I Live in a Blank Canvas, and that Needs to Change!

When I bought my condo way back March 2010 I didn’t really have any direction as to how my home would be decorated as I moved from a space of just 330 sq. feet and had the bare minimum  of furnishings and other pretty things to guide me. When I decided to paint the walls in the bedroom and living room when I moved in I had no starting point so I went with plain ol’ white. I wish I could say that the shade at least had some sort of cute name like ‘Snowflake’, ‘Puffy Cloud’ or even ‘Milk, but it was straight off the shelf ‘white’.

Yes, white is boring, but I worried that if I picked a fun hue to paint my walls right after I moved in, that choice would taint or colour (Ha!) any decisions I made later surrounding the space itself. I wanted any choices to happen naturally – as I found pieces I loved. Over the past two plus years I’ve accumulated a few more pieces of furniture and a number of dare-I admit-it knickknacks, and I have a better understanding of how I’d like my space to look. When I look back on what I believed my future space would look like when I moved in (very modern and cool, with an arc lamp and other chrome accents), to what I want it to be now (more transitional, with some warm wood and small gold accents) I’m surprised at the almost 180 degree change in my decorating direction, and I’m really thankful that I decided to resist the new-homeowner temptation to rush out and buy stuff to fill the space so it wasn’t so barren and unloved looking.

I’ll be attending BlogPodium next weekend, and the title sponsor is Para Paints. Para is offering 5 bloggers who are attending BlogPodium the chance to become part of their blog crew, and giving them 15 free gallons of paint to play with. With the decor direction for my condo more firmly laid out, and the enticement of the contest I’ve started to think about adding some colour to my space in the form of paint.

This is my kitchen, which in over a year of blogging I haven’t yet shown you. It’s quite a small space, with not much opportunity for major change without spending quite a bit of money. BTW – those are the counters that were installed when my condo was in an episode of `Home to Go`on HGTV way back in 2002. They were reused when the current cabinets were installed a couple of owners ago.

Ikea White Abstrack Cabinets, White appliances, tile

My kitchen

Last week I looked up and realised that the ceiling might be just the place to add a bit of colour. The only trouble is that I inherited someone else`s colour choices when I moved in – the almost navy blue tiled floor, and the mustard yellow accent tiles in the backslash and along the back wall. At first I considered painting the ceiling a light sky blue, and then a pale yellow, but now I’m wondering about a dark blue to mirror the floor. Would that make the room too cave like? Maybe I should just stick with a bright white on the ceiling – so much for being adventurous!

Kitchen Colour Ideas – The Banker`s suit appears almost black online, but it`s more blue. All Paints Para

My living room is a space I`m quite anxious to add some colour to. The room has some really nice crown moulding and large baseboards that are quite difficult to see when everythings the same shade of white – a bit of colour will help them stand out.

My Living room

My Living room

While I`ve toyed with the idea of a vibrant accent wall behind the television, I`m currently plotting something a little more subdued and classic – perhaps a soft beige or even purple.

All paint Para Paints

If I introduced a bit of light purple to the room via the wall colour it would allow me to add more vibrant colours to the room via accessories. Remember those Louis XV style chairs I got from Kijiji well over a year ago and haven`t done anything with yet? What do you think of this idea?

An idea for my Kijiji chairs

My bedroom is another room is desperate need of colour. I rewired some antique lamps that have some gold and Kelly green dots, and I`ve been trying to imagine a way to add those colours to the room without it becoming overpowering. I think the way to do it is by using a cream colour paint on the walls with a stencil using the same colour in a gloss paint – this will give some interest to the walls without it becoming overwhelming.

My Bedroom (sorry for the awful picture)

My Bedroom (sorry for the awful picture)

I`ve seen lots of talented bloggers paint their own fabric when they haven`t found what they`re looking for – I`d love some horizontal stripes in green on white fabric.

