DIY

Our Custom Industrial Bookshelf

Custom industrial bookshelf | Hello Victoria

Victorian properties are known for having amazing character – detailed coving, stained glass windows, etc. You know what they aren’t known for? Storage! I’m guessing that the Victorians really loved free standing wardrobes, because they definitely weren’t fans of closets.

Our flat isn’t exactly spacious. Don’t get me wrong, it could be smaller, but the only storage we have (besides our bedroom wardrobe) is one tiny closet in the hallway.

I wanted someplace to store books, computers, cables/cords… and plants! I wanted more plants! Oh, and whatever it was had to fit perfectly between our living room doorway and tv cabinet.

Custom metal and wood shelving | Hello Victoria

Measuring out the height and shelf spacing

I started hunting around for a perfect bookshelf – something visually open, interesting and tall. Our flat might not be big on square meters, but it has really high ceilings – why not make the most of them? Since this bookshelf was going beside the doorway, the shelves couldn’t block sight lines into the room. Hence my ‘open’ requirement.

The perfect bookshelf was the helix from CB2. But, not only did I want it to be cheaper (international shipping and all), I also wanted it to be wider and taller. I figured that it couldn’t be too hard to make something similar myself – after all, it’s just a couple of metal poles and wood, right?

Well… nothing’s ever easy, is it?

I found a website that not only supplied the metal I needed, but would even cut the mitre corners for the top! Cool right? They also had metal lugs that I could get welded on as shelf supports. Now, all I needed was someone to weld those 16 joins (for the corners, and attaching the lugs).

I started asking local metal fabricators but the quotes I got were insane! I mean, the metal was going to be delivered to them, already cut to size – they just had to weld it. They were trying to charge £200 to make 16 weld joins. Bat-shit crazy…

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Simple Art Ledges

Simple art ledges | Hello Victoria

Now that I’m back to being my productive self 😉, I figured I should really post a few projects I made last year that never made it onto the old bloggity blog – like this one! Queue the endless ramblings…

Do you ever look around your place and think that something’s missing? You have all the essentials (furniture etc.), but for some reason, the room lacks personality. For me, there are two ways to solve this problem – plants or artwork! Or both! Ooooooohhh…

Our flat was seriously lacking in the personality department for a while, so I started to remedy it through an assortment of items (juju hat, abstract paintings, baskets, an old flag), but the wall above our tiny dining table still needed help.

Antique dining table and chairs | Hello Victoria

Now, I’m a big fan of gallery walls (done them 3 times in previous apartments) but I wanted something ‘looser’ this time. Something that I could adjust when the mood struck. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling inspired by everything that Jenny Komenda does lately, or maybe it’s the fact that I feel loath to fill a million nail holes someday.

Art ledge inspiration | Hello Victoria

image via

Enter the art ledge! Dun dun dun… The perfect option for those feeling a bit lazy in the whole hanging-a-gallery-wall department. Not to mention – is it just me or are we all getting a bit tired of gallery walls?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, when they are done right they are amazeballs… but they just feel a bit overdone these days. Since I didn’t feel like I had the right wall or a great collection of pieces to display as a gallery, it didn’t feel like the right move here.

Back to the art ledge!

Art ledge inspiration | Hello Victoria

Art ledge inspiration | Hello Victoria

images via

Aren’t the above rooms gorgeous?

The space I had in mind for them wasn’t huge, but when I looked around at ready-made options, they were all too short (or not solid wood – so cutting them down wasn’t an option). I wanted something the same length as the table itself, so figured why not make my own? (more…)

DIY Snowy Pinecone Christmas Wreath

DIY snowy pinecone Christmas wreath | Hello Victoria

I’ve always loved making things at Christmas time. Whether it’s baking cookies, or making salt dough ornaments – Christmas for me always means creating something! And this year, my big craft was this winter wonderland wreath!

I actually made a pinecone wreath in the same way about 5-6 years ago when I was back in Canada. I had always intended to make it snowy, but chickened-out. See, I was worried that I was going to mess it up, and you can’t really go back once you start painting pinecones. It already looked nice just brown, so I ended up leaving it.

DIY snowy pinecone Christmas wreath | Hello Victoria

But this time, I was determined to get the snowy wreath I had pictured! And you know what? It turned out amazing!!!

