Archive for the ‘bedrooms’ Category

We can’t have friends to stay and we dont know when that will change. But I dream of having guests: People to cook for and with, friends whose presence justifies that extra drink that now just makes me feel guilty, and someone new with whom to play board games and cards.

This desire, along with a decision not to rent our place this year to vacationers, was ample motivation to spend a few days improving our guest room.

2019 guest room. Someone had to sleep against the wall.

This room – every room in fact – was freshly painted with a matte white when we bought the place in late 2007. So repainting was not an early priority. It has; however, become increasingly desirable over the last few years. And no excuse not to do it right now.

Benjamin Moore has a new, extra durable paint called Scuffex. It’s not outrageously expensive either. I chose a pearl finish as the room is a bit dark and would benefit from a reflective lift. As for colour, as usual I went with my gut, quickly singling out a pale grey white called White Wisp. It isn’t a warm colour, which is what one craves just now, but the cottage is principally a summer spot, so I had to put myself in summer thinking mode.

The paint went on beautifully, and floor, ceiling, 5 panel door and window trim were all given 2 coats of gloss in BM Cloud White.

We replaced a cheap ikea ceiling fixture with a lovely nickel fixture that we wrote out of our sales contract when we sold up in Port Moody. I was so glad to find a perfect place for it. We also replaced the non- functioning dimmer switch.

We reoriented the bed so there is (some) room on both sides, then edited and rehung wall decor. We also painted up some found “free” shelves with trim paint and installed them at about 2 metres from the floor, to add a splash of interest and some high storage to an otherwise bare-by-necessity wall.

A shippy light fixture and some free, high shelves are favourite touches.

I washed the duvet and mattress pad, replaced all the pillows and polished the floor.

As usual, there are a few things holding me back from declaring the job fully complete. We are hoping to refinish an old piece of furniture to double as desk and dresser for this tiny room. And the baseboard heater needs to be replaced.

But in general, I am happy everytime I walk by the room and can’t wait to welcome our first guests of 2021. Whenever that becomes possible.

Meanwhile, we use this as Break Out space for our individual activities: puzzles and crafts for me, and music and gaming sessions via Zoom for my partner.

A more inviting space, just waiting for friends.

There was about a litre of the grey white paint left, so after a few days rest, I washed, taped and painted the small hallway outside the guest room.

I followed on with the trim and other doors off this hallway. Now I can’t stop. My room next, then the livingroom and eventually, a complete redo of the bathroom.

The hallway before it got a fresh coat of paint.
In progress. Lighting is not optimal, but this photo shows the soft grey shade of BM White Wisp as I started to paint the hallway.

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When we married, I drew out a Shaker style design for a queen size bed, and Cottager made it up for us. I loved the bed but once we had two squirming toddlers squeezing in with us on weekend mornings we upsized to a king mattress and the Shaker bed went into storage. We initially set it up at the cottage, but the full box frame was a space killer in either of our small bedrooms here, so as it stands, only the headboard remains in use at Keats View.

The side rails of that bed were 2×10 fir planks. I saved those and – two years ago- drew up a plan to convert them to a console table for the cottage. Twenty-plus years into our marriage, the Cottager fulfills my whims with slightly less alacrity than in earlier days. And that is why this console table took six hours plus two years to create.

If I had a brownie for every time we discussed this project since I first raised it, I’d be pleasantly plump. A few weeks ago, Cottager stumbled on a plan for a table base that incorporates schedule 9, 1 inch (ID) steel pipe and cast fittings. Suddenly, I had buy in. And now I’m blogging from my new table at the cottage. When you see what it replaced, you will understand why I was so (unreasonably?) impatient.

The pipe and fittings cost $90 including custom cutting and threading at Pipeco in Chilliwack, which is a contractors supplier that considers no job too small. Just add one can Tremclad flat black primer. (Important note: the pipe has a greasy coating that must be removed with solvent before spray painting.) So for about $100 this definitely qualifies as a frugal project.




The ugly ugly table I had to wait years to replace.

The ugly ugly table I had to wait years to replace.

The new table.  I love it.  For breakfast and the news, for writing, for everything. Thanks Cottager.

The new table. I love it.
For breakfast and the news, for writing, for everything. Thanks Cottager.

