A Fabulous Rast Hack

Hello and good morning.

Last night was so exciting and fabulous. I will tell you all about it next week!

On another note, my "baby" girl turned 17 yesterday. She isn't much of a baby anymore, she graduates this year and at 6 feet tall she is so stunningly beautiful. 

We have also starting the process of university selection and scholarship applications, so daunting and exciting at the same time!


today I bring you an Ikea Rast hack that a reader emailed to me. 

Jacob, who should have a blog, sent me these photos of a Rast hack he made inspired by Miss Mustard Seed's Union Jack dresser!

This is his version! You would never know that they started out as a plain Rast dresser!

Thanks for sharing Jacob!

XO Barbara

If you have a Rast hack that you want featured here, I would LOVE to write a post about it. There is nothing like a good Rast hack!

It's a Party!

I am so excited that this day has finally arrived!

 I am attending the IDS West Opening Gala tonight as a VIP guest! Not only do I get to attend tonight's party, I have also been invited as a VIP guest for Jenn-Air .

{Maybe they REALLY want to give me a stove? - a girl can only dream..}

But the icing on the delicious cake is that after many months of organizing with my fabulous and fantastic friends, Karla from Kerrisdale Design, Nancy from Marcus Design and Victoria from Edin's House, our blogger cocktail soiree, Blend 2011, is happening this Saturday night at The Loden Hotel sponsored by Ikea Canada. I bravely called up Ikea and was thrilled when they jumped on board and offered to foot the bill.


Ikea Canada is not only attending but are bringing the fabulous Suzanne Dimma, Editor-in-Chief of Canadian House and Home, Mark Challen, VP of Comminications for House and Home,  Kelly Deck from Kelly Deck Designs, Andrea Mills {former H & H staffer and now a design specialist for Ikea Canada} and Jen Knight, our local Ikea PR person!

Our evening will be full of food, drinks, friends, prizes, talking, talking and more talking! Then the next morning brunch with various bloggers who are staying downtown! 

You can read about our plans here!!

So you will have to excuse me as I need time to plan my outfits, paint my nails, fluff the hair and just get myself all dolled up for a few nights on the town!

This girl is going to paint the town!

XO Barbara

The Newest Addition

On Thursday afternoon we had a friendly knock at the door. Much to my surprise my latest online purchase had arrived on my doorstep.

Welcome to my newest addition. 

Doesn't it look pretty on my coffee table?

Not only is she pretty but full of inspirational photographs and a fabulous DIY section!

I had to read through it quickly as the next morning I left for Portland to chaperone my daughters' cross country team's trip to race in the Nike Pre-Nationals {which they helped win plaques for their school!}

Anyone else buy the  Design*Sponge book?

XO Barbara

So Canadian, eh? : The Crafty Bee

My fabulously talented Canadian this week is relatively new to blogging but who I consider to be a DIY diva, she puts me to shame!


Beatrice from The Crafty Bee!

She is...

Beatrice is such a genuinely sweet person, who I have gotten to know over these past few months while  exchanging emails. She contacted me a while back, I have tried to encourage to keep at her blog and has become a wonderful blogging friend.

If you haven't visited her blog, you don't know what you are missing. She is always creating something and is creating a beautiful home for her young family.

Here are some of her fabulous projects!

What is not to love about this space?

Her Colette bed knock off.

Canvas art inspired by spring.

Her fabulous Rast hack!

 A mirror made with stock mirror from the local hardware store.

Tell us a bit about your background? Your education? Has design always been in your blood?

My passion for design and interior decor, started when I was in my tweens. My mother had many subscriptions to house decorating magazines and I was addicted. As soon as the magazines would arrive, I would check out paint colors and start telling my mother about how I would redecorate my room. If she would have left it up to me, I probably would have repainted my room every other week. My parents gave me the freedom to decorate my room and that is where I stenciled my walls for the first time. On the other hand, I have a BA and a B. Ed., where my other passions lie, with children and teaching.

How would you describe your design style?

I don't have a particular style.  Probably just a mix of many styles that I pull together to suit me.  Modern, simple lines, subtle color with colorful accents.

