Category: Before + After

Our New Florida Home

June 8, 2012

Well, it’s real.  We have a home in Florida and I’m so thankful and can’t believe that it’s ours.  The girls and I will be spending the next few days giving it a deep clean before our moving truck arrives on Monday but I thought I’d give you a sneak peek since you’ve all be waiting so patiently.

After looking online for about 6 months and not coming across anything in our price range that I even wanted to step inside, we made an offer on this house after looking at only one other.  We knew it was ours within 8 seconds.  The pool is completely screened in which is very common here in Florida.  It means less maintenance on the pool and you can leave all your doors open to take advantage of the cross breeze and not worry (as much) about bugs.  The large sliders in the living room (below) completely disappear giving us full access to the pool area beyond.

There aren’t any renovations that are pressing but the whole place needs a tonne of freshening up.  The current paint color makes the light feel dingy and I’d like to freshen it up with a coat of white paint, including the kitchen cabinets.  Any suggestions on how to make this very traditional kitchen feel more bright, modern and maybe bring back some the original mid century feel?

My husband and I both are pretty excited to have an extra garage.  I’ve always enjoyed refinishing furniture and to now have a place to carry on with a project without interruption or the need to clean it up is a definitely a luxury.  In fact, I’ve got a number of unfinished projects arriving on the moving truck.

All images by Birch + Bird

So, that’s our new house…well, part of it, at least.  I can’t wait to share with you the journey to making it our home.  Enjoy the weekend!


Open House: Jayme + Sean Lang

June 5, 2012

We’ve got a special Before + After surprise for you all today, submitted by our friend Jayme Lang. She is a local photographer who’s work we’ve featured before and she’s also shot a number of amazing photos sessions for my family over the last couple of years. Jayme and her husband Sean recently purchased their first home and undertook a remarkable renovation in an extremely short amount of time. I was lucky enough to help with the kitchen design and I think that you’ll all agree with me that the final results are pretty fantastic…

Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme Anne Photography

Here’s a brief overview of the Lang’s project and a mini “interview” with Jayme:

What was the timeframe of your renovation? We had two weeks from closing until we moved in, and then another month of living in the reno. So about a month and a half. What was the approximate budget? The budget for the kitchen was $10,000 and the budget for the whole house was $20,000 (this included all new flooring throughout…bye bye orange shag carpeting!). What is your favourite room? I think its a tie between the kitchen and the living room for me. What was your design inspiration? The two main inspirations for our kitchen and the entire house were Dwell Magazine and The Brick House. I love a simple, clean, Mid Century Modern look. We spent a lot of time looking through issues of Dwell and reading Morgan Satterfield’s blog

Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme and Sean were super resourceful when researching their options and had a clear vision in mind for their townhouse, right from the beginning. They were also lucky to have a roster of helpful family and friends eager to help out and Brad and I even joined in on the demolition party…there’s something very therapeutic about smashing old tiles off the walls! While the kitchen is fairly small and had a few “hiccups” (we weren’t able to take down the wall between the kitchen and dining room…of course, every possible electrical wire, plumbing pipe and vent just happened to go through that 4 foot section of wall!), we did manage to squeeze quite a bit of storage into the new space. It helped a tonne that we were able to borrow space from the double hall closet to tuck the fridge back, out of the way. Modern white cabinetry by Generation Cabinets, concrete counters, rustic wood shelves by Tack Woodwork & Design and my favourite double farmhouse sink from Ikea took this little kitchen from outdated pink and beige to white, modern and fresh!

Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme Anne Photography

This before photo was taken at night and just doesn’t quite do the original orange shag carpets justice…they were spectacular ! But they really couldn’t stay and now Jayme’s mid century furniture shines against a neutral backdrop of white walls and mid-tone hardwood floors. Tack Woodwork & Design built the custom fireplace mantle with the rustic bark edge and Jayme was lucky enough to win the gorgeous Moroccan pouf from a recent giveaway at The Cross…perfect timing!

Jayme Anne Photography

 Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme Anne Photography

Jayme Anne Photography

I really love the calm, clean lines of their home and think Jayme and Sean did an amazing job, especially for first time homeowners on a tight budget! It just goes to show how much of a difference some good planning and a lot of elbow grease can do for a space. And it was a lot of fun playing with different kitchen layouts again too, something I’ve missed a lot since working for Generation. As certain people can attest to, I may or may not have a bad habit of pushing new kitchen plans onto unsuspecting friends, whether they ask for them or not! What can I say, I love kitchens and making them work as efficiently as possible is always a fun challenge. What “must have” elements would your dream kitchen include?

