Holiday Decorating

I love this time of year!  This winter is shaping up to be my busiest yet in terms of work, but even with long hours and a house in total chaos, we've found time to start decorating for Christmas.

I'll admit that our renovations had me licking my wounds a bit.  There was even a part of me that thought we might be better off skipping the holiday decorations until next year when the house is in better shape.  Luckily, Corey insisted and it turned out that a little holiday decorating is exactly what we needed!

So, I'll show you the pictures, if you'll promise to excuse the unpainted walls and messy, unfinished rooms in the background.

First, we decided that the vintage candy dishes and apothecary jars we've been hoarding for the wedding will serve as fun accessories to bust out every Christmas.  Also, this way we don't feel guilty for not putting them away.  They look festive filled with scented pine cones.

They may look even better when filled with chocolate!

Our outdoor lights are up and we decorated a wreath.  I'll post about our outdoor decorations later but the neighbours all think we're total keeners!  ...Little do they know how many years we've been waiting for this little house!

The tree us up!  We found an inexpensive artificial black tree but we may have a real tree in the future.  Corey and I always find agreeing on holiday colour schemes to be a challenge.  He likes plenty of colours (especially traditional red and green) while I would be happier with a monochromatic theme.  We always end up compromising.

If you ignore the hideous room in the background, it's not a bad tree.

I bought some black sparkley fabric to serve as a tree skirt.  The gifts also make it look more festive.

Corey and I are actually quite modest when it comes to gifts.  We like to wrap things nicely, but for the most part, our gifts to each other are things we actually need like thermal socks and a new cutting board.  Over the past few months, when we've purchased something we needed, we've often decided to wait and wrap it for under the tree.  This way, it feels like we have tons for presents but we know we haven't gone nuts.

Our pièce de résistance is that box with the blue bow.  It was too big to wrap but it's something for the house (the family room, in fact) and we're very excited to open it.

Have you started your holiday shopping yet?  Personally, malls sort of freak me out at this time of year.  I always find that the music and hustle and bustle feels festive for about ten minutes... then I just feel overwhelmed and I want to be curled up at home reading a book.  It makes me want to do all my holiday shopping online.

Are you ever surprised by some of the crazy products out there?  While shopping for gifts, we came across this sexist gem below.

Now, I have nothing against girls learning to clean, but I should point out, that this was in the girls section, with no male alternative toy.  The gender stereotyping felt a little gross.  Also, when Corey and I have kids one day, if they want to clean, they can pick up a real broom and dustpan.  There's plenty of real dog hair and dust for them to sweep up at our house... No imagination required!


Bridesmaid Dress "Shopping"

The above photo from Martha Stewart Weddings served as my colour scheme inspiration from the second I saw it.  This photo may have heavily influence my decision to choose an "Emerald and Jade" colour palette.  

Now, I have always liked a little more shimmer, so I knew we would choose a shinier fabric like satin.  I also love the idea of the dresses being different,  but I think we'll stick with a standard length... perhaps just above the knee for our late summer wedding.

Here's a recap of some of our inspiration photos as well as some of the wedding accessories that we've already collected.  If you'd like to catch up on our planning, click the "Wedding" tab at the top of this blog.

I think I found the picture below on Pinterest.  It is so blurry, but I think it reflects the colour scheme we want quite well.  

Now back to the point of this post... bridesmaid dress shopping.  Okay, let's first discuss how the entire concept of choosing bridesmaids makes me nervous.  I just get grossed out at the thought of ranking my friends.  It's awful, isn't it?  Corey and I both have several close friends, but we didn't want our wedding party to over power our small wedding.  Instead of choosing all the people we wanted, we decided to ask people we couldn't imagine not being in the wedding party.  We were both lucky to have very obvious choices and I ended up with four bridesmaids: a "bff", a partner in crime, a surrogate sister and a future sister-in-law.

Two of my bridesmaids are going to be out of town this year and I thought it might be easiest to just buy fabric for each gal and let them have their own dress made in any style they want.

