Boys’ Rooms Tour

After a long hiatus I’m back! If you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve seen this post:


In which I teased about a little bit of decorating that is ready to happen at the new nest. I also mentioned that I figured when painting eventually started at the new nest, I would be starting with small space like the powder room. But the boys have been talking about how “boring” their rooms are. Actually, they’ve told me how boring the whole house is. #brutallyhonest. And although we tried to make sure that their rooms seemed like home from Day One in the new nest (with success I think), I would tend to agree that its about time to give their rooms a bit of a personality boost.

To date all we’d really done in the boys’ rooms is install window coverings which were much needed for privacy and light management. And part of the delay in decorating was by design. I didn’t really want to be putting holes in the wall for shelves, prints etc. when I knew I’d be painting soon. But, I didn’t want to paint until we’d been in the house at least a year because the house would shift, and nail pops would happen etc.

There was never any doubt that I was going to paint the house eventually. The whole house was painted in flat paint. Its a bit of a nightmare for scuffs and dings (and fingerprints… ahem). And November of last year marked one whole year in the new nest for us, but of course, the holidays were upon us and I wasn’t ready to DIY or paint anything in December.

Harry's room 1

Harry’s room was pretty much a clone of what he had at the old house. Same bed, same bedding, same dresser and shelves. A bit more space to work with and some really cool angles in his room.


Harry's room 3

Harry's room 4

And although he had talked about wanting some changes to his room, he was chugging along rather happily with his room. But what really got this project going was Foster’s emerging, ongoing, undying love affair with dinosaurs, in which he wants to steal all of Harrison’s “stuff” and have a dinosaur room to call his own.

Foster dino

So for me this had a simple solution, swap out most of the dinosaur themed items from Harrison’s room and put them into Foster’s room and a few other things to personalize it for Foster. This also meant convincing Harrison to “let go” of those items and “sell” him on a new room. Luckily it didn’t take much persuading as he’s growing up too and could understand the idea of his brother loving dinosaurs more than he does now. It didn’t hurt that I told him he’d be getting new stuff and he could help me plan some of the items.

Meanwhile, Foster’s room had undergone some transformation since our move-in day. We moved him into a nursery.

Foster's nursery

Then he outgrew the crib (quickly!) which prompted a mini update to the room including firetruck bedding and a few accessories.


I figured red would be the colour that gave some continuity to the room once I was ready to actually decorate, but then he threw us a curve ball with this dinosaur stuff (although we should’ve seen it coming) and he declared that he didn’t want a red/firetruck room at all. He wanted dinosaurs!

So his room is currently a mix between firetrucks and his nursery. There’s red and green and blue, and his elephant lamp, and his animal banks… Fosters room 2

… and his nursery chair, and the ottoman,

Fosters room 5

Fosters room 3

but it is pretty clear that his walls are bare.

Fosters room 4

Isn’t it amazing how you can see things so clearly in photos that you miss in real life?

So, what’s next?

Well the paint is purchased and painting is definitely the first step. I decided that I’d keep the paint colour as it is, but give it another coat in eggshell finish to make it a bit more durable for the boys’ rooms. That’s easier for me – probably fewer coats – and also allows me to add colour and personality to the room in other ways. And hey! if Foster decides that he doesn’t like dinosaurs any more, I don’t have to worry about having a strange paint colour on the walls to work around. (Not that he’d get another makeover any time soon).

The boys are headed to my mom and dad’s for March Break this year, so I think that’s when most of the painting will get done. It turns out that when we’re home the boys are mostly in their rooms/sleeping so it is hard to disrupt their space and make it function for every day.

I’ve already purchased some new bedding for Harrison’s room, and I have some thoughts on how that room is going to turn out and the colour palette I want to use. I talked him out of a Pokemon room. #momwin

We have some dinosaur items that we’ve received as gifts over the years that never quite made it to Harrison’s room (this one or the old one) so I’m hoping to use those in Foster’s space.

I also had purchased some fabric for Harrison’s blue room, which never got used so I’m hoping to find a way to incorporate that into Foster’s room, as well as phasing out the nursery items by selling them on our neighbourhood buy and sell or on kijiji.

What are you up to?


