A Small Front Stoop With BIG Curb Appeal




If you have a sprawling front stoop or a large porch your outdoor decorating options are almost endless.  However, those of us with only a few square feet can still add big impact.  The key is to choose carefully and to not let the fact that you are working with a small space make you believe that you have to buy only small accessories.  In fact, the opposite is what will give you that wow factor!  (Of course, do make sure that guests can comfortably make it to the front door without having to squeeze or step around a large awkward chair or planter).

lion head wreath

If you follow me on instagram then you might have seen the collage pic of how I put together that lion wreath.  The boxwood wreath is from Smith & Hawken for Target and the oversize (and totally awesome!) metal lion head door knocker is from HomeGoods/HomeSense.  I also swapped out my plain door mat for one with a pattern which I purchased at Jysk.

pattern door mat


lion head wreath

Next, I wanted to replace my planters.  I used to have short square black ones on every other step (for a total of 3 planters) but they were starting to chip and even though I could have spray painted them to give them a little facelift I wanted ones with more height.  The month of August  is a good time to check out the sales or clearance in the seasonal and gardening shops:  I scored the heavy black clay planters at Walmart for only $30 each and the palms trees were a mere $10 buck.


The look is unique and a lot more dramatic – exactly what I was going for!

HOW TO GET THIS LOOK: just remember these four words while shopping for your small space: BIG. TALL. TEXTURE. PATTERN.  I went for a big wreath, tall planters, added texture with the boxwood wreath and palm trees, then added a pop of pattern with a new door mat.  Another reason this all works together is because the color palette neutral and natural.

Share your front stoop pics with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

*The outdoor light fixtures are from Canadian Tire.

Thanks for checking in!



3 steps to a Laundry-Mudroom Makeover


The (bla-bla) Backstory:
When we moved into our new home three years ago I quickly painted the mudroom the same (custom paint color created by me!) pale lime green as the kitchen.  Mostly because I had a lot of paint leftover and I was exhausted:  I had spent the previous 4 months designing, planning, contracting, building, budgeting, putting in 16 hour days and even tackling some projects myself like levelling the garage before the concrete was poured, installing the thermal barrier sheet in prep for the basement floor and even sanding, priming and painting our entire home.  I was tired.  Really tired.  And I just wanted it all to be done and over with.  To move in, unpack, get the kids settled and start reconnecting and living as a family again (did I mention our temporary living arrangements were my in-laws basement?).  So I painted the kitchen and then took the paint color right into the laundry room and literally moved on with my life.
But I almost immediately regretted it.  There is zero naturally light, and so the green, which looks ‘spring fresh’ in the kitchen, just felt like the color of ‘sick’ in the laundry-mudroom.  Which of course makes sense now, because I was actually sick n’ tired  at the time I was painting the laundry-mudroom (roll eyes at bad joke here).  Lol!
I thought many times about changing it, but what color?  I got paint swatches and browsed Pinterest for inspirations but still, I had no idea.  Then, over the summer while mopping the room’s slate floor,  it hit me.  The color inspiration had been there, all around me -all along:  Black & White.  Duh!
With the room’s charcoal slate tiles, white cabinets, white appliances, black coat rack, grey counters, white trim and ceiling, the black and white accessories I already had … it suddenly became obvious to me that I should just paint out the entire room a fresh glossy white.  I’ve mentioned before that my fave white paint is Behr’s Ultra Pure White in gloss.  Every white painted surface in my home is this color, and I always seem to have a leftover can hanging around.  Best of all, because this room receives a lot traffic (and dirty soggy outerwear), I became giddy imagining how great it would be to have everything painted in the same white-glossy-easy-to-wipe-clean-and-do-paint-touch-ups-color.  As an added bonus I knew this would kick start me into properly finishing and organizing this room once and for all.
#1 Just Plan it:
  • Inspired by the black & white color theme my mind raced at all the possibilities for accent colors (hot pink or aqua?).  Except, when I really stopped to consider how this space was being used (backpack drop off, mail station, dog diner, laundry area, seasonal clothing storage and accessory closet).  I realized that all of our family’s stuff already had plenty of pattern and color.  A bunch of super cute colorful accessories would only end up getting lost in the shuffle or worse -just add more visual noise to the space.  Keeping it simple was key.
  • I decided to continue with a monochromatic palette adding a little warmth in the form of saddle toned wood with hits of gold.  
 #2 Just Paint it
  • Before back-to-school arrived, I emptied the laundry-mudroom and gave the ceiling, walls, trim and doors a new paint job (of course, I filled any holes, sanded and primed first!).  It took 4 coats (5 coats in some areas).  Not because the green paint was too dark, but glossy paint can be tricky like that.  It’s not as forgiving and for a really rich deep perfectly glossy painted surface, a little more effort is required.  It only looks great if you can build up those glossy layers of paint (not convinced about going glossy yourself?  Click here for more).

