Reveal – Dining Room

The dining room, oh, the dining room. This room doubled as a storage locker for three of the four months we were renovating. During that time it looked like nothing more than a dilapidated and melancholy room full of our life. This room was in need of a great deal of love on account of the endless layers of wallpaper on the walls and the lack of appreciation for its beautiful bay window. Before going any further we must give a huge, massive thanks to DIY Doris herself for the three full days she spent stripping the wallpaper in this room. Thank you Doris, you are a true friend… or a bit insane.

The bay window is the natural focal point for this room. Because of this we wanted it “framed” and so we had custom curtains made in a traditional, blue toile. Despite popular belief, custom curtains are not as expensive as one might think. These were made through our local Fabricville and came in just under $300. Given what they add to the room, we were very happy with the price.

The table and chairs was a steal of a deal we found at a local antique shop. The curvature of the base of the table is unique and interesting. The sideboard, which has a similar waterfall front as the table, was only $100 at our local favourite, BC Antiques. We caught Lowell on a VERY good day! The accessories in the room match the colour scheme with the yellow pineapple lamps, bunches of glass grapes and white milk glass. Milk glass is a timeless and simple statement that most everyone loves.

We decided to go with two paint colours on the walls to add an air of formality to the room and visual interest. The blue is “Little Pond” and the yellow “Lemon Pound Cake”, both from Behr. The light fixture is from Ikea and offers excellent light and is a great conversation piece!

We look forward to many dinner parties in our new dining room.

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Reveal – Man Den

This is not a cave and therefore is not a man cave. This is a den. It is a den for a man – one man – and it is therefore a man den.

This is the third bedroom in our house and we turned it into a den so we would each have our own space. I am not much for TV but C is, so he gets this room and I get the living room. Space, quietness and alone time are important to any relationship!

The couch is Steven & Chris, which we custom ordered from Hambly’s. This is our second S&C couch and we love them because of the various styles and fabric choices. Oh yes, they are very affordable as well. We love Hambly’s because they are local, provide excellent customer service and are incredibly knowledgeable. The accent to the couch is the coronation blanket from HBC. You can read about this treasure here.

Above the couch is C’s antler collection. It only took a short few weeks to amass this collection – we were rather surprised to find out exactly how available antlers are, if you just take the time to search for them. On the wall we have: moose, deer, bighorn sheep, long-horned cattle, and up in the right, gazelle. Those babies were purchased on Etsy.

The chair is the popular and oft imitated Barcelona chair. This is an imitation purchased at a Superstore in C’s hometown of Yarmouth, NS, if you can imagine. The chair has served us well and made the cut in terms of not being sold with our last house. The black cabinet also made the cut as it is a family piece given to me many years ago. We updated it recently with the only black paint you will ever need – “Beluga” from Behr. We added some lovely crystal and chrome hardware and voila, a dramatic and utilitarian cabinet was born. The lamp on top of the cabinet is vintage and from the Robin’s Nest Antiques. We loved it the first time we saw it but weren’t willing to pay what it was priced at. Patience pays off – we waited and it went on sale, 50% off! The little bowl beside it was a “Today’s Treasure” a few weeks ago and was a gift from our dear friend Donna. It fits perfectly with the theme of the room.

The TV is a standard flat screen. The fireplace was a must have for C and his cold toes. In that department, the bearskin rug also helps. We loved it when we saw this in the shop but were too afraid to pick it up. The lovely lady in the shop picked it up for us but did remind us “You WILL have to touch this at some point, you know”. We know, just not today.

The paint colour on the walls is “Blackberry Harvest” from Behr and we think it couldn’t be more perfect for the Man Den!

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Today’s Treasure

Merry Christmas to me… well, us. This statement piece, I mean lamp, is nothing short of amazing. From the papier-mâché base to the hand-blown glass top, it is fabooshe. I had been eying this beauty for months and finally decided to take the plunge. Afterall, it is Christmas and Christmas is a time for giving even if you are giving gifts to self. This lamp will most likely find a place of honour in The Church but for now, will sit proudly on display in our dining room. A big thank-you to Jennifer and Nancy at Cottage Industry for their support on “the plunge”. The packing alone was a work of art!

What do you think it is? An artichoke? Pine cone? Thoughts?

Reveal – Entryway

Your entryway is usually the first part of the interior of your home that guests, and most importantly you, see upon entering. Because of this we want ours to be welcoming, inviting, and interesting. The entryway of our house has a traditional layout with the stairs on the right and rooms on the left and overall is quite large. The layout is good but it needed some life.

First off we added lights to the entryway. By virtue of a window at the top of the stairs, the transom, and large frosted glass window in the door the area gets a lot of natural light in the day. However, at night there area is very dark, so in went a ceiling fixture with an amber coloured shade and amber coloured drop pendants. We switched out the other two light fixtures further down the hall to the kitchen with Tiffany-inspired semi-flush mounts, off the shelf from Home Depot. Again, consistency.