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That Cottager is so cool!  Three years ago he picked up this old leaded window at a salvage yard.  This week he installed it in our small-and-a-bit-dim cottage bedroom. Quel Surprise!   Looks great.  Our bed-in-a-closet will never give off that vibe again.  Light on two sides (and good air transfer) makes a big difference.  And the window is beautiful.   Best of all, he did it without telling me, so I didn’t have to have kittens about cutting a big hole in our wall….. 
We did the finishing touches (fill, paint, clean up the mess) together on Sunday, then cooked some tenderloin steaks and opened a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary the next day. 
The light in my life and this story doesn’t come from the window. 
Happy Anniversary Honey!   
What did I get him?  A kitten! 
reputtying old glass panes
Framed in


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Uninviting, no ambience

Bedroom Before: Uninviting, no ambience

You would be forgiven for thinking that my bedroom update has fallen by the wayside. You may recall that after a stay at the Indigo Hotel in Ottawa, I resolved to seek a similar feel in my own bedroom – not at the cottage, but at my city home – and posted photos of the inspiring room (A Hotel-style bedroom – Part 2, The Indigo Photos.)

Neither Cottager nor I are big on summer home projects – there are more than enough rainy months on the West Coast for painting and improvements. Still, a bit of progress has been made. I have only postponed taking some ‘after’ photos because it looked unfinished without something on the wall over the bed. A large Ikea print of dogwood blossoms that I had planned to put there proved too large, but looks great on another wall in the room.

Owing to the low light in the room, I painted just two walls and small jog in a third wall with Benjamin Moore Violet Mist. The remaining walls are being done with a harmonizing grey shade called Tundra (also BM.) 

The headboard is a salvaged swing door from a demolished home. The bed linen is all Ikea, with the exception of the bed skirt, which is marked for replacement when something more suitable offers.  I am not normally a fan of lots of pillows, but the goal here was to create a retreat, and a comfortable and quiet place to read or study.  The three large square pillows make the bed a comfortable spot to do either. The bedside lights are also Ikea cheapies.

After some paint and a few little tweaks

After some paint and a few little tweaks

After months of looking for the right something to go over the bed, I finally decided to frame some of our own photos. These are pictures of rocks that are stacked by some patient soul along the seawall at Stanley Park. I’ll change the frames over as soon as I can find some of a similar size with a finer, more modern vibe – preferably in two-tone black and pewter. But for now, they are up, and I really like them. They are personal, inexpensive and kinda zen. 

The frames are temporary but I love the pictures

The frames are temporary but I love the pictures

 Over the winter — time and finances allowing — we will probably put an inexpensive laminate into this room. I am still looking for just the right armchair and footstool to fall into my lap. These things can’t be rushed when one is on a budget.  Considering how neglected and awful this room was, I’m pretty happy with what has been achieved with paint and a few inexpensive updates. It is restful and, at this moment, beckoning. And so to bed.

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Home Sweet Home. Here are some photos of the hotel room I wrote about mid-week.

comfortable reading spot

I’m a bit disappointed in these photos, since the flash has significantly brightened the colours, and by extension, the way the colours worked together in the low natural light of the room. For example, the duvet cover appeared to be black and white in the room, but in the photos is clearly green and white.

Also, the photos can’t really capture the overall feel of the space. Never-the-less, this will give you some idea of how the design elements worked together and made the room both relaxing and stimulating – if that makes any sense. 

The wheat design was really quite cool, though I think one might tire of it quickly. Certainly I’m not planning to do anything quite that dramatic. If our cool weather continues, I may open some paint next week. If it suddenly improves, I don’t plan to waste a fine day painting. But once I have made some progress I’ll be sure to post some photos.

Update:  See the before and after photos of my new hotel-style bedroom

Indigo Room

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I’m in Ottawa this week, for work, and feeling inspired.  Been down pub for a pint recently, so I hope this is coherent.

In our non-cottage life, our bedroom is pretty sad and has been for a long time. The green-tinged yellow walls are a failed experiment. And it goes down hill from there. We typically spend very little conscious time there. The bed and furniture are generally bestrewn with laundry, socks in search of partners and old magazines we hope to get around to.

Nowadays, the urchins seem to take up space all out of proportion to their physical size in the shared areas of the house.  I need a retreat, and the bedroom sprang to mind as the most viable space. I visualized a soothing restful space… revolutionary, wot?

Last week I bought the Benjamin Moore big chip of Violet Mist which means I am nearly committed. Did I mention the room has poor lighting amongst its other charms? So poor that this quite-blue colour chip looks like a warmed up grey at all but the brightest moments of the day. Also invested in some finely checked black and white bedding from Ikea. Then got carried away and splurged on some Ikea art:  celery-green tinted dogwood blossoms on a dark background and a black ribba frame. 

