Archive for the ‘About Renovations’ Category

An affordable answer for the kitchen cabinet refresh/replace dilemma

Kitchen cabinets are crazy expensive but can become tired and dated looking after only a few years. You can totally replace them, if you have the budget for it, but you don’t have to. If the layout works for you and the cabinets are still in good shape, you can paint them to refresh your look. The problem with painting them is that you really should strip the old finish, sand them down, which is hard work and prime with a high adhesion primer. You need a top quality paint and even then the paint will only look good for a few years. Regular paint scratches and marks easily.

I have found a really interesting product, Rust-Oleum Transformations. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like a really good product that is DIY  friendly. Check out the link below to see all about the product!

There are a number of ‘transformation kits’. There is one to refinish your cabinets with paint colour and one for stain colours. There is a transformation kit for counter tops as well. They even offer a kit for wood floors, tiles and furniture!

If you are willing to put in the work, you could refinish the cabinets, counters, backs plash and floor, all with a Rust-Oleum kit!

As I said in the beginning, I have not used these products yet but they looked so interesting that I thought that I should pass on my DIY find. I will be trying it out for myself in the near future, I think.


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Is your bathroom looking tired and old? If most of the fixtures are still in good shape and are not in an outdated colour, try this to make it feel like new again.
Go to your local big box store and simply buy a new counter top with attached sink. Home Depot has a granite counter top with an attached undermount sink in various sizes and colours for very reasonable prices. The one piece counter and sink made of cultured marble have been updated and are also an economical and stylish choice.

For instance, Home Depot Canada has a 37″ granite counter with sink by Magick Woods for only $209! Then spruce up your old vanity with a new paint job. If it is looking really tired, purchase new doors for it, then paint the whole thing a new colour. Or, you could go all out and  buy a whole new, stylish vanity with attached counter top and sink for under $379 for a 37″wide one!

If you then want to continue with your economical remodel, you could replace your light fixture and mirror as well, purchase some new towels and shower curtain at an inexpensive store like Walmart, and give the room a fresh coat of paint and you have a fresh new look for your bath that cost you very little, all told.

The flooring & vanity were replaced in the bathroom shown, as well as what is described in the post.

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Tile Wallpaper on wall and in roll

Tile Wallpaper on wall and in roll

Worried about the cost of a custom-made tile back splash? With a little creativity, you can get the look of a tiled back splash for a fraction of the price of the real thing!

Tiled back splashes went out of style in the  70s when post-formed laminate counter tops had taken over the market from the then standard arborite counter tops with a metal facing. The new post-formed counter tops had a built in, 3″ high back splash. The wall between that and the upper cupboards was simply painted or wallpapered to match the rest of the room. It was a fresh, new, clean look.

In the last decade, that ‘new’ look became very old and outdated.  Solid surface and stone counter tops came into vogue, which did not have a built in back splash. So tiling the area between the counter and cupboards became commonplace. Limited at first to ordinary square tiles and subway tiles, recent years has seen a plethora of various materials and styles from mosaic to glass to stone and stainless steel, hit the market. And the price went up and up.

But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the look of an upscale back splash. You can get the look of tiles by using special tile-like wallpaper, or what used to be called ‘Tile on a Roll’. It is thick, heavy vinyl wallpaper that is embossed to look just like tile and grout. Note: It is not printed to look like tiles, it actually has raised tiles and recessed grout lines.

This product is available in oblong, square or even mosaic tile patterns. It looks like the real thing and is easy to apply and easy to change when you decide to redecorate. I like the plain, square tile pattern because you can turn the roll sideways and roll it out along the wall. This means you have few seams to come apart. Just cut it to size, with a full tile at the counter, wet it and start rolling it out. You have to do a little bit of adjusting in the area behind the stove, but other than that it is a simple job.

There is also a product that is sold in large 10″ squares that looks just like decorative square, mosaic or mini subway tiles http://www.homedepot.ca/catalog/wallpaper-wall-appliques/172799+4294934087.

A hint: I would not put wallpaper behind a slide in stove (one that has no raised area at the back for the clock and knobs)

The advantages of using wallpaper is that it is economical, easy to apply, easy to remove and can be changed every few years for the price of a roll of wallpaper. And lets be honest: very few people can tell the difference unless they look closely.

This type of wallpaper can be found at most stores that carry wallpaper, in-stock or custom ordered from a book.

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Modest kitchen reno from Houzz.com

Modest kitchen reno from Houzz.com

Most people do not have the latest in kitchens and would love to have theirs look like a magazine shoot. Unless you have recently won the lottery, this is beyond a lot of us, but we can spruce up what we have without breaking the bank.

#1 Fresh Paint

Every 4 or 5 years, give your kitchen a fresh coat of paint in a different colour or colours. This alone will give your kitchen a fresh new look. You could paint it all the same or have a contrasting feature wall, it is up to you, Don’t forget to put a fresh coat on the trim and doors, as well. These do not have to be white, they could be the contrasting colour instead of a feature wall.

