Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Adventure in Thrifting

Is it already December? What happened?

Things have been moving right along in furnishing-this-apartment land. In fact the other day we found an excellent, adorable, and cozy little armchair to sit underneath the windows in the living room. Best part? Only 15 bucks! It because a little more uh, emotionally more expensive when we went to go pick it up at 8pm on a freezing Quebec evening only to find that it wouldn't fit through the compact little doorways of our Mazda 3.

After having gotten the measurements from the seller a few days earlier, I noted it was just a couple inches wider than our two little accent chairs, and we got both of those nestled together in the backseat. I thought, surely this chair won't be a problem! Boy was I wrong.

After attempting every possible rotation and maneuver to get the chair in the car, while shivering our butts off, no less, we finally conceded that it would have to go in the trunk. The trunk, you say? Our kind seller, who works as a pompier in the city, dug through his garage and found first a jump rope... and then some proper thick boat rope. With the back seats folded down opening the trunk into the cabin, and the chair dangling precariously over the edge, we strapped it in and Y. used his inherent man-knowledge to make fancy knots and loops. The chair was secure!

As we set off into the night, trunk flap wide open and freezing air rushing into the car cabin, I was thrilled about our ability to overcome that obstacle and utterly amused by the absurdity of the situation. Y, on the other hand, did not find it nearly as humorous as I. Maybe because he and the pompier were the ones doing all the work while I huddled in the front seat and tried to preserve my heat.

Nevertheless! The chair is here, safe and sound, and did not fall out of the trunk on the highway.

Eloise has already claimed it as her new favorite chair, and has marked her territory with a never-ending layer of fur. Thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finalement! Un bureau...

After a relentless six month search full of countless deals that fell through and disappointments, we found and, more significantly, brought home a desk! Voila:

I'm so excited we finally have somewhere to sit and work! The shape and style is exactly what we were looking for. Nothing too huge or bulky. She has nice trim legs and a single row of drawer storage. Perfect!

As much as I would love to lacquer this baby in crisp white paint, Y. has insisted upon sanding her down and staining her a nice dark brown to match the rest of our furniture. Maybe we can replace the hardware too, hmmm.

She's not very well styled at the moment, but frankly we having nothing to put on her really, and I don't want to start buying organization stuff until I have a better idea how we'll be using her.

As for that world map above the desk, I've had the intent from day one to mount it on a large cork board so we can pin all the places we've been. Cork boards that size, however, are around 50 bucks and I've continually pushed it down the priority list. Now that we actually have a desk I might have to bump it up a bit...

A la prochaine!

xoxo Megan

Monday, October 18, 2010

That tricky entry foyer...

My entryway has posed a bit of challenge to decorate. It's a little awkward with all four sides hosting some sort of doorway, whether it be arches, a front door, or an emergency exit! Really I have two solid corners to work with that all have 24" wall space.

In its current state, I found an adorable little table that serves as the welcoming console... where loose change and car keys get dropped. It fits perfectly in the far corner. We've also put up a row of hooks for coats and scarves, and most recently installed a small shelf to add a little visual interest around the light switch.

I'd love a little bench to sit down on for putting on shoes, but I wasn't sure where I could put one. It can't go under the coats because the front door opens flush against them. But I was perusing Ikea today and discovered this bench. Measuring in at 27" wide and just under a foot deep, it would fit quite snugly in the frame of the otherwise awkward emergency exit door. The cushion could easily be recovered to add some much needed color. I just hope it wouldn't be awkward so close to the console table, but I suppose that could always be rotated to face outward.

I also like the idea of sticking this shoe cabinet next to the front door and removing the shelf in order to eradicate the sloppy pile of shoes that always accumulates in that corner. It's quite narrow so it would just fit in that skinny space, and painted white I think it'd work quite well.

And I still need some sort of rug for the floor! What do you prefer in your entryways?

Looks like I have some shopping to do!

À tantôt!

xoxo Megan

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall is upon us...

I've always found fall to be such an elusive season. The weather always seems too warm for September and by the time you notice the crisper air and beautiful foliage, it lasts what seems only a few days before it disappears entirely and the temperature has a little too much bite. Since I took this photo only a week ago, the leaves have all fallen off and the sky is dreary gray. I daresay it'll only be a few more weeks before we start seeing snowflakes piling delicately on the wrought iron balcony...

