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?


Notchwood – The Final Chapter

At the beginning of the year I mentioned, kinda off-hand that we sold our second home. And I even showed a few photos from the updates we did to the (now old) house.

I thought that a nice way to wrap up that house with a bow and for a little closure and posterity’s sake I’d share with you some parting shots of our second home.

Notchwood- foyer

The main entrance of our house – the foyer. We painted in here, replaced the light fixtures, painted tone-on-tone stripes for an accent wall, and put up some decorative shelves.

Notchwood- Living RoomThis room was basically unchanged the whole time we were here. Our “formal” living room was never really used – except for epic dance parties and when we used it as a guest room for visitors.

Notchwood-dining room

Always loved our dining room. The only somewhat DIY that we did in here was replace the light fixture with the one from our kitchen  after we found a new light for our eat-in kitchen. Did some sewing projects here and shared some delicious meals with friends and family.




Refinished the kitchen table and chairs and repainted the walls, and replaced the light fixture but otherwise this kitchen was already renovated when we moved in.


Lots of transformations and updates in this room. New furniture, new paint, new floors, new curtains and a new rug before we left.

Notchwood-master bedroom

Our master bedroom had its fair share of updates too. New paint, new furniture and bedding, new drapes and some bedside table makeovers. And no room in this house had more of a transformation than our master bedroom ensuite.

Notchwood-master ensuite

All new everything.

Notchwood-Harry's room

Harry’s room was transformed from our guest room once we had made enough people to fill all of our bedrooms. I’m so happy with how this room turned out even though there was still more I wanted to do to it. This room had a new coat of paint, and was the room that kicked off the new trim colour throughout the house. Our DIY dresser still lives in Harry’s new room. One of my favourite projects. And so easy!


So many happy memories in this nursery.



And finally the basement that was one of the last big projects that we tackled by sprucing it up with some paint and making the boys’ playroom a lot more functional and organized.


The playroom project in that house is another one that I was so happy with. I’m hoping to create a similar space for the boys in the new house.

So that’s it! That’s the grand tour of our second home. I have so many great memories of our time in that house – from decorating the nursery and bringing home both boys, many happy meals (and McHappy meals), and hosting friends and family and watching the boys run around in the yard and out to the park. It was such a good house and we’re happy it has found another great family.

PS: All of these amazing photos of the house were taken by the talented Ryan at First Look. So if you’re in need of real estate photography give him a call.

Bottom’s up

I mentioned the other day, and waaaaay back here that we had new floors installed in the house (now our old house).

It was such a worthwhile project and really made a difference in the space. The carpet was umm… well-loved. And had seen its fair share of traffic and wear and tear. It was the only route to or from our deck and had had many hours of play, laundry, movie nights and regular family life to put up with. It was time for a change.

This is what the room was looking like before we tore out the carpet.

Family room


Family Room 2




Family room 4

You can really see the beating it took in that last photo above. The carpet was pretty badly stained in spots.

Since our kitchen and foyer floors had been updated at some point by the previous owners to hardwood, we wanted to keep that continuity going rather than going with something completely different or trying to get a close match. Luckily the previous owners had left us all the details of the house including the details of any updates they made. So all it took was a Google search for the name and brand of flooring and then looking for a local distributor.

Actually, we even knew who had provided and installed our kitchen floor so we started with them first. But it turns out they were in the process of closing their business so our emails and phone calls went unanswered. We thought we were getting the runaround. But it turns out they weren’t closed enough to have had their phone disconnected or their website down, but they weren’t checking or responding either. (We learned all of this when we found another distributor who had the inside scoop on the flooring gossip).

Once we finally found our guy, who was not closed,  we paid his showroom a visit just to be sure of the match and we decided that since we were tearing up flooring in the family room, why not do the garage entrance/hallway/powder room/laundry room that is on that level too?

Just your typical project snowball effect.

One thing that didn’t take us long was to decide on our flooring. We chose a large scale vinyl tile. But it’s not just any tile, its groutable vinyl tile, designed to look just like stone or ceramic including the grout lines! We had seen it installed in a family member’s house and loved it for the look, durability, and practicality. It’s just like stone or ceramic but a lot warmer under foot. And even though we weren’t doing the installing this time, if you’re thinking about DIY-ing it, it is also very easy to work with for installation.

The vinyl tile was selected for the garage entrance (landing spot), the hallway, the powder room located in that area, and through to the laundry room. That whole area had the original laminate flooring from when the house was built in the 80s. It was in pretty good condition given the age of the house, but it was certainly dated, and in the more trafficked areas was starting to show hints of wear.