Have I gone a little colour-crazy? Should I jump in feet first and try lots of colour, or should I start with some subdued hues and work my way up to some of the more vibrant colours? The nice thing about paint is it`s a fairly easy thing to change – if I were to try some of the more vibrant colours above and they just didn`t work, it would only take a few hours to change it again. Let me know what you think – would you use any of the colours above, or maybe something completely different? I`d love to hear your thoughts!

Linked to: Chic on a Shoestring, Addicted 2 Decorating

The Sofa Saga

When I moved into my home and contemplated the vast amount of furniture I’d need to purchase in order to make it a ‘home’ I vowed that I wouldn’t just buy anything to fill the space – I’d wait and purchase pieces that I really liked, and hopefully I’d be able to find pieces I liked at a price point I could also afford!!

Given my unit is only a one bedroom, when considering the purchase of a sofa, I decided that a sofa-bed would be my best choice.  There was only one problem – have you seen what’s readily available in sofa beds??  UGLY!!

Eventually (after months of looking) I found a sofa that really liked – Yay!  It’s the Monterey Sofa from Ethan Allen, and I fell in love.

Ethan Allen – Monterey Sofa

Unfortunately they don’t make it in sofa bed – Boo!

The next step in my sofa search was the realisation that in order  to get the sofa style I wanted, in the format I wanted – I was going to have to go custom.  Oh boy – did I ever underestimate just how difficult a process this would be.

The first problem was I had no idea where I could get a sofa made.  A Google search solved this fairly readily – of course sofa manufactures are not located in Midtown Toronto – they’re all in the suburbs.  This was a wee problem as I don’t have a car.  Let’s just say I became  quite familiar with a few of the GTA’s transit systems during my quest.

The second issue was the actual choosing of fabric.   The designers make it look so easy on all those shows on HGTV, but for people like me with no design training it’s a little bit of a nightmare.  I’d select some fabric that I thought would work, schlep a sample home only to discover that the shade changed completely once in my space.  Part of the problem was I’d already purchased a rug which is a bit of an odd colour – not gray, nor blue or green, but somewhere in the middle, and finding a fabric that didn’t clash was surprisingly difficult (It’s even more surprising when you consider I was looking for a beige fabric – who knew beige could clash with anything?).

At the start of June, after several weekend jaunts to the dreaded suburbs, I’d finally chosen my fabric and was told my sofa would be ready in 6 – 8 weeks.  I figured at this point the hard part was done – I was wrong.  Six, and then eight weeks went by, and still no call from the manufacturer to arrange for delivery.  When I called them I was told there had been a  delay in receiving the fabric, but I’d get my sofa in 2 weeks.  Okay a small delay, but nothing to get too worked-up about.  Three weeks passed.  Four.

I finally got the call that my sofa was ready (Hallelujah!) and arranged for it to be delivered.  I should probably admit something here – delivery services make me uncomfortable.  Not because there’s some strange people in your home, but because I always feel really stupid just standing there – I feel like I should be helping.  I know it’s their job, but still I feel weird just watching them lift and carry my stuff.

Anyways, the two gentlemen showed up with my sofa, and I squirmed in the corner as they maneuvered it into my apartment.  It looked pretty good in its packaging, and I waited impatiently for them to remove it so I could really take a look at what I had waited so long for.  They removed the plastic, and after a cursory look at the sofa I found this:

Sofa boo-boo

That’s right – I hole right there on the front of my very tardy, newly delivered, pricey sofa.  As there wasn’t anything the guys could do about it, they took their leave and advised me to call the manufacturer in the morning.  I admit it was a small hole, and I’m sure some would have just lived with it, but I knew I just couldn’t (remember the problem I had with the hole in my foyer wall?).

After the delivery guys left I stood back to admire it in its new home – I’d waited so long for it to be here that despite its little flaw I was excited to finally have it.  Strangely it didn’t look quite as magnificent as the original, and it took me a moment to realise why. As you know I’m not a trained interior designer, nor am I a person who builds furniture for a living, but it only took a quick look to realise that there was a serious problem with the sofa:

The gap between the sofa and it’s cushions

To this day I don’t understand how they missed the fact that the pillows were the wrong size.

