done)
--prime pieces to be painted (drawers mostly) (done)
--paint drawers and pieces (done)
--find or buy stain for sides. 
--stain sides 
--spray paint handles
--drill holes for the handles
--attach handles

cut to the chase: assemble it, put the handles on it.

(behind nightstands)
--Inventory what Mom already has, find two that will work (done)
--research and decide what we're doing to frame them (done)
--construct frames
--attach them to the wall.

cut to the chase: beg husband.


--or buy something and remake it. (in progress)

My husband is going to re-make the support for the top and legs and cut a new top out of the plywood left over from cutting out the headboard. I may or may not upholster it with foam leftover from the headboard project.

Soft Furnishings (Mom's department)

--buy fabric (done)

--Duvet cover
--Queen sized pillow cases
--Decorative Pillows
     one 18x18)
     one "neck" pillow
--Bed throw DIY or buy Ofelia from Ikea (done)

Mom came up with a great idea to use Chinchilla fabric to recreate the spirit of the Morrocan Wedding Blanket in our inspiration photo.

She has done more than this, but it too late to call her up and ask.

Other projects:

Find or buy curtain rod and rings.
Install curtain rod.

--find and purchase the shaggiest rug we can find. At least 5x7. 


Actually, you know what? When I started this post, I wasn't sure I could pull this off by next week. I am still not sure, but I think we just might make it.

With hope and a prayer.

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