Today is the first day back to school which in our house really kick-starts the new year.
The holidays were wonderful. I spent lots of quality time with family and had lots of fun with friends. For me Christmas is always about spending time with those you love.
This past holiday I learned 2 things about myself.
While spending a lovely afternoon Christmas shopping with my niece, who is a beautiful (mature) young lady, I was referred to by a saleslady as her ‘mother’. What I had envisioned as 2 females ‘out on the town’ having fun, swapping stories, trying on clothing together was now shattered. I must not look as young as I feel!
One of my cousins who faithfully read my blog told me that I had inspired her to re-decorate her living room. She had decided one day as she walked into her living room that it was time for a ‘change’. Encouraged by my blog she tackled the re-decoration of the room with confidence. Bravo!
In life you win some, you lose some. I am hoping that 2013 is a year of balance!
I want to say farewell to 2012 – it was a good year.
I remember as a child on the 1st day back to school following New Years the teacher would write in big numbers on the chalkboard the new year. And I would think “Wow. The future.” The future held so many unknowns, so many mysteries. But that was when I was 7, 8, 9, 10…. and at that age my learning curve was steep and my ‘unknown’ curve was even steeper.
As one gets older life is broken down into increments of time. 4 year university degree, 20 year mortgage, 2 year bank loan, net 60 days, 40 hour work week, 8 hour shift, 3 weeks holiday, 2 ½ hour movie, 4 hour drive, 6 week delivery date, etc. Life is intervals of time mapped out in doable increments.
The future is not quite as much a mystery but life undoubtedly is.
So let’s welcome in the New Year and start 2013 as a new beginning with lots of wonderful opportunities that lay ahead in our future.
Speed, intelligence, versatility and outstanding good looks!
No not Superman but the Brother® Business Smart all-in-one printer.
Brother Business Smart MFC-J4510DW
At an exclusive event hosted by Yummy Mummy Wall Candy blogger, Sarah Gunn and Brother® I met the MFC-J4510DW. And I fell in love!
With its cool, sleek, sexy design this new printer has the ultimate combination of printer, scanner, copier, fax and wireless networking. With fast print speeds, low print costs and the ability to print 11” X 17” format using landscape print technology which greatly reduces the overall size. The engineers thought of everything.
My Printer, Scanner, Fax vs. Brother Business Smart
But it’s the designers who I tip my hat to – this new piece of technology looks good! In the past printers/faxes/scanners/copiers have not had a true sense of style. Instead we always hid these bulky, boring ‘beige’ pieces rather than showcasing them. We tucked them in desks, cupboards or drawers so they were out of sight. Now not unlike other ‘smart’ technology the Brother® Business Smart is a piece of technology you display. Its black and white, compact clean lined design fits into any home’s décor. It’s cool, it’s hip.
As I always say “Design is everywhere” and finally that motto found its way into the world of printer technology.
I believe there are a very high percentage of people who at some point in their life have or will purchase a piece of IKEA furniture/product. Given the fact that the total number of IKEA Billy bookcases sold worldwide is over 41 million it is a good probability that at some point we will own one of the 9500 articles sold by IKEA.
With our recent cottage renovation I found myself visiting the big ‘blue and yellow store’ to purchase a number of IKEA products, the most important item was the kitchen cabinets. Another IKEA purchase was the NORDEN table that we are now using as our bar/island. Designed by Mikael Warnhammar whose idea was to create a Scandinavian furniture series in solid wood, inspired by the Nordic forests and barren landscape, this table is “straightforward, strong and generous furniture that does its job quietly.” Exactly the feeling we were looking for.
But our NORDEN needed just a few adjustments to fit exactly what we needed. For us to use this as an island with stools (also IKEA) we removed the 2 shelves and cut the 3 drawers down in size. The result works perfectly.
Unfortunately the shelves are no longer present but knowing my husband they will not be wasted and instead re-invented into something else.
I started writing about our cottage renovation a few months back. See start, gut, build, decor. It was a renovation that took many months due to distance, weather and holidays. But it is now complete. Our initial goal was to raise the low ceiling but at the same time to create a cohesive relationship between the interior and exterior. The cottage is truly about the nature and the ability to experience it. In the end our renovation has given us more than just a new space. The cottage’s clear lines and modernist approach has given us a greater appreciation of the amazing view beyond the large windows. But more interestingly is the cohesive relationship now created within the family. We spend more time together interacting as a family than ever before. This is a space where we sit down together and share moments rather than racing through on the way to somewhere else. We slow down and enjoy together.
Have a look.
The before photo minus the furniture. (Just prior to gutting)
The After photos.
We forgo the upper cabinets opting for a larger window and a better view of the lake. The wall above the stove is presently blank but waiting for the perfect piece of art that we have yet to find.
Counter space that we did not previously have is now a place for an ‘edible’ vignette.
I chose neutral but fun pillows to keep the space calm.
We are thrilled with the outcome of this renovation and love all that this cottage now gives to us.
It has been a while since I have written about my cottage renovation. My story continues….
