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Cherish Toronto

Decor, Design, Colour, Art, Thrift, DIY...

Updated: 2018-01-01T06:45:03.535-05:00


Best of the Best on the SAG Red Carpet


I skipped the Golden Globes red carpet earlier this month because I was sick with the flu and slept through most of it. Last night my sister and I watched the Screen Actors Guild red carpet coverage and awards ceremony throughout which we offered our professional fashion critique.I'm not going to point out the several candidates for worst dressed (they know who they are), although I'm sorry, Nicole Kidman really should have thought twice about that shimmering green double parrot Gucci number. I want to highlight just the best of the evening, so let me cut right to the chase:Emily Blunt in Roberto CavalliLove it both coming & going.The beading, the colour, the fit...c'est parfait!Image via Grazia DailyYara Shahidi in Naeem KhanThis girl has an bold sense of fashion and I like it!!This colourful dress turns heads in a sea of safe gowns.Image via TeenVogue.comGina Rodriguez in PatBoMore beading and a dash of colour, I sense a theme here.Simple & chic. Image via"Best Black Dress" goes to Amy Adams in Brandon MaxwellImage via Grazia Daily "Best White Dress" goes to Viola Davis in Vivienne WestwoodImage via PopSugar.comBest Dressed ManRyan Gosling, naturally, wearing Gucci Image via[...]

Just Some Stuff I Finally Did


I'm sure many of you understand the never ending to-do list that quite literally never ends simply because you never seem to get to the 'do' part. I've just passed four years of living in the "new" condo and there are several things that I've only just managed to cross off the list. Mind you, design is a process, and things have to happen in a certain order, and sometimes those things just take time.Case in point: Shortly after I moved into my condo I created a gallery wall at the end of the front hall next to the built in study nook (see the finished product in this post). When I painted the wall a dark navy blue two years later, I took most of the artwork down and hung just four gold framed paintings. My intention was to recreate the gallery wall in the master bedroom. The plan was to hang the photos above a marble top commode (which I had yet to purchase) and also to incorporate a small bedroom television. It was nine months before I would find the right Louis XVI chest of drawers (see this post) and another 15 months before I wall mounted the tv and hung the photographs to recreate the gallery wall.Et voila! Of course I'm still not 100% done. I'd like to replace the Toronto photos in the center triptych with three new photos, but there's no rush, I'll get around to it eventually. If you're really paying attention, you'll notice that I went the extra mile and added a paintable cord cover to camouflage the ugly television wires.Since I was on a roll, I also took the time to add a custom touch to the Pax drawers I had installed in the master bedroom closet four years ago (here is the original post). This past fall, while looking for cabinet hardware for a client, I fell hard for these Martha Stewart brass bin pulls. I ordered them up and they've been sitting in an envelope for months just waiting to be installed. I was nervous to do the installation on my own because the job required  precision - the pulls all needed to be perfectly aligned and level. Turns out it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, it took less than an hour, and the pulls added the custom look I was hoping for.  It's always nice to get things done around the house. The to-do list dwindles and there's a real sense of satisfaction that comes with a job well done. Onward & upward.[...]

What's Up Next...