#2 Chairs

If you have a conventional matched set of table and chairs in your kitchen, take away the chairs and replace them with Parson’s chairs or modern, clean lined chairs, anything that is a contrast to the table (and hutch/sideboard, if you have one) This little detail alone will update the look of your kitchen. Remember, matchy-matchy is really out of date at the moment.

#3 Lighting

You probably don’t want to go to the expense of hiring an electrician to install pot lights, but you can get a modern multi-head style light to replace the old central fixture and install after-market under-mount lights or light pucks, under your upper cabinets. This will look up to date and give you far better task lighting in which to work.

#4 Cupboard doors

You can remove and replace the cabinet doors, instead of the whole run of kitchen cabinets. Consider just replacing the upper doors. You can buy just the cabinet doors in a clean, modern style in contrast to your lowers. A slab door will go with any style. Then paint all your cupboards one colour or paint the uppers a light colour and the lowers a dark colour. Preparation is the most important thing when painting kitchen cupboards. They must be completely free of kitchen grease and well sanded and primed with a high adhesion primer.

#5 Hardware

Change out all the knobs and pulls with something totally different. Change the hinges if they are visible. Although knobs and pulls can be very expensive, most big box stores sell some of the styles in packages of 8 to 12, which is much more affordable.

#6 Flooring

If your flooring is worn and tired, the most inexpensive fix is sticky tiles. These, unfortunately do not wear well, and I would consider some other do-it-yourself flooring such as Allure by Home Depot,  in which the strips of tile or wood look stick to each other and ‘float’ over the old floor or underlayment. (See my post ‘DIY Flooring Find)  Each of the Home Improvement stores has their own version of this product and it is very reasonable to install. Even laminate can be used in the kitchen if you treat the joints with a special sealer as you are putting it together (at least in the high damp areas, like in front of the sink)

You can do all or just one or two of the above suggestions to update and refresh your kitchen for a minimal outlay monetarily.

Happy Decorating!

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beautiful 4 poster bedroom

Decorating magazines can be a wonderful help if you are considering starting a project.

#1 What’s the latest trend?

The primary reason anyone buys a decorating magazine is to find what the latest look in decorating. You want to see pictures of the latest styles and colours. What’s hot and what’s not is very important when you are refreshing or totally redecorating a room. A good example of this is the latest metal. In the 70s, wrought iron and copper were hot, in the 80s, brass. In the 90s chrome had its day and for the last decade or so, brushed nickel has been in. Right now bronze is hot and brass is making a resurgence but in an antiqued form.  Nothing is more dated than two decades ago styles! Five decades ago is vintage, two decades, just tired and old.

#2 Finding ‘your’ style.

Just go out shopping and hit the furniture store or the accessories store or the lighting store, and  you  are rapidly overwhelmed. Even hitting the internet can intimidate you with just too many choices. Get some decorating magazines and flip through them at your leisure. When you find a picture that speaks to you, you can look at it item by item and figure out what it is about that picture that you like. Collect a scrapbook of pictures that you can take shopping with you. The internet and Pintrest are great but a collection of magazine pictures is big and clear and far easier to use for visualization. This narrows down your style and colour choices to a manageable number.

#3 Source Guide

One of the most useful things in my decorating magazines is the Source Guide. This lists the stores or manufacturers of the products featured in the articles you read.

It is absolutely wonderful to suddenly spot ‘the perfect chair’, but it is of no use to you if you don’t know where to find it. There is nothing more frustrating that having a very specific thing in mind and not being able to find anything that is even reasonably close in style and/or covering.

A note: Make sure at least one of your magazines is published in your home country. The retail store information is only really useful if you live where the stores are. Prices and shipping and duty on imports can more than triple the price of a simple object. Ordering from another country can be surprisingly pricey.  I once ordered 4 – $10 chair legs online from the USA,  and they ended up costing $125! It is buyer beware and you never know what the extra international shipping charges,  the duty and the customs broker charges will be until you receive the item.

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You don’t have to max out your credit cards to redecorate you bedroom. A new outfit can easily be more expensive, or an evening out.

As long as you are not buying new furniture, you can update and refresh your bedroom decor for a very little amount of money. The secret is carefully reusing things that you already have and knowing where to find the bargains. Another really important aspect is to give yourself enough time to collect everything that you need, on sale. You also have to be able to change the idea in your head on the fly. (I had no idea that I would end up with brown zebra stripes and would have been rather appalled if it had been suggested to me.)

"It will do" - we've all been there, even decorators

“It will do for now” – we’ve all been there, even decorators

I was tired of the bright buttercup yellow in the room, so my beginning point was trying to find a dark ivory paint colour to go with the ivory king sized bed skirt and shams that I wanted to reuse. I finally settled on a paint colour by Benjamin Moore called “Maple Syrup”. (It is much browner than it looks in the picture) Keeping economy in mind, I went to Home Hardware who was having a sale on its already economically priced Beauti-Tone paint. I had them mix up the colour from the chip in their medium quality paint. So the paint cost about half of what I would normally have paid, around $20 a gallon. The white trim was still in good condition so I decided to forgo repainting the trim and 4- 6 panel doors, (that are such a pain to paint).

