Shopping ‘Used’? Remember What You Went For!

Do you ever shop the used sites online? I love to scour our local ads, and not too long ago I came across this one for a sweet vintage typewriter table.

Used Cowichan

I’ve been looking for a small writing table as an alternate work station in our home. But not just any table. So when I saw this little beauty, I was smitten. What’s not to love, right? Vintage 1950s or 60s, a nod to the changing role women played in the 20th century… You know – all those things that make my heart skip a beat! 😉

I made the call to set up a viewing, and when I headed off this was my ‘must meet’ criteria:

  1. The scale needed to fit my intended purpose, and placement;
  2. Its finish, preferably original;
  3. The price, hopefully negotiable.
As soon as I saw the table, right away I could see it was too low. Like, almost as low as my heart sank 🙁  Once up close and personal, I could see the green finish was not the factory finish. The photo shows that when you look at the shelf underneath, but I like to see these variances for myself. And the price. Well, I never got to the negotiating stage to find out if there was any flex in the price.
Here’s another look.

 Used Cowichan

I really fell for this little guy. And I found myself trying to talk myself into buying it just because it melted my heart.  I mean, I could slide it into place as an end table, a phone table, or a bedside table. I could use it for another folding surface in my laundry area, I could sew on it… heck, I could even wheel it around and multi-purpose it!

But… none of these uses was what I went for. And even though I loved the green in spite of it not being the factory finish, I had to let this one go.

My tips if you’re shopping ‘used’…

  1. Know what you want;
  2. Know why you want it;
  3. Know what you’re willing to pay;
  4. Know when you need to walk away (need, not want)!

And if you’re looking for vintage, do your homework.

  1. Find out a little bit about the piece before you go.
  2. Try to find out roughly what circa it is;
  3. Have an idea of the average asking price for pieces like it so you know how much wriggle room you have;
  4. Pay attention to the details.

This little guy is in great shape, and has definitely been refinished. The colour is not the factory finish, and the drawer pull is not the original hardware. This piece has been nicely refinished, and you also see the efforts of that work reflected in the asking price. You need to know if that’s part of what you want to pay for.

In my case, I had to walk away because as much as I loved this little guy, little was the problem. It was a little too low to serve the purpose I needed it to.

Urban Remains Chicago

Have you done any ‘used’ shopping lately? What’s on your checklist when you set out for a potential purchase? Got any great stories to share?

Thanks for stopping by!

Change It Up… One-Two-Three

So our stormy weather blasted through, flipped our BBQ over (yup, it’s toast), knocked our power out, and did in one of our mega UPS battery power bars… so glad we had the UPS though, or it could’ve been the audio equipment instead 😐

Guess why this folding screen caught my eye…

Source: Pinterest

Let’s just say I’m ready for some sunshine and colour! Bright, cheerful, playful and dry!

Since I’ve got you looking at the folding screen, I decided to share a few more. I know they’re nothing new, but they are an easy way to give your space a fresh look. And now might be the perfect time to change things up just a bit.

 See how the mirrored screens frame this space?

Source: Meet Me In Philadelphia Blog

Imagine this space without them. Do you think you would like it as much?

Or this one with the antiqued mirror screen…

Source: Message Note

It adds to the old world charm, and creates the illusion of a larger space. Did you notice how it picks up where the mirror over the fireplace ends?

Maybe you would like to be carried off to another place.

Source: Confetti Style Blog

With this folding acrylic screen, would this weekend in Paris do?

Or is an outdoor retreat more for you?

Perhaps near the ocean?

Source: Web Urbanist

Believe it or not, this natural tree divider does fold! It would be tough to store, but what an impact it makes!

Or maybe you’d rather farmland like the Prairies instead…

This screen is made with laminated rye straw set in resin and acrylic…

Source: Home Interior Design Info

I think this is so pretty…

And here you can see that it really is a screen!

Source: Home Interior Design Info

It’s a limited edition piece from farm 21, and is truly functional art. It can stand in as a space divider, or stand on its own as a sculpture. But with a screen this unique, why get caught up in the details?

