Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[ seat with a view ]

PERHAPS it's because I'm a Pisces, but I'm always drawn to water. There's just something so relaxing about gazing out over sparkling water. My dream is to have a home with a water view someday but for now, I'm lucky to live a block away from Lake Ontario where I can enjoy this...

I love going out for a walk and making a stop at this little park. We're having some amazing late summer weather this week and all the more reason to linger a while on my favourite bench...

I love the dedication plaque on the bench. I think someday I'd like to donate a bench to the park so more people can pause a while and soak in that pretty view. Do you have a favourite spot you like to go to enjoy a view?


Friday, September 12, 2014

[ from free to fab ]

FIRST, thanks everyone for weighing in on my fireplace! It's good to know that we're all on the same page ~ that baby needs a paint job! I think it will make a huge difference in the room and actually make it feel a bit more spacious since it does seem to dominate the room right now.

In the meantime, I've been working on another little project this week. Since we're using our tufted ottoman in the family room, I've been on the hunt for a coffee table for the living room ~ on a budget. I decided to take a peek on Kijiji {Canada's alternative to Craigslist}. And you can't get a better deal than this...

Seriously, a FREE coffee table just waiting to be loved! I know, it wasn't looking too great in the ad but I could see it's potential. I liked the legs, the wicker bottom shelf and the bevelled glass top. 

I decided to give it a new life with Annie Sloan chalk paint. This was the first time using actual chalk paint ~ the last time I made my own {read about it here}. To be honest, it performed very much the same way as the homemade version. I was able to paint the entire table using only one sample pot...

I chose Pure White and got started. I didn't bother to sand ~ I just wiped it down first with a cleaning wipe. Here it is after one coat...

After a second coat, some sanding on the edges and a light coat of wax, it's done!

I love that it's the perfect size for the sofa and the glass top gives it a bit of lightness. The pure white will also look great when I dress the sofa with the white slipcover I made {read about it here}...

Not bad, huh? I'm super thrilled with the results and it was definitely worth the 20 minute drive to pick it up. 

Have you ever scored a freebie and given it new life?


Thursday, September 4, 2014

[ family room before and after ]

TODAY I thought I'd give you a little peek at my family room. This is the BEFORE when we viewed the house with the seller's furniture...

As you can see, their taste was quite traditional. But it's a great family room addition that they added on and the windows on three sides flood the room with such beautiful light. {It's amazing how big this room looks in these realtor photos ~ those wide angle lenses they use are deceiving!}

I started out by painting over the yellow walls with Benjamin Moore Cloud White CC-40 ~ a warm white that provides just a bit of contrast from the white trim. In some photos, it almost looks the same as the original walls but trust me, that yellow is GONE! My thought was to paint the room more of a pure white, but then we bought this new slipcovered sofa that was a bit more of a warm white so that dictated the colour {it's also the same colour I painted the kitchen}...

I absolutely love this Rowe sofa ~ what a difference from the Laura Ashley fiasco we purchased in Dubai and I didn't have to sew my own slipcover for it! Bonus!

Here is how the room looks now {without a wide angle lens!}...

It's been fun unwrapping our things from storage and combining them with items from Dubai and a few new pieces. Those of you who have been around for a while will recognize bits and pieces. We spend most of our time in this room and so far are loving how cozy it feels, while still feeling fresh.

We picked up two of these gorgeous chairs from Muskoka Living in Port Carling...

I love how they fit in so well without being bulky, still have the slipcovered look and add warmth with the wooden frame. They're down-filled so they're super comfy. Because the sofa is big in this space, I'm glad I didn't choose the matching slipcovered armchairs ~ it would have felt too heavy and crowded.

Now we just need to address the fireplace situation. We decided to put the tv above the fireplace since there really wasn't any other logical spot for it. I think I may want to frame it out somehow so that it doesn't look like a big black rectangle on the wall.

But first, the biggest question is... should I paint out the fireplace in the white trim colour?

