I consider myself pretty good at home decor, but even I need help sometimes.
Like lots of you out there I’ve been working from home since March and it looks like I will be home bound until next year.
I live in a one bedroom condo so creating a home office area was a bit challenging. I started off working at my dining room table, but I felt like my work life was taking over my living space.
So I bought a desk, which turns out was harder than I had imagined. The first four desks I liked and tried to order where back ordered. The Canadian Tire furniture guy told me that they sold more desks in two months than they usually sell in a year.
I finally found one at Structurb, it’s pretty, but it turned out to be a bit bigger than I had anticipated. I set it up in the corner of my living room, because I really didn’t know where else to put it. I didn’t want to spend my whole day in my bedroom, so this corner seemed like my best option. I used it for approximately one week, then I started to notice that I was sitting on my couch with my laptop on my knees.
Instead of being at my new desk, this was my preferred set up as of late, don’t laugh…ok, you can laugh, check out my slippers.
My bff, who is also a crazy talented decorator, asked me why I wasn’t working at my desk. I told her it felt like I was being punished and sent to the corner. She agreed that my set up wasn’t great and offered to help me; I said, yes please!!
The first thing she did was to get my desk out from the corner and centered it in front of my window, I wanted to be able to see my TV while working, so my desk is facing in, instead of looking outside. She also switched up my two couches, since my gray couch is less deep than my green one, it allows for more room back there for my desk.
My ceilings are crazy high! She said I needed a big plant for my corner. Side note: BTW you can hire her to help you with your home office or study room for home schooling or, whatever you need! She’ll also source/shop for what you need, she found me a huge plant!
My new plant is so big that I panicked and had commitment issues, like what happens if I kill this thing? I am still a bit freaked out, lol. I needed a nice pot for it; she found one and bought it for me. Yup, that’s what a professional decorator does, I did have to pay for it, but it saved me from running around looking for the perfect big pot.
Here’s how it looks all done up! She added a small desk lamp and I’ll steal a sunflower from my sister in law’s garden for my bud vase. What I love about this is that when my laptop is closed my pop up office disappears. It doesn’t feel like my work is taking over my living space. Even thought I bought my desk myself and it was a great purchase, I felt a bit lost and needed some guidance to make this space work for work and….well, work for when I am not working.
Meet my designer, Guylaine Malenfant, can help you revamp your existing home office, or create a space in your home for a new office. She can also set up home schooling areas in your home.
She offers consultations, full remodels, sourcing and shopping, new construction, staging… If you’re interested in hiring her for your space, contact her via email: email@example.com or contact her via Instagram: gdmalenfant
At Home With Stacey And Liette (me); Fancy Pantries.
This is the last post of my, At Home With, series for a bit. They’ve gotten a lot of readers so I will do more; maybe we can peek into people’s homes at Christmas time??
For our finale, let’s peek into some fancy pantries. First up is my friend Stacey’s pantry; she and I love to do fancy things together, it usually involves shopping, but today we’ll be touring our pantries.
Stacey and her family have a gorgeous home, but her pantry is a real hidden gem. If you’re in her kitchen and the doors are closed you would never suspect that there’s an amazing pantry there.
Beautiful kitchen right? Wait for it.
Voilà!! Oh and this is Finn, he’s the sweetest dog ever; I’m pretty sure his dog treats are in the pantry, so he’s on guard duty.
Her walk in pantry has floor to ceiling storage, the layout was very well thought out.
Stacey and I agree that one of the best parts of having a big pantry is that you can hide your small appliances in them.
In addition to all the regular pantry stuff, Stacey keeps her pottery mugs that she has collected from her travels, they are just above her fancy coffee machine. She has pottery from the Maritime all the way to Iceland, from her most recent trip. When traveling, why buy tacky touristy stuff, when you can support local artists? That was rhetorical, there is no reason not to, lol.
Her pantry is filled with beautiful wooden bowls, family pieces and pottery, each item has a story; I absolutely love that about her home.
And during the peak of the pandemic lock down, she joked that the most valuable thing in her pantry was her husband’s jar of yeast.
At Home With Liette
Stacey’s home is on the outskirts of town, it overlooks the city. My home is downtown in the heart of the city; OK it’s a small city, but still, I’m in the heart of it!
I am not going to lie that my pantry is what sealed the deal for my new place. The owner kept telling me it’s perfect for entertaining….I finally had to speak up and let him know who he was dealing with; events and party planner extraordinaire! Sooo he didn’t seem impressed, but I am sure he was blown away on the inside, he was just playing it cool, lol.
