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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New Obsession – Curved Sofas

Good Morning,

As an upholsterer, I always have my eye out for a piece of furniture with a great shape. Lately, I’m more than a little obsessed with curved sofas. There is something about a curve in a sofa that gives the whole room a softer edge. Not to mention that there are so many beautiful ones out there! And you know how circular dining tables are often more conducive to good conversation? I’m going to bet it’s the same thing for sitting on a curved sofa.  For all you traditionalists out there, I know that immediately you are thinking that curved sofas are mostly mid-century modern and retro in their design. And yes, vintage stores are packed with those beauties. However, many contemporary furniture manufacturers like West Elm and Crate & Barrel are now carrying curved sofas, so I am starting to see them pop up more often in traditionally designed spaces. Here are some examples of curvy goodness for your Friday viewing pleasure.

 1/New England Home magazine, photo via John Bessler 2/The Fig House Designed by Emily Henderson (photo from website)3/Designed by Parisien designer Pierre Yovanovitch (photo from website) 4/Photo via Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams Home 5/Designed by Amy Lau, photo via Home Adore 6/Photo via Domaine Home by Angus Fergosson

Sadly I don’t have space for one of these beauties but if you do, maybe you should get one so I can live vicariously through you.  Have a lovely weekend!

XO,

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Gratitude Photo Project – Early 2015

Good Morning!

Happy March!  Actually, I should say, Happy Best Month of the Year!  What is great about March? The better question is, what is not great about March? This month has the first day of spring, St. Patty’s Day (and I LOVE green) and most notably, my birthday! Can’t go wrong. And on that note, today I’m sharing my first post from the my gratitude photo project.  You may have caught a couple of these on social media already, but here are some shots of the things I’ve been grateful for this year…

Gratitude Photo Project - Part 1 copy

1) Grateful that I finally got to wear my fascinator to my friends Andrea & Dave’s Valentine’s Day wedding!  (And no I did not cut my hair despite what it looks like in the picture….)

2) Grateful that I could eat this after I did a 5 day detox in January.

3) Grateful for my bestie’s two girls, and their new baby brother (not pictured) who I love to pieces and who light up my day whenever I see them.

4) Grateful that even in the bitter cold, a sunny day makes all the difference.

5) Grateful for yummy pudding that is good for you….or at least not bad for you.

6) Grateful for flowers in the winter that make me feel like spring is coming.

Lots to be grateful for. I had originally thought I would share more regularly, but with this weather it’s been hard to get out and experiment with my camera (hence, many of these being iPhone pictures). What are you grateful for these days?

XO,

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Why I May Need to Buy a Diaper Bag

Good Morning!

First off, to ensure my mother doesn’t have a heart attack after reading the title, no I’m not having a baby. And the reason why I may need to buy a diaper bag is not nearly that exciting. To help explain why, let me tell you a little story….

To set the scene, it’s rush hour on a weeknight and I have just left my office at Yonge and Dundas to catch the streetcar home. As I walk toward my stop I see the streetcar coming so I rush over and immediately look inside my tote bag to quickly find my metro pass so I can get on. It’s fallen from the small pocket I normally slide it in after I use it in the morning likely now at the bottom of my tote. It’s one of those -25 degree days so I take off my large extra warm mittens and stuff them under my arm while holding my bag in my hand and try to use my other hand to search. I’m digging through a virtual black hole of crap from my day….a book, wallet, extra scarf, my lunch bag full of all my Tupperware containers…and a slew of other things.  The streetcar is loading up and I’m letting people go by me in line while I search…until I’m the last person left get on. So, in my haste to find it and get on, I yanked my lunch bag out so I can see better and it accidentally tips over and everything inside goes flying out. A fork lands at my feet, an orange I didn’t eat at lunch rolls under the streetcar, there are Tupperware containers rolling down Dundas Street, and I’ve dropped my mittens in the slush. Meanwhile there are a hoard of angry commuters waiting for me to get my sh*t together and get on so they can go home…..

Via

The driver would have left without me, but first she needed to ensure that none of lunch containers had rolled onto the tracks.   Awesome.

So needless to say by the time I got home I was determined to find a tote bag with built-in organizing features. Not a couple of crappy small pockets on the sides and a big vast crater of space in the middle. That doesn’t cut it.  I want a bag with lots of different sized pockets, compartments and separated spaces but that actually looks like a nice handbag. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS TO FIND? Then I had a brain wave…new mom’s need bags to hold a variety of things. So I started look at diaper bags, and Eureka! They are much more organized than almost any standard tote out there. And these days there are tons of designer styles that actually look like a typical handbag…..but functional.  Honestly, I take issue with the fact that much of the handbag market appears to think that only new moms have a use for an uber-functional yet attractive bag.  Why are there not more companies capitalizing on this?

