Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Timeless Designs in the Living Room

Before Pinterest came about,
I was an avid collector of magazines and clippings.

I would cut out and set aside inspiration images from some of my favourite magazines.
You know...
just in case a possible renovation was glimmering in my future.

I then stuffed them into files and loosely associated them with room categories or themes such as Christmas.
Sounds incredibly organized...doesn't it?
Well, it wasn't really.
Stuffed is the operative word.

Recently in a panic to find a document... I stumbled across those design files.
They were stuffed alright.... bursting and disassembled.

But before tossing them into my recycling bin, I took a few minutes to quickly peruse my stash
I found myself setting aside ones that I was not quite ready to part with.

So, I am going to share a few of the rescued clippings with you over the course of the next month.
Below are some of the living room shots...
just a few that still strike a chord with me.

Perhaps if you are a magazine junkie like I was then you might just recognize some of these.

This one above and below is from House and Home magazine dating back to 2006.
The home faces a lake in Ontario's lake district and the designer-owner created such an interesting, warm and inviting space that I think it still works today.

That is the beauty of great design.
Spend your money well the first time around
 and years later you still have a great footprint
that may only require "window dressing".

I always loved the fresh feeling of this room that was in a Country Living spread in 2002.
The idea of the white couches facing each other in front of a fireplace was always inspirational to me
and of course I copied it.  Well, sort of.

It is tiny but we love far.... more to finish but almost there.

The clipping below speaks to my attraction
 to large pieces of art...
especially when they involve portraits painted on large canvas.

It gives the room such depth and character. I could easily sit in this chair 
and listen to music or read. 

The vignette on the table is still tasteful and well though out.
A blend of photography, books and pottery pieces that all work in harmony to add a nice personal touch.

 And finally, although not a living room 
this sitting room off of a kitchen still feels fresh after all these years.
This was featured in House and Home magazine in 2002 (I believe).

I love the crisp, fresh quality of the space. 
the door leading out to a patio,
the lovely airy white curtains 
and the overall black and white theme that is going on.

Oh there are many more that made it in to a new file...
not quite stuffed but still healthy in numbers.

Sound familiar?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Grocery Store Flowers

Five dollars and ninety-nine cents.....  
these days, 
what can you buy with that?

I treat myself to a café latte from time to time when I am on the road for work
and I rarely get out the door without spending at least $5.00.
And hey, although I savour the taste at the time... the effect is temporary.
That caffeine boost satisfies my need for a hot drink in the morning
and it allows for a certain comfort factor that I seem to associate with a good cup of java.
But that's it...that's all.

So for a similar price I can buy flowers at our local grocery store.
Those flowers have a huge effect on my morale at this time of year.
And it last much longer than the early morning Joe.

I should also let you know that
it is snowing right now....and my spring bulbs are buried under 3 feet of snow.

... investing in some grocery store flowers is helping me to feel a sense of spring
the minute I wake up in the morning.

These hyacinths next to the bed are a welcome sight and the smell is pleasantly intoxicating.
Okay...just looking at these images reminds me of my plan to paint these side tables and finally do something with our bedroom... it always loses out ...

Hmm.... looks like I should also re-consider my bedside "vignette"....
but, I love the mix of flowers, magazines, books, and favourite tea cup
as I roll in and out of bed each day.

And then of course, another pot of hyacinths in the living room...

to continue the effect of spring indoors.

I like to buy them when they are in their early stage,
sprouting and getting ready to bloom.

I also love placing the plastic pot in old pieces such as this antique soup tureen.
I pick up dried moss from the dollar store to hide the pot and create a more finished look.

When it comes to longer lasting blooms I always make a point of picking up hydrangeas
from Costco at this time of the year.

Not the same price point but still a great deal at $19.99 since these will be transplanted to my backyard garden in 6 weeks.... I HOPE.

I move them around the house, usually between the kitchen and the dining room.
I am actually thinking of picking up another pot so I can leave one in both locations.

They give off such a different feeling in each room.
Perhaps a nice pot of the white variety would work even better in the dining room.
And, yes, still need to find a replacement for that chandelier.... that is the problem with taking pictures of your space... you find yourself analyzing and highlighting what you don't like.

And the thing is...they will stay beautiful for quite a long time.
Certainly this will last well into the month of May.

So, there you go, cheap but perky.... yep, I said Perky.
Do you pick up grocery store flowers to brighten up your home?

oh and a little snow update for you southerners who envy ;) our cold, wet and white stuff.

sharing this at:
A Stroll Thru Life: Inspire Me Tuesday
Mod Vintage Monday
Inspiration Monday
Anything Goes Linky Party

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quebec city

This past weekend I played tourist with a dear friend of mine as we headed out on the ferry that crosses between Québec city (old port) and Lévis.
It is always refreshing to visit your home from a different perspective... that of a tourist.
These old buildings are some of the oldest in Québec city and are located in a section of the lower town known as Place Royale.

I was amazed by the beauty of the ice flows in the St. Lawrence and how much fun it was to capture them with my camera.
Certainly if you get dizzy easily then that is not the highlight of the trip as the water is flowing at a rapid pace right now and the opposing shore line appears to be moving.

This is the Lévis shoreline as we approach the dock.
Quite something to see the ice breaking up as it hits the underbelly of the ferry.