And last, but certainly not least…

If you’re a Mid-Century lover would this Eames screen appeal to you?

Source: Bonluxat

I have to admit, I’ve never seen the Eames screen. Is there anything they didn’t do?

Here’s a little ‘behind the Eames’ for you…

As Charles and Ray Eames saw it, designers just want to have “serious fun.” And this screen, designed in 1946, is a result of their play!    Click here to read more…

After Eames, is there anything more?

What do you think about mixing it up in decor with folding screens? Do you like them, or want to fold them away?

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Sources listed below each image.

Floating in Space: Kitchen Carts & Portable Islands

When it comes to your kitchen, do you have enough space for storage, for prep and for the ultimate meal creation? Islands, peninsulas, breakfast bars – to name a few – have their purpose and have their place. But what if your kitchen doesn’t have any of these, and is screaming out for more? Have you thought about integrating a portable Island or small kitchen cart?


You just might be able to have the best of both worlds if you do. All you need is a place for the portable Island to call home, you know, when it’s not in use, and an area to spotlight it when it is.

Here are some examples for you to consider.

First you need to determine how much space you have to work with. And then the fun begins. This unit has the knife block and towel bar accessories on each end. Not all spaces will allow for these extras, but if there is room, this is a great way to contain every day items.


 I also like the closed storage of the drawers and cabinet style base of this Island.

Here is another variation. No accessory add-ons, but there is a nice balance between open and closed storage.


You get the span of a sizeable working surface, and a gorgeous feature in the butcher block top.

If you really want to mix things up, and set your portable Island apart as a feature in your space, something like this one would definitely do the trick.


You can’t see any wheels or castors on this unit, but that’s the beauty of hidden castors. Pure style from top to bottom! And another great feature is the drop-leaf extension at the back. What a practical way to add to the available working surface.

Form does not have to be sacrificed for function.


Isn’t this French Country piece a beauty? This unit has not been constructed with castors so it is less portable than others, but it would be easy to replace the wooden bun feet with castors instead.

If your space is really at a premium, maybe a compact butcher block style is the way to go.


Again, there are no castors or wheels, but they could easily be integrated. I think this square unit is stunning. It exudes total style with great features for function. If you wanted to conceal the open storage underneath, a large basket or wooden crate would look great here.

 I mentioned the drop-leaf feature earlier. I think this is such an ingenious bonus on a kitchen cart or Island, but also a great way to maximize a small area in general. Check out these examples of drop-leaf and slide-in features.


What’s not to love about this heavy duty drop-leaf unit?

Or this open and spacious one?


What’s really cool about this cart is that it’s foldable. So just like the old card tables or TV trays, this kitchen cart can actually be folded up and tucked away when not in use.

Note the lower working surfaces on this next unit. Do you see how these ones actually slide back into the cart?


And here is a more typical version. Do you remember this feature from the days when kitchens had cutting boards build right into the counter area above cutlery drawers?


So you can see that form and function do not have to be sacrificed in a smaller space. There are so many options and styles available, there’s sure to be one that will suit your needs.

And don’t forget, the shape of an Island or kitchen cart does not have to be square or rectangular.


Would this oval suit your style? Would you need to add castors or wheels if it was in your space?

Kitchens are the heart of the home, and they are also where you need to maximize function. Do you have enough counter space in your kitchen? How about storage? Would a portable kitchen Island or cart work for you?

Related Posts You Might Like To Read

Multi-purposing Pantry Pull-outs

A Girl’s Best Friend in a Dental Cabinet!

Ms Martini Needs A Cart

Good Things Come In Small Spaces


It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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A Girl’s Best Friend in a Dental Cabinet!

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for interesting and unique jewellery storage ideas. Have even toyed with a few DIY projects, but with 3 projects waiting in line… well, you get the picture.

And then I was antique browsing on the weekend, and came across an amazing dental instrument cabinet.


Do you know what I’m talking about?

