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Archive for April, 2009

The combination of Ottawa’s latest winter weather episode as well as the upcoming long weekend has me craving Spring, hardcore.  Local stores have started to fill up with cheerful colours and outdoor furniture, and it’s inspired me to start thinking about the outdoor potential of my new place.

The house will have a front porch with enough space to place a few chairs and a small table.  I won’t be entertaining there, but I want a place where I can read the newspaper on weekends and drink my morning coffee.  It should be clean and simple, with outdoor furniture that can withstand the elements, but be comfortable enough to laze about on for a few hours at a time.

I eyed a fantastic pair of rundown mid-century inspired chairs at an estate sale a few weeks back, though at the time, even though I loved them, I couldn’t justify another chair purchase.  So I let them go.  It was only later in the day that the thought of fixing them up with new paint and upholstery struck me.  Lesson learned – remember to think creatively.

Even though I’ve continued to search at estate sales and auctions for similar chairs, I doubt that I’ll be able to find something suitable.  Once again, enter the big-box store, always there when I need them.

After visiting locations and websites of numerous retailers, I’ve narrowed down the field to three possibilities, all from IKEA and all made out of Acacia wood.  As I’ve stated before, Ottawa’s IKEA is one of the smallest in Canada, and their summer items go quick and aren’t replenished, so my goal is to get my chair situation sorted out soon.

Tullerö Chair

With the lowest price point of the trio, the Tullerö chair comes as part of a four-piece set that includes an additional chair, table and a two-seat bench for $159 (seen here with a Rassön cushion, $35 each).  There is good value for money, and I found that the chair was comfortable and provided a lot of back support, although the thin cushion had be wondering if it would remain comfortable after lounging for a few hours.  But, as this chair is part of a full patio set, I’m hesitant to pick it since I don’t want to commit to a patio set prior to moving in. My deck will be small and I want to make sure that I don’t clog it up with furniture.

Äpplarö Chair

At $60, the Äppalarö chair (pictured with a Lövö cushion – $15 each) the mid-range chair with a large collection of coordinating furniture ranging from a lounge chair to a dining table. While I think that this is the most stylish of the three, I can’t get past the pronounced arc on the back of the chair.  When I tried it out, I found that it left my lower back without much support (which might be fixed with a pillow) and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to sit in that manner for a few hours on a Saturday morning.

Nordanö Chair

Immediately upon trying the Nordanö chair (pictured here with the Nordanö cushion – $35) out, it was obvious that it’s $85 price tag was worth it.  My back was well supported and the cushions were plush, I think that I would be completely comfortable sitting in these every weekend.  My only complaint is about the aluminum bracket and bar, I find that they stand out considerably, but they may mellow as the wood and metal ages outside.

I’ll be heading to IKEA sometime this week to re-test all three chairs, although it’s obvious that the Nordanö has a significant lead over the competition.  I’ll let you know how things pan out.

So, what about you?  Have you caught the Spring bug yet?

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Despite my intentions to furnish the house with as many unique finds and bargains as I can lay my hands on, I have to admit that filling the house won’t be possible unless I use big-box stores for some items. Their selection and pricing do serve a purpose, so I’ll be using them where I need to.

Having never been to any IKEA other than Ottawa’s teeny, tiny, ill stocked and overcrowded location (though it won’t be that way for much longer), I was psyched when my sister and I decided to take a last minute trip to one of la belle ville’s locations.

After making a quick pit stop in St. Albert from some super fresh and sqeaky cheese curds, we finally arrived at our destination.

Boucherville IKEA

It seems as though Montrealers love IKEA just as much as we Ottawans do, because the store was packed.

We headed in, on the lookout for items that were hard to come by, or unavailable in the Ottawa store.

Trollsta Sideboard

I’ve been eyeing the Trollsta sideboard for a while now, I think that the combination of modern and traditional lines is really interesting, and would be a perfect fit in the Den.  I was hoping that there would be a yellow model available to see in person, but the only ones there were black.  I’m thinking of doing the Den and Entryway in yellow, but I’m not sure if I’m up to the challenge of rocking “IKEA yellow”.

Nils Stool

Another great find was this Nils stool.  After seeing an article, in Style at Home a few months back, I was inspired to start looking for a stool or ottoman that I could put in the entryway.  I love the practicality of having somewhere to sit down to put on shoes and boots, and I appreciate the opportunity to add a shot of colour into the entryway.

Fabric at IKEA

At one time, the IKEA in Ottawa had a small fabric section, but it was removed several years ago. The one we found in Montreal was filled with loads of affordable fabric in tons of great colours and patterns.  After pouring over their selection, I think I’ve decided on one to use for the throw cushions for the chairs that will be living on the front porch.

A quick trip through the As-Is section rewarded me with an Ung Drill frame, discounted to $10 and with no apparent defects.  I plan on painting it and using it somehow in the guestroom.

All in all, no major purchases were made, but the trip was well worth it, and so much fun.  We’ll be returning for some serious shopping once I actually move, but until then, this was an excellent fact-finding excercise and awesome way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Creating a home with personality and character, on a limited budget can seem daunting. At least it has been for me. The speed and convenience (not to mention, price-point) of big box stores are tempting, but if I really want to make my house a home, it’s going to need a bit more than that.

I’ve taken up the challenge by making weekly trips to antique sales/stores and estate auctions. This weekend, my sister and I hit up the Ottawa Antiques Sale, at Carleton University looking for furniture and accessories.

Although there was a lot of furniture, most were traditional pieces – lots of buffets, side tables and hutches, and dining room sets (sorry no pictures due to camera issues – next time, promise).

Unfortunately, I’m looking for items with a modern design, but there were a ton of resources for artwork, accessories and other knick-knacks. I ended up scoring a vintage map of Edmonton from G. Dreeke Prints & Maps, for thirty bucks (the price was knocked down five dollars since I was paying with cash – awesome!). The modern lines and monochromatic scheme were exactly what I was looking for.

Vintage map of Edmonton

Joe L’Erario (of The Furniture Guys fame) was scheduled to make appearances on both Saturday and Sunday to offer advice on fixing and refinishing wood. I was tempted to stick around to see what he had to say about dealing with formica tabletops, but decided against it.

If you missed out this time, the next installment of the sale will be in October, and I definetely think that it’s worth checking out.

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