Category Archives: my work

tile shopping

Here is installment #2 of my little series documenting the many decision points of a new build. Today, we’re diving into the crazy world of selecting bathroom tiles.  Have you ever been tile shopping?  There are thousands of tiles to choose from. Literally. So many colours, shapes, materials, and price points.  It can make your head spin (but in a FUN way).  At least I think so.

The home is going to have five bathrooms but recent focus was on the kid’s bathroom and the master ensuite.  The general feeling of the home is transitional: a little tradition with a little modern – you know, a little of column A and a little of column B. Overall, there is an emphasis on a classic, timeless look, with a dash of modernity.

The starting ideas for the kids’ bath were a look that wouldn’t date in 5 years, a bright space, and it must be easy to clean.

From the following image, we really liked the dark floors (easier to hide dirt), the white subway tile, and the organic look accentuated by the marble stone and wood cabinetry.

As tempting as that marble is, there won’t be any in this kiddy bathroom. Marble is being saved for the parents, in their ensuite. So subway tile it is. But this is a good thing! I’m such a huge fan of the subway tile – clean, classic, and cheap.

The colour-blocking from the next image was a hit.  Such a great alternative to the too-often-seen stripe of mosaic tile. This is different and fresh:

So where did we land with the kid’s bathroom?  Dark grey ceramic floors, over-sized white subway tile in the bath and one wall, and a thick stripe of blue-y glass tile as an accent.  Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Moving on to the master ensuite, let me show you a few of the inspiration images I pulled:

 

I won’t spell out all the details now, but the ensuite is going to have lots of white carrera marble, grey brick, and shiny accents.

P.S. If you missed post #1 on the kitchen banquette, check it out here.

(images: 1-hgtv, 2-house beautiful, 3-pinterest, 4-style at home, 5-houzz, 6-pinterest

living room project

This past week I finished an Inspiration Board for a young couple who recently moved into a little old home with tons of character.

Their living room is small but quaint with a central fireplace, built in bookshelves, and great hardwood floors.  We were starting 95% from scratch, as the only living room items that moved with them were a console table and a flat screen TV.  As newlyweds and young professionals, my clients wanted to invest in some quality furniture and accessories in a classic style that will grow with them over the years. 

Today, I am featuring their Inspiration Board and a couple ‘Before’ pictures. In a few weeks, I hope to have some great ‘After’ pictures to share with you.

And here is the space we’re working with:

Lighting is important! As you can see, there are no overhead fixtures and the front window faces West so there is no direct sunlight during the day. Comfortable seating is also important since they want to be able to entertain friends and family in this main room.  Luckily the lady of the house is an excellent sewer (she sews gorgeous quilts by hand!) so she will be making her own drapes and pillows; through a mixture of fabrics and pattern we’ll add a little life into this living room.  I am very excited to see the finished space. Stay tuned, I’ll share pics when I have them!

~If you need a little inspiration for your own home, please contact me, I’d love to help~

home office makeover p.2

Just got back from the home office installation and wanted to share a sneak preview.  The room isn’t completely finished (still waiting on the side table from West Elm which is on back order) and art needs to go up, but so far so good don’t you think ?!

Loving the chevron Roman shades and the mix of patterns!

See my previous post for the BEFORE pictures and the INSPIRATION BOARD.

Do you have a room in your home that needs a little love?  Need a few ideas?  Contact me, I’d love to help!

home office makeover p.1

It’s going to be a busy design weekend over here.  The pendant lights for my MIL’s kitchen came in, so a trip to Universal Lighting is on the agenda for tomorrow (love this place  but the website is meh so you should check it out in person), followed by an early evening event – Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup. Tommy “Sarah’s sidekick” Smythe will be the keynote speaker. Can’t wait!  Sunday morning I’ll be checking in on an in-progress project (more details to come on that), then over to another client’s home for her office installation!

This office project has been fun to work on. My client (Melanie) has a great sense of style and the rest of her house is totally awesome. However, her office is the one neglected space in the home.  As she is in the process of launching her own business, Melanie was really craving an office space that would reflect her own vibrant personality and would allow her creativity to flourish.

Here are a few BEFORE shots.

With a limited budget but good bones to work with (all existing furniture stayed, as did the wall colour), we got started on a plan that included:

  • a DIY nail head corkboard for all her notes, pictures, documents, and snippets of inspiration (jump over here to see her step-by-step instructions!)
  • Roman blinds for the bare window
  • organization of those shelves (as a professional organizer, she took care of that herself)
  • an injection of colour and pattern with the selection of 3 fabrics
  • selection of several pre-owned art pieces and personal photographs to hang on the wall and picture ledge

Here is the Inspiration Board:

 

Stay tuned for pictures after the installation!  Have a lovely weekend all!

 

decorating a small rental bedroom – reveal part 1

Since posting about my decorating plans for our small bedroom, I’ve received a number of requests to share some updated photos.  Though it is still a work in progress, here is a sneak preview of our bedroom thus far.

