7.30.2012

Marilyn!

Hi Everyone!

Ian and I are in the midst of various projects right now that Im waiting on sharing with you all, so I thought in the meantime I'd fill you in on a fun experience I had. A while back, I took my mom to a taping of the Marilyn Denis Show. We've been to a few tapings before, yet every studio is a totally unique experience. We had a great time, despite the fact that we were stuck in traffic for 2.5 hours, ran in 5 minutes before the live show actually started taping and therefore didn't get to sit together, but beggers can't be choosers!

The show was great- we had a great time watching the guests, including Chuck, from Chuck's Day Off, whom the ladies in the audience seemed to love (obviously).

We scored some pretty great swag, including some Pottery Barn bath towels (that are super thick and soft and actually the exact colour of our master bath towels), and some Jonathan Adler bath accessories:
and even a Jonathan Adler Design book:




Seriously there couldn't have been better swag package- I was pumped!

If you ever have the chance to go see a taping, I'd highly recommend it! There are tons of great shows filmed in Toronto and tickets are often free. It's such a fun experience and you usually get a bit of free swag too ;)



Happy Monday everyone! Only 5 more days till the weekend!  ;)

7.27.2012

The jungle has been TAMED

Happy Friday Everyone! I hope you all have great plans for the weekend. Lets be honest, who doesn't live for weekends during the summer?! We're still spending our weekends working away on our backyard jungle, however some spaces look more like a desert now... Its odd to think we went from this madness:



 
To this vast open space:





The ground has actually all been levelled and our next step is to lay patio stones. Ian also sealed up the side of the deck and included a little door in order to access underneath. You know, for when we need to play hide and go seek. Seriously though, it allows us to store wood and other things under there.

So much better:


Melissa and Ian-  1, Jungle - 0.
However, our taming was not complete. We also had the sides of the house to contend with.  Remember this?



Yikes. This was not the only jungle let me remind you. We have many. I mean can you IMAGINE what was living in our backyard? Well, let me tell you. Multiple bunny families, the usual chipmunks and squirrels, the odd raccoon and a family of turkeys. Heck, I wouldn't blame them. Who would ever find you in THAT? That, plus all of the other former jungle options in our backyard for homes. Its like a freaking palace back here. They even have a pool to bathe in. If I was an animal I'd live here. Well, not anymore...now they can all live under the deck- they pretty much have their own door in and out of it now :S

So we cleaned up the other jungles, working on one at a time...we needed to pace ourselves with this! We started with the biggest one by first clearing it out:


Then we removed all the weeds, and raked the dirt to break it up and level it out. We then moved a FEW plants (hostas since they require minimal maintenance and look nice) that we had in other gardens and  actually wanted to keep, over to this garden and mulched around them:



We wanted to make the gardens smaller and more manageable so we laid sod. The dry, dry sod. Just a tip when you are laying sod. Its best if you can do it at night or when the sun isn't as strong. Make sure you water the ground BEFORE you lay the sod down, and I also like to water the bottom of each piece of sod before laying it. Lay your sod, and then water generously. You should water it every day (unless it rains) to ensure that its getting the water it needs to root itself into the ground. Also, if you are planning on laying a lot of sod in a large area, make sure to stagger the pieces. Sound as if I know a lot about sod? Well Ian taught me all I know- he actully laid sod for a summer job once and said it was the worst job ever. However, I thought it had its perks: not only do we know ALL about sod now, but Ian was super muscular and tanned all summer because of it, so I personally thought it was an excellent work experience ;)

Anyho, here's the sod after about a week. We watered it every day. Notice how green the new sod is? Ya, thats because its been somewhat dry here this summer so we hadn't been doing the best job at watering all of the other lawn. Our bad.



We did the same to the other gardens behind this one, they just need to be finished off with some mulch:


We're actually going to have a privacy screen installed on this side of the deck to block our lovely neighbours from listening to our late night Settlers tournaments and to spare them from seeing us in bathings suits on tanning days...


So now that we've got the gardens mainly cleared out, we'll begin to plant in the next few months.
This backyard has pretty much consumed us, but its definitely coming together.
Have any of you been working on your yards? What flowers would you plant in a garden?


7.26.2012

Eat my (saw)dust

At least thats what I said to the massive hornets that have been hanging out in our pool shed for the past few seasons. Not cool.

