Archives For interior design

Guys! I’m overdue. It’s cool though. I would have been sufficiently surprised if this kid came early or on time. I went to bed last night and didn’t even run the dishwasher because I knew I’d have time to do it tomorrow. I ALSO had time to watch the first two episodes of LOVE (which I kind of hate? But sometimes like. TV is complicated), and take a few pics of the bedrooms upstairs. All three of them have now, finally, after seven months of living in his house, ceased looking like this. As usual, both rooms are a combination of stuff I had, stuff I thrifted, and some mostly-on-sale new stuff.

Let’s have a look!


The New Nursery

I mentioned this on instagram a while back, but my biggest challenge with the nursery was making as many items from C’s nursery work in a different room. I adore the chalk-chevron mural wall the previous owners left in this room, and I also liked the cool baby blue colour, but none of those motifs gelled with the bright, primary vibe of C’s nursery.

The solution? A rug to tie together the bold reds from the old nursery, and the cool hues of the new one. It took me foreeeevvvvveeeeer to finally pick one, but I love the one we chose. It was on clearance from (though it’s still “on clearance” which makes me think it’s actually just always that price and I am sort of a sucker for thinking I got a deal… *Insert skeptical face emojij*). Anyways, deal or not, it totally bridged the two colour-stories together, and also introduced some new hues to play off.

One thing I like much better about this nursery as opposed to our first go at it is the more natural textures and colours. It adds some warmth to the room, and that moses basket that I thrifted for $8 from Value Village fits right in. I made it extra-cozy by adding a fluffy rug from IKEA. The little fox print was a gift from my mom for Christmas and also pulls a lot of the colours together.

Speaking of IKEA, we also bought a KALLAX shelf because they’re incredibly useful. The only other new purchase we made for room was upgrading our rocker. The one we had served us well but you spend so much time in that thing a comfier chair seemed a worthy investment.


C’s Room

Down the hall, C’s big-boy room is pretty much ready to go. I’d love a rug for this space too, but until I can be sure isn’t playing games with my heart, it’s good as is. My biggest victory with this room was finding sheets at Costco (that’s a place I both love and hate) that perfectly matched the wall colour and treatment. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? When I showed them to Matt he did not match my enthusiasm, so only you, dear anonymous internet nobodies, can validate my joy.

The monster bedding came from some store in the mall I have already forgotten (sorry, Mall), and the bed frame was $50 from the Missions Thrift store.

It was really fun to work in these colours, and find as many dino-related items as possible. The little green guy on the floor is, literally, from the side of the road. So I guess that makes him a rescue dino! Which, for what it’s worth, is much easier than a rescue dog.

All that’s left to do now is bewitch this bed with enough magic to convince C to sleep in it all night. Witchcraft isn’t, like, hard, is it?


Master Bedroom

This room was a last minute addition to this post. Yesterday afternoon, my Simons order finally arrived, and in it was this cozy yellow blanket and gray carpet runner. Finally, I enjoy looking at my bed as much as I do sleeping in it. And since a newborn means the “sleep* portion of my life will soon be drastically reduced, I’ll comfort myself in the middle of the night by starring at that pleasing mustardy-hue on the throw blanket. That will not work, but I’ll lie to myself and say it might!

You may recognize the three prints above the bed. I’ve had them in every room in the house, but I think they’re finally in their forever-home. They served as the spring board for a lot of the colours I went with. As for everything else, the lamp on the right  and the yellow throw pillow are both from Sears, bought during their big closing/liquidation sale. And YES, I do feel guilty for shopping that sale when they were absolute jerks to their long-time employees about their pensions but I JUST REALLY LIKED THAT LAMP I’M SORRY PLEASE FORGIVE ME MIKE MYERS.

The table at the end of the bed is a great little mid-mod piece I scored off Kijiji last year for $15. I didn’t have room for it anywhere once we moved, and the few short months we used it at the old place left it with scratches and water stains galore. But I kept it around and realized a few weeks ago that it would work just fine as an end-of-the-bed bench, and the water stains could easily be covered up by a slathering of chalk paint. (Annie Sloan’s Amsterdam Green + a layer of the brown antique wax, if that stuff is your jam).

