Before starting at House & Home, I was working on a two-year masters program in Toronto. With all the late nights spent reading and writing, I really benefitted from having an office in my apartment. It wasn't pretty, but it definitely provided enough work and storage space.
The spare room is a decent size, but once I had finally graduated it became wasted space. The room with great storage continued to be just that — a room to house all of my junk. That's when I had the brilliant — although admittedly self-indulgent — idea to transform the office/junk room into a walk-in closet. I wanted to create a lighthearted and unique room that allowed me to hang and see my clothes and shoes. The main difficulty of course, would be fitting it within my very limited budget.
Here are some of my inspiration shots of gorgeous walk-in closets:
Taking inspiration from these feminine, high-end dressing rooms, I attempted to translate the look of built-ins with a very skimpy budget.
I repurposed a shelf and desktop from Ikea into an island for the centre of the room by painting the shelf and wrapping the stainless steel tabletop in fabric.
To create hanging areas, I used four tall Expedit bookcases from Ikea with rods attached between. I secured each shelf to the wall with heavy-duty plugs, since the rods would be weighted down significantly. For the rods, I picked up some sturdy, non-extendable curtain rods in 1-1/8" widths from Designer Fabrics in Toronto.
I used side-mount brackets — also from Designer Fabrics — to secure the rods to the sides of the shelving units, and metal plugs specifically designed for hollow-core doors and walls — important considering the amount of weight distributed along the rods.
Here are some in-process shots for the project that was only supposed to take me two weeks, but ended up taking the whole summer.
Inexpensive Ikea shelves are sturdy enough for shoes, and keep the sightlines open.
And with a few more ingredients and finessing, here is the final product:
Now onto the next project — actually organizing my clothes!
For more ideas, see our Closets & Dressing Rooms photo gallery.
1, 8-12. Lauren Petroff
2. Reasons to Breathe blog
3. Reasons to Breathe blog
4. Reasons to Breathe blog
5. Expedit shelving unit, Ikea
6a. Expedit tall shelving unit, Ikea
6b, 7. Rod and bracket, Designer Fabrics
Now that I have a little mug-wums running around the house, I fully understand the appeal of the slipcover. So, when this new Loose Fit Urban line from BEMZ for IKEA furniture came across my desk yesterday, I was all over it! These slipcovers are not available until January 2012, but here is a sneak peek below:
They had me at 100% washed linen! I love the loose look, and the visible seaming!
What do you think? Tell me in the comments below. Then, see more slipcovered beauties in our decorating photos.
Photos 1-3, BEMZ
I recently took a trip to the Etobicoke Ikea to purchase my son's big boy bed (sniff sniff). I know some people that get stressed out or just plain lost in Ikea, but I love it. I really do! I love walking around the showrooms, checking out the market, and I love me some 75-cent hot dogs.
Anyway, like so many of my trips there, I came in for one thing and left with more than I expected. At first my husband was pleased to find that what I returned with was not a bag of 6,000 tealights or several Ribba frames that will sit empty because really, who has time to get photos developed? But I digress.
No, what my husband realized, much to his dismay, is that I came home with an idea. Scrap that. It's bigger than that, it's a dream. A dream and a plan for a new kitchen.
It just happened. I could see it all unfolding perfectly as I walked through the Ikea kitchen showroom.
My husband seemed, well, not psyched.
So, bloggy friends, I am going to share a few of my dreams with you and maybe you will understand. Or, maybe your eyes will glaze over like my husband's, but I won't be able to see you so it will be cool.
First, let's start with the inspiration. Here are a few images that have been on my computer and corkboard — or, inspiration board as we say in the biz — at work for a while now. I blame these images first and foremost.
Up next, the items I met at Ikea:
Hello, black-brown Nexus cabinet. I've seen you in a flyer and I have to say, you look even better in person.
I'm thinking a couple of high cabinets around the fridge and wall and base cabinets along the west wall (I have an "L" shaped kitchen). Connecting on the north wall will be the lower cabinets that meet up to the dishwasher and stove. Of course, those cabinets will be outfitted with all those terrific interior organizers that are going to change my life, but let's not go there right now.
Okay, while I would love to cover those base cabinets in something amazing like Carrara marble, I am a realist, even in my dreams. So butcher block countertops it is. What's up Numerär? Want to come live with us?
Here is the part of the dream where things get a little confusing for me. Do I go Domsjo double? I have white appliances and I think they might be into each other.
Either way, I am pretty into Elverdam and his extendible spout.
Above the sink and cabinets on the north wall, I thought a Värde wall shelf with hooks might be nice. I wonder if he could be stained? Hmmm...