There are a few (well probably more than a few but I'll spare you) odd things about me...one of them is I am horribly afraid of bees. Im pretty sure its a phobia. When they are around me, or I even hear a slight "buzzing" sound, I actually freak out. Ian was away on business a while back, and I noticed a wasp flying around our house (my phobia also includes wasps, hornets, really any kind of buzzing flying insect with a stinger) and I actually had a panic attack. Crying, difficultly breathing...it was ridiculous...as in me, Im ridiculous. I do recognize Im a little crazy, but hey, we all have fears right? Mine is bees. There you go.

So Ian discovered a hornets nest in our shed, and we (well actually Ian) decided it was a good time to clean it out (since I ran screaming to the hills) and re-do the inside.

The shed previously looked like this:


Its a bit bright in that photo, but our next step will be actually painting the outside of the shed to match our deck (which we plan to stain the same colour).

So here's what the inside of the shed looked like to begin with. Are you counting yet? Have you noticed have many rooms in this house were yellow when we moved in? Other than the obvious red, green, neon blue, pink, etc, yellow was a favorite of the previous homeowners. Dont get us wrong, we dont MIND yellow, but this shed needed a facelift.




So step 1, was to paint the inside. We chose white (surprise, surprise!). Not because we love white and want to paint everything that colour, but because we looked at our paint cans in the basement and noticed we had a lot of primer sitting around. So white primer it is!

It took Ian about 2 hours to paint it, and the walls were dry before he finished the door. The 37 degree weather may have had something to do with that.






Last step was the door. Yep, thats REALLY white.

Once we paint the outside of the shed a light grey (with navy trim) it might match a little better. Regardless, I wasn't willing to sit inside a boiling hot shed for 2 hours to paint it, so it was Ian's colour choice on this one.


After we finished the painting, we installed a tall laundry cabinet beside the door. I got right into organizing that (my favorite part!! eee!!) and it can now store all of our pool supplies and other chemicals we keep hanging around for the pool.


Our next step was to build a bench that could store all of our patio furniture cushions. We had seen a bunch of those nice storage boxes at Home Depot, Lowes, etc, but since we had the space in the shed, we figured why not save the space on our deck and keep it out of sight. So we built one. Correction- Ian built and I supervised. Im good at that.

Before anything, we measured the wall and factored in, the size of the bench, place space for the lid to open and space above for the cabinets we wanted to install.

Then we started to build. First, we built two identical box frames.  Then we attached the back and one side of the frames to the actual wall of the shed because we know the shed is not level (most things in this house aren't...we've learnt that the hard way).

If you’re just building a box to sit on the floor then cut 4 identical supports and attach them in the corners to tie the frames together, you can see we added in supports to the front corners and middle to strengthen the frame. To avoid having to cut the wainscoting we just made the box the same height, still making sure the measurements worked- we put the cushions inside the frame to ensure it was tall enough. We then double checked to make sure the lid would open with enough space. LOTS of measurements!




We attached the bottom frame first, using shims to level because not all floors are created level! The walls are plywood, so we didn’t need drywall anchors. Once the bottom frame was level and screwed to the wall we leveled and attached it to the upper frame, followed by adding the supports to the front corners and middle, to keep the top frame from pulling off the wall from the weight of the lid or someone leaning on it.

Now let’s hide that frame!  We used a 3” wainscoting (bead board) in 36” X 32” sheets and 1” finishing nails to tack it to the frame. We put the first nail in a corner then leveled the sheet to the top of the frame and tacked the opposite corner. You want to make sure the sheet is level otherwise your box will look like it’s leaning. For the trim we used a 3” high trim with a square edge for a simple look and 2” finishing nails. Since it’s hiding in our pool house we just used butt joints but if it was somewhere we’re going to see it frequently we would have cut the joints on 45 degree angles to give it a cleaner look.



After we had trimmed it out, we filled the gaps with caulking and gave it all a coat of white paint.



The wainscoting and trim added almost ¾” to the frame, so it’s a good idea to wait until it’s assembled before cutting the piece for the lid. Attach the hinges to the lid then attach the hinges to the frame, then you're done!