There were a few reasons why we decided to gut the interior space of the cottage the main one being that the ceilings were too low. When my 6’2” son passed under the ceiling fan he had a good chance of being scalped by the whirring blades. But we also had this fabulous antique hutch that we wanted to use but because it was taller than the ceiling height it languished in the boat house for over 10 years. (Holding boat parts!) I had purchased this hutch many years ago at the Aberfoyle Antique Market and it has moved with us from house to house, room to room. The change to a more contemporary décor in our home meant that this large antique piece of furniture was out. But not forgotten. The hutch now has a proper purpose as the main storage unit in the cottage kitchen. After a good cleaning and re-painting the hutch now houses all the plates/dishes/ glasses etc. etc. so that all the kitchen ‘crockery’ is now in one place. Amazing!
Every time I open the hutch doors I feel like I am having a ‘Martha (Stewart) Moment’!
Cooking and entertaining has taken on a whole new style – organized and fun. As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing”.
A few weeks ago I wrote about my friend SW (SuperWoman) who was in the process of transforming her old wooden garage into a ‘ladies lounge’.
One year ago SW had decided that her garage could be better used as a backyard retreat rather than a storage space for ‘extra items’.
With a lot of love and elbow grease SW has achieved what she set out to do – she has turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse!
This was the ‘before’ photo with holes in the walls, old linoleum on the floor and lots of clutter:
This is what SW’s efforts produced – the ‘after’ photo:
Bikes, tools, ladders and garden paraphernalia used to clutter the space.
Now everything is tucked away out of sight behind softly draping white curtains.
What was involved in the transformation? The walls and ceiling were stripped back to the studs and sprayed a calming white. An old brick fireplace chimney was removed. The old linoleum was ripped up to reveal wood plank floors and then painted moss green. Holes in the walls, floor and ceiling were repaired. An old work bench was given a coat of white paint so that now it can be used as a bar and/or buffet table. Furniture and accessories were brought in. The orange futon provides the hit of colour in the room and a great place to take an afternoon nap. The round teak table with inlaid mosaic top (a real score!) is a fabulous nod to mid-century modern not to mention a great surface for a game of Scrabble. Any furniture that could was given a coat of white paint. In the lofted ceiling a light that twinkles like the evening stars was wired in.
The lofted ceiling.
A pretty vignette. And by the way, SW made most of the baskets in the space – yes she does basket weaving too!
So in her relentless pursuit of happiness, SuperWoman has moved mountains (and junk) to create a ‘getaway’ worthy of a super hero!! Bravo SW.
I always get ahead of myself or rather get ahead of the project. Whenever my husband and I renovate (and we have been doing that for over 20 years!) he is still in the ‘bust and build’ state while I am already decorating the space.
We are on track renovating our cottage, the drywall is up and the new window is in, the kitchen cabinets are assembled and the countertop is ordered. But way before all this I have been buying fabric, rugs, furniture accessories etc. all the little touches that will coordinate the final presentation. Make the finished space just ‘right’.
I pulled together my inspiration board which is always helpful to visualize the space.
I pictured our cottage done in white, warm wood, sisal and hits of blue to give a pop of colour to the space. I choose Benjamin Moore Oxford White CC-30 for the walls (new drywall) which is a nice bright white. The long wall across from the windows is paneled in pine. The sofa is an existing Bauhaus sectional that we have had for years and works really well in the space. The sectional is in a neutral weave fabric of which I replaced the back cushion covers with natural canvas. I bought a new area carpet – IKEA Tårnby, a natural fibre carpet that has a great textural appeal giving the room a warm organic look.
To keep the room bright I bought 3 coordinating fabrics that I will sew into cushions for the sofa. Crisp blue and white fabrics with lots of white accessories in the room will give a fresh, lakeside feel to the cottage interior. I decided to replace the existing large upholstered (red) chair as its size was not appropriate for the space. I wanted something light coloured and airier in appearance. On Craigslist I found a leather IKEA Poäng chair (wish it was an Alvar Aalto Lounge Chair! – check out my previous post here) which I thought would be perfect for the room. Gotta love Craigslist!
Ok…..so I had it all figured out. I knew exactly in my mind how this space was going to look. WRONG!!!!
This past weekend when we started to put the furniture, carpet, etc. back into the cottage I realized the room looked nothing like my inspiration board. I think my biggest miscalculation was the light. The natural light that floods the room from all the windows changes the sense of the room. The colours – paint and fabric, the furniture etc. all read very different.
Winter time is ski season so the cottage renovation went on hold for a few months……..
Fortunately the snow finally melted and work was back on. Of course one thing lead to another and a small renovation became a bit larger renovation. While moving the kitchen cabinets they literally fell apart due to age. So we had to replace them. While working around the kitchen window it cracked so we had to replace it. The silver lining to all this is that it gave us the chance to re-think how we could improve the function of the kitchen/cottage. We decided that the view was more important than storage so we opted to install a larger window over the counter and forgo the upper cabinets.
While researching new kitchen cabinets we decided that the original layout was a bit awkward with the stove blocking access to the last cupboard so we decided to design the new cabinets in an L-shape configuration.
No gut job is ever nice.
A photo from an issue of Canadian House and Home magazine featuring a space with a sloped ceiling and exposed beams with the combination of whites and wood provided some inspiration.