Thursday, January 15, 2015

The January (navy) blues

Happy 2015! So far, the year is off to a cold start here in Ontario. But at least we’re gaining a minute of sunlight every day, so that’s one positive :-)

January is typically when the blues set in. But the blues aren’t necessarily a bad thing – especially when they’re lovely navy blues! Lately I’ve been thinking about how I would design my coastal kitchen in my oceanfront house of the future. A girl can dream, right? :-) And part of the dream is to have a navy blue kitchen island. Still haven’t figured out the rest of the kitchen, but I guess that’s as good a starting point as any!

A navy island with a light stone countertop, white kitchen cabinetry, and dark flooring seems to be the popular choice.

kelly deckImage via Kelly Deck 

 decorpadImage via Decorpad 

 decorpad 2 Image via Decorpad

A navy island with a light floor and soft grey cabinetry is lovely too.

tom howley 1Image via Tom Howley 

Not quite navy blue, this blue-grey island has a dark wood countertop, which is a nice change from the light stone countertops.

navy-blue-cabinets-kitchen-islandImage via Today’s Homeowner (at KBIS)

And this countertop is a combination of darker wood and lighter stone.
Navy blue paired with brass or gold has a nautical feel.
sarah richardson 
Image via Sarah Richardson

joy street design Image via Joy Street Design 
This is a bit different – copper pendants over a navy island.

Do you prefer a kitchen island that matches the kitchen cabinetry, or an island that stands out?

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Heart Art

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love supporting artists. Why buy a print from a box store when you can own an original one-of-a kind piece of art? And trust me, it doesn't have to be expensive to buy original art, especially from up-and-coming artists.

I love Ann Gruchy’s work. She creates both serene watercolours and beautifully vibrant pieces. When I saw this painting at the Ottawa Art Expo a few weeks ago, there was really no other option but for me to buy it :-)

ann gruchy

And pretty much the same thing in the case of this painting by Tracy Armstrong, who was at the Handmade Harvest Craft Show in Almonte this past weekend. Do you see a purple/turquoise/green theme here? :-)

misty morning

I was bidding on a dragonfly painting in an online auction a couple of months ago, but lost out at the last minute. So I contacted the artist, Sheri Lynn Belisle, and asked her if she could create another dragonfly painting for me. She said yes, and created this beautiful painting of a dragonfly & bull rushes.


It occurs to me now that I totally forgot to blog about our trip to Nova Scotia back in September! How did I do that?! Anyway, we were in Nova Scotia in September and I bought some lovely little prints  by Leslie Snidal at the La Have Craft Co-op.

la have 1

la have 2

Now to find spots on the walls for all this art! I’m thinking I may put together a floor to ceiling gallery wall in the bedroom.

gallery wallImage via  Greige Design

Although maybe there’s a limit to how many gallery walls one house should have? What do you think?

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Game of Throne: Cottage bathroom reno reveal

*WARNING* This bathroom makeover includes a very large and very unattractive composting toilet. Please try to envision a nice simple plain old white toilet in its place. There’s also minimal styling due to lack of time and resources.

Let’s start with accepting the fact that this isn’t and never will be the prettiest bathroom ever. But given what it is and the budget and time frame we had to work with, I’m really pleased with how the cottage bathroom reno turned out.

I had one day to choose the tiles, paint, countertop, faucets, and sink. You can read about my design in a day here. I had three requirements when I was out shopping till I was dropping:

1. Has to be available now (no special order stuff)
2. Has to be inexpensive (very tight budget)
3. Has to be brown (my dad’s favourite colour)

After a very long day of shopping and lugging around more boxes of tiles than I care to remember, this is what I came up with. Left to right, top to bottom: Accent & subway tiles for the lower walls, PARA JoJo Whitewash for the trim, BM Smoky Green for the upper walls & ceiling, BM Aegean Teal for the vanity, Luna Crest laminate countertop, grey Naturi floor tiles.


I never did take a proper “before” picture of the bathroom before demo started. This is the best I’ve got – it’s a picture of the primed vestibule area. But you can see most of what little of the bathroom there used to be through the doorway. The throne took up most of the room – there was literally just 2’ x 4’ of standing room in the entire bathroom between the door and the toilet. The opening you see above the toilet used to be the top half of the old outside wall. The window you see is on the new outside wall of the 4’ addition to the back of the house.


The room was torn apart, and hubby redid all the plumbing and electrical and we reconfigured the whole space. The area with the subfloor and insulation is the new extension.

bathroom gutted 2

Our site inspectors discussing how the reno is coming along ;-)

storage 1

All drywalled! (Jackson says please excuse his butt).


