Magnificent Mules

Good Morning,

It’s summer, and if I could run around barefoot or in flip-flops all the time I would.  But I have an office job and those footwear options don’t tend to go over well.  I have some basic flats and heeled sandals that work but I would like a summer heel that leans toward comfort but isn’t a flat.  Enter the magnificent mule. I’ve always shied away from mules. Maybe it’s the name. I grew up in farming community and so I first associate a “mule” with something completely different. And also, I just assume that since they are backless that I would be “clomping around” in them trying to keep them on.  But I have (at least temporarily) gotten past these roadblocks, mostly because I’ve been seeing so many lovely ones out there. I’m sharing a few of my faves today!

Magnificent Mules

 

Now I know what you fashion-aware readers are thinking. Aren’t mules closed-toe? Correct, the traditional mule has a closed toe but these days if you search “mules” on fashion sites you get both open and closed-toe options. And, being summer, an open-toe only makes sense! Don’t these beauties make you want to go buy some? Icing on the cake? With only one exception, they are all $125 or less! Totally reasonable. The exception: that GORGEOUS multicolored one on the bottom left (very expensive) but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave it out. I really don’t think I’d feel I was clomping around in any of these. Have a lovely Friday!

XO,

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Convert It: Villa Augustus

Good Morning!

Hey, remember when I used to write for my blog?  No?  It’s ok, I had sort of forgotten too.  It’s been awhile, but I have a some posts lined up for the next few days so hopefully this is the beginning of more consistency over here. No promises but I’m feeling good about it :)  Today, a new installment in my Convert It series and I’m sharing Villa Augustus, a water tower turned hotel, garden and market in Dordrecth, Netherlands.

The water tower and associated high-pressure water main system for Dordrecht was designed in 1881 by the director of the Public Works J.A. van der Kloes and consulting engineer A.G. de Geus.  It was constructed in 1881 and 1882 and consisted of four octagonal towers surrounding a large, round water basin and stands 33 m at its tallest. Beneath the tower were the clean-water basements. One tower contained the chimney for the steam from the engines, two towers had the  a spiral staircase which once connected the 5 staff apartments to the reservoir, and the last tower was used as an outlet should the pressure inside the reservoir get too high. The small towers were removed in 1938, and  new pump building was built next to it in 1942.

An aerial photograph of the water tower from the 1930’s, which was shown at a town hall meeting attended by various entrepreneurs inspired the idea to convert the building into a hotel, garden and market.

The hotel has 37 rooms, 20 of which are in the garden tower, and 17 in the garden. The coolest room in the hotel must be the top floor which boasts the rooftop glassed sitting room.  And in the garden you have a room in an area called the secret garden.  Who wouldn’t want to say they they stayed in a secret garden?

 

The gardens are exceptional and they are the centerpiece of the Villa.  Not only do they have beautiful flower gardens, they also have an extensive vegetable garden and greenhouses where they grow much of the food served at the restaurant and sold at the market.

The restaurant is in one of the garden buildings, and has a fresh and fun interior design and a beautiful patio nestled within the gardens.

And then there is a market where you can find find fresh garden produce, bread, preserves and home-made pasta to name just a few.

All photos via Villa Augustus

Unfortunately, my research into this beautiful conversion did not produce which companies were involved in the restoration or redesign of the Villa Augustus, which is too bad as they did a wonderful job. I’m not planing any trips to the Netherlands in the near future, but if I find myself there again someday I definitely think it would be worth a visit.

XO,

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Discovery: Shed Workspace

Good Morning!

I have recently completed a few more small upholstery projects out of my apartment, and while I love the work, it wreaks havoc on my tiny space. For larger projects I am lucky enough to work in the Re:style Studio space, but I have always daydreamed about my own workspace (I showed some cool ones here). However, since I don’t have a car unless a space is right next door, it’s a pain to travel back and forth. But recently I discovered that it’s possible to have an awesome studio or office right in your own backyard by adding a shed workspace.  The first company I stumbled upon whose products totally caught my eye was StudioShed.  They make very sleek modern prefab do-it-yourself sheds that can be used for various things, like home offices,  arts or craft studios, music rehearsal space, or cabin bunkies.

You can choose from various sizes, layout and features and they come with instructional videos so you can help put them together yourself.  You can have installation included in your price and add things like electrical, fancy flooring and more. The also have a greenhouses and dog house lines. Now, I share this information with few caveats.  Right now they only ship to the US, and therefore installation services are only offered there.  However, with the US shipping address services (like box hop, etc) they still could be an option if you are going for the DIY packages. Also, they are not cheap, even the DIY version. If you want a super sleek workspace in your backyard, you have to spend some money.

But never fear, I did find a somewhat similar company in Ontario called Sheds in a Day that offer more basic rustic wooden sheds, but in similar sizes. You can also pick and choose features and they are significantly cheaper.

I expect there are similar companies in other parts of the country too. I rent my apartment so neither of these are likely an option for me right now, but it’s nice to know that you can create a fabulous, functional workspace right in your own backyard.

XO,

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Yard Sale for the Cure Auction Piece

Good Afternoon!