We decided to have the existing carpet removed and the floors installed by the supplier, so that we didn’t have to worry about calling in friends for help, or just generally making time to do it ourselves.

What we did decide to do ourselves was repaint the walls in the hallway, powder room and laundry room – which included removing wallpaper in the powder room and laundry room.

powder room 1


powder room 2

We also painted and installed all the trim for the family room, hallway, powder room and laundry room. We installed a new toilet, new sink and new faucet in the powder room and updated the light fixture and mirror. We also painted the existing vanity cabinets to match the same white as the trim to freshen it up.

laundry room 1


laundry room 2

Check out this awesome wallpaper!

laundry room 3

And it took us a little while as we plugged away at the trim as I painted each area, it was well worth all the elbow grease! Removing old wallpaper might be the best and worst thing in the world. So tough and frustrating at some points, and also so rewarding when it’s gone!


Even with the wallpaper still up the space was looking so much better with an updating flooring.

laundry tile 1


laundry tile 2

In the process of this mini (that snowballed into medium) makeover, I found one of my new favourite paint colours – Benjamin Moore’s Fossil. When I went to the store to pick out a colour, I knew I wanted and needed something pretty neutral and pretty light. BUT, I also knew that I wasn’t changing out our almond coloured laundry pair (wop wop!), so it had to play well with them too. I described the colour I was searching for to the sales rep as “latte foam” and she pointed me to Fossil right away. It didn’t hurt that the name referenced our love of all things dinos in our house.

And I forgot to mention that all of this was taking place in the winter of 2015 as we were deciding whether or not these upgrades and renos were for us or for a potential buyer. As we plugged away at the updates, it became clear that our time at this house was coming to an end so some of the projects we finished and didn’t even have the time to take “after” photos. Oops!

So, by the power of the magic of the internet here are the few “after” photos that we have of the renewed spaces.

Family After 1

In the family room the major change was the flooring as well as the new beefed-up trim painted white. We also found the rug at Home Depot for a steal.

Family After 2

Changing out the old carpet made the whole space feel new again despite the fact that we barely changed anything else in the room.

Powder Room After
The powder room is a whole different story. In here we replaced or updated everything except the cabinet countertop. We replaced the floor, trim, toilet, sink, faucet, mirror and light fixture. I also painted the cabinet white in the same colour as the trim and updated the hardware. The whole space was completely refreshed.

Both these updates and the updates in the laundry room (which included removing wallpaper and painting – again Fossil – and of course the flooring) were definitely of the “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” type. We *almost* starting to rethink our decision to move out.

That’s a story for another day!


Harrison’s Big Boy Room (So Far)

Here it is. The progress I’ve made so far on Harrison’s big boy room. There’s still lots of projects I want to complete before I’ll call it finished, but for now, I’m loving it. Harrison loves it too. I’ll show you the video of our HGTV-style room reveal tomorrow.




end wall


final detail

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).

Painting marathon

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Back with even more progress on Harrison’s room to share. This painting is going at lightning speed! Just kidding. But painting while kiddos are napping or sleeping for the night is where it’s at right now.

I started painting the edges for the accent wall and, to be honest, was doubting my choice of Hale Navy.

It was looking a bit purple-y. Granted the lighting in the room wasn’t the greatest with the overhead light on and the sun going down.


It was at this point, though that I was smitten. Love! I knew it would be great. (See what I mean about crappy lighting?) You’ll have to take my word for it.

That’s all for a sneak peek. The painting is all done now except for the doors.

I can’t wait to put the room back together and show Harrison.

What a difference a duvet makes

Checking things off the list and making progress on Harrison’s big boy room.


I found this duvet cover and sham set at Target. So glad they’re in Canada now! What a difference it makes already. So… now you’ve got a sneak peek at the colours I’ve chosen for the room. Navy will play a big role!

Here’s how Harrison’s room list looks now:

  • Replace the duvet cover/bedding to coordinate with new colour scheme
  • Paint the walls. Maybe stripes or an accent wall?
  • Replace the ceiling fan with a fun new fixture
  • Replace the wall sconce
  • Move one of the dressers from our master bedroom into Harrison’s room for added clothes storage and as a bedside table
  • Paint and customize the dresser
  • Add DIY and purchased art to the walls
  • Add book storage
  • Add more storage in general (not sure how or where I’m going to fit this in yet)
  • Organize the closet
  • Sew a personalized message on one of Harrison’s pillows
  • Sew and hang drapes