Monday, March 2, 2015

2015 Spring / Summer ~ The Home Depot x DesignMaze

Hello Monday! Did you all enjoy the warm and sunny first weekend of March? It was only -2C on Sunday and the sun was out with zero wind! Yes I know that's not exactly beach weather, but that's what I get excited about after two months of bitterly cold winter.

What else got me super excited? The Home Depot Spring / Summer Preview 2015, and yours truly was part of the fantastic orange apron team!  That's right, I was one of four curators (along with Tiffany Pratt, Chris Palmer, and Heidi Richter) joining The Home Depot team to create four unique vignettes that best showcase the amazing outdoor products available at The Home Depot AND reflect our design aesthetics / personalities.

Sounds like fun right?  Here is my dream balcony with a lot of help from The Home Depot!    


Before I walk you through the vignette, I would like to show you my design concept.  With approximately 120 square feet, my main goal is to incorporate as much function and seating as possible whether it's an intimate lounging for two or an outdoor party high up in the sky.  Here are the key elements:

  • lounger set that can be easily converted into a sectional by placing one ottoman between the two chairs (clever right?)
  • bistro chairs in pale blue by Martha Stewart Living (of course I need a little Martha in the balcony)
  • contemporary planters, made by recycled materials, throughout the space for greenery and spring blooms (tulips and hyacinths are my favorites
  • creamy white drapery panels for a refreshing & stylish cabana look
  • faux grass ground covering (so you don't even remember you are in the concrete jungle)
  • trellis for your very own herb garden
  • arbor and string lights for a dramatic entrance and a romantic starry night


From Plan to reality, these were the magic moments on set-up day with packing tape, spray paint, and a lot of organization to make sure everything looked absolutely perfect.  A huge thank you to Chris who climbed up the super tall ladder and made my drapery + string light dream possible!   


Ready for the final reveal? Welcome to my Urban Oasis!

image via immrfabulous
The photographer has done an amazing job to capture the essence of my vignette and the colors turned out beautifully.


Here comes the photos I took with my little iPhone.  The natural light made my vignette looked sensational in person, but my photos were totally washed out thanks to the huge window as my backdrop.

The faux grass didn't make it in time for the preview, so we got a couple of striped options as our foundation to set a graphic, contemporary tone.  I loved how they made the bright canary yellow popped and I am crazy about these super cool string lights with an industrial vibe (brand new at The Home Depot in 2015).    


The key to a personalize vignette (so your guests no longer feel like they are in a showroom or preview) is to dress it as if you actually live there.  For example, the drapery panels created a serene and cozy private sanctuary and acted as a divider from the main door.  The water fountain, the flush plants, and the geometric patterns on pillows amplified the hip South Beach pool party look.  To make sure the BBQ didn't look like the odd man out, a little checker napkin and a handsome tong did the trick.

Of course cut tulips and delicious treats are always my party favourites!            


Thanks so much for joining me for a super fun and beautiful kick-off to Spring 2015.  Come back on Thursday for a special tour to be inspired by my fellow curators!

Happy Monday friends! xx  


Oh and winner announcement to the Sarah Style giveaway! Jordana you are the lucky girl to this colorful inspiration book! Congrats!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Project Rental ~ Den / Home Office Edition

Hello Tuesday! I can't believe it's almost the end of February and did you enjoy The Oscars? Loved Reese Witherspoon on the red carpet, Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor (The Theory of Everything), and so happy to see that my favorite movie, The Grant Budapest Hotel, has wowed the judges by taking home Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music, and Production Design.

Speaking about the glam and glitter of Hollywood, I am ready to show you my favorite transformation at #ProjectRental: the deco inspired shimmery retro chic den!  You have seen the living room, the bedroom, the feature on Style at Home, and a little sneak peek on the wallpaper panels, here comes a multi-functional space filled with patterns and style.

image via Style at Home, courtesy of Donna Griffith
Just to show you how this windowless den looked like upon my arrival, please welcome the "before":


A blank canvas and a blessing I must say, since I got to start from scratch.  The furniture layout for maximum storage / function popped in my head within seconds I walked into the space.  So that was't the tough part.  The real challenge was how to incorporate lighting into this space right by the front door without a window nor overhead light (really, who builds rooms like that?).

Not allowed to "harm" the walls in any shape and form, I decided to add visual impacts through dynamic patterns through wallpaper panels and the brilliant billy bookcases from IKEA.  The black & white fan motif of the Billy bookcases are absolute spectacular and at $100 a piece, the only thing I could think of was "START THE CAR!".

