Downsizing. Well, that was fun! ‘Small’ Peek Take 1

Downsizing. The modern day buzz. You hear it in coffee shops, see it on magazine covers, bump into it around each corner. But what does it really mean? How do you go about downsizing anyway?

Well. I thought I knew. We decided now was the right time for this next step. I had a plan and thought it was good. My Mr. was on board with rolled up sleeves. We even got a jump on move out/move in crunch time by starting early. We donated, sold, and generally spread the wealth of our too-much-stuff around. In the early phase things were rolling along like a well oiled machine all in preparation for this snapshot of our downsized space.

Small Space Living_1

Not bad, right? Built-in storage – check. Modern kitchen, great outdoor living space – check, check. Open concept footprint – yes.

We even managed to put some things away in the beginning of this process. Yes, I was feeling pretty swish.

Small Space Living_2

We worked with our new landlord to swap out the basic builder’s chandie and give this space our own touch…

Small Space Living_5

We’ve got this! I’m pretty sure that’s what we said.

We were sad to say goodbye to our trestle table handcrafted by my hubs, but happy it would stay in the family and be put to use in Sea to Canvas studio by Ursula mom! These are the kinds of decisions you will be faced with when you embrace living in a smaller footprint home.

Monastery Table

Letting this meaningful piece go meant we had to find a replacement table that would be a good fit. We enjoy meals with friends, so our new table had to be expandable for our lifestyle yet fit into a condo size space. We were also wanting a classic Mid Century piece. That’s been our dream. I scoured the UsedVictoria ads hoping for a teak set to come our way! They don’t come up that often, at least not when you start to align budget, dimensions, condition, location and then of course answering the ad fast enough for even the slimmest shot at being first in the queue. Yes, Mid Century tables go fast!

So knowing all this, we were thrilled when money changed hands and WE got to wrestle this 1960s Danish Modern set into our new home! Don’t let the small profile fool you – teak is solid hardwood heavy and this table was no slouch in making us work for her!

Danish Modern Teak Table Rattan Chairs

The two table leafs slide in under the table top when not in use. Typical well thought out Danish Modern design! So far our plan was coming together…

But as the days began to tick by getting closer to our move-in date, our many trips of stuff began a slow creep…

Downsizing Creep

Wait, what? We really did go through our things and yes we really did let stuff go! Where did the zen of our small space go? Ugh.

So at this point we are now fully moved in. ‘All’ our stuff we opted to keep is here. And yes, we are literally boxed in. No, seriously. We ARE boxed in! Honestly, if you think downsizing is a cinch, I say you better cinch twice and then cinch again!

I hope you will pop back to check up on our progress. In the meantime, I’m off to list a few more things to sell, compile yet another load for the thrifts, and send out an SOS to family that if you need ‘it’ we probably have one or two!

If you’ve lived the downsizing move, what did you do? Please share your tips and strategies, because trust me, others need to know!

Thank you for stopping by!

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A Vintage Hat Box for the Total Experience!

If you’ve followed along with Audrey Would! on Instagram or Facebook, or places sZinteriors tends to pop up like sZinteriors on Facebook, then you might remember my hubs and I made a trip to Portland last summer. And part of that trip resulted in a custom hat for the Mr. being designed and handcrafted by Dayna Pinkham of Pinkham Millinery.

Here’s a shot of the guy in the hat…

Clemens Rettich Business Consulting Ltd

Right? Channelling a little Keith… maybe??

Read all about the custom hat experience over on Great Performances Group blog. You’ll be blown away at what style lies in 10,000 hours! However, what I’m excited about is finding a vintage hat box for said custom hat.

By now you know all about my love of vintage, the thrill of chasing down lost treasures, but generally that doesn’t include hat boxes. I do love them, yes I do, they just don’t come home with me. Usually.

Well… this one managed to sweet talk me. I guess if the hat fits right?

Vintage Hat Box

It’s a great ol’ hat box and there’s a definite connection…

Pork Pie Felt Hat, Vintage Hat Box

And if you sneak a peek into Keith’s closet ~ I mean the Mr.’s 😉 you will find a shirt that fits, too!

Striped Shirt, Pork Pie Hat

The play with stripes, basic black and silvery-gray, savvy attention to detail… that’s what I saw in the hat box. Design with intention, and attention to detail! BTW, if you’re curious about the wooden hangers, why yes, they’re a vintage find from another day and another time… I wrote about their interesting history here.

As much as the design of the hat box connected every which way, I was more concerned about the inside. Who wants to put a swanky custom pork pie hat into a grungy, stained box anyway?

