Monday, September 22, 2014

Princess Margaret Showhome 2014 w/ Brian Gluckstein

Hello Monday! How was your weekend? I am still up in Collingwood enjoying an extended long weekend and an early view of fall colours.  If you are planning to head up north for some picture-perfect moments in bright orange and red, you have got to drive up north this coming weekend.

While I was hiking in Collingwood on Saturday morning, Brian hosted a fabulous brunch at the 2014 Princess Margaret Showhome!  You know I am a big fan of Brian's work and was totally inspired at last year's show home, so you could imagine how much I wanted to join everyone for the house tour with Brian!  Thanks to my dear friends (check out Jordana's post), I'd joined the group on a virtual tour via instagram and today, we are walking through this gorgeous home together!

image via Princess Margaret Lotto and House & Home
Brian's style is classic, sophisticated, yet current, and that is exactly the feeling you would get the moment you stepped into the grand foyer with a fireplace on your left and a stunning staircase with soaring ceiling height on your right.  I am crazy about that herringbone floor for a sophisticated classic look, and the dark grey colour is also practical choice for the application.   

One of Brian's concepts for this home is to maintain a sense of openness throughout the rooms.  There is a translucent quality to this house.  No matter where are you in the house, your eyes will always lead you to the next space and wanting to see more.  For instance, the sensational living room / dining room is right behind the openings of the stately fireplace! 

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
This open concept living / dining room is the first space you will see from the foyer.  Brian has flooded the space with natural sun lights, dressed the room in a serene palette of cream and pale grey with pops of emerald green, and accented with brass metals and exotic wood details.  Understated luxury is what Brian aimed to achieve in this space and I say BRAVO!! 

My absolute favourite in this room is the fireplace wall (you can see through to the foyer) with the stunning mirror and sconces for unbelievable character and charm.  This creamy palette is also brought to life thanks to those luxe emerald green velvet pillows! 

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
The kitchen … I've lost my words when I saw this exquisite creation.  The brass accents via the chandelier, pendants, hardware, and shelving, the pale lavender/grey upholstery and drapes, the light coloured wide plank hardwood floor, the continuous use of stone throughout (love the waterfall style both at the island and the sidebar), just to name a few ideas I am "borrowing" for the next #ProjectChris.

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
The juxtaposition between light and dark is another concept Brian injected into this home, and the kitchen is the perfect spot to showcase such contrast.  This beautiful matte black chef-envy gas stove looks just absolutely incredible next to the crisp white cabinets and stone surfaces.  The jet-black island with same profile as the white cabinets adds visual interest and helps ground this white airy kitchen.

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
Behind the stylish feature wall in the kitchen is the family room.  From intimate conversation in the evenings to casual lounging on Sunday morning, this family room is the ultimate sweet spot for all.    

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
The family room shares the same level of detail and design aesthetics as the adjacent living / dining room.  However, the colour palette in this space is considerably darker and again, creating that contrast between light and dark between the spaces.  Accented with green accessories and rich wood tone, this grey and white family room feels cozy and warm.

May I just say, I LOVE that camera artwork! What an unexpected contemporary treat in this classic family home!

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
Grand, spectacular hallway is one of Brian's trademarks and in this year's show home, it takes your eyes straight to my absolute favourite room of the entire house: the conservatory.  Small in square footage but WOW!!  Unbelievable natural lights from the soaring windows (love the black frames), the elegant furnishings, and yes, there is a life tree planted inside the room! 

A little design trick to note here: add mirror to the third wall and you have effectively doubled the amount of light and an illusion of a much larger space! 

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
I wasn't kidding when I said the house is grand.  For example, the staircase has windows and drapes going from the second floor all the way to the basement, while the landing on the second floor comes with a pair of sconces and a sculptural bench.


image via Princess Margaret Lotto
The master bedroom is sleek and sophisticated with a light cream & grey palette and espresso furnishings from Brian's furniture line of course, and hello to yet another heavenly walk-in closet!

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
The master ensuite is definitely one of the highlights on this tour.  It features a bold and dynamic mosaic floor, a floating vanity + mirrors in front of a window, a classic freestanding soaker tub (Brian has the same tub in his own home), and as if all these are not luxurious enough, Brian has put in a gas fireplace!! I could just live in this room all winter if Brian would let me! 

