I actually have four “junk” drawers in my kitchen. These are handy, catch-all drawers for odds and ends. In this one, I have a pack of gum, candle, shoe polish, black shoelaces, batteries, flash light, re-usable bag, tape measure, lint brush, screwdrivers, scissors and tape.
The fireplace mantel in my living room was feeling a little bland. It was in need of a refresh. So, I now had a project for Saturday afternoon. I hit Moss on the Danforth in search of accent pieces.
I found these two stainless steel lanterns. They’re modern looking, but evoke the feeling you get during of a seaside vacation. Just what I was looking for. I added two white candles to finish the look.
I headed home. No need to spend any more money. I have a kitchen shelf full of vases. I pull out three similar glass vases. These will do just fine. Now, I’m on a mission for seashells and rocks to keep with the modern coastal design. I know I have both from a trip down south years ago.
I fill the vases and add them to the mantel. I stumble across more filler in the dining room credenza. (You just never know where you’ll find filler.) I head back to the kitchen where I keep my tea lights and candle holders. I grab two of each.
I add each of the items to the mantel, but something is still missing. I make my way up to my home office. A quick scan of the room and I spot a small, silver clock and a white, dove figurine. They’re the finishing touches I was looking for. I think I’m all set.
After rearranging the items a few times, I step back and exam the display. I call up my husband from the basement, where he was watching TV, to give me his opinion. And there you have it. I spent very little money and two hours on a Saturday afternoon to change the look of my fireplace mantel.
What do you think? Any other quick and inexpensive home projects you can do in one afternoon?
If possible, try to incorporate storage into the design of your bathroom. Add built-in shelves to your shower to hold your soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and razor. Check out Leslie Rocha’s clever use of an “L” shaped, shower shelf (photographed below) in her recently renovated bathroom.
Install floating shelves above the toilet for additional storage or to display decorative items. Use a tray to keep similar and small items together or display items in clear containers such as soaps, brushes or swabs.
Consider a mirrored medicine cabinet for make-up and other toiletries. IKEA has many different styles to choose from.
A vanity is a great way to hide cleaning supplies. Stack bins on the shelves or hang organizers on the cabinet doors to keep items neat and tidy. Check out the latest trends on bathroom vanities from Interior Designer Jane Lockhart.
Place pretty baskets or binson the floor or on shelves to store extra rolls of toilet paper or clean towels.
For additional storage, add a stylish shelf above the bathroom door to help keep loose items out of sight.
There never seems to be enough space in my bathroom? How do you de-clutter your bathroom?
Two weeks ago, I sat down to dinner with my husband. I looked up and out the back window. And that’s when I first saw it.
A small, thin crack in one of the two kitchen windows.
The bitterly, cold temperatures that had gripped much of southern Ontario this winter had taken a toll on my old windows. Over the next few frigid days, the tiny crack spread like a snake from the bottom window sill up to the top.
And so it began. Phone calls were made to window installers. appointments booked and quotes received.
Then the question came up. Since we’re replacing the back window, should we also install a new back door and storm door? Our old ones are drafty.
Replacing the back window has now turned into a bigger project. A project that wasn’t on our “To Do” list. But it has to be done.
So, we’re biting the bullet and replacing both the kitchen window and door. Today, we met with the manufacturer. This is the same company that replaced my mother’s windows, two years ago, after one of her bedroom windows cracked.
We’ve decided on an energy-efficient, triple pane glass window for the kitchen and a simple white, back door with an internal grill. No need to replace the storm door because the new door comes with a built-in screen. But both have to be custom made. Now we wait until installation day.
It’s all part of owning a home.
Have you been in a similar situation? Has a small, minor project turned into a bigger renovation job?
Leslie Rocha and her husband are renovating their 1,500 square foot, semi-detached home north of Danforth Avenue. The couple’s first project was a one-month bathroom remodel.
“We started from scratch. It was a full gut job. The renovation included new plumbing, reconfiguring the layout, expanding the footprint and installing a new window,” said Leslie.
The house was built-in the 1920s and with older homes it has its share of challenges.
“The first challenge was the plumbing. We had to relocate pipes in the bathroom to make it work. Then the stack was in the way so, we had to design around it and decided to cover it. We also removed the low ceiling in the shower to allow for more natural light and to open up the space. The flow of the bathroom was cramped, so we decided to extend it by a foot into the third bedroom,” added Leslie.
After living in a construction zone for over a month, dealing with contractors and a messy house, the couple ended up with their “dream” bathroom.
The renovation was a learning experience for the newlyweds. In the months to come they will start to redesign the main floor of their home, but before they do they have these bathroom renovating tips to share:
1. Plan it out thoroughly. “We spent three months researching and planning out every single detail. We left extra money in the budget, so that we would have some wiggle room in case of unexpected surprises especially with such an old house.”
2. Pay attention to the small details. “Think about where you want to place the vents and outlets. Our contractor put an outlet above the sink and on the same wall as the mirror. Looking back now, it should have been placed on the opposite wall.”
3. Look at your lifestyle and your needs. “I love the bathtub, but in the future it may be difficult to bathe our kids once we start a family.”
4. Make it as functional as possible. “You want to have enough room to store your everyday essentials.” For more tips, consider these suggestions from the Style at Home experts.
Tell me are you thinking about updating the look of your bathroom? What’s the one must-have item?
Last week, I introduced you to Jeff LeMoine. The father of two is about to take on a major kitchen redesign. But before he swings the sledge-hammer, tears down a wall and rips out his outdated cabinets, Jeff needs a survival plan.
The family of four will be without a proper kitchen for over two months. So, how will they survive the renovation without starving and at the same time keep their young children out of harm’s way?
“We’re planning the demolition to begin in the spring to take advantage of the nice weather. (fingers crossed) We have a big backyard and the kids can play outside while the contractors work inside. And we will rely heavily on the BBQ for meals.” Jeff and his wife have put a lot thought in how they will cope as a family without a full kitchen.
“We do have cabinets in the unfinished basement that we will use for storage and we’re moving the old microwave, oven and fridge down there as well,” added Jeff.
They won’t have a dishwasher and will use the laundry room sink to wash pots, pans and cutlery. They also plan to use paper plates to minimize washing dishes by hand.
“Luckily, we have family close by and we will take them up on any offers for meals,” said Jeff.
A massive kitchen remodel will obviously disrupt the natural order of things in the LeMoine household. “I think my wife will have the hardest time. I will be a close second. The mess will be hard to deal with. The kids will think its amazing. They are wide-eyed and curious. But we will have to be on our toes, keep them out of the construction zone and engaged in other ways.”
In the end, it will be short-term pain for long-term gain.
Have you ever lived through a major renovation? How did you cope?