Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

October 31, 2014

So This is What Square One Looks Like

My brief absence, following the post about our crazy-expensive furnace upgrade, probably seems a little funny.  Do you picture me keeled over on the floor, maybe in the fetal position and clutching my empty wallet, too shell-shocked to blog?  Well, you're not wrong.  It wasn't the furnace, though, that did me in - my computer died.  I was actually trying to view Kristin's (The Hunted Interior) house tour when my computer kicked me off and decided that I should get back to work instead.  When I resisted, it did a hard shut down and a screen I'd never seen popped up.  When it rebooted, things seemed fine until I realized I couldn't save any word documents or view any pictures because the files were corrupted or gone.  Luckily, I have an in with the best computer repair shop in town, but the prognosis is not good.  When I was working on my dissertation I did a back up to an external drive every couple of weeks but I think the last time everything was backed up might have been...January??  I have tutorials and photos for so many blog posts that might be gone, never mind hundreds of adorable photos of Szuka (and other important stuff, is there other important stuff?).  I'm hoping for good news ("we retrieved half the files and, coincidentally, they're the ones you didn't back up - yay!), although my luck's not that good ("we retrieved half the files but they're from a hundred years ago and ones you backed up anyway - yay!).

Worse than the possibility of losing so much work is coughing up cash for a new laptop, only days after the cheque was cashed on our spendy new heating system.  Well, this is what I get for refusing to upgrade my laptop for seven years (it got me through a Master's and a PhD - it seemed cruel to jettison it).  I think I was officially the last person to run Windows Vista...  Now the choice has been made for me: impromptu upgrade!  I hope to be back to blogging regularly next week, as I've confiscated Hubby's laptop, but some of my tutorials might be an exercise in visualizing the steps yourself.  While I ponder another big purchase, I wanted to chat about a purchase that didn't happen.


Do you remember me mooning over the Whitney dresser from Room & Board?  I had spent ages looking at local furniture stores and then hunting online before finding what I thought would be the perfect fit.  I loved the metal legs of the Whitney because I thought they complemented our welded headboard nicely.


At first I pined for the grey stain, but recently I had been really into the walnut.  All of the Room & Board dressers seemed like excellent quality (solid wood, crafted in the States), and something we could invest in and enjoy for a good long time.  I had wanted a low dresser and a highboy, which is the combination my Mom has, to maximize the space but still afford some room for my vintage posters and my little vignette:


I know it seems funny to buy furniture selected for its display prowess, but in the lakehouse we have few places to display treasured items and a serious shortage of wall space for art.  Happily, the measurements of the two Whitney dresser were perfect and the low dresser and taller cabinet fit like they were made for our bedroom.  Hubby and I made a trip to Minneapolis in August to hit up Costco, Ikea, Lowe's (for the lovely furniture grommets) and order the Room & Board dressers - although a part of me hoped there would be floor models we could scoop up for a good deal, so I was prepared with packing blankets and ratchet straps, just in case.  Save for the literal truckload of soy and canned tomatoes from Costco, we came home empty handed.  We didn't love the look of the Whitney in real life - the rounded edges are much more pronounced and seemed a little off to us.  Unfortunately, none of the Room & Board dressers we had short-listed had the feel of a $2000 dresser.  The drawer slides were a bit flimsy (the drawers actually rocked side to side), the finishes didn't seem super durable, and, ultimately, we just didn't love them.  I mean absolutely no offense to Room & Board, or anyone who has Room & Board furniture - it's just that $4000 is A LOT of money for us to spend on a pair of dressers and they just weren't what we were expecting.  I had spotted a dresser in a local shop, made in Canada, that was solid wood and retailing for a little less than the Whitney.  It was excellent quality, with really sturdy but buttery smooth drawer slides and just really solid construction.  It felt durable in a way that the Whitney didn't.  While I didn't love the lines of the Canadian dresser (it had a bit of a hotel feel), it became my benchmark for quality.  As we left the Room & Board store, Hubby muttered "so this is what square one feels like".