Every time I finish working on a design project, there is a small sense of relief that it's complete (and looks great, of course), but an even stronger sense of disappointment that the fun is over. Within days I start to feel restless. What's next? I always want something on my plate, even if I say that I don't. As luck would have it, the basement renovation wrapped up (the carpet was finally installed last week) just as spring begins. It's time to start thinking about summer and the time we'll spend away from home working at our seasonal retail stores (if you're new here, my day job is as buyer/merchandiser/supervisor for an independent fashion retailer). The lease was recently signed for a lengthy commitment at our Grand Bend location, so I've decided that we should make our apartment there feel more comfortable. With a budget of approximately zero dollars, I've been spending a lot of time on Kijiji and my favourite auction websites trying to come up with a design vision. I've started to cobble together the basics for our little two bedroom place. It might not be perfect, but it's a start and we can build on it each year. Last fall I found a pair of somewhat worn and slighting damaged wood nesting tables at Value Village for $6. A bit of glue, a quick steel wool sanding and a dose of Restor-a-Finish was all they needed to look super fabulous. We already have a round dining table with four chairs; the table is going to get a makeover (paint!) soon, but I don't know what I'm going to do with the chairs they're kinda country/ugly/totally not my style... Recently I picked up a pair of upholstered tub chairs for $60 on Kijiji. They're really comfortable and they swivel and rock which is super cool, but they're a dark plaid which definitely won't work with the rest of my ideas for the space. I may have the chairs reupholstered eventually and keep them for my own home but in the mean time we have no choice but to live with the plaid. What else? First and foremost, the walls of the entire apartment will get a fresh coat of white paint. I don't even remember what colour they are currently, but I know I don't like it...I'm thinking maybe it's flesh tone. (Do they even make paint in flesh tone? Because they shouldn't.) The one item I've purchased in a retail store is an amazing aerial beach photograph from Homesense. Featuring the vivid teal of ocean waters, it will provide a nice punch of colour in the dining area. I'm itching to get started, but I need to wait for the weather to warm up before I can start to clean and paint.The real point of this post is that I want to tell you all about my most recent auction win!! I scored a pair of twin spindle bed frames online at MaxSold  which will be perfect in one of the bedrooms to maximize sleeping space. There will be times when four adults will need space to sleep in this apartment, and everyone will require their own bed. With fresh white walls, I have the opportunity to paint the bed frames any colour I want, so the big question is, what colour should I choose? I have visions of glossy red or navy or green or coral or teal or grey. It all depends on what kind of tone I want to set for this room...the bright colours are fun, but the more subtle colours are restful. I realize that these beds are "antique", but these aren't particularly valuable and refinishing sounds like a lot of work to me. Although some people hate to paint wood, I'm all for it; a coat of paint will give these beds a modern touch. My heart tells me that a coat of navy blue or kelly green would be lovely, but my head tells me that I should choose a neutral and restful dove grey. I have a few examples of painted spindle beds that I've found online. Tell me what you think... Update: Since writing the above paragraphs, I purchased the most amazing rug at Empire Auctions (SUCH a good deal!!), and my train of thought is that I should select the colour scheme for the apartment based on colours in the rug, focusing on two main colours with white as backdrop. [...]

A Brand New Space: Grey & White Basement Renovation


I posted briefly about the basement renovation I was working on at the end of January. This was a quick renovation, turning an unfinished basement into a modern living space in just under 5 weeks from start to finish. (There was just one hitch - the carpet for the living area wasn't installed due to a shipping delay, but the kitchenette and bathroom have been completed.) We worked with a great contractor which made our job easy, as long as we were ready with final decisions and materials when required. Knowing that we wanted a grey and white colour scheme right out of the gate helped drive most of the decisions regarding paint colours, flooring, counter tops, back splash tiles, hardware and fixtures. Everything happens in a particular order, and if my memory serves me correctly, we started with selection of the floor tiles. We chose a 12"x24" semi-polished grey techmarble porcelain stone from Olympia Tile. From this we were able pull the paint colours for the cabinetry, pulling Silver Half Dollar and Pewter from the Benjamin Moore paint deck, using the lighter shade on the top cabinetry and the slightly darker shade on the bottom. This paint trick is subtle, but it gives just a bit more weight to the bottom cabinets. You may have noticed that we added doors to the peninsula cabinets from the opposite side which allows easy access to serving pieces, cutlery, and napkins.We could have gone with a light colour for the counter tops which would be very on trend, but knowing that we wanted to use a white subway tile back splash with a mosaic tile band, it felt more practical to go with a dark shade. We chose Wilsonart's black alicante counter top - yes, it's a laminate - natural stone was not in the homeowner's budget, and we are really pleased with how great the laminate looks. We added a bit of interest to the neutral white subway tile back splash with an accent band of marble and glass mosaic tiles. I hope by now you've spotted the gorgeous Cosmas hardware that we chose for the cabinet pulls. I felt very strongly about using polished chrome rather than brushed because this element adds a touch of sparkle to the kitchenette. It's easy to forget that this is a basement because it's actually quite bright - the nearby window certainly helps, as do any reflective elements in the space. We kept the finishes consistent, choosing a polished chrome American Standard goose neck faucet, and a polished chrome ELK Lighting pendant over the peninsula.  We used a lot of the same finishes in the new washroom to keep the flow consistent throughout the basement. It was tricky getting shots of the washroom since it's a small space, but it certainly has all of the fundamentals. We continued with the same floor tile and paint colours, but added a few new elements to keep it interesting.Can we just talk about that toilet for a minute? It's the Memoirs classic design from Kohler and it's a bit odd how much I love it; it has such beautiful architectural detail at the bottom as well as on the tank lid. It's just a bonus that it's very well reviewed. The clean & simple white trash bin cleverly disguises the water line running from the wall to the tank.  With space contraints in this washroom, it made sense to build the vanity area into a nook beside the shower. We opted for some new elements in this area, including a Caesarstone counter top with undermount sink. This would have been a big splurge in the kitchen, but with just a small area to cover in the washroom, it wasn't a total budget buster. I really pushed for the Moen Boardwalk faucet, I think it's a real stunner and I love the way it bridges both traditional & contemporary design. The modern square lines of the faucet make it the right choice to harmonize with the square sink. We repeated the square motif throughout this small space, from the faucet to the hardware to the soap dish to the trash bin. Good design isn't an accident ;)   This washroom features polished chrome jewels[...]