Pork Pie Felt Hat, Vintage Hat Box (2)

If you are planning to use a vintage hat box, trunk, suitcase or other similar piece for storage, be careful with any deep musty smell of age. Trust me, this smell will penetrate whatever you place inside when it comes to felt hats and things.

Upon lifting the lid I discovered the inside was in excellent shape. No questionable stains, no icky musty smell. That meant this hat box was coming home with me – it was just meant to be!

Pork Pie Felt Hat, Vintage Hat Box_1

Now, what do you think, was this hat box meant to be?

What sweet little piece of vintage design have you come across in your travels? Did you buy it, dream about it or convince yourself you didn’t need it? Were you convinced it was or wasn’t meant to be?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Modern Kitchen Design with Retro Style: Pantone 2016 Meets Big Chill!

Welcome to my modern retro kitchen!

When I was invited by Lisa Tilley, Community Coordinator for Big Chill, to create a style board, well I was excited! You see, Big Chill specializes in cutting edge retro inspired kitchen appliances. They are designed based on the look of Mid-Century models, but with more function and space than Betty Draper would know what to do with!

And the colours? Oo-la-la, the colours!

Big Chill Standard Colours

These are the standard colours offered by Big Chill, but don’t fret. If you want something else there are over 200 custom colours to choose from!

For my style board, I was challenged to use a Big Chill stove as the centerpiece. We know the stove is the heart of the kitchen, and with these stoves, no need to question centerpiece! Now if you’ve followed along with Pantone’s dual colour surprise of the year, then you know it’s all about Serenity Blue and Rose Quartz. And of course, Big Chill can accommodate!

I have created two identical style boards for you to see just how incredible the heart of the kitchen can be!

The first style board features Big Chill’s fabulous 36″ retro stove in Pink Lemonade topped by the matching retro Bungalow Hood.

Retro Modern Kitchen - Big Chill Pink Lemonade

In keeping with the retro inspired stove, I chose to go with classic black and white tile flooring. And because I am a fan of industrial chic, have gone in that direction with the pendant lighting and the brick behind the stove. The marble clock, artwork and area rug bring in a few modern touches, and the vintage teacup and Mid-Century pitcher shake hands with the era that inspired the stove. I picture exposed raw beams with large, undressed windows, and maybe stainless, quartz or concrete countertops. I envision a simple table with dark, watered down stain applied to the top, paired with sleek mismatched EamesWegner and Cherner chairs…

In the second style board you see the same stove and range hood featured in Big Chill’s versatile Beach Blue.

Retro Modern Kitchen - Big Chill Beach Blue

I have left the Rose Quartz swatch in the mix to demonstrate just how versatile this Beach Blue is. I wanted you to see that pairing Rose Quartz and Beach Blue in the kitchen in no way feels like the nursery of pink and blue twins!

And when you take a second look at the teacup, notice how each feature colour gets pulled in. The key when working with these modernized retro colours is to let them steal the show! Everything else in the room should play a supporting role, but never try to compete.

If you could pick one of the nine colours above, which colour would you choose? If you could only pick between Pink Lemonade or Beach Blue, what would you do? And how would you work with Pantone’s 2016 shades of pink and blue?

Thanks for stopping by!

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I was invited to write this post, but this is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. Style Boards also created by me.






Skeleton Lamp Shade: I Finally Found The Perfect Lightbulb!

About 31/2 years ago I cleaned up a thrifted lamp and DIY’d a skeleton shade for it. The skeleton shade was one of those projects I was dying to do, had so much fun with and today enjoy this little lamp’s industrial/steam punk presence as much as the day it all came together.

Here’s a look back at the lamp and shade when it was all done…


Finding the right bulb was a challenge, and in the end I settled on this 40W bulb.


I loved the way this large, round bulb looked as it provided the effect I was going for… but even this 40W was really too bright without a filter over the shade.


This meant actually using the lamp was a bit moot since it was too bright to look at without seeing spots long after turning away!

I never stopped keeping an eye out for the right lightbulb, and read about all kinds of wonderful options I could pursue online. Of course I never did, never quite got to it… until we visited Portland, Oregon this summer.

We stopped in at a store call Rejuvenation. If you’re into reclaimed, repurposed, vintage and vintage inspired decor, this is the store for you! It’s a modern blend of old and new, and then there is this whole back area of salvaged wares.

Hardware, tools, doorknobs…

Rejuvenation Portland, OR (2)

Signs, lighting…

Rejuvenation Portland, OR (1)

A decorator DIYer’s dream…

Rejuvenation Portland, OR (3)

You get the picture, and you know me by now. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven! Oh the things I could have brought home with me, and well, there was one thing I actually did!

