Dedicated to simple decor ideas - especially in white! - inspiration for living simply,
reusing what you have, and scouring for vintage or thrifted finds. Some of my own DIY projects described here too.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Your Inner Stylist: Pushing One's Creativity

Can you create a stunning vignette? While I had just been over on decor8 the other day, I noticed Holly has set up a challenge on one of her new flickr groups, Interior Styling. She urges budding and experienced stylists to create their own vignettes, in their own home, using one's own things. OK. I'm up for that! I've been lax around here since the summer, only gaining energy while my hubby has time off, and with that, my creativity comes back (phew! mothering two busy little people under 7 years old wears me thin!). So thanks, Holly! I feel inspired and ready to undertake some new work in the New Year!
This was my contribution, made many months ago, to the Interior Styling group:

This was so long ago, that I have since restyled the table all together, blogged about here. Now I must don that creative cap!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Budget Apartment By Tim Neve

Budget Apartment By Tim Neve

Recently posted on one of my very favourite blogs, decor8 , I just had to add it here to the growing collection of simple homes in white. Holly says that Tim has 'gotten beige right.' Indeed! Its mix with white is one I've never seen before, making beige stunning ~ if you even thought that was possible!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My tiny, but now color cohesive, finished patio

Here is my latest finished project: my patio, just a little slice of outside for us and the kids - as evidenced by the sandbox in the right hand corner (really quite a life saver for me as it can occupy them for a while : ) ).

While I was trying to make the chandelier work, or place it on Craigslist, as it only fits outside, I also wanted to create colour cohesion throughout my small space, following the interior to allow the eye to travel outdoors. To achieve this, paint was needed! Items that were black had to lighten, so I painted the Ikea Noresund table grey. I used Tremclad grey primer. My thought was if grey wasn't it, then I could go with white on top. But, it turns out, I like the dull grey.

My inspiration for a grey table came from one of Judith Wilson's fantastic books, The Natural Home:

Particularly this metal table from Wilson's book:

Et voila, here is my table, along with breakfast and coffee. The dish is Ikea, and the cup is from my new favourite line of Sophie Conran Portmerion pottery. I love the texture the pottery. It feels like its just thrown off the wheel.

The plant stand after 15 years is beginning to rust and needed a face lift. Here it is before. But I did not use metal paint - especailly spray paint - that was an unenjoyable toxic experience. So, I just mixed some blue and white latex for a chipped, beachy feel. I won't mind if it chips some more. Who knows, maybe next summer I'll paint it another colour? At any rate, I think I've achieved some colour flow, and that crazy chandelier works a bit better than before.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Feature home - Summer Cottage

Ah summer, and I've been on a computer hiatus, resulting in blog neglect. At any rate, I've been painting my home - again, and have photos of this to feature soon . . .
As I'm just checking mail and poking around my favourite haunts, I've come across this simply breezy, light, summery UK cottage featured on apartment therapy. The mirrors are really fabulous and the kitchen is cute as a retro button.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Painted chanedlier

Ever since I saw the cover, and blogged about Josephine Ryan's French Home, I've been lusting after this chandelier, which I found at a local shop. Its rather interesting to me now, how some things can look so fabulous in a book, snapped by a photographer, and in France, of course, compared to one's 'standard apartment.'

Its quite large! So large, my hubby was walking into it while it hung in our living room apartment. (Sadly, he also started calling it a bee hive.) It really needs a high ceiling, or a light filled kitchen over a table so that it need not need to be turned on! Just like its pictured in the book. So I hum and haw if it will work on the patio, and if it should be placed on craigslist. Then I wonder if all would be better at least with candles, and perhaps a few crystals, like in the book, of course! What do you think?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Simple Style

I recently read - and studied - Simple Style: Creating Relaxed Interiors for the Contemporay Home by Julia Bird. I adore her books. They are so fresh and inspiring. I felt like I needed to absorb this book just to embrace it. Oh, and then I did! I cleared and cleared, had a garage sale, and now have a white canvas to work with. Pictures on that another day ; ) Unlike a lot of home style books I have read lately, there are few pictures of family homes/living. Julia, however, captures a few of these in Simple Style which is so great: illustrating that living with children need not equal homes of colorful chaos, with too many toys (Which children don't need anyway. Simplicity works wonders on children's calmness too!)

