Our Living Room Layout is Tricky With a Capital T


Saturday, October 29, 2011

One of the reasons I never really finished decorating the living room was because I was sick of the yellow (and not willing to admit it). The other reason is that our living room layout is really hard to work with.

Like, really tricky.

I drew up a little sketch with some free online program to give you an idea but it's not perfect, obviously.

First, the room is super long and skinny, and second, there are FIVE openings that lead out of the room (four openings/doorways to other rooms and the staircase landing that leads upstairs). That leaves only a few piddly little walls to place furniture on.

The couch can only fit on the long wall under the windows. The loveseat can only fit on the wall between the dining room and the kitchen. Because the couch and loveseat are so awkwardly far from eachother I have to add in the armchair on the tiny wall between the sunroom and front entry to try and make it more of a conversation area.

After all the couches n' stuff the only other wall left is the tiny piece of wall by the stairs where I was able to squeeze a super skinny console cabinet.

Sidenote: I've tried to put the loveseat opposite the couch to create a more "intimate" space but it just doesn't work because the room is so narrow.

So because I feel like being a big complainer today, I thought I'd share some of the issues that this room layout creates and how I plan to hopefully fix them.

Problem #1

The trunk is too small to use for in front of the couch. So I'm on the hunt for a slightly bigger, rectangular coffee table to use instead that will fill up some of the empty space in the room. Sorta like this Pottery Barn one, but all in white if you can picture it.

Image - Pottery Barn

Problem #2

There's no room for sidetables on either side of the loveseat. Hence, nowhere for lighting to go and nowhere for drinks to go. I was thinking about adding two wall sconces above the loveseat for some lighting and adding in the Extorp footstool to place a tray (and your drinks) on.

Image - Pottery Barn

Image - Ikea

Problem #3

There's also no room for a sidetable beside the armchair, hence nowhere to put your drinks. I am on the hunt for a teeny tiny round sidetable that's only like, 12 inches wide. I saw one once. Never to be found again.

Image - Muskoka Living Interiors

Problem #4

With all of the openings everywhere, the furniture all seems separated. I need a giant rug to tie all the furniture together. I saw a huge, rattan 12x8 rug at Muskoka Living Interiors but it was soooo much money. I still want it though.

Image - Pottery Barn

Sooooooooo, those are some of my living room dilemmas. They are eating away at my brain. I need to fix them but it's soooo hard to find what I'm looking for. And when I do find something, it's always sooooo much money.

Le sigh.

Alright, that's enough complaining for one day. On the plus side, the light gray walls are BEE-U-TI-FUL and I'm still so excited about them. One more room left to paint though, so gotta go. :)

Corn Chowder and Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So here's those two recipes that I mentioned the other day but was too lazy to share at the time. :)

The corn chowder recipe is very simple but soooo tasty. I'm obsessed with the flavour that the cumin seeds add. I always seem to want to make this soup on a Sunday afternoon when the weather starts to get cool. It made enough for us to have two meals, plus leftovers to freeze. 

The stuffed mushroom recipe is one of my favourites of all time. I bring these mushrooms to every potluck or dinner that I go to and every single one is gone when I go back for seconds. They are also super simple to make but so scrumptious. The cayenne pepper adds a little unexpected kick. Just for fun.

Corn Chowder
Source: The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook
Serves: 8
Image Source: Cookbooks Anonymous

3 oz butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (I use two 'cause I like to have stinky garlic breath, heh heh)
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cups vegetable stock (sometimes I use chicken stock)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped 
1 cup canned creamed-style corn
2 cups fresh corn kernels
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I grate extra and sprinkle on top when serving)
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives, to garnish


1. Heat the butter in large heavy-based pan. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until golden. Add garlic and cumin seeds, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil. Add potatoes and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

2. Add the creamed corn, corn kernels, and parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Stir through the cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and cream. Heat gently until the cheese melts. Serve immediately, sprinkled with copped chives (and more cheeeeeeese).

Mouth-Watering Stuffed Mushrooms
Source: All Recipes

Image Source: Smirks and Quirks


12 whole fresh mushrooms (the filling makes enough to stuff 24 regular mushrooms)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine, discarding tough end of stems.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems to the skillet. Fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool.

3. When garlic and mushroom mixture is no longer hot, stir in cream cheese, parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Mixture should be very thick. Using a little spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.

Tip: You can brush the shrooms lightly with butter before cooking to prevent them from drying out.


So, you'll have to let me know if you try any of these recipes (and actually like them).  ;)

The Old Colour VS The New Colour


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Since the dining room is about to get painted (yeah!), I spent the afternoon taking down the knick knacks, vacuuming, dusting, and taping all the white trim. All I have to do is the prep work since my super-awesome inlaws are driving all the way back (they live about 2 1/2  hours away) to paint some more. They offered to paint the other three rooms this Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday while we're at work as long as I can get the prep work ready.

Um, score! I am one lucky girl alright.

So here's a picture of the new colour versus the old colour. The light gray is so airy and calming compared to that cheery blinding yellow. They look hideous together in this picture but it's just to show you the difference. :)

So remember how I used a 1/2 tint of Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore for the living room? Well I also need to paint the dining room, sunroom, and front entry. I was worried that using the full tint Gray Owl would make the room seem too dark. However, the sunroom at the front of the house has five large windows, so I was thinking about using the regular Gray Owl in there for a bit of a contrast to the lighter version in the living room and dining room. I haven't decided yet but I'm leaning that way.....

This freshened up paint colour is really giving me the motivation to change up a few things and add some finishing touches to the living room and dining room.