We had decided from the outset amber would be the accent colour in the entryway but as you know from this post, we didn’t always know the paint colour. Eventually we chose this deep, bright green from Behr called “Par Four Green” because it helps bring all the wood and dark colours together. The variation in the wood furniture and floor seems less so with this green on the walls. Also, it works well with the charcoal coloured ceramic tile laid at the doorway and the white staircase and trim. Consistency is important so we carried the colour all the way down the hall. This also helps define the space from the other rooms.

We changed the carpet runner to add some more colour, help tie the area together, and for visual interest. Speaking of flooring and consistency, we laid new hardwood in the back part of the hallway. Again, this allows the hall to be consistent and well defined and it is an affordable and practical solution to a bit of a design dilemma. All of our flooring was purchased at Markan – their customer service and knowledge is second to none. We love dealing wit them!

The armoire is gorgeous and also a coat closet. We got an amazing deal on this at Robin’s Nest when they were having a 50% off sale this summer. We bought it without know for sure it would fit! It really was a must have. The marble top desk we got from one of our favourite antique spots, BC Antiques, for a song. It wasn’t in great shape when we got it so it took a lot of cleaning and love to bring it back to life. We got the mirror at BC Antiques as well and it used to belong to a dresser. Together they make a great pair!  The newel post we also bought at BC Antiques and is apparently from Egmont Bay church.

You may remember we had a few issues with our cat when we first moved in. She was scared to go to her litter box. We remedied that for a while but eventually that didn’t work because she was scared to go through the cat door. It slammed when she went through and she just wasn’t having any of it so we had to take it right out. This, of course, left a gaping hole in the door which we covered with a cute little curtain! We picked up the fabric in the bargain bin at Fabricville and I think we paid $2 for it.

Further down the hall we have two pieces of yarn art. Mine is on the left and our friend’s, DIY Doris, is on the right. Yes, DIY Doris is a real person and no, it is not us! We love these pieces because they were hand made by us, with love and are interesting.

We think we accomplished what we set out to do and hope you agree. Voila, our entryway.

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Reveal – Upstairs Bathroom

Work with what you have. This is our number one rule when it comes to renovations and decorating. Working with what you have is usually more cost-effective and almost always offers an exciting design challenge. “How DO you make generic, big box purchases look interesting?” This bathroom was a challenge for the reason we worked with what we had.

The bathroom is an excellent size and has a great layout. There is a nice amount of counter space and there is ample storage so overall the “bones” are there. However, what it was missing was a bit of life; a bit of character. So, for possibly the first time ever at The Empire, a unilateral decision was made and it was to go with a beach theme. I won’t tell you who made that decision but it wasn’t C!

To work with what we had we decided we were keeping the flooring and all fixtures (tub surround, sink and toilet) exactly where they were as moving plumbing is very expensive. For the beach-themed bathroom we (when C finally got on board) didn’t want traditional whites and seafoam greens so we went with a beautiful Island-sand-like colour as paint for the walls. To ensure the flooring looked like a deliberate design choice, we went with Behr’s “Artifact” as it brings out similar hues in the floor. It also brought the space together a bit more to make it feel cozier. It really is a large bathroom!

Black lacquer was the colour choice for accessories. The garbage can is old “slop bucket” spray painted just the right black. Similarly, the chair with the folded white towels is also spray painted black. The shower curtain hooks are small stones, in keeping with the theme, individually painted with clear nailpolish for just the right shine. Along with these hooks the toothbrush holder, cup, soap pump and shower curtain were purchased at Home Outfitters. The mirror is from Winners. However, the more interesting accessories like the candle holders and starfish are from Cottage Industry and the shadow boxes and starfish towel hooks from Moving Designz. The cabinet hardware are in the shape of sea horses, star fish and conchs and purchased at House of Excellence. We went with hooks for the towels as a hanging towel is more casual (like at the beach!). Rather than a curtain, we decided to frost the window as the frosting makes it look like sea-glass. The light fixture is off the shelf from Home Depot and made of sand dollars.

Now, the toilet seat. That God damned toilet seat. The “vision” for the beach-themed bathroom was decided on weeks before it was complete. I knew I wanted a black lacquer toilet seat with chrome detail however, I could not find it anywhere in the city so I went online. Toilet seats can be very expensive so it took a while to find one that was reasonably priced and appropriate. I purchased the seat online on a Sunday evening after one of the first weekends we moved into this house. It was hot, dirty and I was discouraged. I needed something shiny and pretty to feed my soul and this toilet seat was it. I found it online for $35 – PERFECT! Bought it, placed in cart, address added, confirm address, cost of shipping. WAIT! COST OF SHIPPING? It was going to cost $60 to ship the $35 toilet seat. OMG. WHAT do I do? Well, I said “f%$^ it” hit “confirm” and BAM, I paid $95 for a toilet seat. A toilet seat. I immediately transferred the money from my bank account to the credit card and denied to myself that it ever happened. This, ladies and gentlemen, is called “decision fatigue” (or insanity). What we are not fatigued about, however, is our lovely and large beach-themed bathroom.

To toilet seats!


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