So those are my basic elements: Pale violet blue, black and white, celery accents – oh – and navy – just because I can’t imagine it without navy.

The existing furniture is good quality warm brown country pine. The headboard has a similar tone, being the swing door from a 1910 farmhouse. These things, and the dreary beige carpet must remain, as total budget for this make-over is 500$. Will spring for brushed nickel hardware on furniture to jazz it up a bit, but thats it.

So imagine my surprise when I checked into the Indigo Hotel here to find my colour scheme ready and waiting for me to test-drive. The wall behind the bed has a wall to wall colour transfer of golden brown wheat waving against a violet blue sky. The bedding is high contrast – dark-dark green and white, with indigo blue and white pillows and indigo bed skirt. The window wall is celery green, as are the armchair and footstool. brushed nickel hardware, and nickel and navy lamps with black-trimmed white shades pull it together. All other walls are white. If this sounds like a dog’s breakfast, check back next week when I will post some photos of the room.  But how weird is it that I would imagine a room almost exactly like the one I’m now staying in? 

Happy Birthday Cottager. Have thought of a great gift for you… wouldn’t you love a celery-green armchair?

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p1120016l.jpgmaking-panels.jpgfinished-panels.jpgshelves-opt.jpgshelfandceiling.jpgceiling.jpgFinished - for now

Is any project ever really 100% finished? Not in my little world. Still, I’m going to call this one done.

If you are just tuning in, the goal was to re-purpose a closet in a tiny bedroom to accomodate a queen bed without looking like a bed-in-a closet. So I’ve included an early photo with closet doors and organizers removed.

Phase two was to paint the alcove a soothing green.

Phase three is the custom shelving. If your closet is symetrical and your walls are plumb, this is pretty simple. This was not the case, so some (hours of) tinkering was required.  We also cut a notch in the back corner of some of the shelves to allow for the passage of electrical cords. I still hope to get one more coat of paint on the shelves, but they work. 

For the alcove ceiling, Cottager built a frame out of 1×2 lumber to fit the space, with a two inch divider in the centre and 6 inches extra length. I bought two Artscape faux-stained glass window decals, each measuring 24 x 36, and some 16 mm clear vinyl. After painting the necessary parts of the frame, we affixed the window art to two pieces of vinyl for stability, then carefully stretched and stapled the vinyl across the back side of the frame and trimmed away the excess. Then we strung some led lights up in the top of the closet, and popped the frame up to rest on top of the shelves. 

Bottom line – It looks pretty good. I had originally bought clematis-themed window art, but one of the packages I bought had been opened, used and then unscrupulously returned to the store, where I bought it. This proved to be a lucky turn of events, since I was able to look at the product off its backing, and determine that it would do the job, but the pattern was too busy. So back I went to the Depot, where I exchanged them for . . . wait for it. . . a bamboo pattern!    

The pictures don’t really do it justice, but, lying in bed, it is quite pleasant to look up at. Much nicer than the stuccoed ceiling of the closet anyway. The LED lights are just ok – they don’t show in the photos owing to flash – and we are thinking of buying a couple of low-voltage puck-type lights to install on top of the shelves so we can really illuminate the ceiling, when desired. Eventually, there will be a window in the wall above the headboard, but below the false ceiling. But that is a another project.

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 The boys had a Pro-D this past Friday, so we had the weekend earmarked for the cottage. Once again, the van was full to the brim with lots of odds and ends plus a lovely old desk made for my mom, when a little girl, by my carpenter grandfather. It was a cold day, but it didn’t take long to warm the place up, with the sun shining full on our south-facing windows and the boys feeding the fire. Cottager had pre-cut and painted the components for our built in shelves, but there were a few hiccups in the assembly and install that ended up taking most of the afternoon. Meanwhile, I scooted off to Benjamin Moore for some paint.

I was certain I would choose a sunny yellow, but in the end, it was the cool soothing summer tones of “Tealight” green that called out to me. I expected, by now, I would have a whole-house colour strategy in mind, but the truth is that the white is really growing on me. It is so clean and expansive feeling.

I felt pretty certain, however, that the scarred orange-toned walls inside the closet could only be improved with generous scoops of filler and some green paint.  So that is where I splashed it, leaving the rest of the room white while I think a little further. Behold the photos which show the room as it started out, after moving our bed into the closet, and with the ‘closet repurposing’ now in process.

On Saturday my parents came over for a first look at the new place and were pleasingly enthusiastic about it. We had lunch and played several rounds of Mexican Train (dominos) while Cottager fitted a sheet of drywall into the hole where we had torn a jerrybuilt cupboard out of the wall. As with the previous day’s shelving project, this was not without some unexpected twists, but the result looks promising.

