the midas untouch

i don’t know where the inclination to somehow customize everything that enters my life comes from, but there it is. there’s hardly a stick of furniture in the bungalow that hasn’t been altered in some way. clothing, too. and food. i can’t (won’t?) follow a recipe exactly to save my life. this disposition might be the collateral damage of a few early successes — a little painting project or stew gone well — or it might just be my nature. (pierre, however, is the only thing that has escaped my tweaking ways. he came perfect as-is.)

as it turns out, sometimes things are better left untouched. case in point: a three-drawer dresser i bought from upside dive a year ago. it was painted two shades of green, the paint flaking to perfect levels of benign neglect. but something moved me to sand it and paint it white and black. which i’m now a little sorry i did, because i think, in retrospect, it was pretty perfect as-is. i think the black is just a little harsh next to our dove grey bedroom chair. and, with no door on our closet (exposing clothing in every colour), the black just seemed like an unnecessary addition to the bedroom palette.

same thing goes for our underbed storage drawers. they came from a flat-pack ikea box, unpainted and unlacquered, but, essentially, they were white(ish). but, apparently unable to let something perfectly fine just be, i painted them bright yellow and added brass cabinet pulls to the drawer fronts.

i think it’s pretty difficult for a person to identify with just one decorating style. obviously, it’s totally cool to like something that’s mcm and something else that’s industrial and something else that’s french country. for the most part, pierre and i are unconcerned with buying only things that “fit” a certain aesthetic. we buy what we like and then just try and make it work with everything else that we already own (and like). i think that’s what makes home feel like home. but, if i really had to pick a style that i absolutely love and aspire to, it’s cape cod / seaside / coastal, minus the lobster trap hanging on the wall. shake shingles, painted wood floors, beadboard — i can practically hear the ocean. basically, if a piece of driftwood wouldn’t seem out of place in the decor then i probably love the look. some of these things i’m never going to get in my current house, and some of these things i’m never going to get period because i live with someone who maybe doesn’t love the cape look, but our bedroom was one room where i was really hoping to achieve a bit of the seaside sanctuary feel.

and there was way too much colour happening for that. so i hit “undo” (i wish!) on some of my projects, returning the underbed storage drawers to their original white and giving the dresser its second makeover in a year. with 45cm of snow on the ground, i figured there was no better time to add some wintery whites to our bedroom and channel the beach at the same time.

whitedrawer1     yellowdrawer


i used what was left of a gallon of bm sugar cookie in pearl (used to paint various doors) on the underbed drawers. the paint dried a lot faster than the tremclad yellow, which took 24 hours to dry between coats. i was able to sand and get two new coats of paint on in a single afternoon.

     blackdresser     whitedresser

despite already painting part of the dresser white (bm monterey white) during my first makeover, i decided to sand it down and redo it in sugar cookie. one, that’s the white we’ve used throughout the house and on all painted furniture. two, i did a hack job of the painting the first time around, using a cheap “diy” brush — there were brush bristles stuck in the paint and stroke marks everywhere. this time i used a foam roller and took my time.

the jug that sits on our dresser with the ship on it (i love ships!) is usually a vessel for my fresh flower indulgences. i ran out to grab some baby’s breath this afternoon — perfect little white filler flowers that are $0.99 and probably not meant to be the star of the bouquet, but i love them. i can’t wait for spring when i can clip flowers from the wildflower garden i started last year or from the don valley.

another reason i’m excited for spring: i took advantage of white paint drying time to go through all my clothes — refolding, tossing into a donations bag, and figuring out which dress i’m going to wear as soon as it hits 15°c.


i love the brass and white and unfinished wood of the dresser working together, especially with our new-old door, which wasn’t there when i painted the dresser the first time.


IMG_1764     IMG_1748


so what do you think? can you picture the beach on the other side of this wall? if no, what does it need? (and don’t say driftwood because pierre would never let it happen!)