Here is one piece of shabby chic furniture I don’t totally hate.

Of course these days I’m not just scouring the internet for good refinished chairs; I’ve also been looking at a lot of tables.

I’m in the process of turning this adorable-yet-cruddy-thing into a sweet little dining table. The table top was really stained, and if I hadn’t been able to sand it down to an acceptable level of patina, I would have had to paint the damn thing. And as with the chairs, I had a terrible time finding examples of refinished tables that I actually like.

But this little server with its pink top and dark-stained legs is actually pretty great. Personally I would have used (slightly smaller) brass knobs, and of course there’s too much distressing on the pink paint, but setting aside those caveats… If I’d needed to paint my table, this would have been my inspiration.

Fortunately, my table is cleaning up okay, and I’ll be able to just give it a few coats of varnish (which is what you’re supposed to do with good wood furniture because wood is so pretty).

And as a post-script on the chic but not at all shabby front… I am definitely in love with the fabulous high-shine purple dining table in this house tour. However, my dad is a physicist-turned-Christmas-tree-farmer and not the owner of an auto body shop, so a professionally painted table with a custom-mixed colour isn’t really something my pop can whip up.

Link 66: Go Look at This Gorgeous Chair

Thanks to a (possibly slightly misguided) Craigslist purchase, chair repair re-upholstering is now on my mind. Which means I’ve been googling for inspiration and information. There is a LOT of terrible shabby chic furniture out there–I just don’t understand why you would remove all the real patina on something, and then distress your perfectly painted piece to make it look like it has patina–so I haven’t found too many examples of refinished chairs that I actually like.

But this deconstructed army blanket beast is simply glorious, and you need to click on that link and spend some time admiring it. Of course it’s totally not the kind of chair I’m working with, but it’s a damn cool use of materials and form.

Oh, Craig.

This is the week of Craiglist deep dives, apparently. It’s so soothing, looking at people’s weird junk. Much better than contemplating the political situation to the south. (And yes–I’m updating a couple of things in the apartment; pics to follow once all the pieces have fallen into place!)

This listing for the most perfect gorgeous mirror almost killed me. Free?!?!? Of course it was gone before I could hit send on my “OMG YES PLEASE” email.

But lucky for all you fine art fans, this listing for two amazing boudoir paintings is still active. The seller is “fielding all reasonable offers” so have at ‘er.

Human not included? I think I’ll pass, then.

Living Room Love

My living room was all dusted and tidied the other day–almost like a fancy grown-up person lives here!–so it seemed like a good chance to snap a few pics.

Most of the items are Craigslist/ thrift/ hand-me-downs/ homemade, which I find incredibly satisfying. This room has taken two years to reach this point; I started out with zero furniture and now I live somewhere fabulous! How did that happen?


The mushroom- and artichoke-head prints are by Nate Duval.
The white and teal canister is from Russell Hackney Ceramics.


Miniature suburb by Donna Akrey; camera sculpture by Veronica Verkley.



Gallery wall includes work by: Belinda Harrow; Rebekah Miller; Todd Stewart; Meshell Melvin; Craig Francis Power; Meg Walker; Aubyn O’Grady; Sarah Burwash; John Steins; Heidi Neilson; Kerri Reid; Angela Bonnici; JP King; and Adriana Kuiper & Ryan Suter.


The T-shaped metal fitting is an artifact by Colin Lyons.

But Seriously? Let’s Move Into One of These Houses!!!

Ever since admiring Spencer’s cute home the other day, I’ve had bungalows on the brain. As in… I fell down a real estate rabbit hole, and when I hit bottom, I did a little more digging just to make sure I had really, really looked at every remotely suitable property available in BC.

Drooling over million dollar homes I could never afford wasn’t the game here: I set myself a somewhat realistic budget max of $300,000 (CAD). In Vancouver, $300K gets you a studio condo, or maybe a 1 bedroom if you don’t mind living on East Hastings. There isn’t much potential for dreaming in those scenarios; I much prefer my current apartment to anything that’s for sale in the city. But outside of Vancouver… oh my! The world is my oyster, just waiting for a fresh coat of paint.

942 Glover Road in Trail


This pink palace in Trail is selling for a whole $69,000! There are two one-bedroom suites, and one three-bedroom suite in the building. God knows what the interior is like–there are no photos online–but for $69K, the mortgage would be tiny, and there’d be money left over for renovations. I could live in one of the suites, and rent out the other two. The mortgage would be paid off in no time, and then I could move up the mountain to Rossland (or over to Nelson) and keep my income property in Trail.

There’s actually a ton of ridiculously cheap real estate in Trail. It’s a pretty industrial little place, and compared to most towns in the BC interior, it’s not great. But as a place to start out, and acquire an income property, it could totally work.

1469 Fourth Avenue, Trail


The award for cutest roofline goes to this little charmer. Unfortunately the interior has been renovated in a rather soulless way, but damn–that roofline! This hovel has two bedrooms and one bathroom, all for $129,000.

