Another New Vanity Topper and a Free Faucet to Boot!


Upon moving into the house, the main floor powder room was one of the first rooms we fixed up. This is the bathroom most visitors and guests use, so I wanted to make it presentable right away. We gave everything a fresh coat of paint and re-did the floor, but the vanity top was still left unbelievably yellow.




Seriously it was not cute, especially with the new cool grey-white wall colour.

I waited a long time to get a new topper for this one because I want a very specific type of faucet (aka expensive) and it didn’t make much sense to me to buy a new topper and put the old gross faucet back on it?


But when I came across this square trough-like topper (exactly what I wanted) at Lowes on sale $50 off, I had to go for it.


So by buying the topper I got a free faucet. Not exactly my dream fixture but certainly better than putting the old one back on while I save my pennies for the dream faucet.


Max’s first step in installing the new topper was removing the old one. Unfortunately the plumbing didn’t want to be disconnected.


The parts were all pretty corroded. So he changed out the topper but did not hook it up until he went and got new connections the next day. I’m not going to lie I have no idea what any of these parts are but he fixed it so I’m happy.


He just popped the old top off.


And set the new one on.



He had to make some cuts on the interior of the cabinet to make the pipes fit with the new sink but you will never be able to tell unless you stick your head under there.


He also had to remove the trim to get it on so we still have to replace that.


And once the trim is replaced I am going to have to do a bit of caulking.


My original plan was to paint the wall where the lip had been, but the more I thought about it a small subway tile backsplash would look really neat there. Since there is already cement board up, this should be a fairly easy project (in theory) and a nice little foray into tiling, so stay tuned for that as soon as I manage to borrow a tile saw.

We ended up getting a whole box of subway tile off the shelf at Home Hardware, which is unheard of in our town, so I was happy. Stay tuned for that project.


In the meantime Max installed my new FREE faucet and I am living with a stylish green strip behind the vanity.


The new faucet is just a brushed nickel builder grade special, but certainly better than our previous faucet. Max also reinstalled all the drawers I promise, I guess I just missed that picture.

Let me know if you have any questions!


Birch Candles for the Wedding!

As part of our wedding decor DIYs I wanted to make some birch candles that I had seen all over Pinterest. 

I didn’t have Max make a ton, as I see us using these more infrequently – maybe just on the cake table and guest book table or something. 

He started by cutting the log into pieces. I had him make seven total and he just used his mitre saw for this. 

He did seven inch and ten inch logs. 

Then he used this drill bit that makes holes to cut into the top of the logs. 

The bit was just a bit larger than a tea light. 

Once they were cut he used an exacto knife to clean it up. 

He also had to make sure the hole was just deep enough that the tea light would sink in but not too low. 

I’m very happy with how these turned out and think they will look very cute at the wedding! 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

A Beautiful Rustic Wood Mantel


When I left off on the fireplace project in this post, we had a pretty much complete white shiplap fireplace. This blank slate was desperate for a rustic wood mantel.

Unfortunately, old wood is not so easy to find where I live. My brother, the Kijiji master, managed to snag what he thought were two 8 x 8 beams, about 10 ft long each in Thunder Bay. When he made the trek out to pick them up, he discovered they were actually 6 x 6 (but rough cut, so legitimately 6″) and twenty feet long!

He loaded them up and took them both from the guy (they were free after all and the guy wanted them gone) but one was so rotten he ended up tossing it. The other one had some bad spots, and it was twenty feet long and wouldn’t be easy to get the four hours home to Sioux Lookout, so he got a handsaw (he doesn’t have any power tools in his apartment in Thunder Bay, obviously) and sawed off about half the length.

This left me with about 8 to 10 feet to work with. I actually prefer the rough cut 6″ width, I think 8″ would have been too much and may have needed some planing down. Unfortunately my camera was dead so I didn’t take many pictures of the original beam, but I do have a nice iPhone picture of Max sawing it down to 44.75″- I just let him know which part of the beam I wanted to use and he turned it on his mitre saw and cut through four times.


Remember when all my pictures were terrible quality?


Once he had it cut down for me I sanded the bejesus out of it, using my mouse palm sander (aka my mom’s mouse that I stole, but whatever).


