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
I’ve always been proud to be from Moncton and after living in the US, Las Vegas to be specific, for the past three years; I worked my magic to get transferred back to my hometown.
The most common questions asked about my big move news were: really??? And: are you happy about that?? My reply to both were yes and YESSS!!
So, why was I so keen to move back to this, who are we kidding, small city? What is there to love about Moncton?
The little city that could.
If I had to describe the people of Moncton, known as Monctonians, in one word, it would be: resilient…and industrious. OK, that’s two words, but whatever.
Our little city has been sucker punched a few times in its history. Each hit should have knocked us out and made us throw in the towel and fade away quietly.
But what can I say? Monctonians are scrappy by nature. What do you do when you are a one industry town and that industry picks up and walks away? You pick yourself up and shake it off…oh, and you take a look at what you have to offer, then hustle to get new industries to move to your city and completely reinvent yourself.
The city with a certain, je ne sais quoi?
Oui, c’est vrai, Moncton’s French speaking population, helps make the city pretty unique. Think about it; without them Moncton may as well be Saint John; not that there’s anything wrong with being Saint John.
Moncton’s vast bilingual population is one of the resources that helped to reinvent the city. When other New Brunswick cities struggled to modernize their economies, Moncton thrived; surpassing Saint John to become the largest city in New Brunswick; oh wow, I am really picking on SJ aren’t I? Sorry!
Moncton’s mix of French and English, who BTW live together in peace and harmony, also give the city a live & let live/laisser faire, vibe, which I love.
I’ve visited many small towns and cities in both Canada and the US, that have very small town ideas/thinking, which is perfectly fine, but Moncton is a small city with a big city vibe and outlook. Maybe we don’t realize that we are small? Or maybe thinking big just comes naturally to us?
Whatever the reason, this big, little city, has a very cosmopolitan vibe and is open to new ideas and new people. Maybe it’s because Monctonians are so well traveled? People here travel…a lot. I thought that this was normal until I went to smaller and bigger places and met people who had never been anywhere.
My grandparents, who were two old school Acadians, became globetrotters once they retired. They had a lust for life and wanted to see and experience as much as they could, this is a very Moncton way of thinking. They even visited China! Fun fact, I didn’t realize how insecure my grandmother was about talking in English until my dad and I took her to Florida and she kept asking me to ask the waitresses stuff, yet she visited Europe and beyond; my dad was also a globetrotter; I discovered that he had traveled to Africa twice when he was in his twenties. I guess that’s where I get my globetrotting genes?
I think that because so many Monctonians travel the world it makes us, well more worldly, lol.
It tastes good.
It’s easy to take local things for granted until you have something to compare them to. Growing up in the Maritimes, going to the wharf with your dad and waiting for the fishing boats to come in to buy lobster wasn’t a big deal.
With a little perspective, you realize that there aren’t many places that offer the world’s best seafood, literally, fresh off the boat…like literally!
World class lobster, crab, mussels and oysters can be found here, all available in this little city.
Growing up here, in the 70’s & 80’s, there weren’t a lot of different « exotic » foods available; by exotic, I mean stuff like avocados, lol. We did have a few Chinese food places, but that was pretty much it.
Moncton now has a great diverse foodie scene, with authentic Indian, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Syrian…options. I was just told about a super cute Korean BBQ place in Dieppe, which technically isn’t Moncton, but tomato, tomato. Lol, it’s on my list to try.
So let’s be proud of our city and if you live in Saint John, be proud of Saint John!!! No matter what city you live in, big or small, get out there and find new things to try, do, see and taste!!
If you‘re wondering where the best beaches in Canada are, let me, let you in on a little secret, they’re in New Brunswick!! Yes NB, that little, sometimes forgotten province that you need to drive through to get to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Yup that’s the one!
And although we have beautiful beaches up the entire Acadian Coast, the best of the best are in the south eastern part of the province. Why? Because this area has the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.
Why is the water in this area warmer than Main which is just to the south of us? The area, between NB and PEI, is shallower because it’s in between two land masses, so it warms up quicker.
I bet you didn’t think this was going to be geography lesson? Keep reading, the pretty beach pics are coming up, lol.
This is my last map, I promise; now you may have noticed that PEI’s south side also faces the Northumberland Straight and you may be wondering if the beaches along that coast are just as sandy and warm as the ones on the NB side? Well probably, but those beaches are most likely full of potatoes and really who wants to lay on a beach full of potatoes?? I know that I don’t. (Please note that the amount of potatoes on the PEI beaches may be slightly exaggerated for comedic effect? But honestly, who really knows?)
