Changing rooms

>> Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bradley went camping this weekend, so I decided to surprise him with a mini "Changing Rooms" in our front room. The bathroom needs the most work, but I can't do a lot of the work myself, so that will have to wait. Aside from the bathroom, the front room was the least appealing.

First of all the walls were covered with the drab caramel colour and I think it made the room look darker and smaller than it needed to be. As you will see we had a lot to ask from our front room since the house is a little bungalow with only 1 bedroom and the front room is the largest room in the house. Please also note the eyesore of a box on the wall which covers the electrical panel and is made from fake wood laminate. Ick! Here's a before picture:
We'd unpacked most of our things so that we wouldn't have stacks of boxes everywhere, so at the start of the weekend this is what the room looked like:
The first thing I did was paint the walls in the same creamy colour as the hallway. It was an instant transformation! I still have another coat to do, but it's good enough for the "reveal". The bookcases will have to be sorted and possibly rearranged or replaced with taller ones, but for now, here's the "later" of the dining area:
I also re-covered the chairs with a 1950s vintage barkcloth fabric. It's a little whimsical but I think it works with the style of the furniture (the table also has a removable leaf not shown). The dining set was a craigslist find for $100 - the original chair covers were bright orange, then recovered (not very well) with four different colours and the fabric was dirty. So that was a big improvement. Here's a detail of the chairs, and the wicker ottomen/boxes that we're using as a coffee table, they also hold all our dvds.This front room is also the living room, so here's a view of the living room area with our couch. As you can see the electrical box is now painted out to match the walls and it's much less noticeable. There's still some blue painter's tape showing because the trim isn't painted yet. Hey it was only one weekend! I wish I'd had Linda Barker or Anna Ryder Richardson helping me out. And ideally Laurence Llewelyn Bowen would be the host as he was in the later episodes of Changing Rooms, he is so funny and witty.
And last but not least, this overworked room is also my studio. Of course I work on the dining room table as well. Another craigslist find was an art deco style secretary desk in a similar style to the one I already had. They only wanted $50 for it (which as you can imagine had me in a tizzy begging Bradley to rent a van and help me go get it immediately before they changed their minds). The desk was originally in a sorry state though. It was painted orange (in a very patchy way) and the lattice mullions were on the outside of the doors and warped and broken. Also the veneer was peeled away from one of the drawers (also in a very patchy way) and so there was a lot of work to do. But now the two desks look pretty similar. My old one still holds all my art supplies, and the new one has sewing and crafts things.
So that's the big reveal - you're getting a sneak peek because even Bradley hasn't seen it yet. He's getting home in around three hours so I can't wait to show him! I hinted that I had done some work in the house but wasn't specific. Ideally he will cover his mouth and get teary, then say "oh my god" several times. Then he'll start pointing out all the great new features and make comments such as: "is this really our house??" and "I can't believe it, it looks so different!" and "look at our new chair covers!" etc. Well we'll see.


New house

>> Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Things are going well so far, we love our new house (especially our lovely deck and garden - we have a rose-of-sharon tree which is flowering now and a forsythia that has bright yellow flowers in the spring) but we've been swamped with things we want to fix up.

First of all I could. not. live with the flourescent light fixtures, so those are all gone now. I think they had some extra cold "let's do surgery!" style tubes in them, and it was really depressing. We've also been doing unpacking, painting, cleaning, clearing out some things that were left behind and even a little bit of demolition. There's still so much to do but I thought I'd share some of what we're doing with "before" and "later" pictures, although there aren't quite any "after"s yet!

The first wall to get painted was in the bedroom. Here's the before:It's a tiny room, just big enough for our bed, side table, pax and bureau, and the dark blue was definitely not the right colour to make it look spacious. I love our little wooden bed, and even though we've just primed the walls it already looks lots better. Here's the "later" picture:The hallway and front living/dining room were both a caramel colour that was also too dark. It wasn't doing much for our long hallway. The hall closet doors were pretty terrible, one of them was only half height, with a bit of curtain tacked on the bottom. Both of them were thick and awkwardly attached so that they swayed in and out of the alcove. Here's the "before" picture. I painted the hallway a nice creamy white colour (cil "chalk"), and already it's looking much sunnier. We also added a new light fixture to replace the flourescent light, and that made a huge difference. Once the right sized bifold doors arrive, they'll all get painted white to match the trim and will fit neatly into the alcoves. The bureau will also tuck inside the cupboards once we remove the old chest freezer that was left behind. This is the "later" picture:The kitchen cupboards are icky fake wood laminate and the cabinet by the doorway seemed to jut out and we'd both hit our heads on it. We thought it made the kitchen have a bit of a crowded feeling and we actually have tons of cabinets - much more storage than we had before. The "before" picture:So we took out the cupboards by the doorway entirely - ahh! space! I read in a magazine that every kitchen should have one bare wall and it really does make a difference. It feels more like a room and less like a tunnel of cabinets.And I primed and painted two of the cupboards. I like the way it looks - so I'll be doing all of them. They're odd custom sizes so we'd have to replace them entirely otherwise and that's not at the top of our wish list. I also made some swiss dot type sheer curtains. Here's a "later" picture:So that's all I'm going to show you for now. The craft/art studio is in the front room so I'll be sharing that too when it's in better shape!


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