Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Open House Overhaul w/ Sam Pynn ~ The Tale of Two Bathrooms & More

Hello Wednesday! Spring is finally here and you know what that means? Hot housing market and open houses at every corner! Are you shopping for a new home or about to put your home on the market this spring? I'd gone through my fair share of open houses (around 80) when shopping for my condo and Chris' condo last year, and I have to say most of them had very little staging. For the ones there were staged, they didn't leave me with a strong impression.

To be fair, I generally prefer a well-maintained but dated home so I could put my own design stamp on it without worrying the expensive re-construction bill (and hopefully to get it for less since most other people would like a turn-key home).  Now if your home is about to be on the market and you want a quick sale at top dollar, you have got to watch Sam's brand new show at HGTV Canada, Open House Overhaul.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Week after week, Sam helps ill-presented homes to reach their full potentials, just in time for the next open house.  The timeline is tight, the transformation is dramatic, and the reward ... let just say the home owners were more than please with Sam's designer magic!

Here is a family home with mismatched furnishings from the past couple of decades.  Can you see pass the taupe walls, the grandma style sofas, and the brown leather ottoman and think this could be a bright and stylish room?
image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Not all buyers are imaginative and making your home appealing to most buyers (without exercising their imagination) is key to selling your home fast and at top dollar.  So here is what Sam's done: a fresh coat of paint, re-position of furniture layout, and of course far more stylish and classic furnitures, this living room is now elegant yet inviting.  Who wouldn't want to lounge in this room?

The freshly painted white walls and light colored furnishings make the room feels so much larger and brighter.  The pair of statement lamps and a grouping of artwork set this house apart from other builder basic cookie cutter competitions.  If there is nothing wrong with your furniture, invest in a new removable slipcover or freshen up the piece with a coat of paint.  You will be amazing by how the little details impress the prospective buyers.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Another tip from Sam is that when staging your home for sale, you want to present a life style.  You don't want it too personal because that may make it difficult for the buyers to connect themselves to your home.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Take this open concept dining / living + kitchen main floor as an example.  Once a taupe space with pine furniture, now it screams cozy and chic thanks to the oversized but airy lighting fixture, sophisticated black and white palette for the dining set, elegant full height drapery panels (the room feels so much taller), and the kitchen looks brand new now that it blends in seamlessly to the adjacent spaces.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Kitchen and bathroom sell houses.  After tackling the main floor, Sam turns her attention to the two bathrooms on the second floor.  Here is the main bath:

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
And this is the main bath with a complete facelift featuring:

  • vanity with two drawers
  • luxe marble floor
  • gorgeous wallpaper 
  • soft roman blind
  • silver round mirror 
I love this bathroom!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Our last stop at this open house is the ensuite bathroom.  

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
First thing first, Sam gives this ensuite the privacy it deserves by adding sliding barn door.  To max out on storage without sacrificing style, Sam installed a 30" floating vanity and medicine cabinets.  The track system on the glass shower echoes the contemporary sliding door.

As for my favorite elements in this ensuite, I am crazy about the rain shower head + handheld shower system, the dynamite patterned stone floor, and a shot of delicate blush on the bench.  This bathroom now feels like a spa!  

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Want to learn some more bathroom tips? Here is Sam's top advice on Bathrooms.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sarah's Cottage Rental ~ Living Room

Hello Monday! The weekend was glorious with hours of bright sunshine and 18C!!  I don't know about you but I am totally ready to welcome summer back into my life.  One of my favorite getaways in the summer is to spend a week at the cottage with friends. Soaking up the sun by the deck, swimming in the fresh cool lake, sitting by the camp fire for s'mores, can't you tell I have already packed my bag and ready to go right now?

While I may still have to wait for cottage country to warm up a tad bit, Sarah's Cottage Rental is absolutely ready for business at HGTV Canada.  Sarah and Alexander (and their two girls) love spending their summer at the cottage: mesmerize by the beauty of natural and live responsively with electricity powered by the sun.  So when the couple saw the "for sale" sign up at a private island with a chic mid-century inspired house, Alexander couldn't resist the rare opportunity to become a landlord and Sarah (along side with Tommy) of course wouldn't say no to work her magic transforming this ugly duckling.

images courtesy of HGTV Canada
This dated cottage has some great features: open concept living space with a pass through to the kitchen AND a functional wood burning fireplace, master bedroom with a view from heaven, second bedroom with two bunk beds, and a spacious storage with bathroom rough-ins waiting to be re-imagined as an extra bedroom + ensuite!

