I am so so so excited to finally feature my amazingly talented dear friend Allyssa! CWM and I have been so blessed to have Allyssa and her husband, Chris, and their son, Grayer in our lives since we have moved to Ottawa. This woman makes meals that Martha Stewart would be impressed by, does DIY projects that look like they come straight out of an HGTV episode, has raised the smartest, best behaved little boy and still has time to go to work everyday! I beg her daily to start her own blog, but until then I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain on 1924 London and share her brilliant talent with my readers!
I cannot express my excitement over the timing of this post! As I am typing this I know that you are at home working on your master bedroom re do which looks absolutely AMAZING! Please update us on what changes you have made.
– I lead a hectic life, and one of the best parts of my day is ‘unwinding’. Even though we’ve been in our place for 3 years, the Master Bedroom was still just builders paint and a mish mash of furniture- not exactly the cosiest. I decided that while I had two weeks vacation, Chris and I were going to jump the gun and get it done. The plan was to create an inviting place to unwind without being ‘too’ feminine. We went with a slate gray on the walls with white trim and accents, with a pop of coral for colour. After painting, we put up a wall of white curtains to offset the dark walls and furniture. I recovered the dark leather headboard with a paler grey fabric, as well as the dark leather bench at the bed. We put up a chandelier on a dimmer above the bed, and created a reading zone with a brand new white armchair and ottoman. I spray painted our black lamp bases with copper for a punch of colour, and also did some DIY vases with copper spray paint as well. I sewed linens for the bed with the coral fabric, made throw cushions and sewed matching curtains for the master bathroom to tie in the look. More importantly, we did the entire room for less than $500, including the new furniture!
We have been so fortunate to enjoy your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and picnics over the last year. You swear off recipes and you generally pull meals together based off whats in your kitchen at the time, how did you learn to pull the most delicious meals together so well?
– Both my parents are excellent cooks, but they both swear I got the cooking gene from my great grandmothers on both sides. I really just enjoy cooking, and when you love to do something, you are always experimenting. Good food starts with good ingredients- fresh meats, cheeses and produce where possible, will automatically makes things taste better. I love adding a new twist on an old favourite, or challenging myself with something difficult. It helps that my husband is a big fan!
What is your favourite DIY project of all time?
– Probably Gray’s nursery. I wanted to create a room that was suitable for a baby, but also for me as I knew I was going to be spending lots of time in there! We put up white wainscoting, painted the top walls a pale grey, and accented with pale yellow and white gingham curtains, butter accents and the comfiest upholstered rocker of all time.
Favourite recipe of all time (that you are willing to share)?
– In my house, there is no favourite more coveted than my Eggs Benedict. I use homemade anadama bread rounds, poached eggs, homemade hollandaise sauce, shaved black forest ham and padano cheese and chive garnish. Click here for the recipe! As far as process, slice an anadama round in half, butter lightly and pop it in the oven on low broil to toast. When lightly toasted, add a few slices of ham and put them back in to heat through until your poached eggs are ready, careful not to let them burn or dry out. Top the rounds with an egg, a few tbsp’s of hollandaise, fresh grated padano cheese and of course, chives. Enjoy!
How do you find time to balance raising a little guy, working, and keeping such a beautiful home?
– So far, the strategy is rotating priorities. I work as hard as I possibly can during my work day so that I don’t have to take it home with me. When I get home, all the attention goes to my little dude and the home beautification usually happens after he goes to bed. It helps that for me, spending the evening in the kitchen, sitting at the sewing machine or working on a project are more likely to relax me than to stress me out. It’s definitely on outlet for me, and the end result is always worth it! That being said, sometimes I just leave the house a mess or the laundry undone, go out for burgers or go on a date. That helps too. I’ve learned to do up weekly meal plans, bi-weekly grocery shops during non peak periods (price matching equals a great one stop shop time and money saver!), and I LOVE Martha Stewart’s, daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal cleaning printable checklists which you can get here.
What projects and/or meals are you most looking forward to as the Holiday season is upon us?
– I am hosting my family for Thanksgiving again this year, and am so looking forward to having everyone at my table. I haven’t quite nailed down the menu yet, but I will definitely be trying to jazz up the veggies this year, instead of just adding ‘butter’. I like to cook with the freshest ingredients possible, so it’s likely that most of the food that ends up on the table will have been picked or purchased from the farmers market the day before! As far as projects, I am taking a bit of a break from DIY, and spending the next few weeks focusing on home organization as we switch seasons: Closet cleaning, purging old clothes, pulling out the gardens and planting bulbs for next year, and of course, trying out new fall recipes. After all, Christmas is just around the corner!
What advice can you offer for those of us wanting to update our home but aren’t sure where to start?
– The best advice I have is to pick a neutral colour paint that you love, and add depth and colour with linens and accent pieces like throw cushions. It’s a lot less work than trying to match paint to accent pieces, and if you grow tired of the palette, you can always switch off for something new without having to repaint. As far as DIY, always shop for clearance fabric where prices are often as much as 75% off the original yardage price. And of course, unless you’re a diehard DIY junkie (which I am not!), know when diy is cheaper and when it’s not. Try not to spend more money on the DIY than you would on just picking it up at your home decor store of choice. For example, my reupholstered headboard was inspired by a $900 bed frame I saw in a magazine, but only cost me $8 in fabric and some staples, but the new chair and ottoman we bought was far cheaper to buy new.
The headboard before:
The room before/during:
The headboard during (check out those buttons!):
The back wall:
The cozy reading nook:
Learn how to get this beautiful no sew pillow here
And the amazing final product!
While I am at it I have to mention how AMAZING this lady is at hosting children’s birthday parties. Check out this beautiful fondant cake she made for her son’s 2nd Firefighter themed birthday!
Allyssa, thank you so much for sharing your tips, trick, and beautiful home! Your friendship has meant the world to us and I hope this inspires you to start your own blog!
Lots of love