How long have you had your blog? What made you decide to start writing a blog and what have you enjoyed the most about blogging?

I started the blog almost 6 months ago and time has really flown by. I have many passions and two of them are making things and writing. Over time, I worked on many projects, just ideas that I had that I finally had the freedom to try out.  Eventually, I decided to start a blog to share some of my ideas with people. The thing I enjoyed the most about blogging is meeting interesting, wonderful and very creative people out there. I feel that blogging connects people and brings people from different corners of the world in one place, through the passion for interior design.  I am amazed and proud when I see that someone from a far-away country has checked out my little blog.

What are your hopes and dreams for your blog? Your future? Is something design related in that future?

At first I wasn't sure where I wanted my blog to go.  I just felt it would be a fun past time for the meanwhile.  Now that I have some confidence in writing and doing bigger projects, I feel that I have something to share. My hopes and dreams for my blog are to create a place where people would like to spend some time, while sipping on their morning coffee. I don't know what the future has in store, but I am open to whatever comes my way.

I consider you such a DIY diva, where do you find your inspiration for all the creative projects you do!

 First of all, thank you so much for that compliment. I don't consider myself a DIY diva, but I really do love to create different things. There is a real sense of accomplishment that I feel when I finish something that is elegant yet practical. I find inspiration in different places, like the hardware store, store displays, libraries, bookstores and of course, blogs and magazines.

If you could meet anyone or do anything who or what would it be?

Hmmm, good question. I think I would like to travel and see more of Italy. It is my favorite place in the world and I love the architecture and design. Just imagine how much inspiration I could get there! I think one has lots to see and learn in Europe and that would be my dream.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love reading and there is a pile that I haven't quite got to. Besides that, I have been spending some time with a new friend, the paintbrush.

How do you manage to balance your family time and blogging, or is that something you have yet to master?

Definitely, still trying to master that. It is a juggling act, but my little munchkin comes first and everything else after. I just have to remind myself to make smarter decisions and use my time wisely. So, I try to use any free minute I have to write a post, take a picture, check a blog.

What are your views on the role of Canadian design? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?

I think Canada is headed towards the top places in design in the world. More and more Canadian designers are being highlighted on the international design scene and that is really great to see. Canadians want their homes to be inviting, livable, comfortable and yet stylish at the same time. Sarah Richardson is doing exactly that with her Sarah 101 series and that is exactly what design should be all about.

A huge thank you to Barbara for having me on the Canadian, eh series.

Thanks Beatrice for participating. I am so thrilled you contacted me those many months ago.
You have a lot of talent, drive and creativity that shines on your blog!
I see success in your future!

XO Barbara

A Golden Addition

I finally convinced my daughter to let me add a gold mirror above her bed. 

A few days ago I decided to gold leaf a thrift store mirror I had laying around.

It's hard to take photos when it is pouring cats and dogs outside. Still need to figure out how to switch lenses. 
Baby steps.

XO Barbara

Featured on Apartment Therapy

A huge thank-you to Apartment Therapy for featuring my Silver Leaf Ikea Rast hack

A few months ago it was also featured on Apartment Therapy's Re-Nest site too.

So flattered and thrilled!

BTW: Did you know the co- founder, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan
 of Apartment Therapy was a teacher?

Love how a lot of great designers and those involved in design were teachers {maybe there is hope for me?}
You can read his interview in the latest issue of Canadian House and Home!

A few former teachers that I know of:
Meredith Heron: HGTV fame and designer extraordinaire
Christine Dovey: Bijou and Boheme
Maureen Funk: Mo' Funk Designs
Jane Gallant: Modern Jane

I guess we teachers are a creative lot.

XO Barbara

Slowly Coming Together

I showed you the fabulous striped wall feature I painted in my daughter's room. Now we are working on "fluffing" up the space. 

This weekend we started the gallery wall. This is where we are right now.

{The painting that inspired the whole space}

Everything is done at a snail's pace around here as life keeps getting in the way.
As does hubby's declaration that there should be a moratorium on spending. 

He's right. 

So now I am going to have to get really creative....

