An email from Inside Out Magazine

Its not every day I get an email from my favourite magazine asking to share some of my home with their readers.  But that is just what happened in the run up to the Blogster Awards a few weeks ago.  An email from Inside Out popped into my inbox and there was a request to share something from my home with their readers.  Huge excitement!  Ofcourse it all had to happen on one rushed afternoon when the light was right, but these are the moments I decided to share from my home.
 A moment in the living room.  I have put this chair on its own with the bamileke table, a comfy spot to read but still be close when Mr B is cooking in the kitchen.   My Quick Flowers have gone a lovely dusty pink and look lovely inside at the moment.

Morning light in our bathroom, yes I know you have seen it before but I love this room.  Onbe day I will manage to take photos of the walk in robe to show you too, lighting is an issue!

Thanks to the team at Inside Out - you made my day.

Reveal! Our super tiny washroom renovation

So it's time to reveal our washroom renovation. :) I am so, so, so happy with how it turned out. Every night I have a bubble bath and unwind and I look around and feel like I'm in a fancy hotel. Although I designed the room (picking the finishes, faucets etc) Aubrey did all the work making it come together. So here is a full reveal of the room, now that everything has been installed.

The main design decision that impacted the space was deciding to bump out the washroom wall into the hallway to make extra room for the vanity. This allowed us to have a nook where the vanity would fit and give us more floor space in the washroom. It was absolutely the best decision.

In the shot above you can also see how all of our choices came together. The 2" hexagon marble floor compliments the porcelain marble "look a like" tile that we carried onto the face of the bathtub. The trim is bright white and the walls - Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore. Grays and whites - all working together.

Vanity Lighting: One thing that was a bit concerning was that we had zero space for any vanity lighting. We ended up doing a single pot light right in the middle of the alcove. I'm happy to say that it gives off enough beautiful light. I wouldn't have it any other way.

We purposefully dropped the ceiling in the alcove to be the same height as the door, so it worked together, but also so that the potlight was close enough to where we stood to give off enough light. If we had made it much higher, we likely would not have as nice a light source. (See animated gif below)

The mirror - oh, the mirror. I had quotes of getting one custom made (close to $300, framed) searched high and low in retail stores. Nothing was right - or if it was, it was too expensive. I stopped into a Hotel Liquidators and low and behold they had the mirror above for sale for $15. Sold. Aubrey glued it to the wall and it looks like it was custom cut for our room.

Our vanity is gorgeous and it was pretty reasonable coming in around $500 (that includes the vanity and sink, not the faucet). In terms of function - this vanity hits all of the right notes. I love that the sink portion is flat - which means that you really have a full counter in front of you if you're doing makeup. You don't have to rest things on the side of the sink - as the interior basin is flat. I love that we went with zero handles, as it saves the floor space and I can get up closer to the sink. The only downfall is, that since we have no overhang of the sink - if water drips off the sink it drips onto the front of the drawers which is occasionally annoying.

I LOVE having drawers - they can store a ton of (my) things. Aubrey has one side, I have the other and the bottom drawer (not shown open) houses extra toilet paper, bubble bath, toys for Oscar.

And there you have it - Our bathroom reno! :)

Porcelain Shower Tile: Manufacturer: Cerim, Style Name: Precious Pearl 
2" Hexagon Marble Floor: The Tile Store
BathtubJaccuzi Soaker 60" x 32" drop in - purchased at Lowes
Toilet: Kohler Memoirs (I LOVE this toilet) purchased at Lowes
Vanity: Veneto Bath 690C in Walnut  Purchased at Bath City, Beaches Location
Three Way Shower System and faucet: TAPS 
Robe Hooks and toilet paper holder: Kraus Aura Line, Home Depot Online (online only)
Shower Curtain and Liner: HomeSense
Shower Rod and Rings: Target
Towels: HomeSense
Mirror: Advance Hotel Liquidator 
Paint: Classic Gray for the Walls, Chantilly Lace for the trim (Both Benjamin Moore)
Drywall: Joe (He's done our basement, our kitchen and now our bathroom)

Other posts of interest: Deciding to Bump Out the bathroom wall, Washroom Before, Picking Tile,  Shower Systems, Choosing a Bathtub,

Stair remodel: Progress

Our contractor wraps up work on our stairs today, but we still have lots of work ahead of us (and you know we're not nearly as speedy as the pros - just cheaper). While we're still a long way from finished, I couldn't wait to share some shots of the incredible progress so far! 

