Sustainable Design

Posts about sustainable design, architecture, interior design and home decor.


Our House in the Trees - Episode 3

The build of our sustainable home forges onward! Episode three covers the last half of August and includes me fawning over sustainable building materials like our gorgeous steel roof, while also trying to grapple with our decking and siding choices. Plus an appearance from oh-so-fluffy insulation made of recycled content!

The build of our sustainable home forges onward! In fact, so much happened in month three that I had to split it into two.

Episode three covers the last half of August and includes me fawning over sustainable building materials like our gorgeous steel roof, while also trying to grapple with our decking and siding choices. Plus an appearance from oh-so-fluffy insulation made of recycled content.

Once again I thank you for coming along on this journey with me!

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Our House in the Trees - Episode 2

Curious about green home design? Follow along as we build our sustainable home to get tips, inspiration - and to join in the fun!While the second month of our sustainable home build still went relatively smooth, there were definitely some moments of high stress. The continuing uncooperative weather coupled with Devin spending nearly two weeks digging in services - from sunup to sundown - led to exhaustion for both of us as he trudged through eight foot trenches and I trudged through solo parenting.

All that being said, in this past month we also saw huge progress on our home. It actually looks like a real house with a roof and windows and everything!

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5 Handmade Modern Farmhouse Light Fixtures

Looking for modern farmhouse light fixtures? Well, these five beauties are the real deal as they were all handmade!

Reclaimed barn wood. Metal pipes. Exposed wires. Edison bulbs.

Will the modern farmhouse decor style ever fall out of fashion? I sure hope not!

But even if it does, it will always be beautiful and timeless to me because I was raised on antiques and repurposed treasures.

When a home trend gets as big as modern farmhouse, you can find furniture, accessories and lighting pretty much anywhere that sells decor and design items.

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Our House in the Trees - Episode 1

Come along as we follow our dream of building a sustainable home on 40 acres of land in Central Alberta, Canada. In Episode 1, we deal with a ton of rain - but it doesn't dampen our spirits! Plus, I try my best to find eco-friendly finishes for our house in a part of the world not exactly known for eco-friendliness.Oh, you know how it goes. You buy a piece of land and then eight years later... WHAM! You're in full-on building mode. Okay. That likely isn't how it goes for most people when they decide to build a home. But that's how it's been for us. And let me tell you. It's been quite a ride.

Want to hear more about it and see Our House in the Trees in progress? (I can't even believe I just typed that... am I dreaming? Hallucinating? Just really, really hungry? Yeah, that seems more like it.)

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9 Eco-Friendly Matte Black Bathroom Faucets

Black bathroom sink faucets are on trend. And thanks to brands like Moen, Delta and Vigo - you can save water in style with their low-flow, WaterSense labelled fixtures.So what makes a bathroom faucet eco-friendly? Well, as I mentioned in my post How to Design an Eco-Friendly Bathroom, making sure you have a low-flow bathroom sink faucet is pretty much a must.

Every time you turn on the tap you have the opportunity to use less water than you would if you had a traditional faucet.

All while washing and brushing just as effectively as you would with a higher flow-rate. Still a little uncertain about this whole flow-rate business? I'll break it down.

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Green This Look: Rustic Industrial Kitchen

Welcome to the next entry in my "Green This Look" series, featuring a rustic industrial style kitchen filled with très cool and earth-friendly finishes! Welcome to the second post in my Green This Look series! For this round I chose this très cool rustic industrial style kitchen. Because design fusion is, like, so in right now. If you haven't seen my first post featuring a boho-minimalist living room, you can visit it right here.

My whole purpose with this series is to illustrate that any room, any decor style, can be achieved with finishes and features that are kinder to the earth than the traditional everything-must-be-brand-new approach. Because brand new is kinda old, am I right?

