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

Monday, May 6, 2019

Sarah Off The Grid S.2 ~ Principal Retreat + Getaway

Hello Monday and welcome to the third week of Sarah Off The Grid on HGTV Canada.  With the foundation of the new additional completed and a basement transformed into a media lounge with laundry facility, Sarah and Tommy turn their attention to the next rooms soon to occupy the upper floor of the new addition: the duo purpose getaway bunkroom + the sleek and luxe principal bedroom / ensuite.

I am always fascinated to see a dramatic before and after and HELLO to this before: an exterior wall and a new solid foundation + the floor plan for the second floor.

First up is the bunkroom.  Instead of a classic bunk bed, Sarah opted for a double bed (sleeps two people easily) with built-in storage and a bookcase for displays + an upholstered headboard.  With some leftover lumbers and a can of blue paint, this bookcase feature wall is packed with style without breaking the bank.  The splurge in this room is the jumping off point fabric and Sarah only needed 3 yards for the roman blinds and the upholstered headboard: minimal investment for huge design statement

I also like the creative placement of the swing arm wall sconce, since there really isn't another spot for practical lighting in this daybed nook.  

A "work station" is setup on the other side of the room.  Outfitted with a desk and extra cabinets for storage, this is the ideal spot for those who need to get a quick update from their buzzing city lives.  I love the exposed brick wall (a reference to the century-old building) and how the mirror reflects the view of the opposite space.    

Up next is the principal bedroom and ensuite.  Not your classic master bedroom with a connected bathroom, Sarah and Tommy made sure the two rooms read as a sleek, relaxing master retreat.

It's very important to on site during the framing process as that's the best time to visualize the space and to refine design details without causing major construction delays down the road.  In this case, Sarah saw an opportunity to accentuate the vaulted ceiling to create character, volume, and dimension in the brand new addition.

From plans to reality, this design element is truly remarkable and what an amazing reference to the original part of this country home.

Here is the principal bedroom: a case study of classic blue and white.  Not traditional, not nautical, but crisp and contemporary in execution.

A monocromatic navy and white palette will never be too cool in Sarah's rooms.  This master bedroom is full of subtle pattern / textile variations (could you count how many patterns are on the bed alone?) and vintage treasures to add layers, warmth, and charm.

A pair of built-in closets for maximum storage and together providing the showstopper mid-century teak dresser in vibrant sapphire blue a perfect spot in front of the east facing window: the first view to welcome you every morning

Our last stop on the second floor is this sumptuous ensuite bathroom.  

Sarah and Tommy have packed in a number of design tricks I absolutely love:
  • waterfall style counter application to create an illusion of a floating vanity (I may just have todo that in the new condo)
  • faucets installed off centre if depth of vanity is an issue (not the case here but I can relate in my city condo
  • pair of mirrors / sconces for double sink vanity allows for an unique design moment to showcase a decorative pendant, captivating artwork, and a spot for hand towels

Freestanding tub immediately screens spa-inspired experience, and when it is paired with the most intricate tile pattern using one single style cement tile, a fresh new design combining the classic diamond with an energetic chevron is born.  How cool is that right?

And to max out on natural light, a sheet of frosted glass is installed between the ensuite and the principal bedroom to let in extra light while keeping privacy in check. What a brilliant idea and if you must know, Sarah was inspired by the hotel she stayed at in Africa.  Sarah also brought back a beautiful blanket from her trip intended to frame up as art.  It didn't quite work in the principal bedroom and it has found the perfect home down the hallway to set the tone the moment you step into the new addition of this gorgeous country vacation home.   

Oh and of course, energy efficient and cost saving solar panels were installed on the new roof: easier on the wallet and definitely far better for the environment in the long run.

To learn more on Sarah's top favorite elements in the principal bedroom, check this out: 

That's it for the second floor and the basement.  The main floor is next and I can't wait to see it all on Sundays at 9pm ET.  You can also catch up on previous episodes at