Posts made in March, 2013

My ongoing staging attempts (you win some, you lose some… but all that really matters in the end is that you got a kickass bee canister)

Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Moving | 2 comments

After Ms Stager’s visit the other day, I headed out to HomeSense, my favourite home-stuff store.  Have I ever mentioned how much I adore HomeSense?  I probably have.  I’d put a big flashing promotional HomeSense sign on my front lawn if I could (but I won’t – that’d likely be bad for resale.)  (Although, good HomeSense people, I’d seriously consider it if the price was right?  Just saying…)

Anyhow, Ms Stager mentioned that we should probably get a new shower curtain.  I’ll be honest – I knew this suggestion was coming long before she stepped through our bathroom door.  And I totally agreed with her – while I’ve loved the practicality of our little PVC (ack – I know) shower curtain, and its pretty little dots (oh how I adore my pretty little polka-dotted shower curtain!), I knew that something a little more… grown-up (and a little less college dorm-ish) would likely be advisable.

Polka dot shower curtain in Woodlawn Blue bathroom

While out merrily meandering around HomeSense, I found THIS…

Pretty aqua teal and white paisley shower curtain by Cynthia Rowley

…and I swooned.  So pretty!  And here’s that same shower curtain in our tiny bathroom…

Pretty aqua teal and white paisley flowered shower curtain by Cynthia Rowley in my Woodlawn Blue bathroom

I feel very grown up indeed.  And I’m completely enamoured.  I’ll occasionally wander into our little loo and just stand there for a few seconds staring at the shower curtain.  It’s weird, I know, but I’m a little obsessed.

(I’m also hoping the wrinkles fall out of the curtain soon.  Why pull out the iron when I can let steam do all the work for me, right?)

The second thing Ms Stager asked us to do: declutter and make things visually less cluttery.  In particular she zeroed in on the clear canister (well, it’s actually a vase) (fancy eh?) of ladles and spatulas and spoons and such that we had sitting out on our countertop.

Gray and red kitchen

She asked us to put all of it away entirely.  Instead, I went to HomeSense and found THIS…

White ceramic honeycomb and bee canister

TWELVE bucks.  Twelve!  That’s a whole lot of cuteness for very few buckeroonies, if you ask me.  And now it holds my pared-down utensils very nicely (and with way less clutter-ish-ness) next to the stove.

White utensils holder with bee and honeycomb design in Stonington Gray kitchen with red accents

Adorable, non?  I’d buy this house JUST based on that.  And then I’d ask the home owner to throw in that sweet little bee canister.  Because it’s lovely.

Bee and honeycomb white kitchen utensils holder canister

The third thing Ms Stager requested?  All new luxurious bedding for our bed.  I almost had a meltdown.  For the record, we will not be getting all new bedding – hell, our duvet cover is only two weeks old!  However, while out on my HomeSense mission, and as a compromise, I found new red pillowcases that coordinate rather nicely with our pretty Alvine Orter duvet cover.

Red pillowcases with Ikea Alvine Orter duvet cover

And here they are all coordinate-y-ish on our bed…

Revere Pewter bedroom with Ikea Alvine Orter duvet and pillows

Wait…  Don’t see them?  That’s because they’re not there.  They were very… red.  Too red.  And not nearly as serene as I wanted.  (I’m not sure what I was thinking – red isn’t a particularly soothing colour.)  Instead, I dug out the Alvine Orter matchy-matchy shams that came with the duvet (I normally just ignore the shams that come with Ikea’s duvet covers, but in the name of staging, I bravely pulled them out of the linen closet) and grabbed a spare throw cushion and tada!  This was the result.

I’m definitely not going to win any bed-staging awards, but it will do.  :)

So those were my little moments of staging fun over the past couple of days.  It’s been a fantastic procrastinating tactic – I really hate packing.  And moving.  And applying for jobs.  And whatnot.  I just keep reminding myself that wherever we end up next will be even better, right?

