Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Thrift Thursday - Winnipeg Thrifts.

Just over a month ago, Leigh-Ann of Freckled Nest (you MUST check her site out!) asked if I'd share some of my favourite Winnipeg thrift spots. I jumped at the opportunity - I love thrifting, wandering around and finding that 'next great find.'

I figured that it would be fun to re-post my go-to thrifting spots with you guys for this edition of Thrift Thursday! Regardless of whether you're in Winnipeg or not, we can all relate when it comes to having that secret must visit know the type - that one place that makes you weak in the knees, is cheap, has constantly changing stock and filled to the brim with goodness!

Here's a rundown of my five fave thrifting spots!
I love this shop. Tucked off of Portage Avenue in an unassuming strip mall is the mother of all thrift stores. Being in an older neighbourhood this shop gets a lot of vintage finds and is home to a constantly evolving assortment of furniture, accessories and knick-knacks.

I’ve scored loads of awesome pieces from this shop over the years. Chests of drawers can be picked up from anywhere between $20.00-$50.00 and a majority of accessories can be found for under $5.00. My favourite find has to be a cute little black vase that I uncovered and took home for the princely sum of .69. I’ve yet to find a permanent home for it, but I love it none the less!
I’ve lived in Winnipeg for close to three years now so have had the chance to check out a bulk of the vintage furniture stores at least once or twice. Though I’ve seen some great shops, the Salvation Army on Empress Street has proven to be my favourite for great wood pieces.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this shop acquires a lot of estate assortments as I’m constantly walking in to see stunning antique dining sets-- we’re talking table, six to eight chairs and sideboard all for under $300.00. A lot of the pieces that come into the shop are great ‘project pieces’ and are in need of a bit of love, but hey, if I can hunt down a set of nightstands for $10.00 (still looking!) I’m game to invest some time and energy into making them look good!
Whenever I think about pawn shops, I typically think about nasty looking hole in the wall type places with stacks movies like Clueless and Varsity Blues on VHS. That my friends isnot what AAA Pawn & Consignment is all about. This shop is a treasure-trove of vintage fun. From glassware and crystal to lamps, rugs, oil paintings and silver tea sets and then desks, headboards and china cabinets, this shop is a must visit.

I’ve scored countless pieces here including my writing desk (clutter container) for $15.00, assorted stemware, piles of picture frames and interesting vases. The best part about this shop – the owner is willing to cut ‘deals’ when you buy multiple pieces. Different from shops like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Savers or Value Village where each item has a set price, you can wander around this shop with a stack of items and at the end of your adventure offer a lump sum. Yah can’t go wrong with policies like that!
Antiques funk

As the name would have it, Antiques & Funk is jam packed to the ceiling with you guessed it – antiques and funk. I remember when I first moved to the city and discovered this gem of a shop. I didn’t know my way around the city, or have any ideas where the best shops were. Basically I’d hop in my truck and just drive until I found something that caught my eye. Rush hour traffic on Main Street Winnipeg and I’m braking to try and catch a second glance at the colourful window display. When I finally got off the busy street and into the store I was in awe with the quality of pieces on offer! (LA's found some great pieces here too!)

I’ve found a number of great small wares at this shop and they get a lot of great looking furniture pieces from some of Winnipeg’s finest homes. Don’t expect cute little vignettes and room scenes. This shop is all about digging through boxes, looking inside cabinets and checking to see what’s under tables. I found an occupied Japan china dog ornament for my Mom in an ice cream pail under a table-- my best find :)

And last, but not least the mother of all thrift stores. That’s right. I’m talking about--
We’re lucky in the sense that Winnipeg has five Value Village stores (same as "Savers" in the USA), so it’s a given that anytime you wander through the doors you’re going to find another treasure. My favourite location, on Pembina Highway, is a mecca of books, house wares, crafting supplies, art, accessories and anything else that you can think of. I could write three more posts to tell you about what I’ve found at Value Village. I’ve come across vintage one-of-a-kind treasures like the bags of old postcards for $1.99, paint by numbers in their original frames, serving ware and crystal at a fraction of the original retail and stack upon stack of books!