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
To add more fun and personality to the second floor, Brian used some bold colours and graphic patterns in the other bedrooms.  I am loving this nautical spirited bedroom with in shades of blue, bunk beds, beadboard detail, and that dynamite trim on the drapes!    

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
Mandarin orange / apricot is such a tricky colour to decorate with but are you not in love with this chic and pretty bedroom? The marble lamps, the geometric patterned fabric for the headboard, and use of minty green to complement the pastel orange drapes, I love them all!  I have never decorated a space in orange / apricot before but I am now a big fan!! 

image via House & Home
Taking a few steps down to the basement, here is our dream laundry room with plenty of storage and a long run of counter for folding surface.  For those who enjoyed crafting and other artistic creations, Brian has got you covered as well.

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
For the ultimate movie watching experience, this sexy space is the spot for you to pre-screen all the Oscar's nominations!  It is such a masculine space with the charcoal grey walls, the leather and steel armchairs, and with furnishings taking on a more angular, tailored silhouette.  As for the ladies, Brian has the long and comfy sofa upholstered in light grey and a contemporary rug in stripes to balance the dark colours in the room.  

image via Princess Margaret Lotto
Thanks to House & Home, you can also tour this sensational home with Brian! 

image via House & Home - main floor
image via House & Home - second floor
image via House & Home - basement
Tickets are available for purchase now and if you love this classic red brick Georgian home with a modern twist re-imagined by Brian Gluckstein, you have got to order your tickets here now!  

Special thanks to Brian for once again inspiring us with his impeccable design and Princess Margaret Lotto for making this dream house the home for the lucky winner!  Fingers crossed for all of the ticket holders!    

Thursday, September 18, 2014

East Coast Vacay ~ Eatery + Shop

Hello Thursday!  Did you enjoy the virtual tour to Nova Scotia on Tuesday? I wish I am still by the ocean and waking up to the gentle sound of the waves.  Not sure if I have mentioned it but I was travelling with my in-laws and most of these breathtaking must-sees were hand-selected by them!  High five to the fabulous choices!

Yours truly, on the other hand, was in-charged for the food + shop options, and that's what I want to share with you today!

Let's be honest, sea food is the number one choice when you are right by the ocean right? I mean, the East Coast is known for its fresh out of the water haddocks, cods, scallops, shrimps, mussels, and lobsters (just to name a few) and I was determined to try them all!

Our first stop of the day is Lunenburg and I loved South Shore Fish Shack for its fish & chips and scallops & chips.  As for coffee and tea, you have to check out Shop on the Corner!  Their latte and ginger snaps were delicious!


Up next is The Sou' Wester in Peggy's Cove.  Highly recommended by Brittany and I couldn't agree more, especially after spending an hour enjoying the scenary in crazy gusting wind!


Baddeck offers many local cafes and shops (definitely a tourist attraction as I saw at least two tourist buses making their stops in one hour) and at The Antique Boutique, I found a pair of these exquisite vintage cloisonne vases for only $90 a pair!  We didn't have lunch in Baddeck but we did stop by The Dancing Goat for coffee and cakes.  Super chic right?


My in-laws love breads and they have found their favourites (I fell in love with an almond croissant) at La Boulangerie Bakery in Cheticamp.  The Acadian aesthetics in Chaticamp also made me picture snapping happy!


Taking about photo obsessed, the Herritage Bed & Breakfast at North Sydney had me at hello.  Juana, our hostess created vignettes throughout her century old home and you know this place is good when it looks so fantastic outside!  More on Herritage Bed & Breakfast next week and as for dinner, I actually went to the Black Spoon Bistro twice ... yes it was that good!


In Charlottetown PEI, Mr. K of Vintage Fine Objects recommended Terro Rouge and it was definitely worth a visit.  Food was delicious and the decor was sophisticated,contemporary … certainly refreshing after being accustomed to the 19th century aesthetics for the past 2 weeks.  Kettle Black reminded me of the chic cafe on Queen West, and that red fox at the front door was just too adorable!


While travelling in PEI, I also visited the Hawkins Pottery Studio along the arts and heritage trail, and you know Patti has an amazing sense of style when the outside of her studio looks like this.  Pure simple elegance and I love the pop of canary yellow against the dove grey!


Inside her studio, you would find Patti's entire collection of potteries in a serene palette of blues, greens, sands with an organic sensibility as Patti looks to Mother Nature as her inspiration.  From dining essentials (bowls, cups, serving pieces) to entertaining must-haves (pitcher, coaster, tea pot, and vases), Patti has them all!   