Opted for a built-in look for the dining table / desk, we filled in the space between the two bookcases with a kitchen cabinet from IKEA and customize the height to standard table height.  The tall bookcases also provided the ideal spots for our fabulous Meurice sconces from Jonathan Adler.  With 10 bulbs on each sconce (max 25-watt per bulb) and set on dimmer, I would say we'd nailed the lighting situation for working from home or romantic dinner for two!  


The marble top we scored on Kijiji for a steal.  With the money we saved, we were able to commission a custom table base from Anvil Wrought Iron Furnishing to our specification.  From drawing to reality, Vie is the best lady for your next custom metal project!  I am actually working with Vie on yet another custom project.  Can't wait to show you more!

images via Anvil Wrought Iron Furniture
This dreamy den / home office also couldn't be completed without the beautiful floral from Tonic Living, the striking striped rug from Dwell Studio, and a pair of Nik chairs from Sarah Richardson Design.

image via Style at Home, courtesy of Donna Griffith
Of course no glamorous space wouldn't be completed without a little Marilyn Monroe from Trowbridge Gallery.  What a beautiful vignette captured by Donna and thanks Morgan for the styling! 

image via Style at Home, courtesy of Donna Griffith
Thanks Style at Home again for the fabulous feature.  Hope you are inspired to try out a few of the tricks and tips I've shared on your next rental project! 

image via Style at Home, courtesy of Donna Griffith

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#HDBlogSquad ~ Dresser Refresh: Foolproof DIY Guide

Hello Thursday!  While the extreme cold warning over the last couple of weeks might have kept most of us staying inside our home with a cup of hot coco, I have been busy transforming a diamond in the rough dresser into a sensational cobalt blue delight with some help from my friends at The Home Depot.


I wasn't kidding when I said it was a diamond in the rough.  With one missing handle (and they are rather flimsy), an "antiqued" two-tone finish, and the rather unfinished interiors, I knew I would need to give it a facelift.  But hey, you can't pass up a charming piece with tremendous potential (especially when it was on clearance for $130!) just because it has a bad outfit right?  


As you can see from the detail shots, my full of character dresser also comes with a few cracks, dented spots, and areas with chipped paints.  It is crucial that the imperfections are taken care of before the prime & paint process.  Here are the essential tools to complete the task: wood filer and sandpaper.    


To tackle the issues, I've used the white wood filler and the 180 grit fine sandpaper.  There are many different grits of sandpapers to choose from and since the repair jobs on my dresser were rather minor, the fine final surface smoothing grit did the trick.  Here is my simple 3 steps process:
  1. fill the holes (only if your new hardware will require new holes)   
  2. fill the cracks (try to get to the cracks as close as possible ... I should have pulled the drawer out in picture 2)
  3. give the wood filler a light sand (be gentle ... you just want to smooth it out)
One more tip at this point: Be Patient.  You may need to fill the cracks/holes with wood fillers a couple of times (with light sanding in between), so be sure the wood filler was thoroughly dried before the second attempt.


Once all repairing is done, you are ready to prime the piece.  Priming is very important as this coat of  paint seals the surface, blocks stains, resists mildew, and allows for maximum adhesive for the final top coats with the paint of your choice.

I recommend the KILZ 2 Latex water-based multi-serface stainblocker for its fast drying, low odor, and that it can be used under / over Latex or oil-based paint.  No more worries about whether the existing color is latex or oil-based (especially when you are dealing with a vintage piece!)


Now that the prep work is done, let the fun begin with a visit to the Home Depot to pick a showstopper color for my dresser!  There are an array of rainbow colors at the paint department but my eyes were drawn to the BEHR MARQUEE for its ODYSSEY and OPULENCE collections.

A little info about MARQUEE:

Its tough non-stick surface helps resist dirt build-up and the powerful UV protection prevents fading.  Combining with an early rain resistance, stain-blocking and mildew resistance, MARQUEE paint is designed to make your home beautiful for years to come.


I love a fine blend of blue & grey for a sophisticated color, and with the name "Compass Blue", I know this is the one!  Who doesn't like the nautical look of an old, antique sea map right?


Here is another tip for you when painting a dresser: pull the drawers out and have them labelled.  It's far easier to paint (not to mention a better quality paint job) and the number system will save you hours of trying to figure out which drawer goes where.


With the easy part out of the way (relatively speaking), the real challenge begins: hardware installation.


Measure twice and drill once is utmost importance at this point of the makeover process.  After all, you really don't want a few extra holes on your freshly painted dresser for "added charm".  I know myself well enough to know that I would not be patient enough to precisely measure the placement of the handle on every drawer (especially when I have four to tackle) ... so I called in the German engineer for reinforcement.