Another Kijiji purchase from the last few months is this beige dresser. The previous owners used some kind of mineral paint on it, I think, and I’m happy with how it works with the rest of the room. The print above it is just a piece of Cavallini wrapping paper, in a thrift store frame:

All in all, I really love the way this room finally came together. That’s often how it works when I decorate – I’ll slowly accumulate discordant items, with a vague hope in mind for how they might eventually work together, and then one day it finally comes together just the way you want.

And that right there is pretty much exactly what my body has been doing for nine months.  Now we just wait for the big reveal.

Until then!








The One

September 29, 2017 — 6 Comments

Friends! Family! I’m here! Blogging! What a twist, what a rush, what a revelation.

Just the other day on instagram, I mentioned that we were finally feeling settled in our new place, and, for the sake of my own personal accountability, teased that I might even blog about it. Some of you padded my ego just enough to make sure I followed through with that, so here we are!

First, a little background: for most of last year, Matt and I were looking for a house. 7 offers, 20 + showings, and who knows how many open houses later, we finally landed The One. I feel that phrase is appropriate because, while I’ve never online dated, I’ve concluded that scouring for house listings and swiping left and right on a dating app are pretty much EXACTLY THE SAME.

“…This is the one, I can feel it!”
“Oy. This one looked a lot better in the pictures.”
“I liked it. I just didn’t get that feeeeeling, y’know?”

And then, after looking at way too many, and losing all hope: “SURE. FINE. WHATEVER.”

Thankfully, ladies, I did not have to settle for whoever offered to pay for my overpriced cocktail (this is where the metaphor stops working), because I really love my house. I loved it the moment I stepped into it, to be honest. As we walked through it at the open house, I felt like I had to suppress the goofy grin on my face growing bigger with every room. On the way home, I tried to play it cool and casually asked Matt “…So, what did you think?” He said something akin to “It was fine.” And then I was all “HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT OUR FUTURE HOUSE THAT WAY”.

The thing is, Matt has on a very different set of goggles when looking for a house. He needs to let it sit for a bit. He needs to run some numbers. He needs to make sure that it’s sound investment. That it makes sense. It’s actually a very good thing he’s so objective, since I am…not. And, thankfully, after doing his Matt-thing, this house ended up scoring high on both the “feels” and the “facts” charts.

So, we put in an offer.

And we got it.

And we freaked out a bit, because we never get it! And blah blah blah, long story short: we moved!

The thing I like the most about this house it that it’s old, but it’s been so smartly updated. The previous owners pretty much had my exact tastes, and they managed to blend the classic with the modern perfectly. So, it’s perfectly suited to my decor style – which is…whatever! No, seriously: I’ve never been able to fully embrace one dominant decor style. Mid-century modern is a little too cold, boho is too hippy for Matt. Minimalist? Oh yeah right. This house, on the other hand, is a blank canvas for a little bit of everything.

And for a thrifter like me, that’s a dream come true.

A few highlights:

-> That wardrobe directly up top was a Kijiji find. $230. I love it. It gives us extra storage and is probably one the only piece that’s as old as the house: 1930s ish.

-> The big gray couch was our biggest splurge. It’s a Gus* couch, from a furniture dealer in Hamilton: Chaise Musicale. He sells mostly MCM furniture, but also carries some great current lines. This couch is perfect because the colour hides many’a toddler stain, and the microfibre texture isn’t nearly as enticing to Maggie’s claws as our previous couches. I intend to keep it forever and ever. Even if you’re not on the market for any furniture at the moment, you should pop in there sometime, because the owner is just a really cool guy and it’s awesome to chat with him about what he does!

-> Now, since we were a little spendy on the couch, I wanted to complete the living room seating with a more stringent budget. That was proving VERY HARD. Both Matt and I agreed that two chairs opposite the couch would be the best thing for space and function, but ya’ll: chairs are $$$. I looked at kijiji so much I started to dream about it. I was about ready to just start tossing money at IKEA when I spotted these two beauties at a tiny little thrift shop in Collingwood. Actually, I spotted six of them. And, were I not just there on vacation with limited trunk space, I would’ve been tempted to take home all 6. These CHAIRS, you guys: they’re so good! Brass and wood. Vintage Hauser. Newly rehapolsterd. $40 each. So comfortable! And on wheels! That means that whenever I need to get some work done (*cough*download TV shows*cough*) at my desk, I can just wheel one right over. Speaking of that desk…

-> This was another perfect fit for our space. (See below). It’s beautifully refinished by my mother in-law, and the drawer actually opens up and flattens to reveal the keyboard and mouse. So smart!

