DIY: Painting with CIL

If you’re a regular reader, then you know that my parents have helped me with just about every reno project I’ve done at my home. They are both very handy people. Dad’s great with electrical, plumbing, and BBQ cleaning projects, and mom is a genius sewer, stylist, gardener, and painter. I’d be dumb not to cash in on their talents. (Mom, Dad, I hope you’re amused by this introduction.)

So it goes without saying that if they have a project that needs me, I’m happy to help. Most of the time this means that I’m moving a piece of furniture. But recently, my help came in the form of painting. I worked with CIL and helped my parents paint their garage doors. The doors weren’t in terrible shape, but since my parents recently replaced all their outdoor eaves and trim, the existing door colour didn’t work.

We opted for this CIL exterior doors and trim paint:

CIL-Doors_trim-exterior-paint-101CIL Smart3 Triple Weather Protection Doors and Trim

I picked up the paint at my local Home Depot and had it colour matched to a piece of the eaves. Perfection!

My dad took the lead on the painting. Since this was an outdoor painting project, we waited for the weather report to call for a few days of warmth and sunshine. CIL suggested  (via Twitter) that the ideal temperature for exterior painting is 15°-20°C. (I’m pretty sure that those temps are good for the paint application and the painter’s fingers!)

We didn’t need to begin with a separate primer because the CIL Smart3 already has a built-in primer (cue the confetti!). Dad liked working with this paint; he reported that there were no bad smells, no splattering, and that the application was very smooth.

Here’s a look at the after:

White-Cabana-CIL-paint-exterior-garage doors102_1261The garage door is a taupe-grey-stone colour that is a perfect match to the eaves and trim. The colours of the whole house are now much more cohesive. It was an easy weekend project that made a big impact to the home’s exterior.

Thanks to CIL for sponsoring this post. Photos by Jordana and Dad.

Interview: Charlotte Cosby – Head of Creative at Farrow & Ball

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – blogging has an amazing ways of bringing people together. I recently had the opportunity to interview Charlotte Cosby, Head of Creative at the elegant and classic Farrow & Ball. (Amazing, I know!)

Charlotte Cosby

While I did try to focus my questions to Charlotte about how she uses white in interior design, I couldn’t help but ask her about what she loves most about her job (I’m nosey like that). Head of Creative – isn’t that an awesome job title? Are you curious about Charlotte’s day job? If so, read on…


Jordana: How did you come to the position of Head of Creative at Farrow & Ball? 

Charlotte: It was really just a case of being in the right place and the right time, although a love of design, interiors and colour certainly helps as well!

J: What is the best part of your work day?

C: I like to be on the go so always enjoy it when I’m working on something new whether it’s experimenting with colour, drawing potential new wallpaper patterns or having ‘the idea’ with my team.

J: What is the most challenging part of your job?

C: Because the output and end product of my job is so subjective, this means that it’s often quite hard try to get something that everyone is happy with. However, I’m very lucky in that I’ve worked closely with my team for a number of years, meaning that we’ve been able to develop a style that everyone agrees on. It’s just getting agreement on each individual piece that can be harder!

J: Now, let’s talk about colour! At the risk of sounding childish, what’s your favourite colour? Why?

C: My favourite colour changes every week! Currently I’m really loving lush vibrant greens like Breakfast Room Green, Calke Green, and Studio Green as they remind me of tropical holidays and treks through the jungle! When mixed with a navy, like Stiffkey Blue, these colours can look extremely deep and mysterious.

J: What is/are your go-to colour(s) for your own home design projects?

C: I was obsessed with one of our new 2013 colours, Stiffkey Blue, for a long time as used on the walls, it really brings the whole room to life and makes all the furniture look amazing. I also really like the current trend of using copper and natural wood together as they go together brilliantly.

J: Now, at the risk of sounding selfish, let’s talk about my favourite colour – white! What are your thoughts about white?

