Monday, May 13, 2013

The Art of Bookcase Styling

Finally! The breakfast room reno is complete. We started out with a room that was dark and un-inviting, to a temporary fix of paint and furniture, to a full renovation where we can enjoy our meals and sip on a nice cup of hot coffee (although these days with three kiddies, we're usually sipping on it cold ;)

We started with this...ugh.

I'm in new room heaven! We are now using the room on a daily basis and I'm loving the storage, the light, the freshness.
Let's talk bookcases!

I love seeing a well styled bookcase, even when it is filled with everything but books. Bookcases are a perfect way to make use of storage, display your collectibles and create style in a space.  You can tell alot by what's in a person's bookshelf.  It is an opportunity to display what you love to read and collect.

Styling a bookcase is often a challenge for many people.  Here are a few tricks on how to beautifully display what you love, instead of throwing in everything you own, or need to store on a shelf.

Yes, obviously their intention in life is to store books but you can display just about any 'ole thing you want on there.  However, there is something so beautiful about a wall of well stacked books.

Take everything out of your bookcase to start with a clean slate and look at it with fresh eyes. Bland and boring bookcases can look gorgeous with a little back love.  Paint the back of them with a contrasting colour or line them with a patterned fabric.  One idea is to cut pieces of cardboard the size of the opening, glue fabric to it and attach to the back of the bookcase. Instant gorg!


We painted the back of our bookcase Benjamin Moore Sea Haze

A little decorator's secret is displaying items in odd numbers.  Threes and fives work really well. There is something about the balance that just works.
Mr. Fix-it mom's teapots and creamer in 3

3 lanterns and a vignette of frames and tray

Play with differing heights and layer from back to front with your books and items to display. Contrasting with colours will also reduce monotony. If you are displaying books, try to organize them by colour groups. This will create cohesion.

Organize books in similar colours

Adding a mirror to your bookcase is a great way to allow the space to feel larger and lighter. Also, you may have lots of items you want to display, however we don't want your bookcase to look like an episode of "Hoarders".

If your bookcase is purely for display then no need for practicality. However, we not only needed the space for display and storage but to use as well. For example, we needed a new spot for our trusty Tassimo and a spot to hold our pens. Instead of using a pencil cup to hold your pens and pencils, think outside the box. Look for items in your home that will look more stylish yet useful. I opted for a silver sugar bowl.

Overall, we're thrilled with the reno.
Still not sure what to put in that lower left area. I'm thinking of leaving it open for when we entertain (space for glasses, wine, drinks etc)
Family Organizational Wall

The room is complete and now it's time to tackle something else. I'm thinking the tv room needs a repaint!

For those of you that are Mummys, I hope you had a wonderful Sunday. I had a great day with my kiddies and Mr. Fix-it and a little time to myself at the spa. Heaven!

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fabulous Friday: Built-Ins DIY

Happy Friday!

Well, I'm very happy that our breakfast room built-ins are officially complete! Phew! Like all our house projects, Mr. Fix-it had to fight with uneven walls and slightly slanted flooring, however he did a great job and I'm thrilled! Check it out...

The base cabinets have been in for weeks. They have given us tons of storage for vases, platters etc. It is amazing what a few extra deep cabinets can give you...

Base cabinets in and the shelving materials await Mr. Fix-it...

Amen to storage!!

Mr. Fix-it and his handy helper installed the top piece first.  You actually don't see this piece as the shelves go all the way to the ceiling but they had to install it to attach the crown moulding to. See the piece of wood that Mr. Fix-it is drilling in this photo? This is only temporary, to hold the weight of the wood that extends across until the shelves get installed.

We wanted the bookshelves to be relatively thick in size. So, Mr. Fix-it attached two pieces of the primed wood together to create the look of one thick piece of wood. See how there is a seam that goes right down the middle? Even with caulking you might see good. So, before the project was completed Mr. Fix-it just staple gunned a piece of trim that measured the same thickness right over this. Instant custom feel!
Also, these pink lines are our "high tech" way of measuring where the next shelves would go ;)

Once we decided where the shelves would go, Mr. Fix-it installed them using tiny brackets (he painted them white later so you wouldn't see them) and then it was time to fill in all the random holes and anything uneven by patching.  This is really easy! You just spread the goop across the hole, it dries from purple to white and you sand it flat with sandpaper. Super easy and its a DIYers secret tool! We use it for every makes everything smooth, seemless, perfect.

VOILA! Bookshelves all patched and waiting to be painted and styled once Mr. Fix-it finished that last piece of crown molding.

On Monday, I'll reveal the final project and a few tips on bookshelf styling. Here's a sneak peak...

Have a great weekend!

Keep it Beautiful.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Fabulous Friday - Weekend Delish!

Happy Friday everyone!!

I know I usually post recipes on Wednesday for "Wednesday Yummies", but I just made this recipe last night and wanted to share it with you today in case you are looking for something yummy to make this weekend.  It's looking like the weather is going to be fabulous in Ottawa, so a great time to fire up that barbecue.

Here is a yummy recipe to enjoy:

Balsamic Flank Steak
You really need to marinate flank steak, otherwise it's tough.
What you need:
  • ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. flank steak
    Combine first five ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add steak and turn to coat. I let mine marinate for almost a day and a half in the fridge. The longer the better!! Grill until desired doneness (it's really fast, I'm talking fast!). Let stand, covered loosely with foil for 10 minutes, before cutting in thin strips against the grain.

    I also made these babies. Slice a tomato into thick rounds and marinate them in balsamic vinegar for 30 minutes.  Top with spinach or fresh basil (I used basil) and slices of mozzarella. Place on the grill or under the broiler for a few mins to get warm and bubbly = delish!!!

    We finished it with a baked potato and VOILA!! a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated meal for the weekend that is fast, easy and oh so yummy!

    Our big guy has had a nasty flu virus for the past three days so we're hoping it will leave our house soon so that we can get out an enjoy the beautiful weather! If you live in Ottawa, the Farmer's Market opens this weekend at Brewer Park. Fun!

    Have a great weekend!

    Keep it Beautiful.


    Thursday, May 2, 2013

    Family Organization Wall

    Since our big guy started school I've been wanting to create a space in our house that is dedicated to organizing our family.  I'm a list kind of girl and the sticky notes were getting a little out of control!We needed a space that reminded us of upcoming events, birthday parties, school activities as well as a spot to put up the latest art creation that came home in the backpacks.

    Enter in a family organization wall.

    In the breaky room that we've been renovating with the built-ins (they are done now...stay tuned), we had this empty wall (the breaky room is an addition to the house so some of the walls are the original exterior brick).

    I decided that we needed a dry erase calendar, something to write quick reminders/notes on as well as something to display the kids' art on a regular basis. I wanted each child to have their own little space so I bought wooden letters (Walmart) for each child's initial and painted them the bookshelf accent colour (Benjamin Moore - Sea Haze).

    I bought each child a bulletin board for their art, school notices etc.

    Instead of drilling into the brick wall, I attached everything with these Command strips.  To be honest, the package on the left was from the dollar store and they actually worked better than the package on the front. Go figure!

    Added each child's letter above the bulletin boards....

    We needed a calendar to keep us organized, and this little message board is great for things we need at the grocery store, little reminders and is magnetic (with stainless steel appliances, gone are the days of everything being stuck to the fridge)...

    Enter in art from school. Our little babe obviously doesn't have any art yet ;)

    Voila! A fresh.fabulous.sophisticated family organization wall to keep us up to date.  It can also change as our family grows, thanks to the stick 'ems instead of drilling into the wall and having to patch.

    Keep it Beautiful.