laundry room makeover

our laundry room is finally complete.  it only took us four years to do it.  but it's done.  and i love it.

when we built our house we had the option to have the laundry room upstairs but opted for an office instead.  this meant our laundry room was relegated to the basement.  not a big deal, but there were a few things i wanted to make sure it had.  number one was making sure that it was a separate room from the utility room, which we did when we finished the basement.  we also tiled the floor when the carpet went in.  and that's pretty much all we did for about a year.  added a walnut counter top a year later and then haven't touched it since.

here's our laundry room before ... boring and blah.

there wasn't a lot left to finish in the laundry room, i mean we tackled the floor and counter top early on.  but we were lacking practical things like storage, somewhere to hang our ironing, and somewhere to lay things flat to dry.  you know things that you might actually use a laundry room for.  i also wanted it to look nice and have some visual interest, meaning it also needed some tile.

it's amazing what a few afternoons, a trip to ikea and a tile saw can do for a small space.  have a look at the progress we made in just two afternoons.  (just required a little bit of creative parenting skills, playdates and snacks to make it happen)

/ cabinets

yay!  we have storage and can actually lay things flat to dry on our counter.  or use the counter to fold things.  imagine that.

i love love love this tile pattern.  i didn't want to do a subway pattern with these 3x6 ceramic tiles ... too predictable and we already have some of that going on in other parts of the house.  this is kind of the same same but different.  

um, i also did some of that there tile pattern.  for some reason i have this strange desire to know how to lay tile.  i wanted to do it in our last house, but was too pregnant to do when it came time to actually do it.  the laundry room wall tile was a great first tile project.  it was easy to do and it didn't really matter if it got screwed up.  floor tile on the other hand would be a big deal if it got messed up.  

and now for the big reveal ... 

so happy with how this mini room turned out.  it may not be the largest laundry room, but it's functional and visually appealing.  which is way more than i can say about what this room looked like when we moved in.  think concrete floors, dry wall and a washer and dryer.  

with this room done, it's time to focus on our basement bathroom.  stay tuned.  

linked to : thrifty decor chick

bathroom ideas: clean and simple

Simple, clean and white.  These are the words that come to mind for our basement bathroom reno.  Which I guess isn't a reno, it's more a "let's finally fully finish our basement after four years."  As we gear up to finally complete this project I've had an excuse to browse for clean and simple bathroom inspiration.  And let's face it, that basically means spending hours on Pinterest.  Each one of these bathrooms has elements I love and helped me nail down a plan as we move forward.

Floating Vanity and Round Mirror

I love the mix of the hard edges of the floating vanities with the rounded edges of the mirrors.  Ironically each of these also contains my love of hexagon tiles as well.

Simple and white

 I love the idea of a simple and very neutral colour palette ... white and natural wood tones.

Contrasting Floors

Although I love all white, I also love the idea of a contrasting floor.  It adds a little bit of drama.  

Each of these beautiful bathroom design helped me come up with a design plan for our space.  Can't wait to get things started.

For more inspiring bathrooms visit here.  Happy Monday.

a room for family: part three

the "let's break shit and then make it beautiful" part.  now,  had nothing to do with this.  i provided some consultation about lighting and we had a shopping trip while demo was going on. but i did none of the sledge hammer swinging or break a wall apart.  i hope to one day.  its something i've secretly always wanted to do.  just bust a hole in a wall without consequence.  kira and dave took care of that for this room.

just a refresher here's what we were working with before the sledge hammers came out.

i don't think anyone was going to be sad to see that lovely rock wall and wood burning stove go.  it's removal instantly made the space feel much larger and open.

have a look for yourself.

a room for family: part two

also known as the design plan.

this is my favourite part.  the designing.  the coming up with ideas.  the drawing.  the sourcing.  all of it.  every. single. moment.

this project was a lot of fun to work.  scary because it was like, for real.  but totally, completely, fun.  not only was it for people i knew, but it was also the first design that i was going to give to real people.  i've only ever created spaces in my own home or for design school assignments.  sure i've suggested paint colours to neighbours and family, but this was a full design.  this was effing exciting.  i did my first sketches the afternoon she texted me the pictures of her living room.  within about an hour i had done my first sketches, sent them to her and the rest is well ... history.

we started discussing things over text message for a few days and decided that coffee and a site visit were going to be necessary.  being in the space really changed how i thought about it.  you can only tell so much from a photograph.  we talked about what they wanted for the space, what they needed, their style, and what to do with the interesting rock wall they had going on in their room.  i took a few measurements, wrote some things down and that was that.  first client project was on it's way.

kira and dave weren't in any rush to get things started which was totally great for me.  i slowly worked on drawing the space to scale, experimented paint chips, floor plan ideas and then life took over.  funny how that happens.  any way, fast forward a year and they were ready to start talking demolition, pot lights, and coffee tables.  shit just got real.  