The rest of the room

As you know we’ve been sprucing up the play room in our basement for the boys. Well, I’ve never shown you the rest of the very large room. So, come on down and let me show you around, because it’s next on my hit list.

come on down

You enter the basement from the hallway near our back door/mud room and the whole room is fully carpeted.

bathroom door

At the bottom of the stairs to the right is a 3-piece bathroom. If you turn to the right (to where you can see past the wall) you’ll see that we have our treadmill down here along with two storage closets. I’ve got plans for those closets down the line, but right now they store extra dishes and glassware, some games and other odds and ends.


The door that you see in the above picture leads to a cold storage area that runs behind the bathroom and is quite large.

desk area

Beyond the treadmill is our desk area. It is in desperate need of an organizing session. Nothing like having to move it around and paint to have an excuse to take everything out and start over!


But the main use for the space (besides the play room that’s nearby) is to watch TV and movies and entertain friends.

couch with TV

You can see the wires hanging down running to the TV and to the speakers. We have a project in mind for hiding those. If you follow me on Instagram you might’ve seen that a few weeks ago we picked up a big piece of that project. A 4-8 sheet of maple. More details to come soon! You might have also noticed the large patch below the TV. We had a little shelf mishap in which a shelf that was supporting our centre speaker jumped off the wall and left a few really nice holes. So we’re in the process of repairing those in preparation for paint the walls and our TV cord-hiding project.

couch with coffee table

You can see above the chair on the right (that first lived upstairs in the family room) that while we were filling holes we filled a few more from where our TV used to be. When we first moved in we had a different couch that made the room make more sense oriented differently. But this is definitely a better layout and we have the right pieces to make it work.


And here’s a closer shot of our fireplace. I love how large it is, but we’re not loving how it is just floating there on the wall. We’re undecided yet on what to do to help that situation but as our plans evolve we’ll keep you posted. There’s some stone on the mantle that we thought could work for facing. Our friends just did their fireplace in this stone and had some left over for us to test out. Turns out the colour of the stone that we love so much is almost a perfect match for the paint colour we chose. Sounds great, but we think it would actually be too close to look good.

The basement is large and it has taken as a long time to find a layout that we really like and that is really functional. That’s why after more than three years in the house we’re finally ready to take on this big guy. There’s the play room, the TV area, the “gym” and the office. And so many spaces need help. Where to start? The walls need hiding. The TV wires need hiding. The fireplace needs something. The office needs organizing. The window treatments have GOT to go!

But, one thing at a time. Painting’s up first. And now you’ve seen… the rest of the room. If you don’t get that reference you haven’t listened to enough talk radio. But don’t worry, that was really just for my dad, anyway.


Kitchen starting point

Any good project needs a few “before” pictures. First, you can take a look at how the kitchen looked when we moved in almost three years ago, and a few snaps after we painted the kitchen. So here’s what my kitchen looks like today.

kitchen before1



Confession time: my kitchen doesn’t usually look like this. This is if-the-queen-were-coming-over clean. There’s usually fruit in a basket, mail on the counter, and dishes in the sink. Because they just.don’t.quit.

kitchen before5

Here’s the bulkhead wall above the railing that looks down onto our family room. It’s the most wall space (the only wall space) we have in the whole kitchen. And it just sits there all blank-like taunting me and begging me to decorate it. I’ve had a few ideas about what to put up there. I was originally going to frame some large photos of red fruit (because that’s the accent colour I want the most in the kitchen), but I guess I wasn’t 100% in love with that idea because I’ve taken the pictures and never went ahead and had them printed and framed. Then I saw these butcher chart prints at Z Gallerie and was waiting for a sale to snatch up all three, but again, a sale came and went and I didn’t pull the trigger so I guess I was having some doubts.

I liked the idea of the red fruit photos, because I could change them seasonally (or at least summer/winter). I liked the butcher prints because they were food/kitchen themed. Then, I had an idea. “How about chalkboards?” I said to myself. Self, that’s a great idea!

So here’s the plan (roughly):

kitchen before4

I’ll be able to change the boards to my whim and keep everything from Harrison’s masterpieces to my grocery list up there. I think I’m gonna love it.

Another part of the kitchen makeover is going to include a little bit of organizing, because this is happening:

kitchen before8

I have a baking dish that’s supposed to corral a few frequently used kitchen items like, olive oil, salt and pepper, but it has devolved into a catch all for clutter.

