Tag Archives: decor

ladies who lunch

Be forewarned, today’s post may be a little self indulgent. But I am still on a high from my amazing day and want to share the details with you….

I took a vacation day!  Nothing like a little sunshine and plans with great friends on your day off. Here’s what went down:

1. A couple girlfriends and I sat in the CityLine studio audience. It was Thursday “Home Day” which (of course) is my favourite day of the week. So fun!  If you live in Toronto or plan on traveling here, definitely try to get tickets.  Tracy Moore is so charismatic and energetic, and gosh does she look good!  I can’t believe she had her second baby less than a year ago.  Amazing.

(Melanie, me, Tracy Moore, Whitney)

2. Next, we headed to Terroni for lunch. Hands down, it’s my favourite restaurant in the city. I know some would disagree but I love southern Italian and the place holds a lot of nostalgia for me.  Following fresh bread, spaghetti à limone, cappuccino, discussion on babies, homes, decorating, and maybe some gossip, we were satiated and ready to get our shop on.

Oh! We ran into Sarah Richardson on the way out of Terroni. BTW-she looks way younger in person. Très fab in a short tailored dress.

3. Next up was a visit to the Tonic Living warehouse for some fabric for my friend and client, Melanie.  After several failed attempts with other fabric choices, luck was on our side and we found just what we were looking for. You can hop over to Melanie’s blog (Nested Organizing) for a sneak peak of this project -her home office. While we are on the subject of fabric: if you are looking to make curtains, pillows, baby bedding, quilts, or anything else that is crafty and requires fabric, check out the Tonic Living website. A great selection and very reasonable prices.

4. Stopped at Starbucks for a non-fat mocha frappuccino. Yummm.

5. Shopping along Yonge St. around Summerhill. This neighbourhood is my old haunt so it was good to drop in on some of the best home décor shops in the city. If you are looking to do a little window shopping, drooling, or dropping some cash, go for a saunter along Yonge St. and check out these shops:

  • Belle Epoque, 1066 Yonge St.
  • Constantine Living, 1110 Yonge St.
  • Absolutely, 1132 Yonge St.
  • Chair Table Lamp, 1156 Yonge St.
  • Artifacts Emporium, 1170 Yonge St.
  • Boo Boo & Lefty, 1198 Yonge St.
  • Decorum Decorative Finds, 1210 Yonge St.
  • 1212, 1212 Yonge St.
  • L’Atelier, 1224 Yonge St.

6.  And last but not least, I picked up my son from daycare and headed to the local park.

A perfect day!

kimberley seldon’s designer market

There was no sleeping in this morning, as Kimberley Seldon’s Designer Market opened at 9 a.m.  Held in the historical Distillery District, the 10th annual event brought together 40 exclusive vendors, from fabric to jewelry, to chocolate.  The very best finds were the designer fabrics from Robert Allen, going for $10/yard – steal of a deal if you are there when the doors open.  Design savvy shoppers were also going nuts over the hundreds of pillowcases in all sorts of colours and styles.

I didn’t pick up any fabric, but I did grab a 4×6 indoor/outdoor rug  from macFABhome which was a super deal at $69.99 (reg. $249).  If you recall my post from a few weeks ago (prepping the balcony for summer 2011), I’ve been looking for the perfect outdoor rug and furniture set.  My plans for our balcony were sidetracked because I couldn’t find any of the rugs I liked.  Why do retail stores advertise one rug on their website and stock only certain items in store??  Anyway, the plans for the balcony are back on track with today’s great find.  Until the weather warms up, the rug will reside in our hallway:

Do you think our dog likes the rug? Not too sure, but she does look good sitting on it.   I did get a very strong affirmation of my rug choice, from Kimberley Seldon herself!  There I was, standing against a pole waiting for my Mom when the super-designer walked by and commented on my rug:  “That’s the best deal here, great choice!” With that confidence boost I decided to chase her down to introduce myself and get a photo with her.