This is what inspired me, from photographer of Simple Style Hotze Eisma:

More photos from Simple Style can also be found here

Monday, June 1, 2009

craigslist find - would you buy it?

I found this small dresser on craigslist last night, and have made an appointment to pick it up tonight. Close up, it looks quite scratched and needs hardwear. Its $50. Would you buy this piece? I'm hoping it'll fit on a short wall, where little else will fit, to hold a reading lamp - while reading on the couch. I'm not shy about painting furniture either! Even when its antique, such as this one. Hmm, given it will be in the same living/dining space as the aforementioned painted cabinet, and behind the diningtable and chairs.

You may recognized the table and chairs as Ikea, and you may notice the opened Expedit box, in the place where the craigslist piece would go. Yes, on the weekend, I made yet another trip to Ikea, this time for the new, smaller, Expedit, in white of course.
Well, it looked really bad in this spot, and very boxy. Just imagine inserting this piece into the picture above, adjacent to the couch, and placing a reading lamp on it. Nope! It did not give a modern looked like I hoped. Oh well, here's to my craigslist find. Hopefully it'll still be waiting for me at our 7pm appointment this evening. I'll keep you posted. . .

I wonder what color to paint it. I was thinking grey, but it would not really match the table. Decisions, decisions. What would you paint it?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bazaar Style - book review

If you need a little eclectic infusion into your home, or throughout, here's a really great find, sure to inspire: Bazaar Style. Not only does it capture the essence of beautifully re-purposing objects, textiles and furniture (eg. with a coat of white paint), it defies (magazine) style trends, mixing furniture and fabrics across time. Its also ecological and economical. Arguably, bazaar style takes time to develop. It takes years to collect treasures, furniture and fabrics, authors Selina Lake and Joanna Simmons assert. More poigantly, they argue that the trend of 'pairing down, putting away and use of pale colors is a blip' in the history of Western decor: It seems that people have always craved color in their homes; since Medival times, people have painted walls (beginning with lime wash) and put up wall paper since the mid-1800s, especially with the development of richer dyes. While the pictures in Bazaar Style are lush, often teaming with charm, the text describes how to layer color and pattern, encouraging boldness, offering streams of ideas, to personalize each room in the home. Throughout the book, care is given to the function of items and rooms, helping to plan rooms, place furniture, focal points, displays, the feeling captured by one's decor scheme.

Have you read this book yet? Its a must read, full of many fresh, colorful ideas, and happens to feature a lot of pink, a color I have fallen for since having a little girl. Here, take a peek inside. More of Selina Lake's sumptuous pictures can be seen here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Living with Toys - Inviting and Calming Playspaces

images courtesy pablohoney
Often in decor literature, there is a dearth of childrens' playspaces. There is an overemphasis on decorating childrens' rooms. In my experience, young children don't play much in their rooms, no matter how beautifully decorated, but around where their parents work in the home. Here are some lovely playspaces sourced from flickr. Photos of these playspaces promote warmth and gentle development. Don't you feel like playing here? If nothing else, these play areas show how style need not always be compromised by toys.

This play kitchen has been fashioned so simply and elegantly, suggesting a mirad of ways in which parents can create toys within their home, incorporating their own beautiful furniture.
image courtesy fashnock

image courtesy of fashnock
More inviting play spaces.

image courtesy farmergopi

image courtesy fashnock

Creating a calm play space can be a challenge, especially since so many toys are given to children these days, that they and their parents feel over run with toys. Editing your children(s)' toy collection may seem daunting, and some fear that their child will miss certain toys. In my experience, some toys might have been mistakenly given up too soon, and a gentle conversation about that can suffice. Nonetheless, the fewer toys, the more they are played with. There is less to pick up too!

