Category Archives: Furniture

New life, new desk!

Hi there! It’s been a while…

I’m at a turning point in my life. I just got back from a two month trip in South America (Chile, Argentina and Uruguay) and I’ve now officially started my life as a full time freelance writer and translator. Exciting stuff!

In order to get a nice start on this new life, I decided to build myself a standing desk. Of course, being broke and lacking the skills to build a piece of furniture, I decided to take the easier road: an IKEA hack.

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We just decided to get rid of our TV. The poor thing wasn’t getting the love it deserved. It hadn’t been turned on in over a year and was just sitting there gathering dust. Finally, we put an ad up on Kijiji and within hours, some happy couple came to get it.

Underneath the TV, there was a nice TV stand, still in great condition. I didn’t want to throw it out so I went to the hardware store and bought some wood, wood glue and 2 shelves. That’s it. I glued the pieces of wood onto the existing legs and let it dry for 1 day. Afterwards, I built the shelves and put everything up together. The last step was to paint the legs a nice shade of turquoise green. Done! A new desk! (If you’re wondering, yes, it’s very solid)

In life, turning points are always a bit scary but building this desk and having a designated work spot has made it a bit easier to face new challenges!

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Furniture makeover: the dresser

These last few weeks I’ve been busy working on my home’s decor. I have been gluing, stapling, painting and mod-podging almost non-stop. I’ll be sharing the results of these makeovers with you, because many of these are drastic and I’m quite proud of how they came out.

Let’s start with this dresser.
Dresser before white

It was given to me by a former work colleague who was moving back to France. Even though it looked quite worn out, I immediately saw it’s potential. Besides, who says no to free furniture ?

For months, I left it as is (it was a neutral brown shade). Then I put a few coats of white, thinking it would fit nicely into my decor. Alas, I was still not satisfied, finding that it lacked character and looked unfinished.

After weeks of searching for inspiration, I was just about to give up when I saw a photo of a room with a color scheme not unlike that of my living room, in which one of the pieces of furniture had been painted a pretty shade of light blue.

I haven’t been a fan of baby blue since I passed the age of 12 and stopped liking boy bands and Kangol hats, so I was quite surprised that I liked it in this context. Figuring that I had nothing to lose that another coat of paint couldn’t fix, I went out to buy a few bottles of acrylic paint, along with some easy to install handles.

Here’s the dresser in mid-makeover process:

During makeover dresser

And here’s the final result:

Dresser makeover blue

I’m really happy with how it looks. Oddly enough, I think that if I saw this dresser in a store, I’d find it too classical, but in my decor, it really fits.

The process itself was easy but I’ll recap it for you if you want to do it yourself:

– I started with a coat of white primer. Let it dry (in my case, for many weeks)

– Chose a shade of blue (I used Americana acrylic paint in Baby blue DAO42). I used 4 bottles.

– Got 3 handles at the hardware store. Installed them.

That’s it! No sanding or varnishing was required but it may be in your case depending on the texture and use you will make of the furniture. I’ll let you be the judge on that!

Easy crafts for lazy people: Ikea Bekvam step stool hack

The title is a bit provocative but is every bit the truth.

I love crafting, but I’m lazy about it. If something becomes too complicated, I try to find another, easier way to do it, even if this means that it will come out mostly pretty but also imperfect.

When I was in art school, the art teacher’s assistant openly critiqued one of my pieces by saying that I always had good ideas but that my final execution of projects was often a little bit botched. I wasn’t mad at that assertion because I knew for a fact that it was true. I’m an impatient crafter, ready to sacrifice a perfect result to settle for pretty good.

All of  this probably has you wondering why you would follow any crafting tips and advice coming from me. Well, because like the T.A. said, I have good ideas, and if you are more of a perfectionist than I am, you might bring these art projects to another level.

Since we are visiting the living room right now, I will be posting 3 examples of simple craft projects that can make fun, unique elements of decor.

The story

Like many people, most of my furniture comes from IKEA. Most of IKEA’s creations are nicely designed but quite plain. I can’t have it that way, it’s not me.

It took me a while to find what I’d do with this Bekvam stool. It’s going to be used mainly in the living room but I need to be able to move it around and still have it fit well with the decor elsewhere. Yellow paint and Robert Doisneau photos make for a winning combination in that sense.