Apparently the “new thing” in pantries are sinks; it’s called a wet pantry, who knew? It maybe the most practical thing ever?
So this is my pantry/laundry room/craft closet. What I love most about having a pantry with a sink and a door is that when entertaining, you can store all the messy stuff in there and bring it out when needed. It’s also great to have a place for my toaster and other stuff, so it’s not cluttering my kitchen counter space.
The right side of the pantry is my laundry area; and all the way from Las Vegas is Lucille the cow; she helps me with my laundry. She’s great at folding, but horrible at putting clothes away.
I have so much storage in here that some of my kitchen cupboards are empty. The cabinet to the left of my toaster oven is where I keep all my craft and party stuff…and my skates.
Someone asked me what I kept in the orange boxes above my spice jars and where I got them? They are the boxes that my Nova Scotia Crystal glasses came in; they were too pretty and sturdy to throw away. I keep can goods and food stuff in them. Most of my glass jars are from IKEA.
Can you tell I bought myself a label maker?? To say that I went label crazy when I first got it would be a gross understatement. When I moved I assumed that my pantry would turn into a catch all, but it stays really neat. That saying; a place for everything and everything in its place, rings true.
Thank you for reading, if you missed any of my other; At Home With…, scroll down to read them.
Coming up – I am working on a few fun projects; more decorating, some day trips and believe it or not, I am working on some content for fall. I’m taking advantage of this time off; and if I was working I would be planning all my fall shows, so it seems normal for me to work that far ahead, lol.
Thank you Stacey and Finn for letting us peek into your pantry.
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I moved into my new place in January and I have nothing left to decorate, so I thought! Turns out my deck is fairly big and very bare; Project Pimp My Deck is on.
It’s currently being used as a bicycle parking spot.
First up is to wash it!! Then I need some comfy seating and some plants. I want to create a cool chill zone to hang.
Since patio furniture can get pricey, I am going to need to shop around and find some good deals. I’ll mix some more expensive pieces with some super great deals.
I got these giant pots at Walmart and they were a super deal! I bought the last two, so not sure if they just wanted to get rid of them?
My deck is bigger than it looks; I think people gravitate towards small things for small spaces, but I think the space will look bigger if you have a few big pieces.
I think these plants will look great once planted; that tall plant is a lavender; I love the smell of lavender and I think it’s a mosquito repellent?
I ordered this chair below, which is super comfy, from Terra Verde; it’s manufactured in Quebec and it should be here within the next three weeks, I can’t wait! Can you guess what colour I ordered?
Remember I said that patio furniture can be expensive? In comparison this chair wasn’t super expensive and it’s made right here in Canada, so yay! I will share more on the company who makes them in my big reveal post.
I’ll be posting my progress pics on my Oui-Liette Facebook page and will share the Big Reveal on my blog; stay tuned!
Thanks for reading.
Liette… muah!! I thought I could get away without the muah at the end this one time, but I can’t, lol. It’s bad enough we can hug people in real life, I am not giving up my fake air kiss.
At Home With…Gilles and Kenda; kitchens made for entertaining.
Here in Atlantic Canada we’re kind of famous for our kitchen parties, so for this post, I am calling in the big guns. We will be taking a quick peek into two kitchens that are perfect for entertaining.
At Home With Gilles
My friend Gilles loves entertaining, and I hate to give him too many compliments, but he’s really good at it. (Oh for my American English friends, Gilles is pronounced more like Jill)
First of all, he has one of the biggest island’s that I’ve ever seen; he loves cooking for his friends and family and, ugh, he’s a good cook too.
His living, dining and kitchen area are one completely open space; all three areas are shades of brown and cream, which helps to create a seamless flow.
I’ve been over several times where he’s behind the counter cooking, usually lobster, while his guests are seated at the island watching the show; and by watching the show, I mean drinking.
At the end of his huge island is his huge dining table, which was custom made by L’artisan Christophe from Tracadie, NB and it’s gorgeous!
The photo below is the view from his front door; let’s focus on the lighting over the island. It’s important that the lighting fixtures over your island be in proportion to the size of your island. Since Gilles has an over sized island, his lighting fixtures needed to be large and impactful without looking too heavy or bulky.