Many parents have been moving towards more natural play items made from wood and wool and these alone are beautiful toys to behold. Quality crafted and often from wood, natural toys inspire creativity and make pleasant and beautiful displays; I enjoy placing my children's toys on the shelves, whereas when we has plastic when my son was little, I was much more inclined to throw into a box, out of sight. One of my favourite toy sites is Three Sisters Toys and she has some lovely photos of some very inviting, calm, creative play areas. Many parents are also finding a great deal of inspiration from Amanda Blake Soul's. Creative Family is an inspiring book for beautiful crafting and toy making with children. Amanda's home is beautiful and very inviting for children to create and play in a peaceful, loving environment. Her children are very blessed.

And to add one more photo for today, here is the playspace in our home. My dad made the kids these playstands based on these plans, and these, and this one. Between the playstands along the slidingdoor is a small fridge and stove. Lately, they have been playing restaurant in here, and from time to time my son move the stands around to create different playspaces.

Decor Ideas using Antiques Vintage Items and Repurposed Furniture and Accessories

Here are some inspiring finds of the day using retro and vintage finds, creating a personalized, eclectic style.

images courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Friday, May 15, 2009

Feature apartment

A few more display ideas to add for today! The simplicity of each arrangement make for a stunning display.

Clutterfree work space

New desk, originally uploaded by skarpetka86.

Such a cheery workspace! Its colors, organization behind glass doors, and lack of clutter simply invite creativity and productivity.

More clean lines - living room

originally uploaded by Nestled In.

Here is another unfussy, yet inviting space.

Kitchen organization

Kitchen 01, originally uploaded by Laurana.

Here is a photo from flickr, which marries bright color, and clean lines for a sunny kitchen

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feature Apartment

Here is another lovely apartment featured as this month's apartment on Livingetc. Certainly this apartment has beautiful structure on its own, however, Hannah has kept her decor simple and the lines throughout very clean. She has mixed modern and vintage, white with bold color and print inspiration, with an especially girly touch in the bedroom. The mirrors add a light and airy touch. Although the kitchen is tiny, its streamlined to cook and very cute. I like the reflective tile backsplash. It echos the lightness of the mirrors.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shabby Chic Home - book review

I have to attribute much of my style inspiration from Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Home. What started out as home renovations for Ashwell turned to a chronicle of the transformation of her beach home. The before and after pictures are truly inspiring. An experienced treasure hunter, Ashwell breathes new life into home accents, such as chandeliers and furniture with 'good bones' (structure), demonstrating just what a coat of white paint can accomplish. Ultimately, Ashwell's shabby chic style embodies simplicity and embraces the 'less is more' philosophy.

European from the start, Ashwell's style is of a French villa or English countryside. In describing her style, she writes "My philosophy of decor is that nothing should be too precious. A child should feel free to put her feet on the sofa, a guest, his cup on the coffee table. I believe in cozy, not fussy; relaxed, not stiff. I believe in living in, on, and around one's things, not merely with them.
A roomy, slipcovered chair big enough for a child and a dog or two, with slightly wrinkled, worn fabric and ample arms perfect for plopping your legs over; an old trunk, its paint peeling around the edges, given new life as a coffee table; a vase of roses from the garden, a bit wilted, a few petals missing; a vintage mirror, framed with a white floral iron piece salvaged from an old gate and chipped in places, but still charming; a slightly rusted flea market chandelier; a scratched-up coal scuttle used as a bread box; an array of vanilla-scented candles adding a warm glow to a cozy room--these are some of the elements of the effortless, inviting look I prefer. Colors in keeping with this way of living tend to be soft, palatable tones such as seafoam, mint, and celadon greens; dusty roses; pale sky blues; and ivories, creams, and grays that appear to be muted by age, or crisp, clean whites that blend with everything. Brighter or darker colors can occasionally be a part of the look if they are treated with subtlety, combined with white or light colors, or if they appear to be faded by time."

And so, an effortless description of how to capture such a style - or add a dash of shabbiness to our homes - making repurposing furniture even more inviting than ever before.

If you're looking for some easily found shabby chic treasures, be sure to visit Elizabeth's Centre Stage shop - address and photos to the right.

Images courtesy of the Shabby Chic Official site.