I made sure to pay extra attention to the corners and edges so I could really get that worn look – though the wood was already pretty beautiful and worn anyway. I sanded until I couldn’t feel my hands anymore and then started beating up the beam and testing stain.

I have beaten up a lot of wood at this point and my process is nothing special, I just swing away with hammers and crowbars to make dents and divots, making sure the edges get a lot of attention.


In my mind I knew I wanted a medium brown stain, and I had thought of using Minwax Provencial, which I assumed I had.

I didn’t.

Since it was Good Friday and all the stores were closed, I thought I would try my hand at mixing up a medium brown using what I had. It did not go well. Above, is my mess. Oops.

I don’t think I could recreate it if I tried, but I ended up using a mixture of Ipswich Pine and Special Walnut, both by Minwax, and then sanding it down a bit to cut out the orange that was coming up and soften the brown a bit, and then dry brushing some Special Walnut on top to finish.


It was scary and took much to long but it worked out.


Since the ends were fresh cut I knew they would soak up the stain much darker, so to make sure it went on even I used the sander that had been used to sand off some of the stain on the edges to lightly transfer the colour, if that makes sense.

I was pretty pleased with myself for that one because I had been really worried about these ends.


All the while I made sure the beam would match the tone of the flooring and wasn’t pulling too orange.


I finished with two light coats of satin Polyurethane and let it dry overnight.


Then I had Max bring it inside so we could install it. We actually put it up on the ledge to make sure it would work and given the short hangover it was almost fully supported. I decided some glue would be the best way to attach it.


We picked up some of this 4000 glue that is especially good at bonding wood to wood. I had used some similar heavy duty glue on my firepit on the concrete blocks, and that thing is SOLID. I knew it would work here too.


I applied the glue to the ledge, making sure to get a lot of coverage but not go to close to the edge so that it wouldn’t  ooze out of the sides and make a mess. I made sure to do this myself because I lost all trust of Max with a caulk gun after he did the silicone in the kitchen.


We just pressed it into place and then added some big wrenches as weight on top.


And now, I can finally call it DONE.


I added some little décor pieces up there for now, but I really want some fat candlesticks for the mantel. I am most excited to decorate this for Christmas, it will be very exciting to have a real fireplace to hang our stockings!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

Some Final Painting/Trim and Calling the Fireplace (Almost) Done!


When I left off on the fireplace in this post, we had made it to about this point (above), with the fireplace itself basically complete, but the wall behind it needing a new coat of paint and some trim reinstalled.

You can see in the photo above that there were a lot of paint colours going on, as well as the new drywall patch needing to be painted. When I bought more paint to touch up around the new lights we installed, it really didn’t match (which you can see if you look close at the light). The solution was to paint “corner to corner.” With this method, the theory is that since light hits all walls differently anyway, you won’t be able to tell if there are slight differences in colour like you can with a patch.


While Max was out at a fire meeting one night, I managed to get the whole wall done (on the other side of the doorway as well). I waited for that to dry, and then moved the stuff back up against that wall.


Max worked on getting the trim back up and then it was “done!”

Well, except for a mantel.


I love the way the fireplace contrasts with the wall.


I picked up this cute little distressed wooden box with a lid at Homesense and put it on top where the mantel will eventually be. I thought this would be a great place to keep the fireplace remote so we don’t lose it.


This is what it looks like on. Our fireplace can change colours, and I like the blue best (obviously).


Now obviously, I just need a rustic wooden mantel to finish it off. The place that sells scrap and reclaimed lumber, Salvage Supermarket in Winnipeg, is only open Monday to Friday. Since we’re usually only there on weekends, I was trying to figure out how we could make it work to pick up some old beams for a mantel. As far as I knew, there was no place in Thunder Bay that sells reclaimed wood, but I texted my brother to check.


He agreed that he only knew of auto and metal salvage in Thunder Bay, but put the request on Kijiji. Less than 24 hours later I had two free 8×8 beams.


He is bringing them home to me over Easter weekend so hopefully they work out. I can’t wait to see this fireplace completely done. As a reminder, below is my inspiration image. I recently found out it is actually Gunnar’s house from the show Nashville.


Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

THE CUT at Sears and More April Shopping

Last week I went to Thunder Bay for meetings, and I had barely any time to shop. It was just an overnight trip, and I had an evening meeting as well, which left just a few hours for home décor shopping.

In the little time we had, my mom wanted to take me to the upstairs of Sears, where a new section opened called “The Cut.”


It’s essentially Sear’s version of Homesense, with all kinds of discounted items. Right now it’s just a small section of the upper level of Sears, and very haphazardly organized, but it was still very interesting to see them branch out this way and I hope this section expands in the future.

They had lots of cool décor pieces and dishes (above).


They had some cool rustic signs like this as well.


I was a fan of this dishware pattern with the blue marble-like swirls. I liked the teapot especially.


And they had some industrial giant clocks I loved as well.


There were also a lot of art prints on canvas, but none of them seemed too special to me.


And they had this thing. I think it’s some kind of wall hanging artwork and it was HUGE. Like taller than me easy and made of some kind of ceramic? Super cool and I’ve never seen anything like this at Homesense.

I also checked out their pillow selection but unfortunately none of them were down-filled and I won’t buy pillows unless they’re down filled at this point.

I was impressed with this new venture but nothing can take the place of my beloved Homesense, so I of course still had to run there before leaving town.


Above are some super cute pitchers for summer. The gold writing says “lemonade.”


I thought this zebra blanket was interesting but certainly not my colour.


This shibori print one is much more my style.


Homesense also had these fake grass rugs which I thought would be so awesome on a balcony or something if you lived in an apartment and didn’t have a yard!


I thought this ladder shelf with a mirror would look really cool in the big space in the basement bathroom but I’m not about to spend $80 on it.


They also had a ton of furniture on clearance but I’m not really looking for anything right now.


I always check out the puppy section and I thought these jerseys were a cute idea for Jays fans.


And I was also so impressed with the lighting this trip! They had so many pendant lights and a lot were on sale too! The bottom right are cement lights and so nice a heavy. Not sure how much light would be getting through that shade!


Seriously. So many pendants.


They had a lot of big clocks as well, which I always love but have nowhere to put one.


And I thought the artwork this trip was on point. I love this watercolour nature scene.


And this hipster deer, how cute is he?


And last but not least this canoe painting which was huge and very pretty. I ended up picking out a completely different art piece but you will have to wait and see that! Stay tuned for the next fireplace installment! This was a bit late getting posted because of all the work on the fireplace but it is coming together so beautifully and I can’t wait for it to be officially finished.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Building a DIY Fireplace Part 2: Layers of Paint and Shiplap 

When I pressed publish on my last post (which just so happened to be the framing of the fireplace that precedes this one) I got a neat little congratulatory note from WordPress on my 100th post!

Coincidentally, today also marks the one year anniversary of the creation of this blog!

I can’t believe it’s been a year and I have already made 100 posts. I love having a record of everything we’ve accomplished this last year and look forward to continuing to document it.

That being said, on to the next instalment of the fireplace saga:

When I left off in the framing post we had added the layer of underlay over the whole thing and had a big pink fireplace.

I painted on a layer of primer and then a layer of Blank Page by Beauti-tone for a nice white base. This way the gap between the shiplap boards wouldn’t be pink.

Then Max and I started attaching the shiplap, which is just another layer of mahogany underlay ripped into 3.5 inch wide boards.

We used nickels as spacers and made our way down from the mantel, making sure to check the firebox still fit once we added boards around it.

Once we made it almost to the floor we started going up from the mantel.

We went around the niche and then went back and filled it in with horizontal shiplap once we were at the top.

At this point we also added some quarter round trim at the bottom where there was too small of a gap for another row of shiplap. I think it actually ended up better with the trim because it helps to ground it.

Then it was time for me to paint it. I did two full coats of Blank Page by Beauti-tone and then a lighter third coat to ensure the best coverage.

I had to do a ton of caulking and made a great mess trying to smooth out all the rough or unfinished edges. I caulked between the first and second coats of paint so that if any of the gaps could be filled with paint they would.

