Saturday, June 27, 2009

Random Questions Answered

Great questions everyone!! Since many of them were repeated and most of them are really easy to answer I'll skip the stuff and just answer away. To save myself some time I'm just going to answer in the order they were asked. Here goes nothing!!!

1. How did you choose Wren's name?

We knew that she was a girl long before she was born and spent many nights chatting about cool names and what we should choose. About a month before she was born we settled on her middle name (Berry) because it has family meaning to it (not because my name is Holly, but that is a weird coincidence). Sean suggested the name Wren one night and I immediately liked it, but we had decided that we would not pick her actual name until we met her so we added it to our list of 5 names that we would choose from. When she was born (full story here) both her and I were far too sick to even worry about names. The day after she was born I was able to hold her for 10 minutes before they took her back, at this time we both looked down at her and she looked just like a little tiny birdie so we just knew that Wren would be her name.

2. Has anyone ever told you that you resemble Gwen Stefani, or Whitney Port?

No and yes! I have never heard the Gwen Stefani resemblance (pretty flattering I might add!), but I am frequently told that I look like Whitney.

3. What designer inspires you and why?

There are so many designers that I think are so talented! I really think that Atlanta Bartlett would be my top inspiration. Her designs are so fresh, clean and beautiful! Sarah Richardson is another because her rooms have so much character, but are still very realistic and livable rooms. Of course I love Rachel Ashwell, specifically her later stuff because it was more about unusual pops of color instead of all floral patterns, but she really was a trail blazer which is inspiring.

4. If I could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I would probably find a very charming old chateau somewhere in the South of France that needed some love and attention. Of course I would leave much of the time worn shabbiness though! I have always loved the idea of living in "the country" in some charming villiage.

5. Are you planning for more children?

Haha, that is an area of questioning I have been getting a lot lately, I have no idea why! I am totally happy with Wren and would be very content for her to be an only child, at least for the next 5 or 6 years. We decided we would discuss it again at that time, but we really haven't come to any sort of decision. For now we are just focused on her!

6. You have hinted you and your Husband are in the restaurant business. Tell us more!

Before Wren was born I was the Marketing Director for my Dad's restaurant's. He has been in the industry for decades, actually starting out by working for his Dad's restuarant company! I guess it is in my DNA. He runs several familiar brands, from fast food to casual dining. Sean has now taken in his footsteps as well! If you "think outside the bun" I am sure you can come up with the "finger lickin' good" answer to what restaurant Sean runs.

7. We want Wedding pictures!

That's easy! Just click the link on the Left that reads "Our Wedding".

8. Are you planning on going back to work?

I still have 6 months on Maternity Leave left and I will admit that I haven't fully decided just yet~

9. I'd love to get a full house tour!

Oooh fun idea~ I don't have a video camera so it may have to be a couple videos made using my camera's video function. Until I get around to doing this here is a photo tour of most of the house on the day of our home inspection.

10. How did you and Sean meet and what is your love story?

I don't know if I have enough time to type all the lovey-dovey details, but I will give you the abridged version. In fourth grade we both started a new school and the story goes (according to Sean) that he saw me across the gym during a school rally and decided he was going to marry me someday. Over the years we went to different schools, however our two younger sisters became best buds so we would see each other once in a while.

By high school we once again attended the same school, but never the same classes. One night when we were 17 we both went to the same birthday party. It was on an acreage and when Sean cut his arm on a piece of fence (don't ask!) I offered to give him a couple bandaids and he asked me on a date. Ever since that night we have been inseperable!

11. Have you ever condsidered being an interior designer?

Of course!! But the part I would find challenging is making sure that I am getting the client exactly what they want. I know what I love and like so it is easy to decorate. People hire designers because they often don't know what they want so I would find that part hard. I would worry too much about not getting it 100% right (I am usually a perfectionist).