It has been awhile since I’ve been a regular blogger.  I have been busy with many projects, including the one I’m sharing today.  This weekend is the Yard Sale for the Cure to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  People all across the country will be holding yard sales with all the proceeds going toward breast cancer research. 1-800-Got-Junk is a big supporter of this charity and the have asked a bunch of creative people in the Toronto area to choose a piece of their inventory of  salvaged “junk” and recreate/upcycle it into something better. The pieces will be auctioned off tomorrow at the Massive Yard Sale for the Cure taking place in Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto!  I was very happy to asked to create a piece for this great cause.

There was a relatively tight schedule to get the piece done, so I knew I had to pick something that I could update in a reasonable amount of time.  The piece I ended up choosing was this small kid-sized vintage desk.

  Yard Sale for the Cure Before Shot

I decided to update it into a bright and fresh kids reading and creating station!

Yard Sale for the Cure After Picture copy Blog

I painted the whole thing white and I upholstered the bench seat in a fun fabric (Willow from Tonic Living) so that there was more comfortable place for reading.  On the desk side I added side pockets for art supplies,  a small chalkboard area on the desk using chalkboard paint and a lamp for both reading or creating!  And in case you need space, the seat folds up!

IMG_4059

It was a fun project to do.  If you like it and want to get this piece for your little artist or reader, come on out to the sale and bid on it tomorrow!  Don’t have a little person in your life for this piece?  Well, there will be a whole bunch of other fabulous pieces being auctioned off, not to mention a ginormous yard sale! The Trinity Bellwoods Park sale is from 10 am to 7 pm!  I hope to see you there supporting a great cause!

XO,

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Floral Dresses

Good Morning!

The weather here in Toronto this week has felt more like early March than the end of April. However, today the temps are going back up and I’m in spring mode again.  The flowers are popping up in my garden and will be blooming in no time. It’s also time to starting thinking about spring wardrobe, and what better way to pay tribute to the season than floral dresses.  I’ve selected a few that I think are lovely.  Granted most of these are well out of my price range, but they do provide great inspiration.

 

These dresses prove that floral are not just cutesy.  They can be bold, fun, and sophisticated. I have very few florals in my closet but I think that is going to change this spring/summer.
Have a lovely weekend!
XO,

A Gorgeous Country Home In Croatia

Good Morning!

Today’s post features a gorgeous country home in Croatia. Croatia is a very beautiful country which I had the pleasure of visiting many years ago. It was a sailing trip with my then boyfriend and another couple. I didn’t have much sailing experience, but thankfully others did.  We sailed out of a port just north of Spilt and spent a week cruising the Adriatic along the southern coast stopping in various towns along the way.  After the sailing, we took a bus down to the beautiful city of Dubrovnik. At that time, Croatia was only just being discovered by North American tourists as a must-see destination which meant it wasn’t crazy busy or infiltrated by the “mainstream” which was nice. It was by far one of the most relaxing and beautiful vacations I’ve even been on.  The views from this home which has been impeccably designed by Rees Roberts + Partners takes me back to that vacation.

Photo via idesignarch

The design itself is clean and simple but that is all you need in a setting like this. There is such great use of natural light and finishes which flawlessly connect to the beautiful outdoor spaces. That stone on the sink and shower…be still my heart. Hmm, I wonder if they ever rent it out…..

XO,

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Tiny and Lovely: A Petite NYC Apartment

Good Morning!

I won’t lie, I do get a pang of jealousy when I see others with large homes to decorate. I can only do so much with my itsy-bitsy apartment and they have so many rooms and so much space to experiment with! Oh the luxury. However, every once in a while I come across a tiny space that really maximizes the space and it inspires me to make the most of the space I have. This bright, feminine NYC apartment designed by Ashley Whittaker falls into this category.

Via House Beautiful, photos by Thomas Loof

I’m loving the bold entry and the light and airy living space. It also really makes me want some wallpaper in my apartment. You can check out more photos of this pretty space here!

XO,

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Kelly & Alun’s Family Room

Good Morning!

My best friend Kelly and her husband Alun recently moved to a new house with their three kids under six. To say they are busy is an understatement. Kel has great style and I don’t doubt that if she had an extra 20 hours to spare her week that she would already have magazine-worthy spaces in her new home. However, at the moment she’s lucky if she has an extra 20 minutes a day, which is why she has asked me to help her get these rooms to where she wants them. And I couldn’t be more excited.

First up is the family room. This room is where the family will congregate the most so it needs to be finished….and pronto. This is our starting point…

Project K&A_Before

This room is a bit of a balancing act. Of course it needs to look great but anything that goes into this space has to be kid and pet friendly (did I mention they also have 2 large dogs?). The furniture has to be comfortable and durable, and a rug cannot be light in colour due to dog hair.