Furnishing a home in a small city is more challenging that I anticipated, having previously lived in Kingston and Ottawa, cities which not only boasted more stores but were close to other cities for even more shopping options.  We were never anything but overwhelmed by our options but here, back in Thunder Bay, I feel like our choices are severely limited.  Two furniture stores that have a more mid-century/modern selection are closing in November, so pickins will get even slimmer.

Still looking to find a replacement for our maple dresser, which is actually on loan from my Mom, I started looking at Ikea.  I'm contemplating a wall of storage - like maybe a Pax wardrobe? - which would actually be super awesome.  The lakehouse is so much smaller than the townhouse and without a proper basement, storage has been a bit of a drag.  With a giant Ikea unit I could move the linens from the linen closet into the bedroom, and turn the linen closet into a pantry which thrills me more than I'd like to admit (teenage-me would be very disappointed with how uncool my priorities have become). 

Photo Source
Photo Source
Photo Source
Photo Source
Photo Source
Photo Source

I love this idea but have two reservations: most importantly, I'd have no home for my beloved vintage posters, which I love seeing first thing in the morning.  I've just really grown to love them over a dresser.  I could do something with varying heights, like this combination, but I haven't looked much into what will fit.  Perhaps more troublesome, I wonder if adding an Ikea wardrobe would just be too much Ikea furniture.  The older I get, shouldn't I buy fewer Ikea pieces and maybe buy better quality?  Some kind of heirloom-quality piece to pass on to my niece and nephew, or something like that?  Since we already have an Expedit, plus the Ikea floating credenza and an Ikea wall unit (the latter will be phased out at some point, but the other two are here to stay, for the immediate future at least), would adding a wardrobe just be too much Ikea for a couple in their (early!!) 30s?  Granted, there are some pretty awesome Ikea wardrobe hacks out there, so a wardrobe has the potential to look really awesome.  Plus, I don't give a hoot about what "adults" should do because I'm not one to be concerned with the peanut gallery and their socially constructed norms.  But still...I have this weird thing about Ikea.

Am I being totally ridiculous?  Thoughts on my dresser dilemma?
SHARE:

29 comments

  1. Not rediculous at all! I dont know if Ikea wardrobes are worth it...the lack dressers we have suck big time. they are cardboard.

    Usually I say take your time- but I think you have done that already!!! Can you surf kijiji in the nearest city? Does west elm deliver? they were having 20 pct of dressers but I think it ended last week. what about getting a custom built piece?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, ikea quality can be really hit or miss. There are no near cities, lol. Three hours, stateside, is the closest. Buy I'll keep trolling! You never know!! Maybe I'll find a gem. Funny thing is that hubby's dad is a woodworker, but having a single dresser, or two, made can be very pricey and he's renovating his own home so I hate to bug him with my stuff...but maybe I should.

      Delete
  2. I feel your pain. If you think Thunder Bay is hard, try rural western Canada, hours and hours away from Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Calgary. Most people seem to buy furniture at Sears, Leons, and The Brick. Sigh.

    We needed a new sofa recently (ours is 25 years old and finding a decent reupholster is even harder, and just as expensive), so I was gratefully for Crate & Barrel, though they won't deliver out here -- we are having it sent to friends in the city, and will haul it home from there.

    I don't have any suggestions, but want to wish you good luck!

    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh, that sounds even harder!! Yep, the brick, leons, Dufresne... That's largely what's left. Maybe two, three locally owned furniture shops? It's so sad, because there used to be more options. Happy to hear you were able to track down a great sofa!! Gives me hope :)

      Delete
  3. I just got rid of my dresser and have a small closet (and many piles on the floor) for all of my clothes so a whole wall of clothing storage is looking so glamorous right now... Plus, I've seen tons of 'hacks' all over Pinterest that make them look a little less out-of-the-box IKEA. Maybe you can put the Hungarian posters over your bed

    Also, I just wanted to give you a word of encouragement about your computer. I've had two different hard drives die and I've been able to recover ALL of the data on both of them. It'll work out for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you thinking of an ikea wardrobe?? Sadly my posters won't fit above the headboard (it's deceptively tall) but maybe beside?

