One Room Challenge Spring 2018 – Week One!

The Interior DIYer - One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Week One!

I am very excited and a bit nervous today to share that I’ll be participating in the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge as a guest participant! It’s something I’ve followed year after year and I’m excited to finally be participating this year. For anyone who found me here thanks to the ORC, hello! I’m Alex and I’ll be redesigning the dining room in our rented apartment here in Ottawa over the next six weeks as part of the Spring 2018 ORC.

We’ve been living in our Lower Town apartment in Ottawa for six months which has given me plenty of time to think of design ideas and decide on what I’d really like to do with our dining room. To give you an idea of what I’ll be working with, here is our dining room as it is right now …

The Interior DIYer - One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Week One

It’s the brightest room in our apartment and also where Cora and I spend most of our day. It’s the biggest room and I did think about maybe tackling a smaller room for my first ORC, but we spend so much time here as a family that it made the most sense to update it first. We’ll also have guests staying with us over the next few months so it’ll be a [more] welcoming space for them.

I’m hoping to source as many secondhand pieces as I can for this challenge. I will be getting some brand new pieces, but I’ll be putting a lot of thought into each piece before buying it. So starting from the top down, here’s an outline of what I’m planning on doing to our dining room! …

Change the lighting
I luckily already have a secondhand chandelier ready for our dining room. It’s very similar to our living room chandelier but bigger. I’ve been patiently waiting for the day when we can take down the track lighting in here as this cluster does absolutely nothing for this room.

Paint the ceiling
It’s not as intrusive as you might think, but it’s time for peachy ceiling to go. I have leftover ceiling paint from updating our living room so I’ll use up the remainder of that.

Paint the walls greige
It’s taken me a while to come to terms with it, but I’m a big fan of greige [grey + beige]. I like neutral walls but I’m not very comfortable with stark white or cold greys, and greige is just the right mix of neutral and warm I’m looking for this room.

Burgundy focal wall
There’s an opportunity to make one of our hall walls [seen below] a focal wall as part of my dining room update. It’s a dark area so I’ll be embracing it and painting the wall burgundy with the leftover paint from our living room.

Contact paper dining table
We inherited the dining table from the previous tenants in our apartment. It truly is a beautiful table, but it’s seen better days; the legs are scratched and painted different colours and the top is dotted with spilled red nail polish, coffee stains [that I can’t remove] and has a finish I’m not in love with [the knots are too dark for my liking and I’m not keen on the pattern]. So instead of buying a new table, I’ll be painting the legs and covering the top with faux marble contact paper [like what I did with our coffee table].

New seating
We bought our dining chairs secondhand and they have not held up well. Along with my persistent hip problems, I can’t sit in them for very long without immediately regretting it. And they’re falling apart. The chairs, that is. And my hips too I guess. So I’m on the lookout for well made chairs with a bit of a modern design, or possibly two chairs and a bench? I’m still open to options.

Large vintage mirror
Just wait until you see the beauty of a mirror I found on Kijiji. Once the walls are painted I have the tall task of safely securing it to one of the walls without bringing the entire building down.

Paint the dining hutch
I found this beautiful hutch on Kijiji for just $30 a few months ago. The wood finish is terrible so I have no hesitation painting it with Fusion Mineral Paint‘s shade of Coal Black and distressing the finish a little to make it a little less perfect.

I have so many more details and ideas to add to the space, but for now I threw together the below to give you an idea of how I’m hoping our dining room to feel. I’ve been hoarding little thrifted treasures for this project for what seems like forever, so I really can’t wait for all my ideas take shape! I’m still in the excited stage and waiting for the WTF were you thinking trying to do this in 6 weeks with a toddler underfoot? stage to set in. Give me a day or two and I’ll be panicking.

Check out the full list of Guest Participants here! I should have stayed up and added my link when the link-up went live, but I slept through my alarm 😅 #MomProblems

Week OneWeek TwoWeek ThreeWeek Four – Week Five – Week Six

Roundup of Christmas projects and DIYs

I’ve been putting a phenomenal amount of pressure on myself to do and make new projects for our first Christmas in Canada as a little family. Reality, however, always has different plans. The reality is that we moved into our apartment less than 2 months ago and there is SO MUCH I didn’t realise would be involved with starting from scratch with everything. I’m working on cutting myself some slack [and will be trying my best to actually relax over the holidays], but I still wanted to spread some Christmas cheer, so today I’m sharing a roundup of my favourite Christmas projects. And luckily, 50% of them are edible [my kind of project].