And above the stove for pots and pans, a good ol' Grundtal, with hooks for utensils of course.
Finally, the trimmings. These will require a little more research, but are making their way into the dream. As for the hardware, I'm thinking polished or antiqued brass. I have long loved the glowing warmth of brass and I'm happy it's back.
The backsplash is another tricky one. Part of me would love to use wallpaper and maybe get some lucite or glass to protect it. I made my pal Cameron MacNeil schlep two rolls of this wallpaper from a friend's house in California where I had it delivered. Have I ever mentioned that Cameron is the best?
Then again, I do love a subway tile and I have a couple of boxes left from our bathroom reno.
And then there is the lighting! Oh, the decisions! Luckily or unluckily, depending on if you are a glass half full or empty type, I think I have a bit of time. My better half hasn't fallen into dreamland with me yet. His feet are still firmly planted in stone-cold reality. But one day people, it's gonna happen.
Are you still awake? Then I have just two more things to say to you:
1. I have to confess, I did also come home from Ikea with more than a bed and a dream. I also bought a milk frother and a frozen chocolate almond cake.
2. No, Ikea did not sponsor this blog post, though I wish very badly they had. Can you hear me Ingvar Kamprad?
Last week fellow style editor Morgan Michener and I set out to our local Ikea to scout about, and as usual, we spotted so many great things to pitch for upcoming stories. Some are new and some are just new favourites! Keep an eye out for these items in the February and March 2012 issues!
1. Ektorp Jennylund armchair, $249. This chair is the perfect scale for a small space, and with a cosy seat and such great price, you can't go wrong.
2. Ludde Sheepskin, $70. I could see this one layered up so loverly on the grey or white Jennylund chair.
3 & 4. Bislev rug (left), $30. This little flatweave is so darn cute. It looks like it has grosgrain ribbons running down it. Morgan had the great idea of sewing two of these guys together into a large floor cushion that would be almost kid-indestructible! She's in charge of our editor DIY for a reason. And the Andrup rug (right), $25. Okay, so I admit, I have a bit of a rug fetish! I would love to see this one tossed over the back of a neutral sofa or headboard.
5. Pokal tumbler, $2. I have been really into these glasses for a while — the design is so classic! I want a latte in this cup!
For more affordable finds, see our Fall Finds Under $90.
I recently decided to take on a couple of matching dressers straight out of the 1980s. They're solid wood, unlike a lot of the MDF out there these days, so I decided to work with them instead of leaving them on the curb. My boyfriend liked this idea, too, since he's had them since, well, the '80s.
Yup, that's blue and green paint, coated on thick and glossy.
I started with the hardware. For a traditional look that would complement my white iron bed, I wanted brass knobs, and I wanted them on a dime. Luckily, The Home Depot had tons of affordable knobs. These beauties were only 99 cents each! I needed to outfit two dressers, so I saved tons of money going with the cheapies. Pulls are usually quite a bit more, so I decided two knobs per drawer was going to be even cheaper than one pull per drawer.
Since there were single pulls on the old drawers, I had to fill holes (many, many, many holes) and drill new holes for the knobs. Pick up a wood filler for a project like this.
Because the blue and green paint was so glossy, I sanded them down with an electric sander. I could have done it by hand, but they needed a very thorough sanding. Roughing up the paint a bit also helps the new paint adhere to the wood. Here they are minus a few layers of the '80s.
And after! I went with a white-white paint to match the bed, and come on, is there anything better than crisp white? I think not. And the brass knobs really pop against the white.
Yes, this is the same room. The carpet was traded for bamboo, and the dressers really look at home now. I love the blue walls, too — very English country with the white furniture.
And because I just couldn't get enough DIY-ing, I decided to be really ambitious and wallpaper the insides of the drawers. Argh, I regret starting this, because it took about a month for me to actually finish this project. But it was worth it. The subtle beige paisley pattern looks great with the white and brass. Surprisingly, I just submerged the pre-glued wallpaper in water, just like you would for wallpapering a wall, and it adhered to the wood pretty well. I had to glue down a few corners with carpenter's glue, but I was impressed with how easy it was to wallpaper wood. Cutting each piece to size was the most tedious part.
There are a few gaps, of course, but I'm really happy with how they turned out. My socks are going to be so happy in these drawers!
For another inspiring DIY project, check out Stacey Smithers' dresser finds.
For years now I've been wailing and complaining that no affordable retailers have been offering sensibly priced 'global' decorating staples. You know, those block print cushions, suzanis and ikats we all love? The ones that can cost an arm and a leg?
Well, West Elm must have heard my griping because this season they've got a ton of global decorating items to choose from. Even just one will liven up your space with earthy, saturated pattern and style.
