Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#ProjectChris ~ Lighting Hunt

Hello Thursday! I have been trying hard to finish off the kitchen makeover at #ProjectChris and there is one element standing between me and the finish line: a pendant fixture over the kitchen island.

My initial thought was to install two individual pendants (or three), which is the stable for every beautifully designed kitchen I see in the magazines.  What is great about single pendants is that they offer the flexibility on custom spacing between the fixtures, and of course the choices on gorgeous single pendants are endless.  Here are some of my favourites:

images via Black Rooster Decor, 219 Shop, Bocci

Fabulous right? Well, let's get back my not so fabulous reality: my builder kitchen.  This style of fixture is quite common in new buildings and to be honest, it's actually not that bad.  With frosted glass and brushed nickel finish, this 3-in-1 fixture came out of the box and installed by the builder before I signed on the dotted line.

Unfortunately upon further inquiry to replace the fixture, it has come to my attention that the metal canopy has made an imprint on the textured ceiling, which means: it will be challenging to repair the ceiling once the existing lighting is removed without redoing the entire ceiling that runs from the foyer, the den, to the kitchen.

Don't you just love how a seemingly simple facelift turns into a bit of a "situation"?

I did have a plan when I started the makeover.  I have possession of a pair of original Tom Dixon glass bowl pendants and aren't they just absolutely perfect for my super handsome kitchen? One part light with one part dark, one part refined with one part rustic, and one part traditional with one part edgy, that's the lesson I picked up from Sarah's new book: Sarah's Style.

pendant image via Tom Dixon
I could get a canopy made and have the two Tom Dixon's pendants rewired as one.  But I am reluctant to alter Tom's original design.  Besides, I will probably have a place for them in the next condo.

So as my search continues, I spotted a pair of mid-century inspired pendants made out of vintage glass from oil lamps by Lia of Mod Pieces.  Amazing right?  Their fluid glass silhouette and sleek chrome hardware would work seamlessly with the chrome + lucite chandelier I installed in the adjacent living room.  Sadly the dimension of these pendants is slightly larger than what I am looking for.  But hey, if you are looking to make a stylish statement both to your home and to your phone, check out Mod Pieces!  I am loving these phone cases and hello pillow!

images via mod pieces
Just when I thought looking for a pendant with a canopy and the style I want is like locating the Holy Grail of the Lighting Universe, I've found Lambert & Fils.  This Montreal-based lighting company specializes in sleek, industrial fixtures that are so HOT that you would want one in your own home this winter!

Upon browsing through their website, I have narrowed down to a couple of possibilities.  Ladies and Gents, please meet Dot-Suspension.  I am crazy about its striking black and gold outfit and that sexy dish shade ... do I need to say more?  The Dot-Suspension comes in single and I will have to chat with Lambert & Fils if they could turn a pair into a fixture for my application.

images via Lambert & Fils

And then there is Antipode, a handsome fixture with a minimalist appeal.  I particularly like the spacing between the two lights, the fact that it's one fixture, and its stunning brushed brass finish.  I know this is a fixture I won't have to convince Chris to have over the island! Now I just have to make sure Lambert & Fils could make a canopy for me to go with the sexy Antipode.         

images via Lambert & Fils
So are you on a lighting hunt too? I would love to see some of your finds!

Monday, November 17, 2014

One of a Kind Christmas Show 2014 & Giveaway!

Hello Tuesday! How are you handling the arrival of winter this week?  Just as I thought we might be able to hang onto the Indian summer we had last Monday (17C), we are now covered in snow with temperature hovering around the freezing mark + crazy wind.  Not cool Mother Nature!

One good thing about having the white stuff early is that the holiday spirit is upon everyone! I have had countless conversations with friends about when the tree should go up.  Well, from what  I could see over the weekend on instagram, folks have started decorating for the most festive time of the year!

Yours truly will be spending Christmas in Europe and since I am leaving so early in December, I sort of decided not to decorate my place this year.  However, I generally do plan my holiday scheme a year in advance and one of my go-to places for inspiration is the One of a Kind Christmas Show.

Since 1975, the One of a Kind Christmas show attracts talented artisans from all over Canada to showcase their creativities.  With over 800 artisans taking part of this year's OOAKS, you surely are in for a treat.  Here are three of my all time favourite artisans capturing my attentions through mesmerizing art, charming hues / textile, and incredible handmade pottery.