What isn’t in question are the beautiful, sandy and warm beaches from Murray Corner, Cap Pelé, Shediac to just past Bouctouche.
How warm does the water get? In August the average temperature in Shediac can reach 24 degrees Celsius. That’s pretty much bath water for most Canadians, lol.
Now the beaches in Nova Scotia aren’t littered with potatoes, but they are very rocky, unlike NB’s sandy beaches, so don’t bother going to those.
The dark colour of the sand gives the water the most beautiful shades of blue.
We are also blessed with the highest and lowest tides…in the world!!! You’re probably a bit skeptical about my accuracy after my potato beach statement? But this is a fact, you can look it up if you don’t believe me. This freakish phenomenon means that at low tide you can walk on the sandbars looking for sand dollars or starfish.
The three most popular beaches are Parlee Beach in Shediac, l’Aboiteau in Cap Pelé and les Dunes in Bouctouche. But there are many more that are just as lovely, like Grande Digue, Caissie Cape and Cape Bimet. Soooo many amazing warm beaches!!!
Living away from the Maritimes for the last few years, I now have a new appreciation for fishing boats, lighthouses and colourful buoys. They are post card perfect and very Instagramable.
For my Ontario and Prairie readers, these are buoys, see below. They get attached to lobster traps and fishing nets. Each fisherman will have his or her own colour or their specific number on them. You don’t touch another’s buoys! Unless you want to sleep with the fishes.
The blue water and sky are made even more beautiful with pops of the bright green shades of beach grass. If you can’t see the beauty in this, then we can’t be friends, you can stop reading at anytime now, I am breaking up with you.
Our pristine NB beaches are littered with oyster, mussel and clam shells with the prettiest shades of blues and purples.
Having grown up swimming in the ocean this is my happy place, I love floating about.
The smell of the salty air is intoxicating, I think anyone who has grown up near the ocean feels the same way, even those from the PEI potato beaches.
Another bonus is that there really aren’t things in the water here that can kill you, even our jellyfish are pretty tame and they are all but gone by July.
Sooooo, this just in! Apparently there are great white sharks a little too close to the Northumberland Straight for my comfort. They’ve been spotted and tracked to the north and south of us, but there have been no sightings or attacks in our area. I am hoping the tides will keep them at bay? I’ve also been told that they have always been this far north, but we didn’t know until they started tagging and tracking them. I am choosing to not dwell on this so that I am able to enjoy my swims without hearing the Jaws theme song in my head, over and over again.
In August one of my favorite things to do is to meet a friend or two at the beach for an early evening swim. Watching the sunset from the water is truly magical.
And there is nothing better after a hard day of beaching than a fresh seafood feast!! Like, fresh, fresh!!
I do have to warn you that all day beaching, sun-ing and swimming is exhausting!!! Oh and I have one other cautionary advice for you, when snorkeling, don’t forget to put sunscreen on your butt, speaking from experience…ouch.
I think this picture above tells the tail of how exhausting all that sun and sand is; I could barely keep my eyes open while we waited for our fried claims and scallops at Pirate de la mer.
My plan is to get in as much beach time in the next few weeks until the air turns and gets cooler, announcing the arrival of fall.
Thank you so much for reading! Please check out my Instagram and Facebook accounts at: oui-liette. And feel free to comment, like and share.
Sorry to PEI and NS for the shade in this post, I still love you! But NB beaches are just better 😬
Soooo my deck is done. My original design plan was to do something monochromatic with whites and off whites. Well that lasted for 1.0 seconds; I got distracted and yadda, yadda, yadda, it looks like Malibu Barbie’s deck.
Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before.
Was I going for A Malibu Barbie look? No, but is that a bad thing? Meh, not really? My first curveball was that my big wicker chair with a big cream cushion from Waifare was backlogged until the end of August, so canceled my order; and really where was I going to store that during the 10 months of winter? Kidding, the 9 months of winter.
Then I saw this pink chair from Terra Verde and it blew my whole shabby chic plan to shit! Lol. It’s made of plastic, by a company called Twist from Quebec, and it very much looks like a Barbie chair; it’s fairly comfy. The faux grass helps complete my Barbie look.
This love seat reminded me of retro Palms Springs, I got it at Homesense. I found two 80’s style outdoor cushions that go with my, none neutral, pink and blue colours. They fall through the openings in the back of both the love seat and the pink chair; but hey, they match!
I bought two big blue planters at Walmart and I’ve been told to add miracle grow when I water them, so that they will eventually overflow my pots; they’ve already grown a lot since getting them. After I blew my white and off white colour scheme, I decided to go with the blue, green and pink colours of my planters. I’m making it work.
I also have my pretty birdhouses, that are locally made here in Moncton, on display and I love my pink and lime green flower pots that I got in Sackville at Blooms.
I also bought a lavender tree, just because, and it smells soooo good! It’s to the right of my loveseat below.
One of the perks of being downtown is that there are no bugs!! And there’s always a really nice breeze up here on the third floor; it’s really cozy at night.
How do you like my balls? They’re metal and have a Moroccan vibe. I’ve used them outside and inside, they are really unique and pretty lit; I’ve already been asked where I got them? They are from Home Depot.
I keep moving my white and pink chairs back and forth, but I think this is the best spots for each?
Even without Miracle Grow, my planters are thriving! I need to share one last pic, just to show off a bit; I’m also pretty proud that I haven’t killed them. Looking forward to have the lime green plant drape over the edge of the pot. And today the big top plant sprouted a yellow flower, which is not part of my colour scheme! lol, I’ve had this kind of plant before and never had them flower.
Thank you for reading! I post extra pics on my Facebook page so go like it if you haven’t already; oui-liette. Also, fun fact, my deck gets the sun in the afternoon and evening, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset over our little city and the lighting is perfect for selfies!!!
Last weekend I was driving down Mountain Rd in Moncton, minding my own business, when something caught my eye; I saw the most colourful and unique birdhouses strewn across a parking lot.
After picking up my friend Mary Helen, we went back to the parking lot to meet the birdhouse lady.
Two funny things; the first is that the birdhouse lady’s name is Blanche, which in French means white; her birdhouses are pretty much every colour but white (except for her Acadian houses). The second thing is that I had just shared a blog post about colourful Maritime houses and then, bam! More colourful houses!
I posted a few pics on Facebook and got inundated with questions of where people could buy them. Someone introduced me to her daughter who shared where her mom would be this weekend.
Weather permitting, on Saturdays Blanche is usually in Moncton on Mountain Rd, across the street from Rosario’s Restaurant. And on Sundays in Shediac, on the corner of Main St and Pointe du chêne Rd, in the parking lot across the Irving.
Blanche is a true folk artist with a warm and welcoming personality who creates beautifully colourful houses; they just making you smile when you see them. I went back to see her this morning to buy a few houses for one of my cousin’s and had the opportunity to chat with her for a bit.
Blanche was kind enough to share a bit of her background with me. Her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring; at 13 she found herself homeless and sleeping in a car. She experienced many traumatic events and hardships in her young life. Unable to read or write she turned to carpentry and has been working in construction all of her life.
First of all; how bad ass is it to be a woman who makes her living in construction? It’s super bad ass!! Lol. She shared that she is able to do pretty much everything except for brick layering. She owns a small house in Moncton and updated her plumbing on her own; once done she had a licensed plumber come check her work. He confirmed everything was up to code and done perfectly. She said that she made him turn the water back on and there were no leaks!
She started making and painting these little houses and sells them on weekends. After knowing more about Blanche, I believe that the reason that so many people are drawn to her houses is because it’s a reflection of her spirit and joie de vivre. It may sound corny, but I believe that when something is created with love people are unconsciously drawn to them.
To contact Blanche you can leave her a message on Facebook (Blanche Young) and I encourage you to post pictures of your birdhouses once you get them home and tag her. Her daughter helps her with her Facebook page and will be posting updates on where she will be selling her works of art.
Thank you for reading! Like Blanche’s Facebook page: Blanche Young. Let’s support our local artists and let’s be thankful for all the bad ass woman out there, they are an example for us all!
Défi Best Lobster Roll in le Sud-Est/South East NB
Lobster is serious business in these parts of Atlantic Canada; the Bay of Fundy has the best lobster in the world! It’s a fact, look it up.
I grew up eating lobster, my grandfather’s family were lobster fisherman, as was my father’s favorite uncle on my grandmother’s side. His name was Livain and he used to take us out on his fishing boat and let my brother and I help him pull up his “special” lobster trap. Looking back, it now seems a bit fishy that there were always a few lobsters waiting for us.
I am sharing these details of my childhood to demonstrate that I am more than qualified for this special challenge; to find the best lobster rolls dans le sud-est du Nouveau Brunswick! We also mix our French and English in these parts, so try to keep up! Lol
**I obviously didn’t try every place in le sud-est, but I did my best. Feel free to leave a comment if there is a place that I need to try.
For our first lobster roll we went to Shediac, pronounced: shed-dee-ack, for my none Maritime friends. Why was Shediac our first stop? Because it’s the lobster capital of the world, that’s why.
Here’s the proof in case you didn’t believe me.
Golden Fry, Shediac
I’m not going to lie, when I opened my bag and saw that the mayonnaise wasn’t mixed in with my lobster, I was a bit worried; I like it all mixed together, but it was really yummy!! The lettuce, which I don’t love in a lobster roll, I prefer celery, was fresh and crisp, so I didn’t mind it. There was enough mayonnaise and most importantly the lobster didn’t taste frozen!!! I am giving Golden Fry a solid 8 claws out of 10.
Chez Léo, Shediac Bridge
Chez Léo has been open since 1961 and reminds me a lot of my dad; he used take me there for fried clams. Here’s another fun fact, it’s on the other side of a bridge that only has one lane. It has no lights or stop sign, yet people instinctively take turns going across; three cars will go and then the fourth car will let a few cars from the other side cross. That may not sound abnormal for my fellow Maritimers, but in Toronto or the US that would cause anarchy, lol.
Back to lobster rolls; the lobster was fresh, they asked me if I wanted with or without mayo, which I appreciated. It was tasty, giving it a solid 8 claws out of 10. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
It’s funny that Moncton, even though it’s exactly 15 minutes from the ocean, isn’t considered a coastal town by the locals and not the place to go for a great lobster roll; like Monctonians are way too far inland to know anything about lobster, lol.
Hynes Restaurant, Moncton
Hynes restaurants is probably Moncton’s oldest dinner; it’s been around longer than I have.
Their lobster was lightly mixed with the mayonnaise, which I like and they didn’t have lettuce, which I appreciated. Some places add lettuce as a filler, I am not down with that trick! Lol. The lobster was most likely from a lobster pack, which is frozen, but that’s fine, most places do use lobster packs for their lobster rolls.
Giving Hynes a respectable 7 claws out of 10.
Skipper Jacks, Moncton
Skipper Jacks apparently has a new menu, according to my mom, who had lunch there recently; she had the lobster chowder and raved about it. I got a lobster roll to go and it was delish!! The bun was toasted extra crispy the way I like; they didn’t have their lobster mixed with the mayo, but I am starting to change my point of view regarding this important aspect of lobster rolling.
The lobster tasted fresh and not frozen and it’s one of the few rolls so far that had pieces of tail and not just claws and knuckles. I am giving Skipper Jacks 9 claws out of 10!! 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
Euston Park, Moncton
This was my first time at Euston Park, which is an outdoor eating/bar area. It’s so cute!!! But how was their lobster roll??
It looked really pretty, the bread was fresh and crunchy, the lobster was overflowing out of the bun and it was tasty. The curveball is that it included Tarragon; it wasn’t a traditional lobster roll, it was a fancy lobster roll. My first bite was like oh!! I wasn’t 100% sure about it, but my second bite was like, ok, I could be down with this?
I am going to give it 8 claws out of 10, but if you aren’t a fan of Tarragon then this isn’t the roll for you; roll on. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
You can’t be on the hunt for the best lobster roll without rolling into the Bay of Fundy.
Fundy Take-Out, Alma
Our first stop is the little shop on the right of the entrance of Fundy National Park, it’s appropriately called Fundy Take-Out.
This lobster roll was ok, I can imagine how good it would taste after a long hike in the park. There could have been a little more mayonnaise, but the bun was the best to date; it was nice and crispy. I found it a bit bland and had to add a bit of salt, which is fine. I think the more lobster rolls I eat the pickier I am getting? I am going to give Fundy Take-Out 7 claws out of 10; which is still a solid score. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
Our next two stops are in Cape Pelé; Fred’s and L’aboiteau.
Fred’s Restaurant, Cape Pelé
I had options at Fred’s, with or without mayo and with or without lettuce. I’m not going to lie, having the mayo just drizzled like this looked weird and plain, but it was yummy, the lobster was fresh and the bun was crispy. Giving Fred’s 8 claws out of 10. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
L’aboiteau has a restaurant in the beach area and a small place right on the wharf; we ate at the wharf location.
This lobster roll had pieces of tail; it was fresh, crispy and super tasty! I am giving this roll a 9 of 10 claws!!!! 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
I obviously didn’t get a chance to eat at all the lobster places, sadly. A few places in Alma were closed when we went, due to COVID. We didn’t make it to Bouctouche, where in the past, I’ve had the best lobster rolls ever. That’s why none of the lobster rolls on my list got a 10 out of 10; I was saving some room for Bouctouche. So please when doing your own taste test, do not forget to go to Bouctouche!
Of the 8 places I visit, two places got 9 claws out of 10; Skipper Jacks in Moncton and L’aboiteau Wharf in Cape Pelé. They both had juicy pieces of tail, oh that sounds odd and mildly inappropriate, Lol. What I meant is that most places only had pieces of lobster claws and knuckles; that’s what made the difference for me and why they scored higher.
Let’s be real, it’s really hard to make a bad lobster roll in these parts, but these two stood out from the crowd.
Thank you for reading, I hope you get to try a few of these places on your own this summer. It’s a tough job, but I am willing to keep eating local lobster rolls until I’ve tried them all…you’re welcome!! Please shop local and tip your server a bit extra! Especially the seasonal places.
Feel free to recommend a place I should to try, here in the comment section below, or on my Facebook page.
Hey check mes pen d’oreilles de homard!!! 🤣
Behind the Scenes Extras
Fun fact, I thought that others added celery to their lobster rolls, but turns out they don’t, but they clearly should! Try it.
I created a fun side list; here are the winners!!
Best View – Alma!! To be eating your lobster roll on a wharf or beside an actual fishing boat is pretty awesome. The boat, pictured here, will be completely submerged at high tide; FYI for my readers that aren’t aware of our crazy tides.
Best view runner up was L’aboiteau. This view is not too shabby either.
Most Impressive Lobster – Shediac, it wasn’t even a competition, it’s ginormous. I invite locals to climb up on it and take tacky tourist pics; live a little. I hadn’t climbed up in….mmm a decade or two?
Cutest Lobster Accessory
Torn between my Sex, Drugs & Lobster Roll t-shirt and my giant lobster earrings. I chose not to wear them together as that would be too much; yes, I guess that’s the line! Lol
Cutest Lobster Shack – It’s a beautiful shade of purple, so it wins! Sadly it wasn’t open yet for the season, but it still wins as cutest and I will be back!
One of the things that struct me when I first moved, to the west coast of the US, was that all the houses were the same colour, a light beige ish, they also all looked the same. They were all Spanish looking, at least they looked Spanish ish to a girl from the east coast.
I would go to my friends homes and have to look up the house number because once on the proper street, I couldn’t remember which house was theirs, even though I had been there before.
I moved to the desert in the summer when everything was brown and dried up. I remember how green everything looked on my first visit back to Canada. I had never noticed how freaking green New Brunswick was; I was seriously amazed.
The same was true with the houses; who knew that Maritime houses were so exotic? Growing up here exotic was the last word I would have used to describe anything about us.
Since I’ve moved back, I’ve been unconsciously taking pictures of colourful houses. I am always taking pictures of random things. I notice my new obsession with brightly coloured houses when I happened upon this pink house, below, during a Covid sanity drive; as I drove past it I had an uncontrollable need to turn around and take a picture of it. I physically had to stop, turn around, and take a picture.
My hope for this post is that my fellow Maritimers will look at the pretty pictures and be like; she’s right, these are pretty funky. And that my American desert friends will enjoy looking at exotic homes from where I grew up.
These houses just make me happy! These are anything but mellow yellow!
Yellow seems to be the most popular colourful house colour around here.
I know that colourful houses are not unique to Atlantic Canada. I did a bit of research and the most common explanation is that it ties back to fishing villages. Fishermen would paint their homes vibrant colours in order to see them as they sailed into the harbour. I’ve always loved colour, as a Maritimer, I guess it’s in my DNA.
I love the purple houses the best…I think? Which is your fav?
Once we are allowed to roam between province, I am going to add to my colourful house pictures to my collection; ouff I can’t wait to roam!
This post could have been called Colours of Atlantic Canada in order to include Newfoundland and it’s beautiful row houses, I’ll do a dedicated post to them on my next trip to the rock.
Thank you for reading this cheery post, I felt something light, fluffy and pretty was called for.
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.