Month: June 2011

Chip & Salsa Bowl in a Pinch

Company is coming and you are frantically throwing together some appetizers (I know this, because this was me on Saturday before having family over to celebrate my Dad’s birthday). You’d like to serve chips and salsa, but you forgot to pick up that nice bowl you saw at Home Sense. No worries — you can easily create a chip and salsa bowl on the fly using bowls you already have on hand!

Step 1: Find three bowls — small, medium and large.

Step 2: Turn the small bowl upside down and place it in the large bowl.

Step 3: Place the medium bowl on top of the small bowl.

Step 4: Fill the medium bowl with your salsa and place the chips around it.

Step 5: Cross that fancy chip and salsa bowl off your shopping list — because, really, you don’t need it anymore!

Thanks for dropping by The 236!

Linking up with…
Home Stories A to Z
House of Hepworths

Closet Turned Vanity

A few weeks ago while perusing Pinterest, I came across a really cool project done by Liz Marie — it was her bathroom closet turned vanity project. I thought it was a super great idea and made sure to pin the idea on my Master Bedroom Ideas board.

Fast forward to last Sunday and Liz Marie’s project was all I could think about. I had to do something similar in my home!

Since we live in a 1970′s bungalow, we don’t have the luxury of having a master bathroom. For the past four years, Ted and I have been sharing the main floor bathroom. Thankfully, he leaves for work earlier than I do in the morning, so we never have to fight over the bathroom. But, I know the constant clutter of my make-up, brushes,  hair products and other girly things was starting to get to him. Turning half of my closet into a vanity space was a great idea!

Even though we are not blessed with a master bathroom, I can say that we are doubly blessed to have two full-sized closets in our bedroom. Ted has his and I have mine. Amen to that! This spring, after cleaning out my closet, I was left with only half of my closet full. The other half was just being taken up by an old dresser from Ikea that stores my socks and other unmentionables, and the top of the dresser was a dumping ground for jewelery and other accessories. The dresser was still useful and functional, I just had to reframe how I was to use that side of the closet.

First, I cleared out all of my jewelery and accessories taking up space on the dresser. The dust was out of control!

Then, I easily removed a few shelves, rods and brackets from my Rubbermaid Configurations closet organizer (which, by the way, are THE BEST closet organizers out there — so versatile and easy to install…and uninstall!)

Next, I measured the space in between the two wall brackets of my closet organizer. I knew I didn’t want to fully take out that section of closet since I may need it one day. After looking on the Ikea website, I found this mirror, which was the right size and price and had a small glass shelf for added space. Off to Ikea I went!

When I came home, Ted got to work installing the mirror. He’s a handy guy to have around who loves to use his tools anytime he can!

What a guy!

On Liz Marie’s blog, she also had a great post on make-up storage. I loved her idea for organizing and displaying her make-up brushes. I happened to have a nice vase on hand, so I quickly ran over to Michael’s and bought a bag of crushed glass for my filler.

I absolutely love the final product — my closet vanity makes getting ready in the morning a snap since I have all of my make-up, hair products and other goodies close at hand. Best of all, if I don’t have time to neatly put everything away, I can simply close my closet door! No more having to run into the bathroom and stash things away when company unexpectedly drops in and no more annoying clutter for Ted.

I’m also glad that I didn’t remove the closet rails — they are great for holding clips and hair ties. Also, the existing lighting in the closet is super great for applying make-up.

This project is almost all complete. I want to find a cute, miniature boxwood plant to go in one of my pots that I picked up this week. I think it will add some nice colour to the space — even a closet vanity needs to look pretty! I’m also in the process of building this functional, yet beautiful necklace organizer posted by LDH on her blog. More on that project in another post! :)

So, what do you think? A smart use of an under utilized space? If you have done something similar, I’d love to hear about it! And, kudos to Liz Marie for the inspiration!

Thanks for dropping by The 236!

Thrifty Finds: Paint, Pots & Putty

Today was a good day for thrifty finds — some that landed in my lap, some that I searched for.

Let’s start with the ones that fell in my lap.

I work as a Copywriter for a design and branding agency that focuses mainly on package design. Needless to say, we normally have a lot of product sitting around. Today, some co-workers were cleaning out some older product to make room for new product. I snagged some wood filler and wood glue because, really, you can never have too much of either!

At work, we also have a “Give & Take Table” in our underground parking garage. While on my way out this afternoon, I saw this small white plant pot that will look very cute on my closet vanity with a faux boxwood plant (more on the closet vanity later!)

