Monday, July 29, 2019

#ProjectGarment ~ Balcony Edition

Hello Wednesday and I am so excited to be back!  The past couple of months have been incredibly busy with work + lots of site visits and other considerations at the new condo.  A delay in closing on our unit means Chris has been living in a temporary home for the past couple of months.  With August being just around the corner, we decided to embrace our temporary living arrangement and transform the balcony into our summer oasis with lots of fabulous finds from HomeSense.  

Before I show you the before and after (by the way it only took me less than an hour to put it all together), let's check out the beautiful plant selection.  Keeping it all simple and low maintenance, we opted for hearty herbs (rosemary, basil), some strawberry and tomato plants, and a couple of trending Mandevilla for vibrant blooms.

Of course I also couldn't resist and scored myself two white lavender plants.  A little side story on that:  I spied a white lavender at Igor's balcony in Munich (via IG) and wished I could find it in Toronto.  Literally a few days later when I walked by a little flower shop and there they were, 2 white lavender plants!  The store lady told me it was her first time receiving white lavenders and she only had 6. Someone picked up four plants the day before and I snatched her last two.  They are perennials so I will try to keep them healthy and happy in my planters but may plant them in the ground at the end of the season.

Back to the makeover, here is the bare but spacious balcony at our current living arrangement:

And here is how it looks like in 45 minutes! 

To be fair, I have most of the items at home already since we were going to move into our new place a couple of months ago.  From chic planters to the amazing bistro set (Samantha Pynn Collection) + the coastal inspired floor cushion and rug, I simply couldn't be happier with how it turns out.  

AND YES, they are all from HomeSense!  Another view of the Before and After: 

I love real plants.  I may not be able to keep them super happy but I am surely happy to see them throughout the summer, specially on those raining days.  This summer I have tapped more into the edible / fruit producing category and prove that you can still nurture them without a garden.  In this case, they all sit in their original containers and I just pop them in planters.  Easy peasy and I am ready for a glass of cider on the rocks!  

The star of our outdoor oasis is the stylish yet easy to care outdoor bistro set.  Its aesthetic reminds me of the beautiful afternoon I spent in Vienna last summer.  The black and white weave is solidly constructed and the chairs are so comfortable! I love the faux bamboo look without the maintenance of real bamboo (especially in our climate) and the side table comes with a glass top as well for easy cleaning.  

I am thrilled with how the space turned and it is hard to believe this makeover was really completed in less than an hour with all the items I already have in the house!

Hope you love this balcony makeover as much as I do and now are you ready to give your outdoor space a facelift?

This is not a sponsored post.  HomeSense has provided the Bistro Set.

Monday, June 24, 2019

One Room Challenge ~ Style at Home Edition

Hello Monday and yes summer has finally arrived in #Toronto!  From cheering our NBA  #WeTheNorth champions to being super #Proud on Pride Month + Canada Day coming right up, my home town is full of festivities and celebrations the whole month long.

Speaking about celebration, I am over the moon excited and am honoured to see my One Room Challenge kitchen + home office being featured in the June Issue of Style at Home.  I am absolutely in love with these rooms and am so thrilled of the transformations.

For the Home Office, the room wouldn't be the same without the sensational wall sculpture by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm, the loveseat from Avenue Road, the most beautiful blush wallpaper from Crown Wallpaper, and a wide range of artwork / accessories (including the faux fiddle leaf) from HomeSense.        

Here is bright and cheerful kitchen ready to welcome our sunny summer days.  Once dark kitchen with espresso cabinets and a wall of unused space, a fresh coat of creamy white, new brush brass hardware from Upper Canada Specialty Hardware gave it a whole new outlook.  We finished off the this family hub with handcrafted bar stools by Coolican & Co, amazing dining chairs and runner from Avenue Road / The Rug Company, roman blind with graphic Zimba fabric from Schumacher, and of course the beautiful artisan inspired white tiles from Creekside Tile, and the statement faucet from Brizo.    

I will be chilling at the cottage this week and can't wait to show you more what I am up to next this summer! 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sarah Off The Grid S.2 ~ Kitchen + Dining Room

Hello Thursday and welcome to the sensational kitchen and dining room designed by Sarah Richardson for her latest renovation project, #SarahOffTheGrid, on HGTV Canada.  I have always been mesmerized by Sarah's ability to turn ready-to-go cabinets into showstopping creations + a totally custom look without breaking the bank.

