Design Plans and Outcomes

Those that have been reading my blog for a while would know how much I love putting together design plans (aka mood boards). I thought I would summarize a few plans I’ve put together so far, and show you how faithful the outcomes were to them.

The Plan: Master Bedroom
The Outcome. Read more about this transformation here.
The Plan 1.0: Living Room
The Plan 2.0: Living Room
The Outcome…read more about this transformation here.
The Plan: Basement Bathroom
The Outcome…read more here.
The Plan 1.0: Home Office
The Plan 2.0: Home Office
The Outcome… read more here.
The Plan: Master Bathroom
The Outcome: we shall find out in April/May timeframe.
So, are you a big fan of the mood board exercise? Did your projects turn out mostly according to the plans?

Master Bedroom Before and After

I should feel great that I’ve completed yet another room makeover in my house, or..should I? Well, perhaps not. I’ve missed not just one, but two awesome opportunities to meet some fellow bloggers in person — the Blogpodium on Friday due to work (aka rat race); and the Canadian Design Blogger Meetup due to mother nature (blizzard and skating rink at where I am). Regret aside, I am sure there will be more meetup opportunities, and hopefully then nothing could stop me from going again.

Since we were pretty much trapped inside, we decided to finish painting our master bedroom and wrap up the project. I would like to start by sharing a few pictures of what our master bedroom used to look like Before and During the makeover.

This is what it looked like from two years ago. I need the room to be completely dark in order to sleep and hence the ugly espresso dupioni drapes with blackout liners.

The new bedroom in the basement gave me a perfect reason to replace the bed set that we took with us from our last house.

And the new upholstered bed from Williams-Sonoma, and the Niche nightstands from West Elm arrived! 

So this is our After of our master bedroom. The entire project took about two months.  

The ever-popular Windsor Smith Pelagos Mist drapes with blackout liners.
West Elm Niche Nightstand/Bedside Table in White

I was hoping to find an area rug from the Elte Outlet, but unfortunately they only have ~50 patterns at 5×8 (all the rest are 6×9 or larger), nothing out of which really caught my eye. So I gave the Ikea Alvine Ruta rug a try, and I think it turned out great. Do you know how insanely cheap it is for a 5’7″ x 7’10”, hand-woven, 100% pure new wool rug like this?

And no master bedroom should ever go without displaying some girl’s best friends, right? My daily bling-bling.

In summary, these are the things we’ve done to transform our master bedroom:

  1. Ordered the Windsor Smith Pelagos fabric in Mist from the US for drapery;
  2. Replaced the old bed set with a upholstered bed from Williams-Sonoma, and two nightstands from West Elm;
  3. Replaced the old table lamps with two taller crystal lamps from Union Lighting;
  4. Replaced the ceiling light with a 6-light Maria Theresa-style crystal chandelier from Union Lighting;
  5. Painted the wall in ICI Dulux Silver Cloud;
  6. Re-upholstered an old bench in Laura Ashley Bowlin Driftwood Fabric from InVu Drapery;
  7. Added an Ikea Alvine Ruta Rug.

Total time spent: on and off over a 2-month period;
Total cost: too painful to recall.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and stay warm!

French Wing Chair Makeover

First of all, don’t forget to enter to win my 2012 first giveaway of a Pair of Designer Trellis Pillow Cushion Covers.

Remember the vintage French Wing Chair I picked up a while ago? After tossing around many different fabric options, I finally decided to go with a cream velvet. Still, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.

Before I revealed the makeover, let’s take a quick re-cap of how dated it looked before my rescue.

I think it turned out pretty awesome, do you? I especially like the fact that not only did I up-cycled a vintage chair, I also only paid a fraction of what a brand-new one would cost.

