Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Painting a fireplace

One of the first things I painted when we moved in here was the fireplace - it was an old reddish brown brick and I could not look at it ( we have an exposed brick wall in the living room which is original brick - but the brick on the fireplace had been replaced and was newer and a completely different color and it darkened an already dark room.  I suggested we paint it white and John kept saying no, he wanted to have it resurfaced in a slate, soooooooooooooo, one night when he was sleeping I crept out and opened the paint tin and painted and painted and painted ( it takes a lot of paint to cover brick ) so that it was done when he woke up,  if he hated it we could always cover it after, right?
He liked it!  I liked it! ( notice I say liked - past tense - will get back to that at a later date - but suffice it to say that my disorder includes getting very bored with things very fast lol )

It really made a night and day impact on the room for very little cost.

So this is what this leads up to.
My girlfriend just bought an apartment - with a brick fireplace - and again the brick is reddish brown and dirty with soot stains and really quite an eyesore so she asked if I thought she should paint it.  YES!!!!!!!!!! ( she has hired me to decorate her house - so this is now my job ) and off I ran with the tools of my trade.

Got to her place - pulled out the tarp - and began this very very simple job.
OH MY GOD - her brick does not have mortar between it ( grout ) so every  brick stands out on it's own,
which means you have to paint each brick - and then try to get BETWEEN each brick - with it's gouges and holes and all - and the brush was just not cutting it - I then tried a tiny foam brush which I could just sort of poke into the spaces - no good.
I than had a stroke of genius - I would put the tarp all around the fireplace - and then get inside it - and spray like crazy -
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME - I am actually peeing myself thinking of this - somebody should really lock me up - no mask - you have to try to visualize this - as I was darting in and out with this bloody spray can - and choking to death - and as you know you cannot spray up close - you need to be at a distance with sweeping motions - but desperate times call for desperate measures and I was determined ( determination can definitely kill you ) and I was literally attacking this fireplace - and complaining non stop - why didn't they put mortar between the bricks - who lays bricks without mortar - this is the stupidest way to lay bricks etc - etc.
as I ran out for air every 2 seconds -
And guess what - the fireplace got done....................

I forgot to take pics of the before - which is a shame - but I will post pics of the after.  Off today to paint the rest of the room - this apartment has huge potential - so it's exciting to be a part of it's transformation -

Have a good day all,


Monday, January 30, 2012

All I have to do is dream

This townhouse was just listed - down the street from me - ( here I sit in a tiny 1 level flat - victorian and full of charm but talk about being the poor relations - take a look at this.................)

butlers pantry off kitchen

master bedroom

master bath

master bath


my version of stairway to heaven

option - elevator to heaven?

All that for just 4,500.000 dollars - and by the way no outdoor space, no back yard - no deck - ( but we are facing a lovely park - and honestly? I would never have to leave the interior space - never, lol

Have a good one.........................

P.S. I am really starting to love an all white look - so crisp and clean - seeing a lot of it lately - especially if it's in the right ( different ) finishes, I am so wanting to do it!!!!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Artwork close to my heart

The year I painted my living room and dining Black - I searched and searched for anything white to hang on the walls - and could never find exactly what I was looking for -

just a note in looking at these pictures again, when we bought the building the dining room was a bedroom - we had the wall knocked down for entertaining purposes ( by a contractor close to our heart - one of my best friends husband - shout out to Daniel!!! if anyone is looking for a contractor in the Montreal area pls let me know ) anyways, we decided to go with french doors - and we ended up buying oak - very expensive - and it was one of my biggest regrets - John would positively not let me paint them because they cost so much - and then there is the man-thing of not painting wood - I usually get my way with anything to do with the house but in this case he was positively adamant - and I came to HATE them - 2 sets of double french doors and one single one is a lot of wood to look at - I wanted to paint them white so badly.
SOOOOO - if you have my sickness and need to change things up often - pls do yourself a favour and buy pine - even jointed pine which is the cheapest you can buy - and paint them to your hearts content. When you look at the photos couldn't you just weep for me lol?

