Something From Nothing and a little bit of Everything!

The art of turning "good junk" into "great design"

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris, Hopes and Fears for Art (1882)

Friday, September 19, 2014

More Fall Decor

Isn't fall the best time for decorating?  I love the colours and the textures that fall introduces, and although I decorated my mantle 2 weeks ago, a day off with time to look around, meant changing things up. 
It is so much fun to go "shopping" in your home and find the stuff that you can make work in another room, or an unexpected twist for an object that you have had for a long time. 
I decided that my book shelves were way too busy for my minimalistic personality and they were causing conflict with my equally busy mantle.  A few tweaks here and there, and I think it is much calmer. 

I already had the can of spray paint from another project so it was just a quick spray to cover the tin pail and when I turn the butterfly toward the fireplace, no one even knows it is there.

I found silk florals (mums, Japanese lanterns, and some foliage) at Michaels with a 40% discount.  My new arrangement was just $22.00 and will look great for many seasons. I didn't want to cut the stems, in case I decided to use them in another container one day, so I just bent them and fastened them together with  a really fancy elastic band.

This little box was a little sad with only half a bottom, but Jeff found the perfect piece to nail in place and finish it off.  A piece of muslin to line it, and it is home to a great crop of pumpkins.

2 bags of mini pumpkins at the grocery store for $3.99 each for a pop of colour .  I washed them in bleach as I had seen on Pinterest, in an effort to help them to last longer.

                                 Oh, and I added a little something new to my cheesebox that is featured in the post Family Room Finds but  that's a post for another day. 

Happy Fall

Friday, September 12, 2014


Now there is an upside to having wood paneling everywhere in my house, it does add character once painted.  My house is so small that I had to paint everything white to make it brighter and feel bigger. Again I do have a wish list for this room and  all in good time I will start crossing them off!

First I painted everything white with one of my favourite paints. Its called CIL Smart3 Wash & Wear Furniture and Cabinet Melamine finish. It is so amazing, goes on really easily and blocks out the wood colour. You can get all the details here on Home Depot website.

I removed the cupboard above the fridge because it wasn't very handy being there! It has made a huge difference not being there and is in keeping with the airy feel. 

When I bought this house the previous homeowners knew that the stove did not work but they did not tell me that. The stove top worked but the only thing that worked in the oven was the broil! I wasn't overly upset because that oven was so ugly and old. So out with the old and in with the new. I got this stainless steal oven on Kijiji for only $200!! The new oven has the controls on the front not at the back which gave the illusion of having much more room (which this kitchen needs a lot of)

There was a table top dishwasher on a cabinet that was mobile. I guess they used to wheel it over to the sink to wash the dishes. Well it just had to go because it was taking up way more room that this kitchen has. Once gone it opens up the space so much more and works much better for me.

I decided to keep the ceiling the wood paneling because it was lighter and nicer than the paneling on the walls. Also it just adds the perfect amount of character and warmth and works well with the white walls and nautical feel I am going for.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

And it starts

I have never had a house with a theme but since this place is so close to the water and feels like a cottage I decided on nautical lake house. It is clear to see that this house has not been updated in a long time. There are plenty of things that I would love to do in this house unfortunately everything I would like to do costs a lot of money and time. I really thought there were a lot of things about the house that I could not live with. Like the super small bathroom, kitchen, and bedrooms (lets be serious the whole house is small). Surprisingly after living here for one year it is the perfect size and layout for me. There are a lot of cosmetic things that I just couldn't wait to get my hands on! I started with the first room that you walk into, the living room. 

Here is the before of what the living room was like. The room is very small and the wood panelling and colours on the wall wasn't helping anything. Almost all the walls in the house were painted a pale yellow cream that just washed everything out. It all just had to go~the wood, curtains, and wall colour. I would love to tell you that I ripped out the carpet but.... I haven't yet. There is a subfloor in one of the bedrooms that needs to be replaced first. I have been told that houses like this with a crawl space often have issues with support beams, mold, and proper air flow. So before I go tearing up the floor I better be somewhat prepared for what I find underneath the floor! So I am living with it until I can't take it anymore!

So the first order of business:
Prime all the wood white
Then take that valance down. It was driving me crazy! 
Paint all the wood white
Paint the ceiling 
Paint the walls

It was kinda a crazy time, I think I left myself 2 days to paint everything before all my stuff was moving in. I had the help of a friend and my mom to help me paint. I believe in the end we had 3-4 coats of paint on all the wood.

Ta Da! I cannot for the life of me remember the paint colour. In the confusion of moving it is lost forever. It is a Martha Stewart light blue/grey colour, very bright and refreshing. Surprisingly almost all my furniture fit pretty perfectly. This picture was taken this winter and I have changed things around  a bit.

