Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Behold the Kitchen Banquette

I fell in love with a DIY IKEA-hack kitchen banquette last summer. 
And I haven't been the same since.

(See my ode to Lindsay's banquette here and my fun with IKEA here)

This past weekend, it all came together.


And as Lindsay's banquette post suggests, it's not a hard hack. 

Here's how I put mine together:


I laid 2 primed and painted 2x6x8's like a railroad track on the floor. 

Frame the Vent

Luckily, the floor vent is far enough away from the wall to lay the tracks around it.  Which will allow for airflow under the banquette.

One Cabinet

Then I laid the first cabinet on the tracks. 

My total length is 8 feet, or 96 inches.  So I used three "AKURUM top cabinet to refrigerator" frames, two at 30" wide and the middle one at 36" wide.  All 24" deep and 15" high.

Line 'Em Up

With all three cabinets in place, it felt awfully deep. 

But I knew the shallower cabinets were waaaay too shallow.  So I put the temporary cushion on and kept the faith.

Deck Chair Cushions

I'm keeping it real here.  That was our kitchen for a few days.  I was cringing.

Then came the cushion. 

(SFX: church choir singing "Hallelujah!")

Fits Like a Glove

I found an outdoor fabric called Spectrum Graphite by Sunbrella that almost perfectly matches the 'Grimmy's Grey' Dulux paint on the kitchen cabinets.  I love the unity it brings to the room. 

View from the Back Door

The foam itself is a firm 4" thick piece covered in batten to perfectly fit the length (96") and width (24") of the cabinets.  To give it a polished look, I asked the upholsterer to add piping...and since I have kids, I asked for a zipper in case I need to remove and wash it.

View from Below

I gave it a test drive by hosting a coffee with 8 of my closest girlfriends today, and they loved it.  Four lovely ladies fit comfortably on the banquette and stayed for a couple hours.  Success. about some fun Before and After pics.

My view walking into the kitchen from the main hallway:

Before - From the Fridge
After - From the Fridge

And from the dining room:

Before - Dining Room
After - Dining Room (pillows for placement only)

My favorite view:

Love the Grey

If you haven't noticed, the highchair is gone.  There's something about the gorgeousness that's keeping George's throne in the dining room.  I roll it in for feed time and then roll it back when he's done.  Highchairs are just not gorgeous.

But George is.  And I managed to keep him out of every banquette shot. 

Except for this one. 

Toy & IKEA Box Corner of the Dining Room

I think he's happy to get his toy corner back. 

** Thank you to Lindsay for her amazing inspiration found here **

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bathroom Jewelry

I got busy this weekend.  And I don't mean with the kids.

I crossed off a straggler on my to-do list. 

We went from this:

Good Old Gardner Mirror

To something a little more sparkly.

Homesense Find

I didn't expect to walk out with a mirror when I was at the Homesense in Ajax, but I couldn't help it.  It was not only beautiful, but the right price, too. 

Back to the old mirror.  Steve has had it with him for years.  He grew up with it at his mom's house (in the foyer), brought it with him to apartments in Toronto and New York City (in the bedroom), and it's still with him here at home (in the bathroom). 

It was time for an intervention.

So, weeks after the purchase, I finally got to hanging.  That's life with 3 kids.

I grabbed tools, picture wire and opened the back of the box.

Uh Oh

Funny enough, my handyman idol (step-father-in-law) and I were just having a conversation about how hard it is to hang pictures or mirrors when only using D-Rings.  How precise you have to be.  Measure a million times and then measure again just in case.  Of course this would happen to me.  Now.  With this mirror.

So I measured a million +1 times and went to work.

With my favorite drill and favorite Togglers.

FYI: Toggler doesn't pay me for my crush.

First, I removed the old mirror.

Then I drilled a hole and inserted the toggler.

And then I tapped it into the wall, popped the back open and started screwing.

That screw ain't goin' anywhere.  159 lbs strong?  I believe it. 

After both screws went in, I hung the mirror (with Steve) and held my breath.

Lookin' Good

Then came the moment of truth.


Bubble in the middle.  Level.  Amazing.

So I took a few more pictures for some fun Before & Afters:

Entry Before
Entry After

Let's see some more of the bathroom...shall we?

More Before
More After

I really like how the bevel frame reflects light all over.  It helps having the big canvas of a white shower curtain across from the mirror.  Perhaps I'll go a little crazy and get a pattern or design?


