Canadian man cave – coordinating mismatched furniture

While it isn’t a groundbreaking blog post, today I thought I’d share a cheap and cheerful design tip that I’ve put into action on a couple of my projects to date. 

It’s a simple tip that I used again while redesigning my brother’s Canadian man cave; there was some mismatched pieces of furniture in the room so we removed all the existing handles and replaced them with coordinated pieces to make the room feel less mismatched and more sharp. 

A small detail I know, but to me, those are the sellers. The devil is in the details. It cost us under a tenner for the whole room and it made the room feel more considered and designed as a whole. 

The main piece of furniture I changed was the hardware on the desk drawers. Originally, my brother and I each had one of these drawers in our bedroom as our bedside lockers growing up. In my parent’s new place, there isn’t room for both lockers in my brothers bedroom so one is being used as much needed desk storage. 

To make the drawers feel a bit more mature, we repainted the drawers plus the wavy detail above the top drawer in an effort to make it seem sleeker. I repainted the drawers with Dulux‘s Exterior SatinWood paint in ‘iron clad’ that was leftover from our bedside table and stools. When the drawers were dry, we then replaced the handles with some sleek ORRNAS knobs from IKEA. Queue gentleman’s desk companion extraordinaire … 

To further coordinate the room, we took off the wardrobe’s existing boring builders handles and replaced them with more ORRNAS knobs from IKEA. It’s impossible to photograph the wardrobe and the desk drawers together as they’re on opposite sides of the room, but trust me, these small details really help tie the room together. 

Some really minor details, but it really makes a difference. I bought new handles for our own home office and updated ours at the same time. While our new old desk doesn’t match the shelves in our living room, I coordinated all 9 handles on the shelves and desk and it ties them together on another level. I did this again last year for Picado by coordinating the new kitchen hardware with the vintage dresser knobs. 

They’re tiny details, but I find they make thoughtful impacts. 

Bathroom skirting board update

Sometimes it takes me a long time to pluck up enough courage to ask a question. Last April [ahem, April 2013], our landlord visited our apartment as he hadn’t seen it since he moved out 8 years ago. He was very happy with how we were keeping it, but had mentioned some areas of the apartment had aged and talked about getting someone in to repaint the discoloured skirting boards. And then a year and a half happened. 

I FINALLY emailed our landlord last week proposing I paint the skirting boards [after all, I don’t want strangers in our apartment + I do find painting relaxing]. He had no problem whatsoever and even went as far as to say if there was anything else I thought needed updating, he would cover the cost. !!!!!!! Trust me when I say I screamed a little at my desk. More on that another time! 
Apologies in advance. My camera has been acting up, so I had to take most of these photos on my phone. 

The skirting boards and doors throughout our apartment were, I’m assuming, originally painted white. But aged quite terribly and were so ugly and yellow that my eyes were in a constant state of almost bleeding. The discolouring of the paint is most noticeable in our bathroom. Unfortunately, the colour of the skirting boards and the door made not only the grey walls look blue, but the grey floor tiles too. It was EMBARRASSING. Whenever we had guests over I had to emotionally detach myself from the situation whenever they used our toilet. As far as I was concerned, they were going in there and closing their eyes, right?

After I got the go-ahead from our landlord last week, I hurried to B&Q and bought a 2.5L tub of Dulux Stay White Satinwood and got painting. As advised by the paint expert in B&Q, I first cleaned the existing discoloured paint with turpentine on a rag, sanded the paint [as the original paint had a high gloss finish], wiped any dust off and started painting. 

Since I’ll be updating all the skirting boards and doors slowly, one room at a time, I wanted to do a legit job. I removed all the door hardware, cleaned it and added them back after the paint had dried. Above was my panic moment when I thought oh dear lord, what have I gotten myself into? 

Okay, I might be going a bit over the top with the before and after pictures, but I’m so pleased with how much better our bathroom looks now that it less resembles an abandoned veterinary clinic. I promise I won’t be inundating my blog with before and after pictures of every room once it’s repainted. Our bathroom was by far the most obviously-discoloured. 

There are two aspects of our bathroom that need further updating – 

THE MAIN MIRROR – [as seen above the toilet. It spans almost the width of the room] it’s really worn and just way too much mirror. Nobody needs to see that much of themselves. 
THE FLOOR GROUTING – I don’t think the previous tenants cleaned the floor. Ever. So unfortunately the grout in the bathroom as well as the kitchen is really discoloured. At least now that I’ve repainted the skirting boards and door it’s a bit less obvious, but I still want to see if I can dye the grout a darker colour. I’ve tried lightening / lemon-vinegaring / bleaching the grout, and nothing. Chemical warfare is my only option.
But for now, I’m very happy with our clean, white bathroom. xx A

Ten minute morning tidy

While I’m chasing my field of interiors dreams, I work an office job by day during the week. I wake up early, feed the cats, apply my face, get dressed, make a lunch, but one thing that will always be part of my morning routine before I go to work is that I set aside 10 minutes to tidy our apartment. 

I know a large number of you are currently recoiling at the thought of it and serving up some serious stink-eye. Something along the lines of this comes to mind … 

But today I’m going to convince you that yes, you do have time fo dat. And it will surprisingly make your day so much easier. And here is my one reason to convince you –
  • If you spend 10 minutes tidying your home in the morning, when you get home in the evening, exhausted from work, you will be walking into an already tidy home. More time for dinner, more time shooting the breeze with your spouse, more time chillaxing. The less chaotic your surroundings are, the more calm your mind is and the better quality your home life will be. 

Have I convinced you? Good. Here are my tips for the 3 main areas of your home that you should consider for your ten minute morning tidy … 


My first real job when I was a teenager was working as a housekeeper in a Travelodge Hotel a stones throw from home. I learned not only how to change and make a bed in under 2 minutes, but the importance of a tidy bed. Your bed is the biggest thing in your room and the first thing you see when you walk into your bedroom. If it’s chaos, your room is chaos. It doesn’t have to be made perfectly, just a couple seconds of effort to straighten your bed sheets.


Our living room is the heart of our home and therefore the quickest to fill with junk. It’s the messiest room so I’ll spend the most time tidying it. Still, I only allow myself 5 minutes, otherwise I’d never leave the house. I start off by putting the living room items back where they should go – tablet goes on our desk, the PS3 remote goes into the PS3 / husband accessories drawer, any notebooks go back onto our shelves etc. Anything that needs to go into the kitchen gets put on the counter and anything that needs to go elsewhere in our home I put in our chuck it bucket. Don’t waste time by running into every room of your house. 

We’re at a good place now as I’ve been avidly downsizing, organizing what we have and working on giving all our stuff its own place. A home for everything and everything has a home. If you need a bit of inspiration to get you started you can check out my 5 decluttering tips or my less 365 mission. 


There’s nothing I despise more than doing the dishes. We’re not blessed with having a dishwasher in our apartment so we have to clean our dishes old school style. And because of this, there are always dishes haunting our kitchen counters. Let me get one thing straight, I do not clean dishes in the morning [that’s were I say ain’t nobody got time for dat]. I like to think of our kitchen as in a constant state of contained chaos. I stuff things in the recycling where necessary and stack all the dishes in the corner by the sink so they’re not all over the counter, where they patiently wait for my husband to come home and wash them. 

But for those of you who have the luxury of owning a dishwasher? Bend over and I’ll show you where you can put your dishes. You have no excuse.

xx A