So while Ian did all the hard work, I was working on building the cabinets to go above the bench. We actually got a great deal on these. They are just simple laundry room cabinets that you can get at any hardware store, but we got them on sale last weekend at Canadian Tire for 40% off. So $39.99 seemed like a good deal to us.

I put the cabinet together on our kitchen floor (which was actually a bit of a pain, since there really isn't a lot of space in there...) but it took me about 30 mins and I was done. Did you notice my floral hammer? It came as a part of a tool set. I found the set on clearance at HomeSense for like $7, and thought, what girl doesn't need her OWN tool set? Plus, its so obvious now which hammer is mine. Ian refuses to use them. I would like to say its because he thinks they're just too girly, but its actually because they PROBABLY aren't the best quality tools in the world. Whatevs. I say a hammer's a hammer!



After I had my frame put together, I installed that onto the wall using wall plugs and screws.


Then it was time to attach the doors. Ian snapped this pic of me as it seems I never have any pictures of me working on anything....hmmm. Honestly though, its not easy to take a photo of yourself painting a wall. That's my story and Im sticking to it. (p.s did you notice that I am actually IN the shed? That was a big step for me people...anywhere hornets live is not a place I want to be).


Once the doors were up, we were almost finished! We just need to put a few hooks up on the walls for hanging, a few baskets in for towels and we are done! Me being picky, I also want to change all the handles on the cabinets to match....just for my own piece of mind people. I know its not a show room, but I will know.

There isn't much we can do on the other side of the pool shed, since thats where all the "pool equipment" is, so its just this one side we had to work with and create a more organized space.




So lets look at the before and afters (still in progress)....
SO much better. Plus, the best part?! The hornets, wasps, bees, etc are ALL gone. I think I had Ian spray a full can of raid before I would even step foot in there, so we are all good to go :)

We'll post a picture once its all done, but do you think Im crazy for wanting to put a BIT of decor in there? Something nautical themed?! What would you do?

7.23.2012

Inspiration and a sneak peek....

I'm going give you all a sneak peek of our master bedroom- (which is seriously getting closer to completion...seriously) but, I wanted to address a few other things first :)

Firstly, um did you see who decided to feature our bathroom last Friday? One of our favorite blogs: Young House Love, whom we honestly adore and very much respect in the blogging land! They have been a very positive and huge source of inspiration to us (as another young couple crazy enough to renovate a home!) so we truly, truly, appreciate them showcasing our master ensuite on their blog.



So that distracted me a weeeee.....and we've been overwhelmed by the love and support from our fellow readers :) I was also very touched by the sweet comments some of you left under our "reality" post, so thank you SO much for that.

I always think it makes blogging much more fun when you have great support from amazing readers (like yourself) as well as other bloggers. People you can talk openly to, share with and be inspired by. Here are just a few of the ladies I admire...plus they've been doing some pretty amazing stuff lately...

Burlap and Lace

Shannon is my BBB (Best Blogging Buddy- Shannon, I may have just made that up?!) however, check out this table she recently re-did. No other words...except AWESOME:


Our Hiding Place:

Not only does Lauren do home renos, decor, fashion, but shes also SUPER handy! Want to know how to save money and make your own laudry detergent? Well, Lauren solved that for you! Check out her post on that here.





I have to give a BIG kudos to my awesome brother for taking that photo of our bedroom for us. He actually works in photography, so it helps to have a talented brother to help a girl out (especially when her camera lens does not do fancy things!)

Hope are you are all having a great week! Have you been working on any new projects lately? Pinning anything!? :)



Just Bella

Christine has the cutest little girl ever. Plus her name is Alice, and I completely adore that. Christine shares the coolest finds, plus she always looks stylish and I MAY love every single article of clothing she posts about.

Plus this
salad she posted about made me SO hungry...


Kickittogether


Katy is just the sweetest. Recently we've become acquainted through the blogland over stripes. Yes stripes. Remember our stripe post? They painted the same stripes on their walls and we shared many an email discussing... "umm...did you want to pull your hair out when you realized this was taking FOREVER?" Ya. Love the stripes. LOVE THEM.


