Thursday, June 18, 2015

#HDBlogSquad ~ Project Deck (Reveal)

Hello Thursday! Father's Day is just around the corner, are you ready to surprise you dad with a truly special gift this year? For this Father's Day, I have decided to give my dad's deck a total facelift with lots of help from The Home Depot.

You have seen my design concept, my progress report, and today I am ready for the big reveal!    


I love watching design shows with the dramatic before and after.  Well here is the before of this lonely corner with Mr. Kangaroo.


This corner will never be lonely anymore! With this stylish and super comfortable Elmsley sectional set, fresh begonia for bright, cheerful color, and a collection of decorative accessories that scream boho-chic, who wouldn't want to hang out here for a cocktail or two?


If you are in the market for a contemporary, low-maintenance, and very well-priced outdoor set this season, let you tell you why I am in love with Elmsley.  From a practical / functional standpoint, it is easy to assemble, fully versatile (the chaise can be on the left or right), and its tailored silhouette means no wastage of space.  Best of all, the set comes with an ottoman with built-in storage!

As for design, I love the streamline, handwoven resin wicker look.  The charcoal grey and natural linen palette also makes this sectional set the ultimate sophisticated backdrop for the pillows of your dreams.  Add a tray, a couple of lanterns, and some fresh blooms, I am ready to host a summer party!    


I love these shots and here is my tip on creating a beautiful outdoor oasis:


Next area of improvement is the staircase.  It was bare-bone basic and half-hazard at night without any outdoor light.  I also hate looking at the underside of the deck every time I walk up those steps.     


With a few pieces of lumber, a couple coats of paint, and some elegant deck lights, these steps are now perfect to welcome you to the deck awaits.  


The back corner of the deck needs attention, and I also want to disguise the neighbor's house (plus a little extra privacy).


Now it's an ideal spot for two to enjoy the morning coffee, and a much better sightline the moment you walked up those steps.


I have got to take a moment to talk about the Margie chairs.  Mid-century inspired in style, these chairs are stackable for easy storage and they are built to last in our climate.  Best of all, they are less than $50 a piece!  Sold in store only, you all better head over to The Home Depot before they are all sold out.


Determined to utilize every square inch of the deck, my goal is to turn this spot into a serving station for summer entertaining.  


My initial plan was to improve the lighting and add a BBQ.  However, as I placed the essential pieces on the deck, I realized there wasn't enough space for the deluxe BBQ I'd ordered.  A quick shopping around the house landed me with a tray table that's up for the task.  On a brighter note, this much better looking outdoor light came in a box and was installed like a dream.  


The deck now has a cohesive look from every corner and is a much more usable outdoor real estate.  Here are some of my favorite detail shots:


So what are you up to this Father's Day? I know I will be having a fabulous time hanging out here on Sunday!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#HDBlogSquad ~ Project Deck (Part 2)

Hello Wednesday! Father's Day is fast approaching and I have been working overtime to give my dad's deck a complete makeover with lots of help from The Home Depot.  I've shared with you my design concept last week, and today I am ready to show you some progress!


Here is a quick reminder of the tired and uninspiring deck at my family home.  Though lacking style and coziness, it offers a solid structure, decent size of real estate (15' x 11'), and I am determined to give it a well-deserved facelift by updating / improving three key elements:


Before we could get to the pretty, we have to do our prep work.  After a long and cold winter, the deck is in need of a thorough clean.  We started off by brushing off the dried leaves / spring seeds, and followed by the duo action of power wash + heavy duty brush to clean off stubborn dirts or lose paints.


We've left the deck alone for a couple of days before applying our first coat of paint.  I am no expert in outdoor painting but my gut says it's probably wise to allow the surface completely dried off before the painting begins.

Picking the right paint is important to ensure a strong adhesive bond between the paint and the wood, especially at a high traffic area.  The expert at The Home Depot suggested me to go for the BEHR PREMIUM low-lustre enamel Porch & Patio floor paint for easy application and maximum durability.  Best of all, it can also be color-matched to your favorite paint chip!


Two coats of serene mid-tone grey later, we are ready to tackle other areas such as the flower boxes and other decorative details.


Here is a beautiful porch I absolutely love.  I walk by this house every weekend and secretly wish that I will be able to recreate this at my own home one day.  I couldn't really incorporate all the decorative details in the deck makeover and so I decided to update the lattice around the deck.


The existing lattice has seen better days and after 10 mins of demolition, the deck was looking 10 times better already!