Paintings by Richard Ahnert exude a sense of surrealism, encourage individuals to think and to experience the message the pieces convey.  I have always been drawn to the subjects in this paintings: polar bear and fox.  Animal, human, or is it basic instinct, I am looking forward Richard's new paintings this year.

images via my canvas
I am also a sucker for pastel colors and graphic patterns.  That's exactly why I visit Avril Loreti every year.  Looking for the perfect calendar this year? Check this out!

images via OOAKS
The pottery collection by Quebec-based potter, Renaud Sauve, had me at hello a few years ago.  His work is organic and serene: a true definition of understated elegance.

image via Kitka
Renaud's signature tattoo wave collection, the "Pei Ming" vase with a crackled finish, the porcelain cover with a carved turtle, the gourd pitcher inspired by the painting made by Renaud, and the tall porcelain flower vase with moat are just a few items I can't wait to meet in person next week.

images via Kitka
image via Kitka
I also have some fun browsing through the many images uploaded by artisans on the OOAKS.  Here are my picks for this year's wish list.

images via OOAKS
Now are you planning to come check out the One of a Kind Christmas show from November 27 to December 7? I have 5 pairs of tickets to giveaway and you could be one of the 5 lucky winners!  To win a pair of tickets to the show, let me know in separate comments that:

It is that simple and the winners will be announced on Tuesday November 25th.

image via OOAKS
Before I send you browsing OOAKS, you have got to check out this amazing holiday online magazine, Merry, put together by the talented Melissa of The Sweet Escape and 15 amazing bloggers!  Mind blowing to say the least and thanks ladies for all the sensational ideas for the holidays!

image via The Sweet Escape

Friday, November 14, 2014

House Beautiful ~ Color Inspirations

Hello Friday! I don't know about you but this damp, cold, and grey weather has left me deprived for brightness and colors!  So today we are all about inspiring homes filled with bold colors, intricate patterns, and spectacular statement pieces from the December Issue of House Beautiful.

image via House Beautiful
What a decadent and glamorous entrance in hollywood regency / chippendale style!! Love the scale of the white vintage faux bamboo chandelier, the fretwork motif that carries from the back of the bench to all the walls in the entire room, and the striking impact from the juxtaposition between crisp bright white and lush minty green! That pop of blood orange via the throw and seat cushion on the bench is ingenious!  

image via House Beautiful
Vibrant orange and the marriage of soft white with natural materials / neutral palette continues throughout this sensational home.  I felt like I am in a luxurious hotel in the Bahamas the moment I saw this hallway, and who wouldn't want to spend the night in these sumptuous and beautifully decorated bedrooms? 

images via House Beautiful
Just as we had our first snow of the season in Toronto yesterday, I am absolutely ready to jet down south to enjoy a cocktail in this fabulous outdoor oasis.  Paisley, chevron, stripe, diamond, and solid, this cozy, breezy patio has it all! That awning, I will have to work that into my next balcony makeover somehow!    

images via House Beautiful
Our next stop is an apartment in Manhattan.  It may not be as bright as our first home, but the designer's commitment to bold colors, graphic patterns, and daring arts had me wanting more.  Neon yellow, minty turquoise, flirty fuchsia, plush purple velvet, race car red, and lush kelly green, this room has it all!  The loud colors work together harmoniously in this space as they all share the same level of intensity.  By keeping decorative accessories / patterns at minimum means the chinoiserie wallpaper is designed to evoke our senses.  

The most incredible trick of all is that the real star in this room is the black and white portrait.  What a powerful way to inject importance and presence in a room that is filled with eye catching colors!

image via House Beautiful
A sumptuous and restful private retreat, and may I just say I am crazy about the kelly green!  

image via House Beautiful
Bold patterns and high gloss lacquered walls continue to dominate my creative minds.  This zebra wallpaper by Scalamandre is definitely one strong contender in the guest bath for #ProjectPreconstruction.  High gloss walls with built-in + sofa + sconces, have I not told you that's happening in the guest bedroom?      

images via House Beautiful
While I am still mapping out the kitchen layout, this kitchen of the month designed by Matthew Quinn caught my eyes as it illustrates what I want to achieve in my design.  
  • striking feature wall 
  • beautiful and functional island with multiple levels for food prep and casual dining
  • sensational pendants   

image via House Beautiful 
Loving the beautiful sightline, the handsome hardware, and the sink at the corner idea may just be what I will do in my own kitchen to avoid having the sink right opposite of the stove (so two people can cook and do dishes at the same time).

image via House Beautiful
Hope you are loving the colourful inspirations too and have a fantastic weekend friends! xoxo

Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 Holiday Preview ~ The Home Depot Edition

Hello Monday! The weather has certainly taken a drastic turn thanks to the powerful storm over in Japan for pushing all the freezing cold air down from the arctic.  Thank god my winter jacket has finally arrived (not the burgundy red I wanted but a classic black will do after my 5 months hunt) and the festive inspirations from our friends from The Home Depot.  