XO Barbara

So Canadian eh? : Anne-Marie from 10 Rooms

My guest this week has been fabulously supportive and I have enjoyed getting to know her even more with this interview!

Her blog is one of my must reads, my go-to source for all things related to colour and design.

Please welcome....

Anne-Marie from 10 Rooms.

Anne-Marie has such a fabulous eye for colour and is not afraid to embrace it in her home.
She is also uber creative and has a knack for finding the most amazing things on Craiglist and thrift shops!

She is my kind of gal!
And the best part is I won a colour consult with her via her blog, she has given my some fabulous ideas for my living/dining room space. I can't wait get painting, but first I must finish my daughter's room.

Check out her family space with dark inky walls. Nothing says cozy like dark walls. I love how the white sofa and large windows give balance to the wall colour.

Love her roman blinds {she made them} and kelly green walls. 

Her front door, nothing says welcome better than a yellow door.

Her fabulous dining room with the amazing light fixture she made!

I love these juicy coloured mirrors in her powder room. They are thrifted {only $6!} and were a source of inspiration for me when I was shopping for a mirror for my daughter's room.

Or how about this Campaign desk she found on Kijiji - can't you believe her luck?

Her daughter's bedroom with Tiffany blue walls.

Despite all the vibrant colours throughout her home, her living room all calm and serene. Check out her upcycled stool.

Tell us a bit about your background? Your education? Has design always been in your blood? How did you come to be a designer?

Well, as a child, my Mum says I asked for a Barbie house but no Barbies! I remember spending hours making furniture and decorating the rooms. Later I studied art, and became fascinated with color and the effect color has on people's emotional state. It never ceases to amaze me how the right environment can make or break a mood.

How long have you had your design/colour consulting business? What challenges have you faced along the way?

After I had children, friends started commenting on my home, and I began helping them choose colors for their own. Soon I was helping friends of friends, and a business was born. 10 Rooms has officially been in business for four years. I think the hardest part for me is the day-to-day accounting and so on - I'd rather spend my time looking at colour and design!!

How would you describe your design style?

Spare bohemian! Does that make sense?! I tend to love large areas of neutrals and pops of varied color, or large areas of one color with a very limited palette in the rest of the space. I like clean lines and geometric shapes, bold pattern, vintage finds and one-of-a-kind art - an original home is always the most interesting.

How long have you had your blog? What made you decide to start writing a blog and what have you enjoyed the most about blogging?

When I started the blog I really didn't know much about blogging! It came about as a marketing bit for my business - but then I got into the blogging world, and started making personal connections with people, and the whole purpose changed. I never in a million years expected to meet so many creative and supportive people, and it has really been a wonderful experience so far.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs? Your blog?

If you read the blog then you  know that there is no schedule to 10 Rooms posts! I post about whatever is on my mind whenever I find the time, so usually it's something I've discovered on my travels or have been working out with a client. Really, anything can become inspiration - a recent trip to the local conservation area had me chasing around wild turkeys to try and get accurate photos of the color of their feathers :) Everyone just laughs now!

What goals or aspirations do you have for your design business? For your blog?
One of the biggest goals I have for the business right now is to gather some pictures of finished spaces I have consulted on. Often, I don’t even get to see the finished rooms. I would like to create a before and after section of photos on my website so people can really get a feel for the power of color. As for the blog, I hope that I can continue to have this great dialogue with other people who are interior obsessed as I am – it’s nice to know I’m not alone J

Is there a common design mistake that homeowners make that makes you cringe?
The only thing I can't stand is to see people decorate their homes around trends, rather than what they love themselves. Sometimes clients call me because they feel they need to update their home, when really all they need to do is embrace it, and trust their own taste. I love a home that reflects the people within it.

What is one thing that anyone can do to update his or her home without breaking the bank?

Paint! You knew that was coming, right?! The absolute easiest way to change up your space is to freshen up your walls and furniture. And buy vintage - the quality and prices are better.

What tips do you have for aspiring designers to hone their skills?

To experiment, and not take it too seriously. Offer to help friends and family with their homes, try things out, find your style - and read blogs J

If you could meet anyone or do anything who or what would it be?
My dream is to be able to travel extensively with my husband and children. Seeing the world from a thousand other perspectives gives you a better perspective of your own life, and I’d like to experience that with the people I love most.