Initially I have planned to install horizontal wood planks for a crisp modern statement.  However, Dad is more traditional and he prefers the classic lattice look.  So here is our compromise: checker lattice.

As for the wood planks, we have used them to build custom flower boxes around the deck to hold these plastic planters for an ultimate low maintenance garden solution.


Last but not least, we are also refreshing the stair and while at it, why not add on some lights? These LED deck lights look fantastic at night and they are super easy to install.  My dream is to have the treads done in cedar and the risers painted grey with outdoor treated lumber.  Sadly my reno guy didn't get that memo and by the time I realized cedar wasn't part of his shopping list, he'd finished revamping the stair.

Well the new stair looks great ... only it will be painted entirely grey.


Desperately trying to stay positive, I've turned my attention to my favorite part of this deck makeover, the decorating & planting.  Check out these sneak peeks!


My plan is to get the deck makeover completed this weekend so my dad can actually enjoy it on Friday's Day.  Wish me luck of that and before I head back to work, I am super excited to share my latest feature as a lifestyle expert with The Home Depot on small outdoor living.  Thanks Calgary Sun for having me!

image via Calgary Sun

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Open House Overhaul w/ Samantha Pynn ~ House to Home

Hello Thursday! I am been busy getting my Dad's deck ready as his Father's Day gift (follow me along on Instagram!) and helping a couple of friends with minor renovations to get their homes ready for their open houses.  If you want to get top dollars for your home at this highly competitive housing market, you have got to package your home to appeal to everyone!

Luckily we have Sam to show us on how to take an ordinary house and transform it into buyer's dream home! Today, Sam is on a mission to turn Michelle's house into a cozy, inviting home on Open House Overhaul.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
One can never underestimate the power of first impression.  Take this foyer as an example.  With tired taupe walls, slightly dingy beige carpet runner, and lack of visual interest or art to give the space its personality, my first impression was: is this a foreclosed home? 

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Check out this foyer now! The wool carpet runner with taped border immediately says comfort and the table + mirror vignette is so stylish! With a piece of contemporary art and have the front door painted matte black, the foyer now has presence and is incredibly attractive: buyers will want to see more!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
I love this shot! Simple, beautiful, and a sneak peek of the stunning dining room around the corner.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Michelle has moved her furnishings out of the dining room already, and buyers were having trouble understanding the function of the space.  Is it a dining room or a recreation room? Well can't blame them though ... it's a little hard to envision this as the dining room when there is a leather loveseat and a bar in the room.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
And BAM! What a transformation!  It's all about decorating and taking the imagination out of buyers' heads.  Now all buyers have to do is to imagine themselves having dinner parties here!  I love the use of black accents in this dining room.  It references to the foyer and contrasts with the light neutral walls for a striking contemporary statement.

The pop of colors and patterns via the artwork and drapery gives this mod black & white palette its soul!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Such a great shot! Who wouldn't want to have dinner here now?

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
We have seen houses with strong personalities where Sam has to tone down.  In this case, this kitchen is stripped of any personality that it feels like the servery or staff room in a hospital!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
With new backsplash, stainless steel appliances, countertop, hardware, lighting fixture, and the right amount of accessories, this kitchen is now given its well-deserved attention.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Everyone wants a casual dining area right off the kitchen and in Michelle's case, there isn't enough real estate to fit her dining set with seating for 6.  The table is pushed right up against the wall where the two chairs back against.  Buyers immediately think: oh the space is tight, my furniture may not fit here.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Hello to the magic of a custom banquette & an oval table with a pedestal base!  It is hands down the best combo in any tight spaces.  The banquette offers seating and storage underneath while the round table allows people to get in and out easily.  With a few decorative pillows and a classic lighting fixture, I am ready to enjoy my breakfast right here!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
What a gorgeous family room! Once filled with oversized leather sofas and a big TV, it's now causal and elegant with a modern fireplace, chic and comfy furniture with white canvas covers, an inspiring collection of arts, and an amazing layering of texture and patterns.  Orchid ... I think it's a must in any open house! Who does't like orchid!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
So what do you think? Are you selling your home and staging for the next open house? I would love to hear your stories!

Monday, June 1, 2015

#HDBlogSquad ~ Project Deck (Part 1)

Hello Monday and happy June 1st! It might have been pouring rain on Saturday and only 9C on a cloudy Sunday, but I am pumped and high in spirit teaming up with The Home Depot to give my Dad's deck a much needed makeover to celebrate Father's Day and the arrival of Summer!