And besides, I was running out of rooms, here, to paint.  :)


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You can’t always get what you want (back to the kitchen-centric drawing board)

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in Kitchen | 0 comments

In advance of actually listing our house, our real estate agent sent in his house stager to poke around just a bit the other day.  Which was awesome and exciting, but terrifying just the same (cue nervous pillow-fluffing.)  The visit started out amazingly – Ms Stager walked in, took off her boots, and declared that she absolutely loved our little living room – the colours, the pillows, the fireplace mantel, everything – and wouldn’t change a thing about it.  Woo!  We were elated – a design-expert had just proclaimed that we have good decorating skills.  Big shiny gold star for us!  I almost high-five-ed Sweetie when she turned her back (but didn’t – I’m really not a high-five-ing sorta girl, and Sweetie’s definitely not a high-five-receiving kinda guy.)

But then Ms Stager (who, despite my grumblings, was really really nice) turned to our kitchen.  And, of course, she scowled a little while she looked at our floor and counters.  At which point, to put her obviously distressed mind at ease, I proudly brought out my little floor sample (Allure Trafficmaster flooring in Hickory), and my chosen countertop sample too (Formica’s pretty Ivory Kashmire), and waited for her approval to rain over us for a second time.

Pretty gold granite-look laminate Ivory Kashmire by Formica

Her approval did not come.  In fact, she poo-poo-ed my countertop choice, saying it wasn’t gray enough or dark enough or something equally disappointing.  We needed something with more grays or something slate-y, she said, to go with all the grays in our kitchen and living room.  We could install my beloved Ivory Kashmire granite-look Formica in our next house, she quipped, but here?  Here we needed to work on resale.

I won’t lie: my heart broke into a gazillion pieces.  For anyone who knows me well, I’m decision-dysfunctional.  Committing to anything is a long and tedious process, normally involving hours upon hours of research and debate over various options and careful weighing of pros and cons and alternatives.

Yep.  Ms Stager told me that, despite my careful consideration, I had chosen wrong.

Sigh.  I was sad.

So I wandered back to the drawing board with her tips fresh in my head.  I visited all the big box home stores in our area for ideas and inspiration.  And, after much deliberation, here’s what I’ve come up with…

Formica Jamocha Granite and Allure Trafficmaster hickory sample for kitchen

…our same Allure flooring choice in Hickory (just because I love it so much, and also because it should be easy for me to put down on my own some day while Sweetie is at work) and Jamocha Granite laminate countertops from Formica.  It’s not EXACTLY what I wanted for my pretty little kitchen, but it could work.  And I think it could even, possibly, look really nice.  Perhaps Ms Stager was right.

So, there’s your update on where things are so far!  How fitting to find ourselves once again standing in the kitchen, trying to make decisions.  Hopefully this time we’ve got it right.  :)


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It’s always darkest before the dawn (a tour of our pretty painted/primped bedroom) (and an examination of my newly unemployed state)

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Bedroom | 0 comments

I’ve been a bit unintentionally MIA for the past couple of weeks.  In all honesty, the last-week-of-workness, trying-to-get-house-ready-to-list-ishness, OMG-need-to-find-another-job-soon-ness, and all of the related stress took its toll on me last week and I sorta just wanted to curl up in a corner and sleep for a bit.

But all that is over now.  Work is done, for better or for worse.  I’m applying for jobs like crazy and hoping that a promising phone call from some nice prospective employer-person (who thinks I’m awesome and wants to pay me loads of money to come work at their fine organization) comes soon.  We’re working on the house and have been in talks with our agent so we can list as soon as possible.  And we’re looking at other houses and trying to make smart and solid plans for what to do next.

But, in the midst of all this chaos, I realized that I never posted my “look-what-we-did!” big reveal on our bedroom makeover.  So I thought I’d take a bit of a timeout from everything else and indulge in a quick “tada!” moment.  :)

First, let’s take a looksee back on what the room looked like pre-painting/-primping/-improving, k?  Our room wasn’t terrible.  At all!  But I’m not a sage green kind of girl – I’d like to be, and I like it in other people’s homes, but it’s just not me.