What do you like to do in your free time?

If I'm not working on a project around the house, I'm usually outside for a walk in the woods or entertaining friends and family. Our home has an open door policy, which means we never know how many people are coming for dinner - and I wouldn't have it any other way.

How do you manage to balance your family time, your work and blogging?

Family comes first, before anything else. Blogging is a luxury, and sometimes it falls through the cracks (but not for too long - I miss you guys!!) Work is a necessity of life, and I love what I do, but we work to live here, not the other way around.

What are your views on the role of Canadian design? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?

Canadians are known for their multiculturalism. It follows that Canadians are interested in global style, and the mix of cultures makes for some interesting interiors. It also seems that more and more Canadians are buying local, vintage or green products for their homes, and that makes me very proud.

Anne-Marie, it was such a treat to get to know you even more! I too had a Barbie house which I "remodelled" over and over again. And I need to hurry and re-do my living room so you can have some "after" photos!

XO Barbara

Striped Walls & Rub'N'Buff

Thank you to all who left such flattering comments on Monday!!

 I am glad you like the walls. My daughter is so pleased and her friends that came over thought they looked fantastic. Now we just need to add the finishing touches on the space, art work and drapes.

This was our inspiration:

It is Michael Penney's first apartment, a former Canadian House and Home designer and now works for Sarah Richardson {lucky guy}

His stripes were actually wallpaper, but since we are renting, wallpaper is out. What better way to add a bit of character to my daughter's space than a striped wall. 

I am glad no one notices the "mistakes", my husband had fun pointing them out a few hours after the tape came off.  Little does he know, the next time I decide I want stripes on the wall, he is helping!

A few of you commented that you liked the "black and white" stripes, when in fact the colour is a deep rich brown called Black Bean Soup by Benjamin Moore. The photo doesn't do the colour justice. 

 I guess it is almost black but not quite. 
I love the look of the brown and white.

As a matter of fact, it is such a crappy photo - the high ISO setting on my non SLR camera makes the photos grainy. 

I was also asked about how I painted the walls, what tape did I use, etc. That deserves a post of it's own, so hopefully I can get my act together tomorrow and write up my tips.

Another question asked was, where I did I find the "Rub'n'Buff" that I used on the hardware of the dresser?

I couldn't find it at Michaels or Home Depot. After looking online, I found it at my local art supply store, Opus Art and Framing. Opus can be found in various locations throughout the Greater Vancouver area.
I also found it here.

It comes in many metallic finishes and I used "Antique Gold". This stuff if amazing. I used an old toothbrush and rag to rub it on and buff. You only need a minuscule amount. A little goes a long way.
And it dries quickly!

The possibilities with this stuff is endless. I also gilded a few frames, which will be part of the gallery wall!

Have you ever used this? If so, what did you use it on?

XO Barbara

Sneak Peek

I am going to do it again.

Just give you a peek into the progress of my youngest daughter's room. The stripes are done!

Not without some frustrating moments and with buckets of patience. All you commenters were right, stripes are a challenge.

I went about it not rushing and taking my time. I can see my mistakes {thanks to the hubby for pointing them out - er - next time darling - you are helping} but in the end it was just what I envisioned.

Don't you love it when the vision you have in your head unfolds before your eyes! Exciting.

So here is a peek at the walls. 

Just in case you want to know: The base coat was painted White Dove {Benjamin Moore} and Black Bean Soup {Benjamin Moore} but I get my paint colour matched at Home Depot in Behr paint. I have found the Benjamin Moore Aura paint doesn't hold up over time. 

Another peek. I had fun with rub'n'buff! 
Have you ever used the stuff?

Love it!

Hope you had a fabulous weekend. 
Mine was busy and full of fun, the highlight was attending the Taylor Swift concert with my youngest daughter and friend. It was such an amazing concert!

XO Barbara

So Canadian, eh? : Row House Nest

I first discovered this week's fabulous guest on Twitter, she was a Canadian transplant living in Ireland when we first "met" and most recently returned to Canada.