Here's the view from the entry at the end of days 1 & 2. Obviously, some lighting changes will need to happen down the road, but we're not there yet. Now if only we could figure out a solution for that awkwardly-placed fridge (someone buy me a SMEG fridge, please).

And the view from the kitchen. We thought we might install a railing on top of the half wall (Day 1), but we decided to just make the wall higher instead (Day 2). The treads and risers are of course temporary until we figure out the flooring situation. You can see that they also knocked out the doorway to the upstairs hallway. That was a last-minute decision that I'm so happy with!

Removing the doorway helps the high ceilings really stand out (and yes, we've got some brick painting to do).
Downstairs, we'll need to install a handrail along the wall. Again, temporary treads, but you can see that our contractor was able to move the stairs back by more than a foot. Now Adam doesn't have to duck to avoid hitting his head when he walks downstairs.
One neat find: when our contractor enlarged the opening in the wall, he revealed the house's old siding. The main floor is actually an addition, although I can't believe this house was once smaller than it is now!
So, lots of taping, mudding and sanding in our future (although we may hire that out too for speed), and of course now we have to pick out new flooring and make a decision about permanent stair treads/risers. We're still debating whether we'll install the stair treads and risers ourselves, or hire our contractor back to finish the job. He's been awesome to work with - and fast - so we'd love to work with him again. Sean from Streamline Construction if anyone local is in need of a contractor.


on etsy....

Just a quickie today to mention that Etsy invited me to create a branded page with my finds. Whooooo! I am obsessed with categorizing my finds. I'll go into some of the sections later on but I thought I'd just mention my new obsession. xo Linds

Thanksgiving | Outside the Box

Nothing says Fall more than leaves falling to the ground, spiced cider and pumpkin rides. And nothing says family and friends more than Thanksgiving gatherings around the table with fun centerpieces and décor with good food and lots of laughs with those most important to you.
This year, to be honest, I'm not really sure what we're doing for Thanksgiving. I've gone back and forth about décor and table settings and what I would like to include on the menu. I question whether we will do the day with our little family only (since most of our extended family is in the South and Michigan we won't see them until Christmas) or whether we will invite those who also have no family in the area and make it a party.
Whatever the case, I've been a pinning fool and collected a few ideas from settings to food to help make mine and your Thanksgiving a little less traditional and a little more outside the box.
FOOD | Simple and Tasty.
When making the menu for your Thanksgiving fare be sure to keep it simple, healthy and tasty. Try some non-traditional veggie dishes or add unexpected seasonings to your main dish. I've pinned a few things here to give you some ideas to start your menu off right. You can also click on any of the images below to get to the RHI Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.

