Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Art Over Fireplace

Over the years it has been an ongoing debate for me in terms of how to decorate the space over a fireplace. Two popular choices are art and mirror, and I have done both - started out as hanging a painting, then a couple of different mirrors for the longest time, and I am now back to hanging a piece of art. Art, over a fireplace, is a great way to bring the colors and styles of a living room together. And I chose to swap out the mirror for a painting for the exact reason. 

When it comes to art, my mind is not set in stone for a certain period or style. I truly believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You would always want to follow your heart, and choose whatever speaks to you. 

I picked up a couple of antique oil paintings from our trip to London last summer. I felt that a late 1800's painting depicting a romantic English landscape scene would be the perfect choice for the fireplace in my living room. I have since been on the hunt for it but to my great disappointment, for the paintings from that era which made their way outside of museum and gallery collections rarely came in large sizes (we are talking about 30x40"). Furthermore, for anything that came remotely close to the right size or aesthetic would cost a fortune. I came across a couple of maybe's and they were in the $60,000-$100,000 ballpark...ahem...that's probably over my price range you think? 

I've seen murals and wallpapers from anewall (a-new-wall) at a few design bloggers', but never thought they would also offer classic reproductions. I ordered the Evening in Italy by Claude Lorrain canvas print in 30x40" for the fireplace. 

Framing was done by Edmond at YM Art. A clean-lined minimalist gilt frame seemed to be a surprising choice for a very classic painting like this, but they totally work together. 

I also ordered a smaller print titled Jean Baptise + His Angels. It's in my foyer for the time being until I can find a better place for it...the joy of puttering around. 

So tell me, what do you have over your fireplace if anything at all? If money were no object, how would you rather style the fireplace?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fauxdenza Progress and An Award

Basement hallway floating cabinet, or project fauxdenza is well under way. The annoying bulkhead casting shadows on that wall sent me researching for various lighting options including:

  • Recessed pot lights: this is a no go because there's no room inside the bulkhead for them.
  • Spot lights: doable but most of them can only project light downwards, which means they wouldn't illuminate the wall anyway. 
  • Track lighting: will definitely solve the problem but they don't look attractive to me.
  • Sconces on the wall: would look great but they also break up the wall and limit the space for me to hang artworks.

I figured table lamps might be the only way to go, if I want to get rid of shadows on that wall. 

So we had our electrician relocate two power outlets such that they will be tucked underneath the floating cabinets and out of sight once the cabinet is installed. This gives us the flexibility of adding a table or floor lamp if we still want to. 

I think a pair of these gold and milk glass lamps would look sensational on the fauxdenza. 

Now onto the award part. Monday morning I woke up to this email in my inbox, a great way to start the week, right? 

Thank you Houzz community for the award! You can view the announcement here and the rest of the Best of Houzz awards. 

I kinda wish they had used a more up-to-date picture of my hallway like this. Sun-filled foyer is my favourite place to be in the afternoon. I would sit on that settee and take my coffee breaks when I work from home. 

In the art department, there's something amazing going on like this. Canvas prints from anewall are being framed by Edmond at YM Art. 

I've just started reading the Yes Please by Amy Poehler, and it's hilarious! Who doesn't love Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling, right? 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fauxdenza - Picking the Wood Top

First of all, are you all traumatized by the news about Target pulling out of Canada? But can you say you were shocked? I wasn't. I could think of so many reasons why Target didn't prevail in Canada. This is a textbook example that a strong brand name could only take a company so far with poor execution. I am sad to see them go but anybody with retail 101 would probably know this was imminent. 

Nough said. Now onto some happier thoughts. Project fauxdenza has officially started. For the wood top, I would need a long piece of wood that's 110" x 14" in size. Not many mills carry that long piece of a lumber, so after many calls, I finally found it at Century Mill Lumber

They offer many hardwood options, including live edge table tops like this. 

For furniture-grade lumber, there aren't that many options when it comes to the length I need. I was given Mahogany or American Black Walnut. I opted for the Black Walnut because I wasn't too keen on the Mahogany's red undertones. 

The shopping experience at Century Mill Lumber was great: staff was friendly, knowledgeable and efficient - I was in and out with everything teed up within 30 minutes. They will need to cut, sand and clean it so it won't be ready for another week or two. Who knew picking a piece of lumber could be so much fun? Along the way I learnt the different grades of walnut - the more heartwood the better; and how one should dye and not stain the sapwood to achieve a more consistent color. 

Now onto the stain. I am torn between Dark Walnut and clear coat.

I think this is what clear-coated walnut would look like. What do you think? Dark Walnut stain or clear coat?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Basement Floating Credenza

Or shall I call it "fauxdenza"? Run a Google keyword search, you would be amazed by the number of matches it returns. Fauxdenza is very real! It turns out that floating cabinets, in a hallway or not, are very popular in the Blogosphere. It's always reassuring to learn that an Ikea hack like this has been attempted so many times that it should be foolproof. Before I give you a laundry list of items required to pull off this hack, I want to share with you a couple of inspirations. All of these used Ikea Akurum cabinets with white Applad doors. 

I've pretty much decided to go for a two-tone fauxdenza: white cabinets with a wood top, like this one. 

Mr. is not a big fan of the exposed frames on each side. He felt we should use a cover panel to give the unit a more polished look. I, on the contrary, don't mind it at all. 

So another two-tone option is to create a wrap-around using the same wood as the top, like this one at Brick House. 

I am leaning towards option one sans the wrap-around. This is for a basement hallway where there is no natural sunlight so I want to keep it light and bright. What do you think?

As for a list of materials, I think we need:
  • Cabinets: 3 x Akurum cabinet with Applad doors, 36" (L) x 24" (H). This makes the total length of my fauxdenza 108". 
  • Top: a continuous piece of lumber that's at least 109" in length and less than 1" in thickness. I am a bit concerned I may not be able to find such a long piece of lumber that also has the wood grains I like. Do you have any suggestions?
  • Suspension rails: need them to hang Ikea wall cabinets. 
  • Pulls or knobs. 

I am going to need to hit up a few lumber yards and see what my options are. Wish me luck! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Basement Hallway

Before I talk about the hallway, I wanted to share with you this new Alex Colville "To Prince Edward Island" print I purchased at the recent AGO exhibition. I think I found a perfect spot for it in our basement media room. 

Note to myself, change that light bulb!

This is what our Ikea Billy built-in looks like today. 

Compared to from Jan 2013, I would say I've been accessorizing it pretty good, no?

Now onto the hallway. We have this really long and narrow hallway in our basement. Well, it's not super narrow so I do have some nice square footage to work with. Right now it's completely underutilized. It's not like we are going to sit down and have a conversation there or anything, so the chest flanked by two chair setup looks good, but useless. 

From the other perspective. 

The hallway leads to the staircase. I have an area of just under 8 feet x 18 feet to work with. 

So I am thinking of installing a row of floating shelf units similar to this at MadebyGirl. I can use them for additional storage - who can have too much storage space in their house, right?

Or this by Sarah Blakely at 219. 

I wanted to turn the entire wall above the storage unit into a gallery wall. What do you think? Is it too strange to have such a long row of floating cabinets in the hallway? Do you have any other suggestions on how to make use of a long hallway like this? 

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