Monday, July 27, 2015

Style at Home Blog ~ 4 tips to refresh your outdoor oasis

Hello Monday! Yours truly is traveling in Newfoundland for a much needed relaxing vacation.  The the scenic trails, the breathtaking views of the Atlantic ocean, the delicious seafood, and the sandy beaches ... just a few of my favorite things to do.

The only catch is that Newfoundland is experiencing its coldest summer in 25 years with temperature hovering between 4C to 12C for the past couple of days.  Not exactly the 30C with full sun condition I had in Toronto and certainly not beach friendly condition.

Anyway, I am keeping my spirit high today by sharing with you my top 4 tips on how to create your dream outdoor living space on the Style at Home Blog.

Outdoor living is all about maximizing the use and function of the exterior space so we can fully appreciate the few months of beautiful warm weather!  What are some of your must have in your outdoor oasis?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

2015 Fall Preview ~ HomeSense Edition (Part 2)

Hello Thursday! Christmas in July has been the theme for me over the last couple of weeks and as much as I tried to hold back the holiday spirit until Fall is officially here, I have decided to share some of the fabulous items I spotted that are perfectly suitable all year round.

Today, we are checking out this dramatic and sumptuous bedroom at HomeSense.

This sensational vignette had me at hello with the gorgeous mirrored headboard (check out the antique mirror detail), the high style crytal lamp, the luxurious italian bed linen, and that stunning faux stone jewelry box in navy.  Who wouldn't want this as their bedroom right now?

I have always loved these sculptural star pendants and today, I have learned that they are even more incredible when you hang three of them together!

More quartz votive for the crystal obsessed like me.  This purple one is on my must-have list!  

Speaking about quartz, here is a set of nesting tables with agate inset within the snow white stone top.  Need I say more?

So if you were to refresh you bedroom right now, which element from this preview would you bring home today?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 Fall Preview ~ HomeSense Edition

Hello Wednesday!  Did you enjoy the beautiful sunshine on the weekend? I am so happy summer is finally here (we have waited so long for it to arrive) and I can't wait to fly east to St. John's for a wedding + a short vacay cruising along the oceanside of Newfoundland to take in the breathtaking views & some treasure hunting. 

Speaking about treasure hunting, one of my favourite places to look for fabulous for less is HomeSense.  I will be sharing some of my fab finds on Instagram over the next couple of weeks (#MyHomeSense) but today, I have to show you what's about to hit the stores real soon!

I love this super chic vignette at the fall preview, and I think it hits all the right notes for our cottages all year round!

The fundamental building blocks for this cozy, relaxed cabin include: a pair of harvest tables for a rustic vibe, tribal motif on the rugs (love the layering!) for warmth, colors, and adds drama to the creamy white and nature wood palette, and of course a true Canadian cabin won't be completed without an antler chandelier for an authentic appeal.

This vignette is filled with refined details and is truly exciting to see the superb quality / high style products landing at HomeSense.  I am particularly drawn to this urban re-interpretation of the classic Eames molded fiberglass chair by wrapping it with leather + an intericate cross stitch detail for a masculine, gentleman look.  The scented candles with wooden lids & the woven basket tray are the perfect addtional to your chic country home.

For a touch of glamour, antique gold accents are injected throughout the vignette and I love how luxe the warm glow looks against the purple grey backdrop.  For those who have white bookcases at home, here is your weekend DIY inspiration!

Now for us city dwellers, here are my top picks that I would love to incorporate in my own home.   I am obsessed with quartz votive holders and a fabulous selection will be available at HomeSense soon!  These geometic wood + marble boards are incredible finds, and what beautiful serving platters would they make at your next dinner party?

Speaking about favourite, this shiny copper pendant is sleek, contemporary, and a pair of them may just be what I need in my next kitchen at #ProjectDreamHome

Which element is your must-have?  I would love to see your finds and how stylish they look in your home!  If you are on twitter or instagram, be sure to share your pictures with hashtag: #MyHomeSense!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Open House Overhaul w/ Samantha Pynn ~ All for Family

Hello Friday!  The weekend is almost here and are you planning to give your home a makeover? Now that #ProjectChris is wrapped up, I am ready to resume planning of my next adventure! I have been busy cooking up different layouts / designs for an ultimate dream kitchen that excel in both style and function.

