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?


New Nest – Exterior Tour

I hope you guys liked the sneak peek at our new nest plans and some of the interior spaces. Before I take you inside for a house tour, I thought I’d start by showing you around the exterior of the house just like you were pulling up to our house for a visit.

Also if you follow along on Instagram you know that in late July and early August we had a patio project on the go, so it seems appropriate to show you this newly completed project that I teased on Instagram and that has made such a difference to the whole look of the house and the function we get from it.

But first, let me show you what the house was looking like when we moved in.

Eaglecrest with driveway

Our house is new craftsman in style and the exterior reflects that. We didn’t go wild with colour choices and tried to stick with browns and greys. Choosing exterior colours was extremely nerve-wracking. The samples to choose from are quite small (especially when you consider the size of the house) and there weren’t any other houses in previous neighbourhoods that we felt got it exactly right (for us), so we had to select “blind” in a way. And once you’ve selected you just have to wait for them to start putting it on the house and hope and pray that you love it because there’s no going back now.

When we moved in last fall we put the patio at the top of our wish list for projects come springtime. We use our bbq year-round and the boys need to run around so we knew we’d want to make use of our backyard (and have access) as soon as possible.

First up, our lawn was installed right before the May long weekend. And boy did that make a difference to how the yard looked. We only had to stay off it for 3 weeks. #kidscantwaitthatlong

new grass


yard looking left



Don’t let those photos fool you. It looked extremely green in the spring in the few weeks after we got sod… and then we had one of the hottest, driest summers on record.

In terms of planning the yard we knew that building our dream yard would be more than a one year project. Being able to budget and save up year over year was the main reason, but also because it’ll give us a bit more time to live in the house (and the yard) and decide what’s most important to us, and how we use the space.  We asked the designer to show us a plan of our yard that would offer us all of the wants/needs for our yard all at once so that we could see the big picture and not make any hard to undo “mistakes” that we’d be kicking ourselves over later. Once we had the big picture then we’d consider how much we wanted to bite off at a time. For example, we didn’t want to put in a patio this year that the designer would tell us would get in the way of a future pool or fire pit next year or beyond.

Our BIG wish list included:

  • Large kid-friendly stairs leading out from the patio doors,
  • A large patio that could accommodate grilling, dining and lounging,
  • Low-maintenance gardens
  • A pool
  • A hot tub
  • A fire pit
  • A walkway from our driveway around the side of our house to the backyard
  • A fence (especially required if we put in a pool)

I’m guessing that like many home plans the yard will evolve as our family grows and will constantly be a work in progress.

We really want our backyard to be a place we can spend our summers entertaining, enjoying the natural surroundings of our yard, play with the kids and eat as many meals as possible al fresco.

So this summer we tackled  “phase one” which included front gardens, gardens on the right side of the house, and stairs from the patio doors and a stone patio spanning the width of the house and some some additional planting. We also included some lighting in the gardens and on the stairs.

Before work started the yard was already starting to look pretty crispy, despite our best efforts to water it on our watering day.







Back Before

Pathetic Stairs 2

Those are some seriously sad-looking stairs.

It only took about two and a half weeks to complete the project (12 working days in all).

Front After

The birch tree in the front makes such a huge difference inside and outside the house. From inside you can see the green leaves through the transom above the front door and it makes our house feel so much more finished. #crazybutitstrue

Side Front After

Side garden

We’re told our side yard is almost no maintenance. This is the side of the house we decided we wouldn’t use at all as a means to get to the back of the yard. The other side of the house makes the most sense, so we decided to simply use up the whole space with garden so that we don’t have to mow it or maintain it much, but it still looks nice.

Back After

Back After 2

The day I took these After photos was extremely bright and a lot of the photos of the patio itself and the patio stones got really washed out. I’ll try to take some new photos on a dimmer day so you can get a sense of the colour. The in-progress photo below does a so-so job but in reality it is much darker grey than these photos suggest.


Already, less than one month later, we have enjoyed so many meals on the patio, and more than a few glasses of wine on the patio after the kids have been tucked in.

Next up patio furniture to fill up the space. The dining set we have fits in the space better than we expected but we’re putting an 8-seater on our patio wish list and keeping an eye out for some end of season deals.



Master Plan

I’ve been talking a lot about my master plan for our master bedroom, so I thought I’d finally help you picture what I’m talking about with a tour of what our room looks like now, a little overview of what I’d like the layout to be (a bird’s eye view of the room), and a list, because I’m list-obsessed a list-maker.

So here’s how it looks now.

As you may be able to tell it’s a pretty good sized master bedroom. It’s approximately 15.5 feet by 12.5 feet. Plenty of room for a queen size bed, a couple dressers, and a few other pieces of furniture without being crowded. So far, we haven’t paid it much attention since we moved in, except recently installing the closet system. Its due for a little sprucing up.