As for the other bits and bobs around our place, most of it is from the old house or the thrift store, or the mom-store. If you’re curious about any of the items, just ask!


Oh! This dining set was also one of my better finds: $250. In perfect condition. 6 chairs with two extra leaves so we can host lots of happy meals 🙂


The other work in progress is our basement. I thought it would be the perfect place to gather up a lot of the vintage ads I already had, and we’ve got wall space to keep that collection going. Also, please enjoy the shaggy rug you see here, because Maggie has destroyed it with her all-powerful-cat-pee and it’s currently rolled up in storage because I don’t want to admit I for sure have to throw it out:

I think that will be it for now. I didn’t show you any of the upstairs rooms, because truth be told they are all in varying states of Hot-Mess-dom. But thankfully, there’s a pretty hard deadline on getting those rooms in order: March 2018. 😉


Past Due

January 15, 2015 — 6 Comments

Slouchy gray sweater + toque // We So Thrifty

Slouchy gray sweater + toque // We So Thrifty

Slouchy gray sweater, knitted bag + toque // We So Thrifty

Slouchy gray sweater + toque // We So Thrifty

I’ll be honest: I knew my previous post wouldn’t be my last one before D-Day. I had a real strong feeling this little fella/bella would be kickin’ around for, minimum, a few days after my due date. I’ve long expected to be a long-expectant momma, and that’s actually been incredibly healthy for my mental state. It means I’m less “GET THIS BABY OUTTA ME!” and more “I guess I’ll make brownies?” I’ve been assuming this babe will take it’s sweet time, and that a due date is just a marker to make sure you’ve done all the important laundry. So, here I am, two days after my due date, and still no strong signs of labour. But I’m good with it! Really! I’ve even kicked myself off of the “let’s read about the WORST CASE SCENARIO” message boards. The oddly-comforting reality is that there is nothing I can do about how this baby comes into the world, and anyway/time that gets it here safely is the right way/time. Whoa! Look at me getting all advice-y and evolved. Must be the brownies! (Also, remind of these words when I’m, like, 12 days overdue).

Anyways, seeing as I’ve had some time to kill lately, I’ve made sure to visit all four of the main thrift spots in Hamilton over the past few weeks (Talize, Salvation Army, Valu Village, and Bibles for Missions). The outfit above is 100% Bibles for Missions. I found the sweater for $6, the hat for $2, and the boots for $10. I was immediately pleased with the way the gray sweater and red and white stripes went together, but couldn’t figure out why. When I got home, I figured out why: It’s because I look like those socks, and, by extension, those sock monkeys. You call it a coincidence, I call it the easiest Halloween costume ever!

In this look, I also fit quite nicely into the palette I set for our nursery. “Setting a palette” almost sounds too fussy for how I approached decorating the space. I just wanted it to be FUN, full of primary reds, blues, and yellows. And you know what? Fun it is! Matt, with the help of his Dad, cousin, and a few handy friends, really did all the hard work in prepping this space: He created a brand-new room out of our way-too-large living space  – walls went up, trim went down, and paint went on. All I had to do was fill the room with furniture and the fill the walls warmth and whimsy.


The first decorative items I received for the nursery were these beautiful paintings by my sister Laura. Matt, ever the thoughtful one, commissioned some artwork from her for our fifth anniversary in the summer. Laura had heard a few things about my “vision” (again, that sounds too fussy) for the room, and she completely nailed it. I really did use those paintings as a launchpad for everything else in the room: the patterns and stripes, the golden yellows and punchy reds – it’s all there. I was able to take that influence, and fill the rest of the room with gifts from friends and family, items I already had, and new buys from Ikea and Target (I’ll miss you, boo!). OH, and so much Kijiji:

Nursery in primary colours // We So Thrifty

Nursery in primary colours // We So Thrifty

Nursery in primary colours // We So Thrifty

Nursery in primary colours // We So Thrifty

Nursery in primary colours // We So Thrifty


More pics and such below!
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Setting the Table

February 6, 2013 — 10 Comments


In my last post, I mentioned I was taking a little break from thrifting clothing. While I’ll be back to it very soon, I’ve made some substantial steps in terms of keeping the habit in check. For one, I went to the thrift store with my sisters with the sole intention of helping them find clothing, without finding anything for moi. And I succeeded! It was fun. I was like a personal shopper. Except now, every time Adele wears here cool new two-toned sweater with a zipper on the back, I stroke it and whisper “You could of been mine. She better be treating you right.” Minor creepy tendencies aside, that was fairly momentous. The other victory came when I went to Valu Village strictly for housewares. I blew right pass their many racks of clothing, and came out with exactly what I needed – a new look for my dining room.

The trip to Valu Village was a calculated decision. I find most of their clothing to be very overpriced, but they still have the largest selection of housewares, thus I knew I could get what I needed from them with minimal temptation to add to my closet. My mission came about after Matt and I invited some friends for dinner. Most of the time, when we entertain, I just assume they’ll be sated with wine and cheese like myself, and we avoid the dining room all together. This time, however, we were having an actual meal, so I needed to address the blank space that was to house our food, and that’s just what I did:


First off, it’s a bit of a misnomer to call this space our “dining room”. It’s really just a corner in between our kitchen and living room, large enough for a table, with only two walls to call its own. I’ve neglecting this space in terms of decorating, so it was a blank canvas. Sure, one wall is blue, and one is taupe, but other than that, there were no motifs or colours I had to match. So, I searched through the table settings with a very open mind.

At first, I sifted through the table cloths, in hopes something would jump out. It didn’t, so I moved right along. Not long after, I picked up a brand-new (with tags) table runner. The lighter blue was a nice (albeit not perfect) match to the wall, and I loved the clean, retro print. I then found a whack of circular place mats (also with tags) in the very same navy as the modules on the runner. I loved that they not only matched the runner in colour, but also in shape.



With those two items in place, I went back to the table cloths. I thought about searching for a solid white one, but then I remembered how much I spill on myself and nixed that idea. I was about to settle on a vintage seafoam one, as it was a perfect match to the runner, when this heavy striped cloth popped out. Not only did it have the seafoam from the runner, but all sorts of other purples, blues, and greens as well. I also liked how the stripes tied in with the runner. This table cloth would work with the pieces currently in my cart, and leave the door option for other coordinating pieces in the future. Perfect! From there, I did what I always do: Buy a bunch of flowers and a big loaf of bread.


This mini-transformation is perfectly reflective of the approach to home decor that I’ve already taken on this blog. I don’t have the time or the coin to do anything big or dramatic, so I focus in on the small spaces – the corners, nooks, and crannies. In this way, my approach to home decor is right on par with my approach to fashion. I don’t always have a grand idea or vision in mind, but I know what I like (and what Matt will let me get away with). So that’s the way I set my table – bit by bit, piece by piece, until something comes together.

Now I just have to figure out how to apply this formula to food, because a pretty table is only as good as the food that’s on it. Unless you’re in the movie Hook, in which case you could just imagine all your table settings, too. Bangarang!

Full Circle

June 1, 2012 — 12 Comments

I think I’ll officially feel like a grown-up when I care as much about my house as I do my closet. Don’t get me wrong, I love flipping through Style at Home, and I’m a Sarah Richardson devotee, but if I find myself with extra cash in my pocket, it usually goes towards a sparkly dress before it does an ottoman. But every so often, the home decor bug sneaks up out of nowhere, and I go all Tasmanian Devil in reverse. Way back in January, I blogged about this phenomenon at work. A few days ago, I caught the bug again. As it was with my vanity project, I was spurred on by one really great piece, and everything unfolded from there. This time, my catalyst was this super-awesome Dr. Evil chair:

My mom bequeathed this chair unto me as a thank you for a recent string of favours. (some say it with flowers, Mom says it with home furnishing). I LOVE this chair. But it looked downright silly next to my sagging Kijiji couches. Our living space is much like a bowling aisle – saggy couches with TV on one side, desks & computers on the other side, with a wide expanse of space in between. Next to our computer stations sat two Bermuda chairs (also from Mom) They are very nice, but they always looked a little lonely and lost in the back corner of our living space. In front of them sat a large coffee table gathering dust and unopened mail. These Bermudas matched the aesthetic of the circle chair perfectly. So, off to the corner it went!

