If you’ve been around here and my Instagram account a while you will remember I collaborated with Eternity Modern a while back where they gave me a fabulous deal on an epic Noguchi Freeform sofa & ottoman that continues to take pride of place in my living room. I was so excited when they reached out to me a couple of months ago wanting to work together again. I loooove my Noguchi sofa and was absolutely on board for another collaboration. I pondered what piece of furniture I could use the most and dining table was one of the obvious choices. At the start of the pandemic I decided to move our 8′ rectangular dining table my husband had built us into the living room as my new massive desk when I realized working from home was going to likely be long term (confirmed it’s now permanent!) and I really craved something smaller and round (I will never again have a hard-edged dining table). I had found an office table on Marketplace for $50 and pimped it out and it did the trick for the time being but I really craved a proper table. Eternity Modern to the rescue!!!
I have had my vintage reproduction tulip chairs for several years now and adore them and always dreamed of getting a tulip table to go with them. This was my chance as Eternity Modern carries an entire collection of tulip tables in any of the classic combinations of marble-like quartz, white lacquer or walnut veneer tops in round or oval and bases in black or white. I went with this tulip table that has a black calacatta quartz top in 48″ round with black base because in my world darker is always better 🙂 (Full disclosure – this table was gifted to me and this review is my honest opinion)
The delivery company they work with here in Ottawa was great – they were clean and quick and put it together and placed it exactly where I needed it. When I watched them carry it in I could tell it had some weight to it – and does it ever!!! This is a very substantial table. The base is very solid and the top weighs a ton so I have zero concerns about the ever tipping over. This base though…..nothing sexier than the curve of a tulip base.
The top is their ‘Calacatta Quartz’ made from natural ground quartz with resin and ribbons of pigment resulting in a marbleized surface. It is highly durable (AMEN!), resistant to cracks, stains and chips with a beautiful gloss finish. I think I could have picked from 4 different veining details and that’s a great option because ideally I would have loved to have as little of the large white veining as possible. I must add that this table is even more of a dream that I imagined. The base is narrow which makes my dining room look soooo much bigger than my last table and the top isn’t too thick so all in all the table is very open visually and is great if you have a small space or need a table that isn’t bulky. That’s a major reason why I love tulip tables – they give the effect that the top is floating.
I snagged some fabric at the last minute to cover the brown velvet seat cushions to have the chairs blend a bit better with the table (I was nervous about a black and white table with very cream coloured chairs with brown seats) and that really helped this all come together. Don’t tell anyone the fabric is just tucked under so no one is allowed to move while sitting LOL
I have always loved rugs around my home, to add a graphic element and another dose of colour to liven up my floors. Also, cats love ’em 🙂 This winter I became particularly obsessed with hunting down vintage rugs and using them anywhere and everywhere to add coziness to my house since I’m spending 99% of my time at home working. When the folks at Revival Rugs reached out and offered to gift me one of their insanely gorgeous, vintage one-of-a-kind rugs, I nearly fell out of my chair and was so stoked to agree to a partnership. It was particularly easy when I learned their goal is to offer affordable vintage rugs directly from talented artisans and partners across Turkey. Their rugs are premium quality, handmade and the selection is epic. I spent HOURS scouring their vintage collection trying to decide on a rug for my living room. It was an agonizing process let me tell you.
After much deliberation between bold and graphic vs classic and timeless I ended up letting the folks at Revival choose for me and they went with Jelisava, a 6.6′ x 10.7′ vintage wool kilim rug, flatwoven in Konya, Turkey. Also agonizing was my worry it would not match with my mustard-ish yellow sofa but AMEN it works! Their photos were pretty dead-on in showing the colours as they appear IRL so luckily the peach tones work with the yellow. And it arrived in about a week or so which was AMAZING since it came from Turkey. Phoebe was obsessed the moment I took the rug out of the box and with each section unfolded she kept climbing right back on. Luckily the novelty soon wore off.
I could not love my new rug more. It is so meticulously made and the details are exquisite. Revival is now at the top of my list for go-to rug sources, and if you’re in the market for a new rug I highly suggest heading over to their shop and having a looksie. I because I have no doubt you will find your perfect rug, use code 10OFF-KIMDTI to receive 10% off your purchase (valid until March 17) or click through this link and the discount will be applied at checkout. Happy rug shopping!
I live for summer. If you know me and/or follow me on Instagram you know how true this is, as each day when the weather is decent I would head outside (on weekdays at about 6:30 am) and put out all the cushions outside, feed the birds, squirrels and chipmunks, get my cats and I settled in the greenhouse and I’d work out there all day, then go inside, make dinner, then hang out outside until the darkness settled in. I’m not sure who loved this routine more – me or the cats. Especially Lucky, the cat in the photo below. He was always at the door asking to go out in the backyard, which was cat-proofed so they could not leave the property. It melted my heart seeing how much he loved it out there. And when we had to let Lucky go on October 21st (the third of our cats we’ve said goodbye to since the pandemic) I was just so grateful he had the best summer of his life out there.