The Chronicle of Our Dining Room Transformations

You are not going to believe it but we actually purchased our current house in one visit to the sales centre, yes folks, that included signing a purchase agreement. On a sunny and warm Saturday in December 2007, out of boredom hubs and I decided to go house hunting. Our last house was a 4-bedroom 2,000 sq ft in an established neighbourhood in Richmond Hill. We really didn’t need a bigger house, but we wanted one. Have you ever been to a house trapped in the 80’s decor style? Well, our old house was like that, and no matter how much work (with the limited design skills I had back then) we put into it, it still didn’t feel like the one.

To backtrack a little bit, that deal-sealing trip wasn’t our first house hunting effort. Before that, I was searching on (the now and various builder sites, but none jumped out. I guess we did reach that tipping point when I stepped into that sales centre. Upon a quick scan, none of the models caught my eye. It must be the holiday spirit or just our luck, the sales rep Louise was extremely nice and asked what we were looking for in a new house. My first thought was…not a cookie cutter. But that’s a tall order, isn’t it, cookie cutter sort of comes with the territory for any new construction these days. Louise paused, turned back to his office, and brought with him a floor plan that had me always gasp in joy! It had 90% of the features from my wish list, the reason why it was in the back office was because this builder only built this model as lottery grand prize show homes! I guess someone really wanted to wrap up a quick sale before Christmas, eh?

Well, one of the downside of buying from a floor plan is that all the locations and lengths of entryways and walls are approximate. Just lookie this odd wall opening between our living room and dining room in the picture below — I could never tell from a blueprint!

July 2009: we had a tough time with the odd layout of this supposedly dining room. If I put a long seating at the wall shown below, I wouldn’t have enough room for a 8-person dining table. If the sideboard went there, then the table and the chairs would have blocked the view. Anyhow, this was what we moved into, a pretty awkward dining space that doesn’t lead directly into kitchen.

Dec 2009: our dining set was delivered by Anne-Quinn Furniture just in time for the Christmas Eve dinner party. As you could tell, nothing much had been done in this room…thankfully the food and wine was good. 🙂
March 2010: I must have been in over my head that I took up a not-so-novice DIY half-wall wainscoting challenge. You can read more about how it came together here. We also painted the wall in Behr Stable Hay…I shouldn’t have known better from the name of the paint color that it was going to turn out very golden/yellow. Hated the wall color and must get rid of it. The 9-frame gallery wall was yet again a failed attempt to decorate that 2/3 wall.
April 2010: our sideboard arrived. Other than the wall color, it looked pretty good from this angle, IMO.
November 2010: I finally made time to re-paint the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter. It new color goes better with dark dining set, white wainscoting and blue silk drapes, don’t you think? And I am happy to report that so far I haven’t changed my mind yet on what we’ve done to the room.
You can read more about our dining room here or by clicking the Dining Room label.

The Chronicle of Our Living Room Transformations

This post has also been added under the “Living Room” tab on the front page. I need to caution you before you proceed to read the rest of the blog that some old pictures are horrendous. I am still scratching my head as to how our living room ever looked like that. Anyhow, here it goes.  

In July 2009, when we first moved into our newly-built house, the living room was in some serious need for character and life. The walls were white, floor was laminate, and it also warehoused the old furniture we took with us from our last house.

December 2009, to prep the living room “for show” in time for a Christmas party, I picked up some decor accessories and furniture I later parted with on CList — the room not only looked “blah” but also was impractical: why on earth did I put an oval white silk ottoman in the middle of the room? It’s so pristine that none of guests dared to sit on or use it.

June 2010, in my quench to add some vintage look to the living room, I put up a gallery wall of antique botanical prints over the fireplace. The flow appeared awkward, and the room still looked very much like a builder home.

Fast forward one year, June 2011, I came to the realization that wall panel/wainscoting could be a good way to add character and accomplish that “always there” look I’ve been so much going after.
We also replaced the ceiling light with the Edwardian lantern to add more vintage touch.

September 2011, the room was filled with a lot of my favorite: Windsor Smith Pelagos fabric, antique coffee table with criss-cross legs, finial urns, etc., but they were all upstaged by the masculine black cowhide sofa set. They cost us tons of stones, so to get rid of them wouldn’t be rational. The only hope was to finish the basement soon so that we could retire them down there.

