April 29, 2011

Help Me Pick a Colour Again

Wow - thanks for all the fabulously helpful suggestions on my earlier post about an upcoming DIY project.  In anticipation of the warmer weather I'm really getting my ducks in a row in terms of planning projects.  Next on my list of things to agonize over: this vintage solid wood table I found curbside on garbage day in 2010 (Tanya Time, what can I say?).   


I'm going to use it as a place for the bedroom accent pillows when they aren't in use.  My current system is not working:



I waffled months earlier about what to do with this table (polka dots, solid colour?) but now that I know where I'm going to put it, it should be easier.  At the very least, I promise this is the last time I'll beg for help picking a colour/pattern (you're all just so darn creative!)  Before I commit to anything, go wild: tell me how you envision this table.  Have any inspiring before/after photos of your own furniture makeovers? 

Below are some photos of where the table shall soon live. 





P.S. Click here for more bedroom photos - including the "before". 

April 28, 2011

Half Bath: Fresh Start

Although I tend to work at a snail's pace when it comes to projects (I call it "Tanya Time"), I really stalled on the half bath attached to the guest room.  I loved the accessories (click here to see them, plus a shot of the hideous yellow 70s bathroom that this room previously was) but I couldn't work with them.  I was really dragging my feet figuring out artwork, etc., and it was hard to create a nice transition from the guest bedroom, which has a lot of watery hues.  After my mom gifted me some polka dot towels in a pale blue/turquoise, I realized the bathroom needed a fresh start. 

So, I'm back to square one and the bathroom is even more spartan - if that is at all possible - but I'm feeling more excited about the room.  Of course, the light fixture switcheroo (see here & here) helped and I have a great art project in mind for the big empty space. 

Before I dive in any deeper, what are your suggestions?  Have any of your rooms really stumped you?

You can see the towels in the mirror

This glass dish was a cheap-o estate sale find.  It isn't a
soap dish but I'm using it as one!

April 27, 2011

Marimekko & Table for Two

This Mid2Mod post about Marimekko reminded me that I haven't posted photos of the Marimekko table runner my mom, who visited me in March, sewed for me.  She purchased a Marimekko remnant for placemats or an apron - she just knew I liked the pattern.  Instead, I asked her to make a small table runner I could use in lieu of placemats that would also protect the centre of the table from the heat of a casserole dish, etc.  Anyone with teak knows you have to be careful placing hot or damp things on the wood. 

And, voilà!

In true Dans le Townhouse fashion, I haven't ironed the runner or set the
table "properly" - this is exactly how we use it.  No staging here!

She even made two matching cloth napkins, plus a spare - which I thought was genius.



To make the remnant stretch (although we would have done this anyway, because Marimekko fabric can be pricey) she used a white felted cotton lining.  This created a bit of padding, too.


Perfect for dinner for two!

April 26, 2011

Some Loser Painted It Yellow

I spotted this fantastically simple & beautiful coffee table makeover over at Modern Jane and it reminded me of a funny story.


Years and years ago my Hubby (who was only boyfriend then) inherited an identical table.  But he inherited it in the original blah wood finish.  Thrifty even then, I convinced him to paint it a fun colour.  Because he was obsessed with orange and yellow in those days, I suggested pale yellow.  It turned out ho-hum - a bit tacky, even (it was a horrid shade of yellow - like a bleached egg yolk).  He used it for years, but then it ended up at his dad's because I prefer ottomans and didn't want a coffee table when we finally moved in together.  Fast forward to a few years later and Hubby finds out a childhood friend lives near us in the city we had just moved to.  Hubby goes to visit him and spots a yellow coffee table.  Intrigued, he asks his friend where he got it and the friend says that Hubby's dad gave it to him.  Hubby's friend thought it was ho-hum too because, not knowing it was formerly ours, he said something to the effect of, "too bad some loser painted it yellow". 

P.S.  See the before & after post of the lovely white table makeover at Modern Jane by clicking here.

