Concrete Swiss Cross

In the modern and Scandinavian home scene you notice a lot of similar trends. Monochromatic palettes, clean uncluttered design, negative space, candles, wood, black and white etc. One other motif you will note is Swiss crosses. They’re on blankets, pillows, art and accessories. Find a scandi home pic on Pinterest, and play the find the Swiss cross game. Why is this motif so popular? It’s simple, bold and classic. Not a design fad, but a timeless design element.

I’ve been Scandinspired as of late, so when I spotted X silicone ice cube trays at Ikea, I saw them not as X’s but as +’s. With silicone + tray in hand, I used some leftover concrete from my concrete clock project to make concrete Swiss crosses.

Concrete Swiss Crosses

I poured excess grey concrete into my silicone ice cube trays, and covered with plastic. I left them to cure overnight, then easily popped them out of the silicone mold. [see how to mix & pour the concrete here.]

Concrete Poured into Ice Cube mold

Any excess concrete was lightly sanded off, and the crosses were lightly sanded the edges of the +’s so they would stand up easily.

Concrete Swiss Cross

Not only did I use up my excess mixed concrete, I also made a cute decor item. The little Swiss crosses look sweet in my black and white powder room.

Concrete Swiss Cross

Concrete Swiss Cross

Working with concrete and silicone molds was incredibly easy. I am now on the hunt for other cool silicone molds. One of those sphere ice cube trays perhaps?

Concrete – Buddy Rhodes 10lb Artisan Mix
Silicone Ice Cube Tray – Ikea

See post on mixing the concrete here.

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

one out of five


Total Cost: $3

DIY Shadowbox Mirror

Here is how we created a maple shadow box mirror for the powder room. Originally we sourced the Ikea Molger mirror, but in real life the shadowbox was much too deep, and would not only block the faucet, but also jut into the room too far.

This is what we made instead: Continue reading “DIY Shadowbox Mirror”

Dreaming of a Scandinavian Christmas

I got REALLY inspired after my trip to Denmark this year. You can see a more streamlined Scandinavian style slipping into my home (hello, the powder room!). My trip fell over the Easter holiday. All of the stores were decked out for the holidays, and there were candles everywhere. As I am starting to plan for the Christmas season, my mind keeps drifting back to Denmark and to Scandinavian Christmas decor consisting of  candelabras, fresh greenery and wood.

I have a few DIY ideas in mind, but have also been sourcing some awesome holiday decor from great European sources. Here are some of my picks.

Ferm Living Christmas Calendar:

Ferm Living House Christmas Calendar
Ferm Living House Christmas Calendar

Granit Wooden Tree:

Granit Wooden Tree
Granit Wooden Tree

Lassen Kubis Candle Holder:

Lassen Kubus Candle Holder
Lassen Kubus Candle Holder

Granit Candelabra:

Granit Candelabra
Granit Candelabra

Ferm Living Christmas Tree Blanket:

Ferm Living Christmas Tree Skirt
Ferm Living Christmas Tree Blanket

 Trip Trap Teak & Brass Tree Stand:

Trip Trap Teak & Brass Tree Stand
Trip Trap Teak & Brass Tree Stand

Kahler Urban Lanterns:

Kahler Urban Lanterns
Kahler Urban Lanterns

Ferm Living Brass Ornament:

Ferm Living Brass Ornament
Ferm Living Brass Ornament

Also check out my Holiday Decor board on Pinterest for more inspiration.


Follow Kristen – Storefront Life’s board Holiday Decor on Pinterest.

DIY Marble Shelf

The powder room is small. At only about 4′ wide and 8′ long, with a closet jutting into it, it’s practically miniscule. To even be able to fit into the room, a vanity was vetoed for a pedestal sink. It’s great for the flow of the room, but offers no storage, and barely a surface to sit a bottle of soap. If you want to set your phone down, or touch up your makeup, you end up having to use the toilet tank as a shelf for your things. Not ideal (or very sanitary for that matter). To gain a much needed horizontal surface in our Powder Room Makeover, we opted to install a small shelf. Take a look at what we made.

Custom Marble Shelf

DIY Marble Shelf

  • 1 4″ wide x 3′ marble shower sill
  • 1 pkg corner brackets
  • Spray primer
  • Krylon gold spray paint
  • 1 tube PL Premium construction adhesive


  • Wet tile saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Caulking gun


How To:

Measure available space (ours was 18″). Mark and cut marble to length with wet tile saw and diamond blade.

Cutting Marble with wet tile saw
Prime & spray paint corner brackets. (We used Krylon Gold Metallic).

Install your corner brackets as shelf brackets screwing into studs, or using hollow wall anchors. We used black screws as we liked the contrast with the gold, and we have black accents in the room.

Spray painted gold brackets and black screws
Attach marble to the brackets with a small amount of PL Premium construction adhesive, and let dry for 24 hours.

DIY Marble Shelf Complete
The shelf is perfect for holding a few decor items, and a place to set down your phone and lipstick. Now to style it!

