Can a Couch Change Your Quality of Life?

When Max and I bought our house we found ourselves with a whole lot more space than we had in our apartment, but not any more furniture to fill it. Luckily, the previous owners had left a couple pieces behind and we were very grateful to use them in our basement.

The free furniture was of the overstuffed and chocolate brown variety, popular at many big box stores but not so popular with me.

Aside from aesthetics, the real issue with the furniture (two chairs, a loveseat, and a couch) was the fact that it was reclining.

Stay with me here I know that sounds like a positive. But reclining furniture requires some mechanical parts- in this case big metal bars that made it pretty uncomfortable.

I had a couch I couldn’t lay across. And I had to sit miles away from Max.

So slowly we gave away and sold pieces until it was time to bite the bullet and get a new couch.

A SECTIONAL.

And guess where we purchased it from? That’s right my favourite store. Urban Barn.

This is the Sedgwick Sofa from Urban Barn, and I had to buy it because it was being discontinued.

Every sofa I want is being discontinued ha! This might mean I have bad taste but it also means I get discounts!

So Max and I ordered it in and let me tell you it has CHANGED OUR LIVES.

The chaise side is so wide we can both lay on it. But usually I just sprawl out myself.

It has the perfect low profile so that if you’re playing pool or ping pong (beer pong more likely) or even darts in the back you can still see the TV. The low profile also helps it to take up less visual space because it is actually HUGE.

In terms of comfort, it’s actually one of the most firm options Urban Barn has. Max and I really prefer firm cushions and believe they will only get softer over time! The support is really great. Also all of the cushions are removable in case they need to be cleaned (under warranty of course) or re-stuffed which is always something I look for when buying furniture.

Even the arms are super comfortable to lean up against. It’s like they’re curved specifically for laying.

Of course I picked up a couple new pillows for the couch in navy blue. I liked that they had a common theme but didn’t match-match. The middle bolster is a Ralph Lauren pillow we already had.

And the colour of the sofa is actually really great. A light grey with some beige in there, great texture, and a bit of the salt and pepper look I love. I was going to go with the darker grey and I’m so glad I didn’t. This colour is called Delta Grey.

So, can a couch improve your quality of life? Yes.

People always assume we rarely use our upstairs living room because of the great rec room we have in the basement, but the opposite was true, all because of a very uncomfortable seating area. Now I find we are getting a ton of use out of it, watching movies, lounging together, and of course watching the NHL Playoffs.

Max and I are so pleased with our choice.

In other news, we recently started on another exciting project! Stay tuned for more on our bathroom reno – I hope to finish up demo and get a post up really soon with the new design plan developments!

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What to Do When You Start to Hate a Project

I feel like by this point I have posted to death not only about the closet project, but more specifically, how much I hated it. I rambled a bit about our struggles in this post and this post.

dsc_1682Unfortunately, this is a hazard of the trade when it comes to DIY. Sometimes it seems like we’re bombarded by “after” photos on Instagram, and have pinned a ton of dream closets on Pinterest (millions), which makes it all the more frustrating when you’re stuck in the middle of the project and that final reveal seems so far away. Therefore, I really wanted to get a bit more in depth about what to do when you start to hate a project, and how to get through to the “after”.