C: I love white – it’s the one colour that allows you to be most creative. To me, white represents potential – it’s a blank canvas ready to be filled with colourful ideas!

J: What Farrow & Ball white would you recommend for the white enthusiast?

C: We really do have a white for every occasion! Currently, my favourite it Wevet – a delicate but extremely versatile white. One of our most popular whites is Wimborne White which works with absolutely everything! However, to be able to see the subtleties between them, you really need to have a reference point. For example, by putting both of these colours against All White, our cleanest and whitest white, you’ll be able to notice the very slight hint of colour that makes them so special and completely unique.

J: White can be used in every room in a home – even in children’s rooms. What do you think about using white in childrens’ bedrooms, playrooms, or bathrooms?

C: Children are among the most creative beings in the world so using white in a children’s bedrooms and playrooms would be a great way to encourage creative thought.

Not only would white be a great backdrop for the host of multi-coloured toys, it also means that if you did want to use a small amount of brighter colours, like our vibrant St Giles Blue, Yellowcake or Charlotte’s Locks, throughout the room – on furniture, woodwork or even in cupboards or shelving, using white on the walls and ceiling will really help to make these colours pop!

From a more practical point of view, white will also stand the test of time as they’re growing up.

J: What advice would you give parents who are hesitant to incorporate white (walls, furniture, toys, etc.) into their children’s spaces?

C: It’s easy to see why parents might feel hesitant to use white in their children’s rooms as children are well-known for being attracted to muddy places.

By using either of our Modern Emulsion, Full Gloss or Estate Eggshell finishes on the wall of your child’s room will allow for wiping away wandering hand and finger prints. These finishes are also more resilient and hardwearing meaning that the walls are less likely to scuff.

White rooms needn’t be boring and by adding a simple feature like a stripe, will instantly add fun to a plain white room. Another technique is to layer different whites on the walls which will help to add a real depth and softness to the room. You can get creative with this techniques, like we have here by painting a simple mountain scene onto the wall.

J: Thank you, Charlotte, for taking the time to speak with me about white!


So, how about that? Colour expert Charlotte Cosby loves white! I love that she thinks white is timeless, is a great backdrop for kids’ rooms, and represents potential. Amazing. Let the creativity shine on!

Here are the Farrow & Ball whites that Charlotte made reference to:




Wimborne White (there’s a sample there, I swear!)


All White (another sample image, honest!)

And here are a variety of rooms – not just for children – featuring gorgeous Farrow & Ball paints.

2004EE_5EEG_S Farrow-Ball-White-2 Farrow-Ball-white-1 Farrow-Ball-white-2001 EE_228EEG Farrow-Ball-2005DF_22EEG_S Farrow-Ball-2005EE_2005EEG_2005FP_S F&B_FloorPaint-23 F&B_Modern_Emulsion-8 farrow-ball-white-3

Naturally, I gravitate toward that sunny white office with wood plank floors! Isn’t it lovely?

What do you think? Would you paint your children’s room – or other rooms – fully white?

Thanks to Rebecca M. at Farrow & Ball for arranging this interview.


Uptown: A Little Bit of Progress

I thought I would take a moment to talk about the updates I’m making around my house Uptown. It feels great to be in Kitchener-Waterloo and I’m really loving so many things about my new house. I’m learning new things about renos and home repairs, I’m getting to know every home improvement store in KW, and little-by-little I am making my house feel more like me.

There are three bathrooms in my house. They’re great spaces but they are all covered in wallpaper. The wallpaper in the upstairs bath came off quite easily and left no wallpaper paste residue. The walls up there are in great shape and just need some minor touchups (of that plaster/putty stuff) before they get primed and painted.


upstairs bath – wallpaper removal fun

The powder room was a whole other story. The decorative paper came off without any trouble. But…the wallpaper paste decided to stay behind. The look was disgusting. The removal was a major pain.


