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Posts Tagged ‘decorating’

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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Two years ago the Cottager and I made a trip to Portland for our anniversary. On the way we stopped at a Cabela’s near Olympia, and purchased a pretty bonnet ceiling light complete with seeded glass, from a clearance shelf for just under $US 12.00. And then it sat around waiting for a purpose.

Recently I found a YouTube video for a recessed light conversion kit, available from Home Depot. Together these became my solution for a truly ugly recessed light at the cottage. Here it is, as was.

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And here is the conversion kit.

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And here is the  light in its new and improved version.

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Total cost was about $50, including a rather expensive old fashioned incandescent light bulb that casts a lovely, yellow candlelight-like glow over the table.  Not task lighting, of which there is more than enough, but very atmospheric. And in my view a big improvement. Love it when I find a use for something this way.  We have a couple of recessed lights in our home which we will also now convert, including one situated between our bedroom closets that does not manage to cast any light into either one.

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Second bathroom is taking shape. Never a moment to blog it, but here is a sneak peak at our new master bath.

BEFORE

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AND AFTER…

bathroom redo

Everything you see in this picture was a smashing deal. Tub was a floor model marked down 75% and included taps and all the plumbing parts necessary for install – the latter often priced separately and the former always!

Tile was discounted and Jenn Brown’s recommended tile installer did a fantastic job at a terrific price – though we had to wait weeks to get on his work schedule.

That fabulous barn board floor? Vinyl, my friend. Warm, soft on the feet, water proof and easy-care. I found it at NuFloors at $4.69/sq. foot. Jenn Brown found it elsewhere for $3.29/sq. foot.

The art work was 20% off and then a further 50% off that. The vase also 75% off. Full disclosure: These were my picks so if you don’t like them, its my taste you despise.

Moral of the story: It simply takes a little longer to pull it together when trying to get what you want and a deal.

Everything has been operational since a few days before Christmas, but we continue to work away at mouldings, paint touch ups and other final details. I keep waiting and hoping I will find a spectacular deal on a tall, 300 watt towel warmer, but will soon give up on this dream and just order one. You can’t rush it, but sometimes you need to be finished.

Once I find the right frame for a particular photo, I will post Before and Afters of the third bathroom.

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Its tough to find time to blog when you are trying to move a project along and tend to the business of work and family at the same time. I’d hoped to post pictures as we progressed, but here, in short, is the first bathroom we demo’d, in its new glory.

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Only missing is the back splash tile, which will be installed in few weeks, when we will have a few jobs for the tile layer to complete at once.

I had some professional help with this, by way of a friend who is a professional designer: Jenn Brown Interiors

Most importantly, she gave me the kick-start I needed. I just didn’t know where to start, and so she arrived with a ton of samples and helped me clarify needs vs. desires, priorities and a vision of the style we wanted.

Our family home is simply that. It is full of the stuff of our lives and will never look like a magazine house, nor would we want it to. We live here, and have done for two decades, so things get worn, and even when we can keep up with repairs and touch ups, things get messy and sometimes just plain dirty. We love our pets, but they take a toll on things as well. So we were looking for an update to our old pink bathrooms that incorporated practical solutions for better organization; reduced visual clutter, and easy clean and hard wearing surfaces. And a reasonable price point, of course. Because we are frugal.

And so far I would say we are hitting it out of the park in terms of getting what we want and need.
One of the nice things about Jenn is that she listens well. If you want her to just design and create a new space for you, she will do it. But we wanted to make our own choices and do a lot of the work ourselves. It gives us a great sense of satisfaction when it works out, and we learn stuff when it doesn’t. She was able to go with the flow, and our rather slow pace.

She knows a lot about various products, and was especially helpful at things like picking out tile, which is, frankly, overwhelming. She is also a very frugal person, and knows lots of ways to get a great look for less. Her fees were easily offset, in my view, in savings that directly resulted from her advice and product sourcing. So a great value and highly recommended.

Now that we are well on our way, we are mostly using her as an occasional resource, and for referrals to trades people she has used and trusts. Once our bathroom projects are completed, I’m going to enlist her advice to refresh our bedroom and the front hallway, and maybe re-stage our living room too. Project creep!

More and better photos, information about the products we chose (and why) and a rough cost break down for this first bathroom to follow shortly.

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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.

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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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Just back from a second trip to Toronto and had to head to the Coast for some country air. The Cottager and I have just been relaxing, doing a little raking and wood splitting and catching up on our sleep. Cold and clear so we have had the fireplace going around the clock.The stars last night were amazing!

Today we will catch the 430 ferry back to reality, but first we did some decorating with treasures collected over the past year. This is always challenging since we have more windows than walls but we made good progress.

Sa Boothroyd is a local artist with a gallery on the pier in Gibsons Landing. My sister and brother-in-law gave me this lovely print to mark my Jubilee Year. It’s called Go and Find Some Peace and Quiet and features both an orange cat and a person relaxing in a garden. Perfect!

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These hanging candle holders are from Jysk and go on sale around Christmas for something under 4$. We hung two in the kitchen pass-through and a few more in some of the windows.

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This print of Molly’s Reach was a gift from friends who borrowed the cottage for a weekend. We found a great spot for it in the kitchen.

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While visiting our good friends Dave and Gillian last month, Santa came calling and gave me this gorgeous grater/ cheese slicer. Too cool to hide in a drawer, it now has a special place in the kitchen.

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And finally, another Orange kitty now directs visitors to the loo. I found this in Prague this past summer and couldn’t resist.

