Re-Decorating with Colour

As some of you may know, all 5 of us nuts have moved since the beginning of 2012. While Kaylee and Jess are now both calling Toronto their new home, Catherine, Kate and I have all re-located within the Nation’s Capital. Moving is never an easy venture (it is actually known as one of the top 3 most stressful life events) and along with it comes a million little issues and stresses. But, there is an upside to moving: the opportunity to make-over your old belongings and give yourself a fresh and fun new living space. I have found that changing up the colour scheme with a few simple touches is the easiest way to re-invent your space; here’s what I did…

Invest in new bedding:

After living in a predominantly white-walled home for the majority of my youth, as soon as I moved out on my own I craved dark colours and brightly painted walls as a pseudo-rebellion. I have literally had every colour of bedding you can imagine, from hot pink to black. Recently, I had deep red and beige bedding and while I still dislike the thought of everything being white-washed, I was craving a more tranquil colour scheme. And so, I decided to go with an almost nautical inspired pairing of white and navy blue.

 

Say hi to Winston.

 

DIY Picture Frames:

I’ve always loved surrounding myself with photos of my loved ones. Every room that I’ve ever had has been filled up with framed, smiling faces. I found some very pretty, inexpensive frames at IKEA (these and these) that matched the airy feel I was going for in my room, but I hated the thought of having a bunch of plain white frames blending into my white walls. After a quick trip to my local Canadian Tire, I easily re-vamped these frames with a coat of spray-paint to make them my own.

DIY.

Work with multiple colours/Don’t sweat the small stuff:

If you know me, you know that I am a big lover of TV and movies. While Catherine usually can’t sit still long enough to get through an hour long TV show (excluding Bach, obviously) I usually unwind with DVD’s of Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, etc. For me, a TV in my room is a non-negotiable. After picking white and navy blue, I worried that my black TV wouldn’t work with my colour scheme. But, instead of attempting to spray paint that too (terrible idea) or dishing out a ton of cash on a silver or white TV, I decided to roll with it. I found a large black mirror to hang on the adjacent wall and have a black picture frame on display as well.

And so, I hope that this quick view into my new room gives you some ideas of how to re-vamp your living space as well! Happy Re-Decorating, nuts!

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Balcony Buzz

As mentioned in Kate and Kaylee’s posts, it’s undeniable that a weekend escape into the wilderness is one of the most beautiful (and necessary) parts of summer. If we’re lucky to steal away, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll see any of us piled into a car, blaring those classic open air tunes with our arms whipping in the wind outside of the rolled down windows.

Then again, during those (many) in between weekends – the one’s where you’ve just finished a draining week, finally retreat back to your little haven for a long overdue sitdown meal and glass of red wine – my idea of one of the best ways to escape the city summer heat is any chance to perch on a balcony while the newly warm evening breeze rolls in.

My balcony is a little…empty so far. Kaylee and I have plans to get our patio goods in the coming weeks, so hopefully it won’t look as drab as it does now – but regardless of its bareness, it is absolutely the reason I settled on my current apartment. Nestled high (very high) up in the skyline, I almost forget I live at an incredibly noisy intersection that’s always filled with commotion, horns and a constant sea of people packed onto each corner. Up there in the sky, it’s almost only silence and lights. Two things that go very well with that glass of red wine and toasty summer nights overlooking the bustle.

In light of the impending patio season and the fact that not many of us are homeowners with extravagant backyards to decorate, let’s take a look at some of this summer’s tiny outdoor accessories – perfect for all kinds of high-in-the-sky nooks.

For the hip young thing looking to make a colourful blend of sangria while the upbeat electro-rock pours out onto your fire escape nook, these are the pieces for you. Punches of colour, goofy accessories and a whole lot of character are the perfect hosts to your laid-back guests.

Urban Outfitters Cafe Chairs
Urban  Outfitters Amigo Table
Anthropologie Beneath The Stars Lanterns
CB2 Tic Tac Toe Set
Crate and Barrel Recycled Glass Bottle Pitcher
IKEA Balcony Planter
Pier 1 Celeste Dinnerware

For the young professional looking to doll up their industrial outdoor space, these bits of edgy urban decor are practical and sleek. They’ll successfully add a little glamour to the concrete and stainless steel downtown surroundings, while still letting the colour of the city steal the show.

Pier 1 Cocktail Accessories
CB2 Eddy Outdoor Round Table
IKEA Vino Chair with armrests
West Elm Trellis Planters
A+R Hurricane Lamp

For the daydreaming, cottage-loving, new-to-the-city free spirit, these stylish bits of the country will bring your memories of packed porches and waterside revelry back to life. Any of these nautical and rustic staples paired with a tray of cool pints and finger foods will set the scene for the perfect summery gathering with loved ones.