DECOR | Light, Natural and Fun.
After food, this may be my favorite thing about Thanksgiving. I remember growing up helping set the table with the "good stuff" that we only pulled out a few times a year when we had holiday gathering or special guests. All the crystal glasses and silver trimmed plates accented the table and added just the right touch of warmth to the tabletop.
Since, you'll probably be hanging out at the table a lot, your tablescape and tabletop décor is important but you don't want it to take a away from the most important thing at the table-the people. {Get more ideas for fun tabletop décor and ways to add special details to your home by clicking the image below.}
ATMOSPHERE | Comforting Candles, Fire and Music.
This is a vital aspect of welcoming guests into your home or just creating an overall cheerful space for you and your family to enjoy. I know we've talked a lot it seems about the table but you can create a comfortable, warm atmosphere by expanding your vision beyond the dining table to wall, coffee tables, and even sofas.
Ideally, I know that we all live big, full lives. And if you're like me and have multiple kids the last thing you're thinking about is adding fall or Thanksgiving artwork to walls or pillows to the sofa. Do what you can to make your home what you want it. If it's adding a pillow or two to the sofa or a few fall leaves to the mantel, do that. No one wants to walk into a house that you've stressed over to make "perfect" and not feel cozy or get good vibes upon entry. We ARE talking about atmosphere here after all.
Candles are a great place to start. If you add scented candles sprinkled with warm scents like cinnamon, coriander, or basil you can bet your guests will feel right at home. If you have a fireplace, light it. What compares to the crackle of a toasty fire? Not much. These are, of course, just a few things you can do to add atmosphere when entertaining for the holiday.
So I hope this sends you well on your way to a Thanksgiving gathering you and your guests will remember for years to come not just because of how amazing everything looked but because you offered an opportunity for memory making through great conversation, good food and lots of laughs!
Be sure to head over to my Pinterest page and surf around for lots of other fun ideas as well!
I would love it if you'd follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well!

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Savvy Southern Style

P.S. Thanks to some good ol' spammers, I am now moderating comments. Boo. But, as long as you're not a spammer and you're nice...your comment will show below so go ahead and leave some love!

Corner modular search part 2

I have found some more options for the corner modular, and also found some manufacturers I didn't know existed before.  I still love the Osbourne from Boyd Blue but its going to cost around $7k which is really a lot more than I want to spend.

First I discovered Staple & Co, available through Project 82.  They aim to be stylish at a reasonable price point and they are.  The Lennon from $1,050 in fabric seems frankly to good to be true, I am guess this is the base before adding fabric.  I recently went to the store and is is super comfortable.    The Lennon and the Walter are my favourites.
The Walter reminds me of the more modern Restoration Hardware designs.  Both have a lot of modular options that should let me design the corner sectional of my dreams.  The Walter looks great in this photo but the back is very low and I personally thought the Lennon was more comfortable.  Bit disappointed because it looks so great in this image.

Then I discovered Camerich, best selling point for me is that the covers can be removed and washed, and better yet you can buy another pair for around $900 a sofa.  If you have children and pets this is going to make you happy.  It also means you can choose a daring fabric colour safe in the knowledge that if you hate it in two years time you don't have to pay for a whole new couch.  Quite a good range of fabric's to choose from.

Comfort was good, especially the Lazy Time which will make a fabulous place for the whole family to flop onto.  I like the style of the Casa and Clouds but they are a more firm feel.  
Price point was pretty good too, around $5,500 - $6,000 for the size I am interested in.  

So no decisions yet, but some really great options.  If any of you have any good suggestions let me know.
See part 1 of my great corner modular search here.

your questions answered / faq's about our ikea kitchen

For those of you new to my blog, In the Summer of 2012, Aubrey and I took on an kitchen renovation that combined the big box store cabinets (Ikea) with some high end items, budget items and of course - a few DIY's. The result of the hard work in months of planning and research paid off, and I am in LOVE with our kitchen. The kitchen has got an awesome shout outs from Nicole, was featured in The National Post and Sam featured it in one of her articles as well. And weekly I see people re-pinning pictures of the kitchen and my favourite candid photo - Aubrey laughing as demonstrating his trash pullout. ;) It's great fun seeing something we put a lot of sweat (Aubrey), tears (me out of frustration) and effort (both of us) into, circulate and be an inspiration to others. 

I've tried to organize past posts on the kitchen as best as possible but I still get a lot of e-mails every week asking about little elements that we picked, or if we're still liking the kitchen a year later. So to help new readers I decided to post the most frequently asked questions about our kitchen here. This post will go in our "Popular Post" roundup - where you can also find a lot of posts that will help you. I really, really recommend you read through those posts as if you are thinking of doing an Ikea kitchen, a lot of information is in that section. Especially our post on Tips & Tricks for buying an Ikea Kitchen. 