Today, Sarah and Tommy are tackling the living room and here comes the "as-is":

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
As for the transformation plan, these are the key elements Sarah and Tommy addressed in this living room makeover:
  • teal ceiling: charming and full of character, but it makes the room feels dark and the ceiling seems low
  • built-in seating: fabulous original details (it's a pull out bed!), but the cushions and mattress smile like "old dust"
  • wood burning stone fireplace: major score at a cottage, but no one wants to sit there at its current state
  • natural light: the living room is filled with floor to ceiling windows from all sides, but it feels dark on a sunny day
images courtesy of HGTV Canada
As for the color palette, Sarah and Tommy draw their inspiration from nature.  This linear graphic mid-century fabric is the jumping off point for the living room.

images courtesy of HGTV Canada
With only 6 weeks to complete the project, Sarah and Tommy waste no time to make it happen:
  • a fresh coat of white freshens up all the wood panels and the ceiling
  • finalize on paint colors and green is going on the floor 
  • customize the existing built-in by turning a row of storage into a dining room bench
images courtesy of HGTV Canada
Are you ready to see the final transformation? I bet you do!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
The freshly painted built-ins also get a softness & pattern makeover with fabrics from Tonic Living & Designer Fabrics.  A pair of vintage chairs from Vintage Fine Objects and a little sea grass pouf make the fireplace an ultimate sweet spot for Thanksgiving (or mid-August if the extreme weather in summer 2014 repeats this year).  The white & grey striped drapery panels provide an extra dose of softness and privacy (in case you have nosy neighbors boating around all day).

images courtesy of HGTV Canada
Good call by Sarah to trim down the storage and turn it into a bench! The dining room is perfect in the space and what an open concept cottage dream! Those chairs for $56.25 a piece + a coat of white lacquer are sensational! It is nice that Sarah and Tommy have kept some of the original flavors such as these adorable pumpkin plates.  

images courtesy of HGTV Canada
image courtesy of HGTV Canada
We all have watched too long for another inspiring project from the dynamic design duo, and here is a little preview clip for the Sarah's Rental Cottage.  You can also check out an interview on Global.  


Before I let you go, here is an interview with Sarah and Tommy at The Morning Show.  Happy Monday!



Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 Spring / Summer ~ HomeSense Edition (Part 2)

Hello Friday! The weekend is almost here and what a light show in Toronto last night! The thunder, the lightening, I hope you were not too impacted by the rainfall over the last couple of days.  With the temperature reaching double digits today, I am in full blown spring / summer mode and dreaming of an exotic destination vacation.  And that is exactly what I want to share with you today on Part 2 of the Spring / Summer Preview at HomeSense.


The HomeSense team did an amazing job to take us on a journey to Africa, showcasing a fantastic mix of textures, tribal inspired patterns (love those poufs), the statement lounge set, striking artwork, and check out the faux plants!  I tend to kill all plants at home and if you are like me, these faux plants maybe your next best friends!


This is my favourite shot from "Africa".


Turn around the corner and we have landed in Morocco!


I love layering patterns, colors, and different textiles in spaces and what an inspiring vignette at HomeSense! From the luxurious and ultra fine linens on the bed to the gorgeous brass and crystal accessories, the buyers have pampered us with the essence of Morocco classics.


This vignette has me dreaming of a fabulous dressing room.  A stylish piece of furniture to display accessories, beautiful drapery panel for privacy, a pouf inspired by Moroccan wedding blanket, and the brightly colored and richly embroidered pillow, who wouldn't want this vignette right at their home?


This little nook is so much fun and luxurious with the playful wallpaper, the curvaceous settee, a mix of patterned woven & smooth silk pillows, gold accents on the mirror and a pair of side tables, and I love the shots of minty green!  Fresh and unexpected!


Wrapping up our trip around the world with a classic nautical space and I call this "coastal affair"!


Blue and white is such a classic palette that never goes out of style.  Rather than just playing safe with the expected stripes, HomeSense has brought us chevron, ikat, graphic circle-link, and zebra!! I am crazy about those picture frames and the drapery panels, I am on a hunt for a pair!! 


Hope you enjoyed our dream destination vacation today! Now what is your summer vacation for 2015?


Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 Spring / Summer ~ HomeSense Edition (Part 1)

Hello Monday! Hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend with family and friends.  Chris and I had an amazing time at Collingwood: soaking up the sun by the cafe, pampering ourselves at the spa, witnessing the awake of the forest, and celebrated my first ever easter egg hunt with an inspiring book from design genius Steven Gambrel!

