January 04, 2013:

A Woman’s Hell.

If you have children, you will know the lengths that one must go to to ensure that a sleeping child is never woken. I just stripped off my stack of arm candy because it makes too much noise when I type. Hell, typing is making me break into a cold sweat as my sweet lil angel sleeps on the sofa in my office. School is still out for him and he's been coming to the office with us because we are trying to cram as much in before the 8th as we possibly can. The 8th you ask? We are jetting down to Mexico for a lil RnR. They have wifi. Thank god.

I made the harrowing trek to the swimsuit shop with my stylist & friend Robin Craig this past weekend. Normally, I slip a hip flask in the bag to self-medicate through the torture but being considerly less heavy than I was a year ago, it wasn't as bad as it has been. Having a stylist along to help choose the right silhouettes & guard against a sudden moment of delusion was key. Robin quickly grasped my requirements and appreciated the shapes/lines/needs that are unique to my body type. I've forever and a day fought against stylists and sales associates who like to tell my what looks good on me or what's trendy. Umm, I'm 40. I know what suits me I just need you to help me find it or push me out of my comfort zone after you've earned my trust. Robin helped me find not one not two but THREE looks that were killer though I only bought two of the 3. One had the best sweetheart, ruched neckline in a Jade Meets Teal Meets Emerald suit but the bottoms had a roll top that wouldn't stay rolled. I didn't want to have to fuss with the bottoms when the other two suits were so easy and chic.

I am so pleased with the results, you may see shots of me in said suits on instagram in the days to come.


Thank god for filters.

Here are some inspiration shots that guided us through the process....

Not that one can live life in a black and white photo but... it does have a certain appeal. I tend to wear a big broad rimmed hat a lot in the summer sun because well I'm a redhead. I don't want my share of fine lines and wrinkles that can be prevented. I saw how my grandparents all ended up and I know that leather as skin is in my genepool if I'm not careful. Now the concept of this style of suit SEEMS ideal but if you are fuller in the hips, this style is NOT your friend I have since learned. Cutting off one's hips with a straight line is like putting wainscotting in a room at exactly the mid point of the wall height. No no no. Work the Golden Mean people including on one's hips. (Like how I worked fashion into a design tip... I'm gooooooooood and oh so modest.) I should say that the asymetrical stripes are a great pattern to flatter if they hit you in the right spot. The cone boobs, not so much.

The bottom suit is lighter than the ideal colour I tried on but the shape is great. The ruching is fabulous. GOD I think I need to walk through life in ruched everything.  

Both necklines are in my wheelhouse so to speak as is a one shoulder number. In the end, I did go with a one shoulder ruched suit with a gold belt (suit is actually black which I tend to avoid but the ruching made it work). The belt hits at the sweet spot aka hides the spot I want it to. I have a long torso so it's always a risk if there is some sort of belt. Usually ends up making me look pregnant which when you never want to look unless you are. 

January 03, 2013:

Checking off a few things…

I've been slowly overhauling our exterior. It's been slow going. Managed to get some of it painted this year as you know and we've revamped the porch. Next year we need to address landscaping. The moonscape isn't really doing it for me.

We also have to change our front door. Ken from Fieldstone is on it. We've already got the hardware here - can't wait to show you what we got from him. Hoping to change out the door asap.

We DID however, finally get a new light up. Took forever. It's from Union LIghting & Furnishings. LOVE. We painted it black gloss ourselves okay read that as our intern painted it. I don't like to sully my hands any more if I don't have to. I mean I COULD I just don't wanna.

Delegating is half the battle with us Type A's. I'm proud of myself. 

Oh look its the wreaths that caused me to have the  window fall out. They were worth it. Next year I need to add shutters. We also need to add the crest to the roof top above the bay. I think I've chosen a style but the supplier never got back to me. Umm... hello US Suppliers. If you want business, you may have to actually return an email or two. A call even.

Here's the new lantern. That door is literally about to crack in half.

I can't believe what good shape these wreaths are still in. They will be brown by the time I get the nerve up to take them all down again.

