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

August 31, 2015

A New Mid-Century Modern Inspired Exterior Door

The Linea by Standard Doors

Last year I asked you to weigh in on my door dilemma: paint the existing door (which Hubs and I didn't love), save up for an expensive, mid-century style door that we did love, or buy an affordable replacement that was better, but not perfect.

Here's the door we had:

White builder's basic exterior door

At the time, I had a voting widget embedded in the post and 75% of you thought I should just paint the existing door, while 20% said keep questing (although some of you cheated and said paint the door and keep questing).  There were some great comments too, with some excellent ideas, and I am so thankful for the sound advice.

In the end, I took your advice and painted our existing door aqua, using Beauti-Tone's Cyan Sky (C13-3-0681-4). 

Paint a boring front door aqua

Paint was a fabulous, budget-friendly way to spruce up the old door.  In a bright and cheery shade of aqua, it already made me smile, but I have to admit that we still didn't love it.  As luck would have it, I recently had the opportunity to partner with a Canadian home improvement store to help our little lake house make a better first impression.

Although we lived with the aqua-painted original door for about a year, these days we're greeted by this beauty:

The Linea by Standard Doors

You'll never guess where it's from...  

Home Hardware!  Canadians, are you a little surprised?  I kept ogling Crestview Doors, thinking that was the only option for an exterior door with mid-century style.  I was so wrong!  The floor models at our local Home Hardware store are very traditional, but once we started to peruse catalogs for special order doors, we found a bevy of modern exterior doors, including the door we ordered - the Linea, by Standard Doors.  (It's from the Sophistica Collection).

The Linea by Standard Doors

The Linea has the mid-century feel we wanted, plus it lets a lot of light into our formerly dark and windowless hallway.  The glass is deceptive because it actually provides a lot of privacy by completely blurring any shapes more that a foot or so away from the door.  It actually rates a 9/10 for privacy in the brochure.  So although you can tell from outside if someone is standing right in front of the door, you can't see what (or who) is inside the house from outside.

Exterior door with windows and privacy glass

It was professionally painted, courtesy of Home Hardware, using Beauti-Tone's Cyan Sky.  I liked the original shade of aqua from Beauti-Tone so much that I wanted to use it again for this door.  It was painted with an alkyd (oil) primer, followed up with a trim and door topcoat, from Home Hardware.

Where to find a new exterior door with mid-century modern look?
Mid-century modern inspired exterior door
Mid-century modern inspired exterior door

We had already replaced the old door hardware with a nice brushed silver knob and lock set, so we just moved that over to the new door.

Aqua door

The hallway has seen a lot of changes: we've painted the walls and trim white, updated the light fixtures, thermostat and smoke detectors, and also the door hardware.  It's a much brighter, happier space now!  Some more changes might be on the horizon, though, because we've considered replacing the linoleum floor in the entry (and kitchen, laundry room, and powder room).  We originally thought we'd put it off until we renovate those spaces and we invest in something like tile or concrete, but it's been driving me nuts so we've been looking at affordable options for the interim. 

Modern exterior door with three glass panels

What a difference a door makes!

Thanks to Home Hardware for providing the Linea door and the Beauti-Tone paint.  I really shouldn't be surprised that I found something so stylish at Home Hardware because that's also where we purchased the fabulous green glass vessel sink in the townhouse - we were so smitten with it, we drove to a neighboring town to purchase it!  I wasn't paid or prompted to provide a positive review - it's pretty much a given that an aqua door with a mid-century feel will get my approval :)

August 25, 2015

DIY Round Polka Dot Pot Holder with Heat Shield

DIY heat shield trivet

My Mom and I have been collecting vintage Pyrex together for years, but we never saw eye to eye on the clear Pyrex flameware: clear glass pots, double boilers, coffee makers, tea kettles, etc.  I thought they were boring, but my Mom discovered that they work really well with glass top stoves because their bottoms are really flat.  When my Mom got her glass top stove, I was moving out so she gave me some of her wibbly wobbly pots and pans and started collecting flameware.  Fast forward three ovens, and many years later, and now I have a glass top stove too!  I curse her hand-me-down pots every time I use one - and now I see the appeal of Pyrex flameware.

