Dad’s bedroom makeover

My dad is the best. Really the best.

He is handy around the house and always up for a new project, but has never been in any rush to completely reno his 1940’s bungalow. A basement update here, new baseboards there, but for it to take 15 years for his pink and black tiled bathroom to be given a face lift I’d say “no rush” is an understatement.

Which is why I believe my father would never make a point of updating his bedroom. In his eyes, this is last on the priority list as nobody sees it and “it’s just my bedroom”. I felt truly sorry that he believed that. Bedrooms can be a sanctuary! They should bring you peace and tranquility, represent your style and make you excited to go to sleep and wake up in.

So, while my dad planned a golf trip in Mexico over his birthday I planned a surprise renovation in his honour. Plus, what am I good for if I haven’t learned anything from Dad ? ; )

dad's bedroom renovation before picture

Dad’s bedroom BEFORE

Dad's outdated bedroom before picture

Purple on Purple

A reminder that this blog aims to focus on the richer AND poorer approach to design, and in this case I was indeed poorer. I had to pick and choose where I would focus the budget for this project. Priorities were a fresh coat of paint, new bed linens, to hell with those hideous lamps, and some simple drapery. The white furniture would have to stay although I didn’t mind as it fit nicely into my vision for the space. The piece de resistance for this room would be a new headboard, fully designed and constructed by yours truly. Other than that, I worked some other touches into the room from decor I felt better used by my dad rather than collecting dust in my storage locker.

The breakdown looks as follows:

Paint: Home Depot, $50.00

Duvet cover: IKEA, $50.00

Drapes: Homesense, $30.00

Lamps: IKEA, $40.00 each

Rug: my own

Bridge canvas: my own, originally Homesense, $200

Rustic Headboard: total for all materials roughly $35.00

Grand total: $ 245.00

dad's bedroom makeover after photo

Dad’s bedroom AFTER

simple rustic father's bedroom

Simple, clean

rustic DIY stained headboard

Rustic DIY headboard

Dad returned from golf at 2 am and switched on his bedroom light to quite the surprise. Needless to say, we now see eye-to-eye on the importance of bedroom decor and he is loving his new man den.


DIY Rustic Headboard (and it’s cheap!)

I almost don’t even want to share this secret because it was so easy, and really fun to do. I can safely assume my father will never browse the internet for design blogs so I have the satisfaction that he will continue admiring my handiwork blindly.

rustic headboard for man DIY

Modern meets rustic man

Here is a detailed breakdown of the materials I used, all available at a local hardware store:

1x6x8 unfinished framing lumber, approx. $2.00 x 7

3 or 4 wood stains of various colours, ea. approx $14.00 (I bought one and used existing)

1x3x8 framing lumber for bracing, approx $1.60 x 2


I was inspired by a photo of a headboard on Houzz that was constructed out of reclaimed wood, where each panel was made up of smaller pieces in a brick-like pattern. Each wood segment appeared to be a different species with unique markings and colour differentiation. I also like the modern look of a headboard that sits low and extends wide enough to reach the night tables.

To achieve the staggered pattern I made random pencil marks on each 8 ft panel so it could be sawn into segments. These were laid out in their original form but each stained a different shade- keep in mind you need several coats and drying time between each.

diy headboard bracing

Staining segments; back panel bracing

Once final staining is dry it is time to flip the pieces over and fit them back together. Your 1x3x8 bracing panels must be cut to size to match the constructed height of your 7 boards. You should hammer two nails per board through the brace panel. I chose to nail through the back of the headboard so that nail heads would not be visible, but nails appearing neatly on the front can add to the rustic appeal.

You should have about 4 brace panels secured evenly across the back of the headboard. If it still feels weak, add more.

rustic headboard DIY stain

The next step is to line the headboard up to the bed frame in order to mark where to drill. You’ll need help to hold it in place- this sucker is heavy. Tip- place a piece of cardboard under each side of the headboard so it is not sitting directly on the ground. This will prevent it from scraping across the floor when the bed is moved.

how to attach headboard to bed frame

Align the headboard to the bed frame

Drill the appropriate size for a bolt to fit the frame to the board and secure with a nut and washer.

That’s it.

DIY wood headboard for a guy

Balcony Garden

I love the look of fresh herbs and flowers potted in tin pails. Aside from an Elephant Flower tree nestled in the corner, this is the extent of my modest balcony garden and I think it’s just right.

potted herbs in tin pots

Eventually I’d like a weathered bench on which to sit these but for now a barn board mirror frames my little collection nicely. I also adore these mini lanterns purchased on sale at Indigo.


Summertime, Summertime Sadness

I appreciate fall, I really do. It has a lot to offer, like layered sweaters on brisk sunny days and guilt-free trash TV the rest of the time.

Since I’ve fallen behind on the design portion of my blog I thought it fitting to post homage to Summer.

We have a 250 square ft balcony on our Toronto condo, the rarity of which compels me to keep it in tip top shape. I have to consciously avoid the  mindset of more space = more things that will fit = more spending. We splurged on an outdoor sectional when we moved in, but afterwards the man put me on a strict “hide your crazy, start acting like a lady” budget.

In the next few posts I’ll show you some things I did to spruce up our concrete backyard that didn’t leave me staring at my feet while apologizing.

outdoor sectional

Insert book and coffee here.

The original ottoman that came with this sectional looked as though the manufacturer ran out of materials and tried to pull this off as an alternative.  Suction cups held a black glass sheet over the top half of the ottoman. The other half couldn’t support anything, nor could I store things underneath like blankets or magazines. The real kicker was putting your feet up on the glass portion and having it slide off because…well suction cups.

original ottoman

I decided to refit this ottoman with a cushion top.  The best part about a sectional is that it doubles as a daybed when connecting the middle portion, meaning full starfish zombie accommodation.

First I removed the glass and flipped the base. The boys at Home Hardware cut me a sheet of plywood to my measurements, which were slightly less the dimensions of the base as I didn’t want the wood to show.

ottoman repurpose

The idea to attach plywood directly to the base arose when I noticed preexisting screws and drill holes on the bottom support bars. The screw heads were plastic and acted as miniature feet when the base stood upright.  I painted a yellow circle around each drill hole and placed the plywood on top to make an imprint of where to drill through the plywood.

ottoman repurpose

I’d like to say that this bout of brilliance worked out perfectly, but in reality there was only one perfect imprint while the rest were yellow smudges. The good news is I only had to re-drill once.

ottoman repurpose

I am not skilled in the art of sewing so I enlisted the help of the man’s Grammy to help me make a cushion cover.  NOTE for anyone who is thinking of re purposing furniture: fabric is expensive, and so is foam. Not as expensive as a brand new piece but disappointingly costly.

Fabricland cut me 4″ square foam on which I placed some batting to soften the edge. I intended to use a modern patterned fabric, but I happened to find an almost perfect match for my current colour. I can’t see my addiction for patterned throw pillows diminishing so I decided a flat base colour was probably the better option.

refinished ottoman

To keep the cushion in place yet allow it to be removable, simple velcro strips were sewn onto the underside of the cushion with the male side attached to the plywood.

ottoman repurpose

Behold the final cozy product:

outdoor sectional throw pillows