Marble Shelf Styledphoto 4
I tried out a few accessories, and decided I really need a piece of art to balance everything. A small print set off to the left side will be perfect .

The bathroom is really coming along now. I will be back with another DIY project later on in the week.


Marble – Home Depot
Primer – Zinnser – Home Depot
Paint – Krylon Gold Metallic
Brackets – Brass corner brackets – Home Depot
PL Premium Adhesive – Home Depot

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

two out of five

Total Cost $25

Powder Room Progress

Work on the powder room mini makeover has begun, even with a 3 day trip to the cottage for Thanksgiving thrown in. Here’s a quick update on what I’ve been up to:

Removed the ornate mirror, and tried hanging the great portal mirror I grabbed at Value Village during the blogger thrift store tour. The mirror is AMAZING, and looks so good with the black wall color.

However… it is just too small for the space. Even with the convex shape of the mirror, it is just not big enough. Sad face.

You may also notice another item in that photo. While out on the motorcycle one day, El Granto and I spied a couple of wooden ladders and some old signs on the side of the road. I jumped off and scooped up all the signs we liked, then we sped home, dropped off the moto, and El Granto walked back and lugged one of the large 8′ tall wooded ladders home. It’s in absolutely fantastic shape, and can double as a decor piece and a functional ladder. (It’s a tool hiding in plain sight!) We propped it up in the empty corner of the powder room. I really like the height it gives to the small room. Maybe it will stay there, maybe not, but for now I am loving the wood tones against the black and white.

When I was in Denmark and Sweden this spring, I went on a bit of an art print binge, and during that time I picked up the full set of Warhol quote posters from Moderna Museet in Malmo, Sweden. They are nice big prints (70cm x 100cm or close to 27 1/2″ x 40″) and I thought one or two from the series would look great in the bathroom. We have 12′ ceilings in there, so they should be able to hold the big art prints without feeling claustrophobic. Now all I needed were frames. Of course, there is really only one place to get good quality frames that large (we’re talking three and a half feet tall!) for a good price. Like the prints themselves, my frame source was also Swedish. Can you guess where that is?

I hopped on the subway last night, and trekked out to Ikea Etobicoke, and picked up two large 70cmx100cm Ribba frames in black.

While at Ikea, I did a good amount of perusing. They have upped their game with their new store displays. It was looking good! There were also a few new great items in store, that are not listed online yet. I could do a whole post on it, but here is one of my instagrams from last night:


Alas I was not shopping for new armchairs or rugs (but hey, that faux fireplace would look great in my house!) I needed to source some bathroom items. I was hoping to pickup this Molger mirror (in birch):

But after seeing it in store the frame was much too deep for my space. It would get in the way of the faucet and and light fixture. Boo.

I saw this fab beauty, but it was like $120 (sorry no exact price as its not on Ikea’s site.) and thats more than I wanted to spend for the mirror for this project. Although I think two of them would be fab for my upstairs bathroom reno!

I ended up going with this simple square beveled mirror, and I may try my hand this weekend at a simple shadowbox frame for it. We’ll see.

I also left the store with a great toilet brush (no really!) This black svartsjon one for $8. Also, the 10 year old trapped in me, thinks svartsjon is a funny name for a toilet brush. Cause its got “jon” and “svarts” which I’m sure is how they must say farts in Swedish. Right? 😉

Then I went and carried everything home on the shuttle bus and the subway.


And no, that was not the most awkward nor heavy item I’ve carried home from Ikea on the Subway.

I can’t wait to get home from work tonight and start framing the posters. I want to see them on the wall!

I am still however on the hunt for a light, a small shelf, towel & tp holders, trash can, and accessories. I also added to my wish list a set of antique taps, which I have my eye out for (aka stalking craigslist and eBay).

If you guys see any taps like these (for cheap) let me know!




When Design Love Turns to Design Hate.

Meet our powder room. It was the first room we decorated when we moved in almost four years ago.

Wainscoting and a chunky chair rail went up, the walls went black, and in came a new light, a glam mirror and some art we had laying around the house. Continue reading “When Design Love Turns to Design Hate.”

Pumpkin Spice All The Things

We at the Storefront are mantel-less home owners. As such, come fall or winter, we are the only blog on the entire internets to not have a decorated mantel. No really, find me another home/decor blog without a mantle post this week. Never to be left out, we tend to decorate the front porch (with heavy, and/or bolted down items of course.) One extension of our seasonal decorating, is the front entryway coat rack. With it’s small shelf, it is about the closest thing we have to a mantel.

We have a variety of canvases and prints that get trotted out seasonally to grace our front entryway. Feeling a little bored with our fall decor this year, I opted to add a new canvas to the repertoire. Enter my latest “masterpiece”.

Pumpkin spice all the things

Pumpkin Spice All the things

How to:

$3 Dollar Store Artist Canvas

+$2 Dollar Store Adhesive Letters

+2 parts cheeky 😉

Whats on your mantel this season?