powder room – before – two patterns of pink & cream wallpaper


powder room – the wallpaper paste disaster

My dad bought and applied some wallpaper paste removal but that didn’t work. Then I found two solutions via Google so I alternated between them: (a) hot water + fabric softener + baking soda, and (2) hot water + vinegar. The vinegar solution worked better in the end, I think, but the fabric softener solution smelled better so I kept using it. There was A LOT of scraping involved. And A LOT of rubbing with a rough sponge. And A LOT of cleaning up with a soft sponge. It was time consuming*. The walls look half-way good now but of course there are (more than) several areas that need putty. The powder room looks much brighter so that’s definitely something to celebrate. Removing the wallpaper in this room was a huge job and I’m glad it’s over. (One more bathroom to go.)


My parents came for a visit this past weekend and with my mom’s help I’ve narrowed down my paint colours down to two! Huge accomplishment! I’ve been staring at the paint chips in every room in the house in different lights over the last month or so. Now I’m going to buy small test cans of each colour and paint large patches in each room. I hope by doing this, I’ll come to a final decision about the colour. In case you didn’t know – I’m painting my whole house white. All of it. Yes.


paint options with tile and carpet

I picked up pretty white tiles that I will eventually use for my kitchen backsplash**. The tiles look great with the paint options and the existing cabinets (Ikea I think). So far.

I’m still dating my couch options. I love the Lee couch but I priced it out for two fabrics and one will be $3000 and the other one will be $3800 (plus tax & delivery). I’m not sure I feel like spending $4000 on a couch.


Lee Industries sofa

I am really fond of the following two sofas from but I have to do the final pricing on each. They’ll likely come in around $2500 or so.


The Saturday Sofa

The Saturday Sofa


The Snowdrop Sofa

Restoration Hardware has a nice option too. It would like be around the $3000 mark. I haven’t yet seen this one in person but I will soon enough. I really would prefer two large seat cushions but I don’t the the RH sofa has this option.


Restoration Hardware sofa

Alternatively, I could also go the more affordable route with Ikea’s Karlstad in a couch or sectional style.



The Karlstad is a good-looking and comfortable sofa but it has a different feel than the ones above. It would change the whole look of my living room. Oh – and I’m aiming for a light grey fabric for my future sofa. Thoughts?

My parents helped me plant outside. I’m leaving all the gardening choices up to my mom since she is a retired florist. She knows what’s what. I only requested that hostas be in my garden since (a) I think hosta is a funny word, and (b) it seems like everybody is always talking about where they planted their hostas, the colour of their hostas, and how their hostas are growing. I think it’s hilarious…and I want to be part of the hosta club. I don’t have a big garden but I have just enough patches of land to let me play around.


new white flowers & some of my new hostas

My proudest moment so far in this reno business has been installing a new kitchen light. I wasn’t sure I could manage it on my own but I did! I watched a few how-to videos online (and over the years I’ve observed my dad change a few) and then I got to work. I learned about my Breaker Box and I made sure I shut off the right breaker switch for the kitchen light. I set up lamps around the room so I could see what I was doing (I decided to change the light at 9pm or so?!). I used one screwdriver in the whole process. So handy. After the electricity was shut off, I removed the existing fan/light fixture and unhooked the wires. Once the fan was down I put up my new light. Black wire to red wire and white wire to white wire. I used plastic screw caps to attach the wires. A few screws later and my light was up! When I switched the power back on I really was praying that I’d have light. And guess what? I did! I honestly couldn’t believe it. Changing a fixture is not hard at all but it is a little scary, what with the electricity bit. But as long as the electricity is off, there’s nothing to worry about. Right? So, one light installed and about 15 more to go! (I haven’t narrowed down the choices for the other rooms.)





So there you have it – a few updates from around the house. Much more to come so stay tuned!

*Note to self: Never install wallpaper. Ever.

**You may be wondering why I bought backsplash tiles before doing anything else? I found them for a super deal on Kijiji and I couldn’t let them go! More on that in a future post.


The Uptown series documents my experiences as a new homeowner. Fun times ahead!