So now I challenge you to look at the bags below and guess which ones are diaper bags and which are not…..WITHOUT looking at the links below the photo. (Here’s a hint: there are a lot more diaper than non-diaper bags in this round-up).

Can you tell which is teh diaper bag copy
Clockwise from top left. Lo & Sons O.G,  Storksac Olivia Diaper Bag, Timi & Leslie Dawn diaper Bag, Timi & Leslie Charlie diaper bag,  Kate Spade Grove Court Diaper bag, Dagne Dover Tote bag, Twelve Little Allure Tote Diaper Bag, Timi & Leslie Rachel Diaper Bag.

All but the top left and bottom left are diaper bags!  The non-diaper bags are by two companies that are doing the organized tote thing really, really well:  Dagne Dover and Lo & Sons.  They both make very attractive practical bags with awesome organizational features. But, in terms of choice the diaper bags win out.  You just may have to swallow your pride when someone asks you who made your bag and you have to respond with, “Oh, it’s the latest from StorkSac”!

But let me tell you, the Cole Haans, Marc Jacobs and Coaches of the world just aren’t making bags that look like this inside.

 Photos via, Timi & Leslie and Dagne Dover

Lots of compartments, lots of pockets, soooo much awesome. Pretty sure I’ll be putting my order for one of these super organized lovelies any day now.

 XO,

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A Bright Office with Chairish

Good Morning!

After an extra long family day weekend, I’m excited to be back today showing you a design board I put together for an office space. I was recently asked by the folks at Chairish (one of my favourite online vintage home stores) to post what I would do to take a room from white to bright using one of a selection of Chairish rugs they provided as my starting point. I choose a bright octagonal rug from Missoni Home, and this is the chic, bright office space I came up with.

Chairish- White to Bright Office - Web copy

From Top Right (all items via Chairish):

Whenever I’m asked to put together any kind of design board I always manage get some brass and pink in there….usually with some purple or blue for good measure. It seems this board is no exception. In my own defense, there are so many amazing brass pieces available at Chairish, it’s hard not to include at least a few. Let’s start with the desk, which is divine. Clean lines of shiny brassy goodness. However, you will notice it doesn’t have any storage, so I added the campaign style credenza with the brass handles and some colourful woven boxes to help with that. All I will say about that perfect pale purple brass chair is that it needs to be mine. I love a good vintage globe but when I saw those globe bookends….well, be still my heart. Brass AND the globes in the prettiest pink shade…..check AND check. To complete the desktop, I added the unique industrial style brass lamp and a retro pink phone. I mean, let’s be honest, hardly anyone actually uses their land line anymore but this phone is pretty enough to stay put even if it never rings. I can never have a room without art, so I picked this awesome moody painting to add some colour to the wall. Oh, and I also like to have some real greenery in my office space so I included this fiddle leaf fig tree (um, not vintage and not available at Chairish!).

In my humble opinion, this space totally fits the bill of being bright and also being pretty awesome.  That being said, I am a super-biased pink and brass-loving fool. Either way, there are always some very cool things to find at Chairish.

Have a great day!

XO,

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(Note: This is not a sponsored post. Also, for my Canadian readers, Chairish only provide their white glove delivery service to the continental US but some of their sellers will ship items internationally.  Also, for smaller items you can use a service like Box Hop).

Convert It: Washington School House Hotel

Good Morning!

Boy oh boy do I ever get excited about a good conversion project. Especially ones that I could actually visit if I was so inclined. Today in my Convert It series, I’m featuring a lovely hotel in Park City Utah, the Washington School House.  The hotel was originally one the first three schools built in Park City in the late 1800’s. While the school survived the great fire of Park City in 1898, after declining enrollment in the depression era the school was sold to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and then used for social events and dances into the 1950’s.  It wasn’t until 1984 that it was purchased and renovated into a bed & breakfast which operated as the Washington School Inn. In 2011 the current owners completed a massive renovation and the it became the gorgeous Washington School House that you see in the photos below. Very few places can be described as both luxurious and quaint, but I think you’ll agree when you scroll through the photos below that this really is both.

All photos via, Washington School House website

The hotel was Paul and Shannon Wehsener and they did a beautiful job creating an elegant cozy space and preserving the exterior charm.  I love the furniture, the bright white walls, and gorgeous lighting choices. I spent a couple of days in Park City to do some skiing after I went to Alt Summit  in Salt Lake City a few years ago.  I happened to be there during the Sundance Film Festival so accommodations were scarce and very expensive for even the sketchiest of the rooms (mine).  I expect these beautiful rooms were booked but some elite movie producers at that time.  But at a less busy time of year, it would certainly be a cozy place to spend a few days.  Perfect for either a ski getaway or a few days in the Midwestern sun.