If you recall  this post from a few weeks ago, here is the inspiration board I put together:

I’m on track with the overall look, however I’ve decided to forgo the parsons desk since it’ll be a tight squeeze.  Although working from my kitchen table isn’t ideal, I do like the walking space we currently have around the bed.  Your bedroom is supposed to be your sanctuary to relax and be comfortable, right? So the desk is out.  In more exciting news, the most recent addition to our room are the fab LOVE pillows from Lush Designs in Greenwich Village.  Fresh off the plane from London (thanks Mom!!)

Since you can’t see it in the shot above, here is a shot of our Moroccan-style pendant:

I’m pretty happy with the results so far.  Especially since this is what we started with:

Next up on the bedroom to-do list:

  • Rug for next to the bed
  • Lined linen drapes to cover-up the vertical blinds (we aren’t allowed to take those down)
  • Decide on art for walls

Stay tuned for a final reveal!

 

UPDATE: Today I’m participating in the ROOMSPIRATION blog link party. For more inspiring master bedrooms, click HERE!

 

clean up that bedside table!

This past week I was seriously inspired by two blog posts.  The first was the brilliant entryway by Emma over at the Marion House Book.  Both the console table and oculus (which she then turned into a mirror) were found at an architectural salvage store here in Toronto (!). Totally laid back but with loads of personality and style.

Front hall and console table | Marion House Book

Isn’t it lovely? So welcoming.  I also really liked how she styled her console table.  It’s too easy to junk up your console with all those things you walk into the house with and drop on the first horizontal surface.

Then I read this post over on Decor by Christine, where she gave a rundown on how to create a beautiful tablescape or vignette.  So that got me thinking about all the junk that gets piled up on our entryway console and on our bedside tables. Especially on our bedside tables.

Exhibit A:

I would like to point out this isn’t my side of the bed.  That said, I will take full blame for leaving that frame picture-less.  As you know, our bedroom is a work in progress but that is no excuse to ignore the piles of junk as they grow and grow.  Please tell me this isn’t just us – you have junk on your bedside table too, right?

Anyway, as I said I was inspired to clean things up and now I’m proud to say, this is my side of the bed-

Exhibit B:

I am almost certain I’m going to be able to keep my bedside table this nice and tidy.  The key is this lovely tray I picked up at West Elm – because what you can’t see is a bunch of little items sitting inside the tray (necklace, rings, chapstick, nail file, some change, etc.)  Not only does the tray corral those books and mags I’m so inclined to keep on hand, but it also nicely hides all those random items you toss off at the end of the day.

Ok – time to go tidy up your bedside table and try your hand at an attractive vignette.

(images: 1-the marion house book, 2-me, 3-me)

decorating a small rental bedroom

Decorating a rental space can be a real challenge for many reasons. Among other annoyances, not being able to change any physical features like flooring, carpeting, built-in storage, counter-tops, and large fixtures are among my top peeves.  That said, if you are able to paint, know how to change a light fixture, can maximize or create storage, and have a wee bit of a vision, there is hope.

We recently moved into a rental condo with the plan of staying here 18 months.  Tops. We are very lucky because the building is brand new and we are the first tenants.  Additionally, the flooring (albeit laminate) is a nice dark wood and the kitchen and bathrooms have fantastic cupboards and counter tops.  But then there are the things we cannot change: the lack of storage space and the horrible vertical blinds in every room. Eeek.

So what do you do when you are faced with similar rental dilemmas?   Number one priority, is find out from your landlord if there is anything you can change, such as painting the walls.  A little colour can go a long way.  Next, look at your furnishings and accessories: is there anything I can add/change/remove to improve the space?.  Obviously the amount of money you want to invest is dependent on a few things, such as: How long will I live in the space?  What do I need to change/add to make it feel ‘mine’? What do I own already? How much do I care?

In previous apartments I would say that I didn’t really care,  knowing that we would be moving in a few years anyway.  7 years later I have started to care. Even though we plan on being here for only 18 months, I am tired of living in transition so I’ve decided to make a little more of an effort in this time around. Luckily, we were able to paint and my man knows how to change a light fixture. Just those two elements made a drastic change in our bedroom.  As for the other stuff, here is what I am working with:

1-Duvet and shams from  West Elm

2- Moroccan lantern from Home Sense (mine is silver)

3- Photograph of Paris by Peter Turnley from Belle Epoque

4- MALM dressers from IKEA (stay tuned for an Ikea Hack project!)

5- Knitted pouf from CB2

My plan is to purchase a few key additional pieces to pull together a complete look (as opposed to the mismatched furniture and accessories we’ve been toting along since our University days):

1- Newbury Halo Task Lamps from Pottery Barn

2- Dandypod hand-woven wall hanging by Angela Adams

3- LOVE pillowcases from Lush Designs (I’ve mentioned these before -here- and luckily my Mom is heading to London next month so I’ve placed an order for pick-up!)