Speaking about being inspired, spring/summer at HomeSense is nothing short of spectacular!  You know you are in for a treat when greeted by this striking black & white door crasher.


The lovely Tamara and Sarah at HomeSense are always on trend, both with their homes and fashion styles.  The buyers for HomeSense & Winners might have shopped together this season to capture the essence of the latest fashion trends, making a seamless transition from runway spotlights to our fabulous homes.


Here are a few key elements I am adding to my wardrobe this spring / summer, and of course a little love and xoxo are always in fashion!


Just a few steps into the preview, I was ready for a tea party! Loving all the brightly colored accessories and how they inject energy and personality to a neutral backdrop with black & white furnishings.  That chic tripod table and the glossy white lamp are on my must-have list.


From tea party to garden paradise, could you tell I was in heaven?


Trellis is no longer just a traditional stable at grandma's garden.  In fact, it's more on trend then ever to add luxe and glamour both indoor and out.  I say put the trellis up vertically, add fresh green underfoot, invest in statement furniture, introduce jewel-tone glassware, and have ourselves a sensational sunroom or a secret garden party with the best of friends.



A closer look at the core essentials in this vignette.  It's all about the mix of vibrant colors, the refined balance of patterns and solids, and lets not forget these lush mandarin trees!   I need a couple of them for my balcony!


Now if you are looking for a serene and calm relaxation sanctuary, you may just want to shrink wrap this entire vignette and pop it right at your home!


I am usually not a fan of one-stop-shop, but when the buyers at HomeSense already shopped all over the world for the best items (and bargained an incredible deal), why not just sit back and relax for the next few months to come?  Love how the canary yellow livens up the soothing blue and green palette.  


So are you ready to celebrate the arrival of spring / summer? The white snow will be melted in no time (fingers crossed) and I am planning for my next outdoor makeover!  Come back on Thursday for Part 2 of the 2015 Spring / Summer ~ HomeSense Edition.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Inspired ~ Scout Sixteen

Hello Thursday! Easter long weekend is just around the corner, and yours truly is heading to Collingwood for a much needed spa weekend to relax and rejuvenate before a super busy April + May.

When it comes to Easter, I always think of those delicious (and deadly) mini eggs and their pastel colors.  They always look so good in pictures and they are absolutely irresistible    If you know a way to eat just a few and not the entire bag in one shot, please let me know.

While we are on the topic of pastel colors + irresistible items, here is a sensational makeover by Orlando of Homepolish, transforming a blend apartment into a soulful, contemporary home for Justin of Scout Sixteen.

image via scoutsixteen
With two creative, visionary extraordinaires marring their wisdoms from both the fashion and interior design worlds under one roof, you know this makeover is going to goooood!  From laying down the foundation to fine tuning the finishing touches, looks like these boys had a lot of fun pulling it all together.

images via scoutsixteen 
If you have been following Orlando and his makeovers, you will know this vignette is curated by him. A full height open shelf unit needs lots of props and styling.  While I am not sure if all the items here are Justin's treasures, Orlando most certainly gave this vignette an "always been there" look.  Now that's no easy task in the styling world!  A little bit of old, a little bit of new, a touch of vintage, and of course Orlando has to add a fun deer head for an unexpected surprise.

images via scoutsixteen
Designing a space is really all about reflecting the owner's personality and character into a box.  This white box in NYC now screams Justin.  Multi-color hues, striking graphic patterns, and streamlined / tailored furnishings, they all reference to Justin's personality and sense of style! What a chic apartment!

images via scoutsixteen
Thanks guys for sharing this inspiring transformation and Justin, I love your hilarious videos!  Happy Easter to you both, and of course to all of you!  xx

image via scoutsixteen

Monday, March 30, 2015

Inspired ~ Christine Dovey

Hello Monday! Did you enjoy a sunny spring weekend? The temperature was a bit chilly but with the beautiful sunshine, Chris and I went for a walk to soak in the much needed vitamin D.  Even though it may not feel like spring outside (and it's already the end of March!), Spring has definitely sprung in this gorgeous Piano Room by my talented friend Christine Dovey!

image via Christine Dovey 
What a spectacular transformation and Christine did it all within six weeks as part of the One Room Challenge!  By the way, the new challenge will kick start this week and I can't wait to see what my dear friend Vanessa (here is V's kitchen from the last challenge) will makeover this time!

