Happy Canada Day Bunk Room Reveal

In honour of Canada Day, I am revealing our Canadian themed spare room mini-makeover. Everything in this room had been given to us and didn’t really jive together. Ahead of hosting some American friends, we spruced the space up a bit with some coordinating bed linen and patriotic accessories.  before and after view 1 before after view 2before after view 3

The biggest project in the room was making the DIY canvas art to fill the wall above the single bed. I had the canvas wasting away in the storage room, painted with a past -failed- expression of my artistic ability. Inspired by Katie at bowerpowerblog.com, I slapped on some spackle and paint and turned out a pretty decent abstract textured piece that cost next to nothing.

Bunk Room After 011 edit

Also adorning the walls are pictures from the Mr. and my engagement photo shoot. The large frame used to hold a mass-produced print of a lily, I ordered a poster-sized photo from VistaPrint for $30 to replace it.  A smaller print is displayed in a $7 Ikea HAVERDAL frame. We did our e-session at my family’s cottage on White Lake Ontario and nothing is more Canadian than cottage and canoes.wall art

The bedside table got dressed up with a maple-scented candle, a $6 DEKAD alarm clock, and a $10 ceramic carafe with a cute moose imprint which was an unexpected Wal-Mart find. When planning the makeover, I knew I needed to have some rendition of the Canadian flag in the room. This flag tray was only $3 from my local Ikea. It also adds a nice hit of colour.    beside table

On the solid pine dresser I centered a cottagey rope-handle tray displaying a few Canadian tchotchkes. I love trays for grouping small items together while also being functional as catchalls for stuff like guest keys, phones, etc. The branches and Umbra vase I’ve had for years in another room, but they work in here  with the outdoorsy feel.

table scape


Not the most dramatic makeover … my little brother says the Before&Afters look like Spot-the-Difference puzzles … but still an improvement. It’s nice to have a touch of patriotism in the house, today and everyday. Happy Canada Day et Joyeuse Fête du Canada!


Boston Boys {Freshening Up the Bunk Room}

We are preparing for visitors! Three men from Boston whom we have never met, staying with us for three days at the end of June.

No, we have not listed our home on Airbnb (although that is an intriguing idea …), the Boston Boys are groomsmen in my friend’s wedding, and I am a bridesmaid. These guys are traveling all the way from Boston to attend the wedding and spend a few days exploring Canada’s Capital. Rather than stay in some overpriced fancy hotel, they are bunking with us in my convenient three bed spare room.


All the furniture and linens were given to us (lucky us) so we have never paid any attention to decorating this room … the cat seems to like it nonetheless. In honour of our American guests, I’m freshening up the bunk room with a Canadian theme.

With only a busy few weeks between now and the wedding, changes have to be kept minimal. Sadly, there is no time for painting, or changing of electrical outlets or door hardware. Still, there is a lot I could do to make this room more welcoming and put-together. Here’s the plan:

bunk bed plan

The plaid comforters on the bunk beds fit in really well with the pine wood furniture, but the purple on the single bed clashes horribly.  I’ll cover it with the KUSTRUTA duvet cover set from Ikea. So that we aren’t overwhelmed by plaid, I’ll also pick up two grey GURLU cushion covers. I’m in love with the Canadian flag pillow above (from Urban Barn) but $42 seems a little steep. I may cave and get it if I can’t find something similar. I must have some form of Canada flag in the room.

The small lamp on the dresser doesn’t do much to light the space, so I’m adding a HEKTAR wall/clip lamp over the single bed to brighten up the corner. I’d like to tablescape the dresser with random little pieces of Candiana like maple scented candles and a mini Inukshuk. No guest room is complete without an alarm clock (is it my job to make sure the Boston Boys get to the wedding on time?) and the DEKAD fits right in with the heritage feel.

The room is in desperate need of stuff on the walls. Framed pictures from our Engagement Session, shot on an Ontario lake, should work nicely.  I’m also toying with the idea of framing some iconic Canadian wildlife images, but am worried they will come off too kitsch. To fill the giant wall space over the single bed, I’d love to accomplish a project I’ve been planning for a while now; textured art inspired by bowerpowerblog.com.

I better get started!

Best of Canadian Etsy: Bathroom Edition


Etsy is amazing. It is a global marketplace for quality hand-made and vintage products. It is a place for creativity and inspiration. It is a collection of talented people, sharing their passion. Canadians are the most innovative and imaginative people on the planet, and they make their mark on the Etsyverse.

Since we are renovation our bathroom, I thought I’d put together  selection of bathroom decor and accessories from Etsy shops across Canada.

Whitehorse, Yukon

Whitehorse Yukon

A good thing to keep on hand in any bathroom is this thoughtfully formulated balm to aid in the soothing and healing of bumps and bruises. Naturally handcrafted in small batches using pure botanicals and oils in the Yukon Territory, Canada, Boo Boo balm is infused with Yukon wild sourced Arnica, Yarrow and Yukon Chamomile (pineapple weed), a touch of clove oil (a natural numbing agent) and Tea Tree essential oil into a base of high quality olive oil and beeswax.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Britich Columbia

This set of three high resolution archival coral prints can be customize to any colour (although I love the ones selected). The shop has many other fun and nautical themed prints, all created by mom of two Tamara.