These fixtures are perfection! First of all, they look like some sort of fishing net, which is perfect for a guy “du nord”. They are very large, but they don’t block the view; they’re basically see through, which works!
He also has a big pantry, which I wasn’t allowed to photograph; it’s big enough to hid his blender and other small appliances that can clutter your counter top. When your kitchen is visible as soon as you walk through your front door, it helps to have a place to store all your messy stuff.
I pulled the yellow bowls out of his pantry because they matched the lemons. I think it adds a really nice small pop of color. I am going to recommend he get a bright yellow pot with a big green plant for his counter top.
I asked Gilles what his favorite part of his house is; he said that nothing beats cooking on a Sunday afternoon with his TV muted on the golf channel while his music blares in the background. I’m assuming there maybe a big glass of red wine on the counter in this scenario too??
This is his view while standing behind his island; perfect for golf viewing.
At Home With Kenda
Kenda and I have been friends since we were babies; she was at my first birthday and my second…and my 50th. I was with her when she first visited her current lakeside condo; it was all kinds of shades of dusty rose. The kitchen and living room were separated by a wall with a cut out window, which I assumed was used to pass things from the kitchen to the dining area? It was very 70’s.
The first thing she did was to knock down that wall, which created one big open living space. The next thing she did was to paint over the rose walls…oh and the carpet and light fixtures were also dusty rose; let’s just say that the transformation was very dramatic.
Her open space is perfect for entertaining; one of the things that she does that I think is really clever is that she can extend the size of her island if needed.
Above is her kitchen, her island is perfectly portioned for the size of her space. But when she has people over, she has the option of doubling the size of her island by moving her dining table.
I don’t care how nice your living room is, during a party your guests will end up gathering around your kitchen island before the end of the night. When entertaining don’t be afraid to move things around and put things away in order to give you more room to parrrtay! Figure out how things are going to flow in order to avoid traffic jam areas.
Even with the length of her island doubled, she still has ample space to move around; and this temporary reconfig gives her the ability to have a sit down meal for 10 to 12 people. Or she can use this layout to display food and to set up her bar so that things flow properly. In my last post, I mentioned that my friend Guylaine was a fanatic on proper lighting; I am an expert on having things laid out in a way that creates the right flow.
I am not going to lie, I am a bit envious of Kenda’s space; it’s not a huge space, but the layout was so well thought out that it’s the perfect place to gather for a proper Maritime Kitchen Party.
Thank you for reading, I can’t wait for us to be able to gather with friends and family again. If there is one positive thing that comes out of this whole pandemic, it’s that I think we have come to appreciate how much we love and need each other.
Follow me on Facebook and Insta at: Oui-Liette for additional photos and videos and if you missed my last two posts peeking into peoples homes, here are the links:
At Home With Guylaine in Moncton and Claudia in Las Vegas; the bathroom reno edition.
If you’re anything like me you enjoy checking out other people’s homes; not to be nosy, but to see how they have everything setup and to see what their personal style is. I find it inspiring to see beautiful and interesting spaces.
It’s funny that I am grouping my friends Guylaine and Claudia together, they have never met, but they are very similar in a lot of way; they both have impeccable style and classic taste in decor and best friends, lol.
At Home With Guylaine
Guylaine and I have been friends since we were 14; she’s a mother of three, helps run her family’s restaurant and is an interior decorator. She recently redid her on suite bathroom, in her classic ranch style home, on a budget.
Both Guylaine and Claudia are experts at finding great deals. Just because you’re working on a budget, doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on style; it just means that you need to be more creative and resourceful.
Guylaine’s bathroom vanity was a standard builders cabinet, which was fine; she had been wanting to update it for years and finally got around to it.
She found this vintage record player at a secondhand store; you know the huge cabinet kind that your grandparents used to have? She removed the top and replaced it with a piece of quartz; and voilà! A beautiful, one of a kind, vanity. This modern mid-century piece fits in perfectly with her decor vibe that she has throughout her home.
The record player cost her $50 and was in great shape, she polished it up with cream varnish and it was good to go. She had the front part, in between the two speakers, cut and hinged, so she does have some storage. The quartz and faucet cost $1,200; for a grand total of $1,250, which is a steal of a deal for a bathroom vanity with faucet.
Saving money on the cabinet allowed her to splurge on the quartz; when working with a budget, you need to prioritize where to spend and where you can save. And most importantly you have to be on the hunt for great pieces and have imagination to see their full potential.