Since my initial meeting with the talented friends at Croma Design (you should check out their super cool projects), I have been collecting inspirations and trying hard to think outside of the box.  Today, I am blown away by Sam's sophisticated kitchen redesign at Open House Overhaul on HGTV Canada.     

images courtesy of HGTV Canada

With double wall ovens, floor to ceiling storage, an apron sink for charm, marble backsplash in herringbone, and a cozy breakfast nook with custom built-in bench, that's everything on my must-have checklist!   

images courtesy of HGTV Canada

Loving the juxtaposition between the sleek modern elements (the angular range hood, the sophisticated walnut floating shelves) and the rustic classic characters (shaker style cabinets, herringbone tile patterns, and natural wood accents) for a timeless, elegant look.  The little bar hook between the oven and the fridge and the use of floating shelves at an otherwise "dead corner" are absolutely ingenious!  I will have to figure out how to work that into my dream kitchen somehow. 

images courtesy of HGTV Canada

As for the breakfast nook, I love how it connects seamlessly with the gourmet kitchen by using the same cabinets to construct the bench.  The unified look makes the two separate zones read as one and helps visually expand the space, not to mention the extra storage!  To add drama and energy to the space, Sam picked a large scale pendant and graphic textiles via cushions and drapes for a dynamite knockout.  A round pedestal table provides function without obstructing flow: brilliant!      

images courtesy of HGTV Canada
The dining room and the living room also got a makeover with a consistent level of quality and aesthestic as the chef-envy kitchen.  Now if you were the potential buyer of this home, wouldn't you signed on the dotted line right at the spot?

images courtesy of HGTV Canada

Friday, July 3, 2015

Open House Overhaul w/ Samantha Pynn ~ Revamped

Hello Friday! Sorry for not popping in sooner but after the big rush to wrap up #ProjectDeck for Father's Day special, a much needed getaway at cottage country, and a super exciting photoshoot at #ProjectChris, this city boy was exhausted and needed a few days to get back to my regular routine.

Nonetheless, it's time for another amazing transformation on Open House Overhaul by Samantha Pynn! This time Sam turned a home with upgrades from the past decade into a sensational knockout in the present: the perfect starting point for the home owner to embrace the next chapter of her life.      

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
As most potential buyers made up their minds within seconds stepping into your home, a breathtaking first impression is a definite must when putting your home on the market.  Once a cramped living space with an awkward corner niche leaving buyers scratching their heads on what to do with the space, the living room + dining room + foyer now has a consistency of quality, patterns, and elegance.  Seriously, who wouldn't want to live here now?

Tight in square footage, Sam opted for a narrow piece with storage in the foyer, a comfy loveseat with a classic silhouette + an airy side table, and a transparent yet dramatic chandelier to open up the space and to make this open concept living/dining zone feels so much larger.  

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
This kitchen + breakfast nook is packed with upgrades when the house was built (i.e. cherrywood finish cabinets, stainless steel appliances).  However, the wood & black palette now feels really dated and potential buyers were underwhelmed while touring the heart of this home.

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
A new coat of paints on the cupboards, a luxe marble backslash, a few extra moulding on the fireplace, and a refreshing furniture layout have given this dated family space a complete facelift.  The marble coffee table echoes the marble detail on the fireplace (which ties in with the marble backsplash in the kitchen), and that's what you want the potential buyers to remember: this is a home of top quality with impeccable taste.  

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
image courtesy of HGTV Canada
The family dining zone is now cozy, inviting, and exudes a sense of elegance.  The rattan chairs with a slightly weathered appeal pair up perfectly with the round table in an espresso finish, while the scale of the lighting fixture and the graphic patterns on the pillows and drapes add drama and energize the space.    

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Ever wonder what to do with the teeny tiny "den" the builders put in the most awkward spot in your home? Here is how Sam gave this lounge its purpose and a larger than life personality by incorporating an ingenious built-in solution (customize with off the shelve bookcases), a sumptuous chaise, and a statement floor lamp, I am ready to sit here with a cup of tea and my favorite book after a long day at work!  

image courtesy of HGTV Canada
Comfort: checked; Style: CHECKED!

image courtesy of HGTV Canada

Thursday, June 18, 2015

#HDBlogSquad ~ Project Deck (Reveal)

Hello Thursday! Father's Day is just around the corner, are you ready to surprise you dad with a truly special gift this year? For this Father's Day, I have decided to give my dad's deck a total facelift with lots of help from The Home Depot.

You have seen my design concept, my progress report, and today I am ready for the big reveal!    

I love watching design shows with the dramatic before and after.  Well here is the before of this lonely corner with Mr. Kangaroo.

This corner will never be lonely anymore! With this stylish and super comfortable Elmsley sectional set, fresh begonia for bright, cheerful color, and a collection of decorative accessories that scream boho-chic, who wouldn't want to hang out here for a cocktail or two?

If you are in the market for a contemporary, low-maintenance, and very well-priced outdoor set this season, let you tell you why I am in love with Elmsley.  From a practical / functional standpoint, it is easy to assemble, fully versatile (the chaise can be on the left or right), and its tailored silhouette means no wastage of space.  Best of all, the set comes with an ottoman with built-in storage!