Prepping the laundry-mudroom for painting

  • I replaced the cabinet door handles for some unique ones I found at my local hardware store (Hudson Hardware) which I spray painted gold (yup still loving the gold, more on that here and here).  The gold ties in really nicely by picking up on the warmth of the wood accessories.


  • Finally, I had a little leftover chalkboard paint from the guest-game room makeover (more on that project here) and I thought it would be a cool, not to mention free, back-splash idea.


#3 Just Organize It
  • Aren’t those labelled-wall-mounted-metal-wire-storage-baskets (that’s a mouthful) fantastic?  I found them at the MAXI grocery store around the time we were just moving in.  I love how they taper at the bottom so that they don’t take up too much space.  Aside from storing the obvious seasonal accessories they are also great for hanging sunglasses and the fact that air can circulate through means damps mittens get the chance to dry. Everyone in the family has their own, even our Siberian Husky, Kaya!  Best of all, they sell for about $6 each.


  • A shoe horn, compact umbrella, bottle of insect repellant and a tube of sun screen are out of sight thanks to the woven basket above the coat rack and the three large wicker baskets above the cabinets house my scented candle addiction. The wood box (made by my grandfather) hides take-out menus.


  • Decorative bowls and small planters can be re-purposed for organizing misc items like gum, pocket change, message pads and pens.


  • Serving trays are the interior decorators’ go-to trick for making items look neat and pulled together.


 black and white mudroom


The Shopping
I only purchased four things for this space -all of the other items I shopped my own house!  I used up a leftover can of Behr paint in Ultra Pure White, but had to buy another can for $34.99 at the Home Depot.  The cool (earring inspired) cabinet door pulls for were $4.99 each.  I scored the mirror at Bombay for $25 (down from $299) and the black and white hounds-tooth laundry basket was $16.99 at HomeSense (also known as HomeGoods depending on where you live).  It’s also worth mentioning that the black coat rack (also purchased at HomeSense, 3 years ago) is actually designed for displaying a tea cup or mug collection, but when I spotted it I knew it would work perfectly for the mudroom.

The 101: Before decorating any room, be honest about how you use it.  A monochromatic color scheme is a perfect backdrop to a multi-use space.  Small rooms are great to experiment with fun door hardware.


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why not use wrapping paper to line the back of your cabinet?


Measure. Cut. Tape.

wrapping paper

Before committing to paint or wallpaper for that cabinet or open shelving that isn’t as colorful or interesting as you would like it to be, give wrapping paper a try.  Not only is it available in all sorts of fun patterns but it is also inexpensive.  Which makes this quick DIY a no-brainer!  If after a week you decide you no longer like the look, rip it out the way you would unwrap a gift!

Check out these two fantastic examples (below) from Old Beach Bungalow and In My Own Style.

This past weekend I got the urge to putter around the house and make some accessory changes and even moved furniture around (more on that to come!):  In my dining room I have this gorgeous vintage steel tanker bookcase (photo below).