here's the plan i came up with.  

pillow (similar) // coffee table // rug

i also needed to find lighting for the space.  one of the requests was for a ceiling fan because the room gets so hot in the summer time.  there was also a need for more light and so three pot lights were added in above the fire place.

it only took a year of planning.  but there was now a design in place and the demolition could begin.  there were revisions and questions along the way, but for the most part kira and dave did the shopping and sourcing for some of the items.  it was a great collaborative effort.  

up next, part three: demo and progress

organized creativity

as a mom of two small creative humans, we have an endless supply of unique, sometimes holiday themed, art.  and i'm fairly certain that many of you can relate.  so. many. crafts.  and while i love that my children explore and experiment with their creative side, there are only so many pieces of art that i'm willing to have in my home at one time.  over the last two years our craft creation has doubled in production.  we only have so many walls.  i also struggle with putting their creations in the recycling bin.  i want to keep all of it.  every single santa, mitten, half coloured picture. keep it. because they won't be little like this and we won't always have an endless supply of shaving cream glue art, aka puffy paint.  the realist in me will never allow this to happen.  instead of having my home turn into the children's art museum and then force myself to recycle art i didn't want to, i came up with a solution that let's me have my cake and eat it too.

first: figure out a way to display what they've created and not have it take over our house.  while i love to display what both future artists have created i don't necessarily want it everywhere.  my solution for this was to designate two specific areas for kid art.  a wall in our family room and a photo wire in our pantry.  by only having two designated spaces for their all their masterpieces, we can rotate the gallery as new pieces arrive and recycle older pieces.  i try to de-clutter our art galleries every few weeks. up until a few days ago we were still rockin' a pretty sweet santa and a couple christmas trees.

second: i don't want to just get rid of what they created.  one day when the kids are too busy to do arts and crafts i wish for all the pieces they once made and i'll kick myself for getting rid of all of it. the struggle is real.  on the other hand, i also don't want my attic full of never ending boxes full of twenty year old art.

i recently started taking photos of each art project they've done before i put it in the recycling.  i'm in the process of using the photos to make a photo book.  i use the program in iphoto.  i like it for two reasons.  easy to use and the quality is really good.  i use it every year for our photo calendar and have a couple books.  once i get to about twenty-five pages i think i'll get it printed.  by making an art  photo book i get to keep all of the art, without actually keeping all of the art.

happy friday!

a room for family: part one

over a year and a half ago my friends, kira and dave, contacted me with some questions about renovating their family room.  one thing lead to another and before i knew it i had drawn a rough sketch and she loved it.  we got together a couple of times and discussed what her and her husband wanted for the space, colours, budget, etc.  this was such a fun project, mostly because it was my first time working and designing for someone else.  i learned so much through this process, like just because i like something doesn't mean a client will.  and always remember to check the paint can lids when dropping it off at a clients house, my winter car mats were nice covered in benjamin moore misted fern.

because this project lasted almost a year, planning, waiting, budgeting, deciding, shopping, designing,  etc, i thought i would break it into a few parts.  so for part one i though i'd share what we were working with.  their home is a bungalow and parts of it are still stuck in a 1970s/1980s renovation.  and although there are plans for a more extensive renovation of their kitchen, like blowing out a wall,  their family room was something that could be tackled and not break the bank.  it did mean hiring a contractor and electrician, but the rest could be done by kira, dave and myself.

here's a break down of the space and what they wanted for it:

- the room to have a natural/nature feeling and zero feeling of a log cabin
- functional storage
- greens and browns, no grey
- get rid of the horrible fake stone on the east wall (fireplace wall)
- add more light and a ceiling fan, gets hot in the summer because of large south facing windows
- add gas fire place, get rid of wood burning stove insert
- new furniture that is more them

not such a huge list.  the room is a good size and has an abundance of good light coming through the front south facing window.  down side was the lack of lighting when the sun goes down, in that there is none.  also, the giant "stone" wall.

have a look for yourself.

kira and dave's family room before

stay tuned for part two: the design.

happy almost middle of the week folks.

a little big girl room

so i figured it was time to share a little bit of our home.  and to start i picked our daughter's room.  why?  because why the hell not?  i love it.  and most of all, so does she.  and with that ...