Burlington, British Columbia Ontario

Burligton British Columbia

Give the bathroom a lovely vintage throwback with tatted lace. One white hand towel and matching facecloth with 100% cotton hand-made tatted edging in light teal.

Edmonton, Alberta

Edminton Alberta

A proprietary blend of peppermint and spearmint oils infuse this moisturizing bar of handcrafted shea butter soap. This is refreshing soap, reminiscent of a skinny dip in a mountain lake or off the dock at the cottage in moonlight. Cambrian Blue Clay helps draw impurities from the skin and adds a slick glide for shaving. Perfect from face to feet!

Regina, Saskatchewan

Regina Saskatchewan

One these one of a kind rag rugs would make perfect bathmat or look stunning laying in front of a pedestal sink. Ruth crochets the rugs from repurposed fabrics, that include t-shirts, sheets and polyester-blends All fabric is laundered and cut into strips which are crocheted. What a unique and eco-friendly piece to a bathroom.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg Manitoba

Made from mold resistant and sustainable bamboo, water will not pool in this soap dish, giving your soap the ability to dry between uses and making it last longer. Simple clean-line construction meets the natural beauty of bamboo.

Stratford, Ontario

Startford Ontario

This cast iron anchor hook would be a wonderful place to hang a hand towel. I love so much from this shop! The cast-iron pieces (I love the light switch covers too) are painted in crisp whites or bold colours and oscillate between vintage and nautical themes.

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto Ontario

Turn you toothbrush into a showstopper. Handmade from solid glass, each holder has a stable, weighted base that likes to stay put. All holders are of original design and entirely handmade from molten hot glass by Toronto artist Brad Turner.

Montreal, Quebec

Montreal Quebec

FMC makes everything out of concrete; pendant lights, planters, business card holders, cuff-links, and this industrial-look handmade concrete soap dispenser with stainless steel pump. Sealed with a water-based acrylic satin sealer that is VOC compliant, and cork is adhered to the bottom to protect counter-tops from scratches.

Bathurst, New Brunswick

Bathurst New Brunswick

Spruce up the bathroom with some fine art photography. I like this flip-flop collection but SndandPetals has dozens of phonographs to choose from, all signed and dated on the back by the photographer. Visible grain or areas of soft focus are deliberate to give them an artistic and poetic feel.

St. John’s Newfoundland

St. Johns Newfoundland

Keep everything smelling fresh and clean with a lavender sachet from BrindyLinens. The sand dollar block print is made from a real sand dollar found on the beach in Gros Morne National Park. Each sachet is filled with half a cup of french lavender.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Lunenburg Nova Scotia

Decorate with 100% authentic Nova Scotia surf tumbled frosted sea glass. Cute in a jar, scattered on a shelf, or in a wide vase alongside seashells. Left exactly the way they were found on a beach not far from Liverpool, Nova Scotia, this is the real thing. 

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Charlettetown PEI

No room is complete without a little bit of greenery, ans a succulent is a good option for a bathroom that get at least a little bit of light. This beautiful planter is shaped from solid reclaimed butternut tree into a multi-faceted free-form vase. Nicely sanded to bring out the beautiful grain in the  wood.

Powder Room Design

Powder Room Design

It has been about 10 months since the bubby and I bought our first house, but somehow we still feel like renters … renters who pay for every little thing, shovel all the snow, do all the yard work, and stay up nights worrying about frozen downspouts.

We haven’t yet gotten to the really fun part of owning our own home;  doing whatever we want with it!

So it’s time we start decorating our house and making it feel more like home. Once Easter is over and the family visitors are back on their way, we are going to renovate the smallest possible space; the powder room.  I think it’s a good idea to test our DIY skills on only a few cubic feet at a time. See how it goes.

Step One has been to spend crazy amounts of time on the internet looking for inspiration.

From this I have learnt that I like light greys, geometric prints, and the contrast between modern finishes and natural wood.

Step Two has been to spend even more time on the internet looking for products that match my style and that I can actually get my hands on (this is a challenge because apparently the USA thinks Canada is an inaccessible arctic country and doesn’t like to ship here).

Here is my plan for the Powder Rooms project … even if I have to drive to the damn border and pick most of it up myself!

Collage Main Pices smallThe image-map above is a little off, but all the links are there, somewhere. Scroll over for more information on each piece.

The light fixture is what sets the whole thing off for me. It’s from Shades of Light and is the piece it will be hard for me to get, since there is not shipping here to Canada. But I HAVE to have it. I love drama of it and the Edison bulb is to die for.

At first we were going to leave the floors as tiles over-lap with the hall. This is another challenge as it will mean re-tiling outside the powder room as well. I think the classic and clean look will be well worth it.

The budget for this Reno is $1700, which is high for a 12 square-foot room (think $142/square foot, yikes!). But this is a total gut job (new toilet, paint, floor, et cetera) and we think it’s worth putting higher-end quality products in a so often used space.