Looking good

Looking good

The matching duvet cover definitely needed to be replaced though. The only idea for it that I had was that it had to go with the bed skirt and shams. I took one of the shams and headed out for JYSK, my go-to store for inexpensive decorating projects. They have tons of duvet covers, all at unbelievably low prices and have some on sale most of the time. So into the display area I went, with sham in hand, and just simply held up the sham until I found the one that yelled ‘pick me’. I was totally shocked to discover that the brown and ivory zebra-like patterned one was the answer. It was not what I had in mind at all but it just ‘spoke’ to me. The best part that it was on sale — a KING sized duvet cover  with matching pillowcases– for $19.99. Sold!

The next find was a dark brown, king sized blanket to be used as a throw across the foot of the bed for another $19.99. And then, to my joy and amazement,  I found a set of king size, extra deep pocket, 300 thread count, ivory sheets on a clearance shelf for only $12. I wasn’t even looking to buy new sheets.

The burgundy lampshades were replaced with ivory ones for only $10 each. For the walls, I raided my collection of framed prints and got out all my ‘Group of Seven’ prints to hang in my newly decorated room. The smaller Group of Seven prints were a previous ‘on the cheap’ project. I framed and matted 6 pictures from a Group of Seven calender. Art does not have to be expensive.

The final touch was a giraffe that my daughter bought for my room – to finish the look


I found a wooden rod with rings at Bouclair for $10 and the panels came from Giant Tiger at $10 each. They are way too short and I was going to add onto each of them with a 3rd dark brown panel that I bought for the purpose, but in real life (not so much in the picture), they look like they were meant to be that length. The two brown cushions on the bed were $3 each at JYSK and the cushion that matches the duvet, in the centre, was made from one of the pillowcases that came with the duvet and a cut down old bed pillow.

I still haven’t made the headboard. I am going to use a 34″w slab door from the ReStore store, pad it and cover it with that brown suede curtain panel. But that is another post in the making.

The final tally of expenses was impressive. The paint was $20 The curtains and rod came to $50. The lampshades were $20.  The total for all the bedding was $66 and the giraffe was a gift. The grand total was $156 for a total bedroom makeover.

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Sliding doors are found in many homes, apartments and offices, providing a generous source of floor-to-ceiling sunlight while serving as an alternative to a solid exterior door for patios, backyards and sunrooms. While these multi-purpose sliding doors are popular and functional, they can also leave homeowners wondering how to add window coverings to these massive windows without blocking off the doorway.

Long flowing drapes and curtains can be difficult to use on sliding doors, particularly doors that are used on a regular basis. While drapery like sheers and panels can be attractive and enhance the decor of a home, these window coverings quickly becomes worn and soiled when used on a sliding glass door, especially in houses where children live.

Styles of Sliding Door Blinds

Sliding door blinds in a number of styles, including honeycomb (cellular), vertical blinds and horizontal blinds. Cellular blinds are usually made from a semi-translucent fabric such as a lightweight polyester; this allows natural light to pass through the blinds when they are extended while obscuring the view into the room from the outside.

Vertical sliding door blinds are made up of numerous full-length slats that are connected to a top rail. This rail is mounted on the outside of the door frame and covered with a header and end caps. The slats are attached to the mounting rail with a basic hook system, making remove individual slats quick and easy for both cleaning and repair. This particular style of sliding door blind is popular among both homeowners and landlords, thanks to the ease of installation and maintenance along with the affordability of these blinds.

Horizontal sliding door blinds are gaining popularity among decorators and homeowners who are seeking to modernize their decor by upgrading their window coverings. Horizontal blinds come in an assortment of materials such as natural and painted wood, aluminum and lightweight, affordable polycarbonates, making it easy to find blinds that match both your style and budget.

How Sliding Door Blinds Can Cut Your Energy Costs

Along with adding privacy to your home, sliding door blinds can help reduce your energy bills throughout the year. Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat loss during the winter and unwanted heat gain during the summer for most homes; adding blinds to your sliding glass doors helps to insulate them.

Experts advise that in the winter, homeowners should open up the blinds on their sliding doors during the day to take advantage of the free solar heat from the sun then close the blinds at night to prevent heat from leaking out through the glass doors. The opposite applies in the summer – close the blinds during the day to help block out the heat of the sun, reducing air conditioning costs.

Whether you choose cellular, horizontal or vertical sliding door blinds, you will enjoy enhanced privacy and energy-efficiency while allowing easy access through your sliding glass doors.

From time to time, As You Like It Design features contributed posts from guest writers or brands. This post is courtesy of BlindSaver.ca, an online retailer of blinds and shades. BlindSaver has been offering premium window treatments to Canadian and US customers for over 20 years

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