Here it is folks, Project Deck for #HDBlogSquad ~ Summer 2015 Edition, and here are my key building blocks:



Despite of its age, the deck is in pretty good shape (after 25 years since we moved into the house) and I am excited to transform this tired family gathering space into an outdoor oasis for many summer seasons to come.

Seating capacity is crucial when we host family BBQ, and my Dad loves to spend his mornings on the deck reading the papers.  So my first order to the task is to find the perfect couch that's low maintenance, stylish, and comfortable.  Given the shape and dimension of the deck, I've nailed the perfect sectional (in size, style, and color) from the Home Depot.  As for the jackpot, the set has an ottoman that comes with built-in storage! How perfect is that for storing pillows and blankets right?


Task 2: Dad loves to barbecue in the summer and I hate seeing him traveling between the kitchen and the barbecue to cook up dinner.  On that note, I am on a mission to find a charcoal barbecue (we don't have a gas line) that has a nice surface for tray / plates & easy garbage solution.  

  • LCD countdown cook timer
  • heavy-duty BBQ System cooking grates
  • one-touch cleaning system and high capacity ash catcher
  • sturdy painted metal table 

And of course we need to see clearly when we cook, and I have found a LED outdoor light that is sophisticated and energy efficient.    


We have just enough real estate to fit a cozy breakfast nook with a pair of Margie Stack Chairs on the deck.  Lacking flower beds or mature trees at this corner, I've found three elevated planters with open shelves to create a lush backdrop with practical storage.


One last area of focus is the stair.  Bare bone basic is what we have and my dream is to use beautiful cedar as the top boards, close off the gaps between steps, and install these mini LED lights to lead the way at nights.     


We are working super hard to make sure this makeover will be ready for Father's Day on June 21st.  Come back next week for a progress update on #ProjectDeck! Don't forget to check out my #HDBlogSquad buddies for their makeovers:
image via Rambling Renovators
image via My.Daily.Randomess
image via AKA Design

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Open House Overhaul w/ Samantha Pynn + Winner to #DXDA!!

Hello Thursday! It's time for another Open House Overhaul, and this week Sam tackles a colorful home that is full of personality and reflective of the home owner's tastes.  You could tell the people living here are fun and full of energy and that makes it difficult for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in this home.  And Sam is here to the rescue!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
With lime green walls (or is it avocado green?), orange accents, bleached wood laminate, "ultra modern" leather furnishings, and a dated fireplace with a black TV on top, my initial reaction is: everything has to go! 

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
And that is exactly what Sam has done in this living room.  The walls are painted white, the furnishings now appeal to most buyers, and the space has a cozy, inviting, gallery-inspired look.  One thing I love the most is the addition of built-in bookcases on either side of the fireplace.  By painting the entire room and the fireplace white, it no longer sticking out like a sore thumb.  In fact, it's now a huge selling feature in this house!

Love that Sam injected colors and energy back into the space through artwork and pillows to reflect the home owners' personality.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Here is the kitchen: classic 90s style with the mid-tone cabinets, dark granite countertop, white appliances and a basic faucet.  This kitchen also has me thinking: don't know if I want to cook here.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Never underestimate the power of paint! The cabinets are in good shape and the doors have the classic shaker style profile.  Instead of ripping everything out, painting the doors and the frames is a real money saver when you are trying to max out on appeal and minimize the renovation before your next open house.

The new wood countertop + the freshly painted cabinets give this kitchen a Scandinavian look.  The white appliances now fit right at home.  Add a hit of pattern through the roman blind, up the elegance with the gooseneck faucet, and say hello to beautiful stone backsplash! I adore the styling in the kitchen ... tips for me for my next photo shoot.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
I should actually give the home owner more credits to the original state of their home: they know what they love and they stick to the style + color palette! Not to many people can do that but then again, when you are trying to sell your home, your home needs to appeal to everyone's taste and a light, neutral palette is the foolproof colorway to success & top dollar!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
The pure white walls and the elegant white furnishings (I bet they were fab vintage finds painted white & I am loving those chairs!!) make the room feels light, airy, and it's now the perfect backdrop to accentuate the graphic patterns on the roman blind, the inspiring artwork, and that dynamite chandelier!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Thanks Sam for another great transformation! Now for you design lovers, the Design Exchange Auction at Design Exchange is where you want to be this Friday evening! Tickets are still available here and today, we have a winner for a pair of tickets to the Champagne Preview:  congrats Sophia!