I find that it’s rare when a craft turns out exactly as awesome as I intended it to be. I tend to have these grandiose ideas, which never execute quite as well as I hoped. I mean, they look good, just not exactly like my imagination. But not this wreath!! It’s almost better than I pictured it! But the bad part is that I have no where to store it!

DIY snowy pinecone Christmas wreath | Hello Victoria

I promised Richard (when I first started gathering pinecones) that we could throw it out at the end of the year (can you compost hot glue?!). But, now that it’s done… I am not sure I can bear the thought! Anyone else want to give it a home once Christmas is over?!

DIY pine cone wreath | Hello Victoria

Anyways, back to the tutorial!

This wreath is dead simple, and just takes time. It’s also super cheap if you can get a good deal on hot glue sticks (it used a ton!). (more…)

Plaster vs. Plastic: Installing a Polystyrene Ceiling Medallion

Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

A long way back, I wrote about how we installed a plaster ceiling medallion (‘ceiling rose’ here in the UK) in our living room. It was far more difficult than we originally thought, due to the weight of the large plaster ceiling medallion (we used this one from B&Q). So when it came time to finally add another ceiling medallion to our bedroom, we decided to try a polystyrenee one instead!

See, we were lazy, and didn’t want to spend all that time and money on installing a plaster ceiling medallion. That, and the fact that the selection was incredibly limited at local DIY stores – we couldn’t find one in the right size that wasn’t insanely expensive. So, after our success in installing plastic coving in our kitchen, we decided to go the same route with our ceiling medallion. Plus, it takes like 5 minutes to put up!

We ordered this ceiling medallion from Amazon, as the middle circle was large enough to accomodate our IKEA pendant light. Many medallions had detailing too close to the middle, or were too pricy. This one had detail right in the center, but the smooth expanse around it was wide enough for our needs. We simply cut away the middle detail, as our light would cover it anyways.

Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

When we received it, I was a bit disappointed. It wasn’t smooth and ready to paint, like our coving had been, but resembled polystyrene packaging. It had that rough nubbly surface. So, I thought I would try a trick I read about on Daniel Kanter’s blog Manhatten Nest. He painted his plastic medallions with watered down plaster/filler to help make them look older. I mixed up some, but I think I made it too wet… when my first coat of primer dried, huge cracks formed all over the surface!

Installing a polystyrene ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

I was sooooo bummed, as sanding a detailed medallion is ridiculous. I tried to remove the larger cracks with sanding, and then hoped that a few coats of primer would fill in the rest. Well, it took like 6 coats before they started to look okay, but even then had more texture than I would like. After primer, I used our ceiling paint to do a couple more coats. (more…)

Kitchen Progress: Built In Cabinets + Paint

Making IKEA cabinets look built in | Hello Victoria

Okay, just a simple update on the kitchen here (with a stupidly long post). I’m just trying to finish up a couple little projects, and possibly find a rug to fit the space, and then I’m calling it done! One thing that we finally have finished, is making all our cabinets match and look built in.

As I mentioned in the first kitchen saga post, our kitchen came with IKEA cabinets that were no longer available, and we had to replace the upper cabinets in order to add more storage. Now, we could have kept the lowers wood, as I’m a fan of a two tone kitchen, but all the white appliances sort of messed that up. My original plan with the kitchen had been to do a tuxedo kitchen with deep navy or green lower cabinets, and a white top. But, as our appliances were all white, you’d be left with half white, half colour. Not exactly the look I was going for. So, in an effort to make the kitchen feel brighter and larger, we went all white. Does that make any sense to anyone besides me? No? Okaaay…

Tuxedo kitchen inspiration via Apartment Therapy | Hello Victoria

beautiful navy + white tuxedo kitchen via Apartment Therapy

So, that meant painting our lower cabinets white, but what about the upper ones? I could have colour matched IKEA’s SÄVEDAL doors, and then painted everything in our kitchen the same, but decided against it. See, every ceiling, door, and trim in our flat is painted All White by Farrow + Ball. If I wanted to use the IKEA white colour, then it would have meant repainting our doors and trim in the kitchen to this different white, and I didn’t want it to look different from the other rooms in the flat. (Richard wishes I had told him about the colour matching option…)

Am I crazy? Yes. But I also justify it because the finish on the doors was so smooth and machine-made looking, that all the built in trim with brushstrokes would have looked different. We would have had to paint the doors to make them all look the same, no matter which white we used.