And this galvanized bucket has been used all over our house and is currently being used to hold our utensils, but I have something else in mind.

kitchen before 7

Other plans include possibly adding a runner in front of the sink and finally sewing up that valance from the fabric I found over the summer. I’ll be working on that this week.

Table Before and After

“Stuff” is conspiring to keep me from totally finishing Harrison’s big boy room (time, weather, motivation?), but that’s ok, because the delay has given me the perfect excuse to catch you up on some of the other projects that we’ve been doing around here, that I haven’t blogged about yet.

You may recall that I found this table and chairs set on Kijiji (waaay back) with the intention of making them over some day. Well that day has come. We came to a consensus about how to finish it and then I put Roland to work while he was on paternity leave with me in the first few weeks after Foster was born. So, it only took us (almost exactly) a year to get our act in gear. But, hey… I wanted to be really sure I would love it.

Here’s the before. A solid oak pedestal table with 4 Windsor-style chairs in a blonde oak finish.

pedestal table and windsor chairs

This is the image I used as inspiration and solidified my decision.

And here’s the table now:

Table after

I love it! So glad we committed to the black. It looks great in the kitchen. The table was complete in a few days. The cool April weather we were having made the stripping and stain drying times a little bit longer than they would be under ideal conditions, but it turned out amazingly well. We (and by we I mean Roland) just had to be patient between steps.

It’s tough to capture the colour on my camera. The photo below makes it look a bit lighter than it is in real life. We used Minwax Dark Walnut stain to re-stain the top.

table close up

table closer up

The pedestal base was sprayed in Black glossy finish. And we did the chairs the same (that’s a story for another day!)

I love that the little vertical bits on the under side of the table were kept stained and the rest was sprayed. In a weird way I think it makes the table look more expensive. Every once in a while Roland has a good idea.

So there you have it. Now you know about our table and chairs make-over. What do you think? I’m so impressed with how it turned out and how great it looks considering this was Roland’s first attempt at stripping and re-staining a piece of furniture (and because the weather was uncooperative). I’m so proud!

(I’ll try to get a better shot another day).

Weekend project: Hall closet

Wanted to pop in with a before shot of our back door/garage entry/mud room (if you can call it that!) This weekend, we are tackling this bad boy by installing our new closet organizer that we purchased at Solutions.

Don’t judge me. Here are the befores:

It’s a disaster. I’ll partially blame the insanely mild winter we’ve had. We’ve got all manner of footwear and outerwear at the back door. It’s our main entrance to the house since we park both cars in our garage. We have runners, boots, flats, snow boots, and yes I even have a pair of flip flops or two hiding in there. We have scarves, mittens, ball caps, and spring, fall, and winter coats. I’ll also blame our lack of mail solution. I’m hoping this project will spur some creativity and a solution for that as well.

As you can see we have built in shelving on the right. I like having some shelving in the closet as a place to put things down when you first step in and for baskets for corralling all of our loose items like toques (this is a Canadian blog afterall), mittens, gloves, scarves etc. As you can see, because it’s disorganized it’s become a catch-all for all kinds of stuff.

It’s difficult to tell from this photo but in addition to the shelving we have two rows of plastic shelving hooks (4 hooks each) that hang on the perpendicular wall. Apparently 8 hooks are not enough for our coats, bags, the diaper bag etc. since most of these are laden with more than one item. This causes much overflowing and not an easy way of finding your coat, or putting it away.

Yep. We even have our cleats hanging out in there. One of the major problems with this closet as I see it, is the shelving unit goes all the way to the floor. That means that we can’t run a floor mat along the floor because no traditional-sized ones will fit. Our new closet solution keeps the shelving off the floor.

This is the view from our family room (we have a sliding door that can be closed to divide the spaces). You can see that it’s a pretty tight space. I hope the organizer will help keep clutter at bay and shoes out of the way so that we can actually open the door without crashing into them. I’ll have to share a floor plan of this area some day. I will call it “Door City” because you can see in this photo alone 4 door/doorways!

Before we get to the building and organizing, we’ll have to take it all down and repair the walls. I’m hoping I can work in a little bit of “prettify-ing” (that’s a word, right?) into this closet space too.