Category Archives: diy

Ombre Dresser Makeover

I’ve got a project to share with you today! I am no DIY’er but this one was fairly easy and I love the results.  I started with an old dresser that hadn’t been painted or updated since yours truly was an infant and gave it an ombre paint makeover. Not exactly an original idea (just Google “ombre dresser”) but super duper cute for a toddler!

But first, for those not in the know — What is ombre?

om·bré (adjective \ˈäm-ˌbrā\) : having colors or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the color is graduated from light to dark

Cool?  Let’s move on.

Let’s start with the original “Before”:

How 80′s is that room?!  I love that my Mom was channeling Candice Olsen thirty years ago and hung a pendant lamp over a side table.

The dresser wasn’t in bad shape.  When my Mom painted it years ago she used a melamine and it really held up to years of usage by both my sister and I.  That said, the white was yellowed. You can’t really see the discolouration in the photo below, but in our son’s room next to white trim and a white IKEA bookcase there was definitely a yellow hue.

Since it was melamine paint, I gave the whole thing a light sanding prior to priming with a product intended to be used on top of glossy surfaces.  I used a water-based BEHR Primer & Sealer and it did the trick.  Another light sanding, then the entire frame and door received two coats of Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint in Cloud White.  It was my first time using BM’s Advance line and I have to say it is was nice to work with. It has a self-leveling property so paint strokes melt away as the paint sets and it has a nice hard finish.  I waited a whole week in between coats, only because I ran out of time the weekend I started the project, but 24 hours should have been fine.

My colour gradient was based on another key element in our son’s room -his bed- which is painted BM’s Hudson Bay (CC-810).  [His bed will also be revealed shortly!]  I simply took the colour strip containing Hudson Bay (bottom drawer) and asked for the next two colours on the strip: Blue Nose (CC-800) and Polar Sky (CC-790).  There is a pretty big difference between the latter two so I mixed my own in-between colour to be sandwiched between them.  Each drawer  received two coats of regular BM paint.  Because I didn’t want a whole can of each colour, I purchased 3 sample tins at $7.50 each. Way less $$ than buying a new dresser, right?

A new pull from Home Depot and ta-da! a fresh blue and white ombre dresser for my little man.

So what do you think? Would you dare to go ombre in your home?

Or go ombre with your hair?!

diy: veuve cliquot ponsardin

Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin – my absolute favourite bubbly.

And what, might you ask, does this have to do with decorating?

If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you may have noticed a little flash of Veuve Cliquot throughout my home. All this started a few years ago when my man and I took a 10-day trip to Paris. While there, made an overnight trip out to Reims which is in the Champagne region. Among other excursions, we toured the gorgeous Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral (did you know 8 kings of France were crowned there?), spent hours looking at all the fascinating relics at the Palais du Tau, and of course paid our respects at a couple champagne houses.  Along with a few other bottles of wine and champagne, we purchased a Veuve Cliquot ‘Paint Tin’, which really was a tin can containing 4 mini bottles of Veuve Cliquot and 4 spouts (oh yes, drinking right from the bottles was fun!)

I just couldn’t part with the tin can and the great memories from France, so after a couple of years of stashing it high up on a shelf, I decided to put it to better use – -

(1) I mounted the lid in an IKEA frame and created a piece of art for my entryway wall. An IKEA RIBBA frame, a little hot glue around the rim of the lid, and voila!

(2) I turned the base of the can into a pot for a plant. The can was already lined with plastic, so I’m not too concerned about rusting. But for good measure, I did coat the entire can with a coat of clear lacquer. Finally, I drilled a few holes in the bottom for drainage, threw in some rocks, then potted a fern:


And now I get to enjoy a little Veuve everyday.  Cheers!

home office makeover p.1

It’s going to be a busy design weekend over here.  The pendant lights for my MIL’s kitchen came in, so a trip to Universal Lighting is on the agenda for tomorrow (love this place  but the website is meh so you should check it out in person), followed by an early evening event – Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup. Tommy “Sarah’s sidekick” Smythe will be the keynote speaker. Can’t wait!  Sunday morning I’ll be checking in on an in-progress project (more details to come on that), then over to another client’s home for her office installation!

This office project has been fun to work on. My client (Melanie) has a great sense of style and the rest of her house is totally awesome. However, her office is the one neglected space in the home.  As she is in the process of launching her own business, Melanie was really craving an office space that would reflect her own vibrant personality and would allow her creativity to flourish.

Here are a few BEFORE shots.

With a limited budget but good bones to work with (all existing furniture stayed, as did the wall colour), we got started on a plan that included:

  • a DIY nail head corkboard for all her notes, pictures, documents, and snippets of inspiration (jump over here to see her step-by-step instructions!)
  • Roman blinds for the bare window
  • organization of those shelves (as a professional organizer, she took care of that herself)
  • an injection of colour and pattern with the selection of 3 fabrics
  • selection of several pre-owned art pieces and personal photographs to hang on the wall and picture ledge

Here is the Inspiration Board:


Stay tuned for pictures after the installation!  Have a lovely weekend all!


how to hang a gallery wall

Back in January I did a post on my love for gallery walls (you can read that here).  I subsequently received an email from a reader asking me how to go about hanging a gallery wall, so I thought I’d share my response with you.