In the image below you can see the funiculaire which acts as an elevator that climbs the side of the hill bringing you from the lower town and in particular the Petit Champlain district
up to the Dufferin Terrace which is a boardwalk that runs in front of the Chateau Frontenac.

I will admit that the beauty of the trip is seeing the old port from the water.
You really get a great perspective on where everything is located in relation to 
the Fleuve St. Laurent (St. Lawrence River)
And of course, the grande dame herself, the Chateau Frontenac hotel.

The beauty of the city lies in its history and its age.
And every once in awhile we need just a little reminder of how unique it looks through the eyes of a tourist.

Have you ever toured your home town or city through the eyes of a visitor?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Completing Projects

Over the years I have learned a lot about myself when it comes to renovating.
Changes in our space have to be organized and decisions about the sequence of events have to be clear.....
marked on a calendar kind of clear... if you know what I mean.

I am queen of the start-up.
Matter of fact I have been known to drive a few people around here crazy with late-night start-ups.
Yep, out come the paint cans and the drop cloths as I test out those ideas that have been swirling around in my head all day.

 CASE IN POINT... Two years ago we put in a new fireplace in a part of the living room where none existed.
That was a big job and certainly a bit more expensive than originally anticipated but we have had no regrets.

Of course, finishing touches were delayed
until we could get around to them.... budget and time is always a factor...
or a good excuse.

But finally, during this last week I got a surge of energy and decided to get some of these projects done.
And, I will admit that a big birthday party for a particular person helped motivate me in the right direction as well.

So, after a long time deciding on paint colours and what to do with the fireplace when it comes to finishing touches.....
I just decided to, get' er done.
Well, most of it.

The living room got primed with white paint.
See those paint test patches in the left images....GONE. 
I cannot believe I lived with those paint patches for months already.
My daughter is home from university in another week with plans to paint!!!
So, this job has an actual time line that I can track.....LOVE it.

We finally got the metal black surround finished.
It now extends all the way down to the slate floor and out on the sides more to give it a nice overall finishing touch.
As you see below, we had been living with the concrete fire board which is anything but pretty.

BEFORE & AFTER                                                           
I finally got around to building in a wood wall to act as a wood box on the right side of the fireplace.
Wood was getting tossed around and making a mess of the walls.
Oh and the cost of the wood box.... 15$ 

An IKEA wicker basket acts as a kindling box.

So now I am not even going to bother to count the months it took to get around to finishing these projects
because there is something so sweet about finishing touches.
They are not always big budget items
but they are often some of the most pleasing steps in any renovation.

Do you love the effect of details in your home?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Lesson of Winter

I have been absent for a few weeks.
 Good to be back.

noun: spring; plural noun: springs
the season after winter and before summer, in which vegetation begins to appear, in the northern hemisphere from March to May and in the southern hemisphere from September to November.
"in spring the garden is a feast of blossom"

I posted this photo on Instagram recently so I could show you the reality of spring this year in my part of the world.
According to the definition this should not be happening.

One thing we learned after such a brutal winter and a delayed spring.... 
well, perhaps we were simply reminded.... 
was that we cannot wait any longer
to replace our "front door".

So, in our buried state of snow-dom we have been searching for ideas of what that might look like.

The doors at the front of our house...which open on to the front deck.... look like this.
Okay....only photo I could find (sans neige)  is below... panoramic feature on iPhone... I know...distorted.
And by the way that was fall.... my new favourite season after summer.
It used to be spring. 

 Those same style doors open on to the back balcony off the dining room.

So, I want to keep a similar feel.
I am leaning towards the 3/4 window look.
I still want to let light flood that side of the house given it faces south.
But not sure if I want double doors or a single door.

via Simplified bee

And, what about the rules?
Not that I get too hung up on them but it does become permanent... and curb appeal etc.
I have a 3-paned double door on the front and back of the house.
Do I have to stick with that on the side?
The side door is really our front.... door.... you know, place of entry. 

Last summer we had a roof built out over the back door and I was surprised at how inexpensive a job it was.
I am thinking about building a roof on the side deck as well which would allow us to hang a nice light and create a greater senseof an entrance area.

Abby Unrath

I will admit that I have a thing for doors.
I would really love a large wood door...stately... and big.
But, I also need light.
So, that is just not going to work in this house.

via Abby Unrath
This one above is definitely on my favourite list.... but perhaps with 3 panes instead of multi-panes.

 And then again, what about single panes... like above.
Reality is that although our doors at the front and back are all wood, they have matching screen doors as well and that actually protects them somewhat in the harsher months.

So, this door(s) will have to be metal clad on the outside but I would like wood on the inside.

The double doors in this image above are probably a close match to our existing doors.
Much wider but their is a good possibility that I would put a roman blind on them ....
unless of course we build the roof on the side deck.

So, pretty pics is the reality....
hard to read the explanatory text so ..... chimney will be gone.... I painted in, rather poorly, a double door scenario for you to see.
On the left you can see the pallet-like stairs that we put in and they come right off the left hand side of the deck that you see below and wind down to the back yard.

Finally, if covered I think I could have a really nice entry many possibilities...

Phew!! Did I actually start this off by complaining about the definition of spring??

So, what about your doors....and preferences?
Any pics above strike you?

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