A couple coats of BM Revere Pewter later (plus a pretty pendant light, a much-obsessed-about new duvet cover and some new curtains too) and here’s our lovely little bedroom now (on a mighty sunny day!)…

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter bedroom with white curtains - perfect paint colour

I’m particularly happy with our curtains (Matilda from the awesome curtain-making folk over in Ikea-land.)  Cheap and cheerful and sorta girly but simple.

White Ikea Matilda tab-top curtains in Revere Pewter bedroom

Ikea Matilda tab-top curtains in white in bedroom

And I’m also in love with our duvet cover.  Also cheap.  Also cheerful.  Also Ikea (Alvine Orter.)

Ikea Alvine Orter duvet cover with Hemnes dressers

For now I’ve tossed (er, lovingly and carefully placed) a random navy and red striped Roots blanket that I’ve had for eons at the foot of the bed.  Once spring hits (weather-wise at least!) I’ll likely swap the heavy blanket out for a lighter throw.  But for the time being, it works.  :)

And I’m ridiculously pleased by how nice our freshly painted walls look against our awesome black-brown Hemnes dressers.  I’ve been wanting to paint a room (a wall? A random piece of furniture? Anything!) Revere Pewter for years.  Mr. Benjamin Moore?  You did not disappoint!

Black brown Hemnes dressers with Revere Pewter

So there’s your mini bedroom makeover update!  There are still a few additional plans in the works.  New colourful pillowcases, and maybe a few throw cushions too, to make the head of the bed a bit prettier.  Snazzy new bedside lamps perhaps.  Maybe even a new nighttable for Sweetie (since the nighttable cleverly and deliberately hidden on his side of the bed is archaic and rather awful looking.)  If you look really closely, the ugly nightstand (and ugly lamp and one uninspiringly beige pillow) sneakily snuck into the corner of this pic…

Silly photo-bombing pillow!  Updates on further updates to follow.  :)

But for now, Jacob is a really big fan of what we’ve accomplished to date.  So much so that he refused to leave the room (or, really, the bed) while I wandered around taking pics (hence some of the somewhat wonky angles in these images – I was working around a rather stubborn cat.)  But, really, how could I say no to this little orange face?

Jacob the super cute orange cat being all playful and stuff

Yup.  Jacob knows exactly how to get his way with his cat-loving fur-friendly mom.  Smart boy.


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Change is good (an exercise in the art of keeping calm and carrying on)

Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in Bedroom | 1 comment

So we’ve switched gears a little.  I had alllll these fantastic plans for ways I was going to update the house that I discussed here and here and here.  There were big furniture slipcover replacement plans in the works.  There was a kitchen revitalization strategy being tossed about.  I had lofty goals for our cute little 1940s home.

And then, late last week, I got laid off.  And poof!  Our plans have suddenly changed.  We’re now no longer concerned with making the house pretty.  Instead we’re focused on making the house sell-able.  And doing so as inexpensively as possible.

Because, truth be told, we moved to this house and relocated from our original area (about an hour away) specifically for this particular job that I was taking (this same job that I’m now losing.)  And despite that we’ve been here for over two years now, our current city doesn’t necessarily feel like our home (even though I absolutely adore our cute little house in our pretty mature-tree-filled neighbourhood), and we haven’t yet made a swarm of new friends in our new city, or truly put down roots here.

So, depending on where I find employment next (and I’m applying for jobs like a little job-finding-fiend over here right now – unemployment, and the accompanying lack of income, is an absolutely terrifying prospect) a move may very well be on our horizon.

So, we’ve given up on decorating.

Instead, we’ve started staging.

And, in the name of Staging: Phase One, I finally made that Ikea trip I’ve been talking about for several weeks now.  However, contrary to my original plan, this was a trip with a cheap and cheerful mission.  My main focus – finish dressing the bedroom.

As you likely know (since I obsess quite openly) I’ve lusted over bedroom textiles and curtain choices for a few weeks now.  I really really wanted the Alvine Ljuv duvet cover from Ikea.

Alvine Ljuv colourful flowered duvet cover set from Ikea

Sigh.  She’s pretty.  And I love her.  But, at $54, she’s quite pricey as far as Ikea duvet covers go.  So, being all (rather annoyingly) sensible (given my new unemployed state) I purchased the more reasonably priced Alvine Orter set instead.