VEGAN BAILEYS – I made this recipe two years ago for Sadhbh of Where Wishes Come From’s Christmas Craft Advent. I promise this recipe legit tastes like Baileys. It was sooo good. But if the whole vegan thing isn’t your thing, two years previous to that I published my Nannie’s Knock-Off Baileys recipe.

STORMTROOPER STAMP TUTORIAL / STORMTROOPER WRAPPING PAPER – a really fun project I made for Wayfair a few years ago combining Star Wars and my affinity for wrapping paper. You could very easily use this stamp tutorial to make a stamp to create a wallpaper effect!

EDIBLE ORNAMENTS – another one of my favourite Christmas projects that I was hoping to recreate this year but never got around to it. I’ve made these zesty lemon Christmas ornaments a few times and they do not disappoint. They’re very easy to make and even more fun to eat straight off the tree.


SEASONAL SWITCH PLATES – this is an oooooold project [as noted by my photography ‘skills’], but making these seasonal light switch surrounds were one of my favourite projects years and years ago. I can’t wait for them to arrive in our container. Actually, I might have to make more to suit Canadian light switches as they’re a different shape … ANY EXCUSE RLY.

Those are my strictly Christmassy projects, but if you’d like to see all my DIYs, just check out my DIY tab. Merry Christmas / bottoms up!

New project – entertainment room makeover

A few weeks ago VELUX contacted me about collaborating on a blog post. Like with any posts I work on with a company, I wait to see if a project will arise for me to include them in something I’m working on. A few weeks passed and our patience paid off when Camilla, a long time reader, got in contact with me about updating her entertainment room. And would you believe, she had two VELUX skylights that were a key part of the brief. Perfect!

I visited Camilla’s house two weeks ago to talk with her and her fiance Wayne about what they were looking for. They weren’t looking to undergo a huge change; a few updates to turn the current bright space into a cosy entertainment room. Both Wayne and Camilla are homebodies, so it’s a room that will get a lot of use. They’ve ordered a projector for the room, but in order to be able to use it, they need to install blackout blinds to their two existing VELUX skylights [which is a pretty vital part of the design, and segues nicely into our collaboration!]. 

In keeping with darkening the entertainment room, they were considering going dark with the design and I actually managed to convince them to go nearly-black on the walls [like in our bedroom]. I assured them that with the right accessories and accent pieces, a dark room won’t seem as overwhelming as they may think. It’s a room that gets a lot of sun during the day thanks to the skylights, but with the press of a button, the room can be transformed into a cosy Netflix snug thanks to electronic blackout blinds.

We talked about their design likes and dislikes, textures and finishes they preferred, and even about the more abstract things they like. I went away, compiled an entertainment room mock-up with lots of dark green, wood and hints of dusty pink and [to my very nervous surprise] they loved what I came back with …

Products clockwise from top [then spiraling inward] …
– Blackout blinds from VELUX
– 1830 Rue Chapal nearly-black paint from Fleetwood
– 4 seater VIMLE sofa from IKEA
– Green vintage rug – still on the hunt for one!
– Seno mid century sideboard from Article
– Bonsai tree from IKEA
– Rose gold and dusty pink candle sticks from Article

Both Camilla and Wayne like unexpected twists in design [a couple after my own heart], so after sneakily learning about their favourite movies and TV series, I found some Labyrinth and Rick and Morty themed parody prints that at first glance give a strong level of sophistication to the room. They like mid-century modern, natural and nature inspired fabrics and finishes, as well as a hint of gold. It’ll be a few weeks before we can start updating the room and ordering products, but once the work does start, I don’t see it taking long to finish. I particularly can’t wait to live vicariously through their purchasing the likes of that green couch. Anybody? No? Just me? I’m fine with that. 

DISCLOSURE – this is a sponsored blog post from VELUX. As always, all words and opinions are my own. I only work with companies I like and of course, think that you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer.