May 05, 2013:

If You Want to Be A Design Superstar…

I truly and sincerely believe that you must travel. Sure you can always make excuses, LAWD knows I did for years but if you are honestly going to explore your own creativity and influences you need to get the hell out of dodge.

Two weeks ago I embarked on what can only be described as a new and emerging Love Affair. It's pretty torrid I have to say and it's with New Orleans. I've travelled all over the world and the only other places I had an immediate and passionate connection with were Paris (I swear I lived there in a former life), Key West (good god I love it there) and now New Orleans. I am firmly committed in my embracing of the WooWoo that I was a Southern Belle at some point in a past life (I don't know if I believe in such things but when I can't explain these deep rooted connections to strange places I feel this is but the best way to describe it). New Orleans is the nicest city I've been too ever in terms of people. Hell, the TSA agents were sweet as pie and oh so helpful - if that doesn't convince you well they also had the nicest drunk, homeless people who were all too happy to point you in the right direction (surprisingly accurate too considering the intoxication levels of a few).

Now I mentioned to you in a post last week about the converging of the gods and the stars aligning so that I found myself being introduced to Randy Jackson, Creative Director for the Amanda Stone Talley gallery via facebook at the precise moment that we were sitting & standing almost beside each other at the Ogden Museum for the Miles Redd talk right? We met the most amazing shopkeepers and design people strolling along Magazine street - the owner (I think) of Malachite offered to drive my friend Lori and I down the street to a bakery when we inquired if there was anywhere to grab a bite. Amanda Stone Talley herself offered to drive us to dinner after giving us a tour of her studio/home and gallery. I mean WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE????

Literally, these folks would have given you the shirts off of their backs if we'd asked. Such soul and taste - good sweet LAWD the whole place just oozes personality, charm and charisma even some of the less groomed areas. Here's a taste...

I've always wanted to own one of her pieces. I opted for the very expensive handbag to commemorate my 40th birthday but maybe I'll be lucky for my 41st?

Her studio was amazing. She completes a piece in about 2 hours and then walks away. I loved hearing this. It's so instinctual and deliberate and then it's done. I feel that speaks to my dating strategy before I met my husband. Visceral.

The Man who made it all happen Mr Randy Jackson and those riding pants. Hello!

Amanda has come out with a line of her own wallpaper and fabric. Fabulosity.

Hanging Brains right here. That's what this paper is called.

I need this bed for Luke's room. The dog was hilarious.

Not unlike my own sofa - so moody and decadent.

Randy and I on the roof deck over the porch to the Gallery. Not gonna lie, I was scared shitless up here but not too scared to let it show or affect my ability to pose. I mean the things I do for a good photo op.

These were in Amanda's gallery. I'm OBSESSED with them. Tomorrow I'll share some of my shopping finds with you.....

May 05, 2013:

We Have Counters!!! #MHDStudio & Home Depot Canada

The purpose of my trip to New Orleans was to attend the 50th Annual KBIS - Kitchen and Bath Palooza really. It was very interesting to see all of the amazing things that are up and coming for kitchens and bath however nothing came close to seeing our new counters installed back at our studios!!

We selected Silestone's Lyra countertops for our kitchen and our bathroom. I had originally selected a composite counter from the Martha Stewart collection but felt it was too uniform and too dark. I loved the brightness of the Lyra and given that our kitchen is all black, felt it was needed to lighten things up a bit to be more functional.

We opted for an ogee edge to really give it a luxe feel - and I kid you not, it really makes for a much more sophisticated look when paired with the black and blueberry cabinetry from both Martha and Thomasville that we've used in both spaces. I find that Martha can tend to be a touch more casual and the high contrast and traditional edging on the counters absolutely glam the heck out of the whole thing - not to mention the gold faucet and hardware... we are close people very very close.

I was amazed by the number of designers who stopped me in both North Carolina and at KBIS to talk to me about this collaboration with Home Depot. Most were entirely surprised at what we have achieved thusfar I can't wait until the final reveal shots are ready to go because it truly is something to behold. All ordered from Home Depot - some special order other regular in stock items!!

I can't wait for the drain to go in - why? BECAUSE IT'S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GOLD!!!! We opted for a white Kohler sink because stainless really wouldn't make the faucet sing and I love that it makes for an entirely white counter what with it being undermount and all.

A little hardware confession here. We chose Martha Cup Pulls because there wasn't a corresponding match to our Pinstripe Knobs from Kohler. The golds didn't match. I'm all for mixing metal but the knobs are more of a dulled satin finish and the Martha pulls were bright brass and they just didn't work. Quick fix - Rub N Buff. We bought a few tubes and assigned our coop student to their transformation. It was a quick and immediate fix that works so much better. So if you find that you love the hardware style but the finish is wrong, Rub N Buff is a great inexpensive solution.

Our bathroom vanity. We worked with our Home Depot Canada kitchen and bath designer Janet to create this extremely functional and entirely gorgeous vanity using Kitchen Cabinets and matching Gables that you would often find flanking say either side of a sink cabinet or stove/range unit. We had our installers make them stand proud of the cabinet so that we created a more custom shape and then we had the countertops templated to follow the line the gables took to add an even more custom feel to the piece. Voila. This could easily be done in a kitchen or bathroom and it makes it feel absolutely custom. LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!!

May 02, 2013:

Just When You Thought I Was Done Blowing Your Mind…

#Hpmkt week it is here on the blog. Never fear, I've got posts on New Orleans and some sneak peeks of some installs and new projects next week. Wait til you SEE our kitchen at the #MHDStudio. Holy Haystacks OUTRAGEOUS.

Let me introduce you to Jonathan Charles. We were rushing to get to the Hickory Chair showroom so that I could see my sweet friend Kate Hable but we agreed to pop our heads into this showroom and it was a Tsunami of AMAZING. Two Hours and 30,000 sq ft of showroom later... we missed Kate. I'm still heartbroken but from a business position, this was really a fortunate diversion.

I dropped the drink and the bag and went for a full Flail. Mouth hanging open, arms flapping and jumping up and down was I. I didn't care. I probably looked like a lunatic but I didn't care. I think Jonathan and I fist pumped and high fived at one point. All composure lost.

Saw these tables first second I walked through the door and was a puddle of goo on the floor.

And the big sister version in a dining room table.

And then there was this.... for the Margot Austin Malachite lovers out there.

I never met a blue/white porcelain anything I didn't lust after.

MOAAR

A table of fabulous.

Rawwwwrrrrr

Love this take on a gourd.

I'm not usually a huge fan of glass tables - Have we ever discussed "Thigh Spread?" It's an acutall THANG. It's not a flattering thang... nuff said. This however, I quite like the sculptural quality of the base I think it really compliments the glass top.

This curved desk is beyond sexy. I have NO current client who needs this desk but I really really hope that that quickly changes.

This colour. Oh My Lawd.... the picture doesn't do it justice. As soon as we saw it, Jonathan and I started hitting each other. We tend to do that when we get excited. Brother and Sister from different parents CLEARLY.

DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN.

Pretty.

Sigh. So much pretty in this picture.

FRIGGIN HELL ON A HOTROD. SO SO SO SO Amazing.

CONVLUSING NOW.

CALL THE PARAMEDICS. OH MY FREAKING STARS. I have a project that this would be great for but we may have to move an heirloom piece somewhere else. It's just oh so sexy.

All closed up.

OHMAJEEZUZ there are tables to match?

Perfection.

BAM. LUST.

Amen. If I were a religious person, I just went to the Temple on High in this showroom/delivered/born again/attained Nirvana you name it. 

May 01, 2013:

#HPMKT - Upholstery Edition

I'm going to switch gears here and talk upholstery at #HPMKT. If you are sick to death of my goings on and on and on about pretty things let me know. I am saving a gigantic epic post on one showroom....

Stacey Bewkes who writes the Quintessence Blog  referred us to the Wesley Hall showroom. I take her referrals quite seriously as I have long admired her eye and know that she wouldn't steer us wrong. BLOWN AWAY - I keep using this term but it's true. We met Zach almost immediately and he was beyond helpful and lovely - no stodgey furniture sales guy here. The pieces themselves were amazing. Great scale and proportion and the most amazing array of graded fabrics to choose from. Then we sat down on a few pieces and I started calculating the Uhaul rental rates should we cancel our flights, pack up a few pieces and drive home to Toronto with them right from the showroom. I haven't seen my husband this excited about new furniture in ummm forever actually.

This greeted me as soon as I walked through the door. Hard not to be happy when you look at this. I could think of a dozen or so projects of ours where this would be amazing. I like happy colours.

I died over this chair when I saw someone post it on twitter. Died twice as hard in person. OH SWEET JESUS that fabric is amazing.