Ikea's Alvine Orter bed linens set with flower pattern

Almost the same, pattern-wise.  A definite difference from a quality perspective (Alvine Orter has a noticeably cheaper feel.)  But at $19 (versus $54) Orter seemed like a much wiser investment for the time being.  And for resale?  Either will do.

The same is true for curtains.  I had big curtain-swapping and new-curtain-buying plans.  Instead, I purchased the simple (and inexpensive) Matilda curtains from Ikea.  They’re a little girlier than Sweetie would like, but I’m not thinking about Sweetie’s tastes.  (Not that he really has much say in our window-dressing choices anyway.)  I’m thinking of future home seekers who are going to tour our little bedroom and decide that it’s lovely (and subsequently buy our house.)  (For full asking price, of course!)

White tab top sheer curtains with subtle stripe from Ikea - Matilda

During my Ikea tour, I bravely walked past new throws.  And I stoically sauntered by new cushions.  This Ikea trip was only for the must-haves (despite previous pre-unemployed plans to the contrary.)  And I was rather proud of myself when I strolled up to the checkout line, with only a couple very well-thought-out items in hand.

So there.  That’s what I’ve been up to all week – finishing up our bedroom on a budget.  It’s not entirely what I had planned, but it’ll have to suffice.

And, regardless of its cost, Jacob is quite happy with the new duvet cover – he’s a big fan of florals.

Jacob the orange cat and our ikea Alvine Orter duvet cover with a blue knitted blanket

Next in store: staging the rest of the house.  The decluttering and cleaning and purging all begins this weekend.  Because if we do have to sell this spring (and, according to our agent, house-listing season begins as soon as the snow melts), I want to be ready.

And change is good, right?


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The curtains I will not buy (a post about stuff I like but, sadly, have absolutely no place for)

Posted by on Mar 4, 2013 in Ramblings... | 0 comments

Remember the Sears Christmas Wishbook?  I LOVED that thing.  It was like Christmas before Christmas when it arrived in the mail, wrapped in heavy protective plastic (heaven forbid the pages should get soggy en route!)  My brother and I would slowly flip through the toy section, page by page, in wonderment.  We would reference that catalogue like it was a leading authority on toys.  “Did you see page 297?”  “Yes!  And page 304?”  “I hope Santa brings me that!”

Ah.  Simpler times.  :)

The Ikea catalogue is like my grown-up Christmas Wishbook.  I excitedly wait for it to appear in my mailbox each summer.  And by fall, my copy of the catalogue is rather raggedy-looking from relentless page flipping and admiring and earmarking.

The problem?  There is so much awesomeness contained in that pretty little catalogue, but very few rooms in our tiny post-war house.  Which, inevitably, leads to my dilemma – stuff I love, but have no use for or place for in my home.

Take these curtains (Lappljung), for example…

Lappljung red and white patterned curtains from Ikea

I absolutely adore these and have been lusting after them since first finding them in the catalogue last summer.  Alas, my windows here are all dressed now.  And my house is pretty much a red-free zone (not deliberately, mind you.  I’m just more of a neutral/grays/blues kinda girl.)

Dear Ikea folk: if you could please make these for me in a navy or a gray, perhaps, that’d be swell.  :)

Other Ikea stuff I adore (but have absolutely no need for?)

There are these beautiful Benzy curtains (I’m guessing I may have a bit of a curtain fetish btw)…

Benzy curtains from Ikea - brown and beige plaid patterned curtains

They’re very den-ish and sorta make me want to curl up with a good book in a big brown leather club chair.  Sadly, we don’t have a den.  Or a leather club chair.  And I’m not much of a reader.  But I do love these curtains!

Or, what about this Billy bookcase with its fanned-pages background…

Ikea Billy bookcase with fanned book pages background

Do I have any real need for it?  No.  Do I really really want it?  YES!!!

I could go on and on and on…  There are lots of items I absolutely adore courtesy of my good Swedish friends.

Oh, Ikea people, why do you taunt me so?

Dear Santa: if you’re listening, please bring me any or all of the above.  And a den.  And maybe a kitten too.  :)


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