A couple hours later, we walked out with this loot: a rug, a fabric-covered bulletin board, 2 yards of pretty damask fabric, and a vintage gilt frame…..

(minus the purse and glasses, my Mom added those for “visual interest”)

If you live in Toronto, the Designer Market is open tomorrow, Sunday May 1st from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (55 Mill Street, Toronto, ON.)

And if you haven’t read the 2nd issue of Kimberley’s online magazine, Dabble, check it out here.

etsy addiction

Etsy should have a flashing pop-up to alert visitors of its addictive properties.  Seriously, someone needs to take my credit card away before things get out of hand.  My latest purchase was a vintage brass bird, termed a “Funky Brass Goose” by it’s seller.  I am normally not drawn to tchotchkes and the like, but you have to see this goose…..he was just too cute to pass up!

Now the big question: Where am I going to put him?  For now, that question remains unanswered. He’s been migrating from room to room looking for the perfect home.  When he finds his nest I’ll let you know.

Since we’re on the subject of Etsy, I might as well share the stories of a few other purchases.

This Radiohead quote was hung in my mini gallery wall in our foyer:

(You can read more about hanging a gallery wall here).


These gift tags made from old Dr. Seuss books made perfect “Thank you for coming” party favour tags for my son’s 1st birthday:


I bought these mod retro ABC blocks for my son. They came packaged in a darling little cotton drawstring bag, personalized with his name.  Not only was his name on the bag but the bocks were placed in a plastic sleeve in such a way to spell out his name.  How cute is that?  I was very impressed with this seller’s attention to detail and customer service.  Take note – a great baby gift!


Then there were these vinatge maps that I turned into a DIY collage for my son’s room:


What’s up next on my Etsy shopping list?  Likely throw pillows for the bedroom. Something along these lines…


In case I’ve inspired you do a little browsing (warning: browsing may lead to purchasing!), here’s the link:  www.etsy.com.

Happy Shopping.



  1. Vintage brass goose from Bright Wall Vintage
  2. Radiohead print from The Big Harumph
  3. Dr.Seuss tags & vintage maps from Tanith’s Odds & Ends
  4. Mod retro blocks from Tiny Giraffe
  5. Pillows (clockwise from top left) 1- Willa Sky Home2- The Cottage Cupboard, 3-Sukan, 4- The Bolster Queen

[etsy] decor ideas for nurseries and little kid’s rooms

Hey Moms. I know time is precious when you have one or more lil’ munchkins running around so I thought I’d save you some time and do a round-up of some super cute and affordable decor items for the kiddos.

Etsy is such an excellent source for access to fresh, creative, inspiring, handmade items and art. If you aren’t a regular already, I hope this post will inspire you to browse the online market-space and sign up for an account.

First I’ll start with all things girly:

1. Wall decal – Windy Tree Fabric Reusable Decal  ($87.00 USD) by trendypeasdecals

2. Print – Small Map of Canada ($20.00 USD) by englishmuffinshop

3. Pillow – Baby Pink and White Zebra Print ($35.00 USD) by MiCasaBella

4.  Print – You are so loved ($8.00 USD) by  jessgonacha

5.  Pom poms -  ($4.00 USD) by orangekisses …..(psst- you can totally make these yourself, just Google it!)


And for the little men in our lives:

1. Mobile – Nova Baby Mobile, in Spectrum ($68.00 USD), by thewonderlandstudio

2. Prints (set of 4) – Royal Safari Nursery Print Set – Unframed ($92.00 USD) by LeoLittleLion

3. Bunting – Vintage Little Golden Book Bunting ($30.00 USD), by collectingfeathers

4. Wall decal – Baby Zoo Lion King ($49.00 USD), by  LeoLittleLion

5. Print – Personalized ‘Big Deal’ 11.5 x 11.5 Size ($25.00 USD), by pennypeople


And for you parents who want to keep things strictly gender neutral, I’ll have a post next week just for you.