      I'm hoping my data is retrievable like yours. Thanks for thinking good thoughts!!

      Delete
  4. It's not ridiculous at all-- I am ALWAYS torn when decided between giving in and getting Ikea, or waiting it out to find something old, sturdier, and somehow still in my price range. Sometimes an Ikea hack totally solves the problem, and sometimes it's worth stalking the thrift stores for 6 more months. I think Ikea will always be there.... so you can wait to decide until you either fall in love with the Pax or fall in love with something else.
    Also, I very much hope your Szuka pictures are recovered. I can imagine steps to a project but I NEEEED to see fluffy puppy pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's such good advice!! You're so right - ikea can wait. I'd hate to get a wardrobe and stumble across something awesome. I love that you equate ikea with giving in, lol. It does feel like cheating at life somehow...

      On the bright side, photos of Szuka are a renewable resource, haha.

      Delete
  5. My dream dressers: Pompanoosic Mills. http://www.pompy.com/furniture/?category=10

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, those are worth pining for (pun intended, lol). The coventry and mitered are seriously beautiful!! I love that they're made in the states. Thanks so much for the link!

      Delete
  6. Go vintage! ALWAYS better quality & WAY more inexpensive! (Plus it's so common to find vintage sets with highboy & lowboy.) There are so many beautiful vintage styles around… Danish teak, midcentury american walnut sets like Broyhill Sculptra, etc...
    Are there active Craigslist/ Classifieds, Estate sales or used furniture stores in your neck of the woods? Keep a look out & you'll fall in love with something!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mid century furniture is so hard to come by here that our only mid century antique shop is going out of business! But I'm going to keep my eyes peeled. I'm not in a rush, and I was able to snag something cool last year when a blizzard prevented anyone else from making it to the seller's house, lol.

      Delete
  7. Tanya, could you mount your posters on the doors of the IKEA units with Command Strips?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clever idea!! I'll have to check the width of the doors with the art...

      Delete
  8. Lol we are a lot alike. I also have a 7 yr old (in January) computer that runs Vista. She is on her last legs though I think. The internal fan died a couple years back and I've had to have a little external fan pointed at the vents since to keep it cool. Not a big deal since I don't really move it around but not really fun in the winter time when it's really cold on the lover level of my house and it blow across the computer to my mouse hand. Picture me bundled up in blankets with only one exposed hand with a slightly blue pointer finger and a pair of eyes poking out of the blanket all the while trying to keep warm. lol. I guess I will take your misfortune as a reminder to back up my files which I haven't done in forever. I think of doing it often, especially when my computer over heats and shuts down occasionally but it seems like such a daunting task to create folders for new photos and file and how do you figure out which ones haven't been backed up already to now save them? As you can tell I'm not a master at computering .....just a computer user living in a computer world. *sigh*. Yes computering is now a word, you're welcome.

    As for the dresser/wardrobe situation.......I think it all depends on how big your room is. I think sometimes a wall of cabinets like that can be very over whelming. I like the versatility of being able to move a dresser around. Have you seen the Little Green Notebook Ikea wardrobe make over? It's a beauty! I love the interior and exterior mirrors. I'm sure there is a better post and pics of it on her blog but this is the one I found quickly. Even a quick search of "little green notebook ikea wardrobe" brought up some other pics. http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.ca/2013/10/how-to-paint-and-even-wallpaper-ikea.html She is a beast!!! If you don't follow her already you should. She has a different style than you but she has awesome detailed tutorials on everything.

    p.s. "teenage-me would be very disappointed with how uncool my priorities have become" literally had be bust out laughing because it's so true how our priorities change as we get older lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another vista user!! Thought I was alone in the world. Mine used to overheat too, I had this cooling thing it sat on. Our computers are sad little twins, it seems!

      I do read little green notebook! She's got a different style, but has motivated me to be bolder. She's so daring in her choices. I saw her makeover but didn't include it because her photos were a bit small. I could have resized to fit my blog, but then they go a bit fuzzy. But hers was definitely gorgeous.

