Monthly Archives: September 2011

Weekend Serenity

Wouldn’t this be an amazing place to be this weekend?

I could use a little quiet, reflective time …

I hope you find your happy place this weekend. I am looking forward to a great weekend with my family and a hot date with my hubby on Saturday night!

What are you up to?


images via here


Gallery Walls

I love photos. I love art. Especially when it’s framed.

Photos tell such an amazing story about a family and help us to remember good times and important occasions.

I’ve been thinking about putting together a gallery wall in my home for sometime now. The staircase and a section of the wall in the second floor hallway would be perfect.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you some gallery walls that I am grooving on right now.

This staircase is jam packed with eye candy.

Love this dining room gallery

Another staircase with a collection of black and white photography

The dramatic blue of the high gloss walls in this living room is toned down by the wraparound gallery walls

This gallery wall draws the eye up and down via the unified and balanced frames

The creation of this hallway gallery wall was chronicled on Young House Love. The white frames unify the look.

A more modern look, this gallery wall pops out of built-in bookcases in this contemporary space.

A collection of snapshots on a bulletin board isn’t exactly your classic version of a gallery wall but the collage is a fun way to switch favourite pics in and out easily.

I am so excited to put together my own gallery wall but have had a life-long phobia of hammering holes in walls. I’ve had great success with the hole part but limited success with the patching up the hole once I make a change. 3M adhesive strips were invented for people like me.

What do you think about gallery walls? Do you have one in your home?

all images via here

A wee kitchen makeover

I recently helped my mother-in-law to makeover her kitchen. She wanted to brighten up the space but without going through a major kitchen renovation.

Here’s a shot of the before …

The cabinetry was in very good condition but it was a light oak colour and was in need of a facelift. So …. we had it painted in a creamy white colour – Benjamin Moore’s Marscapone (AF-20).

What a difference right from the beginning!

She wasn’t in a huge hurry to complete the project so we selected finishes as we went and looked at them in the context of the painted cabinets.

We added new hardware to the cabinets …

And put in a new countertops, under-counter lighting and travertine backsplash (she didn’t have backsplash before).

And here it is! She is very pleased with the finished kitchen.

We still have to finish painting her kitchen table & chairs … but that’s a project for when the weather is cooler and we don’t want to spend time outside!

So, what do you think? Have you had success painting cabinetry to refresh a space?

images via moi

Nobody said it would be easy

When I made the decision to leave the corporate world and made the foray into owning my own business I knew it wouldn’t be easy and that it probably wouldn’t always be fun.

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster ride and I came across this quote yesterday on Thoughtful Content that made me smile:

It reminded me of my high school English teacher, Mrs. Watson, who used to tell us to “buck up” if we weren’t happy with something … in other words – get over it and move on!

I must have been subconsciously looking for inspirational quotes yesterday because after I was reminded to “Keep My Chin Up” I came across this quote from Ira Glass (a US radio personality) that was posted on the Decorista’s blog:

It reminded me to be patient and keep plugging away even when it gets super-hard. Doing something you are passionate about and working for yourself isn’t always easy but it is so worth it in the end.

How’s that for Friday musings?

It’s a school holiday today for my kids so we are going bowling … maybe I will mentally put faces on some of the bowling pins before I throw the ball šŸ™‚

images via here and here

Staircases … Up and Down

I love staircases. They are a prominent architectural feature in many homes combining both function and beauty.

Staircases come in many shapes and sizes and make every home unique. Today I am sharing a few that I might like to incorporate into my house someday …


I love how this staircase crosses over the hall

Love the zebra!


A unique use of space with the window and window seat


A touch of whimsy


Love the gallery wall, the paneling and the chandelier

Beautiful paneling and dark accents on the handrail


I love the curved lines of the handrail


Dark, dramatic, elegant stairs


Such a grand staircase

What do you like about staircases?


images via here

Doors, Doors, Doors!

Doors can be …

Different shapes and sizes.

Different colours and function in different ways.

Doors can transform the appearance of a building.

I think I am becoming obsessed with doors.


I love colourful doors. Bright and cheery or faded and weathered they look fabulous. They give you a peek into the history of the home or building and insight into what the owner is like.

Here are a few of my favourites …

Do you wonder what is inside the green doors? Looks so mysterious.

My front door is black but am thinking it might need more colour. What colour would you paint your front door?


images via here

Dutch Doors

The other day I wrote about barn doors and the overwhelming sentiment was that barn doors are FAB!