Ok - back to the artwork - ( all over the place again Suzan, FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS - )

I love words - books - posters - signs - I cannot get enough of them and so I bought white frames from IKEA - and printed out famous quotations and had them dispersed throughout the " blackness "
I can't find a photo of the 2 gallery walls I created with these so here is just a little example - sorry but you have to use your imagination on this one!

but for those of you that can't it looked something like this - except much larger - and they were truly a brilliant white - they look kind of beige in these pics.......

ok - so now I am going to share some of my favorite words, lol, as framed and treasured by me.

Sundown, yellow moon, I replay the past
I know every scene by heart, they all went by so fast
Bob Dylan ( Tangiers )

We can't all be heroes because somebody has to
sit on the curb and clap as they go by
Will Rogers

Go not where the path may lead, go instead where
there is no path and leave a trail
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take care to get what  you like
or you will be forced to like what you get
George Bernard Shaw

I get by with a little help from my friends
( do I have to say John Lennon? )

It has been my experience that folks
who have no vices have very few virtues
Abraham Lincoln ( wise man )

Live in such a way that you would not be
ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip
Will Rogers ( I would have to have the poor birds vocal chords removed )

If you can't get rid of the family skeleton
you may as well make it dance ( love )
George Bernard Shaw

Remember not only to say the right thing at the right moment
but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at
the tempting moment........... ( God I wish I could learn to do that )
Benjamin Franklin

We make a living out of what we get,
we make a life out of what we give,
Sir Winston Churchill  ( these words I try to live by )

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by
and that has made all the difference
Robert Frost ( sigh )

Pierre Elliot Trudeau ( beloved Canadian Prime Minister - although he was talking about a particular event in Quebec history - the FLQ to be precise - when I think of him I think of those words - he was unconventional,
defiant, charming and one of the best prime minister we ever had, and the world did watch him............

But like the song says - they're only words - and words are all I have
for my little blog today.


P/S - Stacey from http://www.conspicuousstyle.com/ ( pls visit her site - she has amazing taste )
posted this pc today

wow - thinking black walls, white frames, in this scenario - too much for me to take - wouldn't that be gorgeous ( it already is I know, just saying............)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Privacy Window Treatment

I live in a row house - in the center of the city - so privacy is a very big issue - I could basically lean over and take milk out of my neighbour's fridge when I run out, lol - a slight exaggeration, but only slight - we are very very close - there is not even enough distance between us to make a yard ( just a very narrow courtyard )
Also - because it's a row house there's not a lot of light ( not an issue 100 years ago? ) so window treatment becomes quite a challange.
I tried film, but I felt closed in by it, silly I know - but I did..................and they do not have so many options out there that I could live with. Blinds are just too confining all together for me - so  Dilemma, right?
This summer I staged my mothers duplex for sale - this was a major major overhaul that took a long time - and issues came up that we were not prepared for ( like mold in the bathroom and basement of the lower unit - tres expensive fix ) so budget was tight for decoration - enter the Dollar Store.

I found these plastic ( tiles? ) that connect to each other - hoping to do a window treatment but they did not have enough - so................they ended up on the wall - here and there, this is just one example.

Last week I found them again!
And decided I would try them out for the office window - I like them!  They let whatever little light I get, still come in - but create a little bit of privacy.

they were 2 dollars for 2 in the pack - so 1 dollar each ( wow I am incredible at math ) total cost 10.00
for a pretty unique window treatment - me like it....................I have them attached to an IKEA track system that I already had - so I could slide them over when I want to open the window but you could simply use eyelet screws ( although it would be a pain in the ass to move them over that way - but perfect if you want
to keep them stationary )

you just attach them with the rings - and I suppose  you could get really creative with this - partitions - curtains - wall displays - they could be as large as  you wanted to make them.