I adore stripes. On a sofa even more so. ENOUGH WITH SOLID SOFAS.

Mix and match your fabrics why don't you!!!

Adored their fake fireplace. Tried to sneak it out under my coat with no luck.

Hubs and I in total agreement. We need to own this sofa. It was beyond comfortable and it will fit in our house. This picture doesn't do the colour justice.

This however DOES do the colour justice. Don't worry I'm not going to put an acid lemon sofa in my house. There are other leather colours. I can't believe I'm considering a leather sofa for my house. I mean WOW.

Our #Brooklin project will see Phase Two happening in the basement come January 2014. These stools will be there. I love love love this plaid.

My bestie needs these teal bad boys in her house. Maybe under the acid green console table in the foyer???

Never met a tufted ottoman I didn't love but one with a shelf underneath??? PERFECTION!!!

I need to find a spot in the studio for this chair. Asa took one seat in it and fell in love with the chair. I mean the guy keeps things pretty close to his chest but his immediate affection for said chair was apparent to all. Then I sat in it and understood exactly what the fuss was about. Surprisingly, it is comfier in the leather than the fabric version of the same chair.

April 30, 2013:

More of More… #HPMKT Continues

Blown Away. I mean I knew it was going to be good but how good was still a bit of a shock. I can't believe I've been in this business for over 15 years and I've never gone before now. You've heard about my flailing, my poor attempts at keeping my excitement to myself... well let me tell you about my woes in my toes.

People have told me about wearing the proper footwear but I don't think that they truly exist to withstand all the walking. Sure there are buses to take you from one corner to the next literally across the street but within the buildings themselves you are hiking on foot. Fortunately, sitting on furniture is encouraged. Heck, Asa and our friend & designer Jonathan Legate discovered the world's best Bloody Mary's in a table linen shop which fortunately had a big overstuffed sofa in the window display that Courtney and I collapsed into.

We kicked off the whirlwind High Point visit with a private dinner with Traditional Home, Zinc Door held in the Global Views showroom. The displays were spectacular, the guest list very prestigious and well we had the world's BEST lasagne - Portobello Mushroom and Gruyere lasagne. I'm still drooling at the mere thought of it. The swag bags were about 40lbs each and were a lifesaver - Luke thought that each item was a special gift for him so he was blown away at his parent's generosity when we got home. Ahh the innocence of childhood... Phew!!!

You want me to shut up now and show you the goods right?

The cocktails were delish but so were these chairs.... LOTS AND LOTS OF FLORALS!! I'm happy as a clam with the patterns and prints that were abundant at #hpmkt

Very swanky.

WOWSAS

Our fabulous hosts.

Seriously the showroom you could spend a week in and not see everything.

VERY proud owner of a pair of Jonathan Adler mugs from Zinc Door.

Dransfield & Ross - Painterly fabrics were EVERYWHERE to my great pleasure. Pattern was in abundance minimalism was hard to come by!!!

Abandoned Belgian Farmhouse was still being clung to by the knock offs. The updated look is what I call Big Sur. Bleached and Cerused woods but with a polished look to them. They are approaching a Ralph Lauren inspired casual beachy chic. This is from Studio A which is a Global Views company.

Y'all know I've been proclaiming Golds return for what, three years now? Well the market is definitely in agreement now. I also think that Canadians embraced gold a lot sooner/faster than their cousins to the south.

Hammered metals are everywhere much to my great delight. I really love a mix of metals. So much choice out there.

My new patio furniture. GAAAAAHHHH so so chic. I kinda don't want to share who this is by is that wrong? There are clues to be had... I didn't photoshop it out but I was tempted...

I found lighting for days. I do find their showrooms overwhelming though especially if you have to look up a lot. Currey and Co are always a delight. Bethanne and Clive outdid themselves!

OBSESSED

Lotsa furry.

My love of Indigo is definitely catching on. I found SO MUCH everywhere in every possible configuration.

Embroidery was EVERYWHERE. Embellishment has returned in full force. I feel that's a good sign in terms of overall market recovery. When people want to adorn themselves and their homes the market is in an upswing. Minimalism is BAD for our industry. 

So much pretty. I have a client who's bedroom these would be perfect for!

Then there was John Strauss' booth designed by Carisa Bell and featuring MY RUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!! BTW the coloured hides have landed as in they are at my office. I CANNOT WAIT TO SHARE!!!