Aaaaanyways. So in addition to painting all the wood doors and trim below, we had to paint all the new upper cabinets doors as well. That meant removing all the hinges and handles, cleaning everything of grease etc. and giving it all a light sanding. For the wood cabinets and trim, we used 3 coats of this primer, and then 2-3 coats of our Valspar paint in All White. For the upper cabinets, it took 2 coats primer, and then 2 coats paint. After the doors were up, I did a bit more sanding, and some touch up paint, as we had been painting on low surfaces and little bits of fluff kept getting caught in the paint.

Now came the fun part – making all the IKEA cabinets look built in. See, I’ve always been a huge fan of inset cabinetry, and wanted to try and give our bank of cabinets a similar look. This meant filling in the gaps all the way around the cabinets with wood, and trimming it all out.

Inset cabinetry inspiration | Hello Victoria

inset cabinetry inspiration via Curated Interior

To get the look I wanted, it meant lining up the trim with the cabinet doors, as opposed to the frames. So we added a piece of 21x21mm stripwood all around the cabinets, flush with the face of their frames. To install it, we simply screwed into the piece from inside the cabinets with a couple of wood screws. Not only did this give us a piece we could then attach the trim to, but allowed us to offset our next piece by a few milimeters in order to create a gap between the doors and our trim.

Making IKEA cabinets look built in | Hello Victoria

Making IKEA cabinets look built in | Hello Victoria

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DIY Branching Monogram Ornaments: Anthropologie Inspiration

DIY Anthropologie ornaments | Hello Victoria

As I have mentioned before, I love Anthropologie! Richard automatically groans when we are near one of their shops, as he knows I want to go in. And their home stuff is my absolute favorite! So when I saw their Christmas ornaments online, I couldn’t help but fall in love! There were a few that I immediately wanted for my tree.

Buuuut… I’m cheap, and thought I could make my own! First up on my list were Anthropologie’s Budding Monogram ornaments. I loved how they looked like branches, and figured I could make them out of clay!

Anthropologie Budding Monogram ornament | Hello Victoria

My first thought was that I didn’t want to make the flowers and leaves out of clay, as they would probably break off too easily. As I knew that I was going to spray paint it gold in the end, I figured I could use flowers from another material and no one would know. I wanted to buy some tiny fabric ones, but Hobbycraft came up empty. If you’re in North America, check Michaels as they have much larger stocks and probably have something perfect. In the end, I cut the leaves and flowers out of a thin sheet of foam.

My second thought was to make a wire shape, and then build the clay around it. Great in theory, but the air dry clay is too dry for that – it doesn’t stick to the wire. Instead, I just used the wire to make hooks, and the shapes are 100% clay.

DIY Anthropologie ornaments | Hello Victoria

So if you’re thinking of making some branching letter ornaments of your own, why not try this tutorial? (more…)

DIY Orange Slice Christmas Ornaments

DIY orange slice ornaments | Hello Victoria

Okay, super quick ‘DIY’ for you here today. These guys are so easy, it’s barely a tutorial.

So last year, when Richard and I were figuring out how to do our first Christmas tree, we had only a handful of ornaments. I had bought him a couple funny ones that year, and we were given a few from family. But 10ish ornaments, does not exactly a tree make. So we had two options: 1. Buy a bunch of ornaments we would then have to store (and spend ££ on) or 2. Make ornaments we could get rid of at the end of the season! And by get rid of, I mean recycle, of course.

DIY orange slice ornaments | Hello Victoria

So last year, I made three things for the tree – little paper balls made of vintage sheet music, popcorn strands, and orange slices. You can keep orange slices (if they dry out fully), year after year, but we simply composted ours along with the popcorn. Which meant I had to make more this year!

All it took was two large navel oranges, and I had enough for our little tree. It made 18 slices, but if I had done them a bit thinner, I could have made a couple more. A large tree could use 3-4 oranges, which makes this project very economical.

