Scova Notia

We’ve just returned from our annual Christmas trip to Nova Scotia to visit family, shop, and of course, see The Church. It was a very, very busy few days trying to cram in so much in so little time. However, we somehow managed and somehow came out unscathed.

A very special thank-you to Darlene L (a fellow white Christmas tree lover) for her amazing hospitality. So appreciated!

St. Alban’s

This is our church in the year it was built. A book of the history of Lequille, NS was recently released and this photo is found within it. This book was a thoughtful and appreciated gift from my parents. The church looks almost identical to this today (although a little fresher) except for considerably more trees/vegetation and a small addition in the back that was put on by the previous owners that contains a bedroom and second entrance.

This is the goddess of The Church and her/his name is Czarina of The Empire

Lequille Country Store

This authentic and complete country store is a mere one minute away from The Church. Here you can purchase bacon, Playgirl and guns. Perfect!

Eaton’s Wallpapers – 1956 Edition

An amazing gift from my mother to C. You should see the inside pages!

Annapolis Royal

While in The Valley we did some shopping. This Mariners Store full of nautical inspired treasures  (including a pair of whale ribs that I may or may not have purchased) was absolutely amazing and had more merchandise than almost any other store we’ve ever been in. Well…

… note quite as much as this store in Granville Ferry. This shop is open seven days a week and only closed on Christmas Day. There is sure to be something in here for you – on either floors!

After visiting family and The Church we went to Halifax on a sourcing trip. Halifax is never short of beautiful shops and friendly people. We stumbled across these doors – think of the possibilities!

One of Halifax’s better known antique shops has an incredible array of merchandise. The merchandise is very well displayed and they even have “themed rooms”. 50’s room? Yes please! This is a “party hostess set” and similar to our “crystal party tree”. We could hardly believe it! What would you put on this serving tree? Timbits were once suggested to us!

Self explanatory and no, we didn’t buy it (unfortunately) though I haven’t given up hope just yet.

A custom made, king-sized headboard handmade in Halifax from Canadian timber. This gem of a store offers custom made everything at reasonable prices. The owner is a lovely gentlemen who believes very much in his craft and local material and labour.

I am afraid a photo does not do this place justice. It is AH-MA-ZING. The items inside, you think? Oh no, just the fact it is a “shop” and open for business. This is an unheated garage full, we mean FULL, of stuff. The owners were sitting outside in the truck (perhaps because it was warmer than inside the shop?) when we pulled up. They followed us into the store and tried to make small talk but ended up just talking to each other about what they could do to get the shop cleaned up and organized. If “so and so” would just come pick up his “piece” or if they had a warehouse were options thrown about. Um, something tells me neither of those is going to take care of this, ah, problem. However, I believe A&E has a wonderful program called Hoarders that may be of assistance.

This wardrobe is breathtaking. Would you consider it for the price?

The rug that broke our hearts. The colours of this rug and perfect for a client of ours. Perfect. If only it came in 9X11 – it doesn’t. Onward and upward…

All in all it was a fantastic little getaway.  We are, however, nonetheless very happy to be back at home in our little comfy corner of the world.

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Reveal – Kitchen

Many people consider the kitchen to be the heart of a home. If this is true, the kitchen in the home we purchased was like some hearts – a little broken. The foundation of a good kitchen was here, it just needed some revamping.

First of all, the first photo below shows a door to the left and tile all the way down the hall. We removed the door and replaced the tile with hardwood to create flow and consistency. For the layout in this house, we felt the kitchen needed to feel like a separate room. In the same photo you can see an island/bar attached to the chimney. We removed that as it was awkwardly placed not allowing enough room for a table. We salvaged the base of it, added a smaller counter top and turned it into an island. The kitchen now has much more useable space with a practical island and is overall, more comfortable.

Lighting! This kitchen only had one light fixture and a few running lights under the upper cupboards. We had five pot lights installed – which added some much needed life and atmosphere to the room. We also took off the window coverings and put in a new door with a 3/4 length glass window. Most people automatically go with frosted glass for doors but before jumping to that option, consider where the door is placed and the privacy it will or will not afford. For example, our front door is the exact same as the back but it has frosted glass. The back door, however, leads out onto our deck and backyard therefore, privacy is not as much of a concern. Clear glass allows for more natural light.