  1. Be realistic – I am no Joanna Gaines (oh how I wish I was), and I KNOW THIS. I am much too short and blonde to ever be her, plus she has more skill and design sense in her pinky finger than I will possess in my lifetime. So, I do not attempt Joanna-level projects. Can I rip a house down to the studs and beautifully rebuild it? No. No I cannot. Knowing your limitations and skill level are so important when dreaming up projects, because understanding what may be difficult for you, can prevent you from ever getting into a project you hate in the first place. It seems so easy on HGTV when they transform a whole house in an hour with commercials, but that doesn’t mean just anybody can pull it off. As Max and I improve our skills we tackle larger projects, but I am eternally grateful we didn’t start with a huge kitchen renovation, or we may never have done another one! Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  2. Make sure you have a sanctuary – Renovations and projects disrupt your life, no doubt about it. Max and I often have at least one room in our house torn apart, and it can be chaotic. If you saw open heart surgery half-way through it would look like murder, right? Which is why it’s so important to be able to shut the door and escape the project for a while if you need too. I know the scale of some projects makes this impossible, but I always try to have the rest of my home in order so that I can relax there, away from the stress of the tornado-room. IMG_6472
  3. Get those finishing pieces – Nothing motivates you to finish a project like having that final piece of artwork or pretty pillow or coffee table tray in advance, just ready to go in the finished space. Buying some of these pieces in the thick of a renovation can be the pick-me-up you need to get through to the end of the project so you can see how they look in the new room.
  4. Take photos – Even if you don’t have a little blog to post them to, and even if they’re taken on your phone in terrible lighting, taking pictures along the way can be huge in terms of motivation. When things seem bleak in the middle of a project, take a peek at that before photo to see just how far the space has come. And when it’s done, compare again so you can be extra proud of what you accomplished.
  5. Know when to walk away -…know when to run. Sorry, I’m getting off track here this has nothing to do with “The Gambler,” but I have found as Max and I worked on projects that were getting really frustrating, that it really helped to know when to put the tools down and walk away (not forever obviously, or things would never get done). When we’re fighting, or things aren’t working out, or we make a costly mistake, sometimes its best to just call it quits for the day, apologize, and watch a movie. You don’t do good work when you’re angry. Max gets rougher in his handling of materials and tools the more frustrated he gets. Walking away saves us from breaking things, making more mistakes, and hating each other along with the project we’re working on. dsc_1569
  6. Have fun – We DIY because we love it. Just because one project doesn’t go how we expected doesn’t mean it isn’t something we enjoy. It’s important to always take a step back, especially when you’re knee deep into a project, and acknowledge that this is something you like to do. Either that, or just hire it out.

Let me know if you have any questions.

THE CLOSET IS DONE

THE CLOSET IS DONE AND I AM SO HAPPY. Never have I been more excited to complete a project, but this time not only am I pumped about my new shoe shelves, I’m also just so glad it’s over.

This one wasn’t easy.

Any yet today, after I finished painting the ceiling and Max hung the hanging bars and the trim, it was finally completed.

We then hung some mirrors in my jewellery and vanity area and I popped this wood tray in that I bought a couple months (MONTHS) ago at Homesense.

There is something about looking at an empty closet that is so exciting. As someone who loves organization I couldn’t wait to jam all my crap in there.

But first I took a few more pictures of the empty room.

And the way it relates to the bedroom and bathroom.

And how Max got those hanging bars in there. He ended up having to use these painted blocks because the brackets were curved at the top.

And for the longer bars he drilled a hole through the centre piece of wood since there is actually one bar all the way across. He also had to trim the metal to get it in there. This way they are screwed right into the wall rather than just the MDF.

And then I filled it up.

My favourite part is all my shoe shelves. This is such a huge improvement over my old shelving.

I also put this little stool in which we can pull out when we need to reach the top shelves since we’re both pretty short. This is important because my purses are up there!

The rod on the far end is for hanging longer items like dresses and robes.

And I folded all my sweaters so they don’t stretch out and added all my jewellery.

I have a special shelf for my taller boots.

And a place for my hamper. I may want to switch that out (this one isn’t great quality) for something with more texture.

I also want a belt hanger for Max and maybe some new buckets (that’s where he keeps underwear and socks) that have more texture (I’m thinking something woven or jute?).

Overall I’m just so happy this is finally done and we can finally move on to the next!

Let me know if you have any questions.

The Project That Never Ends

Well I am finally back with a closet update, and I so wish I could tell you that this project was completed months ago and I’m just now blogging about it, but unfortunately this is in real time.

Building a closet is hard, okay?

When I left off we had completed the demo and were excited to get to work on a bunch of custom shelving. I chuckle at our naïveté.

We started on the right side of the closet, where most of the hanging rods will go because this area had way less shelves and we figured it would be a good way to ease ourselves in.

I ended up choosing a four box design, with Max and I each getting half. Hanging bars across all four boxes with pants on the bottom (one side for me and one side for max) and hanging tops on top (one side for me and one side for Max). Make sense?

I also made a long shelf on top for my purses.

Routing worked well but it makes a huge mess and Max had to take every piece to his Grandpa’s shop to do it. Hence why this took SO LONG.

Finally I was able to caulk and I could see it all coming together. The bad news is, this was just the first (much smaller) side.

We started on the left side by fixing our first piece of MDF to the wall as we had with the first side. This ensures everything is sturdy and also helps with the built-in look.

At this point I’m gonna skip ahead to having the left side almost complete because let me tell you this was terrible to do and I don’t want to relive it. Essentially the boards are all held up by the routered joints but until the entire length was completed there was nothing to keep it upright. Yes it fell. Yes we damaged some MDF. Yes we changed some of the shelf heights to make it easier. And yes, we had to fill in the routed edges for the old layout.

You can see that in the above photo.

