April 03, 2013:

It’s All About the Zhush…

Boston. Scouting Shots. Toronto - Spruce Styling. Toronto - Anti-Staging Consult.

The last 48 hours has been design overload in only the best of ways.

If I've never mentioned it before, in order to properly design/style a single bookcase, you need to be prepared to invest a minimum of $1000.00 to make it look okay. By okay I mean full and flush like a magazine. This of course includes the professional desginer/decorator to style it. If you have a library of bookcases, it could cost you way more.

It's why collections or family heirlooms add such great value to any space. Collections take time and they really add that je ne sais quoi to a space.

I love nothing more than to shop a client's house and discover the pieces they already own and then reinvent them into the space.

Our #Spruce clients have the most amazing collections & heirlooms. What an absolute treat it was to style the bookcases we designed. Cannot WAIT to do the final photos of this room. We are ooohhh so close and it will be DIVINE!!!

April 03, 2013:

#Boston in the Spring Time

I can't believe it has almost been a year since we began our #Boston project. MAN does time fly when you are having fun and making beautiful spaces. We flew down yesterday to shoot some scouting shots so that we could submit it to a shelter magazine. Y'all know how much this excites me. I'm beside myself with excitement over seeing this project on the glossy pages of a magazine because it really is tremendous in every way - but what I love most about it is just how very much it feels like the owners who live there.

We are currently working on finishing off a few more spaces in the house specifically the exterior patio spaces - dining and lounging. They have the most spectacular of outdoor spaces architecturally speaking so we need to add in the furnishings and POW magazine ready.

Our lounging space is inspired by this picture - John Robshaw & Les Indiennes printapalooza

We need a round dining table but we are struggling to find the perfect one. Some of the ones we love would be a death trap to any child under 4ft tall of which they have two currently... We love love love this for our dining chairs but finding the perfect table isn't as easy as we'd hoped. These all are contenders though. I think.

April 01, 2013:

#Madison - A New Kind of MHD Project

We are embarking on a new kind of project for MHD one that I've long wanted to become involved in, but we've never had the opportunity before now. MHD is teaming up with a Developer/Builder to redo a beautiful historic home in the Annex neighbourhood very close to our studio. It's a beautiful old home that up until very recently, was divided into 11 apartments but we are restoring it to a single family dwelling and MHD will be doing all of the interior design for it.

Hummmmdinnnnggggerrrr - an insane project with no actual client.

Now I know that I was bemoaning how hard it is to not have a client yesterday with our #KBIS2013 project but that's just conceptual this we get to build. The house itself presents many challenges so that will keep us in line. We also have to hit a budget so that will also necessitate some trade offs/ups. The hardest part, will be NOT getting to keep the house when we are done that is for sure!!!

The architectural elements that were probably once in this house need to be harkened back to and played up but with a contemporary twist. Our goal is to add in features that will appear to be original to the house all the while using modern construction materials. It can be done when you know what you are doing.

The 3rd floor will have quite the ceiling line. I think we should play it up. We could be three bedrooms up on the third floor but I think we'll only do two and then opt for a built in office area that acts as a transition space between the two rooms. Jack and Jill bathroom will connect they two very large bedrooms. The house will also have a side entrance vs a front door at the front of the house so we will be needing to play that up so that it feels grand and welcoming. I adore this side entrance here on the left.

We also have a beautiful back garden to play up and there are already some challenges that we have to consider - specifically there is a stairwell at the back of the house that leads to the basement and up into what could be the kitchen. However we are suggesting that that actually be turned half into a butler's pantry and instead of putting the kitchen at the back of the house - furthest away from the entrance that we opt for the dining room to go back there. This will mean having a side door off of the kitchen to lead to the backyard in addition to one off of the butler's pantry. I'm thinking that a family with kids wouldn't want the kids going through the formal dining room to get out to the backyard so a side entrance is a must. So many things to consider but isn't it all just exciting? Want to follow along on our journey? Check out our #Madison Inspiration Boards on Pinterest HERE.