12. What is my favorite room in our house?

I would say our foyer. Does that even count as a room? I don't know but I just love the light, the high ceilings, everything!!! Once our kitchen is done I know that will be my favorite.

13. Is this the first house you have remodelled room by room?

Yup! It is our second house, and while I made some minor changes at our last house, this house is the only house I have ever made bigger changes too.

14. Why did you choose the house, perhaps to flip it?

We chose this house after looking at well over 100 others. We knew we wanted a house we would be able to make our own, and perhaps increase the value on, but as soon as I walked into this house I knew I loved it. It is strange that we even looked at the house because the owners had already an accepted offer. We made an offer anyways and waited for the other deal to fall apart, which it obviously did, and here we are today! I wish I could pinpoint the exact reason, but this house just had a good energy. We have no plans to flip it!

15. How did you pick the decorating style in your house?

I have never actually thought about it like that, I don't think we ever really picked a style. Our house has slowly just filled up with things we love. As it happens, almost all those things are white, but we have definitely made a decision to keep accessories and clutter like that to a minimum. We are not really fans of a lot of "stuff". We prefer to have open, clean, crisp layouts to our rooms.

16. Where did you get the dress from the lake?

It is made by Raviya, a beach and swimwear company. I know they sell online at various stores, but I picked mine up at a local store here. The best part is that their prices are unbeatable and that dress only cost $24!

17. How did Sean propose?

He proposed on my champagne birthday (When I turned 23 on the 23rd of December). I woke up on my birthday and he had left a note laying on my nightstand. It lead me on a treasure hunt around the house until I ended up in our office (on the second floor). I looked out the window and in the snow across our whole yard was "Will You Marry Me?". I turned around to say "mean joke mister!!" but he was down on one knee with the ring! Of course I said yes~

18. What is your favorite book and movie?

This is probably the hardest question! I love books sooo much that it is hard to choose, but I really am a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are two of my favorites. My favorite movie would be Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola. Gorgeous hair, clothes, shoes and houses.

19. Any hidden talents?

I play the flute, love to swim and water ski, but my biggest hidden talent would be singing at the top of my lungs in the car. Mariah Carey, Diana Ross, the more dramatic the song the better and louder I sing!

20. What did you want to be when you grew up?

That is another easy one. I wanted to be an architect since I was reallllly small. Once I got older I realized being a true architect wasn't for me because I actually enjoyed the design and layout side much more.

21. Does your house always look as clean as it does in pictures?

Heck no!!! In our house we have two areas of weakness, laundry and mail. Those two things always seem to pile up in the back door area and the kitchen. We don't have areas of kids toys or random messes, but I do clean daily and even that doesn't always keep up with 2, often 3 dogs. As you have seen from the pictures, Mungkee has quite a head of hair and with our jungle for a yard he is always dragging in branches (literally!!!), leaves and other various kinds of foliage. That is probably our biggest area of dirty-ness.

22. Where did you get your wedding dress?

Thanks so much for complimenting my dress. It is by Vera Wang, from her purple or lavender label if I remember correctly. I had found a Reem Acra dress I really liked, but as soon as I saw this dress hanging in a totally different section of the store I knew I had to have it!

23. Do you have any siblings?

I have a sister who is 2 years younger named Torri (note to Torri: I could have used your awesome faux modelling shots right here so you owe me!!!) and Sean also has a sister the same age named Kate.

24. Have you ever visited someone's home and sat there thinking of how you would re-decorate (instead of listening the conversation)?

Actually I don't think I have! I am one of those people who like a lot of styles, and although me and my Mom do make plans and chat about things to do with her house and our house I usually assume that most people have their houses decorated the way they like and I like that way of decorating too~

25. Do you eat junkfood, what is your favorite?

I am one of the biggest junkfood eaters you will ever meet!!! I LOVE chips, especially of the Salt & Vinegar or Dill Pickle variety. I also love those 5 cent candies at the convenience store! Grab me a bag of those and I am happy.