Since it’s been a while since I shared my backyard oasis I grabbed a bunch of my favourite photos from this past summer I had on my phone for an updated post, and as a tribute to Lucky. It won’t be the same back there without him 🙁
The greenhouse was the best project and investment we’ve made with this house. I’ve had to work from home since the first day of the pandemic and I spend all summer working out in the greenhouse. It also was the perfect spot to hang out on a rainy day, perfect in the evenings if it was a bit too cool to hang out outside, perfect if the mosquitos or wasps were relentless (it’s all screened in so no bugs get in) and a couple of times we even watched movies out there on a projector. The cats would sit at the greenhouse door asking to go in, and would nap in there for hours on the weekend while we puttered around the yard.
The yard was constantly crawling with critters. There were always at least 2 of our cats out there. The bird feeder was always jammed with a flock of about 25 house sparrows, Cardi B and Reginald – female and male cardinals – visited daily, near the end of summer I had 3 blue jays regularly show up and squawk at me to throw them peanuts, the bird bath was always jammed with birds drinking and bathing. Then there was Sherman, my sweet grey squirrel who visited for her third summer and loved to be hand fed, but unfortunately got sick or injured and passed away. There was a chipmunk named Scarface who would climb all over me looking for peanuts, and about 4 regularly visiting black squirrels one of whom now takes peanuts from my hand. It was truly a magical space and was essentially my own private zoo (there are some videos in this IG highlight of my interactions with them).
My husband had a great idea for our little pond as the fountain spout we had bought on Amazon was always clogging up. We had some leftover copper pipe from some plumbing work we had done in the basement so he made an L shape and drilled a bunch of holes in it. This really helps drown out city-living noise.
My handy husband also built me a modular sofa, which turned into Lucky’s favourite spot to lounge, and it even included steps for him to climb up easily (all of our cats who were allowed out in the backyard were geriatric age so we always made sure they had steps). After dinner that was where you would always find Lucky and I lounging.
I also completed a bunch of projects, like painting the ugly white garage (that husband built new doors for), the newly re-built front porch, and the back porch (the colour I used everywhere is Peppery by Behr), and finally landscaped the front yard which we had started completely redoing in the fall of 2019, and hopefully next spring the final touch of porch railings will happen.
And some remaining photos from around the backyard. Boy this is going to be a LONG winter!
At the beginning of August I received a surprise direct message in Instagram from local photo-based artist Christine Fitzgerald. I recognized her name immediately because I have admired her work that is sold through Studio Sixty Six, an art gallery here in Ottawa. She received a government grant for a project and decided to photograph gardeners in the time of the pandemic, and to my absolute delight, she wanted to include me. Her process is very antiquated, involving wet collodion photographic plates and the subject standing completely still for upwards of 12 seconds. Christopher Snow, a videographer, produced a video on Christine’s process and this latest project of hers which explains more in detail of how she created these incredibly beautiful photos.
For those who don’t know what I look like, this was my photo, shot in my backyard with my potted flowering hostas in front of me.
I am so honoured to be part of Christine’s project. It’s been a very tough year for me, and the month of August in particular as my husband spent it in Prince Edward Island saying goodbye to his father who passed away a couple of weeks ago and on my birthday (while my husband was still away), I had to make the really heartbreaking decision to have our sweet cat Milo, who had been with us about 16 years, put down due to the sudden onset of an apparent brain tumour. Seeing the results of this photo shoot and being a part of something so special is something I will not soon forget. My backyard had been my refuge during all of this so it really meant alot to me.
I wanted to share some screenshots of Christine’s work available at Studio Sixty Six. Each one is just stunning.
And because I am slightly obsessed with this 8mm film filter I found on Instagram, here are some photos I snapped around the yard.
This is the third house I have owned, and the first time I have really gotten to do some landscaping. If you know me, you know I detest winter and live for summer, so having a decent backyard space is essential to my mental well being. Throw in a pandemic and it’s a literal life-saver. We started this project last summer. Luckily we had a fairly blank slate to start. Not sure how no one had ever done any landscaping to this property since the house was built in 1940, but there was NOTHING but weeds for grass, and very wide, overgrown cedar hedges along the left side and the back. Above is right before we started the work, when husband brought home a fun mini-excavator to get this party started. Before this overhaul happened, we had at one point torn out the tiny back porch and built a massive 3 sided stair situation, and built the raised garden bed you see above (the odd white blobs are my massive fibreglass outdoor seating set I eventually sold). We tore out EVERYTHING – the grass, the hedges, the driveway. I’d love to say we tore out the garage too but that’s a makeover project for another time.
And this is what we ended up with. We are so sooooooooo happy with how this all turned out. Being total landscaping amateurs, we had a general plan for most of the yard and the rest was alot of last minute decisions and praying things would work out. We completed most of the structural work last summer (you may recall my “she-shed” post, now called the greenhouse).