XO,

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Childhood Recipe: Carol-Ann’s Cardamom Bread

Good Morning!

When I was a kid, my parent’s friends from Alberta, Ted and Carol-Ann, bought a really old farmhouse down the road from our cottage at Oak Point, New Brunswick.  They called it the Oak Point Inn. It looked like a haunted house. It had no electricity, no indoor plumbing, an awesome back staircase and what seemed like 1000 rooms when I was young. We had so much fun in that house. Playing hide and seek, pretending it was haunted and exploring every nook and cranny. We shared many meals there and after dinner when it got dark, we lit lots of candles and glass oils lanterns and huddled in to play boardgames or cards.  Needless to say, I have many memories of the Oak Point Inn but one of my fondest ones was making cardamom bread with Carol-Ann from scratch. I was pretty young at the time but she was patient and let me help at every step. I remember feeling very proud of myself when it was finished. And it was delicious. Over Christmas this year, my Mom suggested we make Carol-Ann’s cardamom bread recipe.  So we did. And I’m sharing it today.

I know you are probably thinking that cardamom bread sounds like it would be a savory bread.  But it’s not, it’s actually a very sweet bread.  Now, I cheated a little and made the dough using the dough setting of my mother’s bread maker, but I’ll share the manual instructions below in brackets for those of you who do not have a breadmaker.

You need:

  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 4- 4 1/2 cups of white flour
  • 1/4 cup of margarine, melted

For the wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • sliced almonds
  • sugar

ingredients

Check you breadmaker instructions for dough recipes and add all your ingredients in the order they are required. Set you breadmaker to the dough setting and turn on.

ALTERNATE (no breadmaker): Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, eggs, sugar, salt cardamon, and 2 cups of the flour.  Beat in melted margarine until smooth and then add remaining flour. Cover and rest 15 mins. Turn on floured surface and knead bread.  Place in greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size. Punch down.

flour copy

bread maker

Split dough in half then split into 3 equal pieces.

dough1

Create 3 long tubes of dough that are roughly the same size.

dough3-1

Braid three pieces.  Do the same for the other half of the dough and let rise again until doubled in size.

dough2

Whisk together the egg yolk and milk, and coat the loaves with it.

glazing

Sprinkle with sugar and sliced almonds.  Bake for 20-25 mins.

bread3

And voila!  Tasty sweet cardamom bread.

break

final product

bread

The bread tasted just as I remembered it from all those summers ago.  I think that the best recipes have a dash of nostalgia. They eventually sold the farmhouse and Carol-Ann is no longer with us but many memories are wrapped up in this recipe. I should also mention that I recently discovered that Carol-Ann’s daughter, Jody, who also spent some summers at the Oak Point Inn, is also a blogger in Calgary at Travels with Baggage!  I’m telling you the power of social media for re-connecting people is pretty amazing sometimes.

Have a great day!

XO,

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The Gratitude Photo Project 2015

Good Morning!

Well, here it is, January 29th, and I have no idea where has the first month of 2015 has gone. You may have noticed I’ve been absent for quite a while. I had every intention of starting fresh on the blog that first Monday in January, but between my day job and upholstery work, all my energy was gobbled up.  And I definitely have had less than normal energy to start this month off. Perhaps it has something to do with the new diet I started in early December? Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called the Carb-Sugar-Salt diet. Here’s how it works…you eat white rolls, gumdrop cookies, crackers & dip every day and then barely exercise. After some time, your body will reject even the insinuation that you might try to accomplish anything.

But the good news is I’m back to eating healthier and working out, and my energy levels are much better. So, I am getting back to the blog and brainstorming fun new post ideas for 2015! And with a new year comes new goals and plans. And, sure, I have some, but what I think is most important for me to do this year is to be more grateful.

Via City Farmhouse designed by Kristen from Ella  Claire 

With that thought, I’m launching a little series that I’m calling the Gratitude Photo Project. I’m going to take photos each week of things, places, people I am grateful for.

Gratitude Photo Project - LOGO

I’ll be posting them once a week on the blog and I will also share periodically on social media so I hope you will share the photos of what you are grateful for too! We all benefit from reflecting on the good things in our lives. And as an added bonus I’ll get to practice using I my new fancy-pants DSLR camera. And I’m very grateful to finally have a real camera again.

I’m also grateful to be asked to participate in the Designer Insights series over at the Terry’s Blinds Blog which was posted last week. So many great designers, bloggers, creative minds have participated so you should definitely check it out.

Courtesy of: Terrys Blinds UK

Have a great day!

XO,

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