The large grey sofa is staying where it is. It has a great modern shape and colour and happens to be very durable. The lamp is also staying.  Not surprisingly, Alun’s priority was getting the new extra large TV you see above.  Although it’s not not the prettiest thing in the room it does have a really cool bracket on the back so it can come out and tilt into the room when you want to watch it but also (and most importantly) goes flush against the wall when you don’t. After lots of back an forth the room is coming to together a little like this:

Kelly's Family Room_edited-2 From Top Left: Home Depot Arch Marble Base Silver Floor Lamp, IKEA KRAMFORS sofa  (discontinued), Fabric from Tonic Living (Sterling White, Cats Cradle Sunshine, Neo Toile Indigo, Velvet Water), Loloi Rug Viera Light Blue from Wayfair.com, Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Console, West Elm Sedgwick Recliner, Small Crystal Service Table Zara Home, TOV Clyde Chair from Wayfair

Kelly fell in love the chinoiserie toile fabric she found at Tonic Living and that really became the jumping off point for the colour scheme of greys, blues and yellow. Everything you see in the mood board has been finalized and/or purchased except for the side table which we are still searching for. In addition to what you see above, the final piece of the space will be a large round ottoman/coffee table upholstered in that toile fabric. I am desperately waiting for Home Depot to get back back to me when a wooden electrical wire spool in the right size becomes available so that I can use it for the ottoman base. I’m very excited to this family room come together!

XO,

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Masters of Furniture – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Good Morning!

It has been a long time since I have posted in my Masters of Furniture series. Way too long! These are some of my favourite posts to write.  I love learning about the history of design and delving into the lives of these design icons.  Today I’m featuring Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, German-American architect and furniture designer.

via

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Germany, and remained there for the first half of his career.  As with many of the other masters of modern furniture, Ludwig was an architect by trade.  He began his career working in an interior design studio and then in an architecture studio under Peter Behrens.  His talent was noted at an early age, getting his first commission for a home at the age of 20.  Some of the most famous buildings of his career in Germany were the Barcelona Pavilion and the Villa Tugendhat.

The Barcelona Pavilion was the German pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain and has been an influential building as a representative of modern architecture.

Barcelona mies v d rohe pavillon weltausstellung1999 03“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Villa Tugendhat was commissioned by Fritz and Grete Tugendhat for their home in Brno, Chechoslovkia.  They lived in the house for only 8 years before they fled the country in after the Munich Agreement.  It was severely damaged at the end of  World War II, and was then used for various purposes for decades after the war. In 1967, Greta Tugendhat returned to the villa with a senior architect from Mies’s Chicago studio and explained the original design to him, and a group of Czech architects began to bring the home back to its original glory. The villa was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.

Villa Tugendhat-20070429” by Daniel Fišer (-df-) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mies specified all the furnishings for both these buildings, in collaboration with interior designer Lilly Reich with whom he was in a relationship at the time. His most iconic furniture design, the Barcelona chair, which he designed with Lilly, was created as part of the Barcelona Pavilion but was first used in the Villa Tugendhat.

via Knoll

Two more of van der Rohe’s famous armchairs (also in collaboration with Lilly Reich) were specifically designed for Villa Tugendhat; the Tugendhat chair and the Brno chair.

via 1st Dibs

via Knoll

 

Knoll furniture now owns the rights to these 3 designs and the Barcelona and Brno chairs are still in production today, along with many knock-offs.

In 1930 van der Rohe was named director of the Bauhaus, the famous German school of experimental art and design, which he led until 1933 when he closed the school under pressure from the Nazis.  In 1937 he immigrated to the US, where he would take on the role as head the department of architecture of the newly established Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago.  In addition to a highly influential teaching career in the US, he would go on to design many more iconic modern buildings.  His most notable include:

S.R. Crown Hall in Chicago

Photo via Wikimedia Commons, Attribution: Joe Ravi

The Seagram building in NYC

via Wikimedia Creative Commons

The Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin

photo via Wikimedia Commons attribution: Manfred Brückels

Something else you might be interested to know is that many common quotes were coined by this design dynamo….

“Less is More”

“God is in the details”

“It is better to be good than to be original”

All these are Ludwig originals!  A wordsmith and a creative genius.  In general I think this masters legacy is more in buildings than furniture, but considering his furniture designs are still being sold today made me still want to include him in this series.  I hope you enjoyed this little walk back in the history books.

XO,

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Convert It: Prahran Hotel Pub

Good Morning!

This lovely Monday morning I’m bringing you another adaptive re-use project for my Convert It series. Today’s post takes us to Melbourne, Australia and the Prahran Hotel Pub. Designed by Techné Architects for the hotel group Sand Hill Road, the project is the redesign of the hotel’s pub (which was previously just a small add-on in the back) into an awe-inspiring 3-level facility.

The pillar of the adaptive reuse is, of course, the 17 1/2 concrete pipes used in this project which are visually captivating both the from outside and the inside.

Concrete and steel are the main materials used, along with recycled spotted gum slats within the round banquets and on the floors and ceilings.

In addition to the cool design features, what also struck me was the number of plantings around the space, which I think helps to softens the harsh industrial feel of all the concrete and steel.

Photography: Peter Clarke via the Cool Hunter and Inhabitat

This space combines both the whimsy of a playground and the seriousness of an industrial factory in just the right balance. If I ever make it to Melbourne, I would love to have meal in this pub. You can see more photos and learn more about the space at the Cool Hunter.

XO,

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