Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Favorite Things: T is not for Tracy

Ever since I was little, I remember having this chair in my parent's house. It was fun to think that the letter "T" on it stood for Tracy but I knew it was much older than me, probably 100 years older in fact! The letter "T" actually stands for "Toner", my great-great-grandmother's family name.

When my mom and her family immigrated to Montreal from Scotland in the 1950s, they didn't bring many belongings since they were traveling by boat. They had several trunks of clothing and small objects but they sold their furniture before they set sail. One exception was this chair that disassembled allowing it to make the trip across the pond. The hand painted leaves, berries and vines have developed a beautiful patina over the years which add to it's charm.

I am proud to now have this family heirloom in my home and to tell friends who come over it's story and that no in fact "T" does not stand for "Tracy".

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Housewarming Herbs

I found this box at a garage sale, it had probably been used as a gift set for wine. Even though it had a strange purplish stain on it and was missing it's lid, I was looking forward to transforming it!

Some friends of mine had just moved into a new place and I wanted to give them a housewarming gift. I love having fresh herbs in my kitchen to cook with and I thought they would as well.

My local farmer's market had just started selling herbs for the season, I chose basil, thyme, parsley and oregano. Luckily the little square pots they came in fit perfectly side by side!

The box was made of a soft wood that I wanted to try my hand at carving. I printed out and transferred the letters onto the box with carbon paper. I got out my tools from a printmaking class I had taken years ago and after outlining the design with an exacto knife I started carving out around the letters. At first I wasn't sure how it would turn out but after completing one letter I could see it was going to look great.

When all the carving was done, I painted the whole box a soft black. Next with light grey paint I used a dry brush technique to bring out the raised areas and give it the aged look I was going for.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fantastic Frames

This is my living room before I got my new couch and redecorated. I had this beige leather one for a few years that was passed down to me. I took it because I needed a couch, it was in good shape, a neutral color...but I never really liked it! Since I didn't like the couch much I never really hung anything above it because it felt kind of temporary.

When I finally bought my new couch this is when I began to decorate and create the kind of living room I had always wanted.

I had been collecting old frames for several years, some weren't that old but some belonged to my great-grandfather in Scotland. I was never really sure what to do with them or what kind of photos or images would do them justice. I decided to hang the frames empty, after all they did feel like works of art.

From this close-up, you can see how all of the frames have a gold undertone but are very different in shape, size and detail from one and other.

This is one of my favorite "works of art" in my home.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pot for a Plant

This metal plant pot was in the clearance section of a decorating store. It was discounted and discounted again....

To give this ugly pot a different look, I decided to cover it in jute string. I made several braids and used my glue gun to stick them to the pot. The sections between the braids were wrapped with the jute and glued every so often to keep them in place.
I bought a cherry tomato plant which looks great in my new rustic pot.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Favorite Things: Beautiful Bobbins

My grandmother did a lot of sewing and I inherited her sewing kit. I've always loved these old wooden bobbins of thread, their labels and bright colors are a work of art.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bookcase for a Boy

My clients for this project were a sweet young couple who wanted me to refinish this bookcase that had been given to them by a friend. Since they live in a beautiful but not overly spacious old home, storage is always important for them. Even though this bookcase was painted an awful green they still saw that it had potential and would fit perfectly in their son's room.

We chose a medium brown paint color to compliment the other furniture in the room and I suggested adding distressing in some spots to antique it.
Once I sanded the bookcase and started applying the paint I knew that it was going to turn out to be a beautiful piece!

I used a drybrush paint technique to apply a lighter color to the edges and to highlight the recesses on the doors. In other areas I used a darker paint to give the piece an aged look.

This is Lucas, so excited to help his mom fill up the bookcase with all his toys. The doors are at just the right height for him to open and get his toys out to play with and hopefully if all goes well...keep them organized!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scrap to Sign

Sometimes I have leftover pieces of wood from a project that I hang on to just in case. I decided to try my hand at making a sign out of this one.

I planned out the text I wanted on my computer instead of sketching and marking up the clean piece of wood. With carbon paper, I transferred the printed text to the wood. Since I wanted the sign to look well worn, I left it unsanded before painting it.

I painted the black lines first then filled in the word "home" using a beige crackle finish. At this point I sanded the lettering so it would look more aged. Next I stained the whole piece wiping off more stain in some areas than others. antique sign you could have picked up at a country flea-market!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sugar Shack!

It has become a tradition over the past few years for my friends and I to celebrate my birthday over a delicious meal at a sugar shack. This year we went to Érablière Charbonneau in Mont Saint-Grégoire, 35 minutes south of Montreal.

The scenery is beautiful here, the maple trees surround the sugar shack and all have their buckets collecting the sap.

Sap dripping from the tapped maple tree.

Inside the rustic country decor is beautiful, antique chairs line the long tables.

The hanging lanterns add to the rustic atmosphere, love them.