If you’d like some help decorating your nursery/child’s room or want more decor advice, feel free to contact me!



1. Nursery for a baby girl

2. [inspiration board] Green & brown nursery

3. [diy] Where did I come from map?

another online mag to bookmark: est

Est: Global Living with an Australian Twist launched this month.  And with the birth of another hot online magazine, you have to wonder – how long will our beloved glossies last? Love them or hate them, online magazines are a trend that is here to stay.

Here is a sneak peek of the relaxed yet stylish, trendy yet casual, vintage yet new, Australian yet global vibe of the mag:

So set aside a few minutes and peruse the first issue {here}.

And then go out and buy an Eames chair.  Yes or no?

(images: est, Issue #1)

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.

how to hang a gallery wall

Back in January I did a post on my love for gallery walls (you can read that here).  I subsequently received an email from a reader asking me how to go about hanging a gallery wall, so I thought I’d share my response with you.

I really enjoyed your post on gallery walls and I have a couple of questions on the do’s and don’ts  of a putting together a gallery wall.   We recently received a sketch of our baby boy, which we will have framed.  I was thinking of putting together a gallery wall around the sketch.  Can you do a gallery wall with family pictures or is it better with more abstract art?  Should there be a theme to the pictures/art pieces or does anything go?  I noticed you lined up your frames so that the whole thing is symmetrical.  Are there any “rules” around how to put the pieces together? Thanks in advance for your advice. – S.

Well, the short answer is – there are no rules.  Sorry!  Can you use family photographs?  Yes. Should you use abstract art? Sure. Can you mix family photographs and art? Of course. There are so many different styles gallery walls, it really boils down to your own personal style, what you are working with, and where you are hanging your gallery.

A traditional approach to the gallery wall is a collection of family photos. Classic. Here are a few examples:

Notice in the example above, the grouping is centered along two horizontal parallel lines. These act as guidelines for hanging the pictures above and below.  The frames are all different sizes but the common colour (black) gives it a unified look. The example below follows similar guidelines, but since all the frames are the same width and the resulting look is a little more grid-like.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the gallery wall where anything goes – mixed media, mixed frames, mixed sizes.  This also works.  To hang this type of gallery wall, I would suggest you start by deciding where you want your largest pieces to hang, then work around them (remember, the largest piece does not have to go in the centre!)

A great alternative to the gallery wall is a photo ledge (or multiple ledges).  A photo ledge is less committal since you can switch up your art any time and you won’t make multiple holes in your wall.  Space-wise, a ledge or two can be a great addition in a small space, such as a nook in the kitchen or in an entryway.

A few additional tips on gallery walls:

  • A quick way to plot out your gallery on the wall: trace your frames onto paper then tape these silhouettes up on your wall with masking tape; move them around until you are happy with the layout, then get hanging
  • For a step-by-step to hanging a gallery wall, check out the instructions over at Brooklyn Limestone
  • Ikea is a great place to purchase frames for a gallery wall. Multiple sizes in each collection, inexpensive and you can switch out your art whenever you feel like a change
  • If you have old frames hanging around the house, consider freshening them up with a new coat of paint
  • Don’t stick to photographs and art, you can also frame sentimental objects in a shadow box
  • If you need a punch of colour or pattern, consider framing a swatch of fabric or a decorative piece of paper (scrapbook paper works great)
  • If you need to supplement your current collection, Etsy is an amazing source for unique, handmade, or personalized artwork. And much of it is inexpensive!

