Lume

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Lume 2/2

I haven’t studied architecture in the classroom for a few months now, but I have made an effort to continue my learning; I’ve been reading architectural texts, practicing my sketching skills, and working on hypotheticals. In January I was lucky enough to learn of a competition based out of Canada exploring light and the built environment. The theme this year was Interface, where the built and unbuilt environments meet. Living on the coast, I gravitated toward the ultimate interface between land, which is built-on and pretty much under control, and the untamable ocean. I designed a system of lights and gathering points for the trails at Signal Hill, which I’ve nearly fallen from on more than one occasion. The jury deliberated recently and, while I did not place, I did learn a lot from the experience – and I have some new portfolio pages to boot!

mike

Restored Vintage Mirror

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Our latest vintage restoration is “The Fifty Pound Mirror,” and trust me, the name is accurate. We found this baby at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore for a whopping $15. Its original condition was pretty rough – grungy, badly spray-painted, with a strange dirty shoestring tied on the back – but we saw the potential. We opened the mirror up and soon figured out why it was so heavy; it has an outer and inner frame, one metal and the other hardwood, as well as two thick panes of mirrored glass. Using steel wool we gently scraped off the paint around the outer frame to reveal beautiful, shiny chrome. After dissembling and cleaning it up a bit, we got to painting. We used black paint (actually, it was some leftover chalkboard paint we had lying around!) to paint the circle cut-out insert. Finally, we put it all back together and glued it securely in place. The total cost of this project was less that $20. It is a great addition to our bedroom, and fits really well above our shared dresser. It required a little bit of elbow grease, but it was totally worth it. On a related note, if anyone is looking for a couple to revamp their home decor on the cheap, you know where to send ‘em.

katie

 

DIY: Dip-dyed Macramé Hanging Planters

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The dull winter days make me crave green. Succulents, purple campanulas, rosemary, basil, a bouquet of deep red carnations – these little plants and flowers brighten up my apartment and my day. The only tricky part to my green obsession is placing them somewhere where they will get the necessary amount of sunlight. Enter hanging planters – the perfect way to suspend a plant in front of a sunny window. Rather than use a boring old hanging basket, I decided to delve into macramé. I found a good tutorial (Brit + Co‘s “Make These Boho Chic Hanging Macrame Vases”) that didn’t seem too intimitidating and dug in. While the tutorial was incredibly helpful, I did find I needed to make a few changes. Here’s my how to:

To make the hanging basket:

1. Measure and cut 4 lengths of string about 52 inches long (I have high ceilings and I like to have lots of extra string to work with)
2. Line up the strings and bundle them together. Fold bundle in half.
3. With folded bundle in hand, make a looped knot near the top (Note: If you want your planter to have a long tail at the end, make sure you make the knot farther down).
4. Turn pot upside down and place the top knot in the middle (you may want to use a bit of tape to secure the knot). Separate the strings into groups of two, laying them across the bottom to divide the pot into four equal sections.
5. Tie each group of two strings in a looped knot, making sure the knot is placed at/near the edge of the pot.
6. Make new groups of strings by taking the right string of one group with the left string of another. This will makes four new groups of two strings.
7. Tie each new group of two strings into a looped knot, making sure the knot is placed about 1/3 ways up the pot on all sides.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7, inching up a 1/3 of the way each time until you are happy with the coverage and feel like the pot will fit snugly in the basket.
9. Flip the pot with its macramé base right-side up, pulling the remaining 4 groups of strings up vertically.
10. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure everything looks great and is secure.

**Optional** To make a tail: Use scissors to cut the group of strings at the base of the basket in half.

diyfourpartTo dip-dye:

If you are using white string like I did and want a bit more colour, try dip-dying! Remove the macramé basket you made and dip it into some food coloring mixed with boiling water. Dye as much of the strings as you want (I only dyed the basket and about 1/4 of the way up of the strings). I had to soak the strings in dye for a couple of hours to ensure the white string absorbed enough color. The longer you let the strings soak the darker they will become. Periodically check on them to see how they are looking. Once you are happy with the colour, remove the strings and wring them out. Hang to dry.

To assemble:

I learned (the hard way) that the best way to assemble is to use an empty pot. Turn the empty pot upside down and fit the macramé basket over. Flip the pot and basket right side up and adjust to make sure everything feels secure and looks good. Place the four bundles of strings to the side and transfer your plant into the pot. Add a little extra soil and water.

To hang:

Lift the strings up vertically, and tie them in knot around a key ring or binder ring. Hang from a hook on the ceiling (preferably near a window where the sun can shine in).