Now, all of this being said - as much as I try to help people out with questions, I can't stress enough that the best answers are going to come from you walking into your local Ikea, or home hardware with your own measurements and asking for advice. Measurements are key - so having your own measurements on hand when you go to a store. All that being said -  after the jump I've compiled all of our frequently asked questions directly related to our kitchen. Remember, a lot of the great posts are in this section so do pop over there if you're thinking of an Ikea kitchen.
Read more »

Staircase remodel: Before

I still can't believe I'm sharing these photos with the world. Gulp.

The first time we walked through this house, our real estate agent took one look at the stairs and said, "OK, I know why this house hasn't sold yet." The list of reasons why most buyers walked away from this house is miles long and, looking back, I'm shocked that we actually took the plunge. We've spent the last two and a half years tackling our home's flaws one by one, while keeping one very dirty secret: the stairs.

This is the view of the stairs from our living room. The stairs were so bad, we didn't even bother trying to pretty them up with paint (or maybe there were just too many other projects to get to first).

This is the view into the basement (utility room to the left, Adam's studio and our storage room to the right). I vacuum the carpet at least twice a week (and hate every moment of it), but it always looks dirty and is just generally stained and gross.

While the stairs are hideous, the worst part about them is actually that they don't work. To start, you have to step down onto the landing before stepping up to get to the second floor. Most people just step across the landing, which has led to more than a few stumbles.

The steps themselves are narrow and I've tripped on them in both directions, even once while holding Hannah.

Seriously, why didn't we at least make an attempt at painting?!

This is the view from the upstairs hallway, looking towards the stairs. We bought hardwood for the hallway when we replaced the floors in the bedrooms, but we've been waiting to install it until we replaced the stairs. I can't wait to see the last of the carpet go!

This is the view from the entry, looking into the kitchen. Guess what else we've been waiting to replace until we fixed the stairs? Yes, the ugly laminate in our living room/dining room and the beat-up linoleum in our kitchen. And of course we can't wait to update the baseboards like we did in the bedrooms, too.

Over the next few days, our contractor will be knocking out the entry between the living room and the kitchen (the one our dog is lying in above), and widening the entry to the stairs. The new entry will extend the entire width of the stairs and a new header will be installed at the height of the ceiling. The entry to the stairs is in a load-bearing wall, so this work is well beyond our DIY skills.

As for the stairs, both sets are being ripped out and replaced. The new stairs will be built to code and will head straight down to the basement and straight up to the second floor. They'll be separated by a half-wall, inspired by this photo:

We're thinking about painting the steps, since we're leaning towards a different tone of hardwood for the main floor (you can check out some of my painted stair inspiration here). For now, our contractor will install temporary treads, which will give us more time to choose hardwood for the main floor and figure out the best permanent look for the stairs.

The progress at the end of day one is incredible - pictures to come!

Black walls and styling perfection

This is the kind of space I wish I could pull off, its so retrained and has such great impact.  I would never be to edit to this pared back level.  But perhaps I can take some notes from the styling of the altar table against the black wall which I think is just perfection.

See the full house which is from Real Living here, and more of photographer Sharyn Cairns work here.

the gift of giving...what to do with pre-loved toys

Its a good time of year to sort out the toys, Christmas is around the corner and our lucky children are sure to be getting presents.  They have been good so it will be presents rather than coal.  

Its the perfect time to sort through what we have:
  • throw away the broken, 
  • regroup the sets that have become scattered, 
  • separate preloved toys for regifting
This year in addition to their own stockings, my children will have a regifting santa sack where they can put toys that can be passed onto children who need them.  
It is hard to find places in Australia which will accept quality preloved toys, but I have managed to find a few places who do take them: 
  • Your local police station may accept soft animals that children in a traumatic situation can be given to cuddle, 
  • Family refuge centres (like Ozcare) will also accept toys if they have a family with children of the right age, 
  • Foster care centres will pass age appropriate toys onto children in care
  • Childrens Hospitals
  • Lifeline shops accept games and books.  
If anybody has any other suggestions please let me know, I do hate the idea that old toys just go to the tip.