April 25, 2011

Art Attack: Lotta Nieminen

For those new to my blog, I wholeheartedly support Finnish and Hungarian peeps because of my familial ties.  But, Finnish family or not, this Helsinki artist has the most impressive portfolio.  From her gorgeous illustrations to her fantastic graphic design, I'm in awe.  Thanks to Design is Mine for the introduction!  Read more about Lotta Nieminen here.
 

United Airlines
Image Source

Uponor
Image Source

Businessweek: Global 2
Image Source

Soup
Image Source
Such gorgeous packaging would make me buy this . . .

April 22, 2011

Help Me Pick A Colour, Any Colour

Well, as long as it is from my "approved" list:

But if you have a better colour choice, I am all ears . . .

What are we picking the colour for?  My office (newly adorned with a silhouette gallery wall & fancy magnetic board) is one of our less colourful rooms.  In an effort to create more "flow," I have been injecting some pops of colour so it suits the rest of the townhouse décor.  Remember my bookcase tweaking post?  I'm on a roll.  So, next on the lengthy list of things I plan to spray paint when it is no longer freezing is another office item: a garbage can.


My mom found it yard-saling and had grand plans for it that never came to fruition (hey, she has a long to-do list too).  Somehow (yoink) it became mine.  It has been hiding beside the bed and I have been using a white vase in the office, but it is time to switch things up.


Using a vase as a garbage can

I've been using this pillow my mom DIY'd, from fabric she bought in her teens, as my colour inspiration for the office.  Scroll down for other office pics and then give me your feedback on what colour I should choose for my newest project!  But, because weather is a factor please don't expect a "results" post until July, August - you know, when it stops hailing.  Stupid Ontario. 



A bit more orange was added to the bookcase


This chair & footstool never photographs as "warm" as it is in
real life but this is a pretty good indication of the colour, which is a sort
of an apricot-y orange tweed


April 21, 2011

DIY Magnetic Chalkboard: Phase I

This week I posted about my new silhouette wall.  I'm still so excited it is hard to turn my chair around and actually do work because I just keep ogling it.  I'm also pretty excited about the magnetic board I made that hangs amidst the silhouettes - it looks so much better than my ratty bulletin board (which has so many broken off pins in it that removing or tacking up an item became quite poke-y). 

As you know, it has been so cold where I live that I couldn't apply the chalkboard spray paint I bought for this project (it needs to be at least 10 degrees Celsius for optimal results, and it certainly was not that warm in the garage).  But because the metallic paint is applied with a roller, I applied it in the basement.  Here's the how-to:

I finally found a great vintage frame (it also had a mirror, which is the surface I applied the paint to).

"Before"



In my basement (but you should use a well-ventilated area), I applied the Rust-Oleum magnetic paint to my cleaned mirror with a small roller.  As suggested on the can, I applied numerous very thin coats.  The manufacturers say three coats will work, but they lie.  I literally used the whole damn can (minus a bit used to paint the frame).  After using almost all of the paint, I could finally get a magnet to stick & hold up some paper.  Then I roughed up the frame, cleaned it and applied some leftover magnetic paint with a paintbrush - it took two coats for even coverage.

Although it took days and days to finally get all of the paint on, the results are impressive - I created a magnetic surface from a mirror and a can of paint! 

Some tips:
  • Allow more than the recommended drying time in between coats for a smooth surface
  • Mix the paint really well each time you use it
  • Buy a nice smooth roller that won't create "dimpling"
  • Keep a magnet handy to test the magnetism after each coat dries
  • Don't fool yourself into thinking this can be done in an afternoon

The halfway finished project

I didn't let it dry enough in between coats, so I don't have the smoothest
surface ever, but it works!


Proof of magnetism

Now it is time to rock the magnetic poetry . . .