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5 of the Most Energy Efficient Refrigerators

What's an eco-conscious kitchen without an energy efficient fridge? Here are five of the most efficient Energy Star rated refrigerators out there!What's an eco-conscious kitchen without an energy efficient fridge?

My post How to Design an Eco-Friendly Kitchen gave an overview of things to think about when creating an environmentally responsible kitchen.

But the individual elements of an eco-friendly kitchen each deserve their own post because there is so much to consider.

The first area of the eco-friendly kitchen that I want to dive into is appliances.

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DIY Coat Rack from an Antique Header

Want to create a unique place to hang your stuff? Grab an antique header, throw on some metal hooks and you've got yourself a DIY wall mounted coat rack!

Do you love unique home decor that is earth conscious and doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Then this DIY wall mounted coat rack is for you! Want to create a similar piece that still has its own personality? Read on to learn how I made this simple, yet funky, place to hang my family's stuff at the end of the day.

There's something to be said about waiting to complete a DIY until the perfect components fall into your lap. After we moved to the farmhouse (our temporary residence until our sustainable home build is complete), I knew we needed another coat rack.

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How to Design an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Looking to create an eco-friendly bathroom? It's the perfect opportunity to green everything - including your tub, sink, faucet, vanity and toilet!

When it comes to creating an eco-friendly bathroom, we all know we need to reduce our water usage. But there's no reason to stop there! Companies who make traditional bathroom materials and products don't always take their environmental impact into account. Thankfully, there are a whole host of options for creating a sustainable space to wash, brush, floss and... all that other stuff.

As always, the first step is to follow the three Rs. If the bathroom is part of a new build or an addition to your home, reduce its square footage.

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Green This Look: Boho-Minimalist Living Room

Welcome to "Green This Look," where I show you how to create an eco-friendly living room and offer some bohemian decor ideas - that are great for any space! You know those "Get This Look" blog posts and pins you see where someone breaks down an interior space or an outfit and shows you how to replicate it? Well, welcome to my "Green This Look" series. Where I do the same thing, but instead of suggesting just any old decor - everything I suggest will be eco-friendly!

We begin with a bohemian inspired minimalist living room (Image Credit: Daria Shevtsova). This home decor look is really popular right now. 

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How to Design an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

From cabinets, to countertops, to appliances, to lighting - an eco-friendly kitchen is green, energy efficient - and stylish!If the kitchen truly is - as the saying goes - the heart of the home, then it's extra important that it be eco-friendly! Kitchens are one of the most overwhelming areas of a house to design or renovate, because there are so many items and materials to choose and so many options to choose from.

Even in the eco-friendly niche, after your options have been narrowed down, choosing cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring and lighting can seem like an endless - and sometimes confusing - task.

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How to Find Land to Build Your Dream Home On + Our House in the Trees Update

A lot of people dream of one day buying land and building a home. Here are a few tips on getting the process started and finding that perfect property!Whenever we tell people about our land one of the first questions they ask is, "How many acres do you have?" Now, 40 acres may not be a lot if you come from a farming family and own a quarter section (160 acres) or more. Or if you live somewhere where land prices are less expensive. But owning 40 acres just 20 minutes outside of a major Canadian city is pretty rare.

We have a lot of friends and family members who live on acreages that are in the one to five acre range.

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5 of the Most Innovative Trends in Sustainable Design

Architecture trends are constantly changing and are currently evolving toward sustainability thanks to innovative - and green focused - designers.I write a lot on Of Houses and Trees about eco-friendly interior design and decor, but those aspects are really only part of the sustainability package. Of course, what comes first is the building itself.

I touched on this topic in my post 5 of Canada's Most Sustainable Buildings, but one of the coolest things about sustainable design (other than it's planet-saving powers) is that it's constantly evolving. New technologies plus new ideas meet and mingle and suddenly an ingenious green product or practice is born.