Today I thought I’d share with you some images that I’ve come across of Dutch Doors.

What’s a dutch door you might ask?

Well … a dutch door is also known as a stable door or a half door and it is divided horizontally in such a fashion that the bottom half stays shut while the top half opens. The initial purpose was to keep animals out of farmhouses while letting light and air in.


Dutch doors like this one are made for the farming industry.

But enough with the practical and the historical … let’s check out how dutch doors are being used in residential design.




I like how airy and open dutch doors make a space feel. Would be great for a beach house. The last image is my favourite.

What do you think? Do you like dutch doors?


images via here

Barn Doors … Fab or Fad? or both?

I was at a Hoedown recently (yes, you read that correctly) and got to thinking about bales of hay, horses, country music and … barns.

Barns? Really, Sarah, you are thinking … what does that have to do with design?

Well … I’ve seen a ton of barn doors in design mags and blogs recently.


One of the first barn doors I really liked was the one that Dana built in her house and chronicled on her blog House Tweaking.

A bold statement in a space for sure – barn doors add texture, visual interest and can have bright pops of colour, too.

Barn doors can be space savers. Think of them as modern-day pocket doors – except on the outside of the wall and in some cases using wood re-purposed from a real barn.

They certainly are everywhere! Makes me wonder how long the look will stick around.

That being said, I like the visual design element mixed with the practical.


The hardware adds an industrial feel and the panelling style of the doors can make a barn door look quite contemporary.


Or, a more traditional door …





Are barn doors a fad or are they fab(ulous) and will stick around for a while?

I’m on the Fab team … what about you?

images via here and here

A quiet corner

I’m not sure if it’s with school starting or the onset of Fall but I have been thinking about quiet corners to escape to with a book, a journal or just a simple place to sit and think.

I’ve been a bookworm all my life. A wee bit of a geek as I would walk to and from school reading a book instead of playing or running. I would have loved to have some of these quiet child inspired places to escape to and now dream of a grown up corner to refuel in.

Check it out …

Imagine if this was the top of your closet?

The blankets warm up this cool stone hideaway

What a great use of space in a stairwell!

This built-in desk is cleverly tucked away and has left space to curl up with a book, notebook or a cup of tea.

I love the use of texture and clever storage in this nook.

All this space needs is curtains and you wouldn’t even know I was hiding in there.

What a wonderful space to lounge around on an overcast or rainy cottage day.

Otherwise dead space under a stairwell is put to use as a reading nook.

A closet converted into a quiet space.

Another textured, cosy space tucked away under the stairs.

Texture, soft pillows and throws and a quiet hideaway are common themes in these nooks. I would love to curl up in any of the spaces.

Where do you go to hideaway with a book?

all images via here

The Tuesday after Labour Day …

I think it should be renamed the best day in the world. Better than Christmas? Yup. Better than my birthday? Yup. Birth of kids? Yup!

Why do you think I am jumping up and down on a Tuesday morning?

Because it is the day that the kids go back to school and today ROUTINE! returns to our home.

Don’t get me wrong. I love summer holidays. We had an amazing holiday in Vermont, tonnes of fun at the cottage, excursions around town and lots of visiting with friends and family.

But I am ready for routine to return to my life. The kids are ready too.

I learned a lot this summer about myself and how much I crave a predictable routine for our family. It was tougher to create than I thought. Much of this was driven by my work schedule being busier than I had anticipated. This created an ongoing scramble to find childcare and figure out when I was going to get stuff done. At the start of the summer I had it all figured out but … alas.

With every project I like to do a lessons learned to reflect on where I’ve been, what worked and what I can improve in the future. Here are the three key lessons I have learned from this summer:

Get up early to work when the house is still quiet

I shifted some of my workday to start at 5:30am and was very productive in the early hours of the day and even enjoyed stunning sunrises from my third floor home office. Getting up early meant that I got a lot of what I needed to do done and could focus on the day without stressing about finding more time.

Slow down multi-tasking

This is admittedly still a work in progress but what I have found is that when I stop trying to do 5,000 things at once I actually get more accomplished by making a focused effort on one thing at a time. The kids benefit too as I am not constantly distracted when we are together.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

If it is truly critical to do it will get done. It’s seeing through the noise of the to-do list that makes this hard to remember.

As I celebrate back to school and the return of routine one of the things on my to-do list this week is to blast through my house and return it to pre-summer levels of organization! Let’s see how this goes …

Anyone else pumped for the first Tuesday after Labour Day?

images via here