Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

Oak Staircase Complete

I did manage to finish the staircase and completely forget to do a post about it. I first wrote about staining/painting the staircase here.

I finished it just before Christmas and this is how it turned out.


The giraffe belongs to the Mr. He won’t let me get rid of it. Not going to lie, this project was a LOT of work. Very time consuming but so worth it, I think.




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Total Basement Bathroom from Top to Bottom

Hello all. There’s been a lot of activity in the household. We built a bathroom in the basement completely from scratch. Mr. Restyle did all of the walls, ceilings, flooring along with the install of shower, sink, toilet and tiling! So incredibly proud of him as he’s never done this much before. There are lots of pictures in this post but that’s because there are several different DIY, upcycled, recylced elements to this bathroom. I hope it inspires someone to do it yourself with existing materials.

This bathroom did not exist as the basement was unfinished when we purchased the house. Hubby installed in-floor heating. I don’t have pics of that part but I’m sure he does. If anyone out there is interested, we can create a separate blog post on how this was done. I love the grey tile we picked out for the floor.


The heated floor is controlled by this:


The ceiling is a drop-down as our house is wired to the max and that requires easy access. The ceiling tiles are actually made from drywall. We opted not to use pre-made ceiling tile in the bathroom. The Mr. cut, primed and painted them himself. The small circles in the ceiling are lights. The 2 large circles in the picture are built-in speakers because, well, he’s insane and wants access to music from almost everywhere. This bathroom is for the boys, so whatever they like, I’m okay with.


Every new element that we use in our renos is sourced at significant discounts. Suffice it to say, we sometimes have to buy things for projects that we don’t plan on working on for quite some time and we have stuff everywhere. I will be so happy on the day we are completely done, if there is such a thing! Shower was his vision. I admit I love it. He did the tiling, lighting, plumbing, everything himself.


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He’s quite proud of his soap niche-lights and all.


So what role did I play in this room? Well, this! An old dresser turned into a vanity and instead of having a built-in closet, I choose this old cabinet that I painted white.


A large basket of flowers sits on top.



Here’s a closer look inside.


I used to travel a lot for work and I can’t be the only one who brings hotel soap home, right? I thought they’d look pretty in this glass jar.

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The fixture above the vanity is a clearance sale item. The mirror is a thrift store find.

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This $5 wicker hamper was another thrift store find. I couldn’t believe how much these actually retail for! I removed the old plastic lining that was inside and used the fabric from a thrift store shower curtain as a new liner. The baskets inside the cabinet are also lined with the same fabric.


Finally, a couple of retro magazine ads that we picked up at a vintage fair last spring. Framed and ready to be hung (sorry for the reflection from the lighting in the next 2 pics).



I am really pleased with how this bathroom turned out and comments from friends and family have been that it’s beautiful and they love the mix of old with modern. This is the best looking bathroom in the house now!


How to Embellish Plain Sheets

Hello everyone! It has been quite some time. Let me tell you what’s been going on. I’ve been dealing with some health issues the past few months and recently discovered through biopsy that I have Celiac Disease. 😦 I needed to hit pause and really focus on dealing with this change in lifestyle, my symptoms and just adjusting overall to the change in my diet and what it all means. Not to go into too much detail but for the last several months I’ve been dealing with nausea and vomiting in the mornings and major migraine headaches. I thought these were all symptoms of getting older and so was completely shocked when I received the diagnosis of celiac AND gastritis. Oh joy! Anyway, I’m dealing with it and it’s all good. On the upside, I’ve lost 10 pounds and I’m eating so much healthier now. Yay!

There have been a few projects completed around here so I’ll post those to catch up. We are just starting our master bedroom reno and one thing I wanted to do was fancy up some plain old white sheets. I LOVE vintage sheet sets with lace or any type of embroidery so here’s what I did.

Simply purchased some trim and sewed it onto the top sheet and pillowcases. Really makes a huge difference!


Super quick and easy!


Here’s a close up.


I’ve also taken up a new hobby-crochet! I’m loving it. Years ago I took a stab at knitting and just couldn’t get it right. I find this a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours in the evenings. I’ve also purchased some embroidery floss and plan to embellish more bedding with embroidery. I used to do needlepoint and cross stitch a long time ago so we’ll see how that goes.