A few months ago (think that was the hottest day of the summer) I was at Lisa Marie on Queen West celebrated the holiday preview hosted by The Home Depot and style expert Janette Ewen.  I knew I was at the right place when I saw a Christmas tree fully decorated and hollyberry garland by the patio door in the middle of the summer!

Janette and the Home Depot team put together three distinct looks showcasing the hottest trends for this holiday season.  First up is the classic, traditional Winter Berry.  This collection is all about bright red, glittery gold, and luxe craftsman statement such as this beautiful embossed velvet tree skirt with a sari border.

Don't you just love these ornaments?  I was blown away by their jewel-like quality and the refined details.

A traditional red and green palette doesn't need to feel utterly formal.  Here is how you could inject playfulness in your home this year with this adorable nutcracker and fill your garden urns with wrapped gifts instead of a classic floral arrangement.

My favourite in this collection has got to be those multi-faceted copper ornaments!

Icy blue, snow white and polished silver have truly become a modern classic in contemporary spaces.  For this year, The Home Depot has introduced a new friend, Mr. Polar Bear, to the penguins and owls in Holiday Frost.

Who says Christmas decoration only happens around a tree, fireplace, foyer or staircase? You can definitely set a festive, whimsical tablescape at your dining table to wow your guests.  Candles, mirrors, sparkles, and shimmers, here is a holiday party everyone will remember.

The final collection is Snowberry + Merry Metallic, and it is my absolute favourite from the 2014 holiday preview. 

More is more is definitely the name of the game in this collection.  Copper, gold, red and white, this is the palette that has it all!  From woodland rustic and fairytale whimsy to elegant classic and graphic delight, what is not to love with this hybrid collection that combines everything we love?      

And here comes my must-haves from the Snowberry & Metal Metallic collection: the muted yellow vintage inspired glass ornament with an intricate design, the shatter-resistant sleek ornament in gunmetal grey, and this charming black & white checkered tree skirt!

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet? I would love to hear what's your colour scheme this year!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Favourite Reads ~ Arts + Makeovers

Hello Friday! Yours truly will be taking it easy for the next few days, enjoying my favourite reads and getting inspired.  I came across some amazing art creations and stunning makeovers this week, proving that you don't need to blow your budget for dramatic impacts.  So I though why don't I start a new series, Favourite Reads, to welcome a relaxing weekend to come?

First up is the elegant and artsy living room by Emily Henderson.

image via Emily Henderson
The concept of this spectacular string art is quite simple but what an instant visual impact!  The room has incredible ceiling height.  This tall blank wall needed a large piece to fill the space and to complement the built-in bookcase in the hallway.  Here is what Emily came up with: a custom string hanging art.

image via Emily Henderson
The multi-dimensional and textile quality of this art installation is phenomenal.  Who would have thought hanging up colourful strings could be this beautiful?  I am also crazy about the bench vignette next to the fireplace and the overall organic appeal of the space.

image via Emily Henderson
Up next is HommeMaker by Orlando Soria.  I have been obsessed with his work for awhile.  I mean how could I not love the layering of texture /patterns, bold statement, and his approach to luxe living, LA style.   

image via HommeMaker
image via HommeMaker
This particular living story with the trio of leaf print art caught my eyes.  The truth is, I desperately want to bring a little sunshine to our space as winter approaches.  Bright cobalt blue, lush rainforest green, whimsical striped curtains in turquoise & cream, graphic & cozy wool area rug, and a few sun-kissed house plants … and your home may just be the "California Dreamin" we need in the midst of our Canadian winter!   

image via HommeMaker
Speaking about colors, you have got to check out this playful yet sophisticated dining room put together by my dear friend Mr. Bazaar.  Want to learn more on Will's colour and styling secrets? Check this home tour!

image via Bright Bazaar
This week is also reveal week of the One Room Challenge.  A couple of my dear friends are participants of this fun projects and what gorgeous transformations I would say.  This master ensuite by Christine had me at hello when she showed us her game plan.  Of course I was beyond inspired when I see that black trimmed full height mirror behind the vanity.  #AMAZING  

image via Christine Dovey 
I love the floor to ceiling marble and this shelf system by the tub, I am stealing the idea for my next bathroom! 