I've made an effort to prolong the season as much as I can before jumping headfirst into the holiday season (a difficult temptation to resist, I have to admit) by adding little fall flourishes throughout the apartment, and filling the air with smells of cinnamon and pumpkin spice.

Here's to another month of hot apple cider and warm pumpkin pie, even if it's already snowing outside!

xoxo Megan

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A change in seasons...

Oh my goodness! Labor Day has passed and suddenly the whirlwind of summer is over. The leaves here in Montreal are already turning various shades of yellow, red, and brown and have even started to pile up on the streets. The weather took a sharp turn from blazing hot to cool, cloudy, and a little rainy. There's no denying it - fall is on its way!

Apologies for my absence, I had been working seven days a week at the pool! We've now closed for the winter things are slowing down to a pace I'm better suited for... at least until I hear from my new employer!

Not much has changed around here. Y. was gone for most of the summer and I was so busy I had neither time nor energy for shopping and decorating! There have been a few improvements though... our living room finally looks like a living room... matching bedside tables that still need to be painted to match the rest of the furniture... and lovely tall, gray curtains for the dining room (which also needs to be painted).

Alors, onto some photos!

New gray curtains, plus our corner mini-bar area. We'd eventually like to install some shelves (something like this) above to hang wine glasses and store more bottles of adult beverages. Also looking to paint the walls a pale yellow and add some small horizontal molding.

Love, love my little bistro set! Didn't spend as much time out here as I would have liked, plus our street is so noisy. :(

The current state of the living room. Still waiting on a nice big rug that isn't too expensive and trying to find some textile that will inspire a color scheme for the room, since everything is still neutral!

Happy fall everyone!

<3 Megan

Friday, May 7, 2010

Moroccan Dreaming...

Picked this little lantern up at Pier 1 the other day... Have been rather intrigued and inspired lately by Moroccan design and aesthetic. I'll be keeping an eye out for a few more accent pieces like this to add warmth and a little something exotic into the living room.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New chairs!

We had been searching for a pair of low profile accent chairs for the living room since day one, and were even pretty close to paying full retail price for a set (yikes!). Luckily I stumbled upon these beauties on Craigslist and we wasted no time the next morning and headed to the estate sale to claim them!

The photo provided on the listing made them look like they had a white and light blue print fabric, so I was a little disappointed to discover it's actually a pretty horrendous mix of 80's pastels. I've thought about reupholstering them myself but the more I think about it, the more daunting the task seems. I don't even have a sewing machine.

For now I guess I'll just have to put up with that fabric. I mean, it isn't so bad... right?

Monday, May 3, 2010


Have a few things to update on soon (new couch and chairs!) but wanted to share this lovely canvas from Les Indiennes that I'm currently lusting over. Would fit in perfectly with the indigo and cream color scheme in the bedroom...

With a $300 price tag, I'm just going to have to hope it goes on sale...

Friday, April 23, 2010

un petit projet de peinture

Last week I went to Village des Valeurs (Value Village) in search of some cheap furniture, and while I didn't find quite what I was looking for, I did stumble upon a quirky little sketch on wood and a large, 80's framed mirror. Undeterred by its ugly brown frame, I took that baby home and made it my new project.

Here she is before I got my hands on her. Glorious 80's wood veneer and rounded corners! Can't top that.

I wanted the mirror to match the two Ikea peices that are currently in the bedroom. After some scouring on the internet, someone said they did a color match to the white Hemnes collection and paired it to Benjamin Moore Acadia White (OC-38). I took their word for it and hopped over to Rona to pick up all the painting supplies. $50 later (yikes! makes up for the cheap mirror I guess) I'm out the door and eager to start.

Per some random instructions on WikiHow or something, I first taped underneath the frame (I am a notoriously messy painter) before lightly sanding the veneer. I wasn't sure exactly what "lightly sand" meant so I just kinda made my way around the frame without going too deep into the grain. After nearly passing out from trying to blow all the dust away, I wiped it down with a cloth and began to prime. And prime. It must have taken three coats before I stopped seeing the brown underneath. My brushes were cheap too so I think that may have been a factor. I sanded a few times between coats, and after reluctantly waiting 20ish hours for the primer to dry, I started to paint!

I probably should have let the paint dry longer than I did, but I was too excited to hang it up. After drilling a nasty hole in the wall and inserting the spacer and screw, I carefully hung the mirror. As soon I let the wire bear the full weight of the mirror, the wire snapped in half! It was back to Rona for me... this time to buy new hanging wire.