As soon as we sat down, they started putting out the spread. The traditional Québécoise meal consists of homemade preserves, coleslaw, pea soup, potatos, omelet, tortière pockets (meat pies), sausages, ham, les oreilles de crisse (pork rinds), creton (meat spread), and of course baked beans.

And then the dessert came...we sampled everything, the sugar pie, buckwheat pancakes, crêpes and pastries. Everything got a generous pouring of warm maple sauce...yumm!!

As we slowly made our way to the parking lot feeling stuffed, we made one last stop to sample some tire (mapple taffy on the snow).

I sure got my sugar fix for the year!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Neglected to New

This armoire that was built in 1938 had been negledted for many years. It was kept at a cottage and was covered with stickers by several kids that used it over the years. My client had imagined refinishing this piece for years but never got around to it.

I had a lot of work to do to remove years of use but once I stripped the old finish, sanded and did lots of filling and repairs it started to come back to life.

This armoire had always been used as extra clothing storage at their cottage but my client now wanted to use it in her dining room to display her favorite dish set.

With a jig-saw I cut a hole in the door leaving about 2" of wood around. I measured and had glass cut for the new window. I framed the door with some wood trim that had a similar detail to the rest of the piece. At first the new trim stood out against the old door but once it was all stained it, looked as if it had always been there! We chose glass shelves for the inside to let more light through.

We kept the original hardware and cleaned it up a little. It really stands out now next to the dark stain.

For the color, my client wanted this armoire to be refinished with a dark stain to go with other dark furniture she had. 

I started off by using a dark wood oil stain to bring out the grain of the wood.

Next, to get an even darker treatment, I thinned some dark brown artist's oil paint with turpentine and and painted it on like a wash revealing the wood grain underneath through the brush strokes. This treatment was a perfect solution in the end because it hid all of the imperfections and patching I had to do.

Now this armoire has gone from neglected to new!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Favorite Things: Remnant Rugs

I have a few of these remnant rugs around my home and I love them! They come in so many different color pallets but I chose these pastel/muted colors as it goes with my decor.

While I didn't make this rug, I do have plans to give this technique a try. It's a great way to use up fabric scraps and even old clothing!

Re-used and re-cycled home fashion is where it's at!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Handmade Hearts

For Valentine's Day, I thought I would try my hand at different embroidery techniques that I have become enamored with. My mom lovingly keeps all sorts of things like old fabrics, clothing and luckily all of her supplies from when she used to do embroidery.

For the first felt heart, I stitched some hemp string to it by using beige thread. I tried my hand at candlewicking also known as french knots which is done on plain muslin fabric using cotton thread. There were some great how-to videos on you-tube. For the zig-zag heart, I used wool embroidery thread and stitched back and forth following the heart shaped outlines I had drawn in pencil.

I think I have opened a can of worms now and will have to start doing some serious embroidering!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Storyboard for my Stove

I had been wanting to do something with the space above my stove for a while now. When I did the kitchen makeover at the condo 2 posts ago I felt inspired to get started.

I loved the warm grey that I used in that kitchen condo and thought it would look great in my place too.

A friend who was moving had 3 small shelves to get rid of and I gladly accepted. Once the shelves were up, I got to work dressing them with some much loved items I wanted to display.

Some pieces belonged to my great-grand father's family like the drink shaker, the coffee pot and the bread tray. The brown betty tea pot belonged to my grandmother and like a good Scottish/English household it gets used everyday!

Now while I'm cooking I can also feel inspired.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Notorious Neo

This is my cat Neo that I adopted two years ago. Interestingly enough this has been my most requested blog topic even though it is a design blog! I guess because he is such a sweetheart and quite the character, anyone who meets him agrees.

Neo is my assistant

He likes to help, sometimes to pose and entertain me

He keeps my fabrics warm until I need them

He keeps an eye on me at all times

He's always excited to find out what our next project is going to be

During the holidays, he helps me wrap gifts and send out mail

Sometimes he likes to get my attention by looking cute

After a all get's to be too much and he needs to take a nap

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Redorated Rental

I have been redecorating a client's newly purchased condo in order for it to be rented out. My client didn't want to spend a lot redecorating this space, mainly to change the color scheme to make it feel more updated.

We decided to use a warm grey on the walls which compliments the beige counter tops and floor tile making the color scheme more neutral. The cabinets had black trim that made them stand out unnecessarily. Painting the trim white has made the cabinets more uniform. Stainless steel is sought after in modern kitchens and this one needed some. I added tile behind the stove that has an antique tin finish, it was inexpensive and gives this kitchen a lot more style!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Old to Organized

My neighbors were doing some renovation and offered me this old window. They knew I would have fun transforming it!

My front entrance really needed to be better organized so I decided to turn the old window into a message/organizing center.

I removed the window panes, switched out two of them for cork boards and the center one for a wood panel that I painted with chalkboard paint.

I used eye screws and hemp string to hold mail that either comes in or is going out. The hooks are a great way to keep keys in one place instead misplacing them and trying to locate them when in a rush to leave.

I've got no more excuses now but to keep my entrance better organized!