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5 Current Home Decor Trends That Are Eco-Friendly

Home decor trends may come and go, but there's one trend that better not be going anywhere and that's eco-friendly home decor!Home trends may come and go, but there's one trend that better not be going anywhere and that's eco-friendly decor! I truly believe that this is where the design and decor world is headed anyway. Essentially, it has to. Our planet's population is growing and our resources are depleting. And I strongly believe that NOW, not tomorrow, not next year, is the time to make a change.

Of course, change can be overwhelming. Which is why the best way to do it is in small, easy to manage bits.

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How to Decorate an Eco-Friendly Kid's Bedroom

Decorating an eco friendly kids room is as easy as reducing, reusing and recycling. Think vintage finds, natural materials and using what you already have!Rooms for kids are the perfect place to go all out with eco-friendly decor. Why? Because so many parents already want their child's room to be non-toxic and tend to gravitate toward natural materials anyway. (With the exception of all that unnecessary plastic. There are other options - I promise!) Kids' rooms are also the perfect place to throw in some secondhand furniture and decor - because it means saving money! And, more importantly, it means there's no need to buy brand new - and no need for all the packaging that comes with new items.

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Where to Buy Eco-Friendly Home Decor

Now more than ever it's easy to buy eco-friendly home decor. Whether buying secondhand or sustainably sourced products - there's no reason not to buy green!Now more than ever it's easy to buy eco-friendly home decor to fill your interior spaces. From buying secondhand, to searching out sustainably sourced products, to shopping on websites entirely dedicated to earth friendly finds. There's no reason not to buy green!

Secondhand Stores

Secondhand stores are treasure troves of eco-friendly home decor. Why? Because buying something pre-loved means there's no need to contribute to the production cycle required to make new items.

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10 Simple Eco-Friendly DIY Projects for Your Home

Want to green your home decor and help out the planet? Instead of buying new, try these ten eco-friendly DIY projects. Simple, sustainable... and super fun!Some people DIY because they love the process.

Some people DIY to save money.

Some people DIY because it's eco-friendly.

And some people, like me, DIY because of all three reasons! Here are ten simple eco-friendly DIY projects I've tackled over the last five years. I hope they inspire you to do all kinds of cool things yourself.

To create, to save money and to save the planet!

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How to Buy Eco-Friendly Laminate Flooring

You may be asking: "Is laminate flooring eco-friendly?" If you know what to look for, then the answer is - yes! How did someone who once declared they would NEVER install laminate flooring find themselves in a flooring store, barefoot and walking on half a dozen laminate samples? Because laminate flooring has evolved a lot in the last few years. And truthfully, so have I.

I'll admit, my initial change of heart had to do with the cost factor. Of course I'd love to buy a sustainably sourced hardwood for Our House in Trees. But, simply put, we can't afford it. So I began to research green laminate flooring, myself wondering: "Is laminate flooring eco-friendly?" The answer? It can be!

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How To Make a Simple Paper Orb From Old Book Pages

Learn how to make this simple paper orb from old book pages. You could also use old newspaper, magazines, flyers - or any other paper product!I'm currently redecorating my living room after deciding to keep out some of the nature-inspired decor items I had used at Christmas. You may recall (depending how closely you pay attention... don't worry, there won't be a quiz) that I also incorporated books into my holiday decor since I have oh-so-many of them.

In fact, I have so many books that one of them dropped off a shelf the other day and smoked me in the face.

Ouch.

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Can You Afford an Eco-Friendly Home? Yes!

You might be wondering what an eco-friendly house costs and if it's something you can afford. Remember - eco-friendly doesn't have to be all or nothing!Now more than ever - it's easy to be green. Companies are putting out more eco-friendly products. Businesses are turning to eco-friendly practices. Governments are bringing about change through incentive programs and new laws. However, for an individual or a family it can still feel pretty overwhelming. This becomes even more true when coupled with an already overwhelming situation like building a new home. So it's understandable the first question someone asks when considering a green build is - can I afford it?

The answer is - yes!