Corey and I hadn't thought much about it until we were at Fabricland looking for fabric to make a Christmas Tree skirt.  We spotted some lovely green fabric and learned about an upcoming sale... so we made plans to go back.

We returned this week to scope out the perfect colours.  Since I didn't have the girls with me, Corey and I had to choose colours that we thought would look good on all four.  I had never considered it before, but it's really challenging to choose things that work with the style of your wedding but will also not be brutal for your wedding party to wear.  Our goal was to choose four pretty colours that worked well together.

There were so many choices, but some of the greens were too yellow or too blue.  We also wanted to keep the colours fresh for our summer wedding.

We ended up with four that we loved.  They ranged from a light minty sage to a very dark forest green.

We kept swatches to help us shop for accessories.

And bought enough of each fabric for the girls to go crazy with embellishments!

 What do you think?  Which fabric would you choose?


3 Great Reasons to Subscribe to My E-Newsletter

Fans of my blog, Fresh Coat of Paint, probably know that I'm not just a DIY'er/ greyhound lover/ blogger... I'm also a Real Estate Broker who works in and around Toronto.  In addition to blogging, renovating, fostering greyhounds and hanging out with Corey, I serve a large number of buyers and sellers and advise and assist them in handling what is often their largest and most emotional investment!

To illustrate how much I love and believe in investing in real estate, the first thing I said to Corey after we bought the new/old house was "Now we need to really save so that we can buy another one!"  If you're a regular reader, you can imagine the fear this sparked in Corey, since he's the one doing most of our renovations! ;)

I love my work (which has grown quickly, entirely through good word of mouth and referrals) and I like to ensure that my clients benefit from my expert advice and negotiation skills... while still enjoying the process with a trusted friend.  What could be better, right?  Barkley (pictured above) also appreciates the referrals, since they keep him in the lifestyle (lots of bones and toys) to which he has become accustomed. :P

I am so passionate about real estate that I actually serve on the Toronto Real Estate Board's Government Relations Committee in order to lobby for changes that will impact my clients, stay on top of policies which may affect market conditions and to positively influence the industry I love.

I also keep in contact with my clients long after we have finished working together and often pop-by, call or send them interesting information via email.  I often refer to my email list as my "Client Appreciation Program" and, for the first time, I'm opening this list to anyone who reads my blog.

Here's a sample of the information I sent one month this past year.  Click to enlarge:

So why would you want to be a part of this free email list?  Here are some great reasons:

1.  It isn't ALL about real estate!  

I understand that it's MY job to wake up thinking about the real estate market, but unless you're currently thinking about buying or selling, houses probably don't rank on your list of things that cross your mind before you brush your teeth.  I get it!  That's why I send information on wellness, home improvement, safety and a range of topics, so there's something for everyone!  This information is not only helpful and valuable, but the stats make great conversation topics with family and friends.

2.  When it IS About Real Estate, it's Important, Interesting and Quick to Read.  

Why sift through all the conflicting and sensationalized news headlines when you can get a quick, expert opinion in under five minutes?  People like to discuss the market but very few people have the time to sort through all the headlines and keep up-to-date.  Why not be well informed about the market at your next social gathering?

3.  It Lets Us Keep In Touch.  

I like to stay in touch and update my clients on the market, but also on interesting articles, upcoming market trends, new products and my own news.  I also like to interact with my clients and encourage them to ask questions or respond to my newsletters.

I work entirely by referral, and I truly care about my clients and work to ensure they make the best decisions when buying or selling a home.  I'd love any of your referrals in and around Toronto, but I'm also very well connected with agents all over North America who work the way I do:  By referral; with the goal of building long-term relationships with their clients!  If you don't live near me, but had a question, I'd be happy to direct you to someone I trust who works in your area!

I hope you've enjoyed the items of value I included in this post.  If you would like to receive something like this EVERY MONTH, email me at taylordesa@gmail.com with "Mailing List" in the subject!  ... And don't forget to "Like" my Facebook Page!


