This weekend I am going to take advantage of the last days of summer. The weather forecast looks promising for spending time lounging about in the backyard reading, hanging with friends and noshing on some delicious food. Too quickly the leaves will start falling and the snow will begin to fly so I plan on grabbing all the summer memories I can.
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.
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.
Believing that great design should be affordable, West Elm’s furniture collection helps create living spaces that are stylish and unique. And while searching for inspiration in far-away places, West Elm offers accessories that have an artisanal and organic flair to them. Since I am in the middle of a cottage reno my focus was on ‘cottage style’. It was interesting to see how West Elm’s style could be interpreted to a lakeside, seaside, weekend space.
I thought this collection provided a contemporary spin on a nautical blue & white theme.
I loved this bedroom setting with the mix of barn board and contemporary furniture pieces with bedding in white, blue and cinnamon.
The organic blown glass pendant lights give an artisanal feel to any space.
White and muted pottery gives a relaxed vibe to a weekend space.
Red and white vases that have a resemblance to boat buoys and colourful pottery give an air of coastal charm.
Of course I found something that would be perfect in my cottage space so this weekend I shall add a little West Elm style to my lakeside retreat.
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.
Once upon a time………the decision of choosing the ‘right’ white was no problem. Actually it never even occurred to me that more than one shade of white paint even existed!
But now I pain myself over deciding the correct shade of white paint for my walls and trim. And there are hundreds to choose from. Dover White by Sherwin-Williams, Cloud White by Benjamin Moore, Cottage White by Behr, Natural White by Sico, Cameo White by Para; the list goes on and on.
When I bought my first home years ago and had to paint the walls there was only once choice of white paint – ‘D.J. Beige’. Let me explain. I had an uncle, Donald Joseph, affectionately known as D.J., who kindly offered his painting skills to each of us when we bought our first home. D.J. would show up with his brushes, rollers, trays and gallons of paint. I never knew the name of the paint D.J. had brought or even thought to ask. It was just a ‘good’ colour that worked in all our homes. It was D.J. Beige!
But now as I try to decide on the right white to paint the new walls of our cottage renovation I am puzzled. What white will create that perfect feeling of relaxed calm lending itself to a weekend retreat that soothes the soul? (That’s a lot of pressure on a paint colour!) I think I have my colour choices narrowed down so stay tuned.
PS. Sometimes climbing a mountain is easier than choosing a paint colour!
I live in a neighborhood close to downtown Toronto nestled on Lake Ontario. In the early 1900’s the neighborhood was used as a summer retreat for Toronto residents less than 10 miles away. Large private homes and ‘cottages’ sprang up in the area which still remain standing today. Many of the homes originally built were never intended to last 100 years – but they have. Garages constructed to originally house buggies or Model T’s were narrow wooden structures built apart from the house. One of these old wooden garages belongs to a friend of mine who I have named ‘Superwoman’. Superwoman (SW) is capable of anything – she can leap tall buildings if she puts her mind to it. SW has transformed her old wooden garage into a ‘ladies lounge’ – the female version of a ‘man cave’. What SW started with was this:
At some point in the history of this garage a former owner had built a chimney and drywall the inside. (I suppose to use as a workshop.) There were remnants of old linoleum on the floor and many, many holes where raccoons and squirrels entered to take up residence. Of course SW had a lot of her own ‘junk’ in there too. But once SW decided that this valuable piece of real estate could be better used there was no stopping her. Out went the junk, the drywall was ripped down, the chimney was dismantled, the numerous holes were covered, the linoleum was pulled up etc. etc. etc. SW had her work cut out for her.
But after many months of hard work the Ladies’ Lounge is finally ready. Stay tuned for the reveal!
If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now “I love windows”!! Especially new and larger ones. During our recent cottage renovation the decision to remove the upper kitchen cabinets allowed for the kitchen window to get doubled in size. This enlarged window now makes a dark corner much brighter and gives an even better view to the lake.
The drywall finally goes up. I love new drywall too!
The 2 beams, necessary to hold the roof up will be clad in rough-hewn pine to give the appearance of logs for a more natural look.
As July draws nearer with cottage season swinging into full gear the push is on to complete this renovation. So stay tuned.
Yesterday I wrote about my front porch and how in summertime it is my oasis. Today I thought I would share some other porches. Enjoy.
Nothing says ‘hazy, lazy days of summer’ better than a porch swing. This one from Better Homes and Garden magazine is the ideal spot for an afternoon nap with its green and white ticking on a watermelon colour swing piled deep with vintage-inspired floral pillows. Languor away!
Wicker, rockers and wood suggests a country cottage feel. This porch from Canadian House and Home says “you’ve arrived”, now sit back and unwind.
Nothing says ‘calm and cool’ like a porch decorated in blue and white. This porch’s appeal is the combination of indoor furniture – a drop leaf dining table and mirror, mixed with director’s chairs and vintage finds. Cut flowers from the garden appeals to the senses with both beauty and scent.
A porch doesn’t have to be big to be great. Carving out a spot needn’t be about large square footage but rather any nook can fit the bill. This porch from Houzz shows how a small space, appropriate sized furniture and a great view is a perfect recipe for ‘drinks at five’.
While away the day drifting into a dreamy evening on this all white porch. The mixture of a white wicker settee with an industrial-style coffee table provides a nice contrast. But what I really loved was the unique table. This large white table top sitting on 2 huge white bases combined with wooden benches is a fabulous update of the age-old ‘picnic’ table.
So…..where will you be spending your lazy, hazy days and relaxed evenings of summer? Let me know.
Images: 1,3,5 – Better Homes and Garden 2 – Canadian House and Home 4 – Houzz