Before + After: Lily’s Front Porch

August 2, 2011

I thought I’d feature a little Before + After that I did over the weekend. Now, it’s not picture perfect but I was happy to get at least one small project checked off my list before we leave on holidays for the Oregon Coast next week. My front door and outside entry have been looking more than a little blah lately. I’d originally wanted to paint the front door a bright grassy green but chickened out and went for a “safe” moss green instead when I painted over the white metal a couple of years ago. Notice that I also neglected to paint out the bright white trim…

So, I took myself on down to the Home Depot and picked out Martha Stewart’s Caper Berry and had our door painted in under a couple of hours. You know those projects that you finally tackle and then wonder why on earth you put it off for so long? Yes, this was one of them. Notice I still neglected to paint out that bright white trim! Question of the day for you: Our window trim and fascia are all black. Would you paint the door trim black as well or paint it green like the door? I’m leaning towards green to add a bit more punch to our shadowy front entry but haven’t quite made up my mind yet…

Next stop was our local wholesale nursery, Devan Greenhouses. It’s by far the most affordable place to buy plants in our town and my kids love making the trip there as well…the petting zoo and kids corner definitely help! Devan didn’t disappoint me on Saturday. I filled my cart with all of these lush plants (that’s 4 flats hiding in there) for a mere $40! Seriously! I found the little green metal cart at a garage sale last weekend for $5 and it just so happens to match a larger green trolley that Rachel + I used for our last market display…you can see it in the window behind.

I came across these outdoor blue and white pillows on clearance at Homesense last week and you know how much I’m loving blue and green colour combos these days! Next step is to stain the front deck…and repaint the rest of the black trim and fascia. Funny how house projects snowball into more, isn’t it?

Wondering what that building permit in the window is for? Check out my handy hubby’s new man-shed. He’s been working hard building it for the last few weeks and just got a fantastic deal on all of this gorgeous cedar siding through a friend of ours and I’m loving how it looks with a fresh coat of stain! Now, if only I could use it as my dream studio

How are your summer projects coming along? Hopefully you’ve checked a few more off of your list than I have…but at least we’ve got one last month of summer before school’s back in session. By the way, be sure to stop by our fresh-faced Fieldstone Vintage Market blog. Steph Anne of Yellow & Savvy Designs put together yet another gorgeous web page design for us and we even have an online application form now!

Homemade Market Sign DIY

May 31, 2011

What a weekend! I feel exactly the same way as Rachel…completely overwhelmed by how wonderful our day at the schoolhouse actually was and exhausted, but in a very good way! We still can’t believe that everything came together without a hitch and feel so blessed by the crowds of visitors who came to see our amazing vendors and their lovely wares. Each display was gorgeous and unique and obviously struck a chord with customers because everywhere we go we’re still hearing rave reviews and requests for when the next market day will be. As tired as we are, we can’t help but be excited about the next edition of The Old School Market and will be keeping you posted along the way, after a much needed spa day on Wednesday to work out the kinks!

With no extra wiggle room in our market day budget, we made all of the decorations and signs for our event ourselves. As you well know, we have a big thing for vintage maps and what better way to use up our stacks of old atlas’ than to make map bunting. It looked so cheerful strung along the blackboards of the schoolhouse! We’ll be posting more pictures in the next few days so you can get a closer look. But one of our favourite projects (which also happened to be the most time consuming!) were our homemade sandwich boards. We placed two at the main intersections leading to Clayburn Village and placed the largest in front of the schoolhouse. I came across Katie’s fabulous idea of using an old crib to create an easel on her blog, Notes from a Very Red Kitchen, and we thought it would be the perfect way to recycle an old piece into a sign board fitting for our vintage market. What do you think?

Lovella At Home

So here’s what we did. After scouring a few thrift shops and even putting a shout-out on Facebook for old cribs, we found one by chance at the back of a dingy junk barn stall. It wasn’t pretty! We left the rails behind and took only the headboard and footboard home with us.

1. We gave them a good hose down, scrubbed them with TSP and gave them a light sanding (Katie recommends another great product that we didn’t have time to source) before priming them with a stain blocking primer. 2. Once primed, we painted the frames with 2 coats of semi-gloss white paint. 3. Then, we taped off the frame and gave the centre square 2 coats of black chalkboard paint. Already looking pretty spiffy, right?

The detailed painting part was by far the most tedious and time consuming. First, we enlarged and printed off our logo in sections and taped them together to fit the chalkboard. Then, we rubbed chalk on the entire backside of the paper and shook off the excess. We carefully taped the image to our board and used a bamboo skewer to trace the entire image….be warned, it sounds as horrible as you would imagine! Once we’d traced all of the details we wanted (we left out the date and a some other wording so that we could use it again) we removed the paper and, voila, we had a chalk outline of our logo! (Sorry, it was late and I was cross-eyed and didn’t think to take photos of these steps!) Next, we used a fine tipped brush (use a good camel hair one) to paint over our chalk tracing with 2 coats of paint. And many hours and 2 sore backs later, here is the result…what do you think?

For our other two sandwich boards, Rachel had the great idea of using cabinet doors from our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. We used the same process as above, but just printed off words to transfer with chalk and painted the flag bunting freehand. All of the paint that we used was leftover from our own homes. My handy hubby attached the hinges for us and we saw more than a few happy customers posing for pictures with our crib sign outside of the schoolhouse on Saturday! The crib easel would be the perfect project for you to make for your own kids or even as a special gift, don’t you think?