With lots of snow forecast for early Sunday, we took my folk’s advice and caught the last ferry home on Saturday evening. Woke Sunday to no snow, but by midday there was 6 inches, and we were happy to have erred on the side of caution.

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New furniture in placeThe past week was one of the wettest I can remember, and my winter boots had been left at the cottage, so I suffered. On the positive side, it gave me an excuse to get back there sooner than planned, since there is no shortage of dirty weather in the forecast. Cottager and I pushed off at 6 am, leaving the kids in bed. By the time they woke up after 8, we had repaired a flat, had a coffee, caught our ferry with minutes to spare, and arrived safe under our small roof to coax a fire. We brought with us a new sofa and chair – new to us that is – a vilas maple and distressed brown leather sofa and matching chair found on Craigslist and bargained down to a stupifying deal. It really fits well with the other bits and pieces we have dug out of storage to furnish the place while we are whipping it into shape. Comfort and durability is all I really aspire to at this early stage, though I have visions of either navy, white and taupe  or blues, yellows and white further down the road. 

After carting in the new things, we piled the green sofa brought over in our first ‘lift’ one month ago back into the van and drove it to the Sally Ann thrift store, where they were happy to have it.  Then I shortened by half and cleaned the blind in the bathroom, and we mounted a new blind over the kitchen sink. Cottager pulled a crude cupboard – built right into the studs – off the wall and we decided the best way to repair the hole. He also fixed the table, repositioned a lock and changed the fridge and freezer doors to open correctly. And then we started planning the bedroom closet transformation.

The plan is to transform the closet opening into an alcove that has built-in shelves, a window, and, overhead, a fluted translucent resin ceiling through which LED lights will twinkle on demand.  Cottager is sceptical, but here is my reasoning: Total cost for this treatment, with the exception of the window (which falls into the category of ‘Part II’ and will be scheduled for a warm dry summer weekend) will be under $200. If the translucent ceiling is not effective and fun, something more predictable can easily be subbed in. Either way, we save nearly all the finicky drywall repair needed in the current closet, and if the translucent ceiling is a success, we transform an inconveniently small room into a funky and amusing inconveniently small room with high romance potential.  And isn’t that what we all like to think about when we are on our holidays? 

After sweating a kitchen reno in our suburban home, feeling that every one of a million small decisions would either work for or against the over-all look I wanted, it is very freeing to think that I can explore more offbeat ideas at this second home. At some point down the road, we may yet decide that the closet has to come out and the bed has to go up against that wall, but before we undertake that big job, we will try it this way. We have got our plan, and work on the shelving units may start as soon as this weekend.  

Caught the 4:30 ferry for home, tired but happy with our progress.

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The ‘Great’ RoomI have inadvertently stumbled a degree further into blog compentency with the result that apostrophes and question marks now do my bidding. On we go.

Here are a few basic facts about the cottage, with some pictures to follow as soon as I can figure out how to ‘optimize’ them. The original building was one room dating from about the 1940’s, with several subsequent additions. Even so, floorspace measures a little less than 800 sf.  The living room and kitchen occupy all the front of the house, which is studded with 5 identical windows and a French door. A deck runs the length of the house ( approx. 30 ft.) with about half covered over, making for an excellent all-weather workshop. The bathroom, while small, has been recently renovated to include a claw-foot tub and cork flooring. It has quite a bit of built-in storage that needs interior finishing.  The kitchen will eventually need an overhaul, but is perfectly adequate for now. 

The bedrooms are particularly small, each measuring just 8’x11′. In the one that we have designated as the ‘master bedroom,’ some well-meaning individual framed in a closet, reducing the size of the room further. Having no particular need for a closet, owing to our jeans-oriented wardrobes and a spacious storage room, the first thing we did was remove the mirrored slider closet doors and all of the haphazard organizers inside.  

We are a tall, and (in some cases) robust people, and there is little likelihood of us happily sharing a bed smaller than a queen. After considering the location of door and window, it appeared certain we would be compelled to unframe the closet and tuck the bed up against the far wall. But who would sleep trapped against the wall? The person who gets up in the night, or the person who likes to rise early? 

Cottager’s Boyhood Chum (B’Chum), who lives aboard in the local marina and was kind enough to help us move some furniture in, suggested that, for the time being at least, we tuck our headboard into the gaping closet, and so we did. This has led me to an idea that only time will prove the brilliance or the folly of.  Cottager seems prepared to go along. Details to follow.

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