DIY Network: Modern Love

July 12, 2012   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY, HGTV + DIY Network Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

I made something fun-slash-pretty for this week’s post on DIY Network, and I think you’re going to like it. Even if you don’t have a gigantic cinderblock garage that you’re trying to disguise.

It's me. In a pretty to-be window planter!

You see, our garage is huge. It’s a single car structure, but it extends almost the entire length of the property, meaning that one whole side of my backyard is a cement wall. It’s not a pleasant sight, but I’ve been making due and living with it for over three years now. Come to think of it only now, why didn’t I turn the backyard into a handball court?

I didn’t mention it in yesterday’s post, but this little DIY project made an eagle’s eye debut (because I don’t do extensive editing on my photos, and photoshopping something out that only simply overlapped another project on my Monday afternoon seemed ridiculous).

Oh yeah. Me with a broom. And a finished window box down there in the corner.

Head on over to see today’s post on DIY Network to see how I designed and assembled the new modern window box!

Fitting In Four

July 11, 2012   //  Posted in: Being Thrifty, Decor, Garage, Helping The Economy   //  By: Emily   //  8 responses

It’s been a busy month between beginning the process of wedding planning, taking on new work assignments not related to either of our blogs, and then trying to squeeze in all of the home improvement projects we actually had lined up to complete this summer. Just another tale of busy people with loaded calendars. Want a hint of my latest most time consuming DIY adventure? Think: Mr. Awesome Bear Rug. I’ll tell you more next week.

Somehow, in between all of this, we’ve squeezed in a trip to Boston, a visit to IKEA over the border in Burlington, Ontario, spent time with family, and did just enough around our home to keep it from becoming an overwhelming mountain of plates and forks.

What have you been up to this month?

1. Framed and still fab.

Jaime Derringer’s mountain-inspired print sat perched on our dining room shelf for at least a month before I picked up a suitable frame for it. I’m still under the impression that I can’t go wrong with a RIBBA, and it’s fitting here too. I am concerned that the signage at IKEA led me to believe that they were about to be discontinued (“buy before it’s gone!”), but let’s not go there yet.

Bring on the fun art.

2. That roof. Those needles. I’ve made a decision.

Should there ever be maple or pine trees overhanging my next house, I will bring them down. Probably with my bare hands. Between jam-packed gutters, weeding exactly 1 Billion maple tree shoots from the gardens, and the constant mess of a flat garage roof, I’ve had my fill.

Every month or so, or after any good windstorm, the garage roof looks like this (photo taken from perspective of the toilet upstairs). Pine needles, branches, cones, maple helicopters, everything drops and manages to flood the edges of the garage roof. It wouldn’t be such an issue if the brush could just fall over the edges, but there are tile edges capping the drop off, and the roof itself isn’t steep enough to encourage it to wash down to the ground during a good rainstorm. Instead, it sits still, weakening both the tar paper and the patchwork we’ve done to prevent water leakage that could potentially rot the ceiling joists. And leaks most definitely contribute to wet scooter helmets.

Messy garage roof.

Sweeping it clean is easy enough, except during the summer months when standing on a tarred roof makes you break out into the kind of sweat that makes you look like you wet yourself completely, so I picked the afternoon of the coolest day possible (78-degrees) and waited until the sun was behind the trees to climb on up and clean things up.

Cleaned roof. Somes I wield big brooms.

A good 15-minute sweeper got the job done, so we’re in the clear of collapsing our garage roof or encouraging water damage and rot to take over. It’s enough that we’ll have to replace a few boards on the back of the garage this summer after the wind and rain damaged the tar paper over the winter.

Swept garage roof. Ahh.

3. I inherited some vintage lit.

I know I’ve said it before, but I usually get loaded up with some good treasures every time I visit Grandma. Last visit, it was this wicker basket that I refinished to hold our sandy sandals on the deck, and this time I picked up a handful of new vintage books, ranging in topic from home decor and gardening, to horoscopes and mystic fortunes.

The books, lovely. It’s hard to find such pretty printed canvas book covers any more, and I love the way that the colorful images wrap all around it. Shown on the left, Good Housekeeping Illustrated Encyclodedia Of Gardening, Volume 1 of 16, 1972. In the center, New Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Gardening, 1964. And on the right, Home Owners’ Catalogue, 1950.

Vintage literature, topics: Home improvement and flowers!

Mirror image spread for the front and back cover. So pretty.

The insides of these books is pretty too. Last fall, I chopped up some cool but insignificant book covers for the sake of home decor, but I think these ones will stay whole as-is. Or framed as a whole, if ever that were to happen.

Inside a vintage book. Ooh, the detail!

Why Grandma also had two sets of horoscope books is beyond me, but they’re in excellent condition and kind of cool to flip through if you’re into that sort of thing. I still don’t know what a Beauty Scope actually means, but it sounds fascinatingly 1960’s and has chapters within referencing one’s Healthscope and How To Appeal To The Men In Your Life. There are a total of 21 in my new collection, not all shown here:

Grandma's vintage horoscope books.The traditional astrological set by Sydney O’Marr has beautiful designs on the covers, each very unique, bright, and geometric. Maybe I’ll find something artful to do with them someday.