But eventually we got it all together, keeping fights between Max and I to a minimum. And I was able to caulk the left side, finally.

Hallelujah finally a part of a project I actually enjoy.

And finally I was able to paint. It took three coats and many, many, hours of Max and I brushing and rolling but it is looking much better and I’m glad we’re onto the “pretty” part of the project.

Stay tuned for the big reveal, as well as for my post on what to do when a project sucks and you hate it. Because let me tell you, after four months of closet mayhem, I’m an expert.

Let me know if you have any questions.

The Closet Project Begins

Closets are very important to me. I have a lot of crap and I love organization, so nice big closets are a necessity.

My closet in the apartment was huge because it was in the space above the stairs and entry to the basement apartment. So when we were house shopping I wasn’t exactly willing to downsize.

To get a walk in closet in a master bedroom is rare where we live, as most homes are bungalows. So when I saw this closet I was psyched.

It is a bit awkwardly shaped and doesn’t have a lot of storage, just a bar and a shelf.

I lived with it for a while and added some shoe shelves and such from my previous closet to make it work.

But I always wanted a pretty, totally built in, dream closet.

When Max got a router from his grandparents for Christmas I took it as a sign and moved all my stuff out and we demoed it.

We picked up a bunch of MDF and I drew up some plans.

My goal is to make enough storage in here so that Max can move his stuff in too, it is currently in the office closet.

Unfortunately we don’t have the right size router bit so it is on order and as soon as it comes we will be off to the races and I will be sure to update.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Updates Around the House

I took a little break from the blog, not on purpose but mostly because our next big project is the garage workshop and we need to get an electrician in there before we can do anything major.

And it’s super cold out.

So I’ve decided to move forward with some other projects, and in the meantime, share some smaller updates around the house.

I updated my chalkboard for Christmas and really went for colour this time. Max said it was his favourite design yet. It is already changed for the rest of winter after Christmas.

The rest of the changes were in the powder room. Max thought this room was done and when I told him it wasn’t he insisted we actually finish it.

So I had to get a new faucet (as previously reported), a new light fixture, and paint the ceiling.

There was a boob light in here before, so we added this schoolhouse fixture with seeded glass.

I also took this opportunity to paint the ceiling which had previously been a light green, the white on the rest of the walls.

And finally, I added this little shelf above the mudroom bench, which Max stained. Toilet paper styling included.

Let me know if you have any questions!

A Built-In Mudroom Bench

There is an awkward nook in our garage entrance mudroom that I never really knew how to style.

It is immediately to the right when you come in the door and so I stuck a little ottoman there and along with hooks that were there when we bought the place, called it done.

It never looked great.

Plus then I added more decor to the rest of the room, hanging my Moravian star light fixture, painting the ceiling navy blue, and adding a gallery wall and new rugs.

So it was time for the little awkward nook to catch up to the rest of the room.

I came up with a plan for some built-ins, a floating bench and of course some shiplap.

And I provided this lovely sketch to Max who got right to work.

He built a frame 18″ off the ground, with all the side pieces secured into studs and a centre brace to prevent sagging.

And then we covered the top and front with this beautiful pine.

Max then got started on the shiplap, which as is elsewhere in our house, is just strips of mahogany underlay. This is a super cheap way to get the look. We used five inch boards.

Next I stained the bench Special Walnut by Minwax and sealed it with poly, and once that was dry I taped it for caulk and paint.

I used this paintable caulk and got all the nail holes and seams.

And then I painted it Blank Page by Beauti-tone.

We finished it off with some hooks custom made by Sam’s Fabrication. It is so hard to find hooks that are simple, sturdy, and inexpensive. It cost the same as buying hooks off the shelf as having these made.

Then I added some pillows. After much debate I decided I love emerald green now and that it goes well with the navy ceiling.

We also added some baskets underneath for texture and a wedding photo above the hooks.

I love the way it turned out and this space looks so much more intentional now.

Let me know if you have any questions.

A Waterfall for the Powder Bath 

When Max and I last went around the house to talk about upcoming and future projects, he was very surprised to learn that our powder room was not completed. 

I have spoken before about how I wanted a waterfall faucet for that room. When I bought the vanity top at Lowes I got a free faucet for it, which was much better than our old one and worked in the meantime while I saved for the new one. 

But when Max learned that the bathroom was not done he told me to just finish it. So I found a deal and ordered it. 


And it is super cool. It has a brushed nickel finish so it matches the rest of the bathroom hardware. 



The opening in the top and the square shape make it feel modern. 


