The Cottage Diaries: Custom Built X-Base Rustic Table

May 26, 2016 +

I'm really excited to share these photos today. When we first saw our cottage last October, we saw that we had a glorious view out the dining room window, looking at the trees in all their fall glory. I knew that the spot would be ideal for a long rustic farmhouse style table, custom-sized to fit the space. Furniture building is not a skill I possess but I knew my blogger friend Chris did have this talent in spades. | custom handmade rustic x-base farmhouse table with beachy stain finish

I've known Chris through her blog for almost a decade. In that time, I've followed along as this powerhouse of a woman built coffered ceilings and kitchens and fences, mostly on her own. So so inspiring! She is a whiz with power tools and has laid down floors and built dream bunkies with her own two hands. And most recently, Chris has found her true calling and started her own furniture-building company, Gray House Furniture. | custom handmade rustic x-base farmhouse table with beachy stain finish

I was excited at the prospect of having a piece custom built for my space by someone who I admire immensely. First step was figuring out the design inspiration. I was originally intrigued by this table but then thought the angle on the table legs might be problematic with my dining chairs which have a closed base. So then I decided on this x-base table. Chris had never made this particular style of table before but that didn't stop her from taking on the challenge. Here's a few in progress shots of my table in Chris' shop:

So many steps are involved! It was fun to watch the progress of my table on Chris' instagram. The table was made from solid Ontario pine and was a monster of a piece of a piece to move in and out of the UHaul trailer. But she (of course the table is a she!) arrived unscathed and looked just how I hoped she would in her new cottage home. Good thing because we're never ever moving that table again ;) | custom handmade rustic x-base farmhouse table with beachy stain finish

I wanted to have a bench on the other side of the table so Chris made that too. This was yet another design she hadn't built before but it turned out perfectly. Gah, I love these two pieces so much! | custom handmade rustic x-base farmhouse table with beachy stain finish

And can we talk about the stain for a minute? If you've ever tried staining wood, you'll know it's a messy job and it can be very challenging to get an even stain. Chris offered me a few options of stain and I went for the one that had the beachy, driftwood-like look I thought would work at our cottage. I can only imagine this was a multi-step process that took several layers of stain to achieve the rich and unique finish you see here. All in all, Chris built the table and bench in one week. Amazing!

We've already enjoyed a few meals at this table and I'm looking forward to it being part of our cottage memories for many years to come. Nothing compares to a custom, handmade, one-of-a-kind piece and I love that this one was made by a talented friend. If you are local and are in need of custom furniture, I highly recommend you contact Chris. You will not be disappointed!

Breakfast for Dinner at Williams-Sonoma

May 25, 2016

Did you have a good long weekend? We got away to the cottage and I shared a bit of our new decor on instagram. I'll be sharing more soon!

One thing we did enjoy at the cottage were big breakfasts out on the porch. I've added some new breakfast recipes to our repertoire thanks to the event I hosted along with Brittany and Louisa last week at Williams-Sonoma Yorkdale.

The Williams-Sonoma team was kind enough to give us the run of the store and invite some of our blogger friends to try out a few recipes. Louisa made the most delicious crepes and raspberry sauce ever (seriously - go get her recipe right now!) and made it look so effortless. Tim got to try his hand at crepe making too.

Brittany demonstrated a homemade coffee and sugar scrub and treated us to a "pour-over coffee". Apparently this is the hottest thing in coffee?? I'm not in tune to coffee culture but I know it was a delicious cup of joe. Even if we drank it at 8pm and I was up past midnight, ha!

We all fell in love with the cow creamer. Isn't that the cutest way to start your day?

I did a little table styling demonstration. Williams-Sonoma has gorgeous dishware. I wish I had spotted these simple and classic black and white bistro plates before I bought my dinnerware for the cottage. They go with everything!

One styling tip I shared was to use copper measuring cups to serve maple syrup at each individual place setting. It's those little details which make your guests feel special.

It was a very fun (and filling!) evening but I was even more excited by the news that the Williams Sonoma team shared... their Yorkdale store is moving to a bigger location in the mall in the fall AND it will incorporate a new Williams-Sonoma Home store! I've only ever visited a Home outlet store when visiting the US so I can't wait to see their first Canadian location here soon!! Who's ready to shop with me??

All photos courtesy of Brittany at My Daily Randomness

The Love List

May 20, 2016 +

Instagram of the week by Gretchen Black. I love the brass paired with the grey-green walls.