We needed to rip out the driveway (the asphalt was in really rough) and rather than spend $8K replacing it, we figured it made more sense to keep the car at the front of the house and use up all of the backyard as hangout space. That area and the rest of the pathways are filled with crushed stone. It’s reddish, which I am not a fan of but all the quarries around here only produce that or the regular grey stone. The neighbour’s house (you can see it in the first photo) is about a foot from the property line and there are 12 windows that look out onto our yard, so one of the last projects which was a last minute design decision was to build some sort of fence to block their property. We found some online inspiration and came up with this haphazard design with some strategically placed cut-outs with views of a brick wall or the greenery in the neighbour’s courtyard, as well as a few shelves. Along this fence we created 3 zones. The first in the photo above is the sunny lounge area. The rope chair was from Home Depot, the bamboo lounge chair was $50 from Facebook Marketplace, the rest I already had.
Next to the lounge is a potting area. The pandemic has made it really tough to source the items I want for out here. The green table is not meant to be outside and I would love a really old wooden workbench, but maybe next year.
We ordered the hexagon picnic table at Rona and I painted it with a grey stain. This became our outdoor eating area. My husband wanted to build some sort of canopy for it, but I told him it was redundant, as the neighbour’s tree makes a beautiful canopy (I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and I’m amazed how much lower the branches are now). It’s really beautiful. To the left of the table is a wrought iron lamp that still needs wiring, and I found a bamboo plant pot in my stash and turned it into a lampshade.
At the beginning of May I placed an order with a local nursery for a whole pile of evergreens (which turned into a bit of a nightmare experience, but that’s pandemic life for ya). Since we live in Canada, and winters are long, I figured why put in plants that are just going to look brown and dead for 6 months? Evergreens look beautiful and alive all year.
Another last minute decision was to create a succulent garden. There were some cool engraved stones left in the garage when we moved in, so we buried some in the dirt and planted the succulents around them. To my surprise they are all thriving!
The back porch. We have a new door coming in October (?!) that we ordered a couple of months ago. We ended up tearing out the wood on the last 2 stairs and creating more herb/veg garden space because of the pandemic and wanting to be more self-sustainable.
The catio! When we initially built it, it went lengthwise into the yard and took up a fair amount of space, so another last minute decision was to take it apart and have it running width-wise which gained us about a 10′ square space. We also added a little addition in behind with an air conditioning cover box my husband had built but then didn’t want to use so we repurposed it for the catio. The ferals love this sooooo much. Just to the right of this photo is the BBQ deck/pad. We were able to move this closer to the catio when we turned the catio horizontally. You’ll see what we did with the extra space in a few photos 🙂
Another last minute decision was to reuse some of the leftover stone from the interlock driveway we put in and make a stone “carpet” in the large empty space within the crushed stone. We then hunted Facebook Marketplace and found a chiminea ($80) and the chairs ($40). We roasted marshmallows out there one night when it finally cooled down a bit. I loooove the smell of burning wood. And stuffing my face with perfectly roasted marshmallows. 🙂
Our raised vegetable and herb garden. Lots of goodies going on in there. The back corner is a massive tomatillo plant. I had no idea they grew so large. It’s taking over so I’m never growing tomatillos again. It hasn’t produced any yet!
Back to the other side of the yard. This area used to house the BBQ desk, but once it loved next to the catio we used the leftover space to put in a pond and bought a fountain pump! I really wanted to hear water to distract from the sound of traffic at the front of the house (we live on a busy street) and it’s been AMAZING. The bench is from Highjinx, that I reupholstered in black tufted marine vinyl. The statue is from Robert Plante and the pot is from my one and only trip to Homesense since the pandemic. (Man were the shelves empty!)
Felix LOVES drinking from the pond
The statue I bought several years ago from the One World Bazaar in Manotick. The scalloped pot I found at Rona or Lowes, and it became a water dish for the cats and my grey squirrel buddy Sherman who comes for daily peanut visits.
The greenhouse. I could not love this little outdoor sanctuary more. I have been working from home since “day 1” of the pandemic and as soon as the weather was reasonable I started working out there. It’s such a wonderful atmosphere compared to my regular office setting.
I’m hoping the neighbours paint this side of their garage soon, since they painted the rest a few weeks ago 🙂 I tried to hide it with these pots I found at a nursery. I could not afford really tall ones so I bought these @ $20 a piece, and then painted a wood door we had taken off a basement storage room with some leftover brown paint we had, and my husband made some legs for it. The tub in the background we bought recently while antiquing ($30). It’s an old bathtub that on hot days I will fill with water and soak myself in it.
You can’t see it clearly in this photo but another project we tackled this spring was husband built me a sofa for the greenhouse. On each end is a covered section with a hole cut out, and on the far side it houses a litter box. We built it to fit a twin mattress. Everything in here is either stuff I already had, or from Amazon (Macrame plant holders, sisal rug), Wayfair (fitted bed sheet), Indigo (some pillows) or I purchased from Mexico. The art of the wall was another Facebook Marketplace find.
The view while I work or when I spend time in there in the evenings laying on the couch and catching up on Instagram. We also installed a shelf on the back wall to hold a projector, and bought a fabric screen that is hung with hooks on the window wall so we can watch movies out there. We’ve done it a few times and it’s alot of fun!
I took this photo the night we roasted marshmallows. The string lights were from Canadian Tire, and the LED battery operated lights in the garden were from Indigo. It’s magical out there at night.
Hope you enjoyed my backyard tour!