New York New York

I took a quick business trip to New York last week. It was a busy three day trip, with not much time to take in the city. However, I did manage to pop into a few home decor shops, and did some walking, eating and enjoying New York in the fall.

My hotel was in a fantastic location, West 23rd between 5th & 6th avenue. When I walked east from my hotel I walked right onto 5th Avenue. With Eataly on one corner, the Flatiron building in the background, and tons of shopping and restaurants.

Flatiron Building
Flatiron Building

The night I arrived in town I was able to pop out to a few shops before they closed.

Restoration Hardware had some holiday decor up, and some generally lavish and fantastic decor pieces (but nothing that I fell head over heels for.)

Restoration Hardware - Lights under glass - great for a Holiday table
Restoration Hardware – Lights under glass – great for a Holiday table
Restoration Hardware - Great Headboard
Restoration Hardware – Great Headboard

West Elm was surprisingly small, and I felt it had less to offer than my Toronto location.

Fishs Eddy’s was my favorite stop, and I brought home two pieces from there (in my small carry on luggage!) Thanks to a twitter friend Abby @crabigail for the Fishs Eddy & ABC Carpet tip! (no pics of Fishs Eddy, as they asked me not to take photos, but imagine a kitchen supply heaven.)

ABC Carpet & Home. Although the carpets & lighting were gorgeous, I sadly could not fit anything that large in my suitcase, however ABC just opened ABC Kitchen with tons of fab kitchen serving pieces. I loved their wood cutting & serving pieces (umm olive wood anyone?!). They also had some great matte ceramic pieces in whites and grays that were gorgeous.

ABC - Olive Wood
ABC – Olive Wood
ABC Ceramic Dinnerware
ABC Ceramic Dinnerware

I tore myself from ABC Kitchen and only left with a large wooden spoon from France.

My New York Purchases - Ceramic Mason Jar & Tea Towel from Fishs Eddy & a wooden spoon from ABC Kitchen
My New York Purchases – Ceramic Mason Jar & Tea Towel from Fishs Eddy & a wooden spoon from ABC Kitchen

On my last morning in New York, I got up bright and early to walk down to the High Line. I love what New York has done with the space, and its a great urban walkway. I wish the West Toronto Railpath was half as nice (and integrated) as the High Line! They even have elevators for accessible access. Awesome! If you are visiting New York I highly recommend taking a nice walk on the High Line.

The High Line
The High Line
View from a bridge on The High Line
View from a bridge on The High Line

As I was heading back to my hotel, I noticed a Home Depot on 6h Avenue. I thought at first it was a head office but when I got a little closer I realized it was an actual retail store! A Home Depot on 6th Ave? New York, I love you!

The Home Depot - 6th Ave NYC
The Home Depot – 6th Ave NYC
The Home Depot - 6th Ave NYC
The Home Depot – 6th Ave NYC

Of course I had to pop in (I couldn’t resist) and they surprising had a very good selection.

Home Depot 6th Ave - Faucet Department
Home Depot 6th Ave – Faucet Department

While wandering around Chelsea I also noticed a large lumber yard near the Chelsea Market. I could certainly DIY in New York!

I love the city, but next time I visit I need to stay a little bit longer. It was too much a whirlwind visit (but business travel is always that way!) Whats your favorite stop in New York City?

Shopping for Kitchen Accessories

I know I know, my kitchen isn’t even close to being finished yet, but I am already on the hunt for some fun accessories to brighten the place up.

I want to add some new art, some textiles, some useful accessories like cutting boards (which I hope to make) as well as a few new serving pieces and decor. I always like to give a room a few new touches even when its not getting a complete new makeover.

Here are some of the things I’m loving right now:

Butchery Prints from Smash Gallery.  I am leaning towards two of these for beside the coffee bar. I want to build some cool wood frames for them.




Ikea Skovel teal clock for the chalkboard wall in the dining room. We already have one of Ikea’s large clocks in our staircase and love the scale in our house. Ordinary sized clocks seemed tiny with our tall ceilings. The large scale and color is great. Although I am thinking of removing the clock face entirely and replacing it with something simpler.


A small tray for holding my olive oil and balsamic beside the stove. I like having oil & vinegar close at hand (as I pretty much use it everyday!) but I don’t want to risk staining my new counters, so a nice little  tray to set the bottles on is perfect.


Linen & Flour Sack tea towels. These linen guys from Crate & Barrel are cute.


A cute butter dish. I like this guy from Anthropologie. It lends itself well to the teal in the cabinets and the step stool.


Other things we need (that I haven’t found yet) are a new dog food mat for Odin (poor guy is getting relocated, and his food mat is a bit worse for wear!). As well as kitchen utensil holder & compost bin. I actually have a cool DIY project in mind for these. Hopefully I will give it a shot this weekend, and have something to report back next week!

Anything you’re lusting after for your kitchen right now?