Here’s what I’d eventually like it to look like – at least layout-wise.

To make this layout change it really won’t take much effort once we have the pieces – which is really just a bed frame at this point. We’ll install the headboard that I bought a few weeks ago, and put the mattress and box spring on a new basic bed frame. Move the Malm dressers that we have now (there’s two pushed together supporting the tv) and use them as side/night tables and mount a (perhaps new and larger) tv on the wall.

To achieve not just layout changes, but an overall makeover of the room here’s what I’d like to do:

  • Paint the walls – I’m thinking blue
  • Find a great fabric for some Euro shams for the bed and an accent cushion
  • Change out the duvet cover for the one I bought at West Elm a while ago
  • Hang drapes to soften the window
  • Mount the tv
  • Build a bed frame – maybe down the road
  • Add a rug under the bed (or maybe not? I’m not sure if I’m a rug on carpet kinda gal)
  • Create some art/photography for either above the night tables or above the bed
  • Create some jewellery display/storage
  • Consider changing the lamps or just the lampshades
  • Replace the ceiling fan with a new ceiling fixture
  • Add a chair or bench for resting

Now that the closet system is installed, I feel I can technically check “master bedroom tweaks” off the House Resolutions list but I’ll hold off for now until the room is a little more put together.

As for our current bed and the “headboard” and shelves that we have now, we’ll try to sell them on Kijiji to try to recoup some of the cost of the bed frame.

Anyone else making moves in the furniture department or making small changes to make a big difference? Anyone else have big plans for a space, even though who knows when you’ll get to it? Yeah… don’t we all!

Party inspirations

Hope you all had a wonderful long weekend. We had visits with family and friends and spent lots of time as a family.

As I mentioned, I’ve got Harrison’s first birthday party on the brain. I’ve moved past the ideas/inspiration stage and I’m moving on to the Get On With It Already! stage. (It’s only 2 weeks away!) But, I thought I’d share some of the inspirations that I’ve found (mostly on Pinterest) and plot out my plan of attack to get this party planned.

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Since balloons are the inspiration for my theme, I’d like to work them into the decor. Seems easy enough, but I’d like to use them in interesting ways – like this balloon garland.

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I’ve taken a monthly photo of Harrison so I’d like to display them all somehow for guests to check out and look back on how he’s changed. I like the way these photos are displayed so colourfully.

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What’s a party without a Happy Birthday banner? I like how bright and exciting this one is. It looks simple enough to DIY with some scrapbook paper and a printer.

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I love this “oldey-timey” photo booth sign. I am hoping to set up a little photo area with some props for all of Harrison’s friends (big and small) to snap a few pics of themselves having fun at the party.

Speaking of photos, I have in my head that I’ll take inspiration from these 10 Pictures to Take on Baby’s First Birthday (image source) and get my camera out and channel my inner Annie Liebowitz. I may try most of these out on his actual birthday, rather than on the day of his party. How cute is that chalkboard sign? And check out Clara from YHL on her first birthday. I would love to get a picture of Harry in his wagon on his birthday, but the weather will have to cooperate.

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And finally, I’m taking this colourful thumbprint idea as the jumping off point for creating Harrison’s guest book. I need to work on my PhotoShop skills to pull this one off, but I’m hoping maybe the hubs can help.

I’ve got a few other ideas up my sleeve to make this birthday cheap and cheerful. I’ll fill you in as they come together.

With that said, I’m off to work on the monthly photo project!

What are you guys up to? Planning something? Plotting something? Share!

Party Time!

It’s that time of year! If you’re an awards show junkie, a football fan, a hopeless romantic, Irish, or just generally like to have a good time this is an awesome time of year because there’s a good excuse everywhere you turn to throw a party.

By the way, I’m all of those things. Okay, I’m Irish by marriage. Minor detail.

I love planning and throwing a party. Right now I’ve got Harrison’s first birthday party on the brain.

Despite the invitation list that got a bit long I’m trying to keep things low-key, low-cost, and light and fun.

One thing that’s easy to do and seems to help keep me organized and from going crazy with every idea I see on Pinterest is to pick a theme and stick with it. Our theme isn’t really a theme so much as a “motif” but it’s going to help make decor decisions and just give the party a pulled together look.

What did I choose? What could be easier or more festive than balloons? So that’s what I’m going with.

I made the invitations using a combination of Picasa/Piknik and Word. I’m not too handy with PhotoShop (not to mention I don’t have it on my home computer), so this is definitely something most people can do at home.

I just printed two to a page on white card stock that I already had on hand. I wrote his friends’ names on the back with a crayon with my left hand to give it a little bit of Harrison flair.

I’ll be posting about more details of the party as I put them together, so stay tuned.

Anyone else planning a party? Got any great first birthday party stories to tell? Anyone rolling out the red carpet for the Oscars, or going to Mardi Gras? That’s next week!