April 01, 2013:

Easterpaloozzza & Other Indulgences

Oh this has been a weekend of indulgence, decadence and becoming ever more sloth-like. Delicious Pizza Libretto with fabulous clients on Friday, Blondies on the Island with Uncle Ken on Saturday, a right British Fry Up at the Bristol Yard Sunday morning-ish and then smoked briskett with the other side of the family come dinner time. It's a wonder I can even lift my fingers to type this.

Walked by a former student of mine on Saturday afternoon. I was too shocked to see him all grown up to get my brain/tongue/mouth all working together and by the time I did it was too late - so I did the next best thing and messaged him on facebook to tell him I'd just walked past him. Sweet Quinn is probably my all time favourite. I taught him in Grade 3 - he was going to a pub to drink and watch the hockey game so it's been a few years and thensome since I last saw him. Hasn't really changed just got bigger. He borrowed another teacher's engagement ring and proposed to me in front of the class. Such a sweet boy.

I don't miss teaching though there is much it does bring to the business of design. I have to teach clients and staff/suppliers/other designers all the time. It's just the nature of communicating the creative and why you would do something over something else. I much rather teach about design than primary school that is for darn sure. It is nice however, to be friendly with so many former students who are all now adults. I was VERY young when I started teaching - I'd just turned 23 so I remind myself of that when I run into sweet lil kids all grown up.

I'm on deadlines for KBIS and I will be honest, I'm struggling not gonna lie. I've already mentioned how unrewarding designing a concept space is for me on a personal level. It's having the wonky/bizarre/OCD/rule based restrictions that truly make what I do rewarding. You need parameters including budgets to help make making decisions all the easier. Being able to do anything no matter what the cost - well it's just not the same. Bloody hard in fact! So I write this instead of sketching. We are supposed to do some sort of rendering of the space. I don't believe in doing a big one for any design project. Too restricting if you have it all mapped out before it's done and I ALWAYS change my mind about something or derive inspiration where I'm not quite expecting it. Even more important is that if a client sees a fully rendered drawing then they are more likely to fixate good/bad on something either before you do it which can delay the process or after it is installed because of what was seen in that drawing. I prefer my sketches/renderings to give a mood/feel but not be too perfect. This makes for a much better reveal always!!!!

This is my concept for the eat in area in the kitchen. That Clarence House Tiger fabric on that settee.... hot DAMN I bet that would be tuition for an Ivy League College but who cares... indulgence & decadence win the weekend!

March 28, 2013:

Cookin in the Cottage Kitchen….

I'm not one to celebrate the out of doors or getting back to nature but I will confess to occasionally wanting a cottage in order to have a cottage to decorate. Silly yes?

We are working on a design plan for the living, dining and kitchen with our #HaliburtonCottage project.

The clients had Aya Kitchens design the kitchen and I'm hearing that it has been installed. However, the island is up for negotiation when it comes to the style/design.

Here's the concept sketch for the kitchen done by Aya.

The island is supposed to be faced in barnboard but the client isn't loving the horizontal placement. She's mentioned vertical to me, so you know I've kiboshed that and said horizontal. However... I'm not entirely sure that this is the right way to go.

The client was using this kitchen by Sarah Richardson as her original inspiration. I have to be honest, this was my least favourite of her kitchens ever. I especially find the island schlocky. I also think it's entirely impractical. If you were to lean up against the front of the island, you're at risk of getting a splinter let alone catching your clothes.

This island on the Walker Zanger blog is at least running on the horizontal. The barnboard also looks like it was at least planed. Rough wood with small kids is a disaster waiting to happen.

I feel like the ends need to somehow incorporate an X into them. I also think that a cerused black walnut/oak that has been greyed is the answer too...

We need to work somewhere in this range... or we go for a totally different vibe and do a tongue and groove horizontal black or indigo bead board - but wider than a regular bead. Thoughts?