I really enjoyed your post on gallery walls and I have a couple of questions on the do’s and don’ts  of a putting together a gallery wall.   We recently received a sketch of our baby boy, which we will have framed.  I was thinking of putting together a gallery wall around the sketch.  Can you do a gallery wall with family pictures or is it better with more abstract art?  Should there be a theme to the pictures/art pieces or does anything go?  I noticed you lined up your frames so that the whole thing is symmetrical.  Are there any “rules” around how to put the pieces together? Thanks in advance for your advice. – S.

Well, the short answer is – there are no rules.  Sorry!  Can you use family photographs?  Yes. Should you use abstract art? Sure. Can you mix family photographs and art? Of course. There are so many different styles gallery walls, it really boils down to your own personal style, what you are working with, and where you are hanging your gallery.

A traditional approach to the gallery wall is a collection of family photos. Classic. Here are a few examples:

Notice in the example above, the grouping is centered along two horizontal parallel lines. These act as guidelines for hanging the pictures above and below.  The frames are all different sizes but the common colour (black) gives it a unified look. The example below follows similar guidelines, but since all the frames are the same width and the resulting look is a little more grid-like.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the gallery wall where anything goes – mixed media, mixed frames, mixed sizes.  This also works.  To hang this type of gallery wall, I would suggest you start by deciding where you want your largest pieces to hang, then work around them (remember, the largest piece does not have to go in the centre!)

A great alternative to the gallery wall is a photo ledge (or multiple ledges).  A photo ledge is less committal since you can switch up your art any time and you won’t make multiple holes in your wall.  Space-wise, a ledge or two can be a great addition in a small space, such as a nook in the kitchen or in an entryway.

A few additional tips on gallery walls:

  • A quick way to plot out your gallery on the wall: trace your frames onto paper then tape these silhouettes up on your wall with masking tape; move them around until you are happy with the layout, then get hanging
  • For a step-by-step to hanging a gallery wall, check out the instructions over at Brooklyn Limestone
  • Ikea is a great place to purchase frames for a gallery wall. Multiple sizes in each collection, inexpensive and you can switch out your art whenever you feel like a change
  • If you have old frames hanging around the house, consider freshening them up with a new coat of paint
  • Don’t stick to photographs and art, you can also frame sentimental objects in a shadow box
  • If you need a punch of colour or pattern, consider framing a swatch of fabric or a decorative piece of paper (scrapbook paper works great)
  • If you need to supplement your current collection, Etsy is an amazing source for unique, handmade, or personalized artwork. And much of it is inexpensive!

(images: 1-made by girl, 2- pure style home, 3-house to home, 4-martha stewart, 5-decor8 , 6-hgtv, 7-ivillage, 8-design crisis, 9-the creative mama , 10-west elm, 11-me)

[diy] “where did I come from?” map

Ok, so to be upfront (in case you are looking for real advice), I’m not helping you answer the REAL “where did I come from?” question.  Ha! I have a few more years before my son starts asking about that.  Rather, I am sharing a little project I did for my son’s room, showing where exactly he came from – on the map.  And since I’m being honest, I should also say that I am not a real DIY’er.  It is more of something I admire from afar.  Not that I don’t appreciate the skill, creativity, and perseverance of DIY’ers, I do! I follow a number of DIY blogs on a daily basis (especially home reno ones), it’s just that I just don’t have the time, nor space.  So this project is an exception.

Here are a few images that inspired this project….

As a child, my sister and I had a huge map book and we would pore over it for hours, quizzing each other on all the American capitals (funny enough, I don’t remember looking at Canada). Maps are cool. And a great learning tool.

Since I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of cash on a giant map or wallpaper, my map project is scaled down in size. Anyway, isn’t saving $$ a major goal of DIY?  I already had an IKEA RIBBA frame (16″x20″) that was sitting around and while I was making an Etsy purchase for something else, I noticed this shop also sold vintage maps of Canada for only $5.00.  Score. $5.00 was the total cost of my project!

To give some real meaning to this project, I decided to use only maps that had meaning to our little family.  I made a collage using the whole map of Canada, the map of Alberta (where my man was born), the map of Ontario (where my son and I were born), and a snapshot of Montreal (where my man and I met in University).

20 minutes later I was done.  Easy! DIY is not so bad after all.

What do we think?

Now, if you aren’t into DIY but you’d like to add a small map to your child’s room, I would highly recommend checking out the Montreal-based Etsy shop English Muffin Prints & Posters.

Or if you want to go big, you could always pick up this large canvas from IKEA (78.74″x55″).

I’m not quite ready to debut the photos of my son’s room but stay tuned. For now, you can check out my inspiration board here.

(images: 1-lonny, 2-cox&cox, 3-kids room decor, 4- remodelista, 5&6-me, 7-english muffin)