Repainting a high chair black

One of the first things we bought when we moved to Ottawa at the end of September was a high chair for Cora. We bought it secondhand on Kijiji [the equivalent to Adverts in Ireland] for $40. I really liked the old-school shape and style of it and the table flipped the table to the back so when Cora is a little older it would allow her to eat at the table with us. It had so much charm that I couldn’t resist it. And yeah, one of the back spindles broke and had been replaced some years ago, but I didn’t mind at all. It was in good shape and was clean and safe [I wouldn’t have put Cora in it otherwise], but I had every intention of updating it. 

For a long time I wanted to restain it. It had a dark wood stain but 16 years of use had worn through it so there would be a lot of sanding ahead of me. Sure! I’m up for it! But then I actually thought about the work involved. All those spindly bits. Such spindles. So many damn beautiful, intricate spindles. I’d have to sand the entire thing back to the original wood to get an even coat of stain across the whole piece. So much spindly sanding. And to be honest, I didn’t have enough mental energy to do it. 

I thought about painting the entire thing a solid colour. I thought for a few weeks before deciding on anything [if I’m ever indecisive, that usually means I need more time to think]. In the mean time we bought a dining room set secondhand [also through Kijiji], and its black dining chairs were the reason I went for the set so I figured, why not paint Cora’s high chair black to match?

I headed to our local Canadian Tire and spoke to their paint experts about what I was looking to do. They suggested Rust-Oleum‘s line of Tremclad paint for the likes of outdoor furniture and toys. We decided on their Rust Paint in black as it was high gloss and I’d need something easy to clean for Cora’s high chair. 

Before I got to work, I disassembled the entire top half of the high chair as the black frame wobbled from side to side – not to the point that is was dangerous, just loose from years of use. I wanted to do a proper job of fixing it and I couldn’t tighten the spindles without taking it apart. 

I painted each piece in a light coat of paint and waited around 6 hours before applying the second coat [I waited so long because it was drying on our cold porch. If it had dried at room temperature, it would have taken less time]. I waited a further 12+ hours before reassembling it. I glued all the loose spindles back in place with Gorilla Glue and let it dry another half of a day before letting Cora use it. 

It looks SO MUCH BETTER as one uniform colour and it’s so easy to wipe smeared avocado or peanut butter off of it [it was tough to clean it properly before if any food got into a part of wood that was untreated]. I think it looks quite posh actually! Yes, I totally spent $250 on our child’s high chair …

I doubt black would be a colour many people would think to paint a high chair, but it looks really smart alongside our new dining set; all of which are black [sans the table]. The woman I bought the set from had ‘upcycled’ [her words, not mine] the set by spray painting the chairs black and painted the seats with grey chalk paint [which makes zero sense], so I’ll be repainting each of our chairs in the same [more suitable] paint as Cora’s high chair so they’ll all match. They already look really well together now that they’re the same colour and I can’t wait to share more of our dining set soon. SOON!  

New new apartment tour!

Two weeks ago I gave an tour of our apartment in Ottawa. We’ve since moved into a new[er] apartment! What happened was another apartment within our block became available and our landlord offered it to us. Robert and I viewed it and immediately agreed to make the move. As I said to our landlord, it’s not like our other apartment was bad or had anything wrong with it, but this apartment had a few extra details that we both really liked. So we jumped at the opportunity! 
Last Sunday the tenants moved out and we moved in. Poor Robert did 95% of the moving since I had destroyed my right hip* a few days previously and it was difficult for me to even walk. I ate some pain killers, we got on with it and 5 hours later, we had moved in. 
The previous tenants were very sweet and left a lot of things that we needed, so we inherited a lot of really great pieces. Once we got the keys, I quickly took some photos of the space. Like, really quickly. So excuse the slap-dash photography. The layout is the exact same as our last apartment, just the mirror image of it. To make a bit more sense of it [and to show the difference in size], I edited my landlord’s original drawing to show the layout of our new new apartment … 

The living room is painted a warm grey throughout, the ceiling is a sort of beige colour and the fireplace is painted a darker version of the ceiling. I’m not here to point fingers at colour choices – we all have different tastes in colours and design and I’m very okay with that. I will be however repainting the apartment over time to colours that are a bit more ‘us’. For the moment, I’m at least hoping to paint the ceiling and the trim around the door and windows in the living room white. That’s the plan so far for this room. 
The room next to the living room is the master bedroom. Our room is a bit bigger than our last one as it doesn’t cut in at the corner [this can be seen by comparing the bedrooms in the drawing above]. The closet space [seen behind the door] is bigger and the room is brighter [we’ve since taken out the air conditioning unit and the room is much brighter now]. The previous tenants very kindly left the box spring for a queen bed as they knew our mattress was directly on the floor. I can’t handle Canadian’s kindness. 

The bathroom is the only room that needs some TLC. Shelves and a storage unit were hung with good intentions, but they’re not really suited for the space. It doesn’t look like it in the photos, but the walls, heater and ceiling are painted in a very light almost-peach colour. I’m hoping to paint the trim, door and heater to white and I might have some fun with what colour I paint the rest of the room. I might even stencil the bathroom! Watch out. I’m getting carried away with myself now.