CB2 Glass Beverage Dispenser
Ikea Applaro Chairs
CB2 Serving Tray
Bouclair Viva Lantern
Anthropologie Vernazza Canapé Plates
Ikea Diod Glasses
West Elm Yarn Dyed Napkin Set

 

 

*Top image via

Spring Cleaning

Well folks, even though earlier this week I wrote about my favourite patios to go along with the summer-like weather we’ve been having, really and truly, it’s spring. And, what does one think of when spring comes to mind (besides April Showers and May flowers)? Spring cleaning. That’s right folks, it’s officially the time of year where the world tells you it’s time to kick it into high-gear and get your place in tip top shape.

I, for one, like to embrace the almost mandatory opportunity to clean-shop. Often, in the winter, we fall into a coma-like hibernation which (at least for me) results in a less-than-inspiring state of affairs in my living space. So, nuts, here are some of the spring-cleaning rules I’m going to be applying to my own apartment over the next few weeks…

1. CLOSET

Taking a cue from our fabulous fashionista, I’m going to organize my closet first. Every year, I go through my closet and dresser and sort out items that:

  • I haven’t worn since last year (excluding the odd item that I hold on to for sentimental reasons).
  • No longer fit properly.
  • Are damaged or not up to par anymore.

Excluding the damaged items, everything that is no longer working for me can help someone in need. I always take at least 2 full garbage bags of clothes a year to my Church and donate them to the less-fortunate.

2. JEWLERY

While I am nowhere near the level of jewelry fanatic as Kaylee, I do have my fair share of pieces that are currently sitting in an array of places throughout my room. Taking a page out of her book, I need to sort and organize my pieces so that:

  • I actually know what I have.
  • It’s not a 30 minute struggle trying to untangle all of my necklaces every time I’m going out.

3. BEAUTY PRODUCTS

It’s always fun to try out a new beauty product, but, what happens when you don’t like it? If you’re anything like me, chances are, you put it in the back of some drawer or cabinet and never think about it again. These unused products do have expiration dates, so unless they’re still good and you have a friend who can take them off your hands, get rid of them!

4. EVERYTHING ELSE

It’s really easy to collect useless items over the course of a year. I, for example, have a huge collection of class-notes from school. Realistically, I’m never going to need the notes from my second-year history class again. So, my plan is to sort what I could potentially use down the road (journal articles, reference material) and organize it into a few binders that are much easier to store. This rule can apply to just about anything else – receipts, magazines, etc. Pick out what you need and organize them so that they are easy to access and store.

5. RE-VAMP

Once all the de-cluttering and cleaning happens, take the opportunity to pimp-your-pad. Whether you re-vamp one of your current pieces of furniture, pick up a new painting to bring some bright colour to your walls, or even just invest in some fresh flowers, treat your space to a facelift. After all your hard work, you’ll deserve it…in a nutshell.

**all images via google, pinterest and inanutshell.

One woman’s trash . . .

Is another woman’s treasure. This saying rings particularly true when it comes to me and antique finds. Anyone who knows me, also knows that I swoon over a dusty phonograph and pine for Victorian button tucked couches. The only problem with antiques is that you usually pay an arm and a leg for them, so when a friend of mine offered to give up two antique picture frames, I was overjoyed and snatched them up right away.

The frames were dated, as they surrounded an array of pressed flowers on a bed of green felt, totally circa 1970. I saw no reason that these brassy frames couldn’t be turned into something chic and stylish to spice up the grey walls of my bedroom.

I’ve always been fascinated with home decor tips that suggest using empty frames to fill a wall space. I almost find it to be counter-intuitive to hang something, that should contain a work of art or glimpse of a memory, with an empty space in the middle. However, after seeing it executed in a way that made the home seem warm instead of empty, I thought the empty frame idea might not be so bad. I also liked the use of this decorating style here and here.

After emptying out the frames, they still needed to be spruced up.The brassy edges were tarnished and gold simply isn’t part of my interior decor colour palette. I saw great potential in these two pieces as intense black frames and the DIY process of making them new-age chic was so simple!

This is what you need:

I used an auto-air colour paint, usually used for car touch-ups, because it will adhere best to metals. After 12 hours of drying, the frames were ready to hang.

As you can see, a very simple process for a rewarding final product. . .

Tell us what you think about picture frames with no pictures! Chic or cold? Ala mode or overdone?

