You’ve got mail

A couple of weekends ago Robert and I planned a trip to the Merchants Market on the East Wall road. It’s a behemoth of an indoor market full of thrifty stalls of all shapes and sizes, overflowing with the weirdest and most wonderful of things. For example, I distinctly remember finding an industrial size tub of used Vaseline for sale during one particular outing. 

Unfortunately, once we arrived we were told the market was no longer. Giant, undiluted ugly crying face. All was not lost as we were diverted to a single stall remaining in the adjacent building, so we of course went in for a snoop. A few minutes in what did Robert spy? This Canadian post bag hanging from a curtain rod. I had to have it. Then I did that thing where I say to myself “hmm, maybe I’ll leave it and think about it“, but the thought of coming back and it being gone was too horrible a thought.

I attempted some atrocious bargaining [I am painfully awkward at it, therefore rarely do it], but I managed to get 10 euro off. For me, that is a small and awkward victory. Some might say 25 euro for a post bag is a bit steep, but please keep in mind I was too floored by finding a bit of Canada in Dublin. 

When I got home I attempted to do a bit of research to see if it was a legit mail bag or not. Unfortunately, not much showed up in regards to history behind this style, but I did find this same style 1964 Canada Post bag on Flickr [and also this picture of a similar bag in action]. So I’m claiming it’s legit, but from where in Canada, I don’t know. There are no other markings on it.  

One thing I’m curious about is, and it’s going to sound dumb, but do I wash it? I personally love the way it looks and I’m planning on hanging it in our hallway so I don’t mind it’s current condition. But I mean it is a little scruffy. It’s vintage. It doesn’t smell or feel gross, so I kind of feel like washing it would lessen it? One thing’s for sure, Toshi thoroughly inspected it before it was hung up … 

You can see mine and Emily‘s trip to Merchant’s Market 2 years ago here, back when my site was called ‘Hydrangea Girl’ and I had no fringe. 

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! 

Canadian man cave, office edition – progress!

There’s been a bit of headway with the Canadian man cave office I’m designing for my broseph and I thought today I’d share some of the progress we’ve made. For a little reminder, you can see the before pictures here!
We first had to decide on a colour for the walls. I’m a huge fan of grey, but too dark of a grey would have been harsh in here. 

I had some Crown Paint test paint pots from when I repainted our living room years ago, so I thought they would be a good starting point. As it turns out, Crown Paint’s swan’s a swimming was a great fit [you can see it in the above picture: far left swatch as well as top right swatch]. My phone picture doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a warm, frothy latte-grey hue. Accompanied by some serious tunage, broseph and I painted his office in one afternoon and moved his furniture to better suit the space. 

I hung up an old map of Canada we had as well as my brother’s flag. As a temporary lighting solution, I hung up an IKEA Jara giant shade, but I’m not in love with it. At the moment I’m thinking B&Q’s angular Colours Tuck or Colours Keynes ceiling light for a serious statement. I’m unsure if we’ll hang curtains or not [there are wooden blinds in place already], but at the very least there’s a skylight that needs a blind [possibly a blackout blind] that we’ll be ordering from
I’d like to get more artwork and personal items up on the walls too. We have yet to do anything with the largest wall in the room [which is to the right of the above picture], and I’ve been brainstorming some better ideas for wall storage, so the shelves will be changing. But for a better and sleeker not only look, but layout. 
There are of course loads of DIYs and upcycling in the room that I’ve been documenting as we go, as creatively and cheaply as we can. I’m hoping to have the office ready for my broseph for the new year because everyone loves a fresh start after the holidays and he deserves a great one. 
I’ll be staying with my family for a couple of days over Christmas so I have no excuse. That is, unless Netflix and a bottomless tin of chocolates aren’t within reach! xx A