So this was the first room that got a new look and I love it! Weird enough I hardly bought anything for this new house, and it has a totally different feel than my previous place. I will update some pictures to show how things have changed over the past few months. Next project, a VERY small kitchen with a very weird layout.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Picture Going Up The Stairs

Now this project has been on my list for years. I always wanted to put some sort of pictures going up the staircase. To me it just looks so good, so I finally wrestled out these vintage botanical prints from when Iused them in my dining room and got to work.

The frames were from Michaels and only cost $7.00 each. Not too bad. Then I had some burlap left over from projects (who am I kidding I have a whole roll of it in my closet, for emergencies. You can never have enough burlap) Then I put on the prints. They look similar to the ones I have in my dining room but the frame size is bigger. I didn't want them to look the exact same so it worked out.

 I have a split staircase so this is me looking down at the bottom set of stairs. Kinda boring eh.

 This is standing on the bottom of the stairs looking up.

So basically I hung the frames at gallery height which is 57". Then I just hung them on every other stair. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

House Before Pictures

One year today I purchased a small cottage/lake house with a major need to be updated! The house is around 50 years old built in a small town on Lake Simcoe, Ontario. This house is a hop skip and a jump from waterfront, private beach, boat marina, and golf course. I fell in love with the neighbourhood because of its laid back cottage country feel... The house on the other hand took a lot of convincing! I saw this house 3 times before I finally made up my mind to buy it. Even though it's not a lot of house, it has a huge backyard, outdoor sheds, garage, gazebo, several flower gardens, front and back deck, and potential for a bunkie. It also came with its downsides like septic system, well water, lots of maintenance, oh and let's not forget the tiny kitchen and bathroom. Finally in the end the pros outweighed the cons and I decided that it was the one for me. I have been in this house a year today and I have had ups and downs great times and bad but overall I know I made the right decision! So here is a sample of what the house was looking like when I bought the place one year ago.

This is the view from the living room into the kitchen... I know I can barely look at the wood panelling either!!


Yes you are seeing it right...that is my kitchen (told you it was super small). This is a huge issue for resale and the future for the house. For me living alone in this house it actually works quite nice for now.

Yep thats the ugh bathroom..... Can you see why I was worried about this place?  The bathroom works well for me and I have no major issues with it right now. It's a project that will be tackled in the future.

Then down the hallway there are 3 small cozy bedrooms. Cant wait to share some of the amazing changes that has happened in the past year to this place.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lake House

I'M BACK!!! Feels great to be getting back into the swing of things. Sorry to everyone who was waiting on us to get back to it! I will have lots of Before and Afters and DIY projects posts soon enough because I purchased another house. Lots of work that needs to be done to this little cottage very close to the water in a small town. Cant wait to share it with you all! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Autumn Mantle with Pallet Sign

Well after much unsuccessful hunting for a pallet, (one got sold in our old truck, because Handy Husband couldn't imagine what we would do with it) I remembered that I had saved some weathered wood that I had thought about having someone handy, make into a picture frame.  That project never came to fruition, and on the weekend I decided to transform it, with a little help, into a sign for the fall mantle.

The beginning of my masterpiece
Jeff cut the pieces into approximately 17 inch pieces and I loved these worn edges.

Handy hubby cleated these together with a piece of wood at the back and then I had my canvas to start painting.  The inspiration for my Autumn sign, although mine is much smaller, came from a pin that I had repined a few months ago.You can check out the blog at . 

Fall Mantel with pallet wood sign by Serendipity Refined
Inspiration Picture from Pinterest.

I had printed out a clip art leaf to use for reference and drew it on the sign with chalk. 

 Acrylic craft paints in red, orange and yellow and the leaf was complete. The weathered wood showing through gives the leaf great texture.  I looked online for a quote or poem that I liked and found this.  "Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons" Jim Bishop

I printed it out in a font that I liked and then turned the paper over and covered the back with chalk.  Next I laid the paper on the wood where I wanted the text, and went over the font with a pen.  The chalk transferred the letters to the board, and then I went over them with  a sharpie marker. There is a dark mark on the centre piece of wood, but some nail polish remover and some vinegar lightened it up enough to make that line readable.

 The mantle at night.  Have to love the battery operated candles that look so realistic

When the mini pumpkins are ready they will complete the look of our Fall Mantle 2014.

This was a quick Sunday afternoon project and is a true example of creating Something From Nothing- No trip to the store, No cost. Oh and I forgot to mention that later in the afternoon my husband found a pallet, so the thinking cap is on for the next project.