That’s when things got real. These three nice chairs still looked lost and lonely, and they deserved better. So, I channeled my inner Nate Berkus, and attacked this corner with everything I had. I pulled the rug from our kitchen, the lamp from our TV space, the coffee table books from our shelves, the clock from our dinning room, and it just took off from there. The biggest “aha” moment arrived upon the realization that I could actually pull the large coffee table apart, and use it as two separate end tables to frame the space.

If you ever feel lost when trying to pull a room together, stick to matching basic shapes and textures. I basically echoed the circle-shape through the space for most elements, and the square for the rest.

Check out those neat iron circles on the ledge: They’re a gift from my mom-in-law, an old floor grate she recovered. In fact, everything in this space is either thrifted or gifted.

The artwork on the right is a wedding gift from my friend and mentor Petra, and within it you can see almost every motif for this space at work – circles, squares, clean black edges, even the lines from the floor grates and candle lantern.

As I added more elements to the space, more visual connections arose. The glow of the candle lantern picks up the flecks of gold in that wicked retro clock (thrifted gift), that clock faces a wall of other clocks (gifted), and the gold lamp (thrifted) lights all of it up.

Oh, and all these clocks tie back to the circle chair. Full circle. (How many more times will I say circle in this post? Circle circle circle!). Even the little mirror tucked behind the candle lantern plays a part – the pattern reminds me of the button placement on the Bermuda chairs, and it has some flecks of gold, too.

When I originally posted pictures of my mom’s thrifty home decor, I mentioned that she never sets out looking to fill a particular space all at once. Rather, she “buys little bits and pieces all the time, until, voila! A vingette comes together.” That’s exactly what happened in this corner. I already had everything to make this space come alive, it just needed one element to bring it all together.

One final tip: Coffee table books are one of the easiest ways to add character to your living space. They immediately tell people about your passions. This table is great because it showcases many of my favourite reads. Some of them came from my parents’ used book store, and others have been collected over time. Show them off! They communicate a lot more about your personality than a Kindle display would.

There is only one foreseeable danger to my new corner: One I was finished with this space, I made myself a rye n’ ginger and enjoyed it in my Dr. Evil chair. My cat settled in for some snuggling, and I suddenly had a strong desire to take over the world and get myself a pint-sized henchman. Just promise you’ll intervene if I start losing my hair.

In my own little corner

January 6, 2012 — 26 Comments

Warning: I’m about to show you something gross. Okay, not really gross, but sort of pathetic, and a little embarrassing. Are you ready?

 Gah! My eyes! The combination of the automatic flash + my racoon cat makes this look like a crime scene photo, when in fact it’s the sad, sorry little corner where I sat to get ready for the day. Objects in the photo include, but are not limited to: books, a box of golf balls, dirty laundry, clean laundry, printer paper, lady products, and canadian flag in the window. Every morning, in the midst of this hodge-podge, I would plop down on the floor, blindly shove my contacts into my eyes, plug in my blowdryer and slap on some makeup. Usually in that order.

While the rest of my house has, fortunately, moved away from “university student” decor over the past few years, a few leftover clues remain (our bedside table is a rubbermaid container with a scarf over it). This corner still looked like it was inhabited by a 20-something college kid who was either jacked up on coffee or hungover from a night of smoke machines and dollar beers.

Over the holidays, I was newly inspired by my mom’s thrifty solutions to decor problems, so I decided to attack this corner with the same strategy. The result:

Much better! Wouldn’t you say?

The room renovation began with a hunt for a vanity. My first stop was the trusted Salvation Army. I didn’t come home with a vanity. I did, however, come home with the cute lamp and big mirror you see above. Both $4.99. A few days later, I paid a visit to the Bibles For Missions Thrift Store. They usually have a larger selection of furniture, and lo, they had this charming dressing table! The vanity cost me more than I wanted ($35 plus a delivery charge of nearly as much). However, when you’re shopping at a place that exists only to further missionary projects run by the Bible League, you can also consider your purchase a donation – and that should make anyone loosen their purse strings.