I’ve found shelf space for most of them, thinking that maybe I’ll want to have them as a set down the road, but I left out Libra and Leo, because those are the categories that Pete, Julia, and I fall into. Can anything wonderful be cited for when a Leo marries a Libra?

Leo meets Libra.

4. We got out of the house.

As much as we’ve been traveling (and will be traveling) this summer, it’s hard to get away during the week with so much work to do at home.

In the grand scheme of being a DIY Shelter Blogger, it’s probably a sin that I had never stepped foot in HomeGoods. We do up Marshall’s. TJMaxx. We run in the JoAnn Fabric circuit, but I didn’t actually know there was a HomeGoods within a half hour from my own home until last weekend.

Verdict? Nice. It’s the kind of place you have to be careful in, because it’d be really easy to buy a little of everything and then realize that your home looks a little bit harried and overwhelming, you know, like a HomeGoods does, so I played it safe and only came home with a clearance-priced $7 wooden box. Pete bought the Sarsaparilla. I suppose it’ll be a good place to shop when we’re looking for something really specific like lighting or area rugs.

Pretty wooden box and some Sarsaparilla from HomeGoods!The box top itself is really pretty, although I can’t tell what it’s made of. Feels not like ceramic, but more like a Corian countertop material.

Up close on that cool HomeGoods box.

Maybe we’ll go back again soon.

Our maiden HomeGoods voyage.


July 10, 2012   //  Posted in: Bedrooms, Organized   //  By: Emily   //  7 responses

We’re making steady progress as we transform the guest room into a real kid’s room for Pete’s real kid. I never did a lot in the sense of decorating or re-imagining this bedroom after I moved in. It was a good place to store an extra mattress (the guest mattress), and an extra dresser (the guest dresser), and extra toilet paper (for all the guests, I guess).

With the walls painted light blue, it flowed enough with my house’s paint palette to not seem completely ignored, and once I had replaced the rainbow ceiling fan with a model a bit more simplified in design, not to mention less rainbow-y, it really just became another room, suitable for storage (and guests) but never a space I spent much time in myself. And I never really figured until more recent months that I’d be in the position in this house to be considering putting up another rainbow fan since this isn’t really the house I imagined myself in with my own family, but here we are.

The quick transformation has begun, as we brought home two birch-colored IKEA EXPEDIT cabinets to enhance the room’s storage in a way that favored Julia’s height, and collections of everything.

Bring it on, EXPEDIT. We're a-gonna conquer you in record time.

EXPEDIT shelves are the same as the unit I have in our living room, only smaller in scale. The ones we bought are 8 cubicles each (a 4×2 design) whereas the one in the living room is 16 cubes. I’ve had the living room unit for about 5-years, and it has held up really well both in its black-brown finish, and under the weight of 100 books.

Updated living room. Rainbow bookshelf. Colorful ottomans. Large art.

We figured we couldn’t go wrong with IKEA, even if it was a quick and inexpensive attempt to retrofit the space to suit her and all of the stuff that kids have, which, I’d like to point out is more than Pete and I have cumulatively in the entire house somehow. I should also probably take the hit on some on that, we honed her garage sale skillz this summer and now her lego and stuffed animal count has multiplied like bunnies.

Assembling the IKEA Expedit.

It’s OK, because now we’ve got 16 shelves and the whole top surface of each of the horizontally-laid unit too, so bring on the kid toys.

Assembling the IKEA Expedit.

I’d also like to point out that my first EXPEDIT (yes, the one in the living room) took me 2 hours to assemble myself in my old little apartment. Pete did both units in a sweet half hour somehow. Brute manly know-how.

Finishing the IKEA shelf assembly.

As the shelves were assembled, I did two other quick adjustments in the bedroom:

  1. I shifted the bed back around so it fit into the corner of the room. One less side for her to roll off of, and it opens the room up a lot more than when it sat in the center.
  2. I removed the beloved 6-drawer wooden dresser. It’s wedged into the office, my new “store everything here, including guests” space, but it really needs to move either to the attic, or to Craigslist.

In any case, adding shelves (and my precious handmade bear rug) to the room really takes it up a notch.

Hi Expedit. Hi Bear rug.

The room feels nice and tall and open now. And there’s lots of wall space for wall art like my gallery piece, and maybe an oversized utility feature, like a chalkboard or pegboard or shiplap paneling (I know, I know, cool it with the paneling). While we were at IKEA, we also picked up 4 of those pop-up DR├ľNA┬ábaskets that you see in the unit. At $6.99/each Canadian, we didn’t want to buy too many because of customs limitations, but if we hit up a state-side store, I’d be inclined to buy a few more since it appears that they only cost $4.99 in USA. They’re a nice fit.

Lots of stuff to come. We obviously still have a ways to go, considering that only about 1% of her belongings and wardrobe have moved in. I’ll want to address paint color and linens in the coming weeks, and then other fun things, like carpets and curtains and the kind of stuff I’ve been vying excitedly for. Yay, new room to decorate!