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How to Stage Your Home for Sale - The Eco-Friendly Way

Tips for staging your home for sale - with an eco-friendly slant. Readying your home for sale can be stressful. This handy list will simplify the process!With the build of Our House in the Trees just around the corner (yikes!), we've begun readying our current home for sale (yikes again!). Getting your home ready to sell can feel very overwhelming, but there's one thing I find that always helps in a situation like this - and that thing is a list.

So I've put together some tips on how to stage your home for sale. Even if you feel you have a pretty neat and tidy home (like I used to... before I had kids) there are still a few things you can do to make it more enticing to buyers.

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How to Create and Print a Design Board Using Pinterest

How to Print a Pinterest Board by Of Houses and Trees | A tutorial illustrating how to create an interior design board using Pinterest, along with instructions on how to print a Pinterest board.

Design boards just seem to scratch several of my itches all at once. My love for beautiful spaces, furniture, patterns and colours. My love for seeking out inspiration. My love for creating order in a world full of chaos.

Aside from helping to suppress said chaos with pictures of (eco-friendly!) console tables and fabric swatches, design boards also come in super handy when planning out the design and decor of a room. I mostly use photo editing software to create them, but not everyone has access to such a program nor the know-how and time to work with one.

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Nature Inspired Holiday Decor + Holiday Home Tour

Nature Inspired Holiday Decor by Of Houses and Trees | Nature inspired holiday decor is an eco-friendly way to create a feeling of calm beauty in your home. It's like walking through the woods on a winter day.Once again, it's only days until Christmas and I'm just now posting my holiday home tour for the year. I started out the season quite organized and had most of my decorations up at the end of November. I also had almost all of my Christmas shopping done. But then December happened and... I don't actually know what happened. Illness, appointments, work deadlines, misbehaving children all mixed in with the hoopla of the holidays created a perfect storm of insanity and now here we are. The eve of Christmas Eve already.

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How to Tape Out Your New Home's Floor Plan + Our House in the Trees Update

Laying Out a Floor Plan by Of Houses and Trees | Designing a house? What you see on paper and what you see in real life can be very different, which is why laying out a floor plan with tape is important.Something I have been looking forward to doing since I started designing Our House in the Trees was the day when we could tape out a simple floor plan and explore how it felt in full scale. After having spent hours upon hours adjusting, aligning, deleting, nudging, massaging and just plain old staring blankly at our plans, you better believe I know every nook and cranny intimately. But I also know from my time spent working at an architect's office that what you see on paper and what you see in real life can be very different, which is why laying out a floor plan - in full size - is so important.

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Outdoor Home Staging Tips + Our House in the Trees Update

Home Staging Tips by Of Houses and Trees | When it comes to selling, your outdoor spaces need to be just as beautiful as your indoor spaces. Here are a few home staging tips focusing on the yard.Whoa guys. The possibility of us building Our House in the Trees next year is actually pretty high. Like already picked out our appliances high. Not that there isn't a chance it won't work out because, hello, construction be crazy. But I am allowing myself to feel slightly excited. Not that I'll end up brokenhearted if it doesn't happen. I love our current house and staying here another year or two certainly wouldn't be the end of the world. But we have been planning to build and move to the land for six years now. We've kind of reached the "if we're going to do this, then let's do it already" point.

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Eco-Friendly Lighting and Accessories

Eco-Friendly Lighting by Of Houses and Trees | Nowadays, you can find eco-friendly lighting fixtures that are made of recycled materials, as well cool accessories like LED Edison bulbs.Lighting is one of my favourite aspects of home design and decor. Even before I had a home to decorate, I would always end up in the lighting aisle every time I went to a big box store. Like a bug to a flame - or to a wrought-iron chandelier, the lights just called to me.

I've also always been really sensitive to lighting levels and associate certain lights with certain tasks only. I'm constantly going around the house at night turning specific lights on and off depending on what I'm doing and how I'm feeling.