The Good, the Bad and the UGLY: A Room By Room Update

I just realized that I haven't posted pictures of the house as a whole since our two month house tour  Our six month update outlined some of our larger projects, but it didn't give much of a sense of the rooms that haven't seen the same kind of love.  If you're a regular reader, you may have seen some of these pictures, but I think this is a good time to examine our progress.  Here it is... The good, the bad and the VERY ugly.   Let's start with the good.

Here's the living room on the day we moved in.  Notice the laminate flooring, lack of shelves, window AC unit, hideous fireplace and boob light?

I am thrilled to say that we remedied all of those issues and painted the room a deep blue colour.

We added lots of accessories and a gallery wall, as well as a tall mirror to give the illusion of a larger room.

We also used curtains to make our window appear more substantial.

And now for the dining room.  When we purchased our new/old house we were thrilled to find that it was large enough to accommodate our large table.  As in most of our rooms, you'll notice we changed our floor right away.  

I'm afraid to say that our dining room looks even worse at the moment.  We've been using our sideboard to collect vintage apothecary jars for our wedding next summer.  We've also opened a wall, where we will eventually install a door to the basement.  This will allow us to close the opening from the kitchen to give us more room for counter space.

I can't wait to replace that light fixture with the funky vintage chandelier from our condo!  As for the paint swatches on the walls, we decided against any of these shades months ago but we keep forgetting to take them down.

At least, these pictures inspired us to replace the paint swatches with some colours that we're more seriously considering.

Here is the kitchen on the day we moved.  It's actually not as tiny as it looks, but there just isn't much cupboard or counter space at the moment.

We didn't clean for the pictures...   It was a last minute post idea and we had just made dinner.  I figured you guys wouldn't mind seeing the place au naturel.

Notice that we have added a dishwasher and we have been replacing the old appliances one at a time.

We've also added a kitchen cart and cabinet for some additional storage.

Ahh, the family room.  Regular readers will notice the shower that's barely visible in the bottom right corner... which is where we've been showering until we complete our bathroom renovation.

This room is an addition behind the kitchen, so it did not have the lovely hardwood floors for us to refinish.  

We really haven't done anything to this room yet.  I haven't even made drapes, because I\m waiting to see how it turns out first.  I would love to paint over that awful salmon colour, but it's not worth it until we're ready to do more to this room.  Don't judge us... we know this room is pretty bad!

While it's definitely not pretty, at least it's functional for now.

The entrance was dark and claustrophobic when we first moved in.

Since then, we have added plenty of storage and personal accessories.

We have also added a stair runner and handrail.  

Yeesh... The upstairs bathroom was in a sad state the day we moved in.  I often describe the shower as "European style" because it sounds better than... "Well, there's a drain in the floor, which is probably connected to something."

Luckily, this large renovation has begun!

This third bedroom (which will be a nursery eventually) was probably prettier on the day we moved in.

At the moment, it's sort of a dumping site for all our renovation and craft supplies, extra furniture and even our tub.  I am afraid of this room.

Our second bedroom is pretty small.  Luckily, that awful green carpet is gone now.

For now, it serves as mu office as well as a guestroom.  Eventually, we plan to move my office to the basement and we'll worry more about decorating this room then.

I can still remember thinking I might be crazy to buy a house with such a tiny master bedroom closet.  

Creating an entire wall of closet has made our bedroom much more functional.

We still desperately need to paint, but I haven't had time yet.

The yard was in pretty rough shape on moving day.  That wasn't even our furniture!

Admittedly, we still need to build a deck and do some pretty serious landscaping, but at least now we have a small sanctuary in the middle of the yard.

We even built a little fire pit.

There's still so much to do, but at least we are making progress.  Which room do you think we should tackle after the bathroom renovation?  We're debating between the family room and the dining room...  The kitchen will wait until after our wedding.

Related Posts by Zemanta