This one is an antique from about the 1900s, and is closest to the one I saw.


Of course I overlooked taking a picture of that one! Seriously, who knew I would become so enamoured?

But I was so captivated by all the drawers, the amazing storage potential for all things small and beautiful, that I just had to share!

And since we’re sharing, I wanted to see what other variations are out there.

Here are a few examples of what I found.


This one is from the early 1920s. Did I mention how much I love all these shallow drawers?

Here’s a closer look at a set of drawers when they’re pulled open…


Is your imagination running wild yet?

I really like the style of this next one. It’s a restored antique made of mahogany; the top is original, and is made of removable milk glass.


But the knobs are probably not the originals, and I would definitely change them out. What I like so much is how this one is a little more flexible for your space… and wouldn’t the top be perfect for a great vignette?

Okay, now I’m in love. This one is drop-dead gorgeous!


In a Steam Punk kind of way…

Inside and out!


Don’t you just love the way these drawers open?

It’s a 1940’s piece and is a rare find, which might explain the $12,000 value! Hhhh, I totally heart this one. A girl can always dream!

And this one is pretty cool too.


What do you think? It’s from the early 20th Century. Who knew?

If you’re more into an Industrial Chic feel, then you’ll love this next one! Believe it or not, this rare dental apothecary cabinet has Tiger Wood underneath…


…but you would have to strip it down to bring out the tiger in it 😉 If I owned this piece, I think I would leave it alone. How about you?

I really like this early 20th Century brassy piece.


I can see this cabinet setting off many spaces, and stealing the show.

I also came across this smaller, portable option.


Isn’t it awesome? You can showcase the cabinet, or fold up the vintage Gerstner case and keep the contents inside a mystery!

Or how about this one for another portable option?


Beautiful inside…


And out!

What do you think of these multi-functional jewels from the past? Which one would you choose?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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June Cleaver I Am Not!

One Desk, Three Looks

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Did you enjoy this post? Click here to read more. Don’t want to miss a post? Be sure to subscribe to my RSS Feed on the sidebar. I’m also on Facebook , Twitter, and LinkedIn. Would love to see you there! And please leave a comment to let me know your thoughts… I always read them, and it’s nice to know what you think!

Laundry Room Love

Here’s a little ‘before’ glimpse into our laundry room… rather, area. I really did mean ‘little’. It’s located in a pass-through so it’s really hard to get the angle for a full shot.

I’ve never used a stacking system before, so wasn’t sure how that would go since I always use my dryer surface for folding and placing finished laundry. I like a spot to hang-dry garments, and of course need somewhere for the detergents to hide out too.

Can you tell what’s missing here?

If you guessed storage, you guessed right.

So here’s what we did for storage. We wanted to keep the area feeling fresh and light, and tried to avoid the boxed in feeling a built-in cabinet system would create.

Did you notice the trolley? It’s a small 4-shelf unit that fits perfectly in the space and gives me that little extra surface I’m used to having at my fingertips. And the best part, in true re-design fashion, it’s a piece we already had from before!

Here’s a closer look at the new storage tucked beside the washer and dryer.

This space was otherwise treated as dead space!

I still haven’t figured out my hang-to-dry system yet… have tried a few ideas, but I think I just need to put in some laundry time and get the feel for this new space. I know something will work that works for me too!

Oh, and I’m cheating a little bit on the detergent and product storage. I’m extending the laundry room options into the cabinet space of the powder room you see in the background of the first photo.

The best part, it’s easy to dismantle and take with us to wherever we go next, and filling the holes it leaves behind are a breeze. Brush a little touch-up paint over the filled holes, and you’d never know this system was here!

So, what do you think of this quick, affordable storage solution?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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Basement Storage

Spring Into Organizing

Swinging Book Storage!

Office Overhaul

 Did you enjoy this post? Click here to read more. Don’t want to miss a post? Be sure to subscribe to my RSS Feed on the sidebar. I’m also on Facebook , Twitter, and LinkedIn. Would love to see you there! And please leave a comment to let me know your thoughts… I always read them, and it’s nice to know what you think!