And I made some updates to the other side of the room as well, replacing the crappy outdoor bench we had in here with this wood one that max sanded down and stained to make the wood grain really shine. 



I may have some pictures of the refinishing process that I can include in another post but I will have to dig them up. 


And above that bench I hung this shelf from Homesense. I love the metal work on it. 


Toilet paper is a great decor tool. 


Meanwhile, as I took all these pictures (plus some of the dogs), Max installed the free Lowes faucet upstairs in the main bathroom. The old faucet there was pretty sad so it was a nice upgrade. 



I’m excited about these faucet changes. Now all the powder room needs is a new light fixture and I will be painting the ceiling when that is installed. I hope to pick up the fixture on my next Thunder Bay trip. 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Future Plans for the Main Bath

Max and I recently decided that the next project we are going to tackle is the garage workshop.

Which is painfully boring. It is a garage after all.

It is absolutely necessary for us to finally finish our workshop, especially with winter fast-approaching. We really need a place where we can work on projects and plus if the garage doesn’t get organized soon I will likely develop a hernia. Unfortunately this is not going to be the prettiest project we’ve done. And it’s not really going to require a lot of design and decorating on my part.

So in the meantime, I can dream about future projects.

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I have talked about all the problems I have with this main bathroom in the past, HERE, and I painted the mirror black HERE. And while I had a lot of ideas as to changes I wanted to make, it was about damn time I made a real plan.

Bathroom

I think one of the main problems in here is the wall colour. I had thought that the vanity needed to change, but it turns out it was the walls. I was trying to blend beige and grey too much, and I needed everything to get a little bit cooler toned in order to match better.

In this spirit of simplifying, I will paint the walls Blank Page by Beauti-tone, and leave the vanity as My Favourite Sweater by Beauti-tone. The vanity in my design plan is just a representation of my painted vanity, I will not be switching it out, just putting a new topper and faucet on.

For further cohesiveness, I want all of the hardware to be black. And right now I’m thinking hooks instead of a towel bar, which Max says he prefers because they are “easier”

I also am sticking to my black mirror, but changing the shape to a circular mirror that I already picked up from Homesense.

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Another one of the larger changes will be lighting. You can see the vanity light right now is off centered and just in the way. I would love a sconce on either side and am eying these from Wayfair right now.

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I already have the shower curtain, so the last thing I need is that beautiful cement tile. Unfortunately it is only available in the states so I may have to figure out a creative way to get it (or go for a shopping trip across the border).

I’m excited to turn this bathroom around and make it something I love. After I finish the boring garage project.

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Bye Bye Green Couch

The couch is gone the couch is gone!

Three years after first obtaining our green couches from a friend upon moving into our first apartment, we finally got rid of the last one.

And it is awesome.

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Forgive me for this photo, it is pre-DSLR, but it shows both our green couches in their full glory. I bought these guys third-hand off a friend a few years ago, when I was desperate for furniture. By the time we got them, they had been well-loved. Not the greatest quality in the first place, the support was shot in both of them, and they were too cheap to even think about replacing the foam.

Oh yeah, and they were green.

I like to think I made it work pretty well, and things blended so much that you barely noticed the sage colour. And last Christmas when I got my nest chair, I got rid of the loveseat.

And it was glorious.

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But I still had one green couch, and I knew just the thing to replace it.

A $3000 Urban Barn leather couch.

So I waited. And I dreamed about it in this post.

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When we got married and were given wonderful monetary gifts from our family and friends, I told Max I already knew what I wanted to buy before we put the rest in savings (see beautiful couch, above).

But I still wanted a deal.

So, when we walked in to Urban Barn in Winnipeg after our honeymoon and saw this guy on sale, I had to have it.

The salesperson gave us an additional hundred dollars off, and so we ended up getting it for 66% off. DEALS.

This was a floor model and no longer produced (hence the deal) but there are a lot of similar Urban Barn couches HERE.

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I just love the warmth the leather brings to the room. I’m looking forward to the patina over time, and this kind of couch just gets more beautiful with age. The leather is not bonded either, but real leather, so we really did get a steal for the quality.

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The lady also asked if I had pillows for the couch or if I would like to pick some out. Please.

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Now between this couch and my nest chair, Urban Barn is taking over my living room.

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There are a few more changes I want to make in here (including curtains, a rug, new bookshelf, move the piano in, you know, just SEVERAL things), but this is a great step towards my dream living room.

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The low profile of this couch also makes a huge difference. This also makes me want a new basement couch as well #createdamonster.

Let me know if you have any questions.