      Your computer situation in the winter made me chuckle. Teenage-you would be disappointed you don't have some crazy cool invisible laptop that projects onto a wall or something, lol. Something sci-fi inspired.

      Delete
    2. Have you checked West Elm for dressers? What am I saying, of course you have. I was looking at a desk mentioned in a blog on West Elm and took a quick look at their dressers and thought I'd mention it just in case. They seem to be your style and many even have the metal legs like the dresser above you wanted. I know most people don't want to change new furniture but you could even change the legs or make your own to match your bed if you found the shape of dresser you liked......might even still be cheaper than the Whitney dresser in the end.

      Delete
    3. I looked at West Elm awhile ago, but Hubby didn't like the quality. But, now that he's seen spendier versions, he might be more amenable! There isn't one near us now that we've moved, but we get around and could make a road trip to the nearest one. I like your idea to swap out the legs - that's a great idea!!

      Delete
  9. Have you tried here - http://www.barewoodfurniture.ca/ ? They have furniture by College Woodwork and seem to have a good selection...good luck! I have yet to find a dresser and chest. Doesn't help that I haven't gone shopping yet! ha ha I've wanted to go here as well: http://www.woodcraft.ca/?goto=browse&id=52 (but they are in Southern Ontario...).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're a mind reader!! I did try barewood - it's actually where I spotted the dresser that became my benchmark for quality, but the style wasn't perfect. Super nice selection though. And, weirdly, I just looked at woodcraft, and then logged in to read comments here. Super spooky!!! Keep me posted on your dresser quest! I'd love more suggestions :)

      Delete
    2. Ha ha ha...that's so funny! I get the feeling furniture is somewhat customizable at Woodcraft, but I'm not sure. That's partly what drew me to them. The furniture by College Woodwork was so well-made that my bar has been set pretty high. My husband is always ready to go to Ikea for anything, but after seeing nice some beautiful wood furniture, I don't think I can get a dresser and chest there. Totally not my fault! :)

      Delete
    3. Custom would be great, but maybe a little $$$$. http://www.bdaley.ca/ (so fun looking at the projects here!) Kind of tempting when it seems impossible to find that perfect piece. Guess it can be thought of like art.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the BDaley link - so much great inspiration there!!

      Delete
  10. Yeah, I have this totally weird thing about Ikea, too. I love the style and prices obviously it's just the quality that gets me. I keep scratching my head wondering when our home will feel grown up but it won't happen when I'm still trying to decorate on a college dorm budget.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since moving to a fancier, more "grown-up" house my budget for decor and furniture has gotten even smaller!! So I definitely understand. My impulse is to buy something cheap for now, but that seems to get me further from my goal of investing in pieces we can keep for a long time. But buying something quality (read: expensive) seems like it's never going to happen because it's just one thing after another with this house: a furnace, next a land survey, then a fence, then repairing the shoreline. Oy. Let's try to make college dorm looks cool for adults and solve all of our problems...

      Delete
  11. Oh, I forgot to mention one other place I've been considering: http://www.geovin.com/collections.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I'm not obsessed with their furniture. Wow - such gorgeous, elegant pieces! I LOVE the soho...

      Delete
    2. Me, too...I really have to carve out some time to go see their furniture in person. I also love this dresser, but don't think I can afford it: http://www.dwr.com/product/american+modern+6-drawer+dresser+in+walnut.do?sortby=ourPicks
      Awfully beautiful, but not quite within my reach.

      Delete
    3. Oh boy, now you're being cruel, lol. I LOVE that dresser but it's far beyond my reach too. DWR is a bit of a misnomer, haha (although I know that by "within reach" they mean accessible, not affordable).

      I'm going to pine for that one now.

      Delete

You've made my day - I love hearing from you! I approve comments only to keep out the spam, so don't worry if your comment doesn't pop up right away.

© Dans le Lakehouse | All rights reserved.
See What Inspires Me on Pinterest