What you will need:

– White paint

– Yellow acrylic paint (I used Cadmium yellow)

– Mod podge  (gloss or matte, depending on your taste, I used matte)

– 2 black & white photos  printed on regular paper, measuring 7.5 inches wide x 9.5 inches tall

– 3 black & white photos printed on regular paper, measuring 3.5 inches wide x 5 inches tall

–  Extra photos just in case some surface is not covered

– Paint brushes

– Exacto knife

The easy process:

Start by painting the whole surface (except the top and the lower step) in a coat of white. Let it dry. Whilst that is drying, if you haven’t done so already, go choose the pictures you’ll be using for the steps. I printed out a bunch of summer themed photos by French photographer Robert Doisneau. Other suggestions of interesting black and white photographers: Henri-Cartier Bresson, Eugène Atget, Willy Ronis, Jacques-Henri Lartigue.

Once the white is dry, paint those same surfaces with the yellow shade. When you are finished that step, go have some tea, read articles on Bored Panda or watch an episode of Golden Girls while it dries. Depending on the thickness and texture, this process shouldn’t be too long. Now cut the photos and fit them so that each part of the desired surfaces are covered with photos (even the hole on the top, we’ll take care of that later).

If the photos fit, you’re good to go. Start by brushing a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wooden surface. Then apply the paper, carefully, so it doesn’t create too many folds and bubbles. Once you’ve covered the two steps, go make some popcorn and watch The Red balloon. After you’re done with that charming short film, you should now be able to cover the full surface of the step-stool with a thin layer of Mod Podge. Just make sure that everything is dry before you apply that last layer. Once you are done with that, wait once again for it to dry, then use the Exacto knife to cut out the hole that is on the top step.

Done! You’ve got a fun, colorful step-stool!

The bedroom

We have a tiny little bedroom. Some people would say that it’s too tiny.

I don’t care; I’ve had tiny rooms all my life. Those that weren’t tiny, I shared.

I’m used to cramped spaces and my man doesn’t mind either. He just needs a bed and a bit of floor space to throw his clothes on.

Things that I love about this room:

–          It’s always full of light, but not too bright, so you can sleep in at morning.

–          The color scheme is girly and calm (white, green, wood, touches of fuchsia)

–          It’s comfy (the bed and the furry carpets)

–          The ceilings are tall (like everywhere else in this home, but here since the room is small, we will use this to install shelves to store things that we want to keep but rarely use).

There is still work to be done here; walls to be painted (a brighter shade of white); shelves to be set up; night tables to be tinted. However, this look is very close to what I wanted to achieve.

Over the next few days, I will be telling the tales of certain objects that can be found in my bedroom.

Stay tuned!

The desk

I moved to the city 5 years ago, mainly for school, but also because I had always idealized living in an urban environment. Two of my friends from my hometown were already here, yet I consciously made the choice to get a room in an apartment that I would share with 2 roommates whom I did not know.

My new roommates, both girls, had already furnished the place. I just needed to fill my tiny little room.

Young, eager and priding myself in being independent from my family, I decided to buy my first big piece of furniture, a desk.

Now, you must know that in Montreal there isn’t such a wide array of options in furniture stores for a girl with a tiny budget so of course, I immediately gravitated towards the famous Swedish retailer.

That is where I found my chosen piece: the Mikael desk.

I must’ve paid it around 150$. That meant a week’s pay for me back then, so it had to be worth it!

I chose it because of its modern style, clean lines, and elegant appearance. I also loved it because it seemed very easy to adapt to any type of décor, which meant that I would be able to keep it for a long time and to always fit it to my ever-changing tastes.

The pride of having bought my own piece of furniture was immense, and setting it up with my brother was practically a bonding experience for us.

It’s already moved many times and set up camp in 4 different rooms. Scratches on the surface tell tales of the hard times I’ve given it, dropping various drinks and piling random objects on it.

During those years, its’ seen many a night of me researching subjects like post-impressionism or human rights in Burma, cramming info about Laswell’s theory of communication into my brain or writing reviews of new CD’s for my radio program at the university’s station.

Lately, mostly since I got a laptop, I’ve been neglecting the poor thing.

When I come around to decorating the office, it’ll once again be the main focus of the room and my man will get to enjoy the convenient design of this wonderful object.