Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Louis XVI...The Final Piece

Since I love both vintage furniture and finding a bargain, great pieces rarely come easily. As a result, many of the key items of furniture in my home have a story behind them. The bedside tables in the guestroom, the modern glass & chrome dining set, the kitchen stools and the coffee table in the living room are all perfect examples. Each piece took some time and effort, but in the end I got what I wanted and paid a fair price. My latest acquisition is no exception. After more than a year of searching, this, my friends, is the FINAL piece of furniture for the condo. The Louis XVI commode (learn more about the term "commode" here) is tucked into the corner of my bedroom to provide a bit more storage for accessories and off season clothing.

I previewed this piece at Empire Auctions, but I tried not to get too excited - this wasn't my first time at the auction rodeo, and I had been outbid several times before (including January's French Antique auction). I was happy to discover that this lot # would fall on an evening following a Blue Jays playoff game, so attendance would be low. Lucky!! The hammer fell after just a few bids and I finally had my coveted Louis XVI commode.

The plan is to hang artwork on the wall around and above the television (Gasp! A tv in the bedroom!!) to disguise its existence, but putting holes in the wall is such a big commitment that I'm hesitant. For now I've leaned one of my favourite photos by photographer Robin Waters behind a tray of colourful perfumes.

Can we pause for a moment to appreciate that stunning marble top? I love the veining of this natural beauty!!

So...no more furniture shopping. Now what?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Finally Found: Satin Brass Hardware

What's this? I have a design blog? For the past few months I've barely thought about blogging...I've been super distracted by work & this thing called life. You haven't missed anything. There haven't been any updates at the condo, and projects that I started in January (you mall recall this post about the front hall) remain in limbo as we speak.

I did manage to complete one quick project that I've talked about before. A year ago March I expressed my desire to swap the existing satin nickel kitchen cabinet hardware for brass pulls that would help tie the kitchen into the rest of the open concept space. With the gold highlight on the wall trim and multiple brass accents throughout my home, it just made good design sense. The biggest stumbling block was finding stylish satin brass pulls; there just weren't any out there that I liked. Plus with 29 pulls to replace, they needed to be affordable. The good news is that I finally found what I was looking for during a recent excursion to buy reno supplies at Home Depot for work. I picked up one of these Richelieu pulls as a sample and it turned out to be perfect.

I suppose "before" photos would have been a good idea, but I wasn't necessarily planning to blog about this little project at the time. Take my word for it - this is just a small change, but it's soooooo much better! 

Initially I worried that the brass wouldn't blend well with the stainless steel appliances, but to be completely honest, I think it looks just fine. And it really does help to tie the kitchen into the rest of the space. I especially like the way the new hardware looks on the multiple pantry doors:

The new pulls are more classic in design than the previous modern hardware used by the builder (see what I had here), but these definitely are more suitable to my personal design aesthetic and the architectural elements which I've added to the open concept space.

The added bonus of the new hardware is twofold. One: No more drawstrings, belt loops or pockets catching on the ends of the old hardware. That used to happen constantly and drove me bananas! Two: I have an extremely low pain tolerance and I once smacked the back of my hand so hard on the end of one of the old pulls that I had to lie down on the floor and talk myself out of fainting. Thank goodness that won't happen again!

What simple changes have you made in your space that made a big impact? Share your projects in the comments section below!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Character Homes of Milwaukee

I recently took a few days out of my not so busy schedule to visit my sister in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It's a lovely city, sprinkled with great restaurants & shops, and tons of great architecture. I took a stroll through my sister's neighbourhood one afternoon and photographed some of my favourite homes within just a few blocks. These houses have so much character!!

These were my favourite brick homes; obviously I'm a sucker for Georgian architecture. Just imagine how these will look when the trees and shrubbery leaf out in the spring. The big home on the lower right is currently on the market, listed for $899,900:

There are also a lot of painted homes in the area, which reminded me of San Francisco. I imagine it must be expensive to maintain these exteriors, but they are all extremely well cared for:

My absolute favourite was this beauty on Shepard Avenue. Seriously, y'all, it's such a pretty shade of soft lilac. And notice the realtor sign on the front lawn? This 4 bedroom, 2 bath is currently listed for $349,900. Homeowners in Toronto and Vancouver must be losing their minds right now!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Oopsie DIY

I love reading inspirational blogs for new ideas and one of my absolute favourites is Jenny Komenda's "Little Green Notebook". Jenny takes on a lot of DIY projects; some are simple, while others are more complicated. Recently she blogged about an easy project where she dyed an inexpensive cream flokati rug to a lovely blush pink. I decided that I would like to do the same with my flokati - I would dye it a soft lilac to complement my master bedrooom.


It turns out that my Ikea sheepskin was the genuine wool version, meaning that it was much more absorbent than Jenny's acrylic version. The fibers took the dye much faster than I expected and after just a few minutes in the dye bath, the rug was already quite dark. The soft lilac I envisioned came out about 10 shades too dark. Boo :( Does anyone have any ideas how to soften the colour? I'm wondering if bleach would work or if that's a bad idea.

At least it matches, so I can live with it, but I wish it was the pretty lilac shade I was aiming for.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sometimes I Get Crazy Ideas...This One Leads Me to Georgia

Here's something you may not know about me: I love good tv dramas. So many people say that they don't watch television, as if they're too intellectual for such behaviour, but I'm pretty sure they're lying. The have been some amazing, extremely well written television shows recently, some on cable, many on Netflix: House of Cards. Orange is the New Black. Homeland. Breaking Bad. The Walking Dead. The best part of Netflix is binge watching a show non-stop and within those hours forming a hard and fast bond with the characters.

Which leads me to my crazy idea: I want to move to Georgia. More specifically, I want to move to Senoia, Georgia and open a little boutique on Main Street. (There really is a Main Street in Senoia, Georgia, isn't that perfect?) Why Senoia? Well, it's the small town near where The Walking Dead is filmed. Senoia restaurants, bars and shops are flourishing with the influx of TWD tourists. And real estate is cheap there, I could buy a 4 bedroom house there for significantly less than the price of my Toronto condo.

The most expensive of my choices & just outside town, a 4 bedroom, 3 bath asking $254,900:

This 4 bedroom, 2 bath house is listed at $249,900 y'all:

 Are you kidding me? The asking price on this 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath home is $199,900:

This house isn't for sale, but I found it on Google Street View and I want it. I mean, come on, it's PINK! Plus, it would be within walking distance of my Main Street boutique.

Sigh... These are the things I think about when the winter drags on too long. If spring doesn't come soon, who knows where I might end up.