Then, on my way home from work, I made my weekly visit to my local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. I was looking to find some small knobs for another project (no luck) and some paint for our upcoming upstairs bathroom refresh. Well, I was pleased to find a gallon of Benjamin Moore paint in Gray Mist for, get this, $10.00!

The price alone was awesome and Benjamin Moore is my go-to paint for The 236. But, that’s not all — when I looked at the paint lid, I saw that the paint was mixed at my local Rona store less than a month ago. Fresh, brand new paint in a gorgeous, neutral colour? Sign me up! Here’s a paint chip of Gray Mist — a true classic:

Then, I made my way to my neighbourhood Goodwill to see what other treasures I could find. I was hoping to score some vintage Pyrex (no such luck), but I did come across two more white pots bringing my grand total to three white pots in one day! Not sure where these will go, but I’ll find a home for them. Both were 99 cents each and from Ikea.

So, not a bad day for some finds! I can’t wait to start our upstairs bathroom refresh so I can see the new paints on the walls.

Until then, thanks for stopping by The 236!

Before & After: The Foyer

If you follow me on Twitter, you have likely been “tw-eased” by me a few times with some photos of our house. Having a full-time job, plus updating the house and trying to swing a social life has been difficult to find time to blog. But, I’m making time now to show you some before and afters of our recent (ahem…four years in the making) foyer overhaul.

When we bought the house from Ted’s parents, the foyer looked like this:

Just to give you some perspective, our foyer has an entryway that runs perpendicular to our stairs. To the left is our front door and to the right is our back door. There are stairs leading up to the main floor of our house and stairs to the basement. This is a super high traffic area of our house!

The foyer floor was peel and stick blue vinyl tiles, the stairs (and the entire main floor) were covered in a blue/grey carpet that had seen better days and the honey oak railing was one screw close to falling down. It was due time to give it a fresh overhaul.

First, Ted removed the carpet from the stairs and the entire main level of the house. We are fortunate that the original hardwood floors were in decent condition (except for the living room and dining room where there was only plywood under the carpet), so we knew that we would one day have them refinished.

Skip ahead to this past Christmas and we finally were able to have the hardwoods sanded, stained and sealed. We opted to go with a professional and we couldn’t be more pleased with the final result. He did a great job sanding out any imperfections and he was able to match the stain to the colour of our living room/dining room/kitchen floors (which happened to be a vinyl plank…more on that in another post!) :)

Before we had the floors refinished, Ted ripped out the original banister, which was also known as “The Death Trap.” To make sure that no one, including our 6-year-old chocolate lab named Mason, went over the rail, we beautifully fashioned a “safety guard” out of TV trays and yellow caution tape (don’t try this at home, folks!)

At this point, we were ready for our hardwood floor guy to come in and refinish the floors for us. Let me mention that this was all being done two weeks before Christmas. We also had to move out of our house for a week while the floors were being done. Thank goodness for parents who take in their grown children (Thanks Dad!)

Here’s a few snapshots from the process. I was able to pop in to the house during the week the floors were being done to capture the progress.

The stairs being sanded:

The stairs being stained:

The final product:

Our next task was to tackle the foyer flooring and our railing. We also hired a professional for this….Steve, our trusty family friend/contractor for The 236. He did a great job installing a new tile floor in the foyer. We had some tiles left over from our basement bathroom remodel that we used.

For the railing, we saw a photo in one of Home Depot’s magazines and fell in love with it. We gave Steve the magazine and told him to go for it. Here’s some snapshots of the progress.

Steve hard at work installing the new custom railing:

The railing pre-stain (I was the lucky one to have to stain and urethane the railing):

Ted very excited that the railing was stained and sealed (yes, we decided to remove each ballister to make the entire process easier). I used left over stain from the hardwood floor refinishing to an exact match:

The final product — complete with all new baseboards, door casings and paint for the foyer and stairs. The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Kangaroo” and the trim is done in Benjamin Moore’s “Chantilly Lace”:

I dressed up the foyer with some furniture and accessories that I already had on hand, like the console nesting table, decorative bowl and tree-inspired coat rack. I did add the circular mirror above the table for those out-the-door hair and make-up touch-ups, and the cute little candle shelf that I found at a local thrift store for $4.99:

I love the final product and even though it took four years to get the foyer to this point, we’re thrilled with how functional and welcoming the space is for us and our guests.

The last project that I have to do in this area of our home is to find a functional and eye-pleasing way to sort incoming mail. Right now, our poor decorative bowl gets buried under mail and newspapers. If you have a suggestion, leave me a comment or catch me on Twitter!

Thanks for stopping by The 236!

Linking up with…


Addicted 2 Decorating’s 2011 Year in Review: Room Makeovers