26. What's your most embarrasing moment?

I walked through my grandmother's screen door at a family get together when I was 12 and to this day she still keeps ribbons tied to safety pins at eye level on the screen for me so I don't ruin another door.

27. Do you know how incredibly awesome you are?

Hmmm, I am not sure if I am walking into some kind of trap with this one LOL. But I am just going to move right along before my head starts to get big *wink wink*

28. Where abouts do you live, I see beautiful trees in your pictures?

We live in Western Canada and we can't help but agree, the scenery is gorgeous here!

29. Were you the tiniest pregnant girl ever?

Haha, I hope not! I gained a total of 24lbs, 16 of them in the last 6 weeks alone!! Here was the last picture of me pregnant (taken exactly 5 days before she was born) on the right. I really do have to say that of course it was much easier to avoid stretch marks and get back in my jeans within a couple weeks because she was so tiny and came early though. At the rate I was gaining weight I am sure that I would have been MUCH bigger at 39 or 40 weeks.

Edited to answer cCe's question.
30. What do people say when they come to your house for the first time? Being it is uniquely decorated.

It is VERY different in style from the decor of any of our friends or family so usually the first reaction is a WOW! I think that in part it is just surprise since we don't seem like the type to be so "into" decorating, and partly that it is very unlike anything you would see in 99.9% of homes here. Almost all the feedback we get is extremely positive, especially after people have been here more than once because our house is truely always changing and I think it is intriging to people.

I think that answers everyone! Whew, thanks for the mental workout everyone, and thanks for reading.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lay it on me!

I think that blogs are much more interesting when you have a really good sense of who the author(s) is/are. I try to share more than just our renovations on a regular basis, but it hit me recently that maybe people want to know more (and just have impecible manners). Today I have decided to open it up to the our readers! Ask anything you have wanted to know about anything, but maybe have been too shy to ask, and I will let choose 5 questions I will answer as honestly as I can.

So put your thinking caps on and give me something to think about!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The days of Summer are already zipping by.

Summer is only days old but I am sitting here wondering to myself "how did 5 days already go by?". Our Father's Day/Birthday weekend was a blast, Sean's gift (a hammock he has had his eye on for months now) was a big hit! We have spent several evenings just enjoying the moon and a warm breeze in it after Wren has fallen asleep. We also had some immunizations for her this week which went as well as can be hoped. She really is a little trooper, back to her usual self after only minutes.

As I am sure you have noticed, my blogging has left much to be desired when it comes to frequency these days. I have resigned myself to the fact that I have too many projects to complete and so little time to blog so it comes to down to getting stuff done or blogging about wanting to get stuff done. I will choose the first option! I will definitely still update every couple of days with all the many happenings of our renovating and decorating though, so don't worry! Good things come to those who wait~

Speaking of good things, I have found MANY a great deal lately at our local GoodWill store after my sister made a great find with a vintage dresser and inspired me to check it out. I am slowly but surely collecting various paintings and drawings of ships and ocean scenes to do a GIANT collage down our stairs. So far my searches have yeilded 3 antique oil paintings (one last December and another just a couple weeks ago that is temporarily in Wren's room and one my mom gave me today that belonged to my Great Grandmother), and a hand drawn sketch of a ship I found for $9 at GoodWill yesterday. I also purchased a HUGE landscape painting for $19 at GoodWill, but plan on removing the painting and using the amazing frame to make a bulletin board for our back hallway.

As you can see I have had, and will continue to have, my hands full with lots bits and bobs. The good news is that there is nothing I enjoy more than to be busy with things like this to do!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fire Pit to Fire Pretty

Yesterday I almost finished the fireplace (finally!). I only had the marble pencil edge to install, and the brass grating to spray black. I had the can of high temperature spray paint sitting in the garage for close to a month so I figured it was about time. I managed to get everything done except the grout on the edging which is actually my favorite part so I have that to look forward to next week.
For any new readers out there, here is what we started with:

Here is was after much hard work, but yet to be painted:

And here it is today (I FINALLY put my beloved silver poufs in here!):

Since Sean's work schedule is a little different than most we are actually starting our weekend today and are off to the cabin until Tuesday where we will be celebrating the first days of Summer, Sean's 25th birthday as well as his first Father's Day!

