19 November 2012

The Tuxedo Dresser - A Black & White Makeover

I’m a little bit smitten with our latest dresser makeover – it’s classic yet a little funky, kind of black tie with a twist, which I totally love :)

We bought this dresser off Craigslist in the summer – I liked the shape and all the pretty little details in the woodwork, although the hubs thought the bottom looked like a giant mustache.

Despite seeing past the technicolour finish, it took me awhile to get started. The honey and I both wanted to use up some leftover paint from previous projects, but I kind of felt like doing something new. Frankly, the thought of using the same old paint left me feeling pretty uninspired...But I rolled with it...Eventually I settled on staining the top dark and painting the body white – I've been loving that country-esque look lately. But after a LOT of prep and several tries the stain just wouldn't take evenly.

So on to plan B, a different two-tone look that's a little less country, a little more chic.

Black and White Tuxedo Dresser

I'm SO crazy about black and white - the colours are so classic but together they look so bold. 

Love how the new paint job highlights the details. Although in black it does look a little more mustachey..

The new knobs are my favourite part. I had bought the same ones with a white center last year on clearance at Homesense, and while working on this dresser I realized they'd be perfect, but I only had 3. I was disappointed I couldn't use them, but then totally lucked out finding these!

I was surprised at how much I ended up liking this piece - despite using the same old paint. All it needed was a little re-imagining.

Black and White Tuxedo Dresser

In terms of the how-to, I prepped the piece by lightly sanding a few rough spots and gave the whole thing a thorough cleaning. I filled the holes from the old pulls with wood filler and sanded smooth. Then I taped off the sides of the drawers and got to work: 1 coat of Zinsser primer, 2-3 coats of paint, and 3 coats of satin Varathane sealer. 

I added a little paint conditioner to help with brush/roller marks, but I've learned it's really about your technique. Thin coats are better than thick, and the hardest part is trying not to work the paint too much by going over it a million times. Especially with the Varathane, use VERY thin coats and work quickly, or you’ll end up with tons of marks (the can says not to use a roller but I did so anyway), not to mention BUBBLES! I ended up adding a little conditioner to the Varathane too - probably not recommended but I found it helped. In the end I achieved an even surface that's also silky smooth to the touch :) Last but not least I measured out the placement for the knobs and drilled new holes. 

For now this pretty little tuxedo dresser is fancying up my dining room, waiting to get sold!

8 November 2012

Updated Living Room Reveal + Searching For an Area Rug!

The sun was finally shining yesterday, giving me an opportunity to snap a few shots of my updated living room! 

If there's one thing I've learned while blogging this past year it's that my style is constantly evolving. Here's a look back at our first living area in our old apartment.

As I've explored my style a little more I've had fun changing things up. Here's what our living room looks like now!

I found the handmade wool cushions from Kashmir at the CNE - an annual fair in Toronto that includes an international market. I wanted to incorporate more eastern elements into our home and I really liked the colours and patterns in these pillows.

I hesitated a LOT before adding the zebra pillow and other animal patterns in the room, they felt a little too wild for my tastes...but I'd been crushing on animal prints for months so I finally decided to embrace it - in small doses! The pillow and coffee table tray were both from Winners/Homesense.

The hanging lantern was from World Market on our last US visit. The curtains are the same no-sew curtains from our old apartment. Between the chairs, I also added a little brass accordian table from Urban Outfitters.

The tall plant was a serendipitous find :) I went into Home Depot for some poly and stumbled across it hidden in a corner. It looked pretty neglected with lots of brown spots, but it was still love at first sight! It was more than half off and I'm hoping to nurse it back to health, but it had no tag so I don't know what it is - any plant enthusiasts out there have an idea?

See the before and after of my campaign dresser makeover here. I think this is probably my favourite vignette in the whole space :) On the opposite wall is my latest DIY, a gold-leafed etagere IKEA hack. You can also see more about the gallery wall here.

I love that this space reflects more personality now and a bit more of a collected feel. 

It is still a work in progress though, I've already blogged about wanting to change out the coffee table for an ottoman, and I'm also keeping my eye out for a pair of side tables. I'd eventually like to add a different rug, hopefully something a little bigger. Here are a few I'm loving lately:

 1. I'm crazy about this black and gold hemp rug, a bit pricier but here's hoping for a sale!
2. Had my eye on this pretty + graphic navy rug for awhile
3. LOVE this eastern overdyed rug, although it's about 5x my budget..but a girl can dream!
4. This deep oriental rug is a decent price, although on the darker side

It'll definitely be awhile before we're adding anything major though, for now we're just enjoying the new space!

7 November 2012

1 Year of Blogging

It’s a little hard to believe I’ve been blogging for an entire year, but this time last year I was putting together my very first post and nervously hitting ‘publish’! Looking back at the past year, I haven’t necessarily posted that often, but even so I feel like blogging has changed my life in so many ways, alhamdulillah :)

I’ve started to rediscover what I’m passionate about and own my talents, and a huge part of that is thanks to the encouragement and sweet words received from many of you! Along with my wonderful family and friends, who always seem to believe in me so much more than I believe in myself. Finding something I truly love to do and being even the smallest bit validated in it gives me this amazing optimism for the future. I don’t know what direction I’ll go yet – whether I’ll build a little business or something else entirely - but I'm excited and inspired and confident in a way I wasn't before this blog (I know that sounds totally cheesy + awkward but it’s true!).

It's been a wonderful year, and I'm so excited to keep decorating and DIYing and sharing every bit of it here!