A Plethora of Beautiful Gowns: Oscars 2016


I've been working on this post bit by bit every day this week, sorry for such a delay...I'm at work right now but I really need to get this written so that I can watch E! Fashion Police and read all of the online Oscar fashion recaps. I like to form my own opinions about red carpet dresses, rather than be influenced by what the "pros" think. One thing I'm sure of is that young designer Christian Siriano can do no wrong when it comes to red carpet fashion. I think Christian is this generation's Oscar de la Renta. I love so many of his dresses, he uses just the right amount of colour, his fits are impeccable and his ideas are original.This is my absolute favourite dress of the night, and it's a shame that I didn't see it on either the ABC or E! red carpet coverage. This is Jacqueline Miranne (an US Magazine correspondent and her mother just happens to be Joy Mangano of HSN fame & the film JOY)  in a gorgeous Christian Siriano gown.I snagged the image below  from Jackie's Instagram feed - this snap shows the beautiful movement of the dress. Christian calls the gown lime yellow silk faille, so I'm not quite sure which photo reflects the colour more accurately. Either way I love it!!I also love this peach Christian Siriano gown worn by Louise Roe (an English television presenter, model & fashion journalist). I love the simplicity of this dress, but the "pleated fan" is just the right amount of embellishment.Rounding out a lovely trio of Christian Siriano dresses is this lovely beaded silver & white gown worn by E! news anchor Maria Menounos. The gown was created in conjunction with Stella Artois and is being auctioned off to raise funds for - you have until 3 pm EST on March 11th to place your bid! Get more information at Charity Buzz.Since the first three gowns were worn by entertainment and fashion correspondents, I'm going to continue with the television host theme. Guiliana Rancic, co-host of E!'s red carpet coverage wore a simple white crepe Georges Chakra gown embellished with floral embroidery at the waist. Simple can be so elegant.The back of the dress is a lovely surprise...Guiliana's pre-show  look was also stunning - she really knocked it out of the park at this year's Academy Awards. There's just something so luxurious about the folds of fabric in this dress designed by Azzi & Osta. And that colour!!Kelly Ripa is one of my favourite tv personalities (who recently received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame). Kelly wore this little number designed by Dennis Basso while conducting interviews backstage (if you missed it, you can watch the LIVE "After Oscars" show here). With her petite frame, Kelly is one of the few women who can successfully wear a spaghetti strap style like this.Here is another dress that I didn't see until the day after the Academy Awards. It's Amy Poehler in a stunning Andrew Gn creation; an embroidered kimono style dress. This look is definitely a "love it" or a "hate it". Obviously I'm in the love it camp, but I can understand if you're on the other side of the fence here. (Come to think of it, this would be gorgeous as wallpaper...)Cate Blanchett, who often rules the red carpet, did so again wearing this stunning Armani dress embellished with crystals and feathers. Cate could teach a master class in what to wear on the Academy Awards red carpet!! Let's not overlook the fact that it fits to perfection. I love this colour too...Let's see...who's next? Probably Naomi Watts, she really knows what works for her lithe frame. This sapphire blue and purple Giorgio Armani Prive gown truly shines on the red carpet. Stunning!!   This was another one of my favourites, Margot Robbie in a "leather applique cross front drape fitted dress" created by Tom Ford. If you can't wear gold on the Oscars red carpet, where can you wear it? I think she looks great!!I've covered my favourites, but of course there were many beautiful gowns [...]

Welcome Home...