We hope everyone out there kicks their feet up and enjoys their weekend as well~

Friday, June 19, 2009

This Says It All!

Wow! Over the course of the last 9 months that we have had this blog we have met, befriended and been inspired by sooooo many talented blog-friends and readers. All the comments, questions and shout outs are so special and make this all that much more fun! I often wish I had hours on end each day to comment back on each blog that we read and those of our readers (I promise, I do read all of your blogs!!!) because they are all so meaninful and I love keeping up with everyone.
Anyways, I'll stop rambling... so in summary: Thanks so much for being such awesome blog friends, we love being inspired by all of you and your blogs, and stay tuned for more easy and cheap decorating ideas as we make our way through this renovation~
That pretty much says it all!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Knock Knock

I am absolutely in love with Knock Knock's note pads! They are cute, funny, and unbelievably functional. I saw this one in a book store the other day and immediately knew I needed it hanging on my fridge.

It is impossible to count how many trips to the grocery store this may save us!!!
I'm thinking this one may be a great time saving tool as well:
Check out all their cute and helpful products here.

Photo Wall

My poor blog! I have not been very nice to her lately with all the lovely weather we have had, along with our Salsa Babies classes, shopping for Father's Day (which also happens to be Sean's big 25th birthday!!) and getting some yard work done we have been relatively slow on the decorating. To top it all off my beloved paint sprayer died on Tuesday. It is under a lifetime warranty so it will be replaced, but in the meantime I had a lot of painting I wanted to do so Sean actually went and got me a new one! Here was my first project with my new gun.

Last Friday I was at Home Goods doing a return and thought I would just browse the clearance (my favorite thing to do there). I saw a ton of frames that ranged in price from $1 to $3, some were scratched and dented, others were in perfect condition. I left with all these frames, and the total cost? $11.

I used the oyster gray mistint I picked up a couple weeks ago for $5, not wanting something too dark, but dark enough to pop a little against the wall color. After all the painting was done I thought they needed a little something 'extra' so I just scuffed them up with some sandpaper to let some of the original finishes show through.
After all our hard work I still can't believe we have come so far from this:

Maybe I will add a couple more later on to round out the collection a little, but the powder room looks much better with something up on those walls. It is truly the only room in our house without a window so it needed something.
(excuse the brass doorknob, we have yet to change all of them)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rejuvenated and Refreshed

"Weeee're Baaack". After hitting some garage sales Saturday morning and helping my sister and her boyfriend move into their new apartment we made it out to the cabin by about 2pm, not bad! As the first family members out there for the season (we completely close the cottage up for the Winter each Fall) we knew full well the burdens that come with that territory: turning the water on, sweeping cobbwebbs, and putting in the pier and boats if you are feeling REALLY adventurous.

Pulling up to the gates we should have known exactly how it was all going to lay out. It appeared that our entire entry way had just recently been torn up and dug out, and as the neighbors later informed us, it turns out that the city had dug it all up as well as using it as a dumping ground for dirt being torn up and dug out at other cabins.

After fully unpacking and getting settled Sean turned the water on for us and then went to go light the pilot lights on the gas stove. Hmmm, turns out we had no gas. 5 hours later, 2 calls to the gas company and 1 dramatically begged for service call later we finally had gas! (turns out they had to shut it off for all that digging and somehow forgot to turn ours back on...)

Our last and perhaps most frustrating obstacle was our lack of hot water. After all the commotion we had already faced we decided to just give in and enjoy the weekend, cold water and all (at least we had the gas to boil it with!!!) instead of trying to fix or figure that one out.