I also picked up a small stool for $10, and a whack of stripey yellow fabric for $2.50 (I originally picked out a totally awesome hippy-dippy paisley pattern, but when I asked my husband how much he hated he, he said “I hate it so much”. If he had responded with “I hate it only a little” I would have taken it).

So, once home, I recovered the seat with the stripey fabric. Note: I don’t sew, I don’t craft, I don’t even staple – I used thumb tacks. Don’t judge. It worked! I also had enough fabric to make a neat little jewelry board out of a frame I picked up from a church garage sale. You might recognize it from this post. Now I won’t have to spend ten minutes unknotting my jewelry after pulling it out of a drawer. Small victories!

I grabbed a few other items from the house (a flower pot for my hairspray products, and a wicker box to house my makeup) and suddenly the forgotten corner didn’t look so scary.

Most of the miscellaneous items I listed before found new homes in the vanity drawers. I’m also hoping that since this corner no longer looks like a dump, I’ll be less inclined to treat it as one. The dirty laundry will go directly into the hamper, and the clean laundry will go to the floor of my closest (hey, I’m a realist). All in all, I’m quite pleased with my new space! I won’t be bursting out “I feel pretty” every morning, but I can at least give myself morning pep talks with some dignity. And I love my morning pep talks.

Any forgotten corners in your home you’d like to tackle?

I got it from my Mama

January 3, 2012 — 14 Comments

So often, I’m greeted with looks of shock and awe when I tell people just how many items in my house and closet are thrifted goods. They commend me, and say “I could never do that – I have no idea where to begin!” as if I’m practicing some advanced level of witchcraft of which they are ignorant. People, I appreciate the flattery, but it’s quite honestly undeserved! Thrifting is easy, if you do it right. And you know who taught me to do it right? My mom. The lady is a thrift machine! Her trick? Go early, go often.

Thrifting, whether it be for clothing or housewares, is best done in an open and relaxed state of mine. Don’t go in a hurry, frantically looking for a particular item. Rather, go when you have at least an hour, with an open mind. This is the way I shop for clothing – collecting items that make an outfit over  time, and the same goes for interior decorating – buy little bits and pieces all the time, until, voila! A vingette comes together.

I spent time at my parents’ over the holidays, and while I was there I snapped a few pics of this theory in practice – little pieces, thrifted from many different stores, coming together in a lovely, stylish way.

Those lamps and mugs? Salvation Army. The paintings and mirrors? The Humane Society Thrift Store. The hutch they sit on? Waste Wise. And you get the idea. Mom has amassed such a collection of thrifted artwork and mirrors, every month she can shift them around, put them on a new wall, pair them with a new item, and create a brand-new space. It’s just like remixing accessories & clothing to make a new outfit.

Look at the little touches in her kitchen: those chairs came from Salvation Army, and Mom waited for the right fabric to recover them. How awesome is the retro bread box? It sits next to a framed coffee ad from a 60s Life magazine. It’s about the little things!

In the kitchen, there was this awkward space between the pantry and the heating radiator for months after my parents moved in. When the above little sofa came up at one of her usual spots, she stuck in it in the car and took it home. Fits perfectly. Observe the wall of frames – she didn’t buy those all at once from Ikea. She collected them over time, and they all spent time in different parts of the house, only now they make one elegant statement.

Another sweet find by Mom is the vintage wallpaper above the bed in my parents’ room. While my husband would have a heart attack if I put something this bold in our room (or anywhere – he’s allergic to wallpaper), my Dad is pretty chill about the whole thing. And the end result is pretty darn stylin’.

So, there you have it: Mom’s rules to get your house looking beautiful on a budget: Thrift everywhere, thrift often, with eyes always open to the little things.

I recently attempted my own mini-room makeover, compiling items from Bibles for Missions, Salvation Army, and the church garage sale. Look for it on the blog later this week. In the mean time, try to find it in your heart to forgive me for using a terrible Will.I.Am song in my title. I’d promise it won’t happen again, but I’d be lying. Titles are hard.