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It’s nice to be back and nice to be blogging. We are planning some kitchen renovations; will construct a sofa table from the side rails of an old bed; add some new baseboard heaters and window blinds; finish staining the deck railings; repair sheds and do some yard improvements. It’s a new year with new ideas and projects so please visit Keats View Cottage again.
Cheers!

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Nothing else could account for the mini-dither I embarked upon when I saw it in a local consignment store a little over a week ago.

A second hand chair for the cottage exerts a powerful pull

I wasn’t even looking for a chair at that moment, though somewhere in my subconscious I had come to the conclusion that there was a chair sized space at the cottage that would need filling.

Couldn’t stop thinking about the chair. Then I started negotiating for the chair – which was one of a pair – and the vendor was willing to split them up, offer me a better price, hold it for a few days and take it back if it didn’t suit. Happy Times, right?

Only, all this goodness planted a seed of suspicion and paranoia instead: Maybe the chair was very ugly and I couldn’t see it! Maybe she knew no-one else would ever buy it!

Actually, she was just being really obliging and helpful. This would, I suppose, be a good place to reward her decency and mitigate my paranoia – which however she may not have known about until this moment – with a link to her lovely store: Around My House Consignment in Port Moody, BC.

My obsession continued and I posted a picture of the chair on Facebook and asked my HGTV- addicted friends to offer an opinion. Few cared.

And now the chair is in situ at the cottage and I really do like it. I still cannot explain my affinity except to say that it seems as though my brain has connected it to some otherwise lost memory. I have a karmic connection to a second-hand chair.

Also, it fills the small space quite nicely; offers an elegant-ish counterpoint to the Vilas maple chair beside it; and best of all, the next time we have friends over for an evening, or the Crumpet Club reconvenes, I may not find myself sitting on a folding chair.

And luckily, also fills an awkward space.

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This post is likely to attract attention similar to “Tree in Bondage” and, once again, is likely to disappoint.

I was stripping furniture.  This season’s rentals resulted in some water damage on two old pieces of furniture. This cool old side table that doubles as a small bookcase was a pretty easy fix:  Just sanded the table top down with a palm sander –

Then I flooded the table surface with walnut-coloured stain, waited 30 minutes and wiped it off. Applied a second generous amount and left it for 15 minutes. 

And finally, I applied a few coats of Briewax, a mix of beeswax with linseed oil and natural turpentine. I polished the table with a soft cloth after each application of the wax, resulting in a fine – and hopefully protective –  finish.

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This old vanity stool has been hanging around our place for years now – a legacy item from my mother-in-law that didn’t seem to hold much promise. Cottager was able to reach way back in his memory to describe – in detail – the pattern on the fabric that’s under this blue velvet. Yes, this has already been remodeled once. Why not again? 

Could this sad old thing have a place at the cottage?

Finally a vision for where it might go coincided with a few rainy hours to make it happen.  I sanded it down, brushed on a coat of primer and then a second coat using the dregs of a can of Benjamin Moore Tealight Green, used in our closet-to-alcove make-over.  A small remnant of an English floral fabric containing a perfect match for this green completed the update.

Yep, this will be useful.

Since I most often spend just a night or two at the cottage, I generally just live out of an overnight bag left on the floor. From now on, my bag will be up off the floor and much easier to get into when resting on this stool. This re-furbished item can also quickly be moved into the living room to act as a foot rest during winter movie nights.

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Considering that it is a tiny part of a tiny cottage, we have invested a lot of time in the hallway between the bedrooms. A previous owner had removed drywall and framed very shallow (4 inch) raw shelves right into the studs along one wall, then built a frame around it, and installed very heavy wood sliding doors. Ugly, impractical and awkward.

So way back in February, Cottager tore this monstrosity apart and repaired the drywall.

Removing an awkward cupboard

Removing an awkward cupboard

 He then shopped salvage for a 5 panel door for the gaping storage room, and spent hours sanding and repainting it. Even installing the door proved a challenge, since the moldings around the door were akimbo and had to be removed and straightened.

Salvaged door needed a lot of work

Salvaged door needed a lot of work

Then it was my turn.

I was sure that a Leksvik (Ikea) hat rack would be just the ticket for this area. At 48 inches long and 9 deep, it would just (or just about) fit and would give us 16 hooks and four cubbies for seasonal items; scarves and toques in winter, hats and sunglasses in summer. Rattan baskets on top would provide additional storage for unsightly miscellaneous items one likes to keep close at hand. Best of all it would all be out of sight from the main living areas of the house.

But I didn’t want to spend 99$ (plus tax) and exhaust all of Cottager’s good will on the assembly of a new hat rack, and they must be popular, because it took 4 months of intermittent searching on Craigslist to find a used one.

It all came together this weekend. With a few modifications (both to hat rack and door moldings) we managed to MAKE that hat rack fit. One piece of molding is still missing – needs attention from scroll saw.

An ugly plastic light shade was replaced with a hand-crafted shade made of rice paper and bamboo leaves and featuring one green paper frog. This came from one of my favourite shops – The Craft Connection – In Nelson B.C.  A wood-framed and partitioned mirror handed down from Cottager’s much-missed mom really lights up the space. 

The new hallway

The new hallway

 On Sunday morning I started filling gaps between the walls and ceiling. There is a lot of filling to be done but I am highly motivated because the next step could be painting!  Yes, of course the paint normally comes first, but I bear the psychological scars of bad paint choices from my past.  Now that we have essentially finished furnishing the whole cottage and its personality has emerged, I feel more confident about choosing the right colour. I am operating on the belief that the  minor inconvenience of taking down pictures, moving furniture and taping around a hat rack are nothing compared to the risk I would have run by choosing paint first and assembling furnishings later.

Hand-crafted rice paper light shade

Hand-crafted rice paper light shade

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