I know you know where I ‘m going with this. We were talking about the perfect lightbulb for my skeleton shade, after all.

When I saw Rejuvenation’s incredible selection of bulbs, I was hoping to find a bulb that would be a good fit. And then I saw this 40w beauty and knew it was meant to be.

Source: Rejuvenation
Source: Rejuvenation

 The half gold top was both aesthetically and functionally perfect! It’s like this bulb was designed for our lamp.


No more seeing spots when glancing at the light!

Rejuvenation Light Bulb, Half Gold (2)

And what a perfect top to compliment this old thrifted gold lamp, don’t you think?


We are now using this lamp for its intended purpose, and it has finally become more than a conversation piece!

Would you have a skeleton lamp shade in your decor? What kind of lightbulb would you choose?

Thanks for stopping by!

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All photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise indicated below image. Please link and credit if you choose to use.

5 Forgotten Bar Cart Essentials Every Bar Cart Must Have!

I was happy for another opportunity to create a style board for Chairish. My last board featured Chairish bar stools in a sleek vintage chic home bar setting… more on that here. This time it’s all about the essentials every bar cart owner must have! Well now, this is definitely a style board that makes me feel right at home.

Chairish provided these six bar carts to choose from, but definitely check out their bar cart section to see the full suite of options!

Brass Bar Carts

I opted to feature this 1940s solid brass beauty:

Sheila Zeller Interiors - Brass Bar Cart

I love the simplicity of this piece, it’s sleek lines and elegant oval shape. I am a weak-kneed fan of classic Hollywood glam, and just know this bar cart is dying to showcase some glamorous barware, sparkle and shine!

Instead of featuring typical barware basics for bar carts, I decided to highlight five essentials that are often overlooked. That’s right. These five little essentials can take your bar cart from ‘doing it right’ to down right cool-worthy (underscore)!

The 5 Forgotten Bar Cart Essentials

Here’s why and where you can shop to grab ’em quick:

1. Decanter Tags

Chalkboard Hang Tags - Sur La Table

I think you need at least one decanter if not three, to set the tone. They are showy and useful, but it sure helps to know what’s inside! Engraved silver decanter tags are super stunning and on my list of favourites for sure, but I’m all over these chalkboard labels. They let you change things up easy-peasy, and it doesn’t hurt that they are sleek in black but still keep things fun and light.

2. Cocktail Napkins

Georges Briard Cocktail Napkins - Poolhaus Vintage (Etsy)

Nothing serves a classic cocktail in a classic vintage coupe better than a beautiful napkin. We’re used to so many awesome paper choices, but why not go green on this? These vintage napkins are pure linen and designed by Mid Century great, Georges Briard. You know who Georges Briard is right?

3. Coasters

Black Lacquer Coasters - Chairish

No, not just any coasters! This brass bar cart is screaming for a touch of classic Hollywood Glam, and we have that in spades with these vintage black and gold lacquer coasters. And why coasters anyway? Well, they’re great for the stemless cocktail glasses, and they add a touch of cachet!

4. Cocktail Picks

BAR-4383 Cocktail Swords, Toledo (1)

If you’re going to serve a classic martini then you’ll need skewers for the 3 olives please! Actually, you will garnish many-a-cocktail and will be glad to have a swanky set of cocktail picks, or in this case vintage Toledo swords. Throw out the wooden toothpicks. There’s no place for them here!

5. Bottle Opener

Brass Crab Bottle Opener - Chairish

Your bar cart is a statement piece and it’s meant to pop. Well, that’s exactly what this brass crab will do. Who knew this shiny crustacean was actually a bottle opener in disguise?

You can go in many directions with your bar cart, there are just so many options and styles. But if you’re going with a brass bar cart like this you will want to stock up on glam barware basics, add a garnish and some splash with these forgotten essentials of the bar cart mix!
Bar Carts - 5 Forgotten Essentials
 And so… what’s next on your bar cart essential list? These Georges Briard cocktail napkins are definitely on mine! Update: I couldn’t resist!! Wanna see… click here!
 Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs for Chairish pieces taken from – click on product images for direct link to each source. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

Mid Century Modern Glass Top Coffee Table: Re-Staining Makeover

You might remember, in August I sourced this Mid Century glass top coffee table from Used Victoria. I wrote about the downsizing story behind it here.