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Eco-Friendly Building Material Magnesium Oxide Board

Eco Friendly Drywall Alternative by Of Houses and Trees | Magnesium oxide board is an eco-friendly drywall alternative made with naturally-occurring materials using an environmentally friendly process.Aside from Of Houses and Trees, I also write content for a few other architecturally-minded blogs. One subject I've written quite a bit about lately is the building material magnesium oxide board (MgO board). If you've never heard of it, it's essentially an eco-friendly drywall alternative. And, of course, as soon as I see the phrase "eco-friendly alternative" I get all giddy and start geeking out. It looks like we're going to build our Our House in the Trees next spring. (Fingers crossed!) And I absolutely want to use as many green materials as possible.

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Poetry Artwork with text from The Lorax

Poetry Art by Of Houses and Trees | Love literature as much as you love making creative things? Then this poetry art project - featuring a poem using text from The Lorax - is for you!

If you love literature as much as you love making creative things for you home then this poetry art project will tickle you pink green. (This is a blog about green living after all!) When I was in university I took a few poetry courses as part of my combined English and creative writing honours degree. One of the assignments - called erasure poetry - really stuck with me and I thought it would be a cool way to create some simple DIY artwork for my newly arranged shelf library.

This project actually combines two different poetry techniques - erasure and cut-up.

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5 of Canada's Most Sustainable Buildings

Sustainable Building by Of Houses and Trees | To mark Canada's 150th birthday, here's a list of five green buildings - because our growing sustainable building industry is worth celebrating too.Happy 150th birthday Canada! To celebrate my country's milestone, I've put together a list of a few of its most eco-friendly buildings. As far as green countries go, Canada certainly isn't at the top of the list.

But with our government's shifting priorities and increased public awareness about the impact of unsustainable choices, architects are now designing buildings with the environment in mind. Interestingly, the current trend in sustainable building isn't designing structures filled with fancy green technology. 

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3 Small Home Library Ideas

Small Home Library by Of Houses and Trees | Do you dream of a massive, multi-storied library? Me too! Do you have nowhere near the space? Me too. So try one of these small home library ideas instead.

Do you dream of a massive, multi-storied, spectacular Beauty and the Beast style library? Me too! Do you have nowhere near the space nor the books (not to mention the funds) to create one? Me too.

No surprise being a writer and a bibliophile that I think about books a lot. I especially like to dream of the library I've included in my design for Our House in the Trees. It will be a teeny bit more modest than the Belle's library. But at least it will have one wall of floor to ceiling built-ins with a sliding ladder. 

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Eco-Friendly Outdoor Decor

Eco-Friendly Outdoor Decor by Of Houses and Trees | The most important place in your home to be eco-friendly isn't even in your home. It's outside! Here are nine green outdoor decor items to make earth smile.

Ah... spring. Time to throw open the doors, get out the patio furniture and bask in the loveliness of blooming flowers and happily chirping birds. Or, if you live where I do, continue to hide indoors as it snows day after day after day. Which pretty accurately describes the month of April here.

Now it's May and the snow might be gone again - you'd think we'd be safe. But, in Alberta, we're never really safe. From tsunamis? Yes. Spring snow storms? Hell no.

C'est la vie. Let's get outside when we can.

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Your Top 5 Favourite Posts

Favourite Blog Posts by Of Houses and Trees | Happy anniversary to me and Of Houses and Trees! Here are the top five favourite blog posts that received the most visits since March 31, 2016.

Happy anniversary to me! Well, to me and Of Houses and Trees that is. It's been one year today since I redesigned and relaunched my little blog at ofhousesandtrees.com and boy have I learned a lot in those 365 days. (I also had a second child within that timeframe, which is sort of a big deal.) Technically Of Houses and Trees (nickname - OHaT) will be five years old on October 19 of this year because that's when I officially started posting on my Blogger site.