It's so nice to receive a friendly greeting at the front door upon arriving home. For me, it's seeing these fresh green walls painted in Para's Aspen Valley. The front hall project started when I added trim to the doors and painted them out last January, and just one short year later I have a completely finished entrance hall. If my memory serves me correctly, I painted half of the hall early last summer, the other half in late October and finally the back of the door to the corridor just last weekend. I know how to take procrastination to the next level - particularly when it comes to painting, since it's not my favourite thing to do.The photo on the above left is taken from the corridor, and gives an idea of how the green transitions into the navy blue at the end of the entrance hall (you can read more about that transformation here). It certainly is a contrast of colours (which I'm obviously not afraid of), but the trim moulding on the doors and walls keeps the spaces feeling consistent. By the way, do you loooove that table lamp? It's the Alexa Hampton Helios lamp designed for Visual Comfort and it's my new favourite thing!!The colour may be the attention grabber in this entrance, but the trim moulding is what truly adds character to the space. A modern city condo doesn't always have to be smooth surfaces and hard edges, and the DIY trim moulding sets the tone for my home starting at the front door. I created this section of trim to fit the two gold leaf quatrefoil mirrors which had previously resided in my bedroom.One last tip: I painted out all of the trim, including baseboards, to maximize ceiling height. The condo ceilings are nine feet, but here in the front entrance the ceiling is only eight feet due to a bulkhead running from the dryer vent (located behind door number one) and washroom vent (located behind door number two) through to the exterior. Painting the trim allows the eye to travel in one motion from floor to ceiling without stopping, fooling the eye into perceiving the space as being taller than it really is. I used this trick throughout the entire condo, painting out trim and baseboards in every room.So what do you think of the colour? I love that it's bold! Truth be told I'm happy to see the final walls painted and I think I'm done with brushes, rollers and paint trays for the foreseeable future. Insert happy dance here!![...]

Basement Reno: So Many Decisions!!


A friend of mine came to me seeking input regarding the design of his home's unfinished basement. After living in the home for many years, it was time to finish the basement and gain much needed space to entertain and hang out. The basement was pretty much a blank slate: think exposed insulation and ceiling joists. It was the perfect opportunity to customize unused space for the homeowner's needs.After considering how his family would use the space, it was decided that they would need a kitchenette, a full washroom and a large open area with the possibility of converting some of that open space to a bedroom in the future. Since I'm not a trained designer, I sketched out a few rough ideas but left the major decisions to my friend and his contractor. They worked together to come up with a design plan and a budget, and work started almost right away. Feeling pressure to make decisions, we soon found ourselves spending hours choosing countertops, tiles and paint colours. This is my Instagram capture of what we finalized:The kitchen backsplash will be a classic 3"x6" arctic white subway tile, which we will accent with a 4" band of the glass & marble mosaic tile. The shower wall in the bath will have a similar look, but with a larger 8"x20" arctic white tile (less grout = less to clean) with a 6" accent band and a 2"x2" dark grey porcelain on the shower floor. Floors in both the kitchen and the bathroom will be the veined grey porcelain Techmarble in a semi-polished finish (love this tile - it has the look of marble without the expense). The bathroom will feature a dark grey Caesarstone counter top with integrated white sink which should tie in perfectly with the accent band in the shower. In the kitchen, all upper cabinets will be painted Benjamin Moore's Silver Half Dollar (2121-40), while the lower cabinets will be a slightly darker Pewter (2121-30). Painting has already happened on the walls and we are happy that we chose Silver Half Dollar, it's a light grey which works really well in a basement with very little natural light.This past week we chose faucets and cabinet hardware for both the kitchen and bath, and this renovation should wrap up within a few weeks. Here are the mood boards for both the kitchen and the bath:1. Benjamin Moore Silver Half Dollar (2121-40)2. Benjamin Moore Pewter (2121-30)3. American Standard Fairbury Faucet4. Wilsonart Black Laminate Countertop in Black Alicante5. Cosmas 96mm Polished Chrome Pull 6. Techmarble Semi Polished Grey Floor Tile 12"x24"7. Frigidaire Stainless Steel Refrigerator8. Glass & Marble Accent Mosaic Tile9. Bright Arctic White Subway Tile 3" x 6"1. Benjamin Moore Silver Half Dollar (2121-40)2. Benjamin Moore Pewter (2121-30)3. Moen Boardwalk Faucet4. Caesarstone Countertop in Cement (2003)5. Hickory Hardware 96mm Polished Chrome Pull 6. Techmarble Semi Polished Grey Floor Tile 12"x 24"7. Kohler Memoirs Classic Toilet8. Glass & Marble Accent Mosaic Tile9. Bright Arctic White Subway Tile 8" x 20"10. Nuvo Parker Polished Chrome 2 Light Vanity Fixture[...]