Some “in progress” shots…

Progress collage

As per a design friend’s suggestion, we laid out the subway tiles in a 1/3 offset pattern. I may actually sorta kinda like subway tiles now :-)

subway tiles 2

Vanity colour inspiration:

aubusson blue and dark wax

Vanity made by hubby and painted by me. I painted a bunch of drawer pulls we already had with oil rubbed bronze spray paint.


I also spray painted an old mirror that I had with oil rubbed bronze paint. I was going to paint the brass on the wall sconces as well, but ran out of time.

sink from door

Inexpensive sink and chrome faucet, pottery by an artist in Cape Breton, NS.


Towels & rug add some colour and pattern.

towel 2

towel on vanity

And as much of the room as I can fit into one picture.

after 4

Before and after of each corner of the room. Well, except for the toilet corner – we really don’t need to see that behemoth again!

corner 1

art 4 pm

corner 3 shower 2

corner 4 vanity corner 3

And now that the bathroom is finally finished, the cottage will be closed up for the winter. DOH! But at least we’ll have a fresh new bathroom next summer :-)

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Linking up to Inspire Me Monday


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sub-what-way tiles

I may be the only person in existence who hates subway tiles. I think they’re boring and safe, and they literally make me feel like I’m in a subway station (I spent enough time in those during my University years!)

subway tile[3]

But I want to tile the bottom part of the walls in the cottage bathroom, and I have to use small tiles because the walls aren’t perfectly smooth and flat and hubby said there would be problems with using larger tiles. So, 3” x 6” subway tiles it is. But I don’t want to do the typical subway tile pattern.

So I’ve been doing some googling and looking for other layout options. I really like the herringbone layout, but it may be a bit busy for the bathroom.

herringbone inspired by lynne Image via HGTV Canada


herringbone lowesImage via Lowes

I LOVE the look of this vertical stacked layout with accent tiles. I reminds me of plaid.

vertical this old houseImage via This Old House 

There’s also the horizontally stacked layout, but it’s more modern feel may not be right for the cottage.

Stacked_Subway_Tile Image via Westside Tile and Stone

Vertically stacked too.

I think this is what I’m going to go with – a 1/3 offset layout.

1 3 offset Image via Lowes

Although I just saw this layout a few days ago night, and I kind of like it too. It looks like it may be 1/5 offset.

tile layout
Image via The Block Glasshouse

What’s your favourite subway tile layout?

To see some other cool layout ideas for subway tiles, check out 10 creative ways to use subway tile.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Design in a day

The cottage bedroom makeover is on the back burner while we work on the cottage bathroom. I totally forgot to take a before picture – DOH! – but this is a picture of the gutted bathroom with the same 4 foot extension that was added to the bedroom (the part with the subfloor). Notice the dirt and leaves and crap where the old floor used to be ;-)

bathroom gutted 1

There aren’t many places to shop for bathroom materials near the cottage, so we took my dad’s SUV and trailer back to Ottawa for a couple of days and I went on a serious bathroom shopping blitz. I really had no idea what I was looking for – the only thing I knew was that I was on a super-tight budget.

My dad loves brown and kinda sorta suggested that perhaps possibly maybe the bathroom could be brown… so when I saw the Luna Crest laminate countertop, I had my starting point.

luna crest laminate

Over in the tile aisle I found these mosaic tiles that also fit the brown bill:


Together with white subway tiles, I was onto something :-)


Next I found simple and inexpensive grey ceramic tiles for the floor.

naturi lagos gray

My original thought was to paint the vanity white, but there’s already going to be a lot of white in the room with the subway tiles. And then I had an Ah-Ha moment – teal!


 Traditional Kitchen by La Jolla Kitchen & Bath Designers Studio Stratton Inc

I chose Benjamin Moore Aegean Blue for the vanity colour-matched to PARA Paints Cabinet & Furniture Paint. This is seriously nice paint and holds up to wear and tear extremely well.

aegean teal

I had originally thought brown or grey for the walls and ceiling, but I wanted more colour I debated between a few shades of greeny-blue, and finally decided on Benjamin Moore Smoky Green. OK, it looks grey in the picture, but really it isn’t!

smoky green

I also picked up a sink, shower & vanity faucets, grout, tiles spacers, and everything else I could think of that we would need. Then the next day we loaded up the SUV and trailer and hauled it all to the cottage.

And now the reno is in full gear – more coming in my next post!

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