light it up.

New lighting can be a fairly inexpensive way to breathe some life into a tired space. There are so many lighting opportunities in every room. Table lamps, floor lamps, hanging lamps, ceiling lights, wall scones, etc., there are endless lighting combinations. I recently got three new lights for my condo – two for the living room and one for the eating area. All three are from Ikea!

In my condo, the living room area doesn’t have the wiring for an ceiling light. To combat sitting in the dark in the room that I use the most, I decided to buy two different lights to help brighten the space. Keeping in mind that the room is fairly small, I aimed to get two lamps that didn’t take up a lot of space, but that still provided a good amount of light, while also contributing to the overall decor of the room.


floor lamp.

The floor lamp I chose has a very small base – it is a square base that is six inches by six inches. This made the lamp perfect for fitting in a corner behind a chair. This lamp came with a lamp shade (so great for the wallet!) but provides the option to switch the shade (which will be great in a few months when I get bored of the current one!).


table lamp.

The table lamp I choose for the living room is a little more fun. The lamp base is made of glass – I found this to be a great choice for a small space because you can see though it, almost like the lamp doesn’t actually exist. For the shade, I decided to get one that was a little different but one that I think is fun. The shade has a punched out pattern that allows light to shine through and leaves a neat light pattern on the wall behind it.


LED chandelier.

Finally, in the eating area, I decided to get an LED chandelier. With an LED light, I am saving energy (and money!), but when the lights burn out there is no option to replace them. This light has over 22,000 hours of light time so I am hoping it will last me a few years! I went with a chandelier that is a little fun and a lot different than what I have seen in other condos.




a lesson in painting.

Being a twenty-something condo owner in downtown Toronto has its ups and downs. Toronto is amazing. Everything is steps from my front door, the people are generally kind and helpful, and I can’t remember the last time I was bored – there is always something going on. I can see the lake from my balcony, which sometimes makes me forget I’m even in Canada’s largest metropolis. But Toronto is also extremely expensive and home ownership comes with many (read: A LOT!) of costs – one time costs and repeating costs that never go away.

I bought a resale condo in a building that is about 10 years old. The building’s interior was in the process of being refreshed (new carpet, wall paper, paint, etc.) and my suite was bright, airy and had a stunning view. But I hated the paint. HATED it.¬†Olive green and yellow were not my cup of tea when it came to paint colours.

I decided that I would roll up my sleeves, grab a brush, and paint the condo all by myself. “It will build character” my Dad said. Character – I should have seen the giant red flag and went running as soon as I heard him say this. Instead, I went to Canadian Tire, picked out a colour I actually liked, and bought a few gallons of paint.

Here are a few things I learned while spending a weekend painting:

  • Lesson one – paint is really heavy. Like really heavy. It took me multiple trips from my car, through the parking garage, up the elevator and finally into my condo, to carry the paint and painting supplies.
  • Lesson two – it will get everywhere. I don’t care what people say, I had drop sheets everywhere and I still got paint all over the place. Maybe that speaks to my inexperience with painting, but five months later and I am still scraping little paint flecks off the floor.
  • Lesson three – it’s really hard work. I painted alone (read more about this is lesson four), and it took me two full days and a lot of Advil. My back and arms were incredibly sore and there was a lot of climbing on furniture and stools to paint the bulk heads and hard to reach places (like around cupboards).
  • Lesson four – have someone help you. Timing was not on my side the weekend I decided to paint. My family was out of town and none of my friends were free. I should have waited for another weekend instead of going at it alone. It was lonely, and took me a really long time.

Final verdict? I will never ever paint again. The amount of effort and time that it took me (inclduing setting up, taping, cutting in, actually painting, doing a second coat, removing tape, touching up, cleaning and cleaning some more) it was not worth it. But hey, it was character building right?

Below are some ‘during’ and ‘after’ photos.

xx jamie.

'during' - yellow & green walls (ew) with some of the light blue on the yellow wall.

‘during’ – yellow & green walls (ew) with some of the light blue on the yellow wall.

'after' - this was only after the first coat.

‘after’ – this was only after the first coat.