Sunday, February 7, 2016

Welcome Home...



It's so nice to receive a friendly greeting at the front door upon arriving home. For me, it's seeing these fresh green walls painted in Para's Aspen Valley. The front hall project started when I added trim to the doors and painted them out last January, and just one short year later I have a completely finished entrance hall. If my memory serves me correctly, I painted half of the hall early last summer, the other half in late October and finally the back of the door to the corridor just last weekend. I know how to take procrastination to the next level - particularly when it comes to painting, since it's not my favourite thing to do.


The photo on the above left is taken from the corridor, and gives an idea of how the green transitions into the navy blue at the end of the entrance hall (you can read more about that transformation here). It certainly is a contrast of colours (which I'm obviously not afraid of), but the trim moulding on the doors and walls keeps the spaces feeling consistent. By the way, do you loooove that table lamp? It's the Alexa Hampton Helios lamp designed for Visual Comfort and it's my new favourite thing!!


The colour may be the attention grabber in this entrance, but the trim moulding is what truly adds character to the space. A modern city condo doesn't always have to be smooth surfaces and hard edges, and the DIY trim moulding sets the tone for my home starting at the front door. I created this section of trim to fit the two gold leaf quatrefoil mirrors which had previously resided in my bedroom.


One last tip: I painted out all of the trim, including baseboards, to maximize ceiling height. The condo ceilings are nine feet, but here in the front entrance the ceiling is only eight feet due to a bulkhead running from the dryer vent (located behind door number one) and washroom vent (located behind door number two) through to the exterior. Painting the trim allows the eye to travel in one motion from floor to ceiling without stopping, fooling the eye into perceiving the space as being taller than it really is. I used this trick throughout the entire condo, painting out trim and baseboards in every room.

So what do you think of the colour? I love that it's bold! Truth be told I'm happy to see the final walls painted and I think I'm done with brushes, rollers and paint trays for the foreseeable future. Insert happy dance here!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Basement Reno: So Many Decisions!!

A friend of mine came to me seeking input regarding the design of his home's unfinished basement. After living in the home for many years, it was time to finish the basement and gain much needed space to entertain and hang out. The basement was pretty much a blank slate: think exposed insulation and ceiling joists. It was the perfect opportunity to customize unused space for the homeowner's needs.

After considering how his family would use the space, it was decided that they would need a kitchenette, a full washroom and a large open area with the possibility of converting some of that open space to a bedroom in the future. Since I'm not a trained designer, I sketched out a few rough ideas but left the major decisions to my friend and his contractor. They worked together to come up with a design plan and a budget, and work started almost right away. Feeling pressure to make decisions, we soon found ourselves spending hours choosing countertops, tiles and paint colours. This is my Instagram capture of what we finalized:


The kitchen backsplash will be a classic 3"x6" arctic white subway tile, which we will accent with a 4" band of the glass & marble mosaic tile. The shower wall in the bath will have a similar look, but with a larger 8"x20" arctic white tile (less grout = less to clean) with a 6" accent band and a 2"x2" dark grey porcelain on the shower floor. Floors in both the kitchen and the bathroom will be the veined grey porcelain Techmarble in a semi-polished finish (love this tile - it has the look of marble without the expense). The bathroom will feature a dark grey Caesarstone counter top with integrated white sink which should tie in perfectly with the accent band in the shower. In the kitchen, all upper cabinets will be painted Benjamin Moore's Silver Half Dollar (2121-40), while the lower cabinets will be a slightly darker Pewter (2121-30). Painting has already happened on the walls and we are happy that we chose Silver Half Dollar, it's a light grey which works really well in a basement with very little natural light.

This past week we chose faucets and cabinet hardware for both the kitchen and bath, and this renovation should wrap up within a few weeks. Here are the mood boards for both the kitchen and the bath:


1. Benjamin Moore Silver Half Dollar (2121-40)
2. Benjamin Moore Pewter (2121-30)
3. American Standard Fairbury Faucet
4. Wilsonart Black Laminate Countertop in Black Alicante
5. Cosmas 96mm Polished Chrome Pull
6. Techmarble Semi Polished Grey Floor Tile 12"x24"
7. Frigidaire Stainless Steel Refrigerator
8. Glass & Marble Accent Mosaic Tile
9. Bright Arctic White Subway Tile 3" x 6"


1. Benjamin Moore Silver Half Dollar (2121-40)
2. Benjamin Moore Pewter (2121-30)
3. Moen Boardwalk Faucet
4. Caesarstone Countertop in Cement (2003)
5. Hickory Hardware 96mm Polished Chrome Pull
6. Techmarble Semi Polished Grey Floor Tile 12"x 24"
7. Kohler Memoirs Classic Toilet
8. Glass & Marble Accent Mosaic Tile
9. Bright Arctic White Subway Tile 8" x 20"
10. Nuvo Parker Polished Chrome 2 Light Vanity Fixture

Saturday, January 23, 2016

It's January, Time to Organize!