November 2011, a fantastic score of the Urban Barn Lumex coffee table, and the newly acquired Martha Stewart Fretwork rug seemed to have brought the room together.

December 2011 was a good month. We finished our basement, and were able to send the black cowhide sofa set down to my husband’s man cave. I added two curved arm chairs upholstered in a creamy fabric (similar to the long sofa), a mirrored chest with clover cutout, and re-arranged a few pieces of furniture and accessories.

And the living room is finally “fully us”. It was a painstaking process to put this room together as it was done while my design skills and tastes were evolving. It was however definitely worth the ride, and I’ve learnt so much from the experience.

You can read more about how our living room came together here.

I Am Back, and Makeovers

First of all, happy new year everyone! As you may have noticed, I’ve been extremely quiet over the past two weeks. In addition to hosting a Christmas Eve dinner party (whew, ain’t I glad that’s over! Stressful it was!), hubs and I vacayed in San Francisco and Bay Area for a week. I’ve been since catching up reading your lovely blogs, as well as putting my head back into planning a few small decor projects.

Before the holidays, in my haste to post the basement pictures, I never got around to post some before-and-after pictures of a couple of makeovers. Anyhow, here they are.

The first up are the cane chairs I scored from KJ.

IN PROGRESS (spray painted with computer fabric mock-up)

The second in line are these sad-looking rattan chairs. I remember seeing identical ones from Circa Who, so I couldn’t pass such a rather easy yet high-impact up-cycle opportunity.

AFTER (added a seat base and cushion)

My next re-upholstery adventure is the French Wing Chair. After much consideration, I’ve decided to give velvet a try so I picked up 6 meters of this cream velvet fabric. Would it turn out just as I imagined? I guess we shall see. 

And that’s it for today. Hope you all have a pleasant working week ahead.

Basement Before and After

This weekend is the only weekend, for a little while, that we don’t have any contractors around doing any renovation. Our ears and mind were at complete peace, and we were even able to sleep in a bit. For the next few months I am only going to take up a few tiny projects (mostly decorating) here and there, but nothing major like our master ensuite which is slated for next spring. Hopefully by then I will have recovered from this home reno fatigue.

Before I take you through a tour of our basement, let’s recap on what it looked like before and during the renovation.

Basement Before
Basement Day 7 into renovation
And this is the after.
Hallway leading to one large living area in Hollywood Regency Chinoiserie theme with faux bamboo mirror, Ikea Hemnes dresser in Lee Valley’s BBZ ring pulls, and faux bamboo chairs.
From another angle.
Media Room, aka Anthony’s Man Cave. Do you see my entrenchment everywhere? 🙂 The sofa set was from our living room…I can’t believe we pretty much furnished this area using all our existing furniture!
And this is the built-in wall unit I mentioned yesterday. Can you believe it’s based on Ikea’s Billy bookcase?  When I was given a quote of $10,000 for a wall unit this size, I was determined to find a cheaper alternative (and I did). I will write more about how we had it put together later.
Notice those cane chair fixer-uppers in the front? They are upholstered in Dwell Studio Bella Porte Charcoal fabric from Tonic Living.

This is from the media room overlooking the future art & craft room and the hallway. At the end of the hallway is the cold room. I’ve decided to keep my wine collection in it now that the temperature is perfectly regulated in here with new insulation.

Years ago I used to paint at night as a hobby to declutter my mind. After a series of three Paris paintings, I realized I needed to add a fourth — the summer season, to complete the collection.

And this will be my future art & craft room (area). As we were preparing our basement for renovation a few months ago, I found this unfinished work piled among many of my other pieces. I am sure I intended to paint Paris in the summer…the inspiration was long gone, but I hope to pick up my hobby by completing this one.

So that’s what our basement looks like now. Bedroom and bathroom were covered in last week’s post here. Hope you all had a great weekend.