Dining Room: Vintage Steel Lawyers Bookcase

I decided to move it to a different wall and restyle it, but because it’s no longer right across from the windows it is shaded and makes it hard to see anything displayed inside.  I figured this would be a great opportunity to give the wrapping paper idea a try. I had recently bought a nice roll of pale grey hounds-tooth wrapping paper.  It took me about 5 minutes to do, and I really like how it draws your eye in.  I’m still not 100% sure I will keep it this way forever, but it’s always fun to experiment and try something new.

vintage steel tanker bookcae

houdstooth wrapping paper lined cabinet

wine glasses displayed wrapping paper lined cabinet

Thanks for checking in,


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Styling shelves

Styling shelves

My Dining Room

My Dining Room

Master Bedroom Retreat

I’ve blogged about my master bedroom before (you can find that post HERE).  But I never mentioned anything about the large recessed wall across from the bed.  There was a television, complete with visible ugly wires and a small audio stand housing our digital video recorder (DVR).  Blah.


Several months ago we ditched the satellite dish for a tiny Apple TV unit (it sits just on top of the television), which meant “ba-bye” to the DVR and the awkward audio stand.  The hubs got to work opening a section of the wall and did a little electrical work to hide all the wires  Then he repaired the wall, mudded and sanded and I finished up with a coat of primer and two coats of leftover bedroom paint.  I must say we did a pretty good job -you can’t even tell!


Now we were left with a clean, empty slate.  At first I had visions of something custom built like bookcases or shelving.  But you always have to think about resale and if/when we sell this house, built-ins would mean one huge wall lost for bedroom furniture pieces like dressers or a vanity (we prefer storing all our clothes in our his and her walk-in closets).


With our kids getting older and taking over more of our home’s entertaining spaces for themselves and their friends, I wanted to create a quite, lounging, retreat feeling in our bedroom.  I decided to incorporate the existing day bed we already had and buy cabinets to place on either end so I could have a surface where I could put a small coffee pot and sparkling water (boutique hotel inspired much?!).  The cabinets were tricky to find because I needed a specific size for a snug, custom-like fit between the (recessed) wall and the daybed. After several months I did find two identical cabinets in the perfect size that needed a little DIY! (you can read all about that HERE).


The accessories however were fun to shop for, and I was definitely looking to inject some touches of silver and gold for a little glamour like the gorgeous antique crystal and silver pitcher – it weighs a ton and I am in serious love with it!  Or the cute lamp with gold sequins shade I picked up at HomenSense/HomeGoods.  As well as a couple of hits of coral pink, like the stunning vintage vase I scored and the cashmere blanket I already had (from my mom) tucked away in the back of my linen closet.




The three round abstract art pieces were a made by me, to find out more on the art DIY click HERE.  The art resting near the coffee maker is an original by a talented friend Susan B. Landis, you can browse her work and get more info on her blog HERE.






I did a lot of shopping in my own house, which I always try and do first before going out and spending.  Not only does it save money but by moving things around to different rooms in your home, you get to enjoy your stuff in a new way.

The mask on the floor is from a vacation to Mexico and I plan on hanging it eventually but it is SUPER HEAVY and definitely a two person, with power tools, kind of job.  Although I am starting to like it resting there on the floor!  The stainless tray and coffee pot is by Everyday Essential from Loblaws.  The container that the plant is in is actually a storage basket I picked up at HomeSense/HomeGood


All of the throw pillows I already had (some made by me, others purchased) except for the two large back pillows which are in fact, dog beds! You can read all about that HERE as well as the sparkly sequins teal pillow or as I like to call it The Tube Dress Throw Pillow Skirt (you can read about that HERE).



vignette: decorating master bedroom

More to come soon …thanks for stopping by!


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Why not spruce up your sofa with Dog Beds?!

“watch out pooch, dog beds are not just for the dogs!”

dog bed pillows

Even if you don’t have a four legged best friend, you have to admit that there are some cute dog beds popping up these days at places like Target and even Costco.  They come in a variety of fabrics and patterns and are very reasonably priced considering the massive size of the “throw pillow”.  That’s right, when you really stop to think about it, a dog bed is nothing but a huge throw pillow.  Which got me thinking… for those with a daybed or who have an old sofa that needs a little oomph, why not add/replace the large back pillows with large dog beds?!  An easy, super budget friendly solution!