I don’t even know if would be possible to list my favourite Value Village discoveries – half of my possessions were uncovered on a Saturday afternoon at one of the city’s Value Village stores. So many trips, so many memories!So there you have it! My favourite thrifting destinations around the city of Winnipeg. Now let’s go hunt down some more treasures!!


The snazzy shop headers were created by LA of Freckled Nest

Mr. Mitchell Builds His Dream Blog

One of my favourite movies of all time is Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. It's an ol' skool Cary Grant movie from the 40s. The story is a bit cheesy, but cute....dreamy Grant and his wife want to get away from the rat race and stumble across a quaint country home. Long story short - existing house needs too much work, ends up bulldozed and a new house and ridiculous story line ensue.

Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House movie poster

And though this film is over 60 years old, the perils and trials of building a home haven't really changed. Plans that look great on paper sometimes don't work out as expected....and things can change quickly. There are hiccups along the way - but in the end the work will have been worth the blood, sweat and tears.

Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House

And though I'm nowhere near building a home of my own, let alone buying a 'fixer-upper' I'm currently working on building a better looking blog. This I'm finding out is easier said than done. While I'd love to hand over a cheque to someone with mad skills that's not an option at the moment...student loan and car payments come first (who knew that I'd still be paying for bar nights from five years ago today?). 

Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House

All that said - I'm going to be spending the next couple of days seeing if I can tweak my home on the net. To be honest I really have no clue what I'm doing. I thought I'd figured out a bunch of stuff, only to discover that I'd erased a bunch of widgets....hmm. I ask that you bear with me! It might get scary, but I promise that I'll have it figured out shortly!


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Can't get you outta my head....

Think back, think waaaaaaay back to when I posted about how I'm a bit of a magazine junkie and love finding different decorating and design magazines from around the world. Can't remember that far back? That's okay...I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning. 

Anyways, in that post I professed my love for Hus & Hem a Swedish design magazine that so far, I've only been able to view online. Apparently no stylish ex-Swedes live in Winnipeg...

Though sad that I can't actually leaf through a copy of Hus & Hem (there's just something about actually flipping through a magazine that can't be replicated online), I'm more than happy with the international titles that I have been able to get my paws on - including my absolute favourite which just so happens to hale from Australia.

When I say "Australia" what's the first thing that pops into your head?

Kylie Minogue?


The Sydney Opera House?

What about great interior design?

Yah....I'm guessing that interior design wasn't your first pick - but seriously, Australia as far away as it is (from Winnipeg that is...), is a treasure trove of amazing design. I love the way that Aussies decorate their homes - there's a certain sense of formality, but loads of playful elements.

Figuratively speaking, Australians are more laidback, they know how to relax, how to have fun, how to enterain - and the homes that I've viewed online and within my go-to Australian mag - Australian House & Garden are reflective of these characteristics.

I stumbled across this gem of a magazine while wandering around Chapters a few years ago and have been buying it sporadically since. At $14.95 CDN per issue it's not the cheapest read out there, but it's so worth it. After flipping through an issue I find myself dreaming of packing up everything and moving to Sydney. If I were to pick my favourite issues to buy they'd definitely include the 'top 50 rooms' issue, the 'annual kitchen & bath' issue and my absolute fave - the 'renovation' issue.

Regardless of how few or how many copies one chooses to pickup, they're keepers. The pictures are beautiful, the shopping pages are fun (even if I can't actually buy anything shown....possibly a good thing) and the recipes are awesome! I strongly suggest, rather I command you to wander down to your nearest magazine stand or bookstore to see if you can hunt down a copy - you'll thank me!

I leave you with some more of my favourite shots from Australian House & Garden - be inspired!


All lower images - House & Garden

Monday, 27 June 2011

Feeling blue.

This morning while eating my toast I was flipping through a magazine and came across a shot of a blue living room that piqued my interested. There was just something so calming and relaxing about a pale blue backdrop that I've spent much of the day contemplating the idea of completely refreshing my living and dining room palettes.
Right now I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of browns, taupes and beiges. I mean, there's nothing wrong with the colours - they just feel safe (and were approved by the owner's of my building) but they're kind of boring, kind of uninspiring and kind of well, meh. It's time to shake things up at Casa Dan...time to add some colour, a bit of personality and perhaps some blue. Blues are fun - they're versatile, playful and vibrant when you want them to be, yet calming, quiet and relaxing when you need them to be.

