Canadian man cave – reveal!

After 4 months of brain storming, DIYing and carefully planning, my brother’s Canadian man cave office is complete! I finished and photographed the room yesterday afternoon, and after wading through 200+ photos, I’ve narrowed it down to just a handful of pictures. Times four. 

As my brother’s a college student, the budget for his home office was basically non-existant. But for me that just made it more of a creative challenge, and I personally find that more interesting than someone throwing a wad of money at me to design a place. But I will say, if you feel so inclined to throw a wad of money at me, you will still have my attention. 

Note – I’ll be including a source list at the end of the post, so if you see something that I haven’t mentioned, it’ll be mentioned there! 

My brother wanted a Canadian man cave retreat for an office, and I’d like to think a Canadian man cave he got. If you’d like a reminder of what the office looked like before, check it out here. I’ll start by taking you through the desk area of my brother’s office …

There are so many changes that happened in this room, I don’t really know where to start. I first moved his desk so it was along the back wall with the window now on its left. It’s now the first thing you see when you walk in the room and as he’s right handed, the most amount of natural light is coming from the left. 
I added an IKEA shelf above the desk to hold a few piece of artwork and a chalkboard clip board. I wanted to use this type of shelf here so my brother can easily change whatever is in his line of sight above his desk, without hammering loads of holes in the wall every time he changes his mind. 
I styled it with one of my dad’s old Ontario licence plates, a clock from Tesco, a faux taxidermy stag from Tiger, and of course some artwork.

It was important that there was artwork in his room. Manly artwork. And since we were on a tight budget, we DIYed most of it. I asked our incredibly talented and artistic mom to create a Canadian scene to hang over my brothers desk. She created this pastel piece in an evening. It’s perfect as it’s one of those scenes you could get lost in. 

I also printed an Instagram I took of some of Maser‘s work as some encouraging words, and hung it over with some manly plaid washi tape [that arrived just as I was leaving yesterday – YUS]. I also framed some plaid wrapping paper I picked up over the holidays so add some depth. 

My brother wanted a ‘man lamp’ for his desk, and he mentioned he really liked angular lamps. I searched high and low for a lamp with a translucent shade. Why a translucent shade? It was important that if my brother was using just this lamp in his office on a dark day, a lamp with a solid shade would be very harsh and not cast light throughout the room; it would only cast light down at his desk. But this way, this warm lamp will light up the rest of his room.
Thanks to Smudge, one of my parents cats, I upgraded an old bedside table to act a desk drawer to hold all the office supplies. Which will segway nicely to the shelving area of the office … 

It was important I reuse as much as I could when redesigning my brother’s office. My parents had a set of old shelves so we removed the previous wooden brackets and I added a slightly more industrial style bracket to make it seem a bit more manly and rustic.

I had way too much fun going through all our old treasures to deck out the shelves. I used an old black and white canvas I painted for our office as a backdrop [as seen here], added some pictures I took of our backyard before we left Canada, a wolf vase I painted in primary school in Canada, a baseball cap and of course – LEGO. My favourite thing is that little white ball. Husband and I bought that when we were in a design shop in Helsinki – it’s an everlasting snowball. When you squeeze it, it crunches and sounds exactly like a compacted snowball. I mangle it every time I see it. 

I got the loveliest text from my brother yesterday to thank me for all the work that went into his room. I’m sure there were a couple of moments where he wanted to tell me where to go, but he was strong. For me the most rewarding part was taking a room and turning it into a retreat that will help my brother work towards his goals and of course chillax. After all, that’s all design is – creating a comforting and inspiring environment. 

Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing some of the DIYs and upgrades that went into the room over the next couple of weeks. And as promised, here is my source list … 

Paint – ‘swan’s a swimming’ from Crown Paint
Desk – our dad’s architectural desk

Desk drawers – repurposed bedside table
Chair – owners own
Man pillow – check out my tutorial here!
Flag – owners own
Lamp – Hybrid task lamp from Marks & Spencer

Faux foliage – IKEA
Chalk clip board – see my tutorial here!
Faux taxidermy deer head – Tiger
Mouse pad – repurposed cork dining mat
Pen holder – repurposed drinks mixer holder
Notepad – IKEA
Shelf over desk – PS wall shelf from IKEA
Framed plaid paper – wrapping paper from Dealz
Bin – SOCKER plant pot from IKEA
Faux tree – FEJKA artificial tree from IKEA
Wooden shelves – repurposed
Shelf brackets – Woodies DIY
Cardboard monogram – check out my tutorial here! 
Plaid washi tape – BacktoZero on Etsy 
White storage box – KASSET box from IKEA
Black and white striped mini vase – see my tutorial here!
Wolf vase – hand painted by me in primary school
Birch covered change container – see my tutorial here! 