The next day when it was all dry, Max and I hung the TV on the wall mount we bought, and fed the cords through the chimney area to a power bar we mounted to the inside of the fireplace with Velcro.

This way we could eliminate as many cords as possible.

We drilled a small hole through the side and brought the power bar cord out to the nearby plug. The cord is white like the fireplace and blends nicely.

And then it was time to put the firebox back in!

We were loving the progress at this point but the wall behind the fireplace still needed to be painted and trim reinstalled to the wall. Stay tuned for the final post on the fireplace which should be up soon!

Oh and we also have to get a mantel but that may have to wait.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

Building a DIY Fireplace Part 1: Framing 

I am so excited to be able to say that our fireplace project is almost done. When we first looked at the house and decided to buy it, literally the only thing on our list that it didn’t have was a fireplace.

It’s just something I always wanted, mostly for the ambiance, and let’s face it, mantle décor.

I knew I would eventually want to add one, but I never expected it would be so soon.

When we lost our buffet and had to move our TV stand in the dining room for the buffet storage, leaving our TV on a nightstand in the living room, this project became a lot more urgent. I reflected on what I wanted in a fireplace in this post a little bit ago, and now it is here! I initially thought we would just buy an electric fireplace (I love electric because I’m notoriously bad at lighting fires – so the remote start is huge for me), but when I was searching I couldn’t find anything quite my style. That’s when I decided we could build one from scratch.

No big deal.


I ordered this electric fireplace insert from Costco, which unfortunately arrived broken, but they sent us a new log set and we got right to framing anyway.


I started with a picture in my head and a pretty crude sketch, and Max forced me to come up with some measurements to add to it. Then he used 2 x 4’s to frame it out, starting with the boards screwed to the floor, and then the back wall. I also drew on my wall a whole bunch to figure out how tall I wanted the firebox, mantle, etc. I needed visuals, okay?


Next he framed out the height of the mantle and the height of the firebox, which he reinforced with vertical 2 x 4’s and made it two 2 x 4’s deep to support the firebox.


Then we had to test and make sure it fit, obviously.


The log set was still broken at this point but it fir perfectly and it worked!


Next he framed out the “chimney” area to the ceiling, which was set back from the mantle.


And then I had him add this complete pain – a niche for where the TV would be mounted.


He framed the niche completely and we added the firebox back in and called it a night for the first day of work.


The next time we worked on it we had to add the underlay to give it some shape and act as a base layer. Max cut as large of sections as made sense, and nailed them in.


This took a ridiculously long time. Finally, he got the whole thing covered, and we had a big pink fireplace.


And that’s where I am going to end Part 1! The next step was painting this underlay and then getting to work on the shiplap which is the most exciting part (in my opinion)!

Let me know if you have any questions and stay tuned for Part 2!

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

DIY Double Dog Bed

For a while now I have been wanting to make some sort of gigantic dog bed. I’m obsessed with my dogs okay.

So last weekend I finally did it.

I started with this five foot long piece of foam that I got from my aunt and uncle who own an upholstery shop. Foam doesn’t come wide enough so they had to glue some pieces together.

I needed the bed to be huge because my dogs like to sleep together and I want to encourage that cuteness.

Am I right?

So the last time I was in Thunder Bay I picked up some grey material and proceeded to cut it up, into pieces the size of each side of the foam as well as strips for each of the edges.

Then I sewed them together in order all inside out.

To finish I just sewed it closed and added some Velcro to the last seam so that it was removable. Max and I struggled to get it on but once we did it fit perfectly.

This is the corner where the material is tucked and Velcro holds it together.

The dogs love it. I also used some leftover material and IKEA pillow inserts to make the dogs some pillows because they’re spoiled.

It fits perfectly next to our bed and the dogs have been sleeping on it for about a week.

I am so impressed with my sewing skills on this and love the custom look and fabric choice.

You just can’t find dog beds in this shape and size. I love the way it turned out.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

The Firebox Arrived (Broken) and We Moved a Giant Vent! 

Some new and very exciting news: we received our electric fireplace insert from Costco! 

In less exciting news: it arrived broken. 

Max excitedly unpacked it as soon as he brought it home and he could hear something rattling around inside as he transported it but he never thought it would have a big log break (below). 

