a boring big-box kitchen takes on a little personality


I L.O.V.E. this dark blue-black colour.. I've painted a ho-hum oak fireplace, a 70's china cabinet and now the kitchen island at the beach house this fantastic colour.. and I'm on the look out for my next victim


a plain sofa gets a spring makeover

albeit a great plushy sofa, the back cushions are starting to bother me (although I pouffed them up for this picture) .. they're never the right shape and fall in on me when I sit down, so I made new back cushions from leftover fabric I had, stuffed with a bag of white stuff from fabricland

I'm just stunned how a little fabric and stuffing can transform a sofa!!   ok, who's next?


the beach house laundry room gets some personality (and hides an ugly countertop)

fun huh?



I get inspired and design a watermark for my business

I found a picture of the beach house that I love, used Adobe's Sketch app (yup, it's free) and printed it, put a (very) rudamentary ring around the picture and voila!  my daughter-the-graphic-designer will do the rest

the sky's the limit really... remember, you don't have to use a house.. I did one of our back gate, covered in virginia creeper

the hard part is deciding which one to use.. maybe I'll just use all of them, who says I have to pick just one?



a hudson's bay point blanket gets made into a headboard 

I'm in LOVE with this Hudson's Bay blanket headboard my daughter and I made the other day.. it took about $100 worth of materials and a $160 used HBC blanket from Ebay and less than an hour.. the guest cabin has needed a headboard since, well, forever (the 1970s?) and this one is perfect

honestly, it was hard to cut the blanket for the headboard but once I got over that part, everything else just came together.. absolutely none of this blanket was wasted, large pillows were made from the remnants


a picture window gets dressed up like a picture frame 

I had to really put thought into this one.. should I?  shouldn't I?   In the end, it works, the plain wooden framing gets a coat of black paint transforming the window into a picture postcard.. I should really have my daughter photoshop the view into the window frame instead of the over exposed view currently.. but you get the idea 

and just because my brush was still wet and iTunes was playing my favourite playlist, the back of the door got a coat too.. this really looks good.. next summer the front gets done in 'hudson's bay red'



a tile project finally gets completed

I've stalled, put off and procrastinated over grouting around my antique wall sink until yesterday.. then I couldn't look at it one more day and you know what?  it was FUN.. pffff, no big deal really

what was I waiting for?  and what else can I tile?



the laundry at the cabin in the woods finally gets a storage shelf

my husband is very handy and can do everything, even install a level floating shelf even though the window moulding isn't



a few rainy days in a row and we get creative

a rainy-day craft turns into something really cool!  inspired by signal flags and the colors at the cabin in the woods, these have since been mounted on the wall in the guest bath.. we also laid some Flor carpet tiles down to finish the look



some uber finds 

my daughter's room at the beach house isn't really a project but I wanted to share how great my finds were for this space that doubles as a guest room.. the 20's era bedside table was found at Of Things Past in toronto for $125, a great source of used and pre-loved furniture and was painted with a fresh coat of lilac paint to bring it up to speed for $12.. the lamps and eggplant bedding were from Target $60 and $24, before they limped back to the states (sniff).. the headboard was from The Queen's Pantry on a close-out sale for $140.. the convex mirror I picked up at Walmart for $15.. the suzani pillow I bought online from Etsy for $35 and the duvet cover from Pottery Barn for $39 during their white sale




a christmas craft

my daughter's dress form gets a christmas makeover, and smells great too!



what's better than a picket fence?

the picket fence is up and fantastic!   there's just something about a picket fence isn't there?  it's classic, looks good in almost all settings and this one is PVC so should survive an east coast winter or two.. plus it cleans up the front yard of the beach house and gives structure to the yard.. truth be told I find this fence system a little too tall.. it should only be about 3 feet tall and it's way more than that but it does look good with the scale of the house



organizational porn

ok, I've said it before and I'm going to say it again.. there is nothing more rewarding than organizing your stuff.. this coat-cupboard-turned-shoe-store is the best.. women want to 'shop' for their accessories and shoes.. we like things laid out so we can see them.. so instead of dreading the shoe pile I stand and smile while I decide what to wear 



a wind wall becomes a focal point

the front door of the beach house is on the side of the house and when it was windy in spring and summer it's nice to have that breeze blowing through, but in the winter it's absolutely frigid.. like being in a frozen wind tunnel.. my hand actually froze to the doorknob last winter while I was locking the door.. so we built this little wind-free zone and it works perfectly.. it almost baffles to the driveway!