Her blog is always full of amazing inspiration; DIY's, fabulous thrifty finds and she has knack for finding the most amazing inspirational photos that get those creative juices flowing.

A true thrifter and DIYer to the core, {and really sweet} 

Please welcome....

Meagan from Row House Nest!

She is

Meagan clearly has an eye for design, check out her photos. 

Very "Design*Sponge ish"...

{Love the lamp!}

Her fabulous desk area, love the owl prints {channeling some wisdom perhaps?}
Most items are thrifted and a few inherited from her grandmother and her DIY art.

Chairs she inherited from her grandmother with newly upholstered seats with fresh and modern fabric!

Bookcases she styled on a whim, bored of just books, she put together fabulous little vignettes! Love the old truck {or should I say lorry?}

Floral botanical prints that were a Goodwill find. Meagan updated the frames with a bit of blue paint.

Aren't these bookends adorable? A car boot find in Ireland. 
{I am thinking car boot = garage sale?}

Tea cups aren't just for tea, how about a few succulents?

She made 12 of these monkey knots for a friend's wedding.
{Feeling a bit "knotty" Meagan?  - ok, sad, pathetic joke - couldn't help myself}

Another car boot find - an amazing starburst clock. 
Why don't people sell stuff like that at garage sales here?

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, your education, has design always been something you are drawn to?

Well my name is Meagan and I am a Pisces. That’s enough right? Just kidding. You don’t really care about what sign I am. In my background you will find a plucky bunch of Canadians and Irish immigrants who were crafty folks: the original DIY-ers. My Granny made her own stylish dresses from scratch for the local ceilidh dances in Donegal, my Grandmother was an avid recycler and could materialize crafts out of nothing, my own father is incredibly handy in the home and a pretty darn good woodcraftsman and my mother has been Doing It Herself for as long as I can remember when it comes to home décor and design. Combine those genes into one person and you have me!

My educational background is actually in a completely different field than design: School and Applied Child Psychology. Yup, there you have it – my cover has officially been exposed. In case you are wondering, I love my day time job more than anything – I am one of those incredibly lucky people who pursed degrees in my chosen field and love what I do.

I have always been drawn to design in a casual, informal sense over the years.  Heading out on fabric shopping trips with my mom, cruising thrift stores and yard sales for gems that we could reinvent and flipping through home magazines like House and Home for ideas and inspiration. Even when my budget allows me to spend more on home-related purchases, I have always watched what I spent and because of that have gravitated naturally towards Do It Yourself projects – big and small.

What made you decide to start blogging?

I delved into design related blogging in January 2011 with the strong support of my other half – actually it was his idea! I had maintained a personal blog after I moved from Canada to Scotland (then Ireland shortly thereafter) to keep in touch with family and friends. I had been living overseas for 7 months and was still unemployed (trust me, I TRIED!) and was beginning to rip my hair out with boredom.  So the idea to design, write and maintain a design blog came to life as an attempt to keep my sanity intact while I was not working and of course, to catalogue our oh so cute Irish Row House (or townhouse) that we had just moved into. I began waking up early to work on my blog, worked longer hours than Brian and could not stop talking about it. I loved it. I looked forward to it and felt rejuvenated.

What have you enjoyed about blogging and what has surprised you along the way?

Oh the things I love about blogging!!! Don’t know if it could be summed up that easily (I have difficulties being succinct, remember I am a Pisces after all!). I love discovering new {to me} blogs, seeing the amazing DIY work going on out there all the time and having a platform to share things that excite ME with other people. And how cool is it that other people seem to like what I find exciting? Who knew?!? Connecting with other bloggers and blog readers has been incredibly fulfilling and I just love making new blog friends around the world. 

Where do you go for inspiration for your blog?

It is so incredibly cliché to say but my inspiration truly comes from the things around my past and me. For instance, I wrote about driftwood [http://rowhousenest.com/2011/08/29/drift-my-way/] a little while ago and realized how ‘connected’ I was historically to the topic. Often my ideas and inspiration come from things that catch my eye, make me think, “I would like to do that” or are just down and out beautiful. I keep a little lime green Moleskin notebook that helps me collect my ideas in one place – sometimes it can be a specific topic, such as “vintage suitcases as décor and furniture” or a more vague source of inspiration such as “lipstick, makeup”.

