The China Cabinet Beautification Project

For as long as I’ve lived in my apartment I’ve wanted a little china cabinet to go in my dining room. My kitchen isn’t huge and I loved the idea of being able to display pretty dishes and other things in the top of a cabinet with glass doors, but hide less-attractive-but-needed items like napkins and place mats in the lower half.

I looked for months on Kijiji and Craigslist – there were lots of cabinets available, but I needed one with a small footprint and one that was within my tiny budget. It was quite some time before I found anything that would suit, but eventually I did. As luck would have it, my new cabinet had some very familiar details – it’s the same style as the console/sideboard I have in my living room.

The before

The before

When I first saw the cabinet I had visions I stripping and refinishing it just like its mate – however I was soon thwarted by something that I didn’t notice until I tipped the cabinet over to start working on it. I knew that the cabinet hadn’t been treated too kindly and was filthy, however there was one small detail I hadn’t noticed when I bought it – one of the feet (for lack of a better word) was irreversibly damaged – the wood base was missing a rather large chunk. This immediately took the wind out of my ‘woo-hoo, new project! ‘ sails, and left me completely stumped on how I was going to fix it. I could strip the veneer easily enough, but as the missing chunk was at the front corner of the base, even if I could repair the structural wood underneath I would have to re-veneer two sides. While I repaired the veneer on the base of my console, the repair there was on the side and isn’t easily seen. The front of the cabinet would always be on display, and I wasn’t confident that I’d be able to do a good enough job with the veneer replacement. Compounding the issue, I didn’t have the tools, space or skills for any woodworking, so repairing the base myself was impossible.

Damaged cabinet base

Needless to say I was completely stumped as to what to do so the project came to a screeching halt. Eventually I got tired of the cabinet sitting there empty and ugly and I decided to just Google local woodworkers and email them asking if they might be able to replicate the entire base of my cabinet. Eventually I found one who was willing to work on such a small project and I schlepped the damaged base cross town on public transit so he could copy it. Skilled trades aren’t cheap, and his expert work cost me nearly 3 times what the cabinet did.

My china cabinet was quite dirty when I got it - the hardware before and after a prolonged polish

My china cabinet was quite dirty when I got it – the hardware before and after a prolonged polish

Once my cabinet had a sturdy base it was time to turn my attention to its beautification. The new base was natural wood and I could have attempted to veneer it, but I opted for paint instead. I’m normally firmly in the ‘wood should not be painted’ camp but the veneer on the entire piece was in really rough shape, cracking and splitting, so painting it was the only option. After using wood filler to fix the worst of the blemishes I primed it, and then did two coats of colour.

Painted china cabinet

I debated painting the interior of the cabinet a fun hue, but in the end I decided that I wanted the items I displayed behind the glass to be the focus so I chose a warm white – Coconut Sugar (PF 60). For the exterior I wanted something that would highlight the brass hardware I spent so long polishing, but I didn’t want anything too dark. I chose Fort Beauséjour (P2144-02) which is a lovely blue-grey. Both colours are from Para Paints.

China cabinet painted gray

I think my china cabinet is a million times better than when I got it and, in the end, I’m glad I persevered.

As a member of the Para Paints Blog Crew I was supplied with the paint used for this project.

New Foyer Tulip Table

A few weeks ago Staples Canada emailed me and asked if I would like to give one of their accent furniture pieces a try. Honestly my first thought after reading the email was ‘Staples has furniture?? – I thought they just had paper and pens’. Out of curiosity I clicked over to the Staples Canada site to see what they had and was rather  surprised by the selection.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but there are a number of items that I could have happily welcomed to my home. If I didn’t already have dining chairs I love I would have been tempted by these Panton chair knock offs and these round nesting tables caught my eye as well.

I’ve been in LOVE with Saarinen tulip tables for what seems like ever (if I won the lottery one of the first things I’d buy would be a marble tulip dining table), so I might have let out a little squeal when I spotted a tulip table among the accent tables on the Staples website. I had no idea where it would go, but knew I’d be able to find a spot for it.

When the table arrived I was pleasantly surprised by how weighty it is. I don’t know why, but I had thought it might feel a bit flimsy – the base is made of fiberglass and the top is wood so I don’t have any worries about it moving or tipping over. Once I got it put together (a super easy 2-minute job) I decided it would be perfect in my foyer as a place to put the mail and my keys when I walk in the door (but only after first considering it as a bedside table, or even a a little bar area in my living room).

I have the rather bad habit of just putting stuff on the floor when I get home, and then not doing anything with it until the next day when I drop a bit more stuff to the growing pile. My hope is that as a table has a much smaller surface area than the floor I’ll be forced to be a bit more organized (Please keep all your fingers crossed for me that this works).

White Tulip table in foyerI love that the table is white, but one small problem I noticed once I put the table in the foyer was that it blended a little too well with my white walls – it needed a little colour. I think one of the easiest ways to add colour to a space is with flowers. I love Orchids as they’re not too expensive and they last forever, however as my foyer doesn’t really get any natural light I opted for some colourful fake ranunculus from HomeSense instead. I also placed a little tray to hold my mail and keys, and then I decided the table needed a little whimsy so I added my Matryoshka-like dolls that I brought back from Australia a few years ago.

