Kitchen makeover underway, hooray!

In February, I shared with you 5 simple steps to choosing the right kitchen contractor. The tips in the post are from Jeff, a long-time friend and colleague, who has started a massive kitchen renovation in his 2-storey, Brampton home. The remodel which is underway includes replacing the floors, cabinets, ceiling and everything else in between.

The demolition has begun. Here are a few photos from what is left of his kitchen:

Kitchen Remodel, Photo by J. LeMoine
Kitchen Remodel, Photo by J. LeMoine
Kitchen Remodel, Photo by J. LeMoine
Kitchen Remodel, Photo by J. LeMoine

While Jeff works on his ‘dream’ kitchen, my mother is planning a kitchen refresh. Her traditional-style kitchen was last renovated in the 80s and is in need of a new countertop, backsplash and a fresh coat of paint. After a morning of tile shopping, a neutral travertine backsplash and matching quartz countertop have been chosen to update the look of the kitchen.

Back Splash
Backsplash

The pink beige walls will be replaced with CIL neutral Sandringham. If all goes according to plan, the kitchen refresh should take 3-5 days.

Have your home renovation projects been on time or have the projects gone over schedule?

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Change the look of your living room in an afternoon

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.

Coastal Lanterns
Coastal Lanterns

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.

Seashells
Seashells

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.

Tea Lights
Tea Lights

 

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.

 

Small Clock
Small Clock

 

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.

Fireplace Mantel Display
Fireplace Mantel Display

 

What do you think? Any other quick and inexpensive home projects you can do in one afternoon?

Six tricks to help de-clutter your bathroom

Is your bathroom small, cramped and disorganized? Well, you’re not alone. Better Homes and Gardens has the following storage solutions for tiny bathrooms:

Here are my space-saving ideas:

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.

Bathroom Storage, Photo by L.Rocha
Bathroom Storage, Photo by L.Rocha

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.

Floating Shelf
Floating Shelf

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 bins on 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?

How would you describe your decorating style? Vote now!

Read this before you redo your bathroom

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.”

New Vanity & Lights
New Vanity & Lights, Photo by L. Rocha

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.”

New Bathtub & Window
New Bathtub & Window, Photo by L. Rocha

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?

Surviving a kitchen renovation

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?

Five easy steps to styling your shelves

Styling Shelves
Tips for Styling Shelves

Divide up your books and stack them on different shelves either horizontally or vertically. Use unique bookends to add visual interest to the shelves. Take a look at how Style at Home Design Editor Christine Hanlon put a simple twist on this concept and covered books in natural paper.

Add picture frames to the shelves. Choose different shapes and sizes. I like to use black or silver picture frames with a white matt board in a grouping.

Place baskets, boxes or tins scattered on shelves and store items, such as photos or other odds and ends. Stick to a similar style such as these simple, white storage boxes from IKEA to help unify the space.

Pick your favourite collectibles and display a few on each shelf. Don’t have any collectibles? Use vases, jars and figurines. Check out Bouclair for a mix of reasonably priced decorative accents.

Lastly, use a tray to group items together and help keep your shelves looking neat and tidy.

Let me know if I left anything off my list?

The results are in!

Here’s how you voted in the weekly design polls.

If money was no object, where would you spend your decorating dollars?

50% Kitchen

33 % All of the above (Kitchen, Bathroom, Living Room & Master Bedroom)

17% Bathroom

What are your favourite paint colours?

Paint Colours

17% Greens & Yellows

17% Others

When decorating a room, where do you splurge?

Furniture

20% Light Fixtures

20% Area Rugs

Did you vote in my weekly poll? Stay tuned for the next survey.

Pretty in Pink Easter Décor ideas

Easter is two months away, but you would think it was just around the corner by the home décor displays at Winners.

While most of us are likely wishing winter was behind us, the first day of spring is still 40 days away.  In the meantime, why not brighten up your home and escape the February blahs with whimsical bunny rabbits, charming Easter baskets and pink or blue dishes.

Easter dishes
Easter Decor
Easter decor
Pink Easter Bunnies
Easter decor
Easter Egg Basket

Not ready to commit to Easter décor, yet? Try bringing spring indoors with pale-coloured flowers, porcelain doves, milky white figurines or decorative bird cages.

Spring flowers
Spring flowers

Have you had enough of winter? Are you ready to hang up your winter coat and trade in your boots for sandals?

How to get creative with your condo space

When Albert Pasceri moved into his one-bedroom, North York condo, he was faced with a storage issue. The first-time condo owner quickly realized the kitchen cabinets in his 700-square-foot space were not enough.

With little room to store canned goods and everyday dishes, Albert set out in search of a solution.

“A small space encourages you to be more creative. I had to look for other ideas for storage,” said Albert.

So, he decided on four open shelves in the kitchen to store and display mugs and bowls. This easy and inexpensive option also freed up other space in the existing kitchen cabinets.

With only a small nook in the kitchen, Albert would have to get creative to fit a narrow pantry.

“I took two red IKEA medicine cabinets and attached one on top of the other. Then I added legs and just like that I created a custom pantry to fit my space,” added Albert.

Customized Pantry
Customized Pantry, Photo by A. Pasceri

Another challenge he faced was what he described as a “builder’s quirk”. Light switches and an electrical box in the recently built condo were placed in the middle of walls instead of off to the side.

He wanted a place to store his keys and mail, as well as hang a mirror, but a light switch placed in the centre of the entranceway wall forced him to alter his plans. A solid mirror wouldn’t work because of the light switch. The solution was a strip mirror by UMBRA. The seven strips allowed Albert to customize his entranceway mirror and cleverly address the light switch obstacle.

Since the entranceway is narrow, he opted for two floating ‘L-shaped’ shelves to hold his keys, wallet and spare change.

Entranceway Mirror & Shelves
Entranceway Mirror & Shelves, Photo by A. Pasceri

When decorating a small space, Albert recommends the following tips:

  • Use a low tack painter’s tape on your floors to map out your furniture and help visualize what each room will look like before you buy.
  • Measure your space before you go shopping. Don’t forget to also measure the doorways to avoid bringing home furniture that doesn’t fit through the front door.
  • Look up in your condo and use your vertical space to create more storage.
  • Be creative and customize pieces to add your personal style to the room.

For more storage solutions and style ideas check out 11 tricks to add style to your kitchen by Nest.com.

Do you live in a condo? Have you ever had to get creative when it came to storage? What are some of the decorating challenges you’ve faced?