DIY orange slice ornaments | Hello Victoria

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IKEA Hack: DIY Wood Inlay Side Table

IKEA hack: NORDLI side table | Hello Victoria

When we first moved in to the flat, we were short a few items of furniture. The previous owner had left a bed frame behind, but nothing else for the bedroom. To be fair, it was a small room, with plenty of storage in the closet. The only things it was really lacking, were side tables.

We lived with some little stools that Richard brought back from Nepal for a while, but I wanted storage. I wanted a place to keep little things tucked out of sight, like charging cables! However, our space on either side was limited, so we needed to find something small.

IKEA hack: NORDLI side table | Hello Victoria

That’s when I turned to IKEA. They have plenty of options for side tables, but none of them really fit my design aesthetic. So what’s a cash strapped girl to do? IKEA Hack, that’s what! We ended up going with the NORDLI side table, as it had some pretty cool design features. It has hollow back legs that you can run cables down, as well as a little shelf inside purpose built for chargers and the like. The only thing not perfect about it was the bland white exterior.

NORDLI bedside table | Hello Victoria

That’s when I began searching for inspiration. I have always loved West Elm for style, and had fallen hard for their bone inlay bedside tables. However, I just couldn’t see how this design would be applied to the tables we bought. And the more I thought about it, the more I felt like our room needed more “warmth”. That meant wood, right? And if I can’t do bone inlay, why not wood inlay? So I searched around for a few styles of wood patterns, and found these. That got me thinking of ways to implement them.

Wood inlay furniture inspiration from Swoon Editions | Hello Victoria

Ida cabinet from Swoon Editions

Wood inlay furniture inspiration from West Elm | Hello Victoria

Rosanna media cabinet from West Elm

Wood inlay furniture inspiration from Swoon Editions | Hello Victoria

Karlsson sideboard from Swoon Editions

I keep seeing people posting projects using Stickwood, and thought, why not that? It’s super thin, so maybe it would be easy to cut into strips! Not only that, but it’s often made using reclaimed wood, which I like. However, they really intend it to be used for larger projects, and don’t sell it in small amounts. As I wasn’t keen on having so much extra wood with no other projects in mind, I had to start looking for something else. (more…)

Cleaning Tarnished Silverware with Baking Soda

Cleaning silverware with baking soda | Hello Victoria

As I mentioned before, Richard and I collect antique or vintage silverware, instead of getting a proper set. We love the idea of using these pieces that often get relegated to a “fancy cutlery” drawer, in our day to day use. But there’s a reason that people avoid silver cutlery in favor of stainless steel – tarnish. So how do we go about keeping our mismatched set looking nice?

Cleaning silverware with baking soda | Hello Victoria

A few years back I was told this magic trick by an antique store owner on Fort Street in Victoria. Simply combine baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and boiling water in a container, with aluminum foil covering the bottom. What happens is some sort of chemical reaction where the tarnish is attracted from the silver to the foil, removing tarnish almost instantly! I don’t know how, but it does! Trust me. (more…)

Kitchen Progress: Cabinet Frames + Paint

Okay, it’s been a quite a while since I updated you guys on the progress here in the kitchen. So long that I have actually been asked if it’s done yet (nope!). And as for where we”re at? Well, after Richard left for a month away due to work, kitchen progress sort of stalled. I ordered a bunch of stuff, but haven’t really made any progress.

As for what we have done since I last blogged about it? Well, we finally have a functioning kitchen again!

Increasing storage with IKEA cabinets | Hello Victoria

After we patched all the holes in the walls, and cleaned up from demolition, it was time to paint! We had chosen Barest Hush by Valspar to be the colour for our walls. We tested a couple of swatches, but Richard was worried they would be too dark, so we settled on this option. My goal was to have a grey tinted green that didn’t read too strong either way. As our living room is grey, I didn’t want the whole place to feel the same. But of course, I also didn’t want too bright of a colour, as I tend to prefer more muted walls. Let the colour come from the furnishings, in my humble opinion.

Valspar Barest Hush | Hello Victoria

Valspar’s Barest Hush

For the cabinets and trim, we are sticking with our tried and true All White by Farrow & Ball, colour matched to Valspar paint. This time around we went with their premium paint, as it was the most scrubbable option. It also comes with a built in primer, so win-win! However, due to time we didn’t get around to painting the cabinets, just yet. That’s a job for another day. Or month… year… sigh. Procrastination is real folks.

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