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katie

DIY: Copper Pipe Dreamcatcher

Some days you feel crafty. So you rifle through pinterest, get inspired, and head to your local home depot. This DIY was simple. We used copper pipe, a tubing cutter (which is not the big, scary, expensive thing that I thought it was), string, scissors, paint, and paintbrushes. It took us a while to decide a shape/design, but we’re pretty happy with the final result. It’s fresh, modern, and colourful. There are so many ways to make this your own – different paint colours, different pipe lengths, different shapes, different types of pipe – the possibilities are endless. A huge thank you to Sugar & Cloth for her DIY modern dreamcatcher post that so inspired us!

katie

Workspace

Hello, long-ignored followers! We’re sorry for being absent (well, mostly I am – it’s all my fault) but we do have an update for you. After an extended period of painting, sawing, staining, gluing, wiring, and bargain-hunting, I finally have a fully functional office space (and spare bedroom). Here are some shots of the final product. Highlights include: a stylish and functional bike rack, a custom-built desk with height and angle adjustment, an assortment of lights for any task, an industrial rolling storage rack, a wall for our degree collection, and sturdy, second-hand seating. I’m still working on an overall picture – it’s hard to get everything in there!

mike

Progress

We’re still knee-deep renovations but we thought we’d take a second to show you a little progress. Here’s a quick tour of our new living room. We decided to paint the walls white and then add in little pops of colour everywhere (like the red cabinet we restored) The ladder bookcase still needs a coat of stain and a few adjustments, but it’s definately a great place for housing all our books and trinkets. It was also super cheap and easy to make (Mike will be posting a DIY soon!). This reno stuff can be totally overwhelming, but it helps if you take little breaks to celebrate your achievements. Lookin’ good, living room.

katie

Cabinet Restore

Mike and I are currently knee-deep in renovations. I use the term “renovations” loosely, as we’re in a rental so our DIYs are pretty limited. I’ve watched a lot of Extreme Home Makeover-type shows throughout the years and honestly thought, “hey, renovating our little apartment will be a slice!” Let me tell you, a slice it is not. It’s messy, takes forever, and requires way more upper body strength than I have (I now understand why all those TV carpenters are so ripped). Long story short, our place is “under construction” and my arms hurt. There has been some progress, though. So far we’ve plastered, did a bit of priming, and experimented with spray paint (note to self: do not spray paint on a windy, rainy day).

We also revamped this little retro cabinet. We found it at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, an outlet that sells used furniture and building supplies/materials. When I found the cabinet I instantly knew I needed it in my life. I love the funky wood details and cutouts, and at $5 it was a steal. The only thing I wasn’t so in love with was the colour, so I decided to do a little furniture makeover. Thankfully, it wasn’t terribly difficult and the whole thing only took a lazy Sunday to do. Here’s what we did (Disclaimer: All of my reno knowledge comes from TV and the internet. I’m posting this not as a DIY, but more of a “reno-diary” for those who are curious what we’ve been up to).

1.  I first sanded the cabinet with an electric sander. I used a pretty coarse sandpaper, but only sanded enough to get the shiny lacquer off.
2. Removed handles/hardware. Looking back I probably should have done this before the sanding. Ah well, live and learn.
3. Wiped down the cabinet to remove any dust and dirt. Let dry completely.
4.  Spray painted the (existing) handles. Two of them broke off so I have to buy new ones, but the others I spray painted black.
5. Painted! Some people may prime first, but I didn’t because the colour I was painting was fairly dark. I used Painter’s Touch in Apple Red (or Netflix Red as I call it) in High Gloss.
6. Painted again (and again and again). It took four coats before we were both happy with the coverage. I guess that’s what that whole priming thing is about.
7.  Waited to dry completely and then reinstalled the hardware. I’m still on the lookout for two new handles, luckily I’m at Home Depot almost every other day so it shouldn’t be too hard to pick up.
8. Stood back and admired our craftsmanship (and tried not to focus too much on the little imperfections).

Hello new cabinet! You look fabulous.

katie

Christmas Cards

A few weeks ago Katie and I took on a practical design project to teach ourselves the ins and outs of digital layout: Christmas cards! Due to some printing trouble we ended up buying mailable cards from a local artist, but our digital version goes out to all of you. We hope everyone reading this has a happy, relaxing, and snowy-but-cozy holiday season.

katieplusmike

The Golden Pheasant

A few years ago the Turner’s Tavern building in downtown St. John’s was turned into a number of high-end apartments and a jewellery store. Maybe the greatest loss from the project was the historic mural which covered the building’s west side.

The original Golden Pheasant mural faded into obscurity half a century ago but it was recently painstakingly and expensively restored by two local artists. This kind of history is so easy to preserve – a low-upkeep iconic image and way-finding device for the downtown – that needlessly destroying it is especially sad.

This post is a partial digital reproduction of the most recent mural that I put together from photos. I love the style, and the whole situation is one I’d like to look at in some sort of future project.

mike

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A little while ago I entered a local call for artists put off by the Spring Garden Area Business Association. The purpose of the call was to get artists to identify their ‘Vision of the Spring Garden Area.’ Unfortunately, the call ended up being cancelled at the last minute, but in case anyone was curious, this is the piece I had submitted and this is the little write up I included with my submission:

“The entry is a digital image composed of original photos taken entirely in and around Spring Garden Road. It is focused on enhancing rather than reinventing, building on existing structures and spaces. Locality and nature are emphasized to transform the street into a vibrant downtown core. The inspiration for the piece came from the street’s namesake: The Public Gardens. After walking through the Gardens I realized I wanted to recreate what I saw there on the street – colour, vibrancy, and simplicity. By making more room for nature and small, independent business I believe my vision for Spring Garden achieves just that – a street as beautiful as the Garden it’s known for, with plenty of room to grow.”

katie