Lower Town Dollhouse – Part II*

I’m fairly certain the moment I brought Cora’s secondhand dollhouse home and started working on it [now referred to as her Lower Town Dollhouse], I went back online in search for MOAR DOLLHOUSES. Specifically, one for myself.

I set up email alerts for the words dollhouse and doll house on Kijiji in the hopes to find another one just like it, but without the commitment of having to check Kijiji every day [it happened a few times where I found incredible dollhouses for free, but I was a day late in finding the ad and replying to it].

Months went by and nothing. I should say, nothing that I was interested in. Every morning I would get an email full of large, hot pink, plastic dollhouses, which wasn’t what I was looking for. I happened to be talking with my Work Wife last Monday about it and she suggested checking this, how do you say, Facebook Marketplace? I used my dormant Facebook account that I use strictly for posting to my Interior DIYer Facebook page. I logged in, searched for ‘dollhouse’ and there it was. Immediately. A beautiful 90’s Linfield LN190 dollhouse still in its box, in perfect condition, never been assembled, just waiting to be bought.

It’s so perfectly what I’m looking for and is in keeping with Cora’s dollhouse design. It even has little windows that open and close [!!!] and, wait for it, it has it’s own doors. I don’t have to make my own! Though TBH, they were pretty fun to make.

I quickly messaged Robert. “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I found another dollhouse, but this one is all for me … ” and his response was, “I still play video games. You should start with that as the justification.” I knew there was a reason I married that man.

We collected it the next evening after work and I can’t wait to start working on it. But I have it in my mind that in order for me to started assembling this dollhouse, I first have to complete updating Cora’s Lower Town Dollhouse, which includes making a second set of stairs from scratch and decorating 3 more rooms. This is just how my brain works. I realize it makes no sense, but I also feel like there’s an order to things.

AFTER MONTHS OF SEARCHING ONLINE, I FOUND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL 90’S SECONDHAND DOLLHOUSE AND IT’S ALL FOR ME. THAT’S RIGHT, I AM A FULLY GROWN ADULT THAT PAYS BILLS AND HAS A KID AND NOW I HAVE MY OWN DOLLHOUSE.

—Alex C. (@InteriorDIYer) May 14, 2019

*I need a new name / appropriate hashtag for my new dollhouse. Any and all suggestions welcome. Especially double-entendres and lyrical geniuses.

How to spot-clean velvet furniture

We’ve had our sleek velvet Sven Sectional Sofa from Article for almost a year. It’s still as beautiful as the day we got it, but on occasion I’ve had to spot-clean it. The first time we were in such a situation was on Christmas morning; Cora was so excited about Santa that she forgot she desperately needed to pee, so she peed on the couch. It wasn’t her fault as she was new to potty training and we were all so excited on Christmas morning that bladders were the furthest thing from all of our minds.

After uttering some expletives under my breath, with some quick moves I was able to avoid the pee issue from getting out of control. I’ve since had to spot-clean our couch a few times and now that I’m more confident about cleaning it and have learned first hand what to do and not to do, my next immediate thought was how much SEO I could get from such a blog post and how any clicks I could get via Pinterest because I’m a heartless blogger.

Above is an example of a few typical stains our couch can get on occasion. Are those stains from a drooly cat? A momentary carefree coffee break? A toddlers runny nose? A late night Netflix marathoning spilled drink? A toddler who broke free from the dinner table without being properly wiped and dove face-first into the couch? Or the tears of a parent who just wants 20 minutes of peace and quiet? God knows because I don’t. I’m realistic about owning a velvet couch and it’s something you should also be aware of. SPOILER ALERT: IT’S GOING TO GET DIRTY. But it doesn’t have to stay dirty. Here is how I spot-clean our couch …

Mix the following ingredients in a bowl:
– 1 tiny drop of dish soap. I mean miniscule. So small there’s barely a drip
– 1 teaspoon of vinegar
– 1 cup of warm water
– a cloth to spot clean

An important step is to find out what direction your velvet runs. The velvet on our sofa runs from left to right. Meaning, when I run my hand from left to right along the couch, that is the direction the velvet is running the smoothest. When I’m cleaning our sofa, I clean against that grain. Meaning, I clean up and down to agitate the stain out of the fabric.

