Jeff identifies the mystery sculptural tiles in Cody’s bathroom — and we identify three designs in all

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Following up on last week’s story about the beautiful dimensional tile in Cody’s bathroom, my hypothesis on the tile’s maker was proven wrong by reader Jeff, who has identified the tile. He has photos showing proof marks: They are  Franciscan Hermosa Tile and even more specifically, the company’s Contours line.  That’s Jeff’s bathroom vanity above […]

The post Jeff identifies the mystery sculptural tiles in Cody’s bathroom — and we identify three designs in all appeared first on Retro Renovation.

10 Things You Never Knew Your Real Estate Agent Can Do for You

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Selling your house—or buying a new one—is a multifaceted process that typically involves the services of a licensed real estate agent. You already know that agents can list homes, host open houses, and assist in negotiations between buyers and sellers, but you may not know that they’re willing and able to help with other matters. Click through to discover some surprising ways your real estate agent can help you throughout the buying and selling process.

The Prettiest Blue Area Rugs (And How to get the Caitlin Wilson Look for Less)

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I’ve started to work on our next renovation project, Chloe’s bedroom. She wants a blue and white room and one of the first tings I’m trying to source is a blue rug. But not just any blue. Call it light blue, baby blue, periwinkle, French blue… it’s that elusive shade of blue that’s soft and pretty with just the slightest hint of lilac. And no one does that particular blue better than Caitlin Wilson. Just look at these rooms:

caitlin wilson rug

caitlin wilson rug
caitlin wilson rug
Images via Caitlin Wilson instagram

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Note: affiliate links have been used in this post

I love love love Caitlin Wilson’s collection of rugs. But at around $1100 US for a 5’x7′ rug, these beauties are not in the budget. And so I set off on my search for a cheaper version. I’ll tell you, it’s super easy to find navy area rugs, bright aqua area rugs or teal area rugs… but soft blue rugs? Not so easy! But, I did manage to find some alternatives reminiscent of Caitlin Wilson’s style and I thought I’d share them in you too were in search of a soft blue area rug.
Soft blue area rugs in shades of periwinkle, light blue and French blue. Where to get Caitlin Wilson lookalike rugs cheaper and on a budget.

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Best Board Games for Families And Tips For Having Your Kids Love Family Game Night

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If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen that I shared this image of the window bench seat in our living room:

best board games for familes, tips for games night

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I moved some of the furniture around after the holidays and unexpectedly created this warm and cozy spot that is just perfect for family game night! I don’t know about you, but these days, I welcome any activity that encourages us to spend time together as a family.

As Chloe gets older, she gets more independent and that means, physically, we spend less time together.

She’s content to spend time alone in her room or in the basement.

She plays on the computer or tablet by herself.

She makes her own breakfast.

She cleans up her room and puts away her laundry.

She gets herself ready for bed.

Does this sound like your kids? Even just writing that makes my mama heart ache – wasn’t I just carrying her around on my hip, just yesterday?? I know that quality time is more fleeting as kids gets older so I savour times when we come together to play board games.

We’ve played lots of games together before, but this space feels really different and I wanted to share my tips on making game night an activity that everyone looks forward to, plus share the best board games for families, as suggested by my Instagram friends.

A successful games night depends not only on the game you choose to play and the company you keep, but also on a few factors you might not have considered. How do you make the idea of spending time with your family irresistible? Here’s my tips on how to make game night fun – for fidgety kids, moody teenagers, and distracted adults alike:

1. Pick a comfortable spot

A kitchen table or open spot on the floor can work for game night, but if you can, play where everyone can sit comfortably for an hour or two. Seats that are cushioned and have back support will be more enjoyable. Make sure lighting isn’t too harsh. Add a toss pillow and blanket to encourage players to stay a while.

2. Everyone gets to pick

Everyone has a favourite game. Your kids might be more willing to play if they know that next round, they get to pick. Let kids have input into which games you buy as well. Think of it as a fun experiment – you all get a say on which games make it into regular rotation.

3. Eliminate distractions

Games are a great opportunity to really enjoy the company you’re with. Give your loved ones your undivided attention by turning off the TV and putting away your devices. When we play games in the living room, we have music playing softly in the background and the fireplace on. The quiet and cozy environment makes games night feel special and different. And its really nice to have those moments in life!

4. Feed and hydrate

You can’t be expected to play two hours of Monopoly without snacks, can you? Popcorn, chips, hot cocoa… rustle up your family’s favourite snacks and drinks to keep the energy up.

5. Keep it fun

The key to making games night a regular occurrence is to keep it fun. Ensure things don’t get too competitive and help the young ones to get over hurt feelings when they lose a game. Stick to lighthearted fun and everyone will be eager to join again for the next game.