Every January I get the urge to get my act together and organize my stuff. It must have something to do with the new year, since one scroll through my Instagram feed tells me that I'm not the only one in organization mode. The current trend is to throw away or donate nearly everything in your home using the KonMari Method, but after donating unwanted items I still have plenty of things that need a home within my home. Because I'm a single in a two bedroom condo, I have the luxury of an entire closet in the guest room offering up some extra storage space. Where else would I keep the ironing board, tool box, drill kit, sewing machine, photo albums, beach towels, gift wrap, suitcases...? I'll leave you with the short version.

I had shelves installed previously in the guest room closet, but they were too shallow and too weak to handle the weight of the items stored on them. As soon as the Ikea wardrobe event started (on now through February 1st) I grabbed my sketchbook and picked up all of the components necessary for a mini closet makeover.



I itemized and measured most of the items that would be stored in the closet before I drew up the sketch, so there was just a bit of tweaking during installation. After putting in an afternoon of sweat equity, the left side of the closet became a spot for guests to make themselves at home and the right became home to all of my hard to store stuff.



How has January been for you so far? Have you been getting organized too?

Monday, January 11, 2016

For What It's Worth: My Opinion on 2016 Golden Globes Red Carpet Fashion

I know, I know, it's another roundup of Golden Globes fashion. But I'm sure many of you have been waiting patiently to hear my thoughts on the subject... Yes..? Anyone..?

I can summarize my thoughts for the celebrities who got it right with a few key phrases: "Jewel Tones", "Keep it Simple", "Proper Fit".

Want to make it work on the red carpet? First, pick a colour that flatters your skin tone. Thank goodness there were only a handful of attendees who chose that blah flesh tone that looks terrible on 99% of caucasian women. Second, don't try too hard; simplicity has its merits. If you try too hard it shows, and that's just not good. And finally, attend as many dress fittings as required to get the fit right. It makes me physically uncomfortable to watch a woman constantly adjust her dress, pulling it up or tugging it down. Always take a pass on an ill fitting gown.

With that said, these were my favourite gowns of this year's Golden Globes:

 Jennifer Lopez looked stunning in this Giambattista Valli gown.
Do you see what I'm talking about: Colour! Simplicity! Fit!

 Jaimie Alexander in Genny. I love the deep V, it's risky, and yet flattering.
Not to mention that emerald green complements her dark hair and green eyes.

 Jenna Dewan-Tatum in Zuhair Murad. Another flattering deep V neckline.
The metallic fabric keeps the dress interesting.

 
Olivia Wilde wearing a Michael Kors Collection gown. Such lovely sparkle!!
This halter neck gown with plunging deep V neckline fits like a glove.

Julianne Moore in Tom Ford. The fit of this dress is absolute perfection!
This sapphire column gown sparkles from every angle.

 Kate Bosworth in Dolce & Gabbana. More sparkle!! More colour!!
Doesn't Kate look pretty in pink?

 Amy Adams in Atelier Versace. The designers at Versace know how to fit a woman.
This dress walks the line between simple & sparkle.

 Kate Winslet in Ralph Lauren. Simple always wins.
The impeccable fit and strong shade of  sapphire make it work.

 Rachel Bloom in Christian Siriano. Jewel Tone: Check! Simplicity: Check! Perfect fit: Check!
Bonus points to Rachel for the most enthusiastic acceptance speech.

 Emmy Rossum in Armani Prive, accentuated by the Van Cleef & Arpels "Thetis" necklace.
The simple strapless gown relies on bold colour for a boost.

Sophia Bush in Narciso Rodriguez. Another perfect fit. She looks comfortable and it shows.
I kinda wish it wasn't black, but hey, it still makes my top 11.

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?