Here are my faves:
The new Tribal Jute Rug feels like it was just carried back from some far-off land and has a pleasing mix of warm colours and classic black. The jute material keeps it organic and textural.
West Elm always has great, large-scale baskets including the Ikat woven collection with black and white stripes. Perfect for firewood or laundry.
The Kantha quilted throw collection has tons of amazing colour and texture and would wake up a basic sofa instantly!
The hand-blocked Jaipur collection of bedding comes in this tomato-red colour or a soft grey. It's priced really really well for such beautiful handmade work.
The Organic Carved Circles Duvet Cover in this luscious mustard colour can feel both global and modern at the same time. I love it paired with these taupey walls and traditional details.
The Kantha collection of hand-quilted cushions are made from repurposed saris. How lovely are these?! Each one has a unique history and will add a soulful layer in your home.
Actually, West Elm has lots of block printed cushion covers in many shades. There's everything from blue to green and yellow to neutral! Take your pick and save tons of cash!
These Hammam Soap Dishes would add Turkish bath style to any boring bathroom for only $6!!!
And the Bubbles Ceramic Stool would make a perfect perch in the bathroom or a side table in a living room. Organic and exotic, this stool is right on trend and so affordable.
The Naturalist bowl collection is great for setting the table or even better for a vignette on a coffee or side table. Viewing these gorgeous global patterns from above shows off their best side.
Or for a cleaner, easier to swallow hit of the global trend, these Modernist bowls and mugs will add some cheery colour to your kitchen.
Thank goodness we can all get in on the lush global look without breaking the bank at the boutique — or travel agency!
To see global style at its best, tour through designer Karen Cole's home.
1-11. West Elm
I really have been trying to curb my addiction to "project" furniture (since my basement is full of half-finished projects), but when I saw this dresser standing stoically on the curb in the street this past spring, I knew I had to pull the car over. The casters, the curves, the escutcheons — I mean, come on! But as you can tell, said dresser has been living a hard life outside for some time — the wood on the top is split in half, and one of the casters on the bottom is duct taped on. But I feel determined to clean this high boy up!
After some serious wire brushing and sanding — goodness do I see 4 or 5 layers of peeling paint?! — I plan to paint this fellow (inside and out). Now, the only question is, do I paint it a lovely grey with black matte hardware or do I go black with antiqued brass?
Let me know what you think!
Browse more weekend projects and how-to videos in our DIY & Home Improvement Guide.
What to do if you've got great style and no money? How do you create the living space of your dreams when you've got to be frugal and realistic with your pocketbook? If you're just starting out and need to fill, for example, your first living room, might I suggest these affordable finds?
Let's say this is your "before" shot. A sweet apartment living room in Toronto's beaches neighbourhood, with lots of detail and character. You're off to a good start!
The search begins with the biggest investment piece — a sofa. I found this one for under $750 at Guff! Its classic shape and neutral, fresh colour allows us to go in any direction we want with the other colours and pieces.
Next, we need some chairs. I found these perfectly scaled bergere chairs at a hotel liquidator in Oakville for only $55 each! They're small enough that they won't take up too much room and can easily be moved around to suit different seating arrangements. Plus, with open legs and arms, your eye sees right through them, keeping the space feeling open and large.
But that upholstery has to go! I'd go for a few yards of this punchy grassy-green and watermelon coloured ikat from Designer Fabrics in Toronto. Since you wouldn't likely need more than six yards for two chairs, and it only costs $17 per yard, you'd have your fabric for about $100. Upholstering two chairs might cost $700, so add it all up and you're looking at about $900 or around $450 per chair, which is still pretty reasonable.
To hold the TV, stereo, books, DVDs and everything else you have to hide in a small space, I'd opt for a handsome armoire like this one from the same hotel liquidator. I'd try to buff up the wood with sandpaper and keep it natural along with the tarnished brass hardware for a substantial, traditional note in the room. At $105, it's the deal of the century!
For occasional tables, I'd opt for a mix of old and new. These marble topped end tables are a steal at $113 each from Funk & Gruven A-Z in Belleville, Ontario. I would keep the marble as is and paint out the base of the tables, probably in a chalky poppy seed grey colour, highlighting the texture in the carved Greek key design.
For the new component, I'd head over to Ikea for this $90 modern waterfall-style coffee table. Clean, simple and lets the more ornate side tables do the talking.
We'd want to marry the whole grouping of furniture together and add an organic note with a jute rug like the Vejen from Ikea — again, under $200.
When it comes to lighting, I think throwing off expectations and going for something slightly industrial would be interesting. These black metal lamps from Bowring are under $50 each and would look fantastic on either end of the sofa.