(The photos below are from Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide, by Barbara Mauzy).

Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide, by Barbara Mauzy
Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide, by Barbara Mauzy

So far, the only flameware I actually have is the tea pot/kettle, which is genius!

Old Pyrex Ad
Turquoise Kitchen with Aqua Pyrex Collection

Boil the water and steep the tea in the same beautiful vessel - perfect for a small kitchen like mine because I no longer need a separate tea pot.  Plus the glass pot looks so pretty sitting on the stove.

The only downside is that the glass lid gets really hot, so I wanted a little aqua pot holder to use with my tea pot.  My Mom and I whipped one up, using leftover fabric from the polka dot laundry room curtains.

How to sew your own trivet

Isn't it adorable?  I wanted a round shape to complement the polka dot fabric, and a small loop so I could hang it up beside the stove.

It was a breeze to make and required only a few supplies:

  • Cotton fabric (this one is kind of similar)
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Ribbon or twill tape for loop
  • Heat shield fabric (also called heat reflective fabric or poly-therm fleece)
  • Scissors
  • Paper for circle templace
  • Round object to trace (like a plate)


First we used a round plate - slightly larger than the size I wanted the finished pot holder to be - and traced it onto graph paper to use as a template.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder
How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

We pinned our template onto the fabric and cut out three pieces: two circles from the polka dot fabric, and one circle from the heat shield fabric.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

With the circles cut, we cut out a piece of twill tape for the loop.

Cream twill tape

Then we pinned the three circles together.  Because the fabric is reversible - and I wanted one side cream on aqua and the other side aqua on cream - we pinned them together so the "right" sides were facing each other, and the heat shield fabric was on the bottom.  Here's a peek at the order:

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

We tucked the loop between the two fabric circles, facing away from the edge.  We sewed the edges with the machine, leaving an opening to turn everything right side out.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

To make the curved shape easier to flip, we cut little notches around the circumference.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

We turned it right side out and then sewed shut the small opening.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

And, voila, a perfectly-sized pot holder to solve my oddly specific kitchen dilemma:

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder
Aqua polka dot fabric
How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

(I've been itching to make one of these since we made those adorable, child-sized pot holders and itty bitty tea towels for the play kitchen we made.)

How to make a pot holder with heat shield material
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August 24, 2015

20 Innovative + Modern Ideas for Decorating with Rope

Nautical rope table, DIY

While working on my rope side table, I had a line from Horrible Bosses 2 stuck in my head: "otherwise we're going to string him up by his pretty little neck with the roughest, coarsest piece of rope we've got in our rope inventory".  Here's a terrible quality clip of the scene:    

Handy Hubs didn't really appreciate why I thought that line was hilarious - or why I'd bust into an old prospector accent anytime I so much as looked at a piece of rope - but, unfortunately for him, we still have some rope left in our rope inventory, so I won't be retiring the bit anytime soon.  I'm brainstorming ideas, so I started a Pinterest board devoted to rope (and also some nautical ideas).

Here's a short-list of my 20 favorite ideas for decorating with rope - innovative and modern ideas to buy, borrow, or make!

This mid-century inspired rope room divider, from The Brick House, is THE best rope project. 

Rope wall; room divider
The Brick House
On a similarly epic scale, this rope ceiling caught my eye:

Decorative rope ceiling
Design Milk
The Wrap Bench from cb2 is gorgeous - of course I'm smitten with the mid-century lines.  I know there's a sad, broken bench languishing in a thrift store somewhere, just begging for a DIY rope seat.

Mid-century modern style rope bench
This rope headboard, from Better Homes & Gardens, would also make for a really easy - if a little time consuming - DIY project.  The idea would be equally pretty as a chair seat or shelf on a table.