You may also like: Powder Room Procurement
Powder Room Demolition
Powder Room Sneak-Peak



Towel ring






Paper Holder



The Essential Work Wardrobe


That’s  how I’ve been waking up every morning lately; squealing “spreeee!” in a high octave voice as I stretch in bed. The bubby loves it I swear.

The reason I do this is because we are going on a shopping spree this weekend. Finally! No more battles with the closet every day, flipping through hanger after hanger, over and over, convinced that this time I’ll find something that

  1. fits
  2. isn’t worn out because I’ve had it since high school
  3. matches one other thing on the planet, and
  4. that I didn’t wear yesterday.

It’s a challenge.

But to get the most out of my shopping trip I realize I probably shouldn’t spree at all. I should have a plan … and a list. I love lists!  So with the help of my brain and in internet, I have come up with a list of basic items that I should absolutely have for work this fall and winter.

All the images are from BananaRepublic.ca and are merely examples of what I should be hunting for on my very focused and organised shopping spree.


Nothing says “I’m a professional” like a blazer. You feel boss in a blazer, like literally a boss. You can wear them over everything, even dresses, and your salary jumps up a decimal point instantly. Have a black one and a grey one, also have a cardigan for more casual days.


It is the law: no work wardrobe is complete without a few formal shirts. Layer under your boss blazers, or wear on their own tucked in or out of pants and skirts. Get a black, a white, and a colour.


Blouses are office-appropriate tops that aren’t formal shirts  (see above). Look for high quality fabrics like silk and stay away from jersey or cotton with their more relaxed looks.  Have some long-sleeved, short-sleeved, and sleeveless for layering options, and feel free to add colour!


I live in Canada, its cold here. Sometimes you need to leave the silk shirt at home and throw on a chunky sweater. This is absolutely appropriate and encouraged, because a frozen worker is a slow worker. Try to coordinate them with your bottom pieces.


Don’t forget pants, that’s a textbook nightmare. Make sure you have a pair in black, grey and navy and/or brown. Spend some time finding the right fit and flare for your shape. I like a wide trouser leg for my curvalicious body.


Skirts are the flirty younger sister of pants. They fill the same role in your closet but look hotter and show off your shoes. I love skirts. Get the same colours as your pants but also get a lot more.


Dresses are easy because you don’t need to think about matching anything; just throw it on and off you go. But they also tend to draw attention and look maybe a tad too formal … at least in my office. Well suck it, I look awesome in dresses. Save them for when you have dinner/drink plans after work  and you will transition from day to night with ease. Get basic black, grey, and one fun colour.


La la la la lee lee la … Oh sorry, I was distracted by shoes. If you are a girl who likes shoes (like me) congratulations you’re done reading my post! If not, you still need a few basic pumps for work. They are polished and professional and can be worn with pants, dresses, AND skirts. LEARN TO LOVE THEM, they are versatile. You don’t need ridiculously high heels and they can be very comfortable. Get grey, black, and a nude at least. It’s winter so keep those toes covered.


Heels are amazing but flats are cute too. Especially if you know you will be running around a lot that day or have errands after work. They look best with pants but can work with skirts and dresses too. You can find these quite cheaply so buy a bunch to add colour and pattern to your basic outfits.

Other Things

I’m terrible at accessorizing so I’m not going to give any tips on scarves, belts, or bags. I will tell you that you need hosiery though. Get some black and nude stockings  for under skirts and dresses. People think you wear them because you are a lady, Ha! you’re not, you are a wild-thing that hates being cold. Lose them when summer hits but hoard a good supply all winter long; those friggers tear every time.

The Printable Essential Work Wardrobe

So that’s what you need for a basic work wardrobe according to me. I actually have a lot of this stuff so will only need to fill in the gaps, mostly in the blouse and pant categories.

Looking up at these items it all feels kind of dull and neutral … just like my office job. But these are basics that are meant to mix-and-match with each other and the more interesting pieces in your closet.

Fantastic blogger and jewellery designer Taylor Moseley‘s recent post: Wardrobe Checklist {Fall 2012} has more fashionable and fun items for your inspiration.

I am also in need of casual and evening clothes so plan on seeing The Essential Weekend Wardrobe and The Essential Evening Wardrobe soon.

This Week’s Menu {August 27 – September 2}

I’m very excited to get to the end of this week because we are going across the border for some The-Canadian-Dollar-Is-High  (a.k.a Canada rocks) shopping!

Thinking about trying on clothes has me taking note of my rather ‘pear shaped’ body and reflecting on all the indulgences of the summer.

So this week is all about healthy low-calorie meals that fit in with a kicked-up workout schedule. Not sure how much difference a week can make but hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Monday – Some kind of fresh fish, grilled with a Spinach and Blueberry salad

TuesdaySummer Vegetable Crêpes

Wednesday –  Grilled Chicken Wraps

Thursday –  Black Bean and Salmon Tostadas

Friday – Dinning out somewhere in the US of A!

Saturday – Leftovers

Sunday – Grilled Shrimp Skewers over White Bean Salad

eatingwell.com is full of healthy recipe ideas!

Summer Vegetable Crepes
Black Bean and Salmon Tostadas
Grilled Shrimp Skewers over White Bean Salad