In an effort to make this massive post shorter, the guys came back for the sofa and  at the end of October I got a call to say it was fixed and ready for delivery.  Given the issues I’d had before, this time I went there to inspect the sofa first before it was delivered – I figured that as much of a pain traveling to the suburbs was, it was less painful than watching two guys deliver a sofa again only to have to again send it back.  This attempt was much better.

On Monday November 1st, only 5 months after it was first ordered, my sofa finally took its place in my living room.

Finally! It’s arrived!

Am I completely happy with it? Honestly? No, but I finally reached the point where I couldn’t think about it any more.  One thing I do know – if I ever decide to buy another place, one item on my ‘must have’ list for the real estate agent – a living room that will fit this sofa – there is NO WAY I’m ever purchasing another one! Once was quite enough thank you!

My Condo is Famous!!!

A few months ago on a brisk Sunday afternoon, my condo had a sort of meet-and-greet on the rooftop patio.  There have been a few units change hands in the past year and it was an opportunity to meet the new people (including yours truly), and hopefully put names to the faces I see in the halls.

While all the residents didn’t turn out, I did learn some very interesting things about the neighbourhood, some of the neighbours, the building, and my unit.

Interesting fact #1: The living room ceiling in my unit fell down about three owners ago.  This explains the drywall in that room vs. the plaster in the rest of the unit.

Interesting fact #2: My unit is famous!!!  In 2002 the then resident was featured on an episode of Peter Fallico’s ‘Home to Go’ which aired on HGTV in Canada.  Appearing in the second season the episode is entitled ‘Tres Thai’.

I haven’t yet figured out how to add video to a blog, so here’s the link:

HGTV – Peter Fallico’s ‘Home to Go’ – Season ‘2: Très Thai’ (This video will only be viewable in Canada – sorry)

Some things have changed a lot since the show was filmed, and some not so much:

  • The kitchen floor is the same
  • The countertop Peter Fallico put in is still here, but the cabinets are different
  • The door molding is all different, and there are now doors between the foyer and living room, and living room and dining room
  • The fake fireplace is gone
  • There is no air-conditioning unit

They don’t show the bedroom, which is too bad – it would have been interesting to see if my theory about the closet is true.  Oh well – how often do you get to see what your home looks like 8 years before you move in!!

I wonder if I could convince him to come back and redo my unit – a kind of follow-up if you will :)

Can you name this chair?

I love HGTV Canada, and even though I don’t have cable I can follow some of my favorite shows by watching the videos they post on their website.  They also have a blog which I read on a fairly regular basis, where they post everything from info on upcoming shows, great home spaces, project ideas and interesting products that you’d probably never know about otherwise.

On occasion they also have contests where you can win, as they call it ‘HGTV swag’, and in January I found out I won the quiz from December.  Woohoo!  I never win anything!

Here’s what I answered correctly – Can you name the decade in which these occasional chairs were produced?

When were these made? Photo: HGTV.ca

How old are these chairs? Photo credit: HGTV Canada

  1. Late 19th century
  2. 1930’s
  3. 1970’s

For an additional chance to win they also asked what the name of the King of France for which the style  of chair is named.

A quick Google search told me the style of chair is named after Louis XV, but the decade in which they were made was harder to figure out.  The style of chair is one that keeps popping up – the detailing changes from decade to decade, but the basic style is the same.  I thought it was a toss-up between the 1930’s and 1970’s, and luckily I chose right – the chairs were made in the 1930’s.  I love this style of chair, and this pair in particular.  I love them so much I even emailed HGTV.ca to ask where they found them – unfortunately I didn’t get an answer to the question.

Here’s what I won:

HGTV Swag Photo credit: HGTV.ca

HGTV Swag Photo credit: HGTV.ca

So far I’m using the handy-dandy measuring tape on a surprisingly regular basis.  Because it’s so small and compact I just leave it in my purse – just think about how many times you’ve been out and unexpectedly see something you like and wonder if it will fit in your space – now I never need to wonder –  I just pull out the tape and unfortunately usually determine it’s either too big, or too small. :(