... the littlest mini human in our house isn't so little, as she frequently likes to inform us.  she's become our little big girl around here. which meant it was time to say good-bye to the last nursery we'll ever have and create a big girl bedroom.  i was both sad and happy at the same time to say good-bye to a crib.  it meant we were going to get more snuggles at bedtime and that bedtime was going to become a whole lot more difficult.  so freaking happy that she was not like her brother.  she was a rockstar and didn't get out of her bed once we made the switch.  and almost a year later, she's still the one who stays in her bed.  but back to the design.

i felt that it was important to bring averie on as a consultant on this particular project.  it is her bedroom after all.  her requests are as follows: butterflies, pink, purple, owls, ballerinas and a place for her babies to sleep.  all things important to a three year old.  butterflies were already covered because we had done a decal wall with a tree and butterflies when we first moved in.  it's like we already knew what she wanted.  her walls were purple, we just needed to add some pink, and a few owls with some ballerinas.

here's the plan i came up with.

averie didn't mind that there was a lack of ballerinas, she was more excited that there was a princess tent.  she talked about it for months.  the canopy tent in her mood board was from land of nod.  of course brining the mood board into reality brought a few changes.  that's what a love about design and decorating.  there's always room for change.

happy friday friends.

bound inspiration

recently i started collecting interior style, design and decorating books.  i got a copy of domino for christmas a few years ago and the obsession began.  the first step is admitting you have a problem right?  it started slowly at first, a design book here, a design book there.  now i have a few healthy stacks all around our bedroom.  it's usually what i pick up for my bedtime reading, even though i'm in the middle of reading two other books.  and although i've read each one of these books many ... many ... many times, with the exception of one, i always seem to find something interesting or new.  perhaps that's why i feel the need to collect more.  so i will have an endless supply of inspiration at my finger tips.  or ... i'm just slowly becoming a hoarder.

way back in 2011, when we decided to go through the process of building a house again we decided to consult some design reference material.  we had read somewhere or someone had told us that it was a good idea to do so when you were about to build a new house.  i always take good advice, except when i take bad advice.  so many of the ideas we used in our current home were a result of gathering inspiration from interior design books we signed out of the library.  perhaps this is where the obsession started? we began seeing the things we could do in our own home in a totally different way.  it didn't have to be the way the builder wanted to do it.  crazy i know.  the point is, i love being able to flip through my own little medium sized collection of books when i approach a client project or a space in my own home.  not to re-create the same space but to gather inspiration to create my own.

so .... based on all of that, here are a few of my a few of my favourite design reads from my not so little, and not so big, library.

thoughts on being a student again

during the spring of 2014 i began life as a student again, part time anyway, and in the evening.  it's not a huge commitment but also not such an easy thing to do.  thankful for a supportive husband and understanding children.  somehow we make it all work.  i started taking courses at mount royal university in the interior decoration extension program.  they do have an interior design degree program and although i love the idea of doing that, i don't love the reality of doing that.  so, the extension certificate it is.

so far i've completed three courses, introduction to interior design, colour and light, and perspective drawing and i start soft finishings at the beginning of february.  when i registered for this course i also did a little planning in order to finish my program and get my certificate.  i still have four courses to go.  i'll take one a semester and should have it all done by this time next year.  then the next phase can start.  i'm looking forward to starting my next course.  not only do i like textiles, the course is being taught by an instructor i've had before and she's fantastic.

as i go through my courses i'll post updates about my projects.  in the meantime here's a look at some of the work i've done in my first three courses.

course one: introduction to interior design

this is my sometime

sometimes you need a kick in the pants if you want to pursue your dreams.  and that's exactly what i needed and got from my husband last year on my birthday.  for the last couple of years i've desired longed yearned for a change in my professional life.  like the kind of career change that requires becoming a part time student again and eventually creating my own company and working for myself.  but here's the thing: i've got a few things on the go right, like life.  we're a happy little family of five (husband and i, two mini people and a hamster) and we love to do family fun stuff.  things like camping and playing, skiing and swimming.  i've got a husband that i really like hanging out with and doing things with like scuba diving and going out for dinners we get to eat when they are hot. and i also have a full time career as a middle school teacher.

but i also have this passion for designing and creating beautiful family friendly interiors that can make a house into a home.  in my dream world i get to do this for my career in lieu of teaching.  not that i don't love teaching, my passion has just shifted.  my husband and i have built two homes (not literally) and enjoyed, for the most part, the entire process.  all the changes we made to our floor plans, lighting choices, vanities, sinks, paint colours, plumbing fixtures and furnishings excited and interested both of us.  particularly me.  i started looking at the items we put into our home more closely.  do they represent who we are as people?  as a family?  because really one's home should reflect who you are and how you live.  who and what is important to you.  be that comfortable place that brings you a sense of calm, security and, well, that sense of home.

now i'm no expert and until recently no training what-so-ever. (more on that later)  i don't feel that there are any rules when it comes "decorating" your home.  i use "decorating" because really isn't it just a fancy word for making that house you own or rent feel more like your space?  more like your home?  more like you?

so that's where this blog comes in.  i like to write, i have my fair share of journals and sketchbooks.  my hope is that design soup will be that little spot on the inter-web where i can write and share our journey of turning the house we had built into our home.  and although this blog isn't fully set up, there's no time like right now to get it started.

welcome to design soup.