My only -ick- feeling is that maybe it's too low.  It's centered perfectly above the sink.  But having lived with it for a day, and Steve saying "does it feel a little low?", makes me think I might have to nudge it up. 

Too Low?

Too much wall space above?  Too close to the wainscoting?  Wrong sized picture (on the right) not helping the visual balance?  I don't know.  I'm not sure. 

So instead I'm just going to live with the sparkly for now and smile every time I walk in the bathroom. 

Which is often, with those 3 little boys... 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Doin' the Deck

Our deck was in bad shape when we moved in.  8 1/2 years ago.

So this summer is our last investment in it.  We're hoping a little paint job from College Pro will take us through at least 2 more summers. 

Of course, my before pics didn't capture the one angle that's obviously the most improved after 5 minutes of work.  So here's an old before:

Old Shot from the Outside
Yes, that's Jake and yes, he's 6 now. 

Here's the new view. 

New Shot from the Outside
Yes, that's George, looking like Jake Part 2. 

But the most improved view is this:

Bright Primer White

I was going to paint the shed "Grimmy's Grey" like the kitchen cabinets, since this door leads out of the kitchen, but the white looks much cleaner and brighter and bigger.  With our deck being so narrow, I need all the help I can get.

Of course, I changed my mind after Mr. College Pro bought the grey paint.  So if I end up hating it -or it gets dirty & dingy too fast- the grey will be in the batter's box and I'll negotiate a kid-free Saturday morning to paint it myself. 

The whole job should be complete in 2-3 days, weather permitting.  So with any luck, I'll have a whole gallery of before and after pictures next week.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Memorial Day Weekend

I can't help it - I still put everything in American terms. 

Next year, Jake will be in "1st Grade."  It's about "80 degrees" outside.  When I was a "Junior" in High School....

So this past weekend was the first long weekend and unofficial start to summer....otherwise known to me as Memorial Day Weekend.

Or, oh-no-what-are-we-going-to-do-with-the-kids-for-3-straight-days weekend.

Let's start with George.

I Love my Y-Bike
Who's There?

He's a walkin.  All the time.

He was threatening to walk for a while.  But finally, at 15 months, on Mother's Day weekend, he took off.  And now he spends more time upright than on his knees. 

Welcome back to gate world at the Gardners.

We also had some Jake time, spent at High Park with a friend.

High Park Zoo

There's a bison in there somewhere. 

Then some fun time in the backyard on the deck. 

Can't Buy a Smile

Jake's at the age where he won't smile for pictures.  The sillier the better.  So instead of fighting it, I just joined in.

Then Monday was the holiday.  And Henry's special day. 

It went something like this: 

10:45am, Jake & Henry at the park with Steve while I'm sitting on back deck eating a sandwich as George naps.
SFX: Back Screen Door flies open

Jake:  Mommy!  Henry had a big wipeout on his bike and his chin is all bloody.
Me:  What?!
Jake:  He did.  Daddy told me to run up here and tell you.
Me:  Where are they?
Jake:  They're coming up the street.  Daddy is walking with Henry and his bike.

I run into the kitchen, soak 3 paper towels under the faucet and come outside to see an exhausted husband bent over a 12" bike and a 4 year-old holding a blood stained t-shirt to his chin.  One look and I knew we were headed for the hospital.

Waiting Room

We got there by 11am, with only one child ahead of us.  The triage nurse confirmed what I feared.  The split was U-shaped, so glue wouldn't hold it closed.  He would need stitches. 

In good spirits, and more brave than scared, Henry was a trooper.  In the waiting room, he told me the story of how it happened.

"I was riding my bike down the pathway.  Then it go-ed really fast and then it got wobbly.  Then it got more wobbly.  Then I fell down like a superman and hurted myself and I got a hole in my chin."

He heard Steve tell me about doing a "Superman" off his bike.  Just the thought makes me cringe.

Waiting for Anesthetic

After the doctor gave him a thorough inspection -thank god he was wearing his helmet- the nurse cleaned up wounds on his elbow, hip, knee and chin.  She also applied a topical anesthetic to help numb his chin before a needle with more anesthetic & stitches.

With the movie RIO playing on the exam room tv, Henry was more than distracted.


Distracted AND exhausted, he fell asleep between stitch #2 and #3.  For this amazing feat, he was proclaimed "poster patient."  Only Henry.

After wonderful care, 4 stitches and a freezie, we headed home.  The bravery treats of choice were popsicles and potato chips. 

Oh, and the promise of McDonald's.  Guess what we had for lunch today?

Jake: "Everybody Loves McDonald's"