1722 Leroi Avenue, Rossland


If I did move up the mountain to Rossland after starting my real estate empire in Trail, I could get big ol’ five bedroom, two bathroom house for $294,000. I could rent out the extra bedrooms to ski bums in the winter, and enjoy a taste of that ski season lifestyle. That big deck would be perfect for a snofa!

1881 Second Ave, Rossland


This $220,800 option is utterly devoid of curb appeal. However, the interior has some charm just waiting to be revealed, and I love all these windows. There are three bedrooms upstairs–lots of space for my bedroom, an art studio, and a guest bedroom–with a rental suite in the basement for income.

301 7th Ave, New Denver


Looking outside of the Rossland/ Trail area… I keep having to look up where New Denver is, but I’m sure it’s lovely. And if beautifully preserved historic charm is your thing, this two bedroom, two bath gem could be yours for $228,000. The kitchen and bathrooms could use a little work to get them back into a style better representative of the 1898 glory of the rest of the place, but it would be such a worthwhile project! Really this place is just too fab, and based on the description, some of the crummy un-fun renovation work (like better insulation) has already been done.

1971 Harbour Drive, Ucluelet


And out on the west of the west coast… I suspect in the long run, I do want to be in the interior (for the skiing) rather than out on the coast, and in a house rather than in a condo, but I do have to shout-out this fabulous balcony bathtub in Ucluelet.

436 W 8th Ave, Prince Rupert


Prince Rupert is another great coastal community, and would be much closer to good winter fun than Ucluelet. Besides this fantastic bathroom, this house is cute as a button on the exterior, and has an adorable vintage kitchen that look reasonably functional. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms for $199,000–well under my $300k maximum!

And there are sooooo many more options. I am going to do this again–such fun!

Link 35: Let’s Move Into This House

Apartment Therapy can either bore me to tears, or leave me irritated beyond measure. But I keep checking back because every once in a while they toss out a gem. This “beautifully understated Austin bungalow” manages to feel warm and homey and chill despite the on-trend-ness of the space.

Behold: The OTTOMAN

I have been working on refinishing this ottoman on and off since early June, and it’s now finally done! It was one heck of a process; every step was longer and more difficult than expected. There were a million nails to take out, layers of ancient paint and varnish to strip from the legs, and trips to various parts of the city for foam, fabric, and batting.

The ottoman is a bit big in comparison to my vintage slipper chair and kidney-shaped side table, so it will normally live tucked off to the side. But I had to photograph it in this spot–I love how the shiny Tiffany blue and taupe brocade plays off the colours in the rug, chair, and the Nate Duval prints. It is also super comfortable–the perfect height putting up your feet, and for propping up the laptop for bingewatching Stranger Things.

Thing To Do on a Sunday: Take Your Lamp for a Walk

I find Craigslist to be vastly entertaining. I tend to not be very specific in my search terms, but just browse endlessly and have a million open tabs in my browser. I like the absurdities and the beauties, the highs and the lows. And while usually I just look at CL for fun, I do love the sense of destiny and kismet when you see a thing that just belongs to you, before it’s even really yours.


I have wanted another lamp for the living room for a while now, and have looked at all sorts of things from brassy hanging lamps to Art Deco nudes. Nothing quite hit the sweet spot of functionality plus price plus accessibility, however. I don’t have a car, so a CL purchase has to do what I need it to, at the right price point, and be either within a reasonable distance by bus or be reasonable to pay for delivery. Obviously in the case of my glorious conversation settee, it was worth taking the SkyTrain down to Richmond and paying for delivery!

In the case of this lamp, it was located an easy 2.1 km from my apartment. That’s walking distance! So, I emailed the seller with a $20 offer, and then checked my email obsessively for the next nine hours until she emailed back. Then, (after being so excited I could hardly sleep) it was walkin’ time.

Sneak peek–any guesses?

A photo posted by nottheactress (@nottheactress) on

How to Take Your Lamp for a Walk:

  1. Slap on some sunscreen. I recommend something sweat-proof–it’s hot out there!
  2. Put on your headphones, dark sunglasses, and a slightly bored facial expression–you’re not doing anything special or weird; you take your lamp for a walk all the time!
  3. Don’t make eye contact with any of the people who stare at you and your fabulous lamp.
  4. Take breaks if you need ’em–your lamp may be heavier than expected. Just pick a shady spot and pretend you’re getting a text message–bloop!
  5. Bring your lamp inside to its new home, where it belongs.


I am not 100% sold on the lampshade; in addition to being full of dust and a bit worn, it also doesn’t fit the lamp properly, and isn’t quite the right colour against the avocado walls. But it’s good enough for now. Also good enough for now is the little table: it is covered in waterspots and scratches. But I’m not in the mood for a furniture-stripping project (still recovering from the ottoman legs), so the plan is to find a nice large pot and stick a plant there.

And in conclusion, here is the obligatory…