Affordable, durable & stylish – my weekend DIY project

This past weekend, my hubby and I tackled a rather unexpected DIY project. We recently (ok, a month ago!) moved into our new house and have been discussing affordable solutions to our ho-hum, builders’ beige finishes. We really weren’t planning on installing a new countertop to replace the current laminate one for a while (that would just be wasteful), but I was disturbed that my Julia Childs impersonations in the kitchen were leaving stains on the painted wall behind the stove. Knowing we will eventually rip out the countertop made us reluctant to install a sparkling new tile backsplash.

Enter the delightful blog advice from Rhiannon’s Interiors last Friday, where contact paper and peel-and-stick tiles were discussed as affordable alternatives. DING! Made total sense to me. So off to the home improvement store I went, and came home with SmartTiles in Keystone Mosaic. They are gel-based (and very convincing-looking) peel-and-stick tiles that can be removed without damage by heating them up with a hair dryer. Genius, I say.

Here are a few pictures of the project.

Tools of the trade. The Exacto-knife was handy to cut the larger 10 x 10 sheets into smaller strips when needed.

Tools of the trade. The Exacto-knife was handy to cut the larger 10 x 10 sheets into smaller strips when needed.

The tile sheets were remarkably easy to stick onto the clean wall.

The tile sheets were remarkably easy to stick onto the clean wall.

My grease-splattered nemesis...the wall behind the stovetop! But no more - the tiles are easy to clean with a damp cloth.

My grease-splattered nemesis…the wall behind the stovetop! But no more – the tiles are easy to clean with a damp cloth.

The finished product! Convincing and very stylish...all for about $250 and 6 hours of our time.

The finished product! Convincing and very stylish…all for about $250 and 6 hours of our time.

Advertisements

Mirror, mirror…

I would say ‘on the wall’ but these days mirrors are everywhere BUT on the wall. And for good reason. Reflective surfaces, whether on furniture or accessories, can be sleek and modern or charming and feminine, depending on how they are displayed. I’ve been adding them into my own decor sparingly, and I’m pleased with how they play off my existing dark wood pieces. They seem to add light and sparkle wherever they live. Here are some inspiration pieces (plus a few of my own new additions!) to give you some food for design thought.

This mirrored chest would look equally chic as a sideboard in a dining room or a dresser in a bedroom.

This mirrored chest would look equally chic as a sideboard in a dining room or a dresser in a bedroom.

Pulaski-mirrored-end-table

I just love this feminine side table! Imagine it in a pretty bedroom or bath, or as the stylish piece next to the sofa to tone down a masculine room.

20130831_232828_resized

A mirrored jewellery box, patterned in a lovely lavender damask, makes a great addition to my bedroom! It holds loads of baubles, plus radiates light when the morning sun hits it. Homesense has a delightful selection of them at reasonable prices.

20130831_233000_resized

This was a surprising find for me! Meant to be a bathroom canister, this delicate glass piece with aluminum lid is a perfect hiding spot for my favourite bracelets. And for $7.99 at Homesense, it didn’t break the bank!

20130831_233040_resized

I couldn’t resist this adorable companion to the lavender damask piece – its perfect proportions and velvet lining are useful for storing everything from jewellery to pocket change. And at only $4.99, why not?

Cherished items that make you smile

I’ve never been one for theme rooms. There’s always been something a little too contrived about making everything match. But I can say without a doubt that I often gravitate towards fun décor items that remind me of my two favourite things – my two dachshund babies, Oscar & Bodhi.

Now, I’m no crazy-dog-lady (ok, that’s been disputed, but with no concrete conclusion), but I see no harm in having dear and delightful doxie reminders in my everyday life when my pooches aren’t around. A theme? Not really. I scatter them throughout my spaces (my home office, bedroom, purse – you get the idea), and I’m thrilled when I catch a glimpse of one unexpectedly, and it makes me smile.

And so, I’ve compiled a few pictures of my favourite doxie-themed decor pieces that make my day! I hope they make you smile, too.

My favourite doxie pen acts as a cute reminder of my darling lovelies.

My favourite doxie pen acts as a cute reminder of my darling lovelies.

Just love this cute & compact dachshund bookend in lacquered white.

Just love this cute & compact dachshund bookend in lacquered white.

This colourful cutie was a fundraising item at a local retailer and all proceeds from the sales went to an animal rescue - that's what I call a win-win situation!

This colourful cutie was a fundraising item at a local retailer and all proceeds from the sales went to an animal rescue – that’s what I call a win-win situation!

And of course, the real deal :). Bodhi & Oscar, my teeny-weenie babies ;).

And of course, the real deal. Bodhi & Oscar, my teeny-weenie babies ;).

And you? Care to share what themed items you display to remind you of cherished people, places or (doggie) babies?

Birch tree wallpaper – beauty from nature

Beautiful birch trees provide a graphic and striking backdrop.

Beautiful birch trees provide a graphic and striking backdrop.

There’s nothing I love more than bringing the outdoors in. With wallpapers and other wall coverings making a comeback, my vote is for this graphic birch tree print with a subtle metallic background. It will be gracing the walls of my new powder room soon! While Cole & Son offers a similar print in their luxury line (3 rolls for $950), I found my rolls at a UK retailer on eBay (3 rolls plus shipping for $94.00).