What do you do for work? Is it design related?

My work is not design related at all. Not one little percent. I deliver Psychological services in an Ontario School Board. Take that! Not sure if I can even find a thread of continuity between my daytime and night time “jobs”.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

I feel like depending on my mood and the day, I may tell you something different. It involves a lot of home/property ownership with my un-handy gentleman (goal: {small} homes in Toronto, Ireland and a Canadian cottage someday).  Each will be a treasure trove of decorating delights for me. Hopes are to continue to grow in every way possible with all the work I dapple in (day and night), spend lots of time with the people I love and appreciate my health and happiness. I fantasize about the day where I can live part-time in a remote cottage, grow my own food and spend my days outdoors in the wilderness. OH! And I hope my future holds a daily hug from a beagle. Everyone needs one of those.

How would you describe your design style?

My design style is incredibly eclectic. In fact – I would use the term ‘hodge-podge’! I like to take meaningful bits and pieces from my life, pair them with fun colours and fabrics and create spaces that reflect my personality. I love vintage pieces and ultimately they work themselves into every nook and cranny in my previous homes. That said, I do feel like the farther I delve into the design blogosphere, the more I appreciate a variety of styles and definitely think my next home will look incredibly different than my past homes.

Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!

I was home-schooled until I was 13 years old and turned out perfectly normal (at least publically!)

If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone or do anything, what would it be and why?

Given the opportunity to do anything: it would be to up sticks to Algonquin Park and take up residence in one of the 304 leasehold cottages that exist in the Provincial Park. Why? Because I am kooky like that! I love Algonquin Park, feel incredibly at peace up there, love exploring and have been in love with the Park since before I can recall.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I walk my dog, read, hang out in local parks, drink coffee and enjoy playing old fashioned board and card games with my family.  An of course, the occasion delicious glass of wine or cold beer with friends.

You were a Canadian living in Ireland but most recently transferred back to Canada, do you find the approach to design different in Ireland? How?

It was incredibly different in Ireland. Shockingly different. I was expecting to be entering a land of design treasures and cottages rammed full of vintage goodies. Sadly, what I found more often than not – was that it is very common to see homes decorated by Big Box Stores. Over time, I realized that many people in the North and South of Ireland gravitated towards new modern design styles and looks. Brian and I hypothesized that this may be because everything in Ireland is so old – so people get excited about new things in design (read NOT DAMP). Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of a sleek new kitchen – but often times, these ultra modern homes lack personality or any sense of history.  Occasionally you see a beautiful older home restored and decorated with unique bits and bobs but it was much less common. Also, I found their vintage or bespoke furniture very expensive making them less desirable to those working with a tight budget. (p.s. these are just my personal feelings and observations so don’t take them too seriously!)

What are your views on the role Canadian design plays in the world design scene? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style and design, and if so, what is it that you think sets us apart?

I really don’t know if I have enough design knowledge or experience to be able to intelligently remark upon the first question. One thing I have noticed is that the interior design world seems to be less affected by the ‘one country dominates’ dilemma you see in other areas. There are highly talented designers across the world, which are internationally celebrated and recognized – Canadians included.  I do get the sense that Canadians are on the up and up when it comes to design. We as a people are being more proud of where we are from and are quick to distinguish ourselves as Canadians whereas I am not so sure that happened in the past. There was a tendency towards quiet, polite Patriotism.

Another cliché analogy on the horizon here, I do feel that the unique Canadian sense of style is one that can be described as a diverse mosaic that pulls in the influence of so many different things: our surroundings, languages, cultural backgrounds and rugged landscapes. What sets us apart is that we have no 1 defined type of style. Design style is so individual and since Canada is so diverse it would be impossible to say what is quintessentially Canadian. We have the ability to see beauty in differences, appreciate our environment and embrace new ideas because we are such a young country. God, I love Canada!

Thanks for much for visiting here and giving us a peak into your life Meagan!
I love your thoughts on Canadian design, despite not having a background in design you clearly have an eye for it!

XO Barbara