we finished the beach house look with a bricked walkway to the door and a gravel driveway and parking area.. I've always loved the sound of a car on gravel



the sundeck gets a privacy wall

the privacy wall is up and gorgeous.. I found the lattice on Home Depot's website (click here) and had it delivered.. my carpenter Chris put it together and tweeked it a bit to fit the depth of the deck.. so the neighbours won't have to see me in my bathing suit we backed the lattice with lumber.. I purposely chose not to paint the wall, rather to let it weather and gray out in keeping with the beach house theme




a hudson's bay company inspired project

I finally got around to painting our old chipped canoe, with help from my friend Janis.. with a nod to Canada's oldest store, The Hudson's Bay Company.. they sell a cedar strip canoe painted like this for $7,500 (click here) so I figured $40 in paint should do it at our local hardware store plus a couple of varathane coats thanks to my friend Debbie.. that's right, I put everyone to work at the cabin in the woods



displaying vintage pennants

don't you just love these vintage pennants?  remember begging your parents to buy you one at the gift shop during family trips in the station wagon?  (we had one of those ones with the foot-well backwards-facing seats and roll-down back window for extra danger) my friend Janis started my obsession with these by giving me Princeton, Merritt and Hope in British Columbia and the rest I found on Etsy (click here)



a banana bike of my own!

the find of the century!  a banana bike!  and the best part is I found it at the Princeton dump for $5.. I can't wait for next summer to start it's transformation into the coolest bike ever.. I always wanted one of these bikes growing up in the 70's, it was kind of a right of passage you had one, of course the girls' version was super cool with groovy flowers, sparkly paint and those streamers.. oh man I can still see them today some 40 years later.. they made quite an impression on me.. the only question in my mind now is what color to paint it?   



the guest cabin gets branded 

we finally found a spot for the Ingledew's neon sign from my family's 102 year old shoe store, right on the guest cabin my grandparents Temma and Gar Ingledew had built back in the 70's.. it's the perfect spot I think although with the store still in business in the area it does confuse a few people (click here



a vintage sink

I just love this old sink.. it's cast iron with a brand new ceramic finish, it weighs a ton too.. I found it on Ebay in upstate NY and since we live in Toronto we were able to drive into the states to get it.. I had it refinished in our garage and my husband drove it out west to BC in the summer.. I've used leftover stacked marble from a kitchen project as the surround.. probably not the best choice for a sink where I'm sure fish are getting cleaned here when I'm not looking.. but it was a slam-dunk I thought.. now I just have to grout, which you can see I haven't done yet.. I may even be putting it off, having to push grout into all those little joints.. maybe next summer :)



the 1000 lb. fridge 


this retro fridge was in pristine condition when I found it in Olalla B.C. a few years ago.. it was in a junk yard parked outside with only a little piece of plastic over the top that didn't really cover anything.. the inside was incredible.. perfect.. all the outside needed was a paint job so it got one, with a top coat of varathane.. I love this fridge although it's more like a bank vault.. the door is probably 8" thick and riveted.. the shelves are metal racks and it even came with one of those aluminum ice cube trays with the handle you pulled back so ice flew all over the kitchen..  remember those? (click here



painting for the win


I don't think there's anything more rewarding than turning an awful-something into an amazing-something.. case in point.. this fireplace in the master bedroom of the beach house was such an eyesore.. pink sparkled granite with pink grout.. it drew my eye as soon as I walked in the room and not in a wow-that's-nice kinda way.. so I went to the local hardware store and horrified the man-clerk by telling him what I was planning.. to paint the whole thing.. I'm very familiar with that 'you've got to be kidding' look.. but hey!  now I have a hawaiian-inspired fireplace surround.. just by mixing some $5 paint samples and painting right over the rock, grout and even the vents.. everything got a makeover