When Life gives you Lemons

Following Blue Monday, this week has continued to go from blue to a dismal grey. Yesterday, the streets and sidewalks blended into one another as the dirt-trodden snow slowly turned from a pure white powder to sludge. Yesterday morning, I was so disheartened by the weather that I simply did NOT want to get out of the toasty warm bed I was enveloped in. I finally put on my leopard print slippers and slinked into the living room which appeared to be equally as dull as the scene outside my windowsill. This simply will not do, I thought. If I’m going to stay inside my house to escape the weather, I need to be inspired and get my day going with a punch. So I braved the outdoors for a quick 20 minutes, nipped out to the grocery store and picked up some Gerber daisies (my absolute favourite flower) and some lemons to take on a project that caught my eye on Pinterest . . . Happy Hump Day nuts, let the simple things in life brighten your day!

Setting the (Christmas) table

When the holidays roll around, I love to decorate my home-away-from-home. It simply doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year without a few stockings adorning the mantlepiece and the fake tree standing at a glorious 5 feet and 4 inches (a mere few inches taller than myself…ahem). Even though it’s not like having a real tree, the fake one at least gives that sparkle and brightness to the living room and a pine scented candle can work wonders.

This year, however, is my first time moving the christmas decorating from the living room. . .  into a dining room. At first, I thought what on earth can I decorate this space with?  Although Jess’s Tiny Holiday Touches does the trick for the social parlour, what about the dining room and a massive dining table? I was terrified to end up plonking a nativity scene in the middle and be done with it. I thought no, there must be a better, more creative way to set the table for Christmas. I am hosting the book club Christmas party next weekend (yes, that’s right, I’m in a book club and book club celebrates christmas too, folks) and I needed to find something subtle, classic and festive to dress my naked table. I checked a few of my favourite fashion/home decor sites and found the inspiration I was seeking. With Meghan’s help, we scoured the dollar store and Wal-mart and spent a grand total of $35 on a classic dining room Christmas set up.

Here are a few different ways to dress up your table for the holiday season, including my own (nearly) finished product:

 

 With my own set up, I knew I was working with brown dishware and warm hues in wall colour and furniture, so gold decor was a safe bet but it turned out to be quite beautiful…

 

I am searching for a splash of colour that could be added with napkins or candles. . . Any suggestions?

Tiny Holiday Touches

Easy Holiday Tips, Decorating on a Budget, Christmas in a Condo, Green Holiday Ideas… these are all standard headlines that you’ll likely see plastered across home magazine covers and websites while the holiday season unfolds. I’ll reiterate shamelessly that one of the lovely things about In A Nutshell and what we choose to write is that, as the people behind our headlines, story ideas and experiments – we really live what we write. We give many things a whirl for ourselves, each other and you; sometimes we fail, sometimes we thrive and sometimes we just get to say we tried it on for size. In the case of holiday lifestyle articles like those mentioned above, we really are the young folk lacking disposable incomes, wanting to keep things simple, and maintaining cozy nooks in the city – all while still deserving (and wanting) to relish in every second of the heartwarming holiday season.

As a gal on the go who doesn’t want to drop a silly amount of cash on tasteful decorations but who’s also born the week of Christmas (and am therefore innately predisposed to having a weird obsession with all things holiday) – when the temperatures dropped, I decided it was time to deck the halls. So without investing a wad of cash and time into said hall and without the result being an over-the-top red, green, cluttered and aggressive arrangement – I set out to pursue little items here and there that would complete a subtle yet dreamy winter setting. Minimalistic additions to the living room in the form of sparkly hits of silver, “frosted” decorations, mismatched and misshaped Christmas items and lots of light were what I decided on. Less than $50 later (if you’re starting from scratch with your purchases, that’s peanuts), I ended up with what I feel is a non-chalante, inviting and classy Christmas feel.

If you live in a small condo or apartment, the best thing to do is insert tiny hints of the holidays into your existing arrangement. Without upheaving your furniture or hanging swinging ornaments and gaudy garland from every surface, try:

  • Adding an offbeat reindeer figurine to a stack of artsy books
  • Filling an elegant silver pitcher with winter greenery or trendy dishes with unfussy ornaments
  • Even just adding those few extra white candles to surfaces in your main room will do the trick
  • Lay some lanky strands of birch tree branch along your mantle with sporadic bits of garland or holly
  • Scour your flea market or local thrift store for a porcelain St. Nick figurine
  • Spray paint pine cones gold and silver
  • Simply provide the “warm” option to your main room – a massive white knit throw, huggable patterned couch pillows or a trendy tea set and tray on the coffee table – these hints will remind your guests your heavenly home is the cure to their winter woes!

There really are endless store-bought and low-cost ways to show guests you’re ready for the season, which means there are consequently no excuses for not participating in the winter wonder. I promise that without having to drain your savings and spend a night in Tacky Tinsel Town you, like us, can fully partake in the most wonderful time of the year…in a nutshell.