(images: 1-made by girl, 2- pure style home, 3-house to home, 4-martha stewart, 5-decor8 , 6-hgtv, 7-ivillage, 8-design crisis, 9-the creative mama , 10-west elm, 11-me)

IDS 2011: overwhelmingly wonderful

Let me just start by saying the Interior Design Show was wonderful. And overwhelming.  I started with an initial walk-through to check out the lay of the land and to see what this year’s show had to offer. Then I ate a granola bar, listened to a panel discussion, used the washroom, took a big breath, and then back-tracked through all the exhibits.  In all fairness, I think I needed to do a third and fourth walk-through to do all the exhibitors justice.  But as I said, I was overwhelmed with all the amazing furniture, finishes, designers, and products represented. Now, if I or one of my clients was in the market for a high end kitchen with fancy-schmancy appliances, or a luxe bathroom with an uber-cool tub and hardware, I would have spent a lot more time looking at some of the fantastic new products on the market. However, that was not the case. I was just there to take it all in and get inspired. And inspired I was.

The Studio North portion of the show was my favourite (Studio North = representation of forward-thinking, edgy Canadian Design from right across the country).  Here is a round up of my favourite exhibitors….

Jean Willoughby is aToronto-based furniture and product designer is driven by a philosophy I appreciate and gravitate towards: purposeful, practical, functional, strong lines, and timeless neutrality. This curved concrete and wood side table was on display on the prototypes stage. It was very cool. Yet warm.  Loved the wood and concrete combo.

Textile designer Julie Moschenross is the creator behind the Manor 12 line. Each piece is hand printed and made here in Toronto. I loved the colours, patterns, and textures of the quilts and pillows on display.  Comfort, quality, and beauty.

Earlier this week I was introduced to the Carroll Street Woodworkers by a great post over on the marion house book so I was excited to see them at IDS.  Let me tell you, this booth was packed everytime I walked by (I walked by three times because I really loved their turned wood light fixture and had to check it out from all angles).  This desk is pretty darn cool too- cords run down the leg and quirky little buttons pop out to reveal hidden storage compartments for your pens.

My day job has nothing to do with design. At all.  When I am is my design groove I care not to think about “work” at all.  But I had to smile when I saw the designs of Nicole Tarasick today.  My client is a major Canadian airline and I’m accustomed to referring to the major Canadian cities by their airport code (Toronto=YYZ , Montreal=YUL, Vancouver=YVR, etc). Nicole’s mission is to handcraft textile goods with bold design, patriotic content and a minimal environmental footprint. Even though I don’t want to think about work when I am at home, I am thinking about purchasing one of her graphic pillows through her Etsy shop. They are just so Canadian.  I dig that.

This coffee table/dinette by TILT is an example of great design. Seriously. Hey teeny tiny condo owners, here’s a space-saving solution for you!

Montreal-based TOMA offers up everyday objects designed to infuse a little humour and whimsy into the hum-drum of daily living. How about this boot mat?  It’s 100x better than my Canadian Tire special. And offered at a very decent price at that ($45CDN). I also adore their hangars – designed to hold your coat and scarf at once.  Or better yet, just leave them hanging empty because their whimsical shape is just so pretty!

I’ll wrap this post up by declaring my delight about the Sarah & Theo Richardson “Sibling Revelry” space. I will admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the red-themed dining space but I was over-the-top-pleased that the main feature of the room was the same Holzberg Summerhill print I have hanging in my foyer. Yay me.

sarah 101

I’ve been eagerly awaiting tonight’s 9pm premiere of Sarah Richardson’s new series Sarah 101 on HGTV Canada. To my delight, it also aired today at 12:30pm. Lunchtime surprise!  The 30-minute episode is packed full of great design tips as Sarah and Tommy banter back and forth discussing the pro’s and con’s of each element. I always like Sarah’s practical approach to design, saving where possible (beautiful but practical tile in the foyer) and splurging where necessary (gorgeous upholstery on all the furniture).  I especially appreciate the segment dedicated to the choice of fabrics.  This is something that I feel isn’t focused on nearly enough in magazines and other online design resources.  While the finished living/dining room was a little too colourful for my taste I have to commend her use of fabulous fabrics and textures.  Finally, I am so happy that the HGTV Canada website posts a shopping guide for each episode, especially because all her design resources are here in Toronto!

(image: HGTV Canada)