Back then, I secretly hoped people would simply stumble upon it.

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What's Your Home Decor Style

What's Your Home Decor Style by Of Houses and Trees | Is your home decor style Coastal or Contemporary? Scandinavian or Shabby Chic? Art Deco, Industrial, Mid-Century Modern, Traditional?

Are you Coastal or Contemporary? Scandinavian or Shabby Chic? Art Deco, Industrial, Mid-Century Modern, Traditional? Or, maybe, you have no clue. Don't feel bad, neither did I... until recently. Here's my secret. Two years studying interior design and architecture and five years working in an architect's office and yet my knowledge of design terminology was pretty limited. My school didn't offer a "Decor Style 101" class. And due to the nature of most of the buildings I worked on at the architect's office, any design boards I made up were strictly Commercial Not-So-Chic.

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5 Pinterest Projects I Actually Plan on Doing

5 Pinterest Projects I Actually Plan On DoingWe all do it... well, those of us who use Pinterest at least. I'm talking about pinning projects we know we will never actually attempt. You know what I'm talking about. An entire wall covered in paint sample chips. A legless chair hung and used as a plant shelf. Sometimes we just pin things we think are cool or beautiful. But other times, we (and by we I mean me, but also maybe you) pin things that we absolutely plan on re-creating. This post is about those things. Here are five projects for the home that inspire me to create/re-create.

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Neutral Soft Green and Beige Baby Bedroom

Neutral Baby Bedroom by Of Houses and Trees | A neutral baby bedroom using soft green and beige creates a soothing, relaxing space for both the baby - and the parents!

Even though I finished this room going on three years ago, I've never posted photos of it in its entirety. But this particular space in my house has certainly been on my mind again as of late since bambino numero dos is only days away. I spent a lot of time in this room with my first baby. I slept the first six months of her life on a cot next to the crib. I've always said that's exactly why I designed it with myself in mind. Because I'm selfish like that. Which is totally fine with me.

As you can see, I definitely didn't go the pink versus blue route.

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Much Ado About Edison Lightbulbs

Much Ado About Edison Lightbulbs

I recently wrote an article for the local newspaper about the various types of lightbulbs - CFL, halogen, incandescent, LED, etc. And I think I may have stumbled upon a dark side to this light topic.

You know those antique-y looking lightbulbs that are kind of a thing right now? These vintage reproductions are sometimes called Edison bulbs after electric bulb "inventor" Thomas Edison. (I use the scare quotes because apparently there were 22 other inventors prior to Edison, his incandescent lamp was just the most effective.)

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How to Make Vintage-Inspired Mounted Key Art

Key Artwork | A white porcelain key, burlap backing and lace all come together in this vintage-inspired mounted key artwork. A super easy DIY for a super cute decor item!I love when random items come into your life and inspire you to make something crafty. This white porcelain key was attached to a Christmas card my lovely sister-in-law made for my family. It had a piece of sisal twine on it and was meant to be a tree ornament, but I had another idea.

I thought some skeleton key wall art would be a nice addition to a gallery wall I'm currently working on (more on that project later) so I grabbed a few supplies from around the house and threw this mounted key artwork together.

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Holiday Home Tour 2015

Holiday Home Tour 2015

Several of the blogs I read do a "Holiday Home Tour" every year where they basically take pictures of their Christmas decorations and then talk a little about the things they do to make their house feel all cozy and stuff.

This practice may sound a bit self indulgent to some, but I actually quite enjoy it. It's nice being invited into someone's home to learn a little about the things they do and traditions they have that make their little corner of the world festive.

Even if I was only invited in a virtual sense.

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Beautiful Grey and White Antique Chair with a Modern Vibe

Antique Painted Furniture by Of Houses and TreesThose of you who were my Facebook friends back in March 2014 may remember a little fabric survey I put up for an old chair that I had acquired and planned to refurbish. (Check out my friend Val's store Fabric For Less for beauties just like this one!) I had ordered the winning print promptly after the votes were tallied and then... nothing. Well, not nothing exactly as there has been child rearing, writing, teaching, dancing and many other around the home and yard projects tackled in the two years and nine months since.