Tulip table styledWhat do you think? Do you have a place in your entry to put the mail and your keys when you come home? Or do you do what I used to, and drop it  in the hopes a magical elf would come by in the middle of the night to tidy it away?

Disclosure: Staples Canada provided me with the table and asked me to share how I would use it as an accent piece in my home. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday Morning Love – New Greatness From Ikea

Morning everyone! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we’re at the start of another week already! I had a very busy weekend – I attended BlogPodium on Saturday, and had class all day Sunday which means I’m writing this at 2:30am – apologies in advance for any spelling or grammar mistakes.

I have to say that my Saturday was amazing – I’m hoping to write-up a full post on my experience, and the wonderful bloggers I met, and the tonnes of stuff I learned, but for now I’ll just say that the keynote speaker was the lovely Sarah Richardson (yes, that Sarah Richardson) which was a thrill in itself. Sunday’s class was Kitchen Design. It’s only a four-week course, but it runs from 10am to 5pm, so it makes for a long day. Yesterday’s class was in a furniture showroom, and I have to say I never knew there were so many rules when it came to where everything in a kitchen is placed.

Today’s Monday Morning Love post is a little different because I honestly didn’t have the time to search the web for an inspiring and beautiful space – instead I went to my inbox. Because of this wee hobby of mine I am periodically sent media releases from companies promoting their new products. Ikea sent me an email about a week ago with some new products for October, and I thought I’d share – I think you’ll understand why.

Ikea Ovre Toddlre bed - $96 (frame)

Ikea Ovre Toddlre bed – $96 (frame)

I don’t have kids, but most of my friends do. There’s some debate as to the value of a toddler bed, but this one (called Ovre) may sway some opinions. I think it’s adorable, and the bunting makes it even cuter (and I would love that stuffed shark).

Ikea Ranarp Lamps - Desk Lamp and Pendant lamp - $40ea.

Ikea Ranarp Lamps – Desk Lamp and Pendant lamp – $40ea.

I think these new Ranarp lamps are simple and classic, and therefore beautiful. It’s available in a desk, and a pendant lamp, as well as a floor lamp that I think I may need to own in the near future..

Ikea Fjallberget Chairs - $199 ea.

Ikea Fjallberget Chairs – $199 ea.

My office has some very typical ‘office-style’ chairs in the meeting rooms. These new Fjallberget chairs are oh-so stylish, and now every time I sit in a meeting on the regular boring office chairs I’ll be a bit disappointed.

Ikea Fjalkinge shelving units - $189

Ikea Fjalkinge shelving units – $189

I have a feeling these Fjalkinge shelving units will become a new blogger favourite. They come with four shelves, and you can add drawers. While they’re lovely in white I know that the blogoshere will soon be filled with these shelved spray painted gold, and every colour of the rainbow.

Will you be hoping to see any of the above in person? I know I’ll be using the lamp as an excuse to go to Ikea next month (although I don’t honestly need an excuse to go – the meatballs and icecream are usually enough inducement for me to go).

*All Images by Ikea

Monday Morning Love – Eames Dining Chairs and a Secret

If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know of my deep and abiding love of the Eames dining chair with wooden legs, so I thought I’d share some lovely dining rooms all using the chair, but with hugely varying looks.

Photo via

Photo via

Photo via (If you know the original source please let me know)

Photo via (If you know the original source please let me know)

(yes, I know the last image hasn’t got the exact same chair, but I’m including it because it’s amazing, and I love the Eames rocker too)

Now I need to let you in on a little secret I’ve been keeping. Last summer I was walking by my local Kitchen Stuff Plus and I spotted a replica version of the chair. I was so excited I even blogged about it, and asked your opinion on what I should do – buy the replicas, or keep my black dining chairs. The opinions were evenly split, and then my mom (who is a great sounding board for all my schemes) came down on the side of keeping my black spindle chairs. So keep them I did – for a few more months anyways.

In early spring I opened my email to discover Kitchen Stuff Plus was having a 25% off all furniture sale. Excuse me? (insert image of me mentally calculating while doing a happy dance). A savings of 25% times four dining chairs is practically one free chair! Now the sale was limited to only one item per day per customer, and I still had my black dining chairs, but Kitchen Stuff Plus has a rather amazing 30 day return policy. I therefore did what any other self-respecting lover of Eames style chairs, who also loves a sale, would do – I bought one chair a day over four days and schlepped them home (it’s a 1k walk). At the same time I listed my black chairs for sale on Craigslist and Kijiji with the promise to myself that if they didn’t sell within the 30 days the much-loved Eames dining chairs would be returned.Molded Eames Style dining chairsWithin a few days my black chairs were sold for $200, and that meant my dream chairs were finally mine. For those of you keeping track the chairs were normally $67.49 each. When you subtract the 25% they were $50.62 each or $202.48 for four. My four black dining chairs cost $71.28, which means when you subtract the $200 I got from their sale on I got four of my dream chairs for just $74. Eames style  dining chairThe moral of the story is eventually, if you’re patient enough, and crafty enough you can get exactly what you want.

PS – Kitchen Stuff Plus has no idea that I’m writing this post – I got a good deal so I thought I’d share.
PPS – The KSP 25% off all furniture sale is on again though September 22nd.