There are other projects we’ve wrapped up recently and so much more to come so check back as I’m feeling better and ready to go!

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DIY Upcycled Bathroom Storage

This quick upcycle is a fantastic example of what you can do with a little bit of creativity and a couple of old pieces. I am so excited to share this with you as this project was completed by my DB (darling brother!) Talk about keeping it in the family…

DB needed some more storage in the bathroom and had one of those over the toilet storage shelves. I don’t have a before picture but it was similar to this one. The one he had was worn and old.


These do work well in small spaces but space wasn’t really an issue anymore so he wanted to build something a little nicer with just a little more space for toiletries. Using an old night table, he joined the two pieces together with some screws.


The entire new piece got a fresh coat of white paint. Here is the result.


It looks fantastic and provides a nice new storage solution. Thanks little bro for the inspiration and allowing me to share your fantastic idea!

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Oak Staircase Makeover

Here’s a peak at what I’m currently working on. My lovely (blah!) oak staircase. This is the original stain. I’ve been working furiously to give it a facelift. UPDATE: see how it all turned out in this updated post here.

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Here’s another view.


After some sanding to rough up the surface and taping in prep for new stain.


In progress-stained and white paint started on risers.


I’m not done yet. This is turning into about a 2 week job. I’ve so far gotten all the white risers done and a couple of coats on the spindles. Still have a few more coats to go but so far, I think it’s really brightened up what was a dark staircase. My foyer is quite large and the stairs are one of the first things you see when you walk through the front door. I wanted them to be the focal point. Let me know what you think. I’ll post the final reveal if I ever get this all done!



Celebrating 25 Years…

Of marriage! Mr. Restyle and I tied the know back in August 1991. 25 years and 3 kids later we decided to take a break from all of our renovation and home improvement projects and get a way for a while.

The original plan was to visit a place like Israel or Ireland or Alaska and then reality set in. 😦 These destinations were WAY too expensive and after all these years it didn’t seem all that important to whoop it up. We survived many trials and rough patches as have many couples who’ve been together a long time, I’m sure.

Plan B was a drive out to the Canadian east coast (we live in southern Ontario). We had arranged to take off this week actually but with out daughter still away in Vancouver and our oldest son going back to university (he lives away from home) we just couldn’t leave our youngest home alone.

On to Plan C! Although a beach vacation is not at all what we really wanted to do originally, it somehow turned out to be EXACTLY what we both needed. Sharing a few pics of our 2 weeks down in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. All of the outfits you see in the pics are put together from thrifted items (on both of us) with the exception of the white dress, which I’ve had for a few years.

I hope your summer is winding down nicely. To all those who’ve been in a relationship for as long as we have (or close to it), I congratulate you. These really could be the best years, I think. BTW, I haven’t posted a picture of myself on here in quite a while. I dyed my hair red last fall and haven’t tired of it yet.

Mr. is off on a business trip this week but I’m back at it. I’m prepping the staircase for stain and paint while he’s gone and trying to catch up reading blogs that I follow.


In front of our building. Sandals are Clark’s Artisan and they are SO comfy!


Special dinner the hotel arranged for us for our anniversary.


Peacocks, pheasants, ducks and other animals roam freely. The resort is on a nature reserve. Me wearing a wild animal print halter dress. I’m a little more daring in my outfits when I’m on vacation. Nobody knows me!


The beach is absolute perfection!


How to Clean Old Hardware

How do you decide whether to buy new hardware (handles, drawer pulls, knobs) or keep the existing?

There are some beautiful new pieces in the stores. I especially love anything made of glass. Seems the choices these days are silver, nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and black. What?! No brass? Of course not. There’s not a whole lot of selection out there if you like gold. Silver everything. Nothing could outdate your home more than having brass anything in your house, right? I hear it’s making (or made?) a comeback. I don’t know. I don’t really care.

Here’s my point. I think you should do whatever you like and whatever looks good with the piece you’re working with.

My first thought is usually to get new stuff but now that I’ve discovered how to clean the old pieces, I’m happy to keep them, even if they are gold.

Take a look at the before and after pics below. I think they’re brass. They’re solid and heavy and quite beautiful.

These are the pulls from the antique bedroom set I just painted. After on the top and before on the bottom.