April 20, 2011

A Note to My Kitchen

Try to be more like this kitchen (minus the valence):

Pinterest
Via Design Manifest

Or this one:

Via StyleLinx

Honestly, I think I am just loving the sunny, brightness of these kitchens.  The photos below represent the kinda weather I'm lookin' at and it makes the whole house dreary.  I have oodles of marking to do & all I want to do is curl up with a good book.  How about everyone gets perfect!?! 

Source

Source


April 19, 2011

Silhouette Wall

Sunday was a momentous day: for the first time in the years & years of my collecting (and now months of blogging about) silhouettes, my collection is finally on the wall in my office.  Without further ado, behold:

That is my new DIY'd magnetic board in the centre





I first fiddled with my arrangement on the floor, then used templates to "test" it out on the wall.  But, I ended up shifting around a few as we were hanging anyway. 

Playing with the arrangement before committing


Anyone who has said that a gallery wall is an easy project LIES, or else I am doing it wrong.  It took bloody forever to decide on arrangement, then get everything straight & balanced.  We missed dinner for this project and ate at 9:00p.m!  (Perhaps I am extra cranky because of the frame fiasco).  But, the before & after difference makes me happy enough to forget the headache and tell everyone how easy this was.

The REAL "Before"

The latest "Before"

Here it is, one last time . . .

Still to do: hide the closet track to make my closet-to-nook conversion complete.  We have kept the doors in case the next owners want to convert this back into a closet.  Because we installed new floors when we moved in, there are no holes for the doors on the floor.  Regardless, the doors will be an easy install project should they been needed again.  But I like the openness of the office without a closet and it suits my purposes.


Tomorrow I will tell you about Phase I of my DIY magnetic chalkboard, seen on the silhouette wall.

April 18, 2011

Abstract Painting How-to + New Kitchen Photos

The painting I made for the kitchen really breaks a lot of "rules" about art.  I wanted something pretty, something vintage-y but modern, something that "went" with the kitchen & I set to work with these goals in mind, which is a big no-no for many professional artists and I respect that.  Art is about more than decorating.  So, I want it to be clear that what I've made is really more "craft" than art.  A fun project, a hobby I enjoy, and not an artistic statement.

Finally - a slightly sunnier day for a fresh new photo
P.S. Ignore the bananas, we're on a fruit smoothie kick

How-to:

First I bought a large square canvas on sale (I have been stockpiling them whenever I find a good price).  I tend to just move paint around as the mood strikes (see here & here for examples of other paintings I have made), but this time I challenged myself by doing something a bit more controlled: circles.  I cheated and sketched them out first:



Then, with a variety of paintbrushes (one big, a couple small - all with shorter bristles for more precision), I worked the circles and background alternately so that there would be "movement" - I didn't want the painting to look like a flat wallpaper pattern (although that would look nifty too).  I used my brushes to create subtle texture and followed the perimeter of the circle with paint, instead of painting across the circle.  I used acrylic paint because I like the fast drying time and easy clean up - plus you can easily paint over areas you don't like!  That is something I definitely did once or twice.



Mmmmm . . . textured.

My tip: to make a crisp, clean pastel (think Easter & nurseries) use a white like titanium white.  For the vintage-y pastels (you can really see the difference in the pink circles) use titanium buff.  You'd be surprised how little of the coloured paint (red + white for pink, etc) you need.


Inspiration:

Although I was initially inspired by the pattern on a vintage lunch set I have (first photo), I used the painting to unify elements in the kitchen: the red accents, black & white floor, black & white houndstooth chairs, and (of course) the pale green and turquoise that I love.

My original inspiration: my vintage luncheon set
 (there's two more with the set!)

Black & white floor we've chosen to work with
(as opposed to replace)
   
Black & white houndstooth print I chose to recover the chairs with,
to go with the floor


Colourful kitchen accents

I also tried not to compete with the artwork in or near the kitchen, like Hubby's grandpa's painting (below) or my mom's print (above the kitchen sink).




And that is it!
To see more kitchen pictures (or to read about the "before," the backsplash tiling process or how we re-varnished the cabinets, click on the links). 
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