It was such a pleasure meeting Patti and she walked me through the process on how she hand-crafted her beautiful potteries.  These pieces have been glazed and ready to be fired.  The colors will change after the process but I love the pastel colors as is!   My favourite at the shop has got to be the one-of-a-kind intricately carved strainer and candle lanterns.


Now back to Nova Scotia, Mr. K also suggested me to check out Great Village (check out Margot's finds here) and what a treat I must say at Great Village Antiques!


You know these Beswick doggies are not easy to come by in Toronto and I have found 3 different pairs in the store! I like the dark hair ones … a bit more fun than the normal pure white.  Of course this adorable French Bulldog also caught my eyes.  She is actually a door stopper!


It might be a little early to start dreaming about Christmas but how could I not when there were boxes and baskets of vintage ornaments in pristine condition and such interesting designs?


I also spotted this cute mini pineapple, a vintage desk lamp, a pair of handsome salt & pepper grinders, and a cherry blossom lamp.  


Here comes my absolute favourites from this visit:
  • the ultimate wall sconce combining eagle, antique bullseye mirror, and flower motif
  • delicate cloisonne ashtray, but I will use it as a bud vase
  • mighty alabaster Torjan horse bookends
  • equisite cut glass and sterling silver coasters (love the patterns on both the silver and the glass)

The luggage constraint had stopped me from taking all of them home.  I may just have to give Great Village Antique a call to get them shipped to Toronto.  Better yet, I may just have to go back for another visit!

Hope you enjoy today's eat and shop trip to the East Coast! My favourite Bed & Breakfasts and bright colorful shots are up next!

Happy Thursday! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

East Coast Vacay ~ Tourist's Hotspots (Nova Scotia)

Hello Tuesday! I am finally back in town and man it sure is hard to get back to work after being away for two weeks of pure majestic sceneries from the East Coast of Canada.  I must have taken over 2,000 pictures on the tour and thought perhaps I should share them with you by topic.  For today, I am taking you to my favourite tourist hotspots in Nova Scotia.

When I mentioned my trip to Nova Scotia, everyone told me to visit Peggy's Cove.  I did a little google search prior to departure and thought, isn't it just a light house?  Well, it is not just your typical light house.  It is also a post office, the place for wedding pictures and receptions (I witnessed two weddings that day), and a meditative sanctuary for busy city dwellers to clear their minds as the powerful waves from the Atlantic Ocean crashed up against the rocks.    


Not too far from Peggy's Cove is a quaint historic town, Lunenburg, which was designated under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 1995.  Want to have a taste of British colonial settlement in Canada? You have to check out Lunenburg.  I had the best fish and chips + scallops in Lunenburg and will share the spot with you next week.



Travelling along the west coast of Nova Scotia from Halifax also landed us at Sherbrooke Village, where we got to exprience the lives of the earlier settlers in the late 19th century.  


From the pharmacy, the custom tailor (a suit for only $11.50 ... 150 years ago), the local print shops for  newspaper or blueberry pie recipe, to a jailhouse (oh yes, you could be in jail if you were caught drunk or speeding) and the general store filled with locally made goods or specially imported items, the village in the 1860s had it all. 

See that quilt in the lower left corner? I want it! Wonder how much it would be 150 years ago.



The imfamous Cabot Trail in Cape Breton is next and thanks Brittany for your tips, we spent 4 days (3 nights) in the area just to relax and enjoy the breathtaking views from many of the trails Cape Breton has to offer. 

Yes, we are talking about looking afar where the ocean meets the sky and sea birds stop by for friendly greetings.



We hiked a few trails and they were all incredible, but if you are tight on time and are looking for a relatively easy hike, skyline trail is where you want to be.  Isn't the view just magnificent?  


Here comes the bonus: the skyline trail is also known for its wildlife sightings.  Of course you were not supposed to "bother" them but you are allowed to take pictures.  Check out what I have spotted on my hike: mama moose and baby moose! 


If you are travelling from Cape Breton back to Halifax, I highly recommend you make a stop at the Fortress of Louisbourg.  Ok, I am a sucker for historical stories and Louisbourg is all about the lives of the Acadians in the 18th century and their constant struggle with the British.  Nonetheless, it is an exceptionally beautiful place to visit and learn about the lives of the early French settlers in Canada.