Good Things Come in Small Spaces

Good things come in small spaces… or is it that you can put good things into small spaces if you maximize every square inch?

When I saw these spaces, I was impressed with the creativity and imagination that went into utilizing them. I decided to ask my 16-year-old daughter Kaleigh what she thought of them. So starting with the one she liked most to her least favorite, here’s what she had to say…

Space #1

Kaleigh: This space feels lofty and cozy, and it’s the most interesting because of it’s cool angles.


Well, what more can I say? It is lofty and cozy, and there’s definitely architectural interest at play! She also said she loves that it really is a mini loft with the bed in it!

Space #2

Kaleigh: I love this cozy little nook. I just want to curl up and read in it. It’s small but big enough, and I LOVE the comfy cushions!


I’ve always had a thing for window seats, and even though this one is a mini-mini version, I was instantly drawn to it. Everything about it. It’s like a little escape from the world where you can still watch the world go by.

Space #3

Kaleigh: I like how this space feels clean and uncluttered. It’s inviting and organized. It doesn’t really feel like a nook, but I like it.


I am totally loving the use of this area. It’s perfect for what could potentially be wasted space. I think the attention to detail is awesome with the arched ceiling over the desk, and the heavy-duty file drawers are pure function. I’m wondering about the area above the drawers – maybe there are shelves open to the desk. What do you think? I also like that the desk area is so well lit.

Space #4

Kaleigh: I love the bookshelves up high. It’s interesting and nice.


I really like the ingenuity of creating bookshelves between the floor joists. And what I like so much is the use of what would otherwise be dead space. The books are out of the way, yet still accessible. How creative is that?

Space #5

Kaleigh: I don’t really like this one. It looks too cluttered with everything out in the open, but it is a good use of space.


I can see where Kaleigh is coming from, but I can also see how much thought was put into this area. The books are organized by colour, and there is definitely intention to how the shelves are presented. What I like best is how the screen is integrated into the shelving. It just blends in rather than taking over the area as the focal point. If you look closely at the screen you can see a bed in the reflection. Do you think this could be a student’s room in a dorm?

I’m always fascinated with small spaces and curious about how they are treated. Even if an area doesn’t have a lot of square footage doesn’t mean it’s a waste of space. It’s only wasted if you don’t utilize it!

Tip: One of the best ways to max out your space is to go vertical. Be creative, floor to ceiling, with your storage choices and you will get the most out of your space every time!

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Related Posts You Might Like to Read

Multi-purposing Pantry Pull-outs

Office Overhaul – Hubby ‘Zone’ & Shared ‘Zone’

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Did you enjoy this post? Click here to read more. Don’t want to miss a post? Be sure to subscribe to my RSS Feed on the sidebar. I’m also on Facebook , Twitter, and LinkedIn. Please be sure to leave a comment… I always read them, and it’s nice to have your feedback!

A Young Perspective on Ottomans


They can multi-purpose as storage and end tables, coffee tables, and extra seating. Cover them in a great colour, texture, or pattern, and they can bring sudden visual interest to any room. And with pattern, if you want to see it in a new context, how about ottomans boasting their own nailhead patterns?

I decided to ask my 16-year old daughter Kaleigh for her input. I wanted feedback with younger people in mind, because as furniture, ottomans are generally small-space friendly, and are often a key piece in a first home… when one leaves home kind of first home. She chose her top 10, and I’m glad I asked! Did I mention keeping it real? She was very clear on what she liked and didn’t like… and some of her feedback came as a surprise.

So in order, here are Kaleigh’s picks starting with her favorite:

#1 – Raj Ottoman – 100% rayon velvet. The colour was referenced as pumpkin, but Kaleigh disagreed. She felt it was more peach than pumpkin. What do you think?


