The cottage floor, before, after and after-after

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For 7 years the floor at the cottage was stained brown and totally scratched. It was worn when we bought it, and 7 years of country life with kids and dogs didn’t help it. 2 weeks ago, I moved the furniture to one side, grabbed a couple of gallons of deck/balcony paint in paper cotton white and put on 3 coats. Then I moved all the furniture to the OTHER side, put an other 3 coats and waited a week….
Last weekend we put everything back. The entire house was SO much brighter! But I didn’t *love* the kitchen… it was a bit flat… luckily, with a striped floor pin on one of my pinterest boards and 3 old paint cans from previous projects, I managed to give it exactely the right look!

Now…. I have a great idea for that ugly backplash.
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Rescued Telephone Bench

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A few months back, my husband and I were driving in the car when I jumped out at a red light and shoved this in the truck of his car:

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It was so…. worn out! But the lady in the car behind us, who had to wait while I closed the truck, gave me a big thumbs up and didn’t even honk when she almost missed the light!

So this beauty has been in my basement for months, waiting for it’s makeover. I really didn’t know where I was going to put it, so I wasn’t sure how to re-finish it. But then last week, out of nowhere, I realised there was nothing on the stair landing. Nowhere for my kids to put down something they was to remember to bring down in the morning… So that would be it’s home, and thus, I knew what to do with it.

First, I took it apart. Oh the glamorous side of re-upholstery.
ImageA Coat of primer helped a lot:

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And here it is, in the landing, all dressed up and awaiting the library books that will surely find their way on it at night. I’m thinking of printing a picture of the finished product, putting it in a thank you card and dropping it off at the house where I got it….

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Before and After: BB’s room and new roman blinds

Once upon a time at the Kibutz of the North, we had a bonus space, a mezzanine above the living room:

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Take one very handy brother and his contractor-friend, slap up some walls, add a window on the staircase side to keep the staircase from becoming a dungeon, punch a hole on the living room side tolet in some light and hang some wodden shutters to make it easy to close at night when mommy and daddy are watching TV and you have a perfect little room for a perfect little girl.

For a while, there were vintage circus-themed curtains, but they were useless for keeping out the early morning sun and they were way too baby-ish for this now very big girl….

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We happened to have an IKEA comforter cover still in the package. We liked the colors, but it too had childish animals on one end as a border. We are planning on getting her a big bed next week, but I think we can do better as far as comforter cover goes. However, the fabric was great, the colors were perfect for the rooms, so I hacked off the animal border, lined it with an old orange curtain panel and we now have roman blinds that look like fun summer awnings. And a finished room, minus the big girl bed.

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she likes it. She really likes it.

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Telephone Bench

When we got the country house 2 winters ago, we took a bunch of extra furniture from our house and brought it up there, then we filled in the holes with inexpensive antiques (ie nice used furniture!) and flea market finds. We got spectacular school desks to act as nightstands, a vintage green tweed couch, an old stereo credenza that we use as a TV unit…. you get the idea. One of our finds was this telephone bench, which resides on the little wall between the entrance and the kitchen.

Before_1 As you can see, it had seen better days. I liked the lines of it and the pure utility of it. The kids could sit on it to put on their shoes (or rather, to have us put on their boots!) and we could keep a few key items, like the phone book and scotch tape. My original thought had been to strip it and re-stain it or just wax it. But there is plenty of wood in this house already. And I’ve been noticing on lots and lots of design/decorating blogs people painting old furniture in really funky, bright, shiny colors, giving it a completely different look. Not shabby chic with wood showing through, just really bright, almost lacquered paint.

So 2 cans of lime-colored shiny spray paint and a fake-vintage tea towel later, I present the new and MUCH improved telephone bench:

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Img_2290_1 For some reason, it looks milky in the pictures, but trust me, it’s very, very shiny! It just pops off the blue wall and sets off very nicely against the floor. I was going to use one of my real vintage Vera tea towels, but in the end, I just didn’t have it in me to cut one up. So instead, I grabbed a Sukie tea-towel from the UK, something I used to sell at the store. It’s actually perfect, the green in the background of the beach scene goes very well with the paint and I like that it’s a beach shack in a ski cottage!

I did strip it first, because the finish was so old and uneven, I didn’t want the shiny paint to show to many defects. But one evening of stripping and 2/3 coats of spray paint…. not bad, not bad at all!

Kibbutz guest rooms

We are starting our third winter at the country house, better known as the Kibbutz of the North. Last year, I had my very handy handy-man of a brother banish the burgundy and forest green from the main floor, and I painted the girl’s room a cheery green apple color (with lots of pink accents thanks to bright IKEA furniture). I even painted fabulous colors in the basement playroom.

But alas, our two guest rooms were still untouched…. and by untouched, I mean, builders-primer, yucky, dirty, and FULL of pin holes from letting 2 teenage girls go hog-wild with posters and push-pins…. SO! it was time to make our guests feel welcomed! I bookmark a thousand things when I read craft/decorating/design blogs, but two ideas had really been stuck in my head every since I had seen them, namely:

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The ethnic-inspired circle patters of Oorbee Roy, a local textile designer (see the cabinet, not the ceiling) who was featured on a ton of blogs and both Style at Home and Canadian House and Home, and the wonderful vintage wallpaper animals of Inke Heiland, which I discovered through Daddy*Drama waaaay back when.

The first one was easy. Since I have a thing for orange (see old blog, and guest room at home,  and color of my stores, and store logos, and wedding color…. yeah, I like orange!) and I have been doodle-ing repetitive circle patterns in my school books since I was a kid, I decided to paint the "main" guest room using an adaptation of her technique…. I quickly sketched out my pattern and then Dumpling and I cut some shapes out of sticky shelf liner, which I then applied to the wall in the patterns I wanted to achieve. I covered the entire wall with 3/4 coats of the orange and then we peeled the vinyl back… I present to you, the main guest room:

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Img_0683_3 the bedspread is terrible and doesn’t match, but I actually have a really cool orange and white city-scrape print bedspread that I bought in Argentina a few years ago. It’s usually on that bed but was being washed and I was too lazy to put it back on for pictures! I  promise I’ll update next week!

The second room was more of a challenge. I really wanted to do some sort of animal silhouette, but not safari animals. And a while back, while picking a white for the wood we are about to paint over at the city house (shame on me!), I took Dumpling to the paint store and she picked a dark, bright magenta and made me PROMISE to use it somewhere, someday. So I have been surfing Ebay looking for a roll of vintage wallpaper that would work with the color palette, to no avail. Then a few weeks ago, I bought my daughter a Joe Fresh shirt (I’ll have to blog about my love of Joe Fresh one day) and it had birds on a wire on it. I didn’t even think about it, but I totally dreamed up the room with birds on a wire. I could "SEE" it in my head, and I could not find the paper I wanted. But I happen to sell really great wrapping paper at the store, so I grabbed a few pieces of paper that were in the right scale and colors……

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As you can see, we did the reverse in the play nook. I painted the rest of the walls with a fresh coat of bright white, which did so much for brightening up the room. In the last picture, you can see how much nicer it’s going to look with a brighter bedspread and some colorful pillows, but I have to hunt those down…. For the record, Dumpling selected the location of each of the Mama birds and the Baby birds…. She was a great help!

And for the record, this is what it looked like before. I don’t have a pic of the other room before, but it was exactly the same….. both of the feature walls are actually recessed 4 inches, which makes a little ledge that goes around the beds, like a built-in nightstand, so it made it easy to pick where the color was going to go.Img_0690_4