4- An iconic Hudson’s Bay Company wool blanket

5- Modern Windsor chair from West Elm

6- Parsons Desk from West Elm

Combing what I have and what I want, here is what I’m going for:

Add in a few personal photographs, some plants, a small area rug (mostly for the dog), and a simple window treatment (I’m thinking something neutral with a bit of texture) and we’ll have ourselves a fine room…

Do you need help decorating your rental or small space? I can help! Click here for more information.

nursery for a baby girl

A couple weeks ago I shared a nursery design board I made for a recent project. Today I am pleased to show you some photos of the finished room!  Initially, the design of this nursery was gender neutral. My clients didn’t know whether they were having a baby girl or baby boy, so the main elements chosen would suit either gender.  The starting point was the artwork, which I found via the nursery of a friend.

{How darling are those little babies? A wee girl AND boy!}

So with this colourful and modern piece of art chosen, we decided to keep the pale blue colour in the office (now nursery), which we had originally chosen several years back when my client moved into their home.

As for the furniture, we went with solid hardwood made by College here in Canada (though rumour has it some of their lines will soon be coming from China). Some good features of this line are (1) the dresser/changer can be used for years down the road since once the change pad is removed, it simply looks like a great modern bedroom piece, (2) the dresser has tons of storage, and (3) the crib converts to a double bed.  Tip – when selecting furniture and accessories for your nursery, consider that your newborn won’t be an infant for long! Think long-term and select pieces that can grow with your child.

Although this room started out as gender neutral, I had a few errands to run once the baby (girl!) was born.  I accessorized with a few hits of pink (rug, pillows, etc.) that can be taken into her big girl room once the nursery is needed for the ‘next one’.  No pressure guys.

Just kidding. This wasn’t their office.  But I did a very bad thing and forgot to take a “Before” shot.  You get the point – it used to be a home office  and now it is this serene nursery….

Sources:

1. Crib & dresser, Offspring by College, available at baby retailers across Canada

2. Glider, Dutalier, available at baby retailers across Canada

3. Side table, Martini by West Elm

4. Shelves, Ekby by IKEA

5. Artwork, Birds in a Tree by Dwell Studio, available at baby retailers across Canada

6. Pendant, BLVD Interiors

7. Mirrors, DeSerres

8. Rug, custom, available at baby retailers across Canada

9. Toy bag, Three Sprouts, available at baby retailers across Canada

10. Accessories, most from Home Sense

(images: 1-Short & Sweet Photography, all others by me)

loving the gallery wall

Gallery walls are everywhere and I am loving them. A gallery wall is such an efficient use of a small space (or you can go nuts in a large space) and it is a great way to pull together a mix of your favourite pieces of art.  Here are a couple gorgeous examples….

via photo problem

via desire to inspire

And here are a couple more fun and vibrant examples…

via lonnymag

Having recently moved into a new space, the biggest challenge has been deciding which pieces of art I’d like to hang.  We are currently renting and plan on staying for no more than 18 months so I don’t want to make too many gaping holes in the walls.  But at the same time, I am intent on making the space ‘ours’.  As such, I decided to do a small gallery wall in our foyer with a few favourite pieces that would add a punch of welcoming colour. On a related subject, I should mention that I am a big proponent that every piece of art you own should have some personal meaning.  It doesn’t need to be expensive by any means, but whether it is a photograph you’ve taken, a postcard from an old friend, or a print you’ve picked up on vacation, the art you hang on your walls should have some special meaning or story for you. Without further ado, here is our new gallery wall (please excuse the absence of any other accessories…that is another work in progress).

1. Four years ago my man and I went to Paris for 10 amazing days.  During that time we left the city for two days to visit Reims and the Champagne region. One of our favourite champagne houses was Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin. We brought home several bottles of VCP including their ‘Paint Tin’ collection of four mini bottles. I re-purposed that tin two ways: (1) I framed the lid as shown here and(2) I potted a fern in the base of the can.  Long after the champagne was gone, this souvenir just keeps getting better!

2. I am addicted to Etsy. I really love a lot of the typography and graphic prints being made right now.  I came across this print and knew that my man would be pleased with it (he is a huge Radiohead fan) and I will admit that I love the literal meaning (I am a bit of a neat freak).

3. I picked up this mixed-media collage in Havana a couple years ago when I was visiting Cuba with my Mom.  The colours are so vibrant and it really captures the vibe Havana today (which is certain to drastically change in the near future).

So there is our gallery and why I chose the pieces I did.

We also have a Ben Mark Holzberg print hanging on an adjacent wall.  I posted about that here.

[inspiration board] baby girl’s nursery

I recently completed a nursery project and I thought I’d to share a bit of the design process with you. My client’s wanted to convert their small home office (8’8″x8’2″) into a nursery for their little bun in the oven.  Wishing to keep the gender a surprise for everyone including themselves, I was asked to make this space gender neutral until the little one was born.  The advantage of doing so, was that all the major expenditures (furniture and art) would be usable for the next time ’round.  As soon as the little one was born (a girl!) I added some feminine accessories.

Here are some of the design elements we discussed during the initial consultation:

Once my client and I had decided on a design direction for the nursery (modern but not stark), I came up with this design board for the nursery.  (rug + pillows added after the birth)

Stay tuned for the second installment of this posting, where I reveal the final nursery!