Finally finished and safely hung! The white paint gives this mirror's dated frame a fresh new update and blends in nicely with the clean lines of my existing bedroom collection. A successful first project!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

progress so far

Things are slowly, slowly coming together here. They were kind of on a standstill as I had to leave Montreal for two weeks to finish up school and take a Canadian lifeguarding course. But now I'm back and here to stay!

Onto the goodies... Just before I left we had gotten some new furniture but I hadn't had time to take photos, so!

Still on the hunt for that perfect couch. We found a few strong contenders but they were a bit out of our price range, which has been pretty disappointing. This is our fabulous coffee table that we're pretty excited about. The side facing the chairs has a drawer for storing remotes and all that.

Our bathroom has made a pretty dramatic transformation. We ordered the etagere from Target and snuck it across the border, shhh! I brought the shower curtain from home and I absolutely adore it but Y. thinks it's awful and way too girly. I'm still fighting to keep it up!

And the bedroom. The more I look at those curtains the more I dislike them. I think the loops at the top cheapen it. I'd like to find something with grommets and maybe a fun print too. Draperies are, however, quite expensive! :( Still missing a duvet cover, bedside tables, wall paint, and a mirror above the dresser. Recently I've been intrigued by the idea of bamboo night tables like this one flanking the bed, but I'm not sure if it would work with the clean lines of the bed frame, and it seems they're hard to find. We shall see!

And finally, the dining room. We are missing some chairs as they are currently filling in for our couch. They do not make the most comfortable seating, especially after watching a movie! It seems we've decided on a pale yellow for the walls here with a white base starting from the window sill. I'd like to get a strong window treatment to really add some interest into this tiny dining room.

That's it for now! Tomorrow I'm off to the flea markets to see if I can't find any cute little tables or accent chairs. Wish me luck!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

there and back again

I've just returned to my hometown in Washington State after 11 lovely days setting up the new apartment in Montreal. I somehow managed to get three suitcases and a cat into the country without having to go through Immigration or receiving a visitor record. I couldn't believe it! So now my work visa has yet to be activated and I can use for its full six months once I return in a couple weeks. I would have just stayed in Montreal, but due to some red tape I have to take my Canadian lifeguard course on the west coast, where I've been allowed to skip several steps in obtaining this certification since I'm already a lifeguard in the States.

Anyway! The place is still quite barren and we were only just getting some of the many problems taken care of my final days there. The building owner is unfortunately very cheap and hires the most inexpensive workers he can find, so many things in our apartment either weren't finished or poorly done. If Y. and I didn't love it so much we might be more inclined to find someplace else to live, but we're willing to be persistent and get the apartment we want!

Furniture hunting has been a challenge, particularly because most Canadian stores don't provide online shopping. We've had a few lucky finds from sights like Kijiji and Craigslist, and for other items we plan to go a more commercial route.

Currently we have our lovely pillowtop mattress (it is a dream, let me tell you!), the large Hemnes dresser from Ikea in white (found it used on Craigslist and got it for less than half its retail price!) a wonderful dark pedestal table and matching chairs for the dining room, and a quality, solid wood coffee table.

We're still on the hunt for the perfect couch. We were THISCLOSE to buying this couch but after inspecting it in person we were a little disappointed by the details and that it doesn't come in white. I was stunned to see Y. wanting a white couch over beige! I'm still hoping we can find something close to that leather beauty I found at Macy's.

We're also still completely up in the air on color schemes, aside from our bedroom. Y. brought me home a lovely little rug back from a "business trip" to Afghanistan and we've decided to pull our colors from that. As for the rest of the apartment... who knows. I'm waiting to find a fabric swatch or piece of art that I fall in love with for the living room. In the dining room I'd love to do something dramatic and colorful, but Y. really likes the idea of buttery Pottery Barn-esque walls. Oh, decisions!

Photos, shall we?

The lovely rug. Sorry for the terribly photo quality, I took this picture with my cell phone!

I took this picture the day we got our internet and cable hooked up. We were so excited that we pulled two of our dining chairs from the kitchen to sit and watch TV! It certainly wasn't very comfortable after awhile... the new couch is a priority!

My cat, Eloise, pretending to be a person at the kitchen table.