Fishery was the leading business back in the days and tonnes of salted fish were sent to France through this bright yellow gate more than 250 years ago.  Sheep, goats, chicken and geese, these are some of the lifestocks commonly found within the walls of the fortress. 


Of course the French musician is also super cute.


The fortress was severely distroyed after being captured twice by the British.  Luckily the Fortress of Louisbourg was designed as a site of historic significance and was partially reconstructed based on some of the original stonework and building records.

Let's take a moment to imagine the once vibrant and busy streets where the early settlers from France in search for a new life and people from neighbouring towns came to trade in this 3rd busiest ports in North America.


Before we leave Louisbourg, I have to share with you this adorable clip capturing this silly goose stretching its leg and wing. 


I enjoyed the many beautiful sunsets during my trip and White Point was my favourite spot of it all.  The stones, the low ground covering plants, and the crashing waves (strong wind too) connected with me.



And of course the many beaches were just the places to be on a bright sunny day.  This was just one of many moments where I simply relaxed at the beach watching the waves.


Before I go, we also have our winner for the Hudson's Bay smartphone case! Congrats Heather!! Please contact me with your information.


Happy Tuesday friends!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Black Rooster Decor + BlogPodium Special Discount & Giveaway!

Hello Tuesday!  Have you eased into the fall spirit yet as we are seeing frost in the morning (at PEI) and snow in Calgary during the 2nd week of September?  I am having a blast at my #eastcoastvacay, and I know I will miss the breathtaking sceneries and the fresh delicious seafood dishes when I am back in Toronto.  In order to prepare myself for Toronto mode, I am taking you on a tour at one of my favourite shops in Toronto: Black Rooster Decor.


You know Black Rooster Decor is good when the window looks this good! 


And let me tell you, your trip to endless spectacular inspirations starts the moment you step into the store.  Here is the serene and elegant vignette filled with gorgeous items available at Black Rooster Decor.  I love the tension and energy created between the pure organic elements and the edgy industrial pieces, especially the cluster of Moroccan lanterns and the decadent mother of pearl mirror vs the reinterpretation of an iconic Eames chair pairing with a sexy dining table with polished chrome base + a live edge wood top.     


If you love decorative accessories as much as I do, you are in heaven at Black Rooster Decor.  I am crazy about these black horn candleholders, the hammered brass tray (for only $36!!), the beautiful gold bowl, and these handcrafted soap stones that look like crystals!   


Vignette No. 2 is set to appeal to the gents.  A monochromatic black and white palette brought to life with a sumptuous leather chaise, luxurious faux fur blank, sculptural vases, hits of animal print and graphic patterns as accessories: who wouldn't want a masculine and sophisticated reading nook just like this in their home?


While we are on black & white talk, here are a few of my favourites from textile, home office, and decorative accents.


As for the ladies, Nina has got the corner just for you.  This vignette is romanic, feminine, and yet edgy thanks to the stunning hand painted silk cushion by Hollie of Hollie Cooper Interiors and sculptural starburst on the coffee table.  Loving the botanical prints with a black backdrop and an antiqued mirror frame, the crystal pineapple, and this elegant curvaceous love seat.  


Here are a few of my favourite shots from this romantic corner.


A few steps forward into the store and I found myself being drawn to this fresh blue and white palette.  Isn't this chevron stool a lot of fun? Here is a tip from Nina: turn the stool around and it can double as a planter!  Do you like that artwork up at the corner? It is one of the pieces by the talented Christine Dovey and as you can see, it is now sold … to me!


 These are my picks from this corner:

Nina has truly outdone herself to best showcase all of amazing products available at Black Rooster Decor.  The items I want for my own home in this vignette are:  

Just as I thought I have seen it all, Nina amazed me again with the super chic black glove seat, the dramatic crystal wall sconce, the sexy rose gold floor lamp, and these incredible entertaining essentials.


And to celebrate BlogPodium in Toronto this saturday (too bad I will miss it this year … it is almost sold-out and you can get your ticket here!), Nina is offering all BlogPodium attendees 15% off when they shop at Black Rooster Decor this weekend! That's not all, Nina also generously offers a luxe cotton velvet leopard pillow to one lucky winner!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave me a message of what you would love to incorporate in your own home from today's post! One lucky winner will be randomly drawn on September 23.

Happy shopping and happy BlogPodium everyone!