January 02, 2013:

Snippets from Home

I had a photoshoot with Stephani Buchman on Christmas Eve. I had hoped for snow but there wasn't any but the overcast skies I'd ordered up did stick with us for most of the day. My house faces south so bright sun shiny days are no good for photoshoots.

We didn't get to my kitchen as my husband was making gallons of bolognese still. Well he was pressure canning the jars he'd made. That was a learning curve. Oy.

Here are a few teasers of what was being shot by Stephani. Can't wait to see her final shots!!!

I just realized I only took pics of my bedroom. For those who will wanna know...

Wall Colour: St. Boniface by Para Paints

Ceiling: Chalk Gray Pratt & Lambert

Trim including Crown: Silver Lining Pratt & Lambert

Duvet Cover: West Elm (discontinued)

Shams & Pillows: Custom MHD

Upholstered Bed: Custom MHD

Zebra Bench: Custom MHD

Bedside Chests: Okay here's a lil secret for you - They are from Bombay Company. I had them sprayed & antiqued with a black over glaze from my cabinetry gurus.

Chandelier: Antique

Alabaster Lamps with Parchment Shades in Gold Leaf: Antique

I think the room is a perfect balance of high & low for this room is what I feel is it's secret success formula. Can you guess what the most expensive item in the whole room is?

December 31, 2012:

2012 What a Year!

Some time in 2011 I had a conversation on twitter with Stacey Bewkes who writes the fabulous Quintessence Blog about what 2012 was going to hold for Virgos. I'm technically a Virgo but I'm also a Leo. Or it could have been a numerology thing. It was something Wooowhooooy anyway. Anyhow, the point she made to me was that as of June 2011 straight through until the end of 2012 it was going to be a BIG year with momentus things happening. Now we'll never know if this would have still be the case had she not told me this and thus planted the idea in my head but I would say, reflecting back over 2012 that her words came true in every way imaginable.

Last year, I read a blog by Tobi Fairley that summarized her 2011 month by month in terms of accomplishments. I can hear my business coach now saying to me that I should do something similar and of course, I'm being all Canadian and thinking that that is a bit much even though I think that it is a great way to quantify it to one's self. I will say that I more than achieved my goal of getting the work I do published. 2012 was for certain the year of MHD #GettingPublished.  I think when I totalled it up, we were published 8 out of 12 months in 2012 though if you take into account the magazine column I write, blogging for HGTV.ca and being featured in Apartment Therapy I think I could probably up that to 11 3/4 out of 12. Thank you to Style at Home, Canadian House & Home, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Canadian Family, Chloe Magazine, Nuance, HGTV, Fine Life Saskatchewan, Canadian Home Trends, Steven & Chris.

The most interesting thing to reflect back on about getting published for me is to see what resonated with people the most and the demographics that are associated with each project that was shared. It's actually something that we've spent a lot of time reviewing and studying and it is going to shape how we approach new projects in the future and of course the magazines themselves. We've spent the last three years really honing our awareness in terms of our audience and how that in turn translates into new work for us.

Sashay won Best New Design Blog at the Design Bloggers Conference in LA. I'm still blown away by this. I am indebted to each and every reader, every person who comments or shares this blog with others. You are my favourite form of therapy by far and I've tried a few.

I was nominated by four different bloggers for New Trad Home - Designers to Watch. I didn't get picked but you should watch me anyway. ::wink::

These accolades are truly appreciated and I am most grateful for the opportunity to share my passion with the world. Lord knows I've learned a lot of things the hard way - it's taken 20 years to become an overnight success. HA!

Some things that I have learned specifically in 2012 though...

1) Do not apologize for running a business with the goal being to make money. Men do it and don't have to apologize for it - why should I as a creative woman feel ashamed or guilty for doing the same.

2) Pattern is my thing. I excel at working with patterns and colour. Now despite living in the land of beige, taupe & grey people seek me out for my eye. I need to celebrate and embrace this in 2013 and show those afraid of a little colour how to incorporate it into their life.

3) Know Thy Ideal Client. We've spent years refining this but I think in 2012 we've finally found our stride. We know who our ideal client is and in 2013 our voice will be targeting this individual more and more.