Anyho, Katy and Nick recently re-did their patio, and it looks fabulous:


So there you have it! Just a few blogs I read daily and am inspired by. Also, a thank you to all of YOU! Our readers who have been with us since the beginning and those who have just found us! We've received the most wonderful emails and messages from you all lately and it means the world to us. Plus, it inspires us to keep working away on new projects to share :)

While Ian and I finish up a few projects around here this week, here's a sneak peak of the master bedroom to give you an idea of what we've been up to. This room still needs a bit of work, but its getting there!

7.20.2012

Reality

Hey everyone,

Today I was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers. She wrote a post being honest about herself and her situation and it gave me the courage to finally do the same.

I dont have a fancy project for you today or any pretty pictures. Sad face, I know. I am going to be honest and let you know that Ian and I have been dealing with a lot lately, and some days we feel like we need to take life 1 minute at a time, because we dont know how else to do it. We're going through some things that have turned our lives into a rollercoaster. Up one day, down the next and we can't control it. Our home is the one thing that distracts us; gives us something to focus on and we are more than thankful for that. We are so thankful for all we have, but that doesn't mean that we dont still go through tough times like everyone else.

When we post, we feel the need to make everything seem perfect and make things look easy (refer back to my last post on some Q&A about that!), but thats not always the case. This week, we've sodded our backyard a bit and thats about it. Ive chosen my own sanity over painting a table.

There are some days I feel like I dont have it together. I feel as though Im failing and am not sure how I can control it. Do you ever need a day when you just want to cry, eat some ice cream and watch PVR'd tv shows all day? I hope so. I hope some of you out there can tell me you feel the same.

I feel as though Ive learned more in this past year about myself, than in 5 before that. Ive tried to be less demanding of myself, and tell myself its ok if I can't post every day. My house isn't always clean (although I try), and thats ok. Today I drank a diet coke out of a coffee mug, ate a burnt hotdog on a buger bun and haven't touched a dirty dish. I have about 10 projects waiting for me to finish, and I haven't touched them. I probably will, but not today.

My house isn't perfect. The photos you see on the blog are the ones we've chosen to post, but let me give you a glimpse of my reality. My kitchen cupboards are not only unattractive but knobs fall off on a daily basis, and we've found band-aids and action figures in our dishwasher (not from us-lol!). Our family room carpet is old and stained, we've using a random piece of furniture my grandpa picked from the garbage for our tv stand and our kitchen light looks like a cross between gothic and country- with 3 lightbulbs burnt out. Its pretty hideous, and if you've been to our house and said its not that bad, we KNOW you are lying!

Of course we have so many visions and plans to change these things, but time and money are always a factor and we need to remind ourselves DAILY to be patient. We have so many friends with lovely finished and decorated homes, however doesn't everyone want to change at least SOMETHING about their home? Ive got a list of about 30 things. Probably more. In fact its more like 57 but who'se counting.

We do projects when we can, and I honestly can't thank my lucky stars enough to have a husband who loves to do them with me and is more than helpful. I couldn't do this without him, and I am very thankful for that.

I try to focus on the postives and happy moments on the blog, but today I need share my reality with you. We are not perfect, our house is not perfect and projects do not always turn out. Remember those painted jars I shared with you? Well 3 of them didn't turn out and I had to do them again.   Any of you who have done a project on your home will attest to this...things are not as easy as they seem. And if you are on Pintesest don't forget that most of those projects probably took those people more than 1 try to finish....if not, Id love for them to come help us!

So there you have it. A bit of our reality.

So dont feel bad if a project doesn't turn out, you dont have time to paint a dresser (since your 5 year old just smeared peanut butter all over the carpet), or if there are action figures in your dishwasher too. Life will go on, projects will get done with time and sometimes you just need to take a day to watch Price is Right in your pyjamas for your own sanity.

7.13.2012

Q&A Part 1- Your Questions Answered!

Hey Everyone!

While we finish up a bunch of projects around the house, we thought we would entertain you all with a fun little Q&A session to answer all of these burning questions you have been asking us. We're honestly flattered every time we get an email or a question from any of you- it makes us feel like we aren’t just 2 people writing a blog for ourselves and our mom’s (love you mom’s!)

But seriously, thank you for taking the time to write in, and ask us a few things. We’re going to do our best to answer, and if you have a question that you would like answered that isn’t on this list, please add it to the comments below and we’ll get right back atcha!

Ok here we go!