I'm leaning a certain way but it's always fun to hear what you think!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

[ hello? and painting the kitchen ]

I KNOW, it's been ages since I've been here! Sorry for taking so long to get back to normal life ~ moving in has been busy and I've also tried to remind myself to enjoy some of this summer and not get completely obsessed about organizing and setting things up. Summer is ticking along and we've already had a bit of a nip in the air which has reminded me that fall is quickly approaching!

We're loving our new home and leafy neighbourhood ~ I honestly couldn't have asked for more and it has made all those expat years worth it {I feel truly blessed}.

This home has a lot of nice features but one of the things I only noticed once we moved in is how yellow the entire house is! The previous owners were obviously huge fans of yellow and the entire house is a mix of various shades of yellow. I'm not a big yellow fan {I had a huge overdose of it a few years ago when the home we bought was completely yellow and the office I worked in was also entirely yellow ~ I was surrounded by yellow 24 hours a day!} Needless to say, removing some of the yellow in this home is high on the to-do list!

Today I'm going to talk about undertones ~ those sneaky things that can make everything look like it blends beautifully together or looks just slightly off. Case in point: our kitchen...

kitchen before:

From what I could determine, the walls were painted in a colour similar to this:

{notice that the colour is a yellow with a bit of a peachy orange tone to it which picks up the tone of the wood floors and island}

Here is what the Corian countertops and backsplash tiles look like:

{notice that they have more of a pinky undertone similar to this colour...}

Here is how the countertop looks with the flooring...

Do you see where I'm going with this? Instead of everything blending beautifully together, we had an undertone situation happening. And the wall colour was accentuating the problem.

Time to paint!

I decided to go neutral and chose BM cc40 cloud white ~ almost exactly the cabinet colour...

 By eliminating that peach pie wall colour, it de-emphasized the clash of the undertones...

kitchen after:

I love the freshness of the warm white throughout the kitchen {I know, looking at colours on a computer isn't always accurate but hopefully you can see the improvement}. I find that it gives it a more current look and my eye doesn't immediately jump from the peachy walls to the backsplash tile. I'm sure replacing the backsplash tile is something we'll eventually do, but at least for now, I can live with it.

So that's one of the things I've tackled since we've moved in. There are so many more rooms I'd like to paint but will get to them one at a time. Now to sit out on the patio and enjoy some of this weather! Thanks for stopping by and for your patience!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

[ boxes boxes everywhere! ]

IT'S moving day! And we're drowning in cardboard!

With 3 separate truck deliveries, checking off box numbers and directing boxes to the correct rooms has me wiped out, especially when some items won't be ending up in the same rooms they came from. It's tiring trying to decipher what the Dubai movers wrote on the boxes ~ lamp covers are lampshades, office side tables are filing cabinets, soft table is an ottoman... Luckily everything is in and tomorrow is reassembly/unpacking day ~ hopefully I can find a spot for everything! But when in doubt ~ into the basement it goes!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[ house keys! ]

TODAY is the day! After spending a couple of months in hotels, we finally have the keys to our new home! Our container of furniture from Dubai will be delivered tomorrow along with everything we've had in storage for 3 years ~ gosh, I don't even remember what we've got! It's going to be a busy week but I'm so excited to start settling in to our new home and start decorating! Stay tuned!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

[ a new home! ]

WE'RE excited to say that our home inspection was successful and the sold sign is now up! Now we just have to wait until mid July to get the keys!

We love this home - an original tudor-style home built in the 20's with a couple of additions added on over the past 12 years. It has some really lovely details...

Older homes always have such lovely character that is difficult to replicate in new-build homes. And the current owners have done a great job of marrying the newer additions with the older home, making even the original red brick exterior and inlaid wood floors blend seamlessly. Their love for this home is evident.

I think it will be very easy to settle in and feel right at home. This truly feels like my dream home and I can't wait to get our things moved in and start decorating! 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

[ oh canada! ]

SO WE landed safe and sound and pushed a bit of luggage through customs to last us until our shipment arrives...