We worked with what we had with this kitchen. We knew we weren’t going to change the flooring, so we chose a counter top that was a darker blue than found in the floor so as to match and for consistency. The wall colour (Rain Drop from Behr) is a mix of blue/grey found in the floor and complements the counter-top. The backsplash is the visual focal point of this room and ties in all of the colours all the while offering a pop of colour with the black tiles – these also provide an anchor for the eye.

We kept some of the hardware that were on the cupboard but changed the knobs on the doors for handles. This offers a more streamlined and updated look to the relatively new cabinets. The two wall hangings offer another excellent punch of colour and of course, are excellent conversation pieces. FYI, we paid $5 each for them at an auction! The green lamp will not stay in the kitchen as it does not match, but she is so fierce we decided to leave her for another little while.

The kitchen was the very last room to be finished in our house. Our home, and hearts are now complete.



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DIY Doris – Little Boys’ Room

We here at The Ottoman Empire are taking a little bit of reveal reprieve to give you the second installment to a previous DIY Doris post.

Dear DIY Doris,

I have two rooms in my home that I need help with.  One is referred to as “the little boys’ room”, the other, “the little girls’ room”.  They are, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, bathrooms.  The little boys room is a small half bath with a baby blue toilet and baby blue sink.

I am working on a VERY small budget, everything must be DIY, and I am stuck.  I can’t replace the fixtures at this juncture, but I must do something!  Any suggestions for  paint colors that will play up the quirkiness of these two rooms?  There’s no way to disguise them, so I might as well embrace what I’ve got.  Right?

Thanks so much,

Bathroom Boondoggle


Dear Boondoggle,

Now…this bathroom has some redeeming qualities, like the great sink and the shutters. It is not, however, without its challenges. For example, the “wood”…with the gold stenciling. I think we both know where I am going with this. Paint.

Looking at the blue fixtures, I immediately think beach-y, water-y colours, like pale blues and greens, with sand colours like tan. Perhaps I am being influenced by the ship wallpaper border. That, of course, needs to come down.

I would paint the “wood” cabinets a crisp white, and change out the hardware. Since these cabinets have such a glossy finish, they will require a light sanding, which will also take care of the gold stenciling. Without sanding, the outline of those vines would be clearly seen through the paint, no matter how many coats are applied. Then a good primer, and paint. In this instance, I am a fan of a dedicated primer, as opposed to a primer/paint combination. It will ensure good coverage, and be insurance against paint bubbling and peeling in the moisture of the bathroom. I would also paint the shutters. They look to be in great shape, and a coat of white paint would give them a beach house/cottage look. They would look great from the outside, as well! A can or two of good quality white spray paint is the easiest way to deal with them.

I would replace the back-splash with something…anything! It could be painted, or you could investigate some of the many “stick on” products available to cover up unsightly surfaces.  These are acrylic sheets applied with double sided tape, and made in all sorts of pattern to replicate embossed tin ceilings, bathroom tiles, wood, bead board, etc.  They are also designed to stand up to the moisture in kitchens and bathrooms. These products are a little pricey, but you are paying for convenience, and ease of installation.   It can literally be done in minutes. If you are really feeling adventurous, you could attempt a small DIY tile project! It is a small space, and would require very few tiles. It would be an opportunity to add a little sparkle or personality with some glass mosaic tiles, or white subway tiles, or round penny tiles… O.K., I can get a little excited about tiles.

On the walls, I would love to see a fresh watery green. It would modernize the fixtures, but they would still maintain that retro/vintage appeal. It also won’t fight with the countertop. There are a number of water, sea, and ocean inspired accessories available for you to complete the look you want. Simple accessories are best to keep things looking fresh and updated, and they needn’t be expensive. Discount and dollar stores can often provide interesting items to finish a room, as well as second hand stores like Value Village.

Anytime one takes on a lot of painting projects, it can seem overwhelming, and more often than not, people get frustrated, and walk away with the project half-done, and never look back. When beginning a project like this, it is important to plan carefully, and set realistic deadlines. Some things to consider:

  • Are you going to remove the cupboard doors to prime and paint them?
  • Where are you going to store and paint them?
  • How long is the drying time between each coat?
  • Where are the things in the cupboards going to live for the next 7-10 days?
  • Where will the painting tools and equipment be stored between coats?

Taking some time to plan for these things will eliminate unnecessary interruptions and frustrations, as well protect belongings and other areas in your home. Take the time as well to make a detailed supply list, and save yourself emergency trips to the hardware store to get more painters tape, sand paper, or roller sleeves. Every time you have to leave your house, it takes an hour away from your project.

Good luck in your renos!

In design,

Doris ♥