When it comes to this project, painting will be the least of my worries. I've done enough of it in my time that it's to the point where I can cut edges in my sleep. No, the hard part will actually be selecting the right shade of blue. I mean where do you start?
I love blues, but I've always had trouble picking out the 'right' blue for my project. I don't want my space to feel institutional, I don't want it to look like a little girl's room and I don't want it to look green or gray when the light hits it a certain way.
I also love that with the right blue, you can add a splash of colour into a space without it feeling overwhelming or out of place. Right now if I decided that I wanted to paint my bookcases red or add in some bright yellow & white ikat cushions they'd look completely out of place. With the perfect blue I'll be able to toss in a dash of colour - just like that! I might even throw in a yellow table like the one below - 

calming blue lilac bedroom design 4

So what to do? Where to begin? First off I dig out the giant tub of paint chips, the fan decks, the computer and the stack up stack of magazines to come up with ideas and further inspiration.

From there I'll pickup a couple of sample pots to see how the different colours look....this is the fun part. It's amazing to see how 'that perfect colour' can look so good in the pot and on the chip but be sooooooo wrong when you brush it onto the wall.
And of course you'll be coming along for the ride! I can't wait to start tackling this project!
So while I start to tear through my pile of paint chips and magazine pages, I'll leave you with a couple more great rooms that have me loving the idea of going blue -

This is why you hire a stager (or fire your real estate agent).

I have a treat for you!

Remember last week when I was checking out the MLS listings and came across what seemed at the time like it may have been the scariest house ever? Granny's gone wild? Yup. That one. Well my friends, I think that I may have found a place that tops that one.

But before we begin, I feel the need to rant a bit. While I love finding the ugliest of ugly spaces to share with you, I feel like I've got a bit of a beef with the real estate agents that are choosing to post these pictures. Obviously, not every home that gets posted is going to chic and put together, but seriously....dirty dishes in the sink? Messy table? Unmade beds? Come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

Isn't it the real estate agent's job to make a place look as good as it possibly can before listing the property? Isn't it their job to tell you to clean up a bit....hide the strange family photos, stash your collections that might be less than tasteful, tell your teenage son to take down his Jessica Alba (or whoever it is that teenage boys fantasize about) posters? Isn't that why they get paid the big bucks when they finally make the sale?

I don't know who the agent is for the following place, but all I have to say is -

Anyways, without further rambling, I present to you the ugliest (or maybe the second ugliest) house that I've seen (in the past week). Let's start with the lovely, bright, clean and fresh looking kitchen....or not -

Dirty dishes? Seriously? Dollar store blind too small for the window? Where to begin?

Is it the dining room? The home office? The library? The storage room? Don't even get me started on the faux rock walls and wicker corner cabinet....

Not even Barbie has this much pink going on in her dream house.

I don't know what's a worse cardinal sin of decorating - the pictures hung way too high, the peeling paint on the door, the scary wood panelling or the dead plant hanging out by the TV? You pick!

Lastly, we've got the living room...which feels even tinier when you decide to cover the front door access with a giant chair. I'm not going to comment on the picture frame which is high enough up that only Michael Jordan (he plays basketball right?) can see the shots. Let alone the fact that it's ugly.


I'm thinking that it's time to start rethinking this whole buyer gig. The world needs guys like me to tell people just how ugly their places are and then work with them to make them as attractive as possible for resale. Something to think about!


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Dan's bookcases.

I figured that it was finally time to share a couple more pictures of my own space with you. After ranting, rambling, giving ideas and sharing other people's pictures for the past couple of months, it only felt right to begin sharing with you.

To be completely and brutally honest, my place is far from perfect. It's totally a work in progress. At present I'm re-thinking everything from my couch to the wall colours, to which knickknacks I display and how I display them.

And while there are, and always will be a gazillion things to do, worry about and change, tonight I figured that I'd start by sharing a couple of quick shots with you and also fill you in on the history of some of the pieces shown.