image via Christine Dovey 
Vanessa also gave her kitchen a total facelift by taking her upper cabinets to the ceiling, adding wallpaper + new backsplash, and my favourite of it all, the antique mirrors on a couple pairs of doors.  I am been thinking about antique mirror panels as a finishing touch at #ProjectChris.  #GREATMINDS

image via Vanessa Francis Design
I wish I have the space in my kitchen for a little office area.  Will see if I can work it into my next kitchen plan.

image via Vanessa Francis Design
I also died when I saw this sumptuous, luxe, and dynamite master bedroom in black & white + gold by The Design Daredevil.  No words … I just love everything in this room!  

image via The Design Daredevil
Hope you are as inspired as I am by these fabulous spaces.  Are you dreaming of a makeover?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Shop Local ~ St. Lawrence Antique Market

Hello Tuesday!  What a glorious sunday we had in Toronto after waking up to snow on the round on Saturday morning! Luckily the white stuff wasn't here to stay and we are seeing bright blue sky again in the forecast.  I have been spending most of my weekends in Waterloo this year and even when I was in town, I generally didn't get to check out the St. Lawrence Antique Market, as you could imagine spending hours looking for hidden gems thrills Chris.

Anyhow, the past weekend presented itself as the perfect opportunity to hit the antique market thanks to the beautiful weather and that Chris was away of a business trip.  As most of the other outdoor antique markets ended their season by end of October, the St. Lawrence Antique Market is definitely a treasure hunting destination on Sundays for months to come.

As always, the St. Lawrence Antique Market offers a great variety of items ranging from decorative accessories to home furnishings and vintage fashion finds.  There are a lot to see and you most certainly want to check out the entire market twice as you may just discover something on the second go around.  If you are looking for unique furniture pieces, I suggest you hit the outdoor central corridor.

I have found a fabulous vintage coffee table and dresser both with beautiful detailing and painted a charming robin's egg blue.  Best of all, the paint was more like a stain and the wood grains are still visible.  Looking for a unique piece to jazz up your country home?  Check out this side table ideal for a foyer or living room refresh!

I generally find the outdoor section of the market more interesting as you just never know what you will stumble upon.  For example, I was tempted by the brass umbrella stand with the lucite cane, a solid brass king of the jungle, and an elephant sculpture for an ultra eclectic space.

Heading indoor, my eyes were immediate drawn to all the Cloisonné items.  Bracelets, miniature tea set, vases, napkin rings and cookie jars, I loved them all! The only thing I noticed through was that not all pieces were authentically vintage and the prices varied significantly from vendor to vendor.  So I've decided to do more homework on Cloisonné before making my move.

This emerald green beauty is most definitely my favourite.  Just check out the detail!

Now that we are officially in November, retailers are in full blown holiday mode.  If you are planning for an old world inspired tree for this Christmas, you may want to check out the St. Lawrence Antique Market for some vintage and super charming ornaments! Love the jewel tones and the hand painted patterns for instant appeals you simply can't buy new.

Other items I was tempted to pre-shop for #ProjectPredevelopment include:

  • cozy striped wool blanket
  • playful Playboy bunny print
  • art deco vintage clock
  • handsome collection of Shakespeare 

So what did I actually bring home you wonder? Well I passed up a set of solid stone bookends on my #eastcoastvacay due to their weights.  Look at what I've found? This pair is actually more pure white than the other set I found in Nova Scotia, and are you ready for this? This pair was only $5!

Chris wants a casserole and I have found him this adorable bunny number! Christmas present: CHECKED!

Many of you know I have a weakness of collecting furniture (and fabrics, and pillows, and vases), and this not so antique demi lune (upon inspection, I suspect it is probably a recent production) with beautiful scallop edge, a hidden drawer, and an elegant front leg that screams art deco to me.  I am planning to use it in the foyer a #ProjectPredevelopement (maybe remove the back legs and have it wall mounted) and I know Tim of Beresford will be able to bring my vision to life!

The best part of it all is that St. Lawrence Market is right next to the serene St. James Park and the beautiful St. James Cathedral.  So I actually sat on the bench with a hot coco soaking up the sun after treasure hunting at the antique market.

Have you been to the St. Lawrence Antique Market? I would love to know what treasures you have found!