It's been great being back to the old stompin' grounds we left in 2005. Of course one of the things on the must-do list was getting my guy a decent hotdog and we knew just where to go ~ to see Jimmy at his hotdog cart outside of the Canadian Tire store...

Jimmy hasn't changed a bit and neither have his hotdogs ~ still $2 and loaded with bonus pieces of sausage. No other hotdog cart can compare...

We've also been house hunting and my goodness, prices are just not what they were 9 years ago when we left this city! I called up the agent who sold our house back then and he toured us around to some really cute ones. There's one that really stood out amongst the rest...and....we already put in an offer!!

It's on a pretty tree-lined street...

Just a home inspection to do this week and then hopefully it will be ours! {well, in a month or so}. I didn't expect to find one that we loved so quickly ~ maybe it was meant to be? Fingers crossed it all goes well!

So that's what we've been up to the past few days ~ busy! So happy to be back!

Happy weekend! And Happy Father's Day!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

[ goodbye dubai ]

AND goodbye to expat life. It's been swell.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

[ one week! ]

I CAN'T believe that we've only got one week left here in Dubai! Time is flying by and we'll be boarding the plane in no time. It's incredible how many odds and ends there are to wrap up ~ hours spent sitting in utility, municipal offices and banks to make sure that everything is closed off properly, money is wired home, letters obtained stating you owe nothing, etc. I thought arriving here was complicated but leaving is just as involved.

Amongst all this running around, it's given me plenty of time to dream about some of the little things I'm looking forward to back in Canada...

1. Normal street addresses ~ buildings with numbers, streets with names, giving and getting directions without having to think of a landmark

2. A decent hotdog, real bacon, good pizza with real pepperoni

3. No more bad B.O.

4. Walking through a mall without the heavy stench of incense burning through the corridor or people trying to spray you with perfume from every storefront

5. Target and Walmart ~ silly how you take these things for granted until you don't have them

6. Fresh fruit and vegetables that don't require a mortgage and stay fresh for longer than an hour

7. Shopping in a store without a clerk following 2 paces behind

8. No more converting dirhams to dollars in my head

9. A postal system that works and will actually deliver a package to me and not disappear

10. Customer service ~ whether in person or on the phone, someone who understands what I'm saying and can actually provide an answer  

11. Normal driving ~ no one riding your bumper and flashing their lights for you to move, or backing up on the highway because they've missed their exit, or driving in the middle of 2 lanes

12. Being in the same time zone as our friends and family

13. Nature ~ breathing fresh air, the smell of grass, trees, 4 seasons, even a thunderstorm

14. Friendly people ~ a smile from a stranger

It's certainly the little things that make all the difference. And in seven days, my dreams will all come true.


Friday, May 30, 2014

[ wanna buy a camel? ]

ONE THING I hadn't done in Dubai was get up close and personal to a camel. I knew that before I left, I would need to cross this off my list. I mean, you can't come to the Middle East and not see a camel. But I wasn't about to go on a camel ride {like the girls in Sex and the City did} so I thought I'd try to at least snap a pic of one somewhere.

We've passed by so many camel farms on our drives around the area...

There's a famous camel market in Al Ain where camels are sold with intense haggling for meat, racing or milking {the majority for meat ~ apparently serving a whole camel for a wedding feast is a long time tradition}. Anyone can own a camel in Dubai ~ though I'm assuming they expect you to have a farm and not keep it in your villa's backyard. 

Since I wasn't really in the market to buy myself a new pet, we didn't drive all the way to the Al Ain market but instead stopped at a tiny market on the outskirts of Dubai and I managed to snap a couple of pics. There was a small tent selling camel milk, etc...

and a small pen of camels waiting to be sold. The camel handler didn't seem to mind me stopping to take a peek...

I got mostly rear views, but a couple of them posed for their mugshot...

Another thing crossed off my Dubai bucket list! {And with the MERS virus floating out there right now, I thought it best to use the zoom on my camera and keep my distance ~ just in case!}



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