Dog Bed Throw Pillows/Pet Beds

Not convinced?  I recently did a mini-make-over in my own master bedroom.  I had a daybed from West Elm, which I had bought for the sitting room at our last house.  In this house, I placed it in the bedroom but wanted to put it up against the wall under the TV and have it be more of a reading, lounging sofa, but still be used as a “mommmm I’m sick/had a bad dream” emergency bed.  Throw pillows are fine… but for real comfort you need an actual proper padded back.  I looked into sewing and DIY-ing something -until I was browsing a HomeSense store (also known as HomeGoods depending on where you live) and it hit me: DOG BEDS!!!  The right size and cheaper than anything I could make.  Not to mention, available in all sorts of cute prints and colors.

dog bed throw pillows on day bed


Are you sold?  Would you use a dog bed as a throw pillow? Let me know what you think!

UPDATE: Full reveal of my master bedroom mini-makeover HERE!


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when your photo is too small for your picture frame


Sure.  You could simply have your photo enlarged.  But it’s when you lack the time or patience that you sometimes come up with a creative, original and more personal idea!

vintage porcelaine frame / night table vignette

I got the vintage off-white (trimmed in gold) porcelain picture frame for $2 at NOVA a couple of months back.  I had it hiding in the “when I finally do a mini-makeover to my bedroom” pile in my closet!

photo corners / vintage procelaine frame

I chose the photo I wanted to use (photo of the hubs on our honeymoon), but when I put it in the frame I realized the photo needed to be 5×7, not 4×6.  I remembered I had kept the unused pieces of an art project and figured it would be perfect to experiment with (for more on that click HERE).

hang jewelry on phot frame for added color and eclectic feel

night table vignette

I cut out a rectangle slightly larger than 5×7 and using white photo corners which I already had (purchased for a different project!) I  centered the photo on the art scrap.  I wasn’t sure about it until I slipped it back into the picture frame.  But I love the little bit of the pale aqua art peaking out from behind!  I think it helps to further enforce the room’s new color accent and I prefer my night table’s softer vignette.

vintage steel tanker bookcase re-purposed as night tables with storage and accessorized with items I already had


night table vignette aqua blue & white


Don’t have any art scraps hanging around?  Try newspaper, wrapping or craft paper!


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DIY canvas photo peg board

“Push pins work pretty good on painted canvas”

What’s a home bar without some great photos of friends… old memories you can recount and toast to?  For some reason when I walked into Le Carrefour De L’espoir (second hand shop) and saw this original (yet, let’s be honest, ugly) art piece, I knew immediately it’s second life would be as a peg board for our basement bar.

ugly art turned DIY PEG BOARD!

Something about the frame looked 70’s ish with its slightly yellowed fabric (think, smoky cigar lounge) but the faded black and gold accent frame seemed right on.  I snapped it up for $20.  Maybe it was a little pricey (considering), but I really had been looking for a long time, and I knew I wanted something “authentic” vintage and not new “made-in-China” from some retail chain.

TIP: “every room in your home should have a thing or two that is old, unique or eclectic”

unique vintage diy photo peg board

With a paint brush and a tube of black chalk board paint I painted over it.  I know I know, you’re thinking: “huh?”  First, I knew I wanted to paint it black and already had this stuff laying around the house.   Second, the painting was done in oil and already textury (OK, that is not a real word but you get me).  So painting it with a small brush instead of a roller to help even out and add even more texture seemed like a good idea.  Third, I knew most of it would be covered by photos anyways so I thought “who cares!?”.

diy vintage photo peg board how-tougly vintage art turned photo board

More bar pics to come soon! Thanks for checking inJulie

*re-posted by BOB VILA NATION on December 5th, 2012

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