July 30, 2014:

#AlexandraBlvd Update

Just before I took off for a lil RnR we installed drapery in our Kitchen/Breakfast room at our Alexandra Blvd project. The chairs and coffee table weren't ready for the install sadly but they will come in the next few weeks. It also gave us time to check up on the wallpaper installation in the dining room which is major and measure up the Master for our proposed plan. It's a good thing that we did, we had to quickly jump to Plan B mode as the clients want to go from a Queen bed to a King Bed and our proposed bed would make for a rather tight squeeze given where the bed needs to go in the room. There is only one option for the bed and it's centred between two dormers and there's a wall that jutts out that is fine with a queen but makes a king a bit trickier. We'd planned for an upholstered base to match the headboard but we need to just stick with a headboard and forego the base which will make the bed too big for the space and we can't off set it given that the bed is situated between these dormers.

Measuring twice before you order paid off yet again.

The plan is gorgeous. I introduced you to the furniture plan HERE.

And now for the fabrics...

We'd initially hoped for a blush scheme. Had we pushed it, blush would have been the order of the day but we opted to pull the Heathers and Dusks from the main floor up to the Master Suite. I can't say no to Dusk as a colour it's a visceral reaction for me. Pulls me in. So here's how it is shaping up....

This is the dining room. We'd initially done a plan for the living room which we've put on hold and then decided to move ahead in the dining room. New furniture will be in the fall. It is exquisite. Literally this Cole & Son paper takes your breath away. I've used the Malabar for years but this Dusk colour way is inspired. Truly.

We have a wall of windows and french door off of the breakfast room that needed privacy at night. We opted for a Valance to hide the track which we needed to make this drapery functional and kid friendly. 

Another practical solution - the kitchen window overlooks the driveway and the neighbour's house so we opted for a cafe curtain that lets the light in but gives privacy.

And here we have the master palette. The grey velvet will be a tufted headboard. The Watery floral will be Euro Shams and a bedskirt. The Geometric in the top left will be the area rug cut to size to dampen the noise which the dormered space enhances. The scallop quilted fabric will be a coverlet. The worn damask fabric is really spectacular it's like a worn velvet. This will go on the outside of the chair with a graded chenille on the inside. The animal print in cotton and the corresponding one in velvet will be pillows and the hand blocked print will find it's way on to the bed in a pillow or two. We've got a settee at the end of the bed that we're doing in the same chenille as the chair. The idea is to keep things light and airy with hits of richer more luxurious fabrics and tones. Can't wait!!!

July 29, 2014:

Double Duty: Bedrooms and Home Offices…

Not everyone has the option for a separate home office and while it is not ideal to have a workspace in your sleeping space, sometimes it's the only option. I prefer an office in a bedroom than in a basement for example. Our #AlexandraBlvd project needs this very thing and the Master is on the third floor in a loft space so it has ample room for an office. We are being very deliberate in our furniture specifications however, to allow for the work area to feel more like it would be say a makeup/dressing area than what it truly is, which is a second home office for our client (her husband already has the other one)

We've used Coco Chanel as inspiration which is a very feminine choice but we have been sure to add in more masculine influences to balance out the design and to keep it from feeling too boudoir-esque. Black, cream and grey are our neutrals and as far as adding in some colour we've put together a few other options. I love the blush option, not gonna lie, but we also have a mineral option and a heather gray/indigo option.

Let's talk inspiration...

OBSESSED. Now that flamestitch does me in every time I see it and the alabaster base on the lamp. SO SO SO good. I suspect that the flame stitch is the coordinate to the drapery which are both by Mary McDonald for Schumacher. In person however, the flamestitch is more brown and less grey so I wonder if they've filtered the photo to create a cooler overall feel.... if I am incorrect and it is a fabric from someone else for the love of all things HOLY and GORGEOUS please share. I'm pretty much ready to have this fabric custom made in the colourway shown.

Here are a few ideas on our bedroom components. Ideally we'll ground it with a cream wool broadloom that is cut and bound to create an area rug. We will need a lower pile to be more practical and price conscience.

Soft, feminine with the right amount of black to keep it from being bland. 

July 28, 2014:

Neutral But Not Boring…

Neutrals are a tricky business yet so many people opt for them or in my personal belief, cop out with them. I see so many HORRIBLY DECORATED spaces with neutrals because people were clearly commitment phobic when it comes to colour that they played way too safe. I feel the same way about decorating with all leather furniture. ::shudder:: Interestingly enough, the spaces people comment about the most that we've designed, tend to be the neutral ones though our Kingswood project still beats these out and it's pretty colourful but that's a post for another day.

I really do enjoy tonal colour schemes. My preference when it comes to working with neutrals as you may be aware, is navy or indigo. I just find it that much more dynamic. I like to think that we've made mauve and heather gray into colourful neutrals as well. I find that they are easier to add bursts of colour to should you want to go that way than warmer neutrals such as beige and taupe.

For our #Hurndale project, we opted to create drama with Navy as a neutral in both the dining room and the den. The dining room is a navy grasscloth and the den is a high gloss lacquer on the millwork. We've repeated the indigos/blues in the living room in velvet klismos chairs and a bergere (not a fauteil - if the arms are open it is not a bergere it's a fauteil!) but used a greige for walls and sofa and area rug. So it made perfect sense to repeat the greige up into the master instead of the navy which we're confident has done to the perfect amount in the house. The challenges with the bedroom are a mixed bag. There's a tiny north facing window in the corner which is great for sleeping but had broken blinds that let the light in at the crack of dawn. So we needed to switch this to drapery panels with black out to give the optimal room darkening the clients required. However, during the day, the room feels overly dark and heavy so we decided to employ the same trick that we used in the den. Instead of putting a light colour on the walls, we opted for a mid-tone greige in a grasscloth wallpaper so it has luster and shimmer and great texture to it. We then repeated variations on the greige but subtle changes of texture/sheen vs high contrast. By reducing the contrast in the space, we effectively made it feel bigger and ironically brighter.