Which thrift stores do you guys go to? Heather K- NJ

Thanks for the question Heather! So here’s the thing, we live in Canada and I honestly feel that the thrift stores in the USA are seriously much better (at least compared to our little city here!). Have any of you ever seen Mr. Goodwill Hunting on the Nate Berkus Show? Every time he goes into a thrift store there are piles of furniture and tons of things. The thrift stores in my town are much smaller and there honestly isn’t nearly the same amount of stock. Here you would pop in and see a plastic chair, a few lamps that have no hope what-so-ever and piles of little knickknacks (which are honestly fun to look through but anyways)…so thrifting here is a bit difficult (at least in my town). I know in the bigger cities like Toronto or the REALLY small towns you might find more, but my city is a bit lacking in that area.
As well, a lot of the stores in this area are actually somewhat pricey. I’ve seen furniture pieces selling for a few hundred dollars in thrift store and people buy them, so you should be prepared to pay a bit more in my city.

However, when do I go, I go often. I might go to a few different stores every week, and you need to have your eyes peeeeeeled. Seriously, stuff can be hidden people. When I go in, I have nothing but my debit card and phone (to take photos or call Ian to tell him Im buying something ridiculous). I usually start at the furniture and work my way to the knickknacks and books.

In the furniture section I look for wood furniture pieces, and honestly pieces that I need. Ian would not be a fan of me bringing home yet another chair, so I leave those pieces alone. Although last time I saw a wicked orange chair…and was SOOO tempted to buy it…but I didn’t. Moving on, furniture needs to be in decent condition and priced well. If it seems expensive ask if they are willing to take less.

Knickknacks are hard, but look with a plan in mind. If you can picture it in a room somewhere specific, get it. If not, you’re just adding to your junk pile.

Books are awesome. I always look at the books. You might find some neat coffee table books, or kids’ books, etc. I also look at the magazines, and if there are old issues of Style at Home or other décor magazines I usually buy them (magazines are expensive people!).

There are about 5-6 major thrift stores in my city that I check out frequently, including Value Village and The Thrift Store, but I’ve been to a lot of the smaller ones as well. There isn’t one that’s necessarily better than others…you need to check them all. It takes time, but can be rewarding when you find a neat piece. Honestly, 95% of the time I go in, I come out with nothing. Think of it as an adventure; look everywhere and at everything.

Lastly, I would also recommend checking out the private auctions at thrift stores. They usually have some glass cases with really unique or rare items in there, and even though they might start the bidding at $5 or $10, you might still get the item for MUCH less than you would pay to find one somewhere else. Personally I haven’t had luck with that yet (bid on 3 items and was outbid on ALL of them with 3 minutes left to go….grrrr)…but you can find some really neat stuff in those auctions :)

Don’t forget to check out online sources such as Kijiji and Craigslist, for used items, garage sale listings and estate sales. Remember our desk? We found that on Kijiji for $95.00. Mind you, a corner was chewed off and we paid to have it professionally sprayed, but it still cost us under $250.00. I would have never found something like that for that price, new.



So although I didn’t directly answer that question, I hope that gives you an idea of how to thrift :)

How do you do this on a budget?

We get asked this question a lot, and I can honestly say it’s not always easy, but makes everything more fun. We often get comments from people who assume that we can just afford more or that maybe have a money tree in our backyard, but unfortunately we don’t. We are on a tight budget just like everyone else, but we spend a LOT of time looking for deals.

A few tips to keep in mind:

1. Save up for projects and do 1 at a time
2. Look often and wait for sales and deals- things always go on sale
3. Always go to clearance sections- you never know what you might find
4. Clip or print coupons- make a list of what’s on sale and when and take your coupons for an added discount- this takes a bit of planning but its do-able
5. Use “price-matching” or other discount deals- many companies will match competitors prices so keep your flyers and take them in with you to ask about price matching
6. Try Ebay, Kijiji or Craigslist for second hand or even new items
7. Make things yourself- it’s fun! most of the time….
8. USE YOUR RESOURCES!

I often forget that I was raised in a family who ingrained into me at a young age, that you can do anything you want, or buy anything you want for less money if you look. So I’ve been coupon clipping since I was little. So that might be why it comes so easily to me…I had to teach Ian many of my crazy ways, but now he is just as crazy.

