Keep Calm While The Renovations Continue …

I love home decor. I’ve owned 6 homes and with each one I’ve always wanted to make them “mine”.  Fortunately … or unfortunately I’ve never been one to be ok with the status quo.  I enjoy expressing myself through decor.

We moved into our current home last November.  A 3200 sq ft century home with 4 fully finished levels (complete with walk up attic and finished basement). The previous owners had updated the space, so everything was new.  However, what one owner finds suits their taste, another doesn’t.


I liked the house, but I didn’t love the house (in all fairness, unless I custom built I’d always wanna put my own touch on it).  However, it was updated and had good bones as they say. Most importantly it had updated plumbing, electrical, windows and roof. And, coming from Toronto, I REALLY  loved the price!  So I set out to once again, make our home, ours.

I like homes that feel inviting and cozy.  Homes that say, “friend, come on in for tea” or “let’s catch up over a glass of wine”.  Each of my homes have had a different look and feel depending on their history and style.  I’ve owned both brand new builds and older century homes.  I love older homes, I always have. They have so much more character … wide baseboards, stained glass windows, solid wood doors, crown moulding and railings.

As we have finished a large part of the renovations, I thought I’d share the progress to date with you.


The kitchen was newly installed by the previous owners.  They were Santa Fe with a cherry finish.  The countertops are granite, stainless steel appliances, the floor was vinyl with a tiled pattern and while it matched the kitchen well, it wasn’t for me.  There’s an addition in the back of the kitchen, which contains the laundry room (separate area), bar area and mini seating area, we also have our TV hanging on that back wall.  The kitchen was nice, but, I don’t prefer cherry wood (that’s just my opinion), I’m not fond of the red tinge it has.  Also, I prefer a shaker cabinet to Santa Fe.  I like clean lines as oppose to ornateness.  There are other ornate finishings like the columns under the eat in kitchen, dental moulding at the top of the cabinets.  Combined with the floor and choice of wall colours, it really darkened the space.  I was debating staining it a dark rich chocolate to modernize it a bit or painting it white.  I love white, especially white on white on white.  It was decided …I wanted white cabinets.

The cabinets were brand new and replacing them or refacing them would just be an utter waste of money.  Painting cabinets can be tricky, they require a lot of work and patience.  I’ve painted cabinets before, but, this kitchen was massive and we couldn’t afford to replace them if I goofed this up.  I did a lot of research on the best methods and paints to use.


No excessive elbow grease and days and days of coat after coat led us to Plaster Paint. Plaster Paint eliminates the need to sand, prime, or strip most surfaces.  Now remember people, you are painting cabinets, you are not going to have a factory finished look, so do not expect that.  It took two coats of paint and two coats of liquid gold matte wax to complete our kitchen.  I’m giving this product two thumbs up.  The paint is usually used to create a “shabby” look or age/distressed look to your project.  If you’re interested in more info on plaster paint visit:

There was no backsplash in the kitchen, I like backsplash.  It’s a way to further define, add colour and character to your kitchen.  It was just painted in a mustardy yellow.  I decided to go with long, wide white subway tiles.  Note: the folks at Home Depot where we bought the tile, suggested we use a two sided, self-adhesive tape to adhere the tile because we intended on doing  it ourselves, so we went with it.  Don’t do it!  We paid someone to put up the tile and all they did was slide down and fall off.  We had to have my brother take down all of the tile and put it up with mastic (insert angry emoji).

We updated lights with cool new off-white RANARP pendant lights from IKEA.

The previous owners painted the main areas of the house that mustardy yellow.  I like the colour, I had it in one of my townhouses years ago.  But, it didn’t suit this house.  So we painted the kitchen a brighter off white colour (we customized our very own colour using Benjamin Moore paint).

After #1
After #2

Notice how the new cabinets are two toned?  I love the two tone cabinet look.  I opted for a more subtle look rather than a stark contrast. I painted the island and the liquor cabinet a lighter grey. (Plaster Paint colours used: ivory lace and mist).

I also changed the handles to a more sleek, contemporary look (just a few more to add).

The floors were installed by my brother, with some help from my fiance and soon-to-be-father-in-law (thank you shout outs xo).  We chose an earthy toned laminate for the entire house for cleaner lines and better flow.  I really wanted to use a dark, rich hand- scraped walnut similar to the floors I had installed in my Toronto home, but, I had to be realistic.  I wouldn’t get the return on my investment putting those floors into a house in rural Manitoba.  But, I still wanted a similar look. Found a great deal at McMunn & Yates for a 12 mm laminate and went for it.

Dining Room and Living Room

The previous owners continued with the vinyl tile into the dinning area and then switched to a dark chocolate brown plush carpet for the adjoining living room.  Totally not my thing!  I’m not a big fan of carpet.  I can handle it in separate rooms like bedrooms or basements, but, not in the same room.  It cuts off the flow of the room and makes it appear smaller and broken up.