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The Architecture of American Houses

The Architecture of American Houses

And now for an Of Houses and Trees first… a short post! Think it can't be done? Well, I'll show you. I'll show you all…

I came across the below poster awhile back and knew I had to share it here in honour of my "The Houses in Which We Live" series. I'm not really a poster person (anymore, I should say, because lord knows many a 90s heartthrob once lined the walls of my forest green bedroom).

But if I still were I would order this one up pronto as it combines several things that I love: architecture, history and tiny versions of things.

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The Town with the Painted Past

The Town with the Painted Past

Here I go again. My second attempt at this post, which was sadly lost during a Tiny House Nation marathon. In my last entry I put up a few images of our recent family trip to Maui and, I don't know about everyone else, but nothing makes me appreciate home more than when I'm away from it.

Don't get me wrong, Hawaii was beautiful. Stunning. It makes our half-melted snow and sand-covered roads look, well, like half-melted snow and sand-covered roads. But I was probably more excited to come home than I was to leave.

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Apartment Living in the Country + Our House in the Trees Update

Garage Apartment by Of Houses and Trees | A garage apartment, aka carriage house, can be used as a primary residence, guest suite or rental property. Versatile! Which is why we're building one.

I realized I haven't posted an update on one of the main focuses of this blog, which is my own adventures in designing a brand new home, in a very long time… I actually don't think I've ever posted an update on the subject, if I'm being honest. And, if you know me, you know I'm always honest. So update on!

When it comes to the type of house we'd like to build on what we've affectionately dubbed "The Land" (40 acres of rolling hills and trees just north of Stony Plain, Alberta), we've gone back and forth. And in all other possible directions.

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How To Incorporate Tiny House Living Into Any Home

How to Incorporate Tiny House Living Into Any Home by Of Houses and Trees | A tiny home may not be in your future, but what about a tinier, simpler life? Here are a few things we can all learn from the tiny house living movement.

I've been infatuated with tiny house living since the moment I heard about it. Not surprising since I've always had a love-on for the little. There was the plastic toy toilet I used to hide from my sister as a child (I didn't want to share). And the miniature potbelly pig I desperately wanted for a pet as a teenager. I've been cultivating my weird obsession with tiny versions of full-sized things my whole life. And now, here is a movement that not only bolsters one of my many eccentricities – it also validates it. Because tiny houses aren't just adorable, they could save the planet too.

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Cruelty-Free Duvet Options

Vegan Bedding by Of Houses and Trees | What goes into collecting the down or silk used for duvet fill? The story isn't pretty, but thankfully vegan bedding is a readily available option.

Back when I was redesigning our master bedroom, I had a hard time answering a kind of silly question. Do I want a duvet? Now, is it important whether we fall asleep beneath a duvet, a quilt, a comforter, or a pile of dirty clothing? No. Of course not. What's important is that we fall asleep in a warm home in a safe neighbourhood where our biggest problem is what type of bedding to buy. I know this. However, there is a dark side to everything – even blankets. Impossible, you say?

I wish it were true.

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Tree Branch Mobile

Tree Branch Mobile by Of Houses and Trees | Super charming and whimsical DIY tree branch mobile made with a spray-painted poplar branch, stuffed birds and fishing line.

Along with catching up on blogging in general, I need to catch up on blogging about all the DIY projects I did before my daughter was born. True, I've done a few homey things since she came into my life that blessed September day, but for the most part it's been 16 months of laundry, dishes and more laundry (and of course playing!).

The laundry sitch has been particularly hairy of late because our washing machine is on its way out (and BTW, this is our second laundry machine to futz out on us this year).