She update the faucet to match the gold on her shower doors; a complete shower redo wasn’t in her budget, in order to update it, she replaced the 80’s style sliding doors with the frosted stripes for clear class doors.
The painting above her toilet is a Guylaine original; she took all of the leftover cans of paint she had laying around from other projects and created this abstract landscape; it was one of her Covid projects.
She kept the same large mirror, but changed the light fixture. She’s an expert at lighting, her advice is that every light in your home should have a dimmer; EVERY one!!! When I’m entertaining she’s in charge of lighting and creating a super cozy mood.
She replaced the old flooring with extra large tiles; her one regret is that she didn’t have in-floor heating installed while the floor was ripped up.
Her old bathroom layout included a large closet, she did something that sounds crazy; she reduced the size of her closet in order to gain a bit more space in her bathroom. She has a super big walk in cedar closet in her basement, so she could spare the space by streamlining her bedroom closet.
This freed up space for this cabinet that she found at Homesense; Homesense is the Canadian equivalent to Homegoods in the US. This cabinet and her old school record player originally didn’t have any legs, she added legs to both to give them more of that mid century look. This is a good trick to steal…you’re welcome!
She painted this wall a light shade of blush/beige ish and is planning on adding a chalk paint stencil pattern to it; I’ll post pictures of this finished wall on my Oui-Liette Facebook page when done.
I don’t have written permission to show you the inside of this cabinet, but I’m sharing it anyway! She said it was too messy, but this is life, and life is messy.
Look how much extra storage this cabinet provides. Mixing old pieces with new will make your space look more natural and evolved than going out and buying everything at the same place; I am not a big fan of things being too matchy, matchy.
While we’re on the topic of cabinets, I wanted to show you this cabinet that she has in her bedroom. It’s a great antique find that she cleaned up and had a piece of marble cut and placed on top. Tile and counter top places sell small remnant pieces, you can get them for cheap ish and have them cut to size. It’s a great way to elevate any piece.
At a home with Claudia
Claudia and I have been friends and work partners for almost 15 years now; we share a love for travel and spas! Claudia is a mother of two and an expert in her field of marketing.
She recently did a major renovation to her main floor bathroom, the before and after pics are very impressive.
A great way to save a bit of money is to do as much of the work on your own. Claudia’s hunky husband, Paul, helped out with a lot of the manual labor for both her main floor and kids bathrooms. Turns out he’s great at breaking things!
She chose shades of grays and white for this bathroom, which remind me a lot of a spa, coincidence? I think not.
The tile trend in the last few years has been white subway tiles, but both Claudia and Guylaine opted for much larger tiles, which I think is great for smaller spaces.
She decided to tile three walls and the floor in gray slate, except for a section in the shower, which is a darker gray. She also upgraded her shower head to a rainfall head.
Side note – tiles are a lot less expensive in the US; I know some of my Canadians are probably wondering how the heck she was able to tile three full walls and the floor! Lol. Tile deals are available in Canada, you just need to be on the look out for sales and remnants.
Claudia’s big splurge was building this custom shower; it was absolutely worth it!
In order to make the bathroom appear larger, she added a glass wall in the shower and opted for a compact sink and hung it off the floor; floating the vanity makes the room look bigger and it also allows for a basket underneath for extra storage.
Both Guylaine and Claudia have a teenagers at home; let’s take a peek into their kid bathrooms.
Guylaine’s second full bath, is long and skinny. She jazzed it up with a bold colored accent wall; don’t underestimate the power of paint.
She replaced the flooring with these wood plank ceramic tiles, they look like real wood.
This long wall needed some big art, which can be expensive; she photographed her three children and zoomed in on their eyes; from left to right, meet William, Madeleine and Emma.
I love this idea, it shows that you can create something really original, personal and cool without breaking the bank.
Claudia’s kids bathroom was completed on a tight budget, but you’d never guess by looking at it.
The vanity for this bathroom and her main bathroom are both from Ikea and were very affordable.
The wall behind the vanity looks like wallpaper in the photo, but it’s actually tile. The tile was gifted to her from her good friend who had leftover sheets after her own home project.
I love Claudia’s attention to detail, like the cut out nook in the wall that she painted black, see above. This extra storage space means that she has less things cluttering on the counter top.
I also love these his and her hooks, they’re super cute and keep her kids from fighting over towels.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this quick bathroom peek? And thanks to Claudia and Guylaine, who love decorating, but don’t love getting photographed. What I find cool is that both of their photos were taken by their daughters.