Now it’s back to getting some order back into our lives and getting back into the domestic groove of things. It feels good to finally have food back on my shelves again! We’re so thankful to our families and friends for pulling up the while our focus has been on market planning and projects. From bringing kids home from school to babysitting and impromptu play dates….Thank You!



PS…I cannot believe that I failed to credit someone very important in the making of our signs when I was writing this post at midnight last night! A huge Thank You to Jessica MacDonald of Trove Vintage Rentals for getting into our heads and designing the perfect logo for The Old School Market…we LOVE it!


From drab to fab…a kitchen renovation.

January 12, 2011

So, here’s our kitchen renovation that Lily mentioned yesterday!  I love before and afters, don’t you?  Especially when you happen to be the beneficiary!  I still pinch myself…I can’t believe it’s mine.

After living in our home for about 4 years, we decided we could no longer put up with our kitchen.  It was original to the house and deteriorating quickly.  The counters were tile, not my favourite option for a countertop especially when they are about 35 years old.  They were chipped, cracked and the grout came out when I wiped them down.  I never felt like they got clean enough to put anything worth eating directly on them.  The cupboard doors would spontaneously fall apart and come crashing to the floor.  The particle board shelves were disintegrating and smelled a little funky.  And the sink leaked.  We went back and forth with our options.  Do we just paint the cupboards and put in new countertops and backsplash?  Were the cupboards worth painting?  Would the drywall survive the backsplash removal?  What about the floor?  A cosmetic makeover just seemed like we were settling and kind of  a”mickey mouse” way to go, you know.  So, we decided it was all or nothing.

My husband graciously spent his hard earned sabbatical tearing down and then building back up a new kitchen for our first family home.  Now, he will be the first to tell you that it wasn’t the easiest project but it certainly went without any major issues.  Besides the initial planning and prep work, I think it took about 8 weeks to complete.  The kitchen was stripped right down from the floor to the ceiling so that we could start fresh.  We upgraded all the wiring and lighting and tore down 2 walls.  The bulkheads above the old cabinets were ripped out for more cabinets space and to make the ceilings feel a bit taller.  With the space now opened up, we decided to replace all the flooring.  With no differences in flooring, which draw the eye, the seamless look lends itself well to open plan spaces giving the illusion of an expansive space.  And I’ll do anything to give the illusion of space.  We are so glad we went ahead and tore down those walls, it feels like a brand new house.

Now, I would highly suggest that you do your research before gutting your kitchen.  There’s a lot of planning that needs to take place and if you are on a budget like we were, you don’t want to make any costly mistakes.  We had a lot of help from friends and family who also happen to be in the business and who know other people in the business.  Drawing from this experience saved us a lot of money.  My husband is an electrician.  My dad is in the concrete business. My brother is a builder.  My uncle is a plumber.  Our friend installs flooring.  So, our Rolodex is full of resources and I’m not sure we would have embarked on this journey if we didn’t have this kind of support.  To stay within our budget, I shopped around…a lot.  Our cabinets are lovely but we didn’t go with all the luxury options that are nice, but they add up quickly and you can always add some of those extras later on.  My open shelves are from Ikea but I found them on Craigslist.  I lucked out on a great sale at Restoration Hardware for my lighting.  I bought all our cabinet hardware at Lee Valley, where if you buy bulk amounts, you will a discount.  I bought our apron sink and faucet at Ikea for a fraction of what they usually cost.  We waited a long time for hardwood flooring that we loved and happened to be in our price range.  We researched, formed and poured our own concrete countertops.  And some things are still on the to-do list, like the backsplash and a new set of appliances.

As Lily mentioned, she helped me with the design and layout and that part was a lot of fun.  Up until almost last minute, we had the stove situated on the end wall where the bank of drawers and glass cabinet is.  The stove wall would have been all pantry.  Lily and Trish came up with the idea because they realized that my corner cabinet would be made inaccessible by the stove.  So, the plan changed and I’m so very glad it did.   After the cabinet installers had left, I had to take a moment to take it all in.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  Was this really my kitchen?

The feel of the kitchen is so much different now.  Before it was so dark and gloomy.  I did my cooking and got out as quickly as possible.  Now, it’s so bright and spacious, I linger.  I can now have a people help me whereas before we would be in each other’s way.  I have plenty of counter space to cook and bake with my girls right along side of me.  And when we entertain, I can set up meals buffet style and still have leftover counter space for cleanup.

Something on my wish list is a new table and chairs.  I dream of a parsons table made from reclaimed barnwood with a set of white vintage Eames shell chairs with the eiffel style base.  But I’m open to suggestions…please.  Another idea I have is to replace our coat closet bi-fold doors with a reclaimed barn door or maybe something more modern on a sliding track from floor to ceiling.  And of course, the front door has to go too.  There are always more ideas but ideas cost money, so sometimes the ideas must wait and I’m willing.  I think that’s just the fun part of creating a home, just happening upon that little (or big) something that fits perfectly in your space, especially if it’s at a great price.

Would I ever do it again?  Absolutely!  I’m not too sure my husband would say the same.