So without further rambling, I present to you, my living room bookcases and all the treasures that reside within and on top of -

June 2010
My living room is home to two bookcases that I picked up at the Real Canadian Superstore a couple years ago (it's quickly becoming my go-to destination for everything from toothpaste and clothes to plants and apparently furniture). I started with one bookcase - purchased with birthday money (23 and on a budget at the time meant that I could only buy the first one....saving up and purchasing the second one on clearance later on...).

Is it sad that I took a picture to celebrate owning a bookcase? Hmm....

March 2009
I was pretty ecstatic to outfit my first bookcase....with the gazillions of books that I owned at that time (even more now!) it was cool to finally be able to purchase my first home for them. Oddly enough though, more baskets and frames ended up in the bookcase than actual books (sometimes you don't want your friends to know that you're secretly a Sophie Kinsella fan....).

July 2009
Anyways, as time has gone by, I've realized that my bookcases are the best place to showcase a lot of the pieces that I've stumbled across - whether they be pieces that I've had since I was a kid, or pieces that I've uncovered while venturing through the city over the past couple of years.

I've collected enough pieces over the past couple of years that I'm to the point where I don't want to showcase everything at once, but at the same time don't want to get rid of pieces....the tops of my bookcases are perfect for allowing me to play around and change up the feel of the living room in as little as a few minutes (okay...most of the time I'll take the better part of a couple of hours to play with stuff before I'm happy).

Here's what I did this past Christmas. Basic, but kinda fun, and in someways unexpected. And yes, that totally is a rhino carving to the left of a vase.....he's kind of hard to see, but he's oh-so-cute. My Grandma brought him back from South Africa years ago and he's always been around...

Flash forward to this evening and here's how they're looking - this past week I played around with a few different pieces - removing some old ones and finally incorporating some of newer items that I've picked up over the past couple of months.

Here's a bit of a rundown of what I'm currently showing off....

On the left - 

-I found the trophy cup during my horrible year in Saskatchewan. It's one of the few good memories that I have from living in small town holds the random notes, post-its, ticket stubs and other bits and scraps of paper that I've saved from special events and occasions over the past year or so.
-The glass candle stick was found at Value Village. It was originally painted black, but I scratched it on the way home, I kept scratching and removing the paint, uncovering a cool candle holder with a neat silver finish.
-The Kodak Brownie was my Grandmas. I found it in a closet a couple of years ago and figured that it would be fun to have out on display.
-The blue glass vase was found at a Bay store closing sale...for the princely sum of $3.99 (regular $29.99).
-The postcards you'll remember from here, and the shell vase from here.
-The mini of the Italian buildings was originally a pen holder that I found at a thrift store when I was in college. 
-The clock, shells, fish bowl and frames were all found at tag sales. When I found the frames they housed pictures of the Pope....which I wasn't keen on keeping (no offence to any of my Catholic friends).

And on the right we've got - 

-It turns out that I'm a bit of a shell slut. I don't know what it is about them that causes me to keep buying and collecting them. Maybe it's the fact that each one is different and unique....that they're fun to check out (and possibly the fact that they're cheap as can be and look really neat in glass vases such as this one from the clearance aisle at Winners.
-I found the blue glass vase and ferris wheel at Value Village. I didn't realize it at the time, but the ferris wheel is actually a music box. It totally freaked me out by starting to play its tune at 4:30 in the morning....shudder...creepiest thing ever when you're at home alone.
-The trophy cups are recent finds. The big one came from Goodwill and the smaller one was from a tag sale. Three hours of scrubbing and rubbing and they shine like brand new. I was thinking of putting an orchid in the bigger one at a later point....
-My camel is courtesy of a family member who brought him home from Egypt...he serves a reminder that at some point I want to explore Egypt and see camels other than the scary ones at the zoo....
-The books and shell courtesy of random tag sales over the years.


And that's just the start. I haven't rambled on about my books and the rules for how you can and can't handle them (there are rules....). Nor have I shared the rest of my living room with you.

We're just getting started boys and girls....we've got a lot more living room to cover. Who knows how the bookcases will end-up looking. That and I'm thinking that they might be due for a coat of paint....

October 2008 - The first night in my apartment....note the lack of furniture.
Stay tuned!



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