by Kyu Hwang

The Dude and I checked out the Eastside Culture Crawl this past weekend. We visited a handful of artists' studios, and we were both taken by Kyu Hwang. He's a Korean artist who works out the Parker building just west of Commercial Drive. His work consists mainly of illustrations that are weirdly whimsical. Above is an example. His drawings make you both smile and furrow your eyebrows. His flickr page is worth checking out.

This was the first time we've participated in the Eastside Culture Crawl. Every year I have intended to go but crappy weather usually dissuaded me. We did it for only two hours, but boy oh boy, we were pooped out by the end. It was yet another sign that we're getting old. Seriously, I sometimes feel like the oldest 30-year-old.


We had our first snow fall of the winter over the weekend (well, I guess it's technically still autumn). I don't like snow, especially when I have to go trudging about in it. But I have to admit that when I'm inside all cozy and looking out, it's not too bad.

We had a busy productive weekend. The Dude and I put up some glass wall shelves over the new desk. It looks so awesome. Then, we went to Home Depot and got a super great deal on a 16' long piece of cedar (only $10!). It got cut into four equal parts, which will become wall shelves above the loveseat. Not only do the cedar shelves look rustically beautiful, but they also make our apartment smell divine. It's as if we're deep in a forest. Now I have to find the right shelf brackets. The ones I love are too expensive so I'm looking for a more economical option.

I can't believe our office area is finally coming together. In its former state, it was making me so unhappy. But now it's well on its way to fabulous. It just needs a few more finishing touches and it'll be done.


Ever since deciding on our apartment decor things have been a-changin' here. A few days ago I painted an accent wall the same red as I did the kitchen (Behr Premium Ultra Plus in Carmine Red). I love it. It's such a warm and stimulating colour. It goes very well with our "modern meets the Southwest" decor, or "Southwest Modern" as I like to call it.

We also re-arranged the furniture in the living room, and the red accent wall helps to bring some balance to the layout since all the furniture is pushed up against one wall. Don't want the space to have that bowling alley feel. I also built my dream desk to replace the two desks we got rid of in order to make more space. Pictures of that project will soon be posted.

I have my eye on a rustic pine armoire to be used in our entryway. It'll provide lots of storage of which we are in desperate need. The Dude and I went by the furniture consignment store last night to take another look at it, but it just got rented to a movie production. Hopefully they'll return it in good condition, and we can bring it home in two weeks. 

The other piece of furniture we need is a storage bench with multipurpose functionality. Ideally it will be on casters so that it could act as extra seating or a coffee table. It'll be parked against the red wall when not in use. IKEA has a piece that fits the bill, but it will be our last resort. I'm hoping to find a trunk that has a bit more character.

This weekend we're planning on making further progress in our living room makeover. Maybe by next week our apartment won't look like we just moved into it anymore.


christmas tree ornament

By this time in November, I usually get into the swing of Christmas, but not this year. I'm not feeling it. I get annoyed when I hear Christmas music while I'm out and about - and I normally LOVE Christmas music. I guess I'm just not ready. It came too fast this year. And also I was super annoyed that some stores started putting up holiday decorations in October, way before Halloween. WTF?

Anyway, the Christmas season doesn't really kick off for me until Advent, which this year begins the last Sunday of November. Hopefully by then I'll be in a more Yuletide-ish mood.


Painting the kitchen red was a fortuitous act because shortly thereafter I finally decided on our decor style: modern meets the Southwest. I came to this realization when the Dude and I attended Interior Design Show West back in October. We went to hear interior designer Kelly Deck give her spiel on how to decorate your home. She said one place to find inspiration is to think about a place that really struck you. For me it was a resort I stayed at in Palm Desert, California a long, long time ago. I totally fell in love with the hotel's decor, which was a very updated, modern Southwestern palette. I used to think Southwestern decor was the tackiest way you could decorate your house, but when I saw how tastefully it was done I was bowled over. I told myself that I would want to decorate my home in that way someday. But then I forgot all about it. Until now.

I'm so relieved I finally have a focus. Ever since we moved into our apartment more than a year ago I've been waffling between various decor styles, and it was driving me up the wall. When you try to decorate without a particular look in mind you end up making bad choices, which have been plenty around here. But now that I know what sort of decor I want to do in our apartment it's so much easier to make decisions on furniture and colours. I'm very excited about my "modern meets the Southwest" idea, especially since I feel like it's genuinely me rather than me trying to adhere to what magazines or the design blogsphere dictate I do. I've always loved the desert, and I want to bring part of it here to rainy Vancouver.

So a rusty red is going to be the main colour accent in our Southwestern palette, or as the Dude likes to call it, "Tex-mex" decor. 


A paint job that I'm satisfied with very much is our kitchen. Unfortunately, I have no "before" pictures of it. The kitchen was originally painted your typical white. Then, I painted it a pale yellow. But the colour I really wanted it to be was a red-orange. So finally, after a year of living with yellow kitchen walls, I went about finding the right shade of red. I paid a little visit to Home Depot and got a bunch of paint chips. Then, I put up on the wall the top four I liked. For a week I observed how the paint chips looked during various times in the day and finally made my choice. It's Behr Premium Ultra Plus in Carmine Red.

Red is supposed to whet your appetite. I also find it to be a very stimulating colour.


Last year I painted our IKEA Gorm shelves a very bright blue. Superman Blue is what I called it. I quickly realized I had made the wrong colour choice.

A couple months ago I repainted them white. I like them a little better, but I'm still not satisfied. I guess no matter what you do, Gorm shelves are just always going to look crappy. These shelves were intended to be used in the garage.