They have the same ones at STUDIO SPECIALTY ( Montreal, Toronto and L.A. google it - they have amazing christmas decorations - tons of sparkle) for 45.00 and 30.00 I believe for 4 of them - I paid 4.00 for 4 of them ( again my math skills come in handy ha ha )

Mission accomplished ...........................

For now anyway.


Sharing with
Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I have never been much of a table cloth person - I have one Frette ( we were given as a sample many years ago because we were going to try to sell the Frette line - didn't work out - but I still have that table cloth ) it's white and crisp and the perfect background for decorating a table with sparkle - and I have a few checkered ones because I once went through a stage of that - but they mostly sit in a cabinet never used.
The below pics make me want to make a tablecloth - but I hate sewing ( and I am the daughter of a woman who made custom draperies for years as a living ) and I really suck at it.
I can't sew, and I absolutely positively cannot do anything with hair ( I actually go to my hairdresser twice a week I am embarrassed to say ) cannot use a blow dryer or an iron - fuggedaboudit.
But hey, I can paint walls - and refinish floors - and redo furniture - so I need that girly pampering.
Wow - I am all over the place - how do I do this, I start off talking about tablecloths and I end up on hair????
You see how it's all about ME?

Anyways, this one, made by Courtney from the French Country Cottage(http://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com/)
speaks to me.  Here I go again - usually it's furniture that speaks to me - but sometimes its the whole room lol.
This one fills me with, I don't know what, serenity?

It tells me to take some time off and sit down with a bunch of girlfriends and a bottle of wine.........................

And this one tells me to get back to work,
But in a good way


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My 2 beefs with T.V's

I don't like them, period, they offend my design sensibilities, lol ( they really do though )
They are eyesores to me - and although they are making them flatter and flatter they
keep getting bigger and bigger and take up far too much eye space on the walls, consoles, etc
They destroy mantels - which I know is the best place to keep them - but the decorating
possibilities that are lost because of them is a shame.

Now these, however, are luxurious...............Hidden Mirror T.V.'s , a dream come true

that's the answer - over the mantel - a clean beautiful mirror - which turns into a t.v. when needed.

I love mirrors - and have more than I care to mention hanging on my walls - but I think perhaps I need
one more......................this bathroom vanity mirror is a T.V. -

and how about this one..................have a dinner party - clear the table and then you and your guests
can just watch T.V on the table, lol - the actual table is a t.v. -
Ok - maybe not in a dining room - but awesome as a conference table?

THANK YOU MR SAMSUNG - you must have been an interior decorator in your previous life.

Now my second beef with T.V is it's all crap -
The same shows over and over again - all reality which although I am guilty of watching a couple of them, seem a little creepy - millions of people just watching people living their lives seems absurb to say the least - almost like THE TRUMAN SHOW ( with Jim Carrey )
HGTV is perpetually on one of my T.V. 's like background music, lol - but I have seen every show so many times that I could turn the sound off and lip sync ( HGTV Karoke anyone? ) every word they are saying -
And the commericals?  INSULTING for the most part - so much so that when I see one that uses a little thought I get excited................for the most part I press the mute button as soon as they come on.
Back in the good old days ( the 70's - I know I know dating myself again ) there was so much choice, every night - all different - variety shows - comedies - dramas - mini series -  each show came on ONCE a week - so there was actually something to look forward to. Not to mention Johnny Carson who can simply not be replicated, period.

Shows that are actually worth the time out to sit and watch ( in my humble opinion ) are

Enlightened ( with Laura Dern - fanfreakingtastic - really really really fanfreakingtastic
Boardwalk Empire
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Actors Studio
ANY SEINFELD rerun - again seen hundreds of times - but can still make me laugh every time.

Real Time with Bill Maher
Anthony Bourdain ( only because I am in love with him - seriously - I do not just love him - I have fallen in love with this guy )

and then of course HGTV - because even though I have seen every show - as many times as they are aired - I can't help it - I am addicted.