As for design, I love the streamline, handwoven resin wicker look.  The charcoal grey and natural linen palette also makes this sectional set the ultimate sophisticated backdrop for the pillows of your dreams.  Add a tray, a couple of lanterns, and some fresh blooms, I am ready to host a summer party!    

I love these shots and here is my tip on creating a beautiful outdoor oasis:

Next area of improvement is the staircase.  It was bare-bone basic and half-hazard at night without any outdoor light.  I also hate looking at the underside of the deck every time I walk up those steps.     

With a few pieces of lumber, a couple coats of paint, and some elegant deck lights, these steps are now perfect to welcome you to the deck awaits.  

The back corner of the deck needs attention, and I also want to disguise the neighbor's house (plus a little extra privacy).

Now it's an ideal spot for two to enjoy the morning coffee, and a much better sightline the moment you walked up those steps.

I have got to take a moment to talk about the Margie chairs.  Mid-century inspired in style, these chairs are stackable for easy storage and they are built to last in our climate.  Best of all, they are less than $50 a piece!  Sold in store only, you all better head over to The Home Depot before they are all sold out.

Determined to utilize every square inch of the deck, my goal is to turn this spot into a serving station for summer entertaining.  

My initial plan was to improve the lighting and add a BBQ.  However, as I placed the essential pieces on the deck, I realized there wasn't enough space for the deluxe BBQ I'd ordered.  A quick shopping around the house landed me with a tray table that's up for the task.  On a brighter note, this much better looking outdoor light came in a box and was installed like a dream.  

The deck now has a cohesive look from every corner and is a much more usable outdoor real estate.  Here are some of my favorite detail shots:

So what are you up to this Father's Day? I know I will be having a fabulous time hanging out here on Sunday!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#HDBlogSquad ~ Project Deck (Part 2)

Hello Wednesday! Father's Day is fast approaching and I have been working overtime to give my dad's deck a complete makeover with lots of help from The Home Depot.  I've shared with you my design concept last week, and today I am ready to show you some progress!

Here is a quick reminder of the tired and uninspiring deck at my family home.  Though lacking style and coziness, it offers a solid structure, decent size of real estate (15' x 11'), and I am determined to give it a well-deserved facelift by updating / improving three key elements:

Before we could get to the pretty, we have to do our prep work.  After a long and cold winter, the deck is in need of a thorough clean.  We started off by brushing off the dried leaves / spring seeds, and followed by the duo action of power wash + heavy duty brush to clean off stubborn dirts or lose paints.

We've left the deck alone for a couple of days before applying our first coat of paint.  I am no expert in outdoor painting but my gut says it's probably wise to allow the surface completely dried off before the painting begins.

Picking the right paint is important to ensure a strong adhesive bond between the paint and the wood, especially at a high traffic area.  The expert at The Home Depot suggested me to go for the BEHR PREMIUM low-lustre enamel Porch & Patio floor paint for easy application and maximum durability.  Best of all, it can also be color-matched to your favorite paint chip!

Two coats of serene mid-tone grey later, we are ready to tackle other areas such as the flower boxes and other decorative details.

Here is a beautiful porch I absolutely love.  I walk by this house every weekend and secretly wish that I will be able to recreate this at my own home one day.  I couldn't really incorporate all the decorative details in the deck makeover and so I decided to update the lattice around the deck.

The existing lattice has seen better days and after 10 mins of demolition, the deck was looking 10 times better already!

Initially I have planned to install horizontal wood planks for a crisp modern statement.  However, Dad is more traditional and he prefers the classic lattice look.  So here is our compromise: checker lattice.

As for the wood planks, we have used them to build custom flower boxes around the deck to hold these plastic planters for an ultimate low maintenance garden solution.

Last but not least, we are also refreshing the stair and while at it, why not add on some lights? These LED deck lights look fantastic at night and they are super easy to install.  My dream is to have the treads done in cedar and the risers painted grey with outdoor treated lumber.  Sadly my reno guy didn't get that memo and by the time I realized cedar wasn't part of his shopping list, he'd finished revamping the stair.

Well the new stair looks great ... only it will be painted entirely grey.

Desperately trying to stay positive, I've turned my attention to my favorite part of this deck makeover, the decorating & planting.  Check out these sneak peeks!

My plan is to get the deck makeover completed this weekend so my dad can actually enjoy it on Friday's Day.  Wish me luck of that and before I head back to work, I am super excited to share my latest feature as a lifestyle expert with The Home Depot on small outdoor living.  Thanks Calgary Sun for having me!

image via Calgary Sun