Our dining room is really lovely and these photos don’t do it enough justice. The ceiling is a muted terracotta colour and the tenants explained they repainted the rest of the walls recently to an off-white because the walls were previously a very strong blue. The ceiling isn’t that noticeable when you’re in the room, unless you point it out. Which is something I do often. It’ll be getting repainted, more than likely white. But strangely, I don’t hate it and it isn’t driving me insane, so it’s not on the “get it done now. Why aren’t you doing it? Are you doing it yet? I can see the stepladder from here. This is killing me” list.  
Like in our other apartment, Cora’s bedroom is just off the dining room. A big plus for us with this apartment was that the wood floor boards outside this room weren’t loud and creaky, whereas the floorboards outside Cora’s room in the other apartment were so loud that we would wake her up when trying to sneak in and check on her. Again, these photos don’t do justice to how lovely Cora’s room is. It [and the dining room and our bedroom] overlook a main road with some really beautiful houses and Cora already loves standing in the windows waving at whoever passes by. 
The kitchen is also off the dining room, and for me, it makes a lot more sense arranged on this side of the building. Mainly because the fridge door doesn’t open against the small work area next to the stove – does that makes sense? In the other apartment I had to walk to the other side of the fridge and open the fridge door the other way, whereas this way, it’s much more ergonomic. I know that’s not a big deal, but it was so many small details like this that made sense for us to move on up. 
The kitchen is bright and we have a larger back porch off the back of the building. Not that we needed more space! To us, these apartments are more than enough. I’m just worried I’ll feel I have to fill the apartment …

I think I’ll be prioritising the living room, bathroom and Cora’s room to get in order first. I have some small projects here and there [like updating Cora’s highchair, our dining chairs and our gorgeous inherited dining room table] that I can work on in the mean time too. 

*I didn’t want to sound too whiny, so I’m including hip stuff down here. I’ve had hip problems since I was about 6 months pregnant. It was bad in the early days when I slept at night, it felt like my hips were popping out. Then after Cora was born, I had ongoing pelvic separation, a pinched nerve within my hip that caused my left leg to go numb, lower back problems, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and now an inflamed hip socket. But it’s getting better! Having to pack and move apartments twice in the past month didn’t help, but I’m working on being kinder to myself. That’s not going to be as easy.  

New apartment tour! (aka Lower Town Apartment)

Between paperwork and meetings and trying to get set up on Canadian systems and entertaining Cora and getting furniture and trying to remember to feed ourselves, we’ve been in Ottawa for 2 weeks already and every day has been full of something. I’ve been wanting to share photos of our apartment since pretty much the moment we arrived, but only this morning did I finally get around to taking some pictures. 

But don’t get too familiar with our apartment as we’re moving in 2 weeks! I know, it sounds insane, but another apartment in our block became available and our very sweet landlords offered it to us as it is a bit different and slightly more suitable for us. I still want to share where we’re living now and where we’ve called home for the past two weeks, so here we go … 

Our landlord [who is very creative, artistic and has a history in design] kindly emailed me sketched plans of the apartment when I first inquired about it in early August. It was a huge help as I couldn’t figure out the layout from the photos, so I figured it would be perfect to accompany this post as the layout can be a bit confusing to get your head around going by the photos alone. 
The character and quirkiness of our apartment [and subsequently our next one] is completely what sold me and pushed us to take the leap of leasing an apartment without ever seeing it in person. Or while even being in the same country, for that matter. It was a huge risk but it paid off bigly, as Donald Trump would so eloquently put it.  

Our apartment was completely unfurnished, which is standard in Canada. After sleeping on the floor for close to a week, I caved and one day went to IKEA and bought a mattress [which isn’t half bad TBH]. We slept next to the heater on Cora’s playmat for a week and while it was kind of rough [especially on my dodgy hips which are still bad since having Cora], as Robert put it, we’ll look back on all our floor camping and picnics fondly. I’m not complaining because I was wholly prepared to sleep on the floor, but it’s just nice to sleep on something soooooooft again. 

Yes, those are grape vines growing across our bedroom window.

To give you an idea of the scale of our apartment, the dining room is bigger than the living room in our Dublin apartment. Now I understand why everyone’s furniture is so much bigger here; because it can be. 

And don’t get me started on the kitchen. There’s a DISHWASHER and you don’t have to crawl on the floor to see into the tiny, non-existant fridge, like standard Irish rental fridges. The fridge is so big that all our food sits on one shelf. I don’t know what to do with myself, it’s so big [#ThatsWhatSheSaid]. And wait until you see the kitchen in the other apartment. It’s even nicer, if you can believe it. 

And last but not least, Cora’s room. Which is the most ‘together’ room so far. I decided months ago that we would be bringing Cora’s crib with us on the plane when we travelled, so the moment we arrived she could sleep in her own bed and have something familiar right away. For some people it doesn’t sound like something to prioritise, but I’m so damn glad we brought it with us. Even though it was incredibly heavy and nearly destroyed us trying to bring it, but it was just awkward for one day. It was doable. Emotionally detatching yourself from a day like that also helps, but it was so worth it in the end. 

We’ve picked up some furniture already [an old high chair for Cora and a second hand dining room set], which I’m hoping to share and update as soon as I can, as both need some work done to them. And of course, I can’t wait to move into and share our next apartment. 
If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be doing a walk through of our entire apartment on my stories some time within the next 24 hours, so be sure to check them out for more details!