Glass Top Table - Used Victoria Buy

My original plan was to paint this little table black – another display prop for Audrey Would! This turned into a re-staining project instead. I’ve never really tackled staining anything on my own and will admit I was a bit nervous.

From what I’ve read I know I should have stripped the old stain off first, but there were some pretty deep water stains to overcome so I went straight to sanding.

Mid Century Glass Top Table - Before (650) copy

If you want a great tutorial with some biodegradable product options for stripping old stain, check out my friend Shauna’s post here.

The sanding went fairly well and I was able to remove most signs of the water damage. I was left with the raw wood of the table looking like this:

Glass Top Table - Sanding - Sheila Zeller Interiors

After wiping away the sanding dust I applied Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner with a foam brush. This conditioner penetrates the wood to help ensure an even stain, and I chose to use this because of the pre-existing water stains.

Because I wasn’t 100% sure of the wood (I think it’s Mahogany), and I wanted to reinforce the table’s Mid Century Modern roots, I chose Minwax ‘Gunstock 231’ for the stain colour. This stain has the orangey-red teak feel without being too strong in either direction.

Minwax Wood Stain 'Gunstock 231' Colour

I also applied the stain with a foam brush and then wiped it away with a lint-free cloth. I am so glad I used the conditioner first as the wood really soaked the stain up. Here you can see the stain applied to the shelf, legs and end pieces. The side pieces hadn’t yet been stained, and yes, I panicked at the bright orange of the shelf at first!

Applying Minwax Gunsmoke Stain - DIY Mid Century Coffee Table

Without the conditioner it would have been really hard to apply the stain evenly on this shelf. The darker sections you see in the shelf are actually the wood itself, not uneven stain. This shelf was really tricky to work with and I had to give some spots more layers of stain than others to get it looking even.

Minwas Gunsmoke Stain - DIY Mid Century Coffee Table - Drying

I think the legs are maybe a different type of wood than the rest of the table, because the grain of them is more porous and they took the stain to a darker colour than the rest. The shelf took the longest to dry of all the areas, but it also had more layers of stain applied than the rest. In the end I left the table alone for 2 days to fully dry before moving it into place.

To recap, here is the table ‘Before’:

Glass Top Table - Used Victoria Buy

And ‘After’ (without the glass because the stain was still not fully dry in spots):

Mid Century Glass Top Coffee Table - DIY Re-Staining - Reveal

I almost left this project too close to the wire. You see, we hosted a cocktail party on Saturday night and I wanted the table ready in time, which it was but with no days to spare!

Mid Century Glass Top Coffee Table - DIY Re-Staining - Reveal (1)

In the end I’m happy with how this table came out – it isn’t actually as orange as it looks here. What I feel good about is having honoured the roots of this little piece rather than painting it my go-to black.

New sofas are next. They’re on the way, but had no chance to join this party. They won’t be here for another month. In the meantime we borrowed our daughter’s to replace the milk crates for a place to sit 😉

How about you? Have you stained anything like this, and if you have what are your tips? What do you use for a finish?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

Working With What You Have: Improvising a Pop-Up Booth Display

The Victoria Vintage Expo has come and gone for Audrey Would! , and I promised to share how our display island was created by working with pieces we already had – my favourite way to go! It was simple, seriously, but that’s often the case. Sometimes the hardest part is the vision.

This year the island display was created with these on-hand pieces:

  • 1 fold up TV table
  • 3 floor-standing vases
  • 4 ceramic tiles
  • Museum Putty
  • Tablecloths

Prop Collage - Display Stand

These items were chosen because of their varying heights. Displaying pieces at different levels helps them stand out, and for a display island it creates visual interest as a grouping.

Display DIY (2)

I bet you can guess where I’m going with the tiles!

Display DIY (6)

Because there was carpet in the booth space, also I placed one of the smaller tiles under the large vase for stability, and then used Museum Putty to secure the display-top tiles into place.

Prop Collage - Display Stand (2)

Have you ever used this putty? It’s really amazing, and what you see in the middle image is all you need, trust me. Once pressed into place, the tiles weren’t going anywhere!

I actually decided to flip the smaller vases over for better stability. With the tapered profile they were just a little too vulnerable to teetering if bumped, and because they are so much smaller than the large vase, I did not set them on tiles.

Display DIY (5)

With the tiles pushed snuggly together this part of the set up was a lot more stabilized.

Display DIY (7)

Tablecloths were used to pull it all together.


The plain black one was draped to the floor not only to hide the table legs, but to also visually blend the gaps between the props and create a unified presentation.