My new design bibles! I'm ordering a subscription as a housewarming present to myself :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

3 Weeks til Go Time...

This weekend I made the two hour trip up to British Columbia to take a first aid course from St. John Ambulance. Naturally I was the only American in the course and there was a lot of friendly banter from the Canadians about the impending US vs Canada hockey game. It was a fun trip and I went to Tim Horton's way too much.

So, now I've completed one of four steps to become certified to lifeguard in Canada. I'm still waiting on word from the Lifesaving Society about receiving permission to skip the first two steps and go straight to the final National Lifeguard course. As soon as that happens I'll finalize all my plans and get my last plane ticket. Exciting!

More exciting news, I've received a job offer for a senior lifeguard/moniteur position at a small community pool in Montreal! I had applied for assistant manager but they decided it would be better to go with returning staff in spite of my extensive experience. They said it was really tough choice but they really wanted to have me on staff anyway.

Only three weeks until I fly to Montreal and start settling into the apartment! We're really getting down to the wire here!

Until next time,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Looking up!

I have some good news. This morning on my way to class I got a phone call from an aquatics coordinator that I have been courting for a job. We had a quick chat and he offered me a phone interview for next weekend. This is exciting mostly because it's for an Assistant Pool Manager position and not just a lifeguard. I'm glad that he seems to show little concern that all my work experience and certifications are from the States, even though I will be Canadian certified before I get there. Anyway! Should be good. Fingers crossed!

The next exciting news is in the apartment search. Y. and I found a place we like in the Cote-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-de-Grace region of Montreal. We put in an application to rent and deposit last week and are just waiting back to hear if we got it!!

Photos you say? But of course!

It's just been remodeled so we'd be the first to live in it after it's been completed. The floors look nice and there's lots of light, so I'm excited! Plus we'll be allowed to paint, so I'm really looking forward to working with a shiny, new blank slate.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Apartment Hunting

I seem to have lost a bit of my steam. Our search for apartments is seemingly endless. At first we had found one right away and were really excited about it, but another applicant had an insider connection with the janitor and got their application in first. What was more infuriating was the rental agency tried to tell us they never got our application in spite of it being emailed to them. So that was a bit of a blow and we were both really bummed about that. But onward we continue, and we've found a few that we'll hopefully get a chance to look at this week.

In the meantime, it's hard to get excited about the apartment and plan the interior when we don't even have a place yet. Even just hypothetically planning with units I liked, the layouts are so cramped and narrow, I can't imagine having a truly well designed room. It's almost as if all apartments in Montreal are the same... parquet floors, narrow salons leading to a small little balcony.

I'd really love to find something with a little more charm, like crown molding and French doors. It seems they are few and far between in Montreal, and when you can find them they're over budget.

Being on the opposite side of the continent isn't helping either. I send all the links of the apartments that I like to Y. and he calls them up and schedules a time to go see them. I feel a little helpless out here.

Will we ever find something?

Sunday, January 17, 2010


So the Macy's catalog arrived today, and on the back cover what do I see? The most wonderful couch in the world. Actually it was a sectional but I went on the website to find the full collection and my oh my is it beautiful.

I love that it's traditional without being too stuffy. The rolled arms and tufted back are lovely details. And exposed legs! I love exposed legs. So classy.

A few downsides though. It's leather. It's expensive ($1,200 for the loveseat, on SALE!). It's only available at Macy's and therefor not available in Canada. Sure sure there are ways around this but the logistics are ridiculous and of course that's only going to increase its price.

But everything else about it is exactly what I want. This always happens to me!

Also, Boyfriend seems to be opposed to lighter colored upholstery. As much as I would love a light, bright, white living room, we're going to have to compromise. Perhaps I can dissuade him from a dark couch by showing him how to balance the light couch with some darker pieces around it.

Though we kind of need an apartment first anyway.

|image: Macy's

Tuesday, January 12, 2010



My name is Megan, and in just 10 short weeks I will be graduating from university in Washington State and heading east to Quebec, Canada to finally be with my boyfriend and start a new life in Montreal with him. I'm incredibly excited about this new chapter in my life, so I wanted to create a blog to share this adventure with the world. I'll be recording my inspirations and ideas as we put together our new apartment while separated by a continent, the trials and tribulations of immigrating to another country, and then life in Montreal after I finally arrive around the beginning of April.

It may only be January, but I have an incredible ability to daydream and a love for planning, so I can assure you there will be plenty to write about before moving day!

Stay tuned!

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