With the green and watermelon ikat fabric on the chairs, it's time to pick a wall colour. White would work of course, but I'd go for something daring and handsome. Maybe even faux lacquer the walls (using high-gloss paint) in a yolky-yellow hue like Babouche (223) from Farrow & Ball.
Then I'd repeat the fabric's pink with some simple solid cushions from Crate & Barrel on the neutral sofa.
Over the sofa I'd hang this round detailed mirror from Captain's Treasures Antiques and paint the frame white.
Then I'd add some of these plaster-looking plaques from West Elm (on sale now!) in a loose, free-form drift over the sofa. So, maybe one big mirror and three plaques; two on one side, one on the other.
Here's a snapshot of the whole scheme together. Fun right? It's classic but cheeky, tailored, yet fresh.
Here's the budget breakdown:
Chairs (all in with fabric and reupholstery costs): $910
Carrera side tables: $225
Coffee table: $90
Pair of lamps: $80
3 gallons of paint: $120
3 cushions: $75
3 plaques: $80
Grand Total: $2,705
Not dirt cheap, but certainly a really great price for a sophisticated and fully furnished space like this. Now all you have to add are some fresh flowers and call it a day!
See another Colourful Apartment Makeover I did for some friends of mine with a tight budget.
3, 5. Moveline Liquidations
4. Peyton Ikat, Designer Fabrics
6. Funk & Gruven A-Z
7. Expedit coffee table, Ikea
8. Vejen rug, Ikea
9. Union Metal Task Lamp, Bowring
10. Babouche (223), Farrow & Ball
11. Nolan Magenta 20" pillow, Crate & Barrel
12. Captain's Treasures Antiques
13. Stray Dog Sea Life Plaques, West Elm
You know I always love a good thrift hunt! People always ask me how I find such good things at thrift shops (because they seem to get stumped themselves). I tell them that you’ve got to keep an open mind and you’ve got to go a lot! I see more junk than treasure, so in order to find those diamonds in the rough, I make a quick pass through my local thrift shops whenever I’m near one. And I don’t go in looking for something specific (that’s the fastest way to get frustrated). Instead, I keep an open mind and that way I’m delighted by the treasures I find.
Here are some I’ve found recently at my local Value Village…
A couple of vintage jadeite dinner plates — perfect for some chocolate chip cookies or even just as decorative objects in a plate holder.
Massed as a collection, jadeite can look so so beautiful!
I also found a whole bunch of vintage mason jars with old zinc lids. These are great for lots of uses, not the least of which is as lovely, humble vases for fresh flowers.
Lilacs and wild flowers look especially nice in mason jars.
This wonderfully shaped mirror was a score.
Painted out in a fresh colour like this yellow one, I think it will definitely hold its own with modern or traditional furniture! The gold’s not bad, but a colour could be fun!
And back to flowers. I’ve been wishing for a vintage glass compote like this one for a long time. It’s the perfect vessel for garden flowers and just gives them that extra lift, you know? I can’t wait to fill this one with flowers I grow this summer!
Last week, I attended a preview event for Everyday Living's new home accessories. (All available through Loblaws and Real Canadian Superstores starting in August and September.) Joining brands like Everyday Essentials, President's Choice, and exercise line Jogi, is a new electronics and stationery line called J+/-. And true to form with all the other lines, everything was reasonably priced. Here are a few items that stood out:
How great are these checked towels? They would be a budget-friendly way to add a bit of pattern to an all-white bathroom. And believe me, I felt them, and they're just as plush as expensive designer towels. $12 each.
I fully intend to pick up one of these charcoal grey reversible coverlets once they're available. It's hard to tell here, but the colour is dark and rich. And they're lightweight enough for warm summer nights — consider swapping out your down duvet for a few months. $39 per set.
These PC storage ottomans are great for the living room: magazine storage, a tabletop for a tray of snacks, and a footrest all in one. Large, $29; small, $19.
Fall colours were out in full swing, and here is more of that charcoal shade I love. These PC Chindi placemats — like the towels — were softer and thicker than I expected them to be. $4 each.
Who doesn't need a bit more storage? Add a few of these boxes to a bookshelf to hide away a multitude of clutter in a living room, kid's bedroom, or home office. The teal boxes would look great on either black, white or natural wood shelves. $3-$15.
J+/- is launching some neat electronics this fall. Save your eardrums with a pair of these headphones — available in fun and bright colours. And check out this compact clock ($5!), perfect for teens who are off to university in the fall. Headphones, $12; Colour Change Clock, $5.
And here's their complete line of back-to-school items — all really cheap! Standing in front of this wall made me want to take notes and staple things!
1-8. Gwen McAuley