Design: How Low Can You Go? Ep. 2

In July, when the September issue of Style at Home arrived, I challenged myself to create an even lower version than the low version of the office in the magazine’s high/low feature. Phew. Wasn’t that a mouthful? At the time, I thought that I could replicate the low office (priced at $931) into an extra low office. And I did! See what I did here.

The October issue of the magazine arrived last week, and once again, I was curious about creating an even lower version of the high/low feature. So here’s Episode 2 of How Low Can You Go?

Here’s the magazine’s high or low challenge. Take a guess!

In this issue, an entryway was featured. The high version (left) was $1815, and the low version (right) was $742. They are nearly identical though, aren’t they?

While I tried my best to find exact matches with online retailers, I have a few variations in my product choices. Read on to see the total cost of my version of this entryway design.

Desk – $157.99
Mirror – $117.99 (25” diameter)
Clothing rack – $39.99
Coat rack – $29.99
Woven planter – $11.11
Stool – $6.88
Wall hook – $2.68
Set of 3 baskets – $40.99
White light fixture – $43.64
Plant pot – large – $6.99
Plant pot – small – $2.99
Rug – $17.99
Total cost: $479.23 CAD

Add some plants and green paint, and this entryway is complete.

The total cost for my extra low version of the entryway is $479.23 CAD, which is $300 less than Style at Home’s low version! I find it so interesting that you can get similar items at such different price points. The two hardest items to find for my version were the wooden stool and the rug. I found it a challenge to beat Ikea’s versions and price points of these two items.

Books: What I’ve Been Reading

Here’s a round-up of most of the books I’ve read or listened to in the last little while. If you have any questions, let me know

1.The Men in My Country by Marilyn Abildskov. This one was recommended by a friend who thought I could relate to the story. It is a story of a 30-year old woman who packs up and heads to Japan for a fresh start (yes, I can relate). She falls in love with the country (yes, I can relate). While there, she dates a trio of men (yes, I can relate). That’s a very simple explanation of the story. The book is beautifully written.

2. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. Yes, I’m still making my way through this Japanese author’s book list. The Strange Library is a short story. I normally don’t like short stories, but the beauty of them is that they’re quick to read. Murakami’s stories are fantastical and sometimes hard to explain. That said, they’re unlike other books I’ve read, and I enjoy his storytelling, so I keep getting drawn into his stories. If you’ve read them, you’ll know what I mean.

3. Maid by Stephanie Land. After seeing this on so many reading lists, I picked it up at the library when I was in Florida. It was a touching story of a woman’s determination for a better life. She becomes a maid, then starts her own business, meeting kind people along the way and pushing herself through school. Her determination was impressive. I’m sure many similar stories go untold.

4. Start Over, Finish Rich by David Bach. This book was published in 2010, but I think the principles of saving smart and spending wisely remain the same today. I flipped through this pretty quickly and skipped all the sections that were US-focused (hello 401K). There were a few good tips that I have adopted since reading the book.

5. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. This book has been on several reading lists, and although I found it a bit hard to get into, I really enjoyed this book. It follows the story of four children over five decades. In their adolescence, they visit a psychic who tells them about their deaths. I liked the characters, their interactions, and their bond throughout the book.

6. Lush Life by Richard Price. This isn’t a book that I would normally be drawn to, but, again, I think it was on a recommended reading list, so I listened to it. It is set in New York City, so I liked that the audiobook version had readers who spoke like New Yorkers. The story depicts the rough, gritty, and violent side of city living.

7. Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo. I loved this story of Yejide and Akin, their marriage, their challenges with fertility, and the sacrifices they make. The book is set in Nigeria, so we get a glimpse into life and customs there. It was an easy book to get into and read.

8. Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais. I have just started this book, but I am enjoying it so far. One of the reasons is that it is set in Apartheid-era South Africa, so it’s interesting to learn a bit about what was going on then. Family is a theme in this story (like it seems to be in other books on this round-up list).

In other book news, did you hear that Elene Ferrante (of the My Brilliant Friend series) is releasing a new novel in November? I’m going to pick it up forsure.

If you’re looking for more book recommendations, search books on my site.

Personal: A New Venture

A little while ago, I mentioned that I’ve been working on a new venture. I’m ready to share it here, and I would love your honest feedback! Starting something new is definitely a touch scary

Many of you know that I’m a part-time blogger. I am passionate about design, art, style, and the colour white (of course). Beyond this, though, I have always been interested in language learning and teaching. I have a PhD in applied linguistics, and I have been an educator at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels for many, many years. I have most recently completed an MBA degree because of my growing interest in business, and, more specifically, business communication. I’m now ready to take on another project that combines my formal education, work experience, and professional interests. 

I’m starting a business.

Why not, right?

I’m starting a consulting business. As a consultant, I’ll lead workshops for organizations on how to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. These professional development workshops will help help employers and employees refine their communication skills. I cannot even count how many times I hear people (a) complain about the quality of their employees’ communication skills or (b) admit that their own communication skills are weak. I’m here to help!

In my workshops, participants will develop their skills in the areas of report writing, blog writing, email writing, verbal presentations, and more

Here’s a peek at my website, if you’d like to see. I’m happy to take your feedback!

If you know anyone (in Waterloo region, preferably) who may need my services, let me know

Thanks for your support, dear readers!

The Friday Five: Things on My Mind

1.YouTube. This chef was challenged to make a three-course meal in a coffee maker! Such a cool video and the meal looked delicious! (via SwissMiss)

2. Poetry. I read the poem The Opposites Game by Patricia Maisch, and I really liked it. Maybe you will, too. (via Cup of Jo)

3. Life advice. 10 simple steps to help you enjoy daily life. (via Swiss Miss)

4. Music. I love NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series. I shared it a few times in the past, including Lizzo, most recently. Today, have a listen to Sting and Shaggy’s concert. Love it.

5. Quiz. How’s your climate change knowledge? Take this quiz to learn about the most effective ways to curb climate change.