Rope headboard - DIY potential
Better Homes & Gardens
This Shades of Light rope and wood table has major DIY potential and at first I was considering a similar design for my table, but the boat cleats were a bit pricey.  While cleat shopping, though, I spotted some white metal boat cleats that I keep thinking would make great wall hooks...

Rope and boat cleat credenza table
Shades of Light
These tables boast colourful rope, which makes me love them all the more.  It took me a lot of searching to find more of the exact width of rope I was sent for my challenge, so I'm now very familiar with every gauge, material, and colour of rope available within 100km.  I know of some super cheery stuff that would be perfect for making something similar (or you could make some fabric twine). 

Colorful rope tables
Emily Henderson
I have seen quite a few DIY rope shelves online, but this one by Burkatron is perfect: simple, modern, white - it's beautiful.

Hanging rope shelf
I honestly wouldn't have looked twice at the Palecek Strings Attached Lounge Chair until I spotted it recovered in a bold blue starburst print, in an issue of HGVT magazine.  Now I've been casually keeping my eye out for some kind of rattan chair to modify for this same look - how pretty would it be on the deck?

Rope chair
via Candelabra
If you find yourself saying, "but none of the furniture pieces you've shown use enough rope," then perhaps this DIY jute wrapped vanity from The Gathered Home might tickle your fancy.  It only required about 1500 feet of rope...

Rope vanity
The Gathered Home
The vanity above is actually a clever Anthropologie knock-off, and I think that this Rope Lace Tiara Chair from Urban Outfitters has similar DIY potential.  Wrapping the design in rope could really update - and perhaps make somewhat less scalding on hot summer days - those dated metal patio furniture sets that practically burn a design onto the back of your thighs. 

Rope chair

I have seen a few thick rope railings but this one, featured in House Beautiful, takes the cake because it's so chunky and makes a real statement.  I also love it paired with the other textural elements.

Rope railing
House Beautiful
Speaking of railings, I keep thinking that there's potential here for a railing or furniture hack...

Rope railing
The New York Times
This bold and colourful kitchen, spotted on the DIY Network, boasts custom rope pendant lights - with great DIY potential!  You'll have to peel your eyes away from that stunning ceiling, for just a second!

Rope ceiling light
DIY Network
Emily Henderson created this cool and mod DIY coat rack, using a bit of rope to secure the centre.  It's wondrously easy to make (I'm talking minutes!), and if I had the floor space, I'd whip one up in a hurry.

Cool coat rack - Easy DIY
Emily Henderson
For someone with less floor space, this suspended rope hanging system is cool, with an industrial, rather than nautical, feel.  It could definitely be warmed up with a wood dowel and copper clips.

Rope hanging storage
Design Milk
For a dose of rope on a smaller scale, this DIY rope basket from Alice and Lois is easy to make (no sew!) but looks chic. 

Rope basket
Alice and Lois
This hanging planter is a perfect way to also use up some wood scraps.  If the wood was whitewashed and the planters were painted a pale aqua or navy, this could look so beachy. 

Rope hanging planter
I kept envisioning a rope wreath, but it turns out that a rope wreath has already been done - many times!  This one is cute, but I especially like the little embroidery floss details on this one:

Rope wreath
I've seen rope wrapped around a lot of vessels and shapes - from tin cans to tires - but I love the look of rope wrapped around a gleaming glass vase the best.  It's pretty, but rustic.

Rope vase
Better Homes & Gardens
Last, but not least, is the rope table Hubs and I made - which I hope you'll vote for every day :)

Rope table DIY

If still craving more, check out my Rope + Nautical Ideas Pinterest board - and if you've spotted a really great way to decorate with rope, leave a link in the comments or tag me on Instagram because I'm still on the hunt for some great ideas!

20 Modern Ways to Decorate with Rope
Read more »
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