When we were decorating and designing some of the rooms in our home, I would buy things on clearance that I knew I would use later. For example, I found a stunning crystal chandelier on clearance for $80.00 at HomeSense that I KNEW I wanted for our bedroom once we re-did it. So I bought it, stored it away, and when we finally did that room 7 months later, I already had my chandelier.

Recently I found a gorgeous necklace online but it was waaaaay to expensive. So I went on eBay and found the same one for $10.00. Regular $199.00 in the store, eBay for $10.00. It’s probably a cheap knockoff, but only Im going to know that (well, and all of you of course) and to me that doesn’t matter. I would much rather be able to buy 20 necklaces for the same price of that one.

Look in places you might not expect- search online, ask around, use your resources. I can honestly admit that 99% of my clothes are bought on sale, at second hand stores, outlets, Zellers or Joe Fresh. That’s it. And I often get asked where I buy things, so I don’t assume they look like junk. Months back, I bought a brand new (with tags on) BCBG dress from a second hand store, for $15.00. BRAND NEW.

Many of our furniture pieces are re-done, repurposed or bought on sale. You can save a lot of money re-upholstering a chair or piece of furniture if you get the piece for cheap to begin with. I also make a lot of things. I got a new sewing machine for Christmas last year, and went to town. I’ve made pillows, curtains, you name it. It took a bit of practice, but I’ve saved us a lot of money instead of buying new curtains or spending $30 on a pillow.




DIY. Seriously. We practically DIY everything around here…we use, TV shows, books, YouTube videos, articles and help from our parents to learn how to do things ourselves. Ian and my dad (and some help from awesome friends!) re-built our entire deck in a week. They had no idea what they were doing, but they looked it up step-by- step and got it done…and it’s the best deck ever. We would have paid a lot more to have it built by someone. Right now we’re redoing our entire backyard, and doing it ourselves.



So seriously, you can do these things on a budget. You just need to budget and save, and do one project at a time. That way you can cover from the costs of the first one before starting another. There you have it :)

 Where do you get your ideas? Lisa J- Charlotte, NC

Im going to take that as a compliment Lisa (he he!), but we get our ideas from everywhere! Honestly, we don’t just look to one place, we look all over.

I absolutely love Sarah Richardson’s design and she has been a major inspiration for me. I also love Nate Berkus and his style. We watch countless design shows on TV, follow many other décor/design bloggers, read tons of books, subscribe to 4 décor magazines…the list continues. I think you can be inspired anything around you. Next time you go into a store you love, look at the wall colours, the décor, how things are displayed. Recently I was in a nice restaurant and the first thing I noticed was the gorgeous wood table we sat at, and the doors on the shops in the area. I took inspiration from those things to help me design a room.

Ian and I both have somewhat different styles, but love the same colours and overall look. That makes it easy for us, but not all couples will feel that way. Try your best to incorporate both styles into a room- so everyone feels happy when they are in there.


How do you have the time to do this?

Honestly, I have no idea. Lol. All of these projects, rooms and work we do to our home takes an incredibly long time. Ian and I both work full-time jobs, Ian travels a fair bit for work and on top of that I am also doing a full-time program at school, for my job. Besides those things, we have family and friends, the BLOG and a huge dog that requires a lot of time from us. As well, we are dealing with other things in our lives right now that are taking up a great deal of time. Everyone is busy, but if this is something you really want to do, you’ll make time.
We usually do our projects in the evenings after we’ve gotten home, finished school work, walked the dog, etc, so we don’t always have a lot of time. We often find we go to bed after midnight, and trying to get up early in the morning for work or other appointments is very difficult. Weekends we try and keep for non-project time, but in the summer that’s hard- since we have about a million things we want to do outside!

We know there are a lot of bloggers out there who post daily and have a lot of projects they are constantly doing, but for some of those bloggers, their blog IS their job. Unfortunately for us, that isn’t the case…yet, which means we can’t necessarily most as many projects or updates as others can. We are trying to keep more constant posts, promise!

The other thing to remember is that doing projects takes TIME. There is usually an unexpected challenge you’ll face or something that comes up, so you need to set aside a lot of time for projects. Recently we went to Lowes for a quick trip for spray paint that ended up taking 2 hours….and in the end we couldn’t even find the right paint. So you need to be patient- projects take time.