4) Custom & Bespoke are key to great design & a luxury service (I will add that they don't always mean that they have to be beaucoup de dollars either). In 2013 we will do more, seek out new craftspeople to collaborate with. More unique work for our wonderful ideal clients.

5) Working on projects in the USA is just as easy and considerably more economical for Canadian designers. If I showed you the numbers for our project in Boston in terms of what the client was quoted there vs what our cost was here in Canada you would not believe me. Heck, I didn't believe the numbers half the time. There were seriously times when we considered what the cost would be to send down our painters at one point. As it was, almost all of the custom furniture was made here in Canada and shipped down to the US for considerably less money than buying it in the US or from a US based company. I don't often find reason to cheer on NAFTA but can I get an AMEN?? We'd love to work in the US more in 2013. I find Americans far more receptive to colour and decoration on the whole. They love to share what they have but not necesasarily in a "Show Off" kinda way but more in appreciation for working hard. I would love to see more Canadians embrace this in the coming year. Be proud, celebrate your sanctuary, ahem... hire me to design it.

Last year at this time, the world of design lost Ray Staples - an incredibly talented creative force here in Canada. Margot Austin editor extraordinare shared with a many people on her blog what has now become a mantra of sorts from Ray...

"Where's the F*CKING Magic?"

I now ask myself that very question each and every time we embark upon a new project along with "What haven't we done before that people won't be expecting...."

So 2013...

December 27, 2012:

This Cobbler’s Tale Has GOT to END!


It's fast approaching and while I'm not a big believer in making the annual "Resolution" but I defnitely do look at my goals and priorities for the coming year but I also re-evaluate, change/add, remove throughout the year. It's an ongoing process vs a one shot deal.

I HAVE to prioritize my own house in 2013. It's essential. We've left certain spaces as long as we can but with a rapidly growing 3 year old some of these items simply cannot be put off any longer.

Here we go - end of the year/start of the year people love LISTS!


The crib isn't cutting it. I think the kid even asked for a bed recently. Can't ignore it when he's asking for it. Before we went to Italy though, I broached the subject with him and he was staunchly pro-crib. Something changed so now we need to make this happen. Of course, I'm undecided as to whether or not to work with the drapery that we have or start fresh. If I abandon the drapery, then I can really do anything in the room - upholstered bed wise that is. If I keep the drapery though, I'm restricted. WHAT TO DO? Periwinkle, Indigo, Chartreuse & Turquoise is what we are doing right now... that could change. 

Love me some Indigo, Green Periwinkle and either Red or Chartreuse. What do you think?

Our Main Bathroom needs gutting. We have a VERY narrow stairwell and we need to put in a new tub. I want it to be chic the tub that is. HELP. Anyone know of a small tub that is chic that is 36 x 60 or smaller but fabulous? I don't know if it can be deep. I barely could get a chair up the stairs and had to take off trim. 

We have the MOST GORGEOUS fixtures in the world from Delta Faucet. These are I DIE worthy every time you walk in the bathroom. So the tub can't be off the shelf fuglicious. Neither can the tile. I have found spectacular 2x4 rectified subway tile that I am wild about but I need our floor tile to be a show stopper. I had settled on one but it's out of stock until God Freaking Knows When. I also had had my eye on another but when dealing with their PR person I couldn't even get a discount let alone any special pricing. At $230/SQ FT even a teeny tiny 5x6 bathroom was insanely expensive. Did I mention I'm desperate to do a heated floor in this one? Don't even get me started about a vanity. 28" wide is the max width and that is pushing it. Oy. My head hurts.

I've been threatening to take down a wall in my back room to make it more than a shoebox... more like a boot box. We need another lounge so that Luke has a space and more importantly, his TOYS can have a space that is NOT our main room. I also need to blow out the back wall and put in some sort of patio door/window fabulosity. Oh and the whole main floor needs hardwood. And the stairs need a new runner. Hell, the entire upstairs needs new carpet.

So I'm looking for collaborators to ensure I actually DO SOMETHING or a winning Lottery Ticket... which ever comes first.