Back to the piano room, Christine calls a light pink with a grey unders-tone the "forgotten neutral", I couldn't agree more! This delicate shade of blush works amazingly with the striking black & white graphic floor, the spectacular fireplace with that drop-dead handsome herringbone hearth (Christine I am need your source for my next house), and the shades of organic white via artwork, fabrics, and statement accessories.

image via Christine Dovey 
This has to be my favorite shot of the room.  It showcases Christine's meticulous attention to detail, her shape eye for extraordinary art, and her confidence in both her voice and style.  Glam, feminine, and edgy, now this is one luxurious and daring room Christine has expertly curated!

image via Christine Dovey 
Here are a few tips I picked up from the Piano Room:

images via Christine Dovey 
Congrats Christine for being featured on House & Home Online TV and love the tour of these sensational spaces with the signature CD style! #BRAVO!!

image via House & Home Online TV

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Classic + Bold with James M. Davie Design Inc.

Hello Thursday! I hope you all enjoyed my preview of the One of a Kind Spring Show on Monday, and congrats to Jordana, Trio, and Pat for winning a pair of tickets to the show this weekend!

Speaking about one of a kind, here is a truly special home designed by James Davie for his family and get this, it is actually in Toronto! With that level of detail and sophisticated street presence, how could I have not noticed this magnificent house before? Perhaps it is time for me to venture outside of downtown financial district bubble!

image via House & Home
House & Home entitled James' feature: Grand Entrance and wow, did James ever made a huge first impression the moment he welcomes you to his home! Favoring the classic architectural elements of a traditional home, James injected bold patterns and daring colors ingeniously to liven up his historic home for the 21st century.

image via House & Home
The off-white subway tiles pairing with contrasting grouts in charcoal, the impressive millwork lacquered in high gloss blue, the sculptural yet airy chandelier, and hello to the dynamite patterned floor tiles: there is nothing typical about this traditional home!

image via House & Home
The living room is an excellent case study on how to add color and personality while honoring the characters of the century-old homes such as dark colored beams and plain white plaster walls (James might have skim-coated the walls and ceiling for the smooth finish).  By pairing neutrals with vibrant colors such as teal and fuchsia as accents, this living room feels fresh, cozy, and youthful.

image via House & Home
My favorite element, aside from the color story, has got to be the breathtaking floor to ceiling French doors (with access to the gorgeous garden) James installed around the entire living room.  Just imagine the beautiful natural light flooding the room: who says an older home has to be dark and dingy! Oh and to up the drama, not one but four oversized starburst chandeliers are placed at four corners of the room! Functional, yes.  Divine, definitely!

image via James M. Design Inc.
It is now time to check out the heart of the home: the kitchen.  In keeping with the classic elements in the rest of the home, the cabinet style, hardware, and the bead board ceiling detail all give this kitchen its original / authentic appeal.  To up the wow factor, James gave the cabinet a custom coat of lacquer, an out-of-this-world gorgeous range hood, two statement globe chandeliers over the island, and of course the patterned tiles on the floor.

images via James M. Design Inc. / House & Home
Pot light provides ample of practical lights for food preparation and it helps visually open up the space: a modern necessity in our home for both design and function.  However, pot lights would look out of place in this century home and bravo to a great come back of these sensational flush mount fixtures in antique brass! I am a huge fan and don't be surprised if you see me doing this in my own home real soon!

image via House & Home
Here are a few more detail shots of this delicious kitchen:

images via James M. Design Inc. 
Remember our colorful case study? It is happening again in the office / library / den in a hugely dramatic way with the James' signature layering of vivid colors and bold patterns.  I love the lighting fixture and the juxtaposition between the modern chrome and glass desk against the timeless classics such as the chesterfield sofa and the open side arm chairs.

images via James M. Design Inc. / House & Home
The master bedroom is tailored, masculine, and luxuriously dressed in shades of grey with rich burgundy accent.  The roaring fireplace and the cast iron chandelier remind me of the king's chamber in a castle, and that mirror: I will have to get one!

images via James M. Design Inc. / House & Home
The daring color palette continues into the master ensuite and wow on that marble floor! I have always been a big fan of tile play in the bathroom but with such beautiful natural stone, I would say lets put that on the entire floor!  Another design idea to steal here: the detail on the metal / glass shower!  

images via James M. Design Inc. / House & Home
Our last stop is the guest bathroom and it may just be the prefect inspiration for my next guest bath! the large scale stone tiles, the trim detail, the geometric patterned floor, and the deco style sconces, let's build me a guest bath already!


I fell in love with James' uses of strong colors and how they work so well throughout his home.  Here are some tips on how to pull the look together in your own home:


Before I send you off to re-imagine your home, here are few more insights from James.  Happy spring decorating!