Sharpie Halloween Candle Holder

Want to know THE easiest project that you can do? Drawing on a dollar store vase with a sharpie. There you go. Just call me Martha.*

In all seriousness, I started doodling on a vase that I had picked up from the dollar store and before you knew it, Oscar and I were counting bats and working together to decide where to put them. (And a singular spider that makes an appearance) All you need is a thin black sharpie, a glass jar or vase and that's it. I Googled Bat silhouettes to remind me as to how they should look - They are by no means good looking bats but to a 3 year old they were perfect (and therefore, perfect for me too!)

*I hope you sense the sarcasm. :)

Sunday Night Inspiration | ACCEPTED

The blinking cursor. It's been there waiting for me to
This is a post I've been wanting to write for a few weeks now but just haven't been able to put finger to keyboard to properly transfer these thoughts into words.

But tonight, we went to church and all of a sudden, it was complete. It all finally made sense to me.

For months and maybe even more than a year now I've wrestled with where to go with my business. What should Restoration House Interiors look like. What should it represent? To whom should it speak? And when I say "wrestle"...I mean WRESTLE.
This thought has, at times, literally consumed me as I continue to forge ahead and do all I have to do to make this business what I want it to be. Wait...what? Did I just say that?
If you've read my ABOUT ME section or hung around here for any amount of time you've gotten a taste of where my heart lies in relation to Restoration House. I've debated about breaking off and beginning a separate blog for inspiration but every time I try something {I like to call it the Holy Spirit, God, Jesus}inside says "no". I am not saying that this will never happen but now is not the time.
Over the next few months I hope to convey this emotion and conviction to you and welcome you to a new blog...a place where you can be inspired not just for your home {even thought there will be a lot of that} but a place where you SOUL can be filled and where you can find REST. And I won't separate the two. When you get Restoration get me. All of me. The quirky, the fun and funky, the thoughtful, creative, energetic, goofy, Jesus loving...ME.
So what was this "it" revelation I had tonight?  Well, our Pastor spoke to us tonight about the Sabbath and what God intended it to be and how Jesus IS the Sabbath. He IS rest. He is the completed, finished work of God in our lives and I  {and you too} can REST knowing that:

I AM ACCEPTED.  {So I don't have to WORK to please Him. He loves me.}
I AM FORGIVEN.  {So I don't have to walk in worry or shame.}
I AM CALLED.       {So I am released to do some pretty amazing things in this life.}
I AM LOVED.         {SO I love. I create and give because so much has been given}
I AM FREE.             {To be who God has called me to be.}
I AM HIS.                 {So I can rest.}

I can rest here. Right here...and allow God to work through my gifts and talents and share all of His goodness with all of you whether it be through a Sunday night post or a Tuesday afternoon write-up about paint color on my walls or a DIY project. I no longer have to wrestle with what this place should look like because I can rest in knowing that my identity is not in Restoration House or anything I do but found in Him and what He has done.
I am SO excited to continue to walk this all out and share this journey of creativity and spiritual growth with all of friends. You truly are...accepted by Him and pretty darn amazing.

Looking forward to the journey,

bits + pieces

Happy Friday! Nothing exciting over here but here is a roundup of what didn't get blogged about this week. Above is our kitchen table centerpiece - The owl is from HomeSense, the miniature pumpkin was given to Oscar by his friends at the florist and the bat I cut out and Oscar taped onto pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners make the bat "bouncy" so they float around when Oscar runs around with them in his hands. Totally a spur of the moment idea that gave Oscar hours of entertainment. Score. We also cut out pumpkin silhouettes from Orange paper and taped them onto Popsicle sticks (not shown) and had a puppet show. Totally simple but ridiculously fun for an hour. Ps., The bat did have google eyes on him but Oscar pulled them off.

That's it! Have a great weekend. I'm off to pick up the little guy from school.

xo Linds

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