He sent these pictures into Costco and they were great about contacting the manufacturer for us and Dimplex has a new log set on the way. 

It was disappointing but we decided to go ahead and start building with the broken logs in. 

The first step was to remove this giant vent that was conveniently right where we want the fireplace to go. Luckily opening up the doghouse area meant we could move it to the other side of the wall. 

Above is the wall in the doghouse we wanted to move it to. It is just an air return so I’m not worried about the dog being in there with it. 

This picture is supposed to give you an idea of how the wall is shared between the living room and dog house. I tried. 

Max started to cut inside the doghouse while I removed the vent from the other side. It wasn’t long before I could see him through the wall. 

You could also see the big hole in the floor where the vent goes down. 

Max screwed the vent cover back on in the doghouse and then worked on patching the living room wall. 

He just added a piece of two by four to each side and then screwed on a scrap piece of drywall. 

He mudded it a bit but we didn’t put much effort into finishing it yet because as you can see by my shrewd tape marking on the floor it will be mostly covered by the fireplace anyway. 

We already started to build it and it looks awesome so far! I will share more on it in future posts but until then let me know if you have any questions so far! 

Thunder Bay Shopping: I Found a New (Re)Store!

Lately it seems I have been travelling to Thunder Bay every two weeks. It is a busy time of year with our fiscal year end coming up, and this means lots of meetings. Luckily for me, this also means lots of shopping opportunities.

Unfortunately for me, this increase in trips has led to a general boredom with HomeSense. The frequency of my shopping isn’t allowing for an influx of new items to the store, so it is generally the same stuff, and on top of that, it’s all Spring stuff, which is my least favourite season to decorate for.

So I went looking for a new store to occupy my downtime. And I found a ReStore!

ReStores are thrift stores operated by Habitat for Humanity, that specialized in used or sometimes new building supplies. When people rip out their kitchen cabinets, for instance, as long as they’re still in usable condition, they can donate them to the ReStore in their area.

Right up my alley, right?

The first thing I saw were all these old doorknobs and locks. The faceplates are so pretty and I love the patina on them.

They also had a ton of knobs and pulls, nicely bagged. I think knobs and pulls are usually ridiculously overpriced so this would be great if you were redoing a piece of furniture or a bathroom cabinet and just needed a couple.

Nothing like seeing a whole row of almond sinks at the ReStore to convince you that your own almond sinks need to go!

Their trim selection was great and would be awesome if you were trying to match some older woodwork or working on a small project.

This is something I have dreamed about. A whole row of vintage doors to browse through. Some were cheapy hollow cores, but there were a couple beautiful ones I will show below.


And a bunch of vintage wood windows as well! So pretty for home décor.

Vintage handmade tiles. Would be so cool for a bathroom backsplash where you would only need about 10 or so.

And they also have a couple pieces of furniture too! I thought these dining chairs were pretty and just needed a little TLC.


They also had a great assortment of light fixtures (and plugs to make sure they worked!) as well as these pretty glass shades. There were a lot of the school house fixtures I like here.


And these are the gorgeous solid wood doors. If you look close you can see the “SOLD” sticker but if they hadn’t been, I would have found a way to fit them into my car. I am now convinced I need a vintage door to my closet. Sorry not sorry.

Another place I went to visit while in Thunder Bay was Fabricland. I get most my fabric here or at Wal-Mart, and needed to pick some up for a project for the dogs (which is now complete and I will post about soon).

I loved all the stripes they had just put out, very Joanna Gaines to me. I thought maybe the straight lines of stripes like these were a bit ambitious for my project (sewing is hard enough for me without trying to keep a pattern straight) so I let it go but when it goes on sale I may need some for some throw pillows.

I loved this one too. I have a obsession.

This is the one I ended up going with. It is a warm gray upholstery fabric so it is nice and thick and perfect for my project. It was also on sale for $5 a meter. I got 4 for $20 and was able to make the dog project, some pillows, and still have a ton left over.

Let me know if you have any questions. I highly recommend finding your own ReStore to go to! I think Max was pretty jealous, it’s like the garage sale of his dreams.