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Families in apartments: closet to mini-mudroom DIY

Families in apartments: closet to mini-mudroom DIY

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My friend Mel quietly does amazing things with her space. I’ve known her for 20 years, and her apartments manage to look cool and put together – both when we were 20, and after having a child, which, to my mind, are serious feats. When she posted a redo of her front closet into a tiny mudroom, I asked her if I could share it here.

Despite some being incredulous, lots of families make a go of living in apartments – whether it’s a co-op arrangement, part of a house, in a tower, or the many other arrangements out there. I laugh at the things that come up when I search ‘mudroom’ on Pinterest, because some of them are half the size of my whole apartment. I knew some of you out there would appreciate Mel’s small-space solution. Here’s what she told me:

‘Our coat closet was basically wasted space because it had a broken door that would come off the track every time you open or closed it. Also we are the type of people who are in and out a lot throughout the day and too lazy to get out a hanger and hang up our jacket every time we come in. On top of that, Sterling couldn’t even reach the hangers or rod to hang up his coat. So our shoes and jackets had been piling up in our pantry area (where there happened to be a couple of hooks) making a mess and driving us crazy.

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Here’s what we did to make our mudroom:

1. Removed the door and tracks

2. Removed the ancient shelf and rod set-up

3. Patched holes, cleaned all the walls

4. Fresh coat of paint.

5. Hung 2 IKEA Lack shelves in the upper half of the closet for storage.

6. Installed IKEA PS rail and knob system along the back of the closet and a small rail/knobs along the side that Sterling can reach.

7. Added a bucket for keys etc. on another side rail above Sterling’s. (There are some other accessories you can get for the system that were sold out, but we may add later)

8. Added IKEA Stuva bench and cushion

9. Added bins with lids to store our winter scarves, mitts etc and keep the moths out.

10. The closet does not have a light fixture or outlet so we added a battery-powered LED closet light that we found a Canadian Tire. It is motion-activated which is great because we were able to hang it up high without worrying about not being able to reach it.

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Things I love: Shoes of Prey

Things I love: Shoes of Prey
shoes of prey
My new soft grey leather oxfords, problem solved!

 

Last spring, I finally realized that the pair of soft grey oxfords I had bought four years ago had fallen apart. Properly, completely fallen apart. I searched everywhere for a replacement, but nothing quite worked for me.

Then, I found Shoes of Prey.

This is one of those make your own shoes online sites. What drew me to this one, besides the truly awesome name, is their reasonable prices and 365 day return or remake.

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Things I love: great selection of heel heights, massive selection of colours, up-to-date shapes.

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I threw together this d’orsay flat in a cool floral snake imprint leather that I’m pretty keen on, $129 Canadian. I have another pair of much-loved gently pointed black flats that has ended its natural life, and I was bemoaning finding another until I remember I could MAKE SOME. This is perfect for those who struggle finding the shoes they love in the heel height they are comfortable in. If you don’t know where to start, browsing the gallery will give you some ideas, and the Style Advice section is a good resource of curated ideas using the newest shapes and materials.

At the end of all that, your shoes arrive in a gorgeous box with a cloth bag, wrapped with a piece of real ribbon. It’s lovely. And I’m off to go design my new black flats right now…

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Gift Guide: House Proud

Gift Guide: House Proud

house proud gift guide 2014

 

Who wouldn’t love some gorgeous wooden lids for their mason jars, a beautiful modern twig hook,  or some cute sea otters to cheer them in the morning?

Clockwise from top left: Paint by numbers deer pillow cover by StudioLiscious, New York Porcelain Chemists Bottle by Revisions Design, Twig modern wall hook by StudioLiscious, Porcelain egg sprout planters by Revisions Design, Sea otter print by TripleStudio, Set of four wooden mason jar lids by Cattails Woodwork

PS – Still haven’t written your Christmas cards? Check out my favourite photo cards from Minted – all by independent designers.

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How to make this centrepiece for $15 from IKEA bits

How to make this centrepiece for $15 from IKEA bits

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Standing in the As-Is department of IKEA, I came up with the idea for this centrepiece. I am a sucker for fake flowers. Real ones are beautiful, obviously, but I try to stick to things grown close by and in the end of November in Canada, there isn’t much around. So when I spotted branches of less-than-perfect white ones for 59¢, I dug around the garish pink blossoms to come up with three nice stems. If your As-Is department comes up empty, the regular stems run about $1.29 – $2.99 each, I used three here.

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The vase is the bigger of the two ENSIDIG vase sizes ($2.99), and I filled the centre of it with two strands of the SÄRDAL LED light strings with the battery pack attached ($3.99/each). Cramming the artificial flower stems inside and pressed along the outside edge disguises the battery packs. Just pull some of the lights around so you’ve got some poking out the top and some illuminating flowers from behind.

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Lovely things: short wellies

Lovely things: short wellies

short-wellies

 

Ah, autumn. In Vancouver, that means days and days (and days) of drizzle. While big Hunter boots are everywhere, and I do love my Ilse Jacobsen wellies for epic downpour days, they feel like overkill when it’s just a regular rainy day.

Ankle-height wellies that look more like regular boots are what I’m looking for this autumn, and I found some interesting ones. Clockwise from top…

1 // ASOS Gamble wellies

2 // däv Glasgow boot

3 // Joe Fresh Moto Rain Boots

4 // Mel by Melissa Big Plum in navy

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