First you need to figure out the placement of your handle.  In my case, I want it right in the middle of the drawer.  Then you flip the hardware around, measure where the holes are, and make your mark lightly on the drawer front.

To ensure all the handles are aligned on all four drawers, we have marked the middle points on all the drawers as reference.


Now that you know where the holes are on the drawer fronts, it's time to drill the holes.  I have to say this is probably the most nerve-racking process in the entire makeover: you really cannot make a mistake here!  To avoid the drill bit sliding off the mark, I have used a finishing nail to make a dent on where I want to drill.  This little dent will serve as a guide for your drill bit for the real action.

After spending a fair bit of time to get the handle on the first drawer, the German engineer came up with a genius idea to speed up the process: make a template from the first drawer and simply apply it on the other ones! What a game changer and I kid you not, I would have been screaming all night long (and the handles probably wouldn't be aligned) if I had to measure on drawer at a time.


A glass of wine and eight hours of beauty sleep later, I was ready to put on the final detail: line the drawer with wallpaper.  I could have just painted the entire interior of the drawers blue but I thought a hit of wallpaper would add pattern, texture (hopefully things will less likely be rolling around), and a pleasant surprise when you open the drawer.

In my case, I have decided to use the leftover grasscloth wallpaper from the bedroom makeover and learning from the hole drilling experience, I have also created a template for my wallpaper application.  This process took me only 10 mins to complete and I love the subtle luxe look thanks to the shimmery grasscloth!


Are you ready for the final reveal? I couldn't be happier with the transformation!  I knew this piece has potential and by painting it a glossy deep navy blue + pairing it with Art Deco inspired brass hardware, it looks a million bucks!


I know this is about the dresser but the stylist in me couldn't resist to snap a few detail shots.  Fabulous right?


Now if you would like to tackle a similar project at home, here are my top picks from The Home Depot for your makeover!

images via dresserwallpaperpaintbrass knob
I am super proud to be a member of the #HDBlogSquad, especially when the group is full of creative talents like Shannon, Brittany, Jennifer, and Lena!  I love their makeovers and you definitely need to check them out!


Thanks Home Depot Canada for having us and I can't wait for our next makeover! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sunny Family Kitchen w/ Sarah Richardson

Hello Tuesday! I hope you all had a warm and cozy Family Day! With extremely cold temperature such as -25C feels like -35C outside, a bright and cheerful home is what we all need to defrost and to enjoy a cup of hot coco! For that very reason, I think it's absolutely perfect for me to invite you over to Deb's fabulous kitchen dressed in pure sunshine!

image via Chatelaine, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Kitchen is truly the heart of the home and in Deb's heart, a stylish kitchen with an efficient layout and maximum practical storage is golden.  Now if you could delivery an ultimate kitchen with shots of radiant yellow, consider yourself hired!

Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe have known Deb for years (Deb is the Principal of Deb McCain Communication, a PR powerhouse who handles public relation matters for clients including Sarah Richardson Design & Smythe Les Vestes), and these design superstars are the perfect pair to turn Deb's dysfunctional kitchen into the kitchen of her dreams.

If you have met Deb, you would know that she's a creative, energetic, and super fun lady.  So I would say Sarah and Tommy has captured the essence of Deb's personality brilliantly in this kitchen filled with dynamic patterns!  

images via Chatelaine, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
I have always been amazed by Sarah's island design with her signature mix of cabinets in various depths and widths to customize the best possible layout for practical function and to maximize storage.  For example, Sarah has incorporated storage with narrower 12" cabinets to form the "feet" of the island: one opens on the side (for wines) and another one with a double door system for fantastic storage, and it completes the polish look.

images via Chatelaine, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
The end of the house has a set of french door.  It's where the kids would come in after school and so it is pretty much a catch all zone for boots, jackets, and bags.  By extending the kitchen cabinets all the way to the back of the room + carefully selected streamline furniture with a mid-century flair, this kitchen is now THE hot spot for family hangout!

  • maximum storage: checked
  • practical space for a young family: checked
  • casual dining for four: checked
  • stylish design statement: CHECKED


I bet Sarah and Tommy have scored A+ at this episode of sunny kitchen makeover!!

image via Chatelaine, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Want to hear how much Deb loves her new kitchen? Check out this interview!

image via Chatelaine
Now are you totally inspired and want to makeover a room in your own home? I have got the colorful design book full of inspirations for you.  Sarah's Style is one hot top seller (bestseller for 8 weeks on The Globe and Mail) and I have a signed copy for you to win!