It's January, Time to Organize!


Every January I get the urge to get my act together and organize my stuff. It must have something to do with the new year, since one scroll through my Instagram feed tells me that I'm not the only one in organization mode. The current trend is to throw away or donate nearly everything in your home using the KonMari Method, but after donating unwanted items I still have plenty of things that need a home within my home. Because I'm a single in a two bedroom condo, I have the luxury of an entire closet in the guest room offering up some extra storage space. Where else would I keep the ironing board, tool box, drill kit, sewing machine, photo albums, beach towels, gift wrap, suitcases...? I'll leave you with the short version.I had shelves installed previously in the guest room closet, but they were too shallow and too weak to handle the weight of the items stored on them. As soon as the Ikea wardrobe event started (on now through February 1st) I grabbed my sketchbook and picked up all of the components necessary for a mini closet makeover.I itemized and measured most of the items that would be stored in the closet before I drew up the sketch, so there was just a bit of tweaking during installation. After putting in an afternoon of sweat equity, the left side of the closet became a spot for guests to make themselves at home and the right became home to all of my hard to store stuff.How has January been for you so far? Have you been getting organized too?[...]

For What It's Worth: My Opinion on 2016 Golden Globes Red Carpet Fashion


I know, I know, it's another roundup of Golden Globes fashion. But I'm sure many of you have been waiting patiently to hear my thoughts on the subject... Yes..? Anyone..?I can summarize my thoughts for the celebrities who got it right with a few key phrases: "Jewel Tones", "Keep it Simple", "Proper Fit".Want to make it work on the red carpet? First, pick a colour that flatters your skin tone. Thank goodness there were only a handful of attendees who chose that blah flesh tone that looks terrible on 99% of caucasian women. Second, don't try too hard; simplicity has its merits. If you try too hard it shows, and that's just not good. And finally, attend as many dress fittings as required to get the fit right. It makes me physically uncomfortable to watch a woman constantly adjust her dress, pulling it up or tugging it down. Always take a pass on an ill fitting gown.With that said, these were my favourite gowns of this year's Golden Globes: Jennifer Lopez looked stunning in this Giambattista Valli gown.Do you see what I'm talking about: Colour! Simplicity! Fit! Jaimie Alexander in Genny. I love the deep V, it's risky, and yet flattering.Not to mention that emerald green complements her dark hair and green eyes. Jenna Dewan-Tatum in Zuhair Murad. Another flattering deep V neckline.The metallic fabric keeps the dress interesting. Olivia Wilde wearing a Michael Kors Collection gown. Such lovely sparkle!!This halter neck gown with plunging deep V neckline fits like a glove.Julianne Moore in Tom Ford. The fit of this dress is absolute perfection!This sapphire column gown sparkles from every angle. Kate Bosworth in Dolce & Gabbana. More sparkle!! More colour!! Doesn't Kate look pretty in pink? Amy Adams in Atelier Versace. The designers at Versace know how to fit a woman.This dress walks the line between simple & sparkle. Kate Winslet in Ralph Lauren. Simple always wins. The impeccable fit and strong shade of  sapphire make it work.  Rachel Bloom in Christian Siriano. Jewel Tone: Check! Simplicity: Check! Perfect fit: Check!Bonus points to Rachel for the most enthusiastic acceptance speech. Emmy Rossum in Armani Prive, accentuated by the Van Cleef & Arpels "Thetis" necklace.The simple strapless gown relies on bold colour for a boost.Sophia Bush in Narciso Rodriguez. Another perfect fit. She looks comfortable and it shows.I kinda wish it wasn't black, but hey, it still makes my top 11.Photos via New York Daily News & EOnline[...]

Louis XVI...The Final Piece


Since I love both vintage furniture and finding a bargain, great pieces rarely come easily. As a result, many of the key items of furniture in my home have a story behind them. The bedside tables in the guestroom, the modern glass & chrome dining set, the kitchen stools and the coffee table in the living room are all perfect examples. Each piece took some time and effort, but in the end I got what I wanted and paid a fair price. My latest acquisition is no exception. After more than a year of searching, this, my friends, is the FINAL piece of furniture for the condo. The Louis XVI commode (learn more about the term "commode" here) is tucked into the corner of my bedroom to provide a bit more storage for accessories and off season clothing. I previewed this piece at Empire Auctions, but I tried not to get too excited - this wasn't my first time at the auction rodeo, and I had been outbid several times before (including January's French Antique auction). I was happy to