Well Sarah did it again, and today I am sharing with you of what I've learned.

The kitchen and dining room occupy the first floor of the original farm house.  By removing the walls  and an addition to the back of the house, Sarah and Tommy have created an open concept entertaining space for modern living and of course everyone loves that!  

Of course the island ... I can't emphasize enough of how much I appreciate the show sharing a great deal of details on the creation of this super functional and incredibly stylish island:
  • raised cabinets (assuming extra height upper cabinets on feet) for glassware, act as a serving station, and also to hide all the dishes in the sink
  • ingenious countertop application (ever thought of combining two countertop materials in one application?) and designer detail on the extended island / bar
  • towers of pantry cabinets + full depth lower cabinets for tonnes of storage and an additional spot for a bar sink / fridge   

It's hard to imagine this is the exact same spot.  From Before to After: 

By closing off the two windows (looking into the neighbour's brick wall), this gourmet kitchen now has two spacious upper cabinets and designated open shelves for practical closed storage + display of country treasures.  

Let's have a look at the other side of the room.  From magical kitchen island with plenty of space for causal dining, standout entertaining central, to relaxing sitting nook (one of Sarah's signature elements in her kitchens), this gorgeous kitchen simply has it all. 

From kitchen to dining room, here is the transformation from plan, demolition, to completion:

This spacious dining room is filled with natural light (thanks to the bay window) and who doesn't love a beautiful gallery wall of breathtaking travel captures, a George Nelson bubble chandelier, and a happy-fiddle leaf fig + seating for 8!  

Here is another tip on space planning. By locating the dining room next to the staircase to the upper floor, the clearance normally required for dinning chair is now doubling as the hallway to the staircase. The open staircase visually expands the room for a spacious, airy feel.   

I love that wallpaper application for added visual impact and texture.  I will just have to do the same in my new condo.

Sarah's Behind the Design are my weekly favorites. Let's chat kitchen and dining room:

The final wrap up (the barn + curb appeal) are next and you can catch up on Sarah's and Tommy's adventure on

Friday, May 17, 2019

Sarah Off The Grid S.2 ~ Living Room + Mudroom & Powder Room

Hello Friday and welcome to Week 4 of Sarah Off The Grid on HGTV Canada.  With the basements and second floor of new addition completed, Sarah and Tommy turn their attention to final spot of the new build: the living room, mudroom + powder room.

Here is the game plan for this spacious first floor living space: 
  • the staircase to the basement doubles as a natural divider between the living room and the mudroom / entrance zone
  • the double closets provide lots of storage
  • the big bright windows fill the space with tonnes of natural light.   

A neutral palette of cream, grey, and black means this living room will always be chic and on trend.  With two pairs of chairs, a sofa, and two benches by the fireplace, this living room can easily fit 10 to 12 best of friends for a cozy country getaway.

A beautiful fireplace is a must in every Sarah's home, and this country rental is no exception. The simple yet super sophisticated marble fireplace surround had me at hello.  BUT ... what really got me are the built-in benches and the ingenious idea behinds these framed black and white floral photographies.  

You see they are not just stunning artwork ... they also conceal the flatscreen TV! So when you are not watching your favorite TV shows, you simply close off the screen and no one would know there is a TV in the room.

Another incredible DIY project is this bench.  Made out of in-stock refrigerator cabinets and a toddler mattress, we now have functional seating / storage, a stylish design statement, and best of all it doesn't break the bank! I will definitely do this in my new condo. 

Ready to see the other side of the room? The brick wall was once an exterior wall, and now it's a captivating feature wall in the new addition. 

A mud room right off the entrance is a great idea, especially in the country.  Practical tile choices pairing with well thought-out design pattern =  a "WOW" first impression and durability for years to come.

Sarah aims to minimize waste as much as possible and in this case, the authentic peg rack, the dynamic decorative detail on the staircase walls, and the rustic vanity front in the powder room are all made out of recycle / reclaimed materials: green for the environment and more money for renovation! 

Another tip I picked up from Sarah Off the Grid Season 2 is to install the faucet on the side if space is limited for a full depth vanity.  It is stylish, functional, and a total space saver!

As always, here are the Behind the Design fun from Sarah on the living room, mudroom / powder room.

The kitchen and dining room are next, and I can't wait to see how Sarah and Tommy transform the ground floor of this original century home on Sunday at 9pm ET.  You can also catch up on previous episodes at