12 April 2015

choosing a kitchen backsplash

Wow, don't you just love the options for amazing kitchen backsplashes these days? All manner of materials, colours and patterns are accessible and pretty easy to install as well. So, with such a wide array of choice, how do you select the best one for your kitchen?

patterned cement tile backsplash
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1. Complement your countertop and cabinets. It's highly debated whether to choose backsplash or countertop first, but for sustainability reasons, I always say choose neutral, classic, hard working and long last countertops and cabinets first, then select a backsplash that will augment them. A backsplash can always be changed out when you want a refresh - but the countertop and cabinets should last forever. And if your kitchen cabinets and countertops are neutral, whether light or dark, you can have a little more fun with the backsplash.

how to choose a kitchen backsplash
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choosing marble for a backsplash
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2. Decide on the tone. Do you want to have a little fun and add some colour or a dramatic pattern? Or, if you have a traditional or minimal home, perhaps you want to make sure the kitchen reflects this for continuity? That will drive a decision on colour and pattern such as classic white subway tile vs. colour Moroccan cement tiles.

how to choose a kitchen backsplash
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Morrocan inspired kitchen backsplash
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3. Decide on material. If you own your home and know that you will likely always have some sort of tile backsplash (even if you change it down the road), then I recommend tile or stone. It's fairly easy to install and affords a high-end look to the space relatively inexpensively. But if you rent, you'll want something that won't damage the walls. You could consider cutting wainscoting to size and fitting it in snugly. Or using removable wallpaper and coating it with a high-gloss durable finish.

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Also, your material will determine how much upkeep you need to do. Remember that ceramic or glass tiles don't generally need to be sealed (seal the grout when first installing), but ceramic tile are porous and will need to be sealed from time to time. White beadboard or plank boards could also stain if not taken care of.

choosing material for a kitchen backsplash
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glass backsplash
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4. Determine where your backsplash will go. Generally it runs from countertop to the bottom of cabinets, but with the trend now for open shelving or bare upper walls, often running the bacskplash from counter right up to ceiling makes sense. You could run it up to the ceiling only on the range wall for a beautiful and functional focal point. If you plan having a large area backsplash, that will obviously affect your budget so plan accordingly.

choosing large tile backsplash
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choosing a modern kitchen backsplash
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choosing a budget modern backsplash
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For my tips on installing a temporary wallpaper backsplash check out this post.

And for even more head to: DIY backsplash ideas and eco-friendly backsplashes.

8 April 2015

maximize the space above the fridge

I hate that awkward space above the fridge. It either has a cabinet that seems to obtrude into the room and is too deep to find anything in, or there is a small useless gap between the top of the refrigerator and the ceiling trim or base of that useless cabinet. Either way, it's an annoying waste of good space and pretty darn ugly.

Here are some stylish ways to better use that area to get organized and fit with the rest of the kitchen design. Most seem pretty easy to DIY using either new boards for a "custom" look, or by removing the doors on existing cabinets and making use of baskets or bins.

organized storage above fridge
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DIY open cabinet shelf above refrigerator
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maximize storage above refrigerator
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cookbooks and wine storage above refrigerator
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open shelving above refrigerator
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maximizing stylish space above fridge
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using basket storage above refrigerator
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more stylish storage above refigerator
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30 March 2015

simple Easter table setting

In an ever-continuing effort to simplify, my Easter table is pared down to a hydrangea and white dishes, with a linen tablecloth to give add a little bit of a rustic feel. It complements the vintage server but contrasts with the modern flatware and plates to make a simple but interesting table.

Easter table setting; simple Easter; table settings; Spring table


Easter table, Spring table, simple table setting

table setttings
Quick tip: I simply wrapped the plastic pot the the hydrangea came in with kraft paper and secured with jute rope. Easy peesy.

quick hydrangea pot refresh

Happy Easter weekend everyone. May we all take this time to slow down and be grateful for our blessings. 

22 March 2015

5 tips to make Spring cleaning easy

Happy first week of Spring! I'm so sorry to my family and friends on the East Coast who are still neck-deep in snow, but it's been beautiful here in southern Ontario and it feels like it's time for Spring cleaning. Your Spring cleaning is more likely with a shovel than a broom? Well, perhaps a little de-cluttering and refreshing indoors will help you feel a little cheerier!

spring cleaning, homemade cleaner; healthy home

I started my Spring refresh this weekend by organizing and cleaning out some closets, and thought I'd pass along my top 5 tips to make Spring cleaning easier. If you do just these 5 things over one or two weekends, it will make your day-day go much smoother, and your home will be healthier to boot.

1. Ditch the chemical cleaners once and for all. I've talked about this lots before, but if you haven't gone to vinegar and water yet, do it now. It's the one simple switch that will make your life better. Get a big jug of vinegar and keep it and a spray bottle on hand. Mix vinegar, water and little eco-friendly dish detergent together and you've got a cleaner that works for your kitchen, bathroom and floors. I pull it out every day and use it with a microfibre cloth to clean off my counter tops. You can also add a few drops of orange and lavender essential oils to disinfect and leave an invigorating scent.

pretty homemade household cleaning supplies

2. Replace your shower curtain with a PEVA liner plus a natural cotton or linen outer curtain. Check out this post to see why PEVA liners are so much healthier than vinyl. If you've already done this, wash your shower curtains as part of your Spring cleaning.

non-toxic shower curtain, spring cleaning the bathroom

3. Get down on your hands and knees and scrub your entryway floor and floorboards with your vinegar and essential oil mix. It will disinfect and smell great as you come in the door. Wash or air out a large throw mat or two to have in the entry for shoes - and always leave shoes at the door. Just thinking about the dirt and toxins they track inside makes me want to scrub the floor all over again!

organized entryway, mudroom, spring entry
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4. Do a 3x3: de-clutter by get rid of three things in each of these areas, and then organizing what's left:

- entryway
-clothes closet
-bathroom vanity drawers/medicine cabinet

Organizing and minimizing the "stuff" in just these three areas (you can tackle other areas during Fall cleaning!) will make your everyday less stressful. Toss things that are broken, empty, have holes in them, or that are taking up space because you never use them (why do I keep mismatched socks anyway?). Then, get out bins, baskets, bowls and boxes (use cardboard food boxes and cover them in pretty paper) to organize like with like.

Spring entryway cleaning and organizing
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5. Clean the air. If you don't have many plants, add a couple of new ones to your home. Open the windows. And use essential oils (through a diffuser or a linen spray) to clear out toxins. It will give you a boost of energy and calm you at the same time. Which means you just may want to organize some more! No? That's just me? Hmm...

plants in bedroom for cleaner air

Happy Spring everyone.