I'll be on the hunt for an area rug, some linen curtains, an ottoman, some new white slipcovers from Ikea, and a tiny side table. I'll keep you posted as soon as I find what I'm looking for!

P.S. I'm obsessed with soup lately and am about to make some Corn Chowder with stuffed mushrooms on the side. I LOVE the flavours in the soup, so hearty and yummy. I'll prob'ly post the recipe tomorrow if I'm not feeling ultra lazy (which seems to be the case lately).

Cheers and see you soon!

P.S. Thank you to everyone who told me to go for the gray! You were right. I love it.

I Painted and I Love It


Monday, October 17, 2011

Why oh why did I wait so long to repaint those crusty yellow walls!?!?!?

Okay, they weren't crusty. They were still kind of nice. But after five years, it was time.

I went for it. I started painting over the yellow with a light gray.

When I say I, I really mean my inlaws who stayed over for the weekend (Alex was out of town for work) and painted the whole living room for me. I heart them.

Anywayzzzzzz, it is truly amazing how a new colour can totally transform a room. I think I'm starting to like my house again.

I ended up using 1/2 tint Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore. It's puuuuuurty.

I just took a terrible picture with the flash since it's nighttime. I was also too lazy to change to a wide angle lense so it's just a tiny sneak peak. 

Now that I've got one room done I am so excited to finish off the others. I'll make sure to do a before and after post for you when that's all done.

:) Yippee!!!!

Paint Samples, Falling Pie Plates, and Soup


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heeeeeeeey girl. It's been a long time.


I'm sorry. I'll try to do better, pinky swear.

I've got lots of random stuff going on so I'll break it down with little subtitles. That's me trying to be organized. Or maybe me just being annoying.

Paint Samples

Yesterday I stopped by the paint store (finally!) to look for samples of blue-gray to paint the walls of our living room, dining room, sunroom. It turns out that I'm leaning more toward the grays than the blues. Everyone I show the colours to thinks they look drab and gloomy, but I looooove them. They're just such a change from the yellow that is suddenly driving me mental.

So I bought two sample pots and tested them out. They look hideous against the yellow but I know you can use your imagination. (Keep in mind that I want the colour on the main floor to go with the colour that's in most of the upstairs rooms: Old Prairie by Benjamin Moore. It's a light greyish green that's really pretty.)

Colour upstairs:

Old Prairie- Benjamin Moore
Possible colour downstairs:

Gray Owl - Benjamin Moore

The above paint chips look really good side by side but on the wall, Gray Owl looks a little too dark. So I think I might ask the paint ladies to lighten it by 2x. (You can see how it looks in the picture below.)

Top Sample: Gray Owl, Bottom Sample: Horizon

Top Sample: Gray Owl, Bottom Sample: Horizon

I think I might get a quart of Gray Owl (lightened a bit) to test it out in the sunroom this weekend. Plus, Alex is gone for the weekend and I won't have to listen to him complain about all the money I'm "wasting" by repainting. Boys. They just don't get it, do they? 

Falling Pie Plates

'Member my lovely pie plates all hung up and pretty-like? Here's a picture in case you forgot (the post is here):

I had used some adhesive stuff from Home Depot to display them which I found out was a big mistake. Almost every single night a pie plate fell off the wall while we were sleeping and freaked out the dogs (and us).

The last one that fell got stuck. At least it didn't crash to the floor like the rest of them.

I went to Canadian Tire and found  some velcro-type stuff by a brand called Command which has worked really well so far. Since I had to take all the pie plates down anyway, I put them all back up a smidgen closer together since they seemed a bit too far apart for my OCD.

The Yummiest Soup That Ever Did Live

Image: Food and Whine
On the weekend I whipped up a pot of the yummiest soup ever. You have to be a mushroom lover to appreciate it though. It smelled too dang good to stop and take a picture of it (get in my belly, soup!) but let me tell you it was delicioso and so easy. I'll be making this recipe again and again and again! Check it out you won't regret it. Unless you don't like mushrooms. In that case I'll just call you a crazy person.


Well, that's it for me today. Hello!!! (insert grin here) to my newest followers and buh bye to the peeps who unfollowed because apparently I haven't been posting enough lately. :S.

If you stuck around, thanks. I'm glad you're still here. :)

Basement Fireplace Decision Making


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Last winter my crazy husband started ripping down all the ceiling tiles and drywall in our sorta finished recroom in the basement (read that post here) because he didn't like how it was wired or insulated. The basement was super ugly and did need a makeover but I didn't think it would be getting a complete overhaul.

In my last post I didn't show you the ugly fireplace wall that I not so secretly hated. The below photo is from the house listing. Before we moved in, we had to remove the wood-burning stove. We wanted to keep the charm from the original house so instead of replacing it with a gas insert we replaced it with a similar looking gas stove.

Eeeek! So ugly!

Alex just finished chipping all of those bricks off the wall and fireplace surround. Apparently they were hard to get off.

It was my job this weekend to start figuring out how we're going to finish off our new improved fireplace.

My idea is to find an old salvaged mantle kind of like these to place around the fire opening:

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

I was also hoping to have some brick surrounding the opening where the stove will sit, kind of like these pictures (imagine a stove sitting in the centre):

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

The basement has been destroyed for so long that it's exciting to start planning ways to put it back together.

I've got my eye on two stores down south that could possibly have a mantle for us:

Artefacts in St. Jacobs, Ontario

Legacy in Cobourg, Ontario

Hmmmm, maybe a roadtrip to visit these two stores soon? Hee, hee, hee....... :)
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