But all these minor hurdles aside we had a fantastic weekend introducing Wren to the cabin and lake for the first time. Of course we needed some fabulous new headgear to celebrate the occasion so I decided to sport a new hat while Wren went with a vintage-looking flapper headband from Urban Outfitters:

And while the yard sales were all a bust I did score some awesome riff-raff off our beach!!! My biggest and best finds were these amazing drift wood trees (root stump and all) that are beautifully sun bleached and weather worn. I think they look like art and want to either put them along a wall or lean them up in our living room. Sean would not agree to strapping these on our SUV to get them home so they will have to wait there until next weekend when Sean can bring his truck.

Mung Kee enjoying some early morning sun. He seriously just sits and enjoys the birds ALL day. Rosy on the other hand is off barking and harrassing various animals, birds or hikers.

Our "guest".

Nothing is more peaceful than the lake at 6 am. Before the boats start to chop the water and the waves are barely even discernable.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I know, I know...

I promised to share what I did with my busted chair, but to my surprise and delight Anthropologie opened at the mall about 10 minutes from my house so instead of being a good blogger I was out being a bad shopper!!!

A troop of ladies and I will be hitting as many yard sales as possible before noon when we will be off to the cabin for some rest and relaxation (and no internet connection) until Monday.

Hopefully I will have a lot to share, but in the meantime have a great weekend!

To start the weekend off right, and in honor of our new Anthropologie store here are a few gorgeous rooms from their catalogs over the years:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chair Re-cover-y

Remember those 3 antique chairs I said I bought last Saturday? Well here they are!
I saw them at a yard sale but they were not marked with a price. One of the chairs had a broken back plate and all of them we dirty, scratched and in a general state of disrepair. I offered the woman $10 for the 2 good ones, but she insisted I take all three. So $10 it was for the 3 chairs.

My plan was to paint them cream (no surprise there LOL) but I have been on a real big turquoise and teal kick lately (the color of my chalk board and Wren's room) so I wanted to incorporate one of those colors in the fabric for the seats. I had seen a wonderful selection of designer upholstery fabric on sale at a favorite local furniture store recently so yesterday my Mom, Wren and I journeyed down to assess the selection. As soon as I saw this ticking strip fabric I was in love!!! It is actually intended for patio furniture or exterior pillows so any spills or spots will repel right off. And I was happy to see it was 50% bringing it down to only $20 per meter! 1 meter is the minimum purchase so I purchased it but really only needed half that.

So now I have these three chairs (I will share what we did with the broken one tomorrow) and really no where to put them until we finish up some more rooms. I did have a spot for one though. I picked up an antique children's school desk at a barn sale about 3 years ago for $10 and painted it white previously (in it's former life it was a night stand in our master bedroom). I have been wanting to put it on a blank wall in Wren's room so that when she is a little older she has a spot to color, craft and generally to call her own and one of these chairs just looked darling with it.

After seeing how well the colors in this painting matched Wren's bedroom I thought it should temporarily be hers to enjoy~

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The realilty of living with white

On this blog, through emails, and most often in real life I am constantly told "Wow! You are brave! I could never keep it all clean" in reference to our white house. I have to agree that to someone who does not live in a white house it must look like a daunting amount of cleaning, scrubbing and perhaps even a waste of money since it will inevitably all be ruined within a week, right?

Below are images of things from around our house and yard I have collected over the last couple days as I thought about addressing this issue, all of them white or variations on white. Out of all these images, only 1 is of a piece of upholstered furniture. It illustrates how so little of our actual "whiteness" is of chairs, couches, etc. and these seem to be the things people think are not practical.

White is obviously not for everybody, and while I am attempting to illustrate that it is probably the easiest color to live with these images show that you can easily incorporate it into your home if you really want to in ways that will match your comfort level.