Speaking of, I'm sensing a slow shift away from all white rooms to softer neutrals. Here's a great roundup of barely there colours to put on your walls.

Great tips on growing your blog stats

This barn-turned-house gives me all the feels. Love that upper sleeping loft and the modern deacon's bench. Again with the grey-green walls!

Love this idea of a restaurant made for adults and kids alike

This Thai Coconut Curry Chicken is definitely going in my meal rotation

Sarah's DIY rope art is brilliant (not to mention she saved herself $5000 DIYing it. Yikes!)

I just purchased this plaid indoor/outdoor rug and I'm ridiculously excited to get it to the cottage. Shipping was super quick - I ordered on the 15th and it landed on my doorstep on the 19th! is another good option for Canadians shopping online (shipping and duty gets included in your quote so no hidden surprises when it arrives).

Have a lovely weekend friends!

Getting Porch-Ready

May 18, 2016 + ,

The first long weekend of the Canadian summer is almost upon us!! Are you excited? If you're anything like me, you're making plans to spend time outdoors as much as possible.  I'm really looking forward to meals al fresco and naps with the breezes blowing... time to get porch-ready!

One place I love to be in the summer is on our back porch. It received a beachy makeover a few years ago but with a few changes in accessories, it's channelling the tropics this season.

Rambling Renovators | tropical decor, outdoor porch, blue white rattan decor
Rambling Renovators | tropical decor, outdoor porch, blue white rattan decor

How fabulous are these plates and coordinating bowls? I love their vibrant colour and vintage tropical plant patterns, not to mention they're made from renewable resources and are dishwasher safe. These plates are part of the PC® Bamboo Fibre Collection and I'm excited to be partnering with Real Canadian Superstore over the coming months to highlight some of their decor offerings. Given that my grocery budget is typically 50% food, 25% home decor, and 25% Joe Fresh, I'm excited to show you what Real Canadian Superstore has on offer.

Rambling Renovators | tropical decor, outdoor pillows, blue white rattan decor, good vibes only print

Adding new accents can liven up your outdoor space. I switched out some of our brown and black pillows for these bright aqua and white outdoor ones. They scream summer and make the porch seem brighter and more welcoming.

On the fence, I hung the Good Vibes Only print designed by Justine Ma for BlogPodium 2015 as it worked with colour palette. [Side note: we're already 40% sold for BlogPodium 2016 so grab your ticket now if you haven't already! Woot!]. Outdoor art can often be forgotten but adding pieces like my blurred beachy photo can make your space feel like a finished room.

Rambling Renovators | tropical decor, outdoor decor, blue white rattan decor

And what's an outdoor party without food? I can never resist the bakery soft cookies and the PC Black Label Pink Lemonade is my sparkly drink of choice for the summer. Love the round tray too. It's got an anti-slip bottom which makes it ideal for transporting drinks to the patio.

Rambling Renovators | tropical decor, outdoor decor, blue white rattan decor

I'm thrilled with how cheery the porch feels now. It carries the tropical feeling of our dining room, right on the other side of that window, outdoors. Who's ready to join me for drinks?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored Real Canadian Superstore. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love and bring into my own home, who make this blog possible.

How To Elevate Your Everyday Breakfast

May 16, 2016

macerated strawberries and waffles

Do you have any weekend rituals? Around our house, we like to sleep in and have a late morning breakfast. Weekday mornings might be about eggs or yogurt or oatmeal, but on the weekend, bring on the pancakes and waffles and special treats.

Special doesn't have to mean complicated though. One of my favourite ways to elevate an everyday breakfast is by adding macerated fruit. I learned this super-simple technique at a Williams-Sonoma media preview years ago and its a great way to bring out the flavour of those store-bought fruits that might not be at their peak of ripeness.

Macerated Strawberries

1 pint of strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Hull the strawberries and cut in quarters.
2. Stir the strawberries and sugar together in a medium bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes.

And that's it! I like to macerate the strawberries first thing and by the time we make the batter, cook up the waffles, make a big pot of coffee, and set the table, the strawberries reach just the right flavour. Mmm, breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, Brittany of My Daily Randomness, Louisa of Living Lou and I will be hosting a very fun Breakfast for Dinner event for a few blogger friends at Williams-Sonoma Yorkdale this Wednesday evening. If you're local, come join us! We'll be sharing French-inspired breakfast recipes, entertaining tips, and decor ideas.

Breakfast for Dinner
Williams-Sonoma Yorkdale
Wednesday, May 18th


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