I was definitely surprised at this choice. She said she liked it because of the ‘spade’ shape of the nailhead pattern. It reminded her of ‘casino luxury’ and a deck of cards, and she likes the patterns used on playing cards… I think she’s just got caviar taste 😉

#2 – White Leather 6-sided Ottomans



Both ottomans were a hit, but the one on the left was Kaleigh’s favorite of the two. She said she really liked the pattern of that one because it reminded her of Abu Dhabi (she’s never been…do you know what movie she got that from?).

#3 – Greek Key all the way ‘Round!


Kaleigh loved the colour of this round tufted beauty, and she really liked the Greek Key pattern. Are we starting to see a pattern in the location of the nailhead patterns?

#4 -White Crocodile Leather Ottoman


With this one, Kaleigh liked the square shape and its base, and again she liked the Greek Key pattern. She just thought this one was nice in its simplicity and would look good in most spaces.

#5 -Round Burlap Ottoman with Aged Brass Nailheads


Kaleigh said she liked this one because it reminded her of Tiger Lily from Peter Pan, and just because it was natural.

#6 – Rafia Paris Side Table in Chartreuse


Okay, this one isn’t really an ottoman, but it is a side table that could multi-purpose as one. Kaleigh said she loves the colour of this piece, and the detailed pattern. I wasn’t sure she would like this colour, so again, learned something about the great taste of our youth.

#7 – Pink Leather Ottoman


I wasn’t sure how Kaleigh’s would feel about this one… I thought it was fun, but maybe heading in the younger girl direction. She said she loves the shape and colour, a lot. She did find the nailhead pattern a bit too busy, kind of cutsie, but overall it wasn’t over-the-top according to her, and she could see it in a down-town apartment!

#8 – Button-tufted Gold Velvet Ottoman


Straight up, Kaleigh didn’t like the colour at all! What she loved was the ‘old’ style and detail, and said she didn’t mind the design of the nailhead pattern. This one shocked me. I honestly thought it would be a goner!

#9 – Pico Lime Cube by Lee Industries


Kaleigh thought this cube was ‘alright’, a little nondescript, but she didn’t ‘mind it’. Did you notice the contrasting welt detail in light blue?

#10 -Purple Punch Ottoman with Nickel Nailhead


I’m surprised this one was at the end of the picks. If I had to guess, I would’ve had this one much closer to the top! It also comes in pink leather, and though Kaleigh likes pink, she really didn’t like this ottoman in pink. She said it reminded her of a pink pleather outfit she used to wear when she was about 5… loved it at the time! Just so you get the idea, here’s the pink one too!


And for fun, here’s the ottoman she really didn’t like. She had a strong reaction to the pattern on top… like, it reminded her of the ‘tacky spray tatoos you get at carnivals’ (her words)! Let’s just say, this one wasn’t for her.


Is it really that bad? I didn’t think it was, but apparently… it is!

And that’s why I weighed in with Kaleigh for this post. I can really see the practicality of ottomans, especially multi-purpose in design, in the homes of young people fresh on their own. So I was just curious about where the likes and dislikes fell for both the ottoman styles and the nailhead pattern trend. It’s such a great DIY opportunity to be creative and stylish at the same time.

I think it would be so much fun to work with a young person on their first space. The sky could quite possibly be the limit, even if the budget isn’t!

If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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Did you enjoy this post? Click here to read more. Don’t want to miss a post? Be sure to subscribe to my RSS Feed. I’m also on Facebook , Twitter, and LinkedIn. Would love to see you there! Thank you for spending this time with me 🙂 And please don’t hesitate to leave a comment… it’s nice to know what you think.

Multi-purposing Pantry Pull-outs

Have you ever looked at pantry pull-outs and imagined using them in a slightly different way? Like maybe built-in storage for your clothing?

I thought Dear Genevieve’s episode of a 300 sqft apartment makeover (yes, I said apartment!) demonstrated this alternate use for pantry pull-outs brilliantly. Unfortunately I don’t have images of the exact pull-outs to share, but would definitely recommend you check out Dear Genevieve on HGTV to see this episode for yourself.

Here is an example of the style I’m referring to… just imagine the oven as another drawer!