And those are Tuesdays beefs everyone.


Remakes revisited

I was going through some old photos last night - and came across these remakes ( I had previously posted them but then again I tend to repeat myself when talking also, lol )

I bought 4 of these for extra seating in the dining room - isn't the fabric lovely?  Don't think you can get more 60's, do you?
Here's how they look today, I say today because I have been playing with the idea of doing them an antique gray color now....................

And this fireplace is made of plaster - it's in storage right now - until I can make room for it again -
purchased at the Sally Ann - it was orange and black originally - horrible - why was everything orange and black back in the day?  Like living in an eternal Halloween.  Anyways much nicer white!

Then there was this CL find -

I love the shape of this chair -
Reupholstered and listed for sale - and it still sits in storage

I am going to reupholster it again in burlap - and distress the hell out of it - maybe I can unload it then?
I think it needs to look more " antique " and not so pristeen.

And then just randomly I am posting a picture of this sofa that I absolutely love - it was listed on CL a long time ago - and I copy and pasted the photo just so I could look at it from time to time - God I am so strange.

I am in love with her curves - and orange doesn't seem so bad to me all of a sudden...............

Have a good one


Monday, January 23, 2012

Catch a falling star.................

This piece was a nightmare, really, worse than Freddy,
I started with this


The veneer was very damaged - so I decided I would just peel the bad areas away and use wood filler -
Bad idea - it ended up looking like " good old rocky top " so I sat and stewed ( and stewed and sat )
and realized I had no choice but to remove the veneer entirely.  Keeping in mind that I have never done this before but it looks sooooo easy when you see tutorials on line - and away we go

this is not easy - even though I steamed it with an iron -
I was starting to lose my mind around this time
 an old world map of dresser hell
keep in mind please that this is the entrance way to my house - the only place I have 2 square spare feet to work
wow - all the veneer is off - guess what? so are big chunks of the wood underneath

had a sheet of " drawer bottoms " and had John cut a size to fit on top

and clamped it, lol

until it finally looked like this


painted interior drawers

decisions decisions decisions - glass or wood?  I know the glass gives it glam and a little glitz but the wood looks so authentic - soooooo, will sell this piece with options, glass handles will be extra dollars - because they are expensive!

pretty color, isn't it?

one last before

and one last after

This piece was a lot more work than usual - I had to replace the drawer bottoms - remove veneer - patch the sides with wood filler - and I added wood trim to the top - not only for decorative purposes but also to help secure the veneer
I replaced on the top.
It was worth every moment!

In case anyone is interested the colors are
BEHR Botticelli Angel and Ultra White
I used a flat finish because it was waxed for protection also.

Linking up ( I think, lol - still haven't figured out that process entirely )
to Better After - Debbie Doos  Miss Mustard Seed and French Country Cottage


Sunday, January 22, 2012

In all her raw beauty

restoration hardware eat your heart out

battered beaten beauty ( even came with a mirror - not the one in the pic )
 My latest purchase - (the customer picked up the buffet/hutch  yesterday ) and this came in -
I don't like wood - I really do prefer painted furniture ( although I do have a couple
of wood pieces in my house, they are certainly not my favorites ) but this piece I  love just the way it is...................please disregard the handles - I set it up in my dining room without even wiping it down - I couldn't wait to " stage " it, lol - John looks at me like I've lost my mind, well honey, maybe I should
have told you earlier, I lost it some time ago and have been trying to fake it ever since. Has it worked?

I keep walking by it and saying this is the nicest find so far, although I say that about everything,
This is the best supper I have ever had - this is the best book I have ever read, this is the best movie
I have ever seen, you get the picture?  BUT I mean it everytime I say it - and this really is the best
dresser I have found to date.  I'm drooling on my desk right now, so will say ttfn and run and get
the windex before he wakes up!