Living and Dining Area – Before

We continued to dark floors throughout and got rid of the mustard yellow walls.  I decided on adding accent walls.  This is the first time I’ve done this, I’m usually not a fan but I saw this colour scheme in one of my fave local shops and it looked good, so I tried it … I mean, after all, it’s just paint – it can always be changed.

I replaced the pendant chandelier with a rectangular linear chandelier with Edison bulbs.

Living and Dining Room – After

Decor includes: a print of back home  (I heart Toronto), a free floating electric fireplace (purchased from Costco) and home made mantle (not seen in photo).  The dining set we brought with us from Toronto and was purchased at Structube.  The sideboard was purchased from one of my fave local shops in town, Style Mercantile (see previous blog “Let’s All Get Cozy With Our Local Shop Owners”).  Couch was also transported from Toronto and was purchased from Bowring & Co (I’m thinking we may need to purchase a lighter coloured couch now -I’m on the search).  Also to be added – cow hide rug.

What’s Next You Ask?

We are still working on our home.  We still have so many things that we are in the process of doing.

Right now we are working on finishing the upper bath.  We just need to install the white marble penny tile.

The laminate floor continued into the laundry room.  We are now in the process of stacking the washer and dryer and are looking to install built-in cabinetry.

I’d like to replace the cabinet and sink in the main floor bath.  Something a little more sleek and clean.  I have my eye on a few cabinets.  The wood floor also continued into that room as well.  It too will be painted from the mustard yellow, colour TBD.

We also have plans for the basement.  We’ve selected a colour for the walls.  We’re in the process of looking at new fibre floor (best flooring for older basements because if they ever get wet, you can remove it hang it out to dry and re-lay it) and am also looking into barn doors and built-in book shelves.

Stay tuned for more blog updates …


T xo

~  Some people look for a beautiful place.  Others make a place beautiful – Hazrat Khan



Let’s All Get Cozy With Our Local Shop Owners

One of the best things about living in a small town, is the charm and quaintness of unique local shops. I have a few staple favourites, but my fave is most definitely Style Mercantile.

This cozy ma and pa joint is owned and operated by Karen and her husband Derrick, who opened Style Mercantile in November of 2014 and have recently relocated to a larger space in order to showcase their amazing pieces and hold workshops.

The mercantile offers a selection of home decor items and quality furniture pieces at affordable prices.  I have to say …. I. Am. In. Love. With. This. Place! She certainly has a knack for transformation.

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This store does not lack for anything: great decor, ambiance and selection of one of a kind items.  The customer service is excellent (they take pride in getting to know their clientele on a first name basis). I typically enjoy a speciality tea or coffee as I browse, complimentary of course 🙂

They have a 5* rating on Facebook and I can certainly see why.

Karen reinvents vintage pieces who have long lost their lustre using a paint that requires NO sanding and NO priming. That’s right people, NONE!  Just clean and apply!  I call it “miracle paint”.  We’re in the process of redoing our entire kitchen using this product.  I chose a simple, clean look,  but, this product is perfect for antiquing and distressing anything!  Yes, anything!  Wood, MDF, plastic, metal – ANYTHING!

Afraid of a DYI project?  Not to fret, Style Mercantile hosts a variety of classes to help bring out your inner antiquing Goddess (or God if your hubby dares join you). Karen teaches the different techniques and applications and offers suggestion on colour combinations.

I attended one of the Fall classes last week.  I was lucky enough to sneak a spot in, due to a cancellation. The classes sure are popular, she offered 7 classes and before I called to register, they were all sold out (mental note: book on day one in order to secure a spot!).

I am amazed how I was able to turn a plain, unfinished pine wood box into a truly unique flower box, adorned with beautifully matched handles.  It was a nice afternoon out, a great way to meet new people and enjoy a Chai latte.


If you’re interested in more Style Mercantile check out their Facebook page.

Beyond how much I totally crush on Style Mercantile, I want to highlight the importance of shopping local, and why we all should:

  • Local Character and Prosperity: In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.
  • Product Diversity: A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
  • Customer Service: It’s truly impressive to think about the amount of time, commitment and labor these individuals contribute to make their businesses both come to life and stay alive amidst the big box store generation. Their personal commitment to their business certainly helps in their efforts insofar as  customer service – they are directly involved cultivating repeat business.
  • Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.
  • Invest In Community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

Before moving to a smaller community, I was as guilty as the next guy for not showing love to the locally owned business.  But now, I choose to shop locally to support people’s dreams.  It makes me feel in a small way, that I’m doing my part.

~ When you support small business, you’re supporting a dream!