Here’s what I’ve done to my 1-bedroom abode. Although combined it looks like quite a bit – when spread out all over my space, it’s the most subtle holiday feel: 



Little Spaces

Everything in your life has so much of your personality in it. Isn’t that neat? As much as your own behaviour and words portray who you are and what you stand for – I think it’s so fascinating to pick up on the little things about someone based on what drink they order, their CD collection, the way they like their eggs, their home, their favourite scents, etc. This is completely separate from judgement; I don’t mean sitting there and analzying someone’s childhood because they glob ketchup on their over-easies. I mean appreciating and learning about friends, acquaintances and even strangers, by simply recognizing the little quirks and collections in their life that make them so interesting. At the end of the day, as “duh” as this sounds – everyone on earth is just so interesting.

Like Kate has detailed before, one of the best ways to show your personality to those you love, is to make the display of your home an extension of who you are. A room can have so much life in it, or it can not. To all of my fellow first-of-the-month movers; the fact that we can finally unpack bits of ourselves that may have been holed up for years, and show them to everyone in new and funky ways, is very exciting.

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Souvenirs

So, I spent the better portion of the week in Toronto, T-dot, the big smoke. It was a fairly frugal trip to a pricey city, seeing as I was mainly there to work; but, I did have the chance to have some precious playtime, see old friends, and traipse what felt like all of creation on my free time. I love that city. As much as I have serious National Capital Region loyalty, I always appreciate the fast-paced spontaneity and cutting-edge lifestyle that come with such a wildly energetic metropolis. I thought I would share with you some not-so-specific accounts or anecdotes, and focus on some of the (city)life’s little treasures that I came home with in my suitcase. Here are some of the glorious little items and spots I picked up on this week – making my departure from the big city a happy one that included great new sounds, a full tummy, enlightened eyes and a barrel of memories…in a nutshell.

A breathtaking night in an up-and-coming neighbourhood, Liberty Village:

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DIY: Furniture Facelift

As most of you know, Kate and I recently moved into our first post-University apartment. Over the past month and a half, we have tirelessly worked on setting up our new place and making it feel beautiful and personalized at the same time. I can safely say, that we have gotten ourselves well situated. However, our plan is to continuously work on the place, upgrading items and decor.

Recently, I was gifted an old, wooden television stand. And while it did not match the colour scheme in our living room, it is undoubtedly sturdier than the two side tables that we have balanced our television on. Instead of compromising on colour, I decided to give this piece a facelift and make it my own.

Step 1: Prep

Wiping the unit clean with Lysol. Dust bunnies don't stand a chance!

Lie a tarp beneath the piece you plan to paint, that you don’t mind ruining. Clean the piece (I used Lysol wipes) of all dust and dirt. Dust and dirt do not react well to paint. It clumps, and won’t allow for the paint to be applied smoothly. 

Step 2: Safety First!

Yes, I look like a dweeb. But better a dweeb than a dunce. Who knows what those fumes can do!

Make sure that you invest in some form of painter’s protection. I wore sunglasses to protect my eyes, and a mask over my mouth and nose. The fumes emitted from the paint are not something that you want to breath in! 

Step 3: Choose your Paint

Thanks Krylon!

This project called for spray paint, so I headed out to the local Paint department at Walmart. I chose an All-Purpose paint that is suitable for Indoor and Outdoor jobs and a variety of surfaces. I opted for a flat paint, because I knew that I would need more than one coat. I initially purchased 2 cans (costing me a measly $9) but needed to grab a third for my final coat. If you want a gleaming finish, pick up a clear lacquer and apply once you are finished painting. 

Step 4: Paint that Piece!

Hard at work!

Let me warn you in advance, this is tedious work. For a piece to look solid black, you will need to apply 3 coats of spray paint. (Word to the wise: Unless you work out your index finger often, your hand will cramp and your painting arm will ache for 2 days.)

Spray in long smooth sprays and try to avoid overlapping the paint. If it begins to look very wet or begins to drip, you are too close. Work from one side to the other, and make sure you cover the piece in its entirety. Spray paint dries quickly, so you will be able to apply your coats back to back. When you are happy with the look of your piece, let it sit for a few hours to let the paint seal.

Et voila! A new look for an old piece! The cost of my project was $13.50, which is by far the cheapest piece of sturdy furniture I have ever owned. Instead of buying new, explore the furniture at thrift stores and garage sales. With some spray paint and a little elbow grease, someone’s trash can become your latest treasure…in a nutshell.

***My latest DIY is arriving at 414, courtesy of my personal delivery man (thanks BF!) this weekend. Check back soon for a picture of my masterpiece in its new home!