So what are the best board games for families?

That can be different for every one. I think the best games are the ones that aren’t too difficult nor too easy for anyone in the group, and where everyone has a good chance of winning. Here’s the board and card games most commonly suggested by my readers and followers, along with my favourites:

Currently, I’m loving Blokus. It’s a game of strategy and it’s not uncommon for the kids to outwit the  adults!

Do you have games night at your home? What’s your favourite game to play? I’m always eager to add new ones to our rotation!

The Best Inexpensive Small Lighting on Amazon

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Are you an Amazon shopper? I wasn’t much of one before, but Christmas gift shopping changed all that. I shopped Amazon a lot more in the last three months than I ever have and I’m amazed at how many great home decor items they carry.

The lighting category is especially robust. With our recent budget small bathroom remodel, I searched all over for a good looking light that wouldn’t break the bank. Luckily, Amazon has an abundance of inexpensive yet attractive lighting options.

This light comes in five different colours and cost < $40

Here’s a roundup of small affordable lighting options that you can find on Amazon.

inexpensive, cheap lighting on Amazon. Stylish small lights. Budget wall sconces, pendant lights, semi flush mount lighting.

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Lighting is an easy way to add personality to even the simplest of rooms. Consider these pendant lights, wall sconces, flush mount and semi-flush mount lights wherever you need a dose of budget-friendly style.

10 "Free" Things That Cost You Money in the Long Run

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Life is expensive. Between the mortgage, insurance, car payments, and unexpected repairs, homeowners have a lot of money going out. It’s understandable, then, that many are tempted to take advantage of freebies when they’re offered. But be wary: There’s a price to pay for everything—even the free stuff. Before you accept freebies, understand what you’re actually getting. Goods and services that you don’t have to pay for may not be up to standard or may come with sneaky fine print, or they may just cause more problems. So, while you might save money in the short term, in the long run you could live to regret your frugal choices. Avoid these 10 “free” things that are likely to end up costing you money.

10 "Free" Things That Cost You Money in the Long Run

In News by adminLeave a Comment

Life is expensive. Between the mortgage, insurance, car payments, and unexpected repairs, homeowners have a lot of money going out. It’s understandable, then, that many are tempted to take advantage of freebies when they’re offered. But be wary: There’s a price to pay for everything—even the free stuff. Before you accept freebies, understand what you’re actually getting. Goods and services that you don’t have to pay for may not be up to standard or may come with sneaky fine print, or they may just cause more problems. So, while you might save money in the short term, in the long run you could live to regret your frugal choices. Avoid these 10 “free” things that are likely to end up costing you money.

A Valentine’s Themed Advent Calendar

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Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Valentines themed daily activities

Are you looking forward to Valentine’s Day? Chocolate, flowers, time with your loved ones, what’s not to like. Plus, Valentine’s Day reminds me that spring is not far behind and we’ve almost made it through the long, cold winter. Cheers to that!

I love making Valentine’s Day special for Chloe. Over the years, I’ve created her a Valentine’s Day coupon book, thrown a tea party, and created a Valentine’s advent calendar for her. Holidays take on a whole new meaning when there’s kids around.

Valentines themed mantel decor with cotton bag advent calendar
Last year’s Valentine’s themed mantel with advent calendar

If you’re looking for a Valentine’s idea for kids, you can’t go wrong with an advent or countdown calendar… why just celebrate the day of when you can celebrate all month long?

Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Valentines themed daily activities

Aren’t these little house boxes the cutest?? I grabbed them at Ikea at the after Christmas 2017 sales  (sorry, you won’t find them in stores!) and promptly misplaced them. I just found them again during my recent purge and reorganization and knew they’d be cute to use for Valentine’s Day. Just like I do with our Christmas Advent calendar, I’ve filled each box with a Valentines themed activity and a few contain a chocolate as well 😉

Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Valentines themed daily activities

It’s a fun treat we look forward to unveiling every morning and the activities are a way to encourage us to spend time together. Care to see what we’re up to this year? Shhh, don’t tell Chloe!
Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Printable download Valentines themed daily activities

You don’t need fancy boxes or bags to do an advent calendar… envelopes will work just as well!  
But I like to go that extra mile, so I put the boxes on display and styled up a mantel in hues of pink and red.
Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Valentines themed daily activities

Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Valentines themed daily activities

Don’t they look cute, all lined up? I have such a love for miniature houses of all kinds!

Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Valentines themed daily activities

The kit also came with date stickers which I’ve put on the back.

Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Valentines themed daily activities.  Valentines mantel decor.

I’ve created a very simple display, with some faux flowers and the red leather bound books we inherited from Sean’s mom.

Valentines advent calendar using paper boxes. Valentines themed daily activities.  Valentines mantel decor.