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Blue and Orange Master Bedroom

Blue and Orange Bedroom | Love unusual colour combos like blue and orange? How about a blue and orange bedroom! Gorgeous orange curtains and pops of turquoise transform a blah space.Enough has been said about New Year’s resolutions. I’m not going to add to the cacophony. But I will say this – about myself. I make resolutions all the time. Spring resolutions. Birthday resolutions. Morning resolutions. Sometime I keep them. Sometimes I don’t. One of my current resolutions is to blog more. Why? Because I like putting stuff out there. Perhaps the current state of social media will be the downfall of us all, but I like that we live in a Pinterest-y world where people share ideas and creativity flows from one home to another.

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How to Build a Simple Ottoman Toy Box

Ottoman Toy Box | Instructions on how to build a 36" wide x 36" wide x 18" ottoman toy box. Serves multiple functions as a storage box, a coffee table and a statement piece.I can't take all the credit for this DIY project as my most loveable and talented husband was the one who actually built this ottoman toy box combo, but we did design it together (amidst much ruler waving and pencil scribbling) and I selected the fabric and foam padding and wrapped this bad boy (girl?) up.

As is usually the case, the task at hand was not quite as easy as I initially imagined because we wanted as few seams as possible and I couldn't manage to wrestle all the fabric into my sewing machine facing in the correct direction. The answer? Hot glue gun.

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How To Make a No-Sew Burlap Laundry Sack

Here's an easy, cheap and fun way to make a no-sew DIY laundry bag. All you need is a pillowcase, a burlap sack, some sisal twine and a few safety pins!Here's an easy, cheap and fun way to make a DIY hanging laundry bag. Well, it's fun if you're a DIY nerdwad like me.

All you need is a pillowcase, a burlap sack, some sisal twine and a few safety pins.

Bonus if they're old and rusty like the ones I found in my stash. Yes, I have a safety pin stash - don't you?

Keep reading for directions on how to make a laundry bag out of a pillowcase and a burlap sack!

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How to Make an Easy DIY Rocking Chair Cushion

Prefer an old fashioned wood rocker to an oversized glider for your nursery? Learn how to make an easy DIY rocking chair cushion out of quilt batting.Sometimes fabric starts it all. When I was working on my daughter's room - before I knew she was a girl - I was looking for neutral colours and prints that didn't outright announce: "Hi! I have a penis/vagina!" I've talked about my dislike of pink in a previous post. I'm an earth-tones gal through and through.

So, when I saw this graphic floral with its greys and greens and browns I just knew I had to have it. (I had to have it so bad, in fact, that I forgot to check the price tag... oops.)

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Handpainted Tree Dresser

Handpainted Tree Dresser by Of Houses and Trees | Before and after of a DIY furniture refinishing project featuring a dresser with a handpainted tree.

My most recent excuse from being away so long is I was cheating on this blog with another. But, we've patched it up and I've promised it will never happen again. (Though, we all know, once a cheater always a cheater...) Onwards!

I love old furniture. The lines. The detail. The character (and by character I mean, of course, sticky drawers). But sometimes it just looks, well... old. It's scratched. It's dented. Someone wrote on it with a black sharpie. The colour is all wrong. Good thing there's this newfangled invention called paint!

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Of House and Trees Blogger Archive

Featured Image (bloggerarchive-Wikimedia-freetoUSM)If you're looking for my older posts (or just trying to navigate away from this site and over to Pinterest... you know, where the real magic happens) they are currently still hanging out on my old Blogger site. After much trial and error, it turns out the best way to import my previous posts to my new site is to do so manually. As in reconstructing them one at a time. Good thing I wasn't a very prolific poster in those days as it is time consuming work! So the old posts will be gradually moseying their way over to their new home on the new and improved Of Houses and Trees site, but in the meantime try and drop by to say hello – even blog posts get lonely in their old age.

And while you're there don't forget to comment as your lovely and thoughtful words will be imported with each post...

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