The bed is a fabulous contrast in linen to the grasscloth. Both very masculine which suits our clients. We added nailheads to the bed to add a bit of sparkle which is needed given the two textures on the bed and the walls. We repeated the polished nickel finish on the lamps and on the bedside table hardware and we rounded it out on the bench at the end of the bed which also got a little nailhead love.  The bench is a fabulous woven diamond fabric in brown and cream which feels a bit tribal and adds another layer of texture - especially given the duvet cover which has a silky sheen to it. Our artwork starts to head into shades of periwinkle which I think is a great addition to the space and we are commissioning an art piece for the foot of the bed that will play up this periwinkle and heather grey vs the browns/greiges. 

Fortunately, their home in Palm Springs will be the complete opposite and rightly so. Smart and tailored in Toronto and Sassy and Fun in Palm Springs - the best of both worlds!

We've got some darker velvet bolsters to arrive and a silver leaf starburst convex mirror to go over the bed. I am a big fan of adding a convex mirror over a bed. For one, it serves as an evil eye and repels bad spirits if you believe in that sort of feng shui approach - despite having something over your bad being as less than ideal. Feng Shui is a paradox at times. It needs it and it will be gotten. I think some sheepskin rugs on either side of the bed too so you have something soft hitting your feet in the morn is also in order. Restful & sophisticated. Check and check.

July 24, 2014:

Statement Pieces

I love pieces that say SOMETHING. This is how you differentiate between a living room that looks like you ripped it directly from the Restoration Hardware bohemoth catalogue set and something that is truly inspired. I saw a picture of a friend's living room yesterday that made me think to myself, "Holy Hell, what the heck happened - s/he has such great personal style and taste how on earth did THAT happen?" How's that for Vaguebooking?? I often get asked if I will judge or people will fret about inviting me to their homes for fear I will judge.  If I am invited over to break bread and drink wine, I am truly focused on the company not the space but I will confess I do make a mental list of what I would burn, throw away or conveniently dump wine on if I had the chance.

So clearly, if you are going to make a statement, it needs to be a GOOD one. Many spaces say the wrong thing. -Woefully so in fact. My own house was absolutely guilty of this at varying points. I would still be horrified to have strangers over to be totally honest. It's not perfect and because I judge, I know I will be judged just as much if not more so ya - that's an hour on the psychiatrist's lounge for ya...

We found some killer Statement pieces for our #Cactus Project.  In doing so, I found some killer pieces not for #Cactus but ones that I would desperate love to use but if I were to purchase for future projects, I'd be that one more item toward hoarder so.... hire me quick so I can use them instead of watching someone else get the pleasure... SIGH.... (Imagine Scarlett O'Hara with the swoon - arm to the forehead with that sigh)

Come to Momma. These bad boys are going in our living room in Palm Springs. We die.

DESPERATE TO USE. Can you imagine? I see draped canopies with embroidered moroccan textiles and paisley stamped wallpaper and bling bling bling. These would make the most amazing little girl's room - twin beds. Ahhh CALL ME. NOW. PLEASE!

Bedside table lamps??? I don't normally like a sculpted shade but this are amazing...

Art work from Paul Lange would pretty much seal the deal in this little girl's room that has just evolved.

July 24, 2014:

Coastal Cool

I've yet to design a coastal home and for some reason I've not really done that many cottages. Maybe it's because I'm not a cottage-goer? I tend to prefer highly contrasted palettes - hello navy and white!!! I do love greige palettes though for coastal spaces even if they aren't actually situated on a coast. I know it is surprising to hear but I do love tone on tone spaces. This is extremely restful to me but I couldn't live in it forever, just a third home kinda deal. I'd still find ways to inject some colour but it would be exterior dependent. I find that getting palette inspiration from the outside is a great way to maximize views and expand living spaces to include the out of doors.

Asa and I had our first date on Toronto's Ward Island and our dear friend and god father to Luke is Uncle Ken. He has a cottage on the island that he let me paint deep blueberry a few years ago. Inside is pretty small and we often day dream about winning the lottery and building on the lot but I would absolutely want to keep the original cottage itself and just add more square footage repeating the charm. So here's what I would put in Uncle Ken's Cottage - Driftwood and Blueberry Inspired....

 

 

Walls & staple furniture pieces to stay tonal. This is key to establishing the base for the overall scheme. Texture is key. It has to be varied or else it will feel like an Ikea showroom fast.

 

Lighting also needs to be varied texturally and material wise. The faux bamboo lamp is possibly my favourite from Currey and Co. It's got a crackle finish that is divine. I love this Husk Pendant. I would ideally put a series of them over an island. The chandelier I too would love to repeat down a hallway. 

 

Colour would be introduced through accents including area rugs, pillows, artwork and dining chairs. Keep it subtle so that the space feels tonal overall with the accent colour repeated in it's own tonal range. 

 

Jenny from MFAMB nailed it with this piece. I want a bigger version of it for my own house let alone Blueberry Cottage.