fireplace love

this was another fireplace at the beach house that needed some love.. originally a medium-toned oak with a badly scorched metal surround, it got a coat of dark blue-black paint on the oak and some matte BBQ paint on the metal surround.. add a little sanding around the edges and in a couple of hours it was done.. not quite sure what can be done with those little pebbles that have been glued down in front.. sometimes I have to think about something for awhile before the answer hits me.. it's a year + and counting



bringing the outdoors in

these french doors to our dining room were great when we used the room as a dining room but we ended up folding laundry in there more than we did dining, so it became my office... which meant I needed to smoke the glass so that the doors could be closed and more importantly, the mess hidden... so this is the result, an $8 can of glass etching from Home Depot and it was done (click here



spice it up!

I've never enjoyed something more than these very simple spice and herb jars.. I flip the canning lid over so I don't have to look at the manufacturer's advertising and label them with a sharpie.. I love these so much I organized a bathroom drawer with these jars, some with lids and some without, so I don't hate myself every time I go in there for something.. there's something so right about being organized.. I feel so in control!  



bringing an old beauty back

my friend Sylvia sold me this hutch, it was her parent's pride and joy.. it housed all their 'good' dishes and things.. my mom and grandmother had one similar.. it was living in her basement and needed to live again so I bought it and took it to the beach house.. it was painted with the same paint I used for the blue-black fireplace.. this picture was taken the night of our first christmas party at the beach house, we used it for a bar.. I've since painted the back side of the windows with white paint and loaded it up with all our canned goods and dried food with room in the drawers for dish cloths, placemats and the tools I hide from my husband so I can find them when I need them.. once he reads this I'll have to find another hiding place or buy tools with pink handles :)



dolling up a discount

this pedestal table was from Crate and Barrel and was in their clearance section for a steal!   it was badly scratched from being a display table I assume.. I dig this table and have had to fight myself to leave it in the living room at our house in Toronto, it's perfect there, but it would also be perfect outside on our patio (it's metal) or many many other places.. I had a piece of mirror cut for the top of the table to hide the scratches, it was under $100 to do this.. I chose a slightly smoked brown mirror although in this picture it looks really shiny and voila!  problem solved



an uber find


another uber find at our area antique barn.. a fireplace surround with over-mantle from the early 1900's.. it's in really good shape.. it's just the right depth for a smallish bedroom that might need a little zip.. bedrooms are such boxes now.. I'll most likely use it as a faux fireplace to add some character to a room.. I'll paint the 'fire box' with a charcoal / black paint to make it look like there's a hole and just go from there.. might even paint it with a fun colour of chalk paint and distress it, I'll think on it for awhile 



painting brick

ok, I might be slightly aware of my obsession with fireplaces.. here's another one.. a different makeover than the other three.. this fireplace was a dusty outdoor-brick-used-inside kinda fireplace when we moved in back in 2002.. just blah.. so I had the Georgian surround built to fit and (husbands and disapproving man-clerks cover your ears) painted the brick.. yes.. I've never been so fulfilled as when that dusty brick was painted and perfect.. I admit it, I used leftover latex paint from a room we painted Benjamin Moore Straw.. isn't it funny how women can do that?  recall what paint colour they used a decade ago?   I get a lot of questions about painting brick (Cheryl lol) because people really don't believe it works / takes / looks good.. their husbands usually talk them out of it (and painting wood too) so every time you walk past that tired fireplace you hate it a little more each time, I say do it!



halloween fun

these are my Martha Stewart halloween decorations that I vary every year.. (click here) and who doesn't love Martha Stewart?  I know, she's an uptight elitist felon but she's damn good, and the staff she surrounds herself with are probably better.. this was a template probably 10 years ago, I drew it freehand on a leftover piece of plywood and cut it out with a jigsaw.. painted it black, bought a broom from Michael's and zap-strapped an old lantern on one hand and tied a couple of plastic crows on too, just for good measure.. I put some orange lights in the base of my empty ceramic bowl that makes it look like something's cooking in the caldron.. when the pumpkins are ready I put a few big ones in front of the witches so they don't fall over and hurt someone and I'm done except for the red or orange lightbulb



organized bliss 

there's just something satisfying about organizing everyday items.. maybe it's because you can find something quickly.. whatever it is, I love it