And these pulls from some vintage end tables. Before on the left and after on the right.20160801_143718.jpg

Not gonna lie. It took some elbow grease. OK, a lot of elbow grease but when you stop and consider it’s all just years of dirty fingers (BTW, ewwww to that!) and you CAN get them clean, please don’t spray paint them or buy new ones. They’re gorgeous and you just brought them back to their glory days.

I used Bar Keeper’s Friend-amazing stuff!


What’s your preference? Clean up the old or buy brand new?

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Reader Inspired Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

I’m happy to say that this post is a reader inspiration! Mr. Restyle occasionally shares our projects with coworkers (I had no idea). He happened to share our kitchen makeover with a lovely lady named Cristina. You can read the original post on our DIY kitchen makeover here.

Cristina shared the post with her husband Dante and they decided to set out and redo their own cabinets using General Finishes Java Gel Stain. Cristina and Dante share a passion for restoring old furnishings to their former glory. Restaining their cupboards is a great way to achieve a brand new look.

Here’s the before of their cabinets. Ah yes, the good ole honey oak!

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Looks like their kitchen was already a happy place to be but look at the after below!


Here’s the after.


Gorgeous! So sleek and modern.


Great job guys! Here’s Cristina and Dante’s before and after for comparison. I am so happy to do be able to share our projects and more importantly, to hear that others can achieve something amazing from them.




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Projects I’m Working On

I hope everyone is enjoying a fantastic summer. I was able to escape on a camping trip “up north” as we say here in Ontario and enjoyed a few days of much needed R &R. Completely unplugged nevertheless! No choice! There was no cell signal where we were. It was a welcome break.

Mr. Restyle is working on building our basement bathroom. So far he’s tiled the shower. He even built in a little soap and shampoo niche with lights I might add and started the ceiling and painted the walls. Doesn’t look like much yet but it’s getting there. It’s been so incredibly hot that most nights we don’t feel like doing anything.


The mister insists on dropped ceilings in the basement. I don’t blame him as he has this house wired to the max and wants easy access. For this bathroom, he’s not using pre-fabricated ceiling panels but making them himself out of drywall. We’ve already purchased the shower doors and the toilet and sink. For the vanity, we will be installing this vintage dresser that I’ve painted white. The top will remain the original wood tone. It will be home to a cute little vessel sink. I cannot wait to show the finished room.


We decided not to build a closet but use a charming antique bookcase to house towels and toiletries.


Here it is after the first coat of white.


There are a ton of projects going on. Once the bathroom is complete, we will begin replacing all the bedroom carpeting with laminate, restaining the staircase, building a tray ceiling in our bedroom, redmodelling the master ensuite and building a system for our walk-in closet, all DIY/reclaim/repurpose style! So exciting.

We saw an antique bedroom set we liked so we scooped that up and I’ve already painted it and it’s been moved to our room. Yes, we do things backward. Not intentionally of course but that is the reality when you are reusing and redoing the way we do. There is no rhyme or reason.

Here’s a sneak peak. Excuse the mess but hopefully you can envision that ugly brown colour replaced with a soft blue-grey with a greyish wood toned floor.

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Oh, and I’ll be adding a diamond tufted headboard and creating a bench out of an old coffee table. I think I have enough on the go for now don’t I? Kinda explains why I never do any sewing or clothing related posts!




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How to Paint Yellowed Fridge Door Handles

Over time, you might notice that the handles on your refrigerator become worn and yellowed or even take on an orangey colour. Scrub as you might it just doesn’t go away. Rest assured this is not dirt. Those plastic handles have a special coating. What you’re seeing is the underside where the coating has worn off.

Mine were so bad it was embarrassing. What to do? I’d love to eventually replace the appliances with sleek stainless but there’s nothing wrong with the fridge and appliances are expensive!



You can easily pop those things off. I don’t know if all fridges are the same but I didn’t have to take the whole fridge apart. It was pretty easy to pry the parts off.

To paint the handles I used a special spray paint made for appliances from Rustoleum.


I couldn’t manage to remove all the parts for the ice and water dispenser so I covered up what I could and just used chalk paint for this area. We don’t use the dispensers anymore so water and ice exposure is not going to be an issue.

Here is the after. Looks brand new. Still not stainless but looking good.


Much better!

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