DIY Friday – Scrabble monogram

This is one of those projects I’ve had on my brain for a long time. So long in fact, that I drafted a blog post for it on the 25th of September … 2011. I just never got around to actually doing it.
It all stemmed from personalized monograms. I originally was going to do giant cross stitches of our initials, but as you can see, I never did … It happens to the best of us, right? So, recently I realized I had the right project in mind, but maybe not in the right medium. And then it hit me one day like a baseball to the face – giant Scrabble tiles. 

It was on like Donkey Kong. I was so excited to start. First, I was confronted with what wood to use. My dad {from this point forward shall be referred to as ‘The Expert‘} suggested using ash or beech. Which are beautiful woods, but as we found out, you can only buy them in 8 foot planks. Eh … No. We looked at cheaper cuts of wood, but I was put off by the chicken-fat-yellow hue to them. It was looking a bit bleak until there staring us straight in the face was MDF. It was  perfect – a consistent, Scrabbly colour, didn’t have knots, I didn’t have to stain it and the price was perfect. €15 in Woodie’s DIY for all of this …

I decided on 25cm x 25cm sized Scrabble tiles. This is where I would love to take full credit, but cannot. Handyman father {aka, The Expert} stepped in. He measured and cut said massive piece of MDF to size and sanded down the edges {so I wouldn’t end up function-less and alone in an attic like Edward Scissorhands}. Then I got my hands on these pretties. Here are this weeks DIY Friday deets … 
What you’ll need – MDF to whatever size you choose, a handyman or saw to cut said wood, graph paper, a pencil, ruler, marker, chalk, tape, eraser, black paint, and small paint brush. 
Step 1 – cut as many pieces of MDF as you like into squares to the size of your choosing. I decided on 25cm x 25cm as a good, solid size. I don’t need to tell you to be careful and wear appropriate eye protection and a mask, right? Good. Step 2 – on your graph paper, roughly sketch out your letter {and number – don’t forget the number!} with a pencil. When you’re happy with the shape of your letter, go over it with marker. 

Step 3 – once I had my letters drawn, I used a ruler and a red pen to mark out the centre of the letters – ignore the numbers in this bit. A Scrabble tile is centred by the letter, and the number is secondary. 

Step 4 – using a piece of chalk, shade the reverse side of your graph paper where the letter and number is. Step 5 – using the ruler on your tile, measure and lightly mark with the pencil the middle point along each edge of your tile. This sounds excessive, but you will be lining up each of the lines to ensure your letter is centred on the tile {as seen in Step 6}. Step 6 – using the red lines and pencil marks on the tile as a guide, centre your letter and tape it into place. 

Step 7 – using your pencil, draw over your marker lines. By doing this you are transferring a chalk outline onto your tile, leaving all the measuring, erasing, and guestimating on the paper. You can barely see it in the photo above, but a purple outline is left. I then traced that with pencil before the next step. Step 8 – do what your mama told ya and colour between the lines. I actually use a makeup brush when painting things as detailed as this, as I find the bristles are finer and steadier. Once you’re happy with your painted letters, gently erase the pencil lines, et voila! You have yourself a massive Scrabble monogram … 

Interesting note: when doing a couple’s monogram, the female’s first initial comes first, followed by the couple’s last initial second, and last, the male’s first initial. So in our case, it’s ‘A C B’. And yes. Our combined initials are the first three letters of the alphabet. And in true Scrabble form, the addition of all three letters = 7, my favourite number. I geeked out a little over that one. It’s like it’s meant to be {barf}.
I hope you have a super fabulous weekend lined up internet friends! I have not one, but two parties to attend tonight. So I’m afraid I must dash as I have yet to put my face on … Might have to get the saw out again. xx A

p.s. Massive thank you again dad for helping me out. This DIY wouldn’t have been done without you 🙂

Tea time delight

It began as what was meant to be a quick stop at our local home and garden center to pick up a light bulb. After I picked up said item, I took the scenic route to the tills, and low and behold, what did I cross, but a load of  hydrangea clad ceramics. I couldn’t just leave without one. That would be rude.  

Look at them go. Oh I stood there and admired them for what was probably way too long, and took several grainy pictures. They’re meant for aesthetic decorative reasons, but I knew the smallest jar could find a good home in our kitchen to store fiance’s tea. As much as I post about tea cups, I actually hate tea. I just like the cups. I guess I could be compared to one of those people who reads the book after they see the movie. That made more sense in my head. 
Also, I saw this potted hydrangea in the garden section and just woah – look at the size of the petals! Hopefully you’ll get an idea of the size by my hand. Attack of the monster hydrangea. If I didn’t unintentionally murder every plant that came into my care, I would have swiped one.