To enter, simply leave me a comment telling me what's your favorite element in Deb's kitchen.  The winner will be selected randomly on Thursday February 26th.

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Speaking about adding personality to your home, we have our winners to the opening party of The Artist Project! Congrats Michelle and Lesley! Please contact me with you info and I will get the tickets to you!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Artist Project ~ Faves + Giveaway!

Hello Thursday! After being inspired by all the incredible installations and innovative products at IDS Toronto over the last couple of weeks (kitchens, MAKER, Cubitat), I am ready to join the crowd for the hottest art party in town.  That's right, Artist Project is back next weekend and it is more fantastic than ever showcasing the visionary work of over 250 top contemporary artists from Canada and abroad.  

images via Artist Project
If you are in the market for an unique, one of a kind master piece that speaks to you, you have got to check out The Artist Project (February 19 - 22, 2015).  I have always been a fan of original art, and I feel strongly about supporting local artists.  Though I am no expert in judging arts, I do know what I like.  So I've clicked through The Artist Gallery online and have selected a few of my absolute favorites.

images via Artist Project
This oil on canvas by Agata Plocinski entitled King Arthur is intense yet calming, as though this guy's troubles are being washed away by the water.  Don't we all need a moment like that to clear our mind after a hectic, stressful day?  

images via Artist Project
The sculptural quality and the jewel tones of this oil on canvas piece by Sara Pearson caught my eye.  As I read up Sara's bio, her paintings intend to magnify the "refracted light and colors contained within gemstones".  Diamonds are a girl's best friend?

images via Artist Project
A bit daring with the subject matter and composition, but I am quite crazy about this photo on brush metal by Alexander Eros Rocco entitled: Tumble Dry.  I don't know if it's the contrast between the tiffany blue and magenta purple or the pair of legs vs the circle motifs in the laundromat, but I do know this is a fabulous conversation piece ... perhaps in my home!    

images via Artist Project
My fascination with clouds and attraction to all things joyful & purity have led me to the Liminal XII by Yang Cao.  Human emotion is a powerful thing and despite our differences, we all share the same emotional expressions.  Love, anger, sad, and happy ... today, I am delighted to report that I am happily in love.

images via Artist Project
And to celebrate the 8th annual contemporary art fair, the Artist Project is inviting two of my dear readers and their plus one to attend the Opening Night Party next Thursday, February 19th.  To take home a pair of tickets to the party, drop me a line to let me know which piece from the Artist Project's website speaks to you.  Two lucky winners will be randomly selected on February 18th!

Friday, February 6, 2015

IDS 15 ~ Sebastian Herkner & Cubitat

Hello Friday! Today is all about modern, contemporary designs I loved at IDS and we will kick off stopping by the sleek, minimalistic display of Sebastian Herkner's latest collection (along with some of our all time favorites) presented by Avenue Road.  


The all white display with various elevations was specifically designed by Sebastian himself to best present the new creations recently added to his collection including the high/low containers, the Oda lamps, the Bell lights and of course the new colors to his classic Bell tables!

Thanks Michael from Avenue Road for a fabulous presentation bright and early at the media walk-through!  I am loving the miniature Bell Table and check out the UNAM chair!


Our final stop at IDS is the Cubitat, a truly remarkable contemporary living concept all within a 10' x 10' x 10' cube.

image via Urban Capital
This mind-blowing exhibit is a refreshing collaboration between internationally-acclaimed designer Luca Nichetto of Nichetto Studio and Urban Capital, a Toronto-based development power house, illustrating how smart designs and meticulous attention to detail would allow us to enjoy all our essential elements for habitation (i.e. bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, storage) all within a fully-integrated, plug-and-play cube.


Ladies and gents, welcome to Cubitat!


At first glance, this is a modern media center with an open display area and built-in storage around the TV.  However, it becomes a bedroom as the bed (with storage!!) and the beside tables unroll in couple of short minutes!


Here is a kitchen with everything we need at hands.  Fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher, the Cubitat has it all! The only thing lacking slightly is probably the limited counter space for food preparation.  But hey, the visionary concept here is to live responsively to our environment without sacrificing our daily essentials.  I'd say this kitchen delivers!


As for the bathroom and laundry duties, the Cubitat has it all.  I still couldn't believe this bathroom is carefully concealed inside the cube!


Ready for a tour of the bathroom? Check this out!


So my question for you is, are you ready to live in a cube?


One more reason why I love going to IDS is that I get to hang out with my dear friends (thanks Jen for the great shot!), my favorite designers (always lovely to see you Brian), and of course the talented ladies from the Style at Home magazine.  See you all at IDS 2016!