Using your cloth, dab it in the cleaning solution and clean your velvet by brushing perpendicular to whichever way your velvet runs. If you’re nervous, it’s best to clean lightly at first, and if needs be, get more rigorous. It may take a few minutes, but as soon as the stain has lifted, it’s important that you finish your cleaning by running the cloth with the grain of the velvet so the velvet dries in the same direction as the rest of the velvet. I for example, finished the cleaning process by wiping the cloth from left to right to smooth out the velvet.

You can see a smoothed clean version below:

REMEMBER: when your velvet dries you will see a bit of an outline of where you cleaned it. This is okay. Try not to panic. You just need to wear-in the velvet a bit to bring it back to its normal self. Use your furniture like you normally would [ie – smoosh your butt around on it] and within a day or two, the patch you cleaned will blend right in with the rest of the velvet and will return to normal.

It’s that simple. Just remember, you’ve got to …

DIY contact paper kitchen counters

Back in June of last year, in a renter-friendly attempt to update our kitchen, I added contact paper to a small section of our kitchen counter near our stove to test whether or not it would be a good idea to cover the rest of the kitchen counters. As you may have gathered from the title of this blog post, it worked out better than I had hoped, so a few weekends ago I committed to covering the rest of our counters! Cora, look after yourself. Mama has an idea and god help us all if it goes wrong.

I want to start by saying I love and appreciate dark spaces, don’t get me wrong [hello, dark romantic luxe]. But our galley kitchen was a little too dark at the best of times for a task-oriented space like a kitchen. There are dark cabinets [which I love], brown walls, grey tiles on the floor and dark brown mottled counter tops. It has a lot of really good elements, but there was a touch too much brown for one room [sorry, brown lovers]. Also, when I’m handling things like knives and preparing food, I prefer to be able to see my extremities and exactly what I am rhythmically chopping into.

I had the idea from the day we moved into our apartment to update the counters in a very renter-friendly way by using marble contact paper. I got the idea years ago from Linda of Make Do and DIY from her ultimate “new kitchen counter” cheat where she temporarily updated their kitchen using paint, gold duct tape and contact paper until they saved up to redo their kitchen. And it was legitimate beautiful. It worked for Linda, so it would work for us.

I started at the far end of our kitchen and using a card from my wallet, I peeled the back off the contact paper and slowly smoothed it across the counter [I wrote a detailed tutorial here on how to apply contact paper, should you be a bit nervous about applying it yourself. Contact paper is quite forgiving).

When it came to the sink, I wanted a really secure fit and didn’t want to simply cut the contact paper around the sink. I knew that in 6 months it would have crumbs and water and all sorts of things making it peel, so I loosened the sink fro, under the counter and asked Robert for help; Robert laid under the sink and carefully pushed the entire sink up to lift it about 3mm off the counter while I quickly used a card to smooth the small overhang of contact paper under the perimeter of the sink.

Despite how murdery this photo looks, I promise Robert is alive and safe.

I worked quickly and within 10 minutes, I had covered the awkward parts around the sink. I then tightened the joints under the sink and voila! The effort was 100% worth it.

You can see one of the seams above and a tiny air bubble along the side of the sink. No, it is not an overwhelmingly perfect job. I will be the first to admit that. But I will be the first to admit I am someone who is bothered by imperfections and I honestly say the very small few bubbles that are on the counter don’t bother me because they’re not as noticeable as the one above.

You can again see the original section I contact-papered above and below. This section of kitchen is the most used area and the place I wanted to test for at least 6 months before committing to covering all the counters. It has worked out so perfectly.

Occasionally, depending on what I’m cooking, things have stained the contact paper. Things like curry or tomato sauce. I at first freaked out, but surprisingly, after about a day or two of wiping counters [I don’t mean 48 hours of continual wiping … ], the stains completely dissappeared every time. So if you’re worried about stains in your kitchen, contact paper is very robust.

I am so happy with how our kitchen turned out and the best part is that when we move out of our apartment, I can undo it all in about 20 minutes. A perfect renter-friendly way to update any space, or if you’re like Linda, a great way to temporarily update your kitchen while you save to remodel it.

STATING THE OBVIOUS: contact paper is essentially plastic and is not resistant to high heat so should you decide to do the same, please use your judgement and do not place hot pots or pans directly on the contact paper because you will end up with what I can only imagine would be the after effects of when the Ghost Busters annihilated the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It’s not going to be pretty, but I know you’re smart and that you know better.

Other contact paper updates I’ve made:
updating [and childproofing] our secondhand dining room table
my agenda
updated faux marble coffee table
mini faux marble plinth