So there you go! I hope you aren't bored to tears and enjoyed our Q&A session Part I. We'll be back with Part II next week :) And if you think of a question you want us to answer, add a comment to this post and we'll try to include it in our next post :)

Readers Choice

So on our Facebook page a few weeks ago, we put up a poll asking you what you thought we should change about our guest room. We wanted to change it up...it just didn't feel finished and we weren't totally happy with it, so we thought we'd ask you, our lovely readers what YOU thought we should change!

30% of you who voted, wanted us to paint our shutter headboard....so we did!

I decided I would test out my choice paint method (white washing) on a sample first. Thankfully, when we cut the shutters down to put up on the wall, I kept the scrap pieces and those worked perfectly as testers.

I grabbed my paint, water and a brush and went to town.

After about 20 minutes I had this:





I put it up against a wall in the guest room to see how the paint finish looked with the walls, and was pretty happy. Then I put the sample up on the bed to see how it looked with the bed fabrics and pillows, etc:





While I loved the look of the shutters with the blue, white and cream pillows, and my curtains, I wasn't crazy about the red. Soooo...goodbye red pillows (maybe I'll use them elsewhere, but they're not jamming with the room vibe anymore). I took away the red pillows to see what it would look like with the blues and whites:





Much better. Now I just need more blue tones in any additional pillows and accessories. Honestly, I've determined those are just my colours. Every time I try to decorate with colours other than my favorites (whites, blues, greens, grey's) I really struggle with a room. I read in a magazine once, a story about a decorator who did her whole house in black and white. Every time friends or family came over they would try and tell her to inject colour or change it up, and when she did she was never happy. So she finally did every room just the way she wanted and she absolutely loves her home. She said something like "to others it may feel cold, but to me I LOVE it". That has really stayed with me. To anyone who has seen our home, every room we have done, has been in white, blues or greys, with touches of turquoise and green, and we LOVE those rooms. So stick with what you love, and what makes YOU happy. You the one living there so YOU need to like it!

So I ripped the room apart,and while Ian worked on painting our pool house (eeee....another room to decorate! Sort of...if you count a 10x6 sized space a room? I've decided on a navy/white nautical theme...for the inside. Really there's not going to be much decorating-I think Ian just wanted to humour me when he said yes, but he's agreed to let me add navy accents to the inside where-ever we can), I worked on painting the shutters.

This is how far 3 hours got me:




Yes, that is all. It was hot on Sunday people! That, and white washing shutters that soak up paint like a dry sponge, takes forever. My plan is to finish them this week and then get started on the next project for this room. I'll be blogging about how I painted the shutters once they're done.

So, we need your help again! What do you think we should do next? The poll below is open for 1 week, so let us know what you think! He're another quick shot of the guest room to remind you of the before!






Vote and let us know! Can't wait to see what you all think!

Backyard renovations

Our backyard needed a makeover. Not a simple makeover involving paint and decor and curtains- a complete overhaul. Our goal is eventually be able to sit and enjoy our space...a peaceful space like this beautiful backyard by Centsational Girl:





But we're not there quite yet.

Here's a sneak peak at what we've been up to with this backyard:



It might not look like much from that photo, but we actually had to rip out the entire deck and start fresh. Our original goal, was to make the backyard into a big square (instead of the odd shape it was before), so we could add a railing around the deck (which would help in the future for safety issues with the pool). So adding a railing around the deck was our way to solve the safety issue.

We initially thought we could just replace some of the boards on the deck (the longer and shorter ones) and just fill them in with new boards cut to the right size, forming a square. Then we would pressure wash the deck and paint it all over next year. Not so simple. The new boards are full of moisture and wider than the old boards, so they didn't fit into the spaces, and we ended up with this:




Hmmmm. We weren't liking the patchy effect and we couldn't fit the new boards in those open spaces. So we ripped it all out and started fresh.
After a week of hard work, lots of help from family (you rock dad!) and friends, our deck is coming along nicely:





I have to be honest...this deck hasn't exactly been a project I can claim credit for. This was one for the boys. However, I've been a busy little bee inside the house working away on my own projects...more to come with those later.

For now, I'm going to go enjoy a lemonade on my deck boards :)

Happy Canada Day Everyone!



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