Display DIY (8)

The white tablecloth is a handmade vintage piece I picked up last year. I love the simple elegance of the candlewicking  and thought it was the perfect finishing touch to give the display some pop.

If you followed Audrey Would! leading up to the Vintage Expo then you might remember these Gifts to Go

Gifts to Go

They served a dual purpose. Vintage stemware was gift-boxed for sale, and these gift boxes became part of the display.

You can see how simple creating this island display was. It came down to improvising with things I already had on hand, but using them in a new way.

What do you think? Did it work?

Audrey Would Expo2015 - Gifts to Go Display

To see the full booth presentation, pop over to our blog at Audrey Would! If you are interested in a Gift-to-Go, they are available in our Stemware Collection at Audrey Would!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs taken by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!


Victoria Vintage Expo – Vancouver Island’s Hottest Vintage Event!

If you follow along then you know I’m planning and prepping Audrey Would!’s booth for the HOTTEST vintage event on Vancouver Island! You will find us at the Victoria Vintage Expo on Friday and Saturday, September 25-26. So excited!!

Victoria Vintage Expo 2015 Banner 976x380

This is the third year for the event, and we’re thrilled that it is also Audrey’s third year to participate. If you missed out last year, you can catch my wrap-up post here. Just a little taste of what to expect from Audrey Would!, top of the stairs in Booth #38! (Floor map of Booth locations here)

Find full EXPO details and more on Audrey Would! here.

Thanks for stopping by, can’t wait to see you there!

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A ‘Used Victoria’ Buy Made Me Pause and Reflect… Downsizing. What’s It All About?

As September kicks into high gear and the Victoria Vintage Expo draws near I have been shifting my focus to this year’s booth presentation. This has me clicking through the Used Victoria ads for potential DIY options.

And so I picked up this table… it caught my eye because of its lines and glass top.

Glass Top Table - Used Victoria Buy

It’s made of mahogany, and was crafted over 40 years ago.

My initial thought when I answered the ad was for a quick makeover, most likely my usual go-to black spray paint, maybe turquoise, gold or white, to become an Audrey Would! prop… and then I met the owner. If you’ve followed my blog over the years you will know how much the stories behind the pieces mean to me, and with this piece I inadvertently tripped upon a story about the journey of ‘life’.

You might want to sit with a cup of tea for this read.

An elderly gentleman answered my knock. Well, actually it was after I twice rang the doorbell and then looked for another door just in case. He apologized for not hearing the doorbell, said he and his wife didn’t hear so well anymore. He invited me in, and the home was clearly in the throes of being undone. I asked if he was moving, and “yes’ was his reply.

We made our way to this little table, which he showed to me with pride. I asked how old it was, and it was in this moment that I knew the little table was more than just a piece being moved on. The gentleman told me his son made the table in high school, and his son is now 58. He reflected that he thought his son had done a good job – the table was very solid and in good shape, you know. Then he shared how he and his wife have taken very good care of it over the years… all 40-plus years of its life… he said they kept plants on it and used doilies to protect it, and that they were very careful when they watered the plants not to get water on the wood… He said they had cleaned the glass, but I would probably have to clean it again.

And then he told me that he and his wife were moving into a Seniors’ home. They were downsizing and so things like this table their son had made had to go… I could see the struggle in his eyes, and I could hear it in his voice. Moving this table on was not easy to do, but it was just too big to fit this next phase of their life. He told me about when they first bought the house how they had added on and incorporated a crawl space. And that in this downsizing move he discovered old assorted scrap metal stored in the crawl space he’d forgotten all about… and how he took it to the scrap yard where they actually paid him to take it away! This made him chuckle. He marvelled at the huge weigh scale to weigh it all out, and how this big scale could weigh things right down to the size of a coffee can with precision… but he says, everything is electronic now-a-days. We laughed about how in the old days a scale used the slide and weights… 

We wrapped the table glass in a sheet I had brought, and he gently lifted it into my vehicle. I put the table in place, and he shifted my ‘in place’. Once he felt the table was a ‘secure’ load, we closed the hatch and money changed hands. He said again how his son had made the table and had done a good job, that the table had lasted all these years…

I promised him I would take very good care of the table, that I would give it a good home. And so… for now I will not be painting this table black or turquoise or white. I will not be adapting it for an Audrey prop at this year’s Vintage Expo. I will be giving it a light sanding and a fresh staining that brings out the mahogany red, and my Mr. and I have decided that we will be giving it pride of place in our home. Some things are meant to just be.

**UPDATE** The table has now been re-stained. Click here to see it pride-of-place in our home.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photograph courtesy of Used Victoria ad.