My first thoughts on the subject start with one simple fact that we are well aware of: Life is short! Why not enjoy it to it's fullest? If that means you want to paint your entire house neon green from floor to ceiling go for it! Or at least try one room and see if it makes you happy. Our home is somewhere we spend most of our waking moments and where the majority of our best memories happen so shouldn't it be a place that you love? Personally, white seemed a little scary at first but after a small taste I wanted more!

As far as the furniture goes I would be lying if I didn't say that sometimes it gets dirty. In fact, sometimes it looks down right scary. But what I actually find even scarier is that many people have dark furniture that they cannot see these dusty paw marks or raspberry jam spots on. I am a firm believer that once you go to slipcovers (good, tailored, proper fitting slipcovers) you will never go back. Do you sleep directly on your mattress or pillows? No, you have sheets and pillow cases that you can wash when you need to. In a busy family room or living room a couch is definitely a well-used item and particularly if you have pets that are allowed to hang out on the couch with you. I like seeing that it is getting a few little marks and that it is time to go into the wash vs. not knowing when it is getting dirty with dark slipcovers, or even worse no slipcovers...

Which brings me to stating the obvious. Can you bleach any color but white??? NOPE! I have not spent 5 minutes out of my life worrying about eating spaghetti or chocolate on the couch (which I do daily), or babies spitting up on our furniture. I think that the first instinct people have about owners of white furniture is this: they must only serve light colored food, keep all guests and children off the furniture, and guard it from the pets with their life. That could not be farther from the truth. In our house, and most others I have seen with white furniture, the kids are encouraged to jump on couches, pets are welcomed to cuddle with you while you enjoy a movie, and guests are encouraged to put their feet up.

The point of this rambling is this: if you LOVE white furniture or the feel of a white room don't let "life" stop you from enjoying life. There will always be spills, splashs and spit-up. It doesn't matter what color your furniture is. I personally find it easier to wash a slipcover with some bleach once in a while instead of calling a steam cleaner in to do the job, but at the end of the day it has to work for you and your family.

Now down to the actual numbers, because I know that is what most people are interested in!

How often do I wash the slipcovers? On our most heavily used couch the slipcover is washed once every other week, which I will admit is twice as often as I washed it before Wren came along LOL. The dining room chairs: once every month or two. Various living room chairs: once every 3 or 4 months.

I hope that was informative in some way or another, but if I missed anything please give me a shout in the comments and I would love to expand on anything or touch on anything I missed.

Most of all, I hope that it inspires somebody who has been hesitant to do something they've wanted to do to go ahead and make it happen and stop letting life get in the way.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today was a lovely, sunny day and Wren enjoyed it in true Summer style. We went on a walk to get some groceries and she was excited to meet our neighbor's Poodle, Crush, but the highlight was when her grandma came over and surprised her with her very first parasol. Now she can avoid the sun in style!

Keepin' it Secure

Since I painted these frames and mounted the photos back in March I have not gotten around to actually hanging them. Worse still, I didn't feel I could commit to punching holes in the walls just yet (I have patched about 600 holes from the previous owners and have been reluctant to hang anything). This giant blank wall in our foyer has been giving me a tough time as well since I found it difficult to conceive of a plan that would work around our security code panel and have an elegant, clean look to it.

In brief moment of decorating genius I realized that the frames have a hollow backside. Since we really only set the security system at night (from our bedroom) or as we leave (in the garage) this panel is rarely used.

So I covered it up!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sensational Slipcovers

Great news for those of us with tons of slipcovered Ikea furniture: we can now get even more fabulous slipcovers!!! I recently discovered one of those online stores you think to yourself "Why didn't I think of that???". It is called BEMZ and they have a HUGE assortment of patterns and fabrics to make your cookie cutter Ikea sofa, chair or ottoman a little more unique. They manufacture slipcovers in the exact dimensions of Ikea products so there is absolutely no guess work.
Here are a few of the slipcovers I am loving for our various pieces of furniture that would be fun to alternate between throughout the year:

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