You can adjust the design of the actual shelving to suit your storage needs, but the basic principle is ultra functional. In Dear Genevieve some of the pull-outs were double-width and able to accommodate hangers! What a great space-saving alternative to stand-alone dressers and high-boys, not to mention a clean look for a smaller footprint space… or any space for that matter.

What do you think? Would you opt for built in storage like this to maximize your space?

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

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Function As A Feature


A Chair With A Story

This sturdy chair, solid teak and leather, was a floor model reduced from $499 to $149… no, not a typo!

Tip: buying a floor model is a great way to save, but remember where it’s been. Definitely check for wear & tear damage you wouldn’t want to live with before purchasing.

I wasn’t really searching for a new chair, but when I saw it there was something that struck me… and that was before noticing the price!

Quick math. This chair would add more seating to the small TV den our daughter hangs out in with her friends; it would be a great pal to the microfibre sofa that’s in the room now; and it would be easy to care for. Hmmm. Maybe a good deal, but I wanted feedback from home first. So, I took a quick picture of it on my phone, and left.

The chair turned out a lot more orange in the picture than it really was, and I forgot to save the image, but it was similar to this…

But in the end the family ‘got the picture’, so-to-speak, and we all agreed the chair would be a good addtion to the  TV den.

Just to give you a colour comparison, here is a shot of the sofa – not a great shot, but it gives you the idea of what we were working with. Note: the sofa also clicks down into a spare bed when needed.

This photo was taken a while back, but there are now black leather storage cubes with wooden trays on each end of the sofa. They multi-purpose as end tables and a place to keep our DVD’s hidden away!

Anyway, I headed off the next morning, bright and early, to buy the chair before anyone else did. I mean, who can resist such a fantastic savings if you’re even semi in-the-market for a new chair? When I arrived the chair was still there (whew), but the price had gone back up (GULP)! I looked all around thinking the sale tag must have fallen on the floor, or gotten placed somewhere else near the chair…

Finally I asked for help and learned…

…that the sale price was actually a ‘limited time only’ offer, which had ended at closing the night before 🙁 So much for the $350 savings. My heart sank knowing that though we wanted this chair, we did not want it that badly. But it was still hard to let go of in the moment, and walk away. Luck was on my side, however, because the manager agreed to honour the special offer price, but I had to take the chair ‘as is’, and could not return it for any reason. SOLD. I had already done a test-sit the day before, and given it a once-over, so knew what I was buying!

The chair is quite deep to sit in, so we have added some throw pillows. They are not a great fix – they just happened to be some that we had on hand, but the fabric is way too slippery on the leather!

So I’m asking for your input. What kind of toss cushion(s) would you put in this chair? What fabric, texture, colour, pattern, etc. would you use?  Would you add a throw to the mix? Oh, I should mention that the wall colour doesn’t show up very true in the photos; it’s Benjamin Moore’s ‘Killarney’ CC-698, and is actually more sagey, even though it looks quite grayish in the photos.

When we introduced the chair to the room, that’s when the leather cubes mentioned earlier became end tables. Before that they served as tables in front of the sofa, and stools when extra seating was needed. So now we are also on the lookout for a great multi-purpose replacement. Something to serve as a coffee table/foot stool/possible storage, and we’re thinking maybe a round ottoman would work.

This shot gives you another perspective of what’s going on in the room. We haven’t found a table the right size for the TV and PVR yet, so just look past the stool! The area beside the TV serves as a homework area, and the throw is just to mix things up a bit. See the open space in the middle of the room? That’s the space we need to fill.

We’re looking for a piece that’s about 24″ to 30″ (max) in diameter and about 14″ high. I think 16″ would be too high, and 12″ would be a bit too low. This is not a huge investment piece; it may even leave home with our daughter in a few years when she heads off to college! Have you seen anything that might work? Do you have any suggestions?

I hope you will leave a comment. I like to hear your thoughts and am very curious for your feedback.

Does your space have a story to tell? Could it function better with multipurpose furniture? Maybe we can help. Contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!