In these cold and dreary days of winter, these rosy hues are just what I need! And chocolate. There’s always a need for chocolate 😉

2019 Design Trends

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Hooray, it’s February! One thing I like about this time of year is how it feels like a time for renewal. We look at our homes with a brand new set of eyes and see things we might want to refresh and improve. Looking at upcoming trends is a way to inspire change. It might seem a little late to be doing a trends post but I wanted to ease into the year, collect my own observations, and think about how I would incorporate some of the trends I’m seeing into my own home. Here’s my predictions for 2019 Design Trends.

Citrus

I included this in my last Love List, but I think citrus plants are the new greenery for hip homes. From real orange trees to faux lemon branches, I’ve seen these pops of orange, lemon, and lime everywhere lately. Citrus accents are a great way to usher in warmer days and bring a lively spirit to your interiors.

2019 home decor design trend, citrus accents in home decor, schumacher citrus garden wallpaper

I love how Gen and Benjamin Sohr of Pencil & Paper Co. have used Schumacher’s Citrus Garden wallpaper in their powder room. Can you believe this pattern was created in 1947? If feels so modern and brings an unexpected hit of colour in this small room.

How I would use citrus:

I’m terrible at keeping plants alive but I can’t resist the idea of trying to grow a citrus tree indoors. I think a Meyer Lemon tree grown in this beautiful large blue and white planter (20% off with code WINTER) would be lovely.

2019 home decor design trend, citrus accents in home decor, orange tree in blue and white ginger jar
Photo via One Kings Lane

1970’s Lounging

I grew up in the 1970’s and I have vivid memories of the furniture of that era. Jewel-toned velvet furniture. Barrel back chairs. Swivel armchairs. It seemed to me that my parents entertained guests in our home quite a bit and that kind of furniture just seemed right for lounging and conversation.

2019 home decor design trend, rounded curved sofa, 1970's lounge furniture
Source unknown

Could you picture yourself hanging out in this library? I love the juxtaposition of the modern armchairs and the neoclassical sofa. The arrangement and the soft velvets seem so inviting. I find that the more digital the world becomes, the more we seek places to escape from the technology.

How I would create a 1970’s lounge vibe:


2019 home decor design trend, swivel armchair, 1970's lounge furniture
Source: Apartment 34

I have a spot in our basement just right for a pair of swivel armchairs. Swivel chairs are great to use in large open spaces when you have multiple views, say towards the fireplace or towards the TV. These chairs, featuring a bold botanical print, would look good from all directions.

Traditional

Farmhouse, bohemian, Scandinavian minimalism… I think it’s time for a new decor style of the moment, don’t you think? Traditional design is never out of style so it’s almost wrong to call it a trend, but I think classic style will come to the forefront this year. Characterized by charming details, patterns, and more tailored shapes, traditional decor brings a sense of luxuriousness that’s been missing from interiors over the last few years.

2019 home decor design trend, traditional design
Design by Ashley Whittaker

How I would use traditional design:

There’s no mistaking that I already lean towards the classics. The use of mouldings throughout our home and furniture like our English roll arm sofa showcase our traditional style. With the big design moves already in place, I’m going to embrace traditional style even more through the small details. Classic embroidered sheets, accent pillows with trim details, a floral ceramic stool with a Chinoiserie feel… I’ll be looking for opportunities to bring elegant accents into our home.

Matte Finishes

Brass finishes and shiny gold and copper hues have been popular for quite some time and while I don’t think they’ll disappear, I think we’re starting to see a shift towards more matte finishes. The same goes for surfaces in general… in paint, there’s a movement away from semi-gloss sheens to eggshell and matte finishes, even on trimwork. Kitchen appliances have jumped on the trend too with black matte refrigerators and dishwashers entering the market and challenging the reign of stainless steel.

2019 home decor design trend, matte finishes, matte black appliances
Source: Elle Decor

Matte finishes provide a unique tactile, sensory experience. The matte black faucet we installed in our cottage bathroom really elevates the simple act of washing your hands. I love that when you see an object in a matte finish, you’re drawn to touching it.

How I would use matte finishes:

2019 home decor design trend, matte finishes, Jolie Home matte paint

I recently went to a preview for Jolie Home and I was intrigued by their matte paint. I’m on the lookout for a secondhand dresser that we can update for Chloe’s tween bedroom. Matte paint has a way of bringing out the details and lines of furniture beautifully.

2019 home decor design trend, matte finishes, McGee & Co plant pot
Source: McGee & Co

Ceramics in a flat finish are another way to bring this trend into your home. These matte blue pots contrast nicely with the organic feel of the ferns.

What do you think of these trends? Do you think you’ll incorporate any of them into your decor?

2019 home decor design trends, matte appliances, rounded sofa, citrus interior