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Posts Tagged ‘frugal decor’

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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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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I saw some cute little paintings in a local shop, and couldn’t stop thinking about them.

Went back a few times, and the shop always seemed to be closed, and I would look at them through the window; four small, square canvasses painted with summery stripes and one word apiece. 

So I bought two 2-packs of 10 inch “Buzz” canvasses and ten small acrylic paints at Michaels, and I thought I’d have a go.  I used painter’s masking tape to get my stripes straight, but there was still some bleeding.

I didn’t free-hand my chosen words either: I produced them with WordArt, then cut them into stencils with nail scissors.  Some time after they were up on the wall, I happened past the store again, it was open, and I finally got a chance to inquire about the price:  Fifty dollars – each! 

Mine aren’t quite as nice, but they cost less than thirty-five dollars, all in. So I am alternately happy about my thriftiness, and guilty about my theft of artistic intellectual property. If the artist ever happens upon this post, I hope she doesn’t decide to egg my house. 

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Frugality seems to be a blossoming interest in my home and in those of my friends and neighbours. We are hoping to rent out our cottage on the odd weekend, and for a few weeks over the summer, to help with property taxes and improvements, so this month we are focused on some inexpensive finishing touches to make it both a comfortable and desirable retreat for paying guests.  Window screens and a lockable storage room for our personal effects are the two practical projects that stand out, but let’s not forget ambience. 

I found these 10 inch frosted glass vases at the A&N boutique, marked down to $2.99. The polished stones are from Ikea ($1), as are the large glass ‘Glimma’ tea light sets. Total cost for this pair of decorative candle holders is about $12, including a good supply of large tea lights.

 I like the beach-glass finish of these repurposed vases, their shape – vaguely reminiscent of lighthouses – and the smoothness of the pebbles. They will likely live on the mantle, but could easily be moved to the deck.

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