Also if you are in the Moncton area and want to hire Guylaine, she will be launching her new site shortly, in the meantime, you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, not to brag, but she did the Gusto decor and is uber talented…full disclosure, she is my bff, but she really does have great taste and vision.
My next “At Home With” will focus on kitchens that are perfect for entertaining.
I’ll be sharing a video of my own bathroom on my Oui-Liette Facebook page tomorrow; it has two super cool features that I love, like my Facebook page for updates and bonus pictures.
At Home With…Nancy. Take a peek inside her 150 year old country house.
Have you ever been out for a walk or a drive and wanted to peek into someone’s window to see what their homes look like inside? OK, that’s creepy, lol, and probably slightly against the law? This series of posts will let you take a quick peek inside without being charged for stalking.
I’ve asked a few of my friends to share their favorite rooms and features of their homes with us; first up is my friend Nancy.
At Home With Nancy
Nancy and her family live 30 minutes outside of Moncton in this beautiful 150 year old country house.
To be honest, I could have featured her whole house, it’s beautiful. Her home is a mix of old pieces with colorful art from all her travels; if I had to describe her style, I would call it eclectic farmhouse chic. Farmhouse chic is in no way country, if that makes sense? It makes perfect sense to me,
My favorite room in her home is her hexagon, screened in, addition.
They spend a lot of time in this room; in the summer they eat most of their meals here and it looks like the perfect place for an afternoon nap. The natural wood and neutral colors makes this room feel like you’re outside, which I think was the point.
In the center of the room is a teak wood table, surrounded by comfy wicker chairs. Once the trees outside bloom, the room takes on a tree house feel.
She has a beautiful pendant light hanging from the ceiling; it must be so cozy at night. Nancy says it’s the perfect place to see the moon and to gaze at the stars.
The hammock hangs in front of the screened in windows, perfect for lazy naps, sans mosquitoes or black flies.
This old cabinet matched perfectly; the finish has been stripped down to its natural wood. It adds a bit of extra storage and it’s the only other piece of furniture in the room.
This is Bee and she buzzes around the hive like she owns the place! She enjoys facecloths and socks almost as much as she loves jumping into the river.
Home Office/Craft Room
Nancy has been working from home during the pandemic, so I asked if we could take a peek at her home office too?
Her second floor home office is a tranquil blue. She has colorful and whimsical pieces of art and pictures from her travels and local artists throughout her home. A lot of the wood pieces in her home, like her desk, have been stripped right to the wood; it creates a consistency throughout her home.
she has a lot of different boxes and containers for storage that are perfectly stacked, everything looks staged, but she had no clue she would be giving us a tour today and that I would be photographing her space. Who lives this organized in real life?? lol, I need to reflect on my cluttering habits on my drive back into town.
She has a door in her office that leads to a small balcony which floods the room with natural light. I can see her taking coffee breaks from her balcony in the summer and fall.
Her office also doubles as her craft room; she’s very artistic.
Her grandmother’s antic cabinet holds all of her crafting material. She works with a lot of feathers, which she keeps in clear plastic containers, they add fun pops of colors. My crafting area is not this neat!!
What does she do with the feathers you ask? She decided to pimp out the light fixture in her stairway; it’s now officially a piece of art. She says that her favorite part is when the feathers move in the breeze. I want her to make me one!! I need one!!
She also creates feathery headpieces; she made some for a joint birthday tea party for Claudia and I a few years ago; not that it was a competition, but mine was way bigger than Claudia’s! Lol
Nancy has an outdoor shower; her summer project is to install this vintage bathtub and make a spa like area outside in her backyard. She’s very “at one” with nature. She didn’t want to pose for the feature image so I jumped in her bathtub with my hot pink rubber boots…technically, they’re my cousin’s hot pink rubber boots.
I can’t wait to see how she sets this up in her backyard. I may need to test it out? I’ll bring my own bubbles.
Thank you for reading, feel free to share and subscribe to my blog below. I’ll be sharing a few more; At Home With…posts, in the next few weeks. The next edition will be a bathroom renovation from my interior decorator friend.
Behind the Scene
Nancy and I kept our distance, but I can’t say the same for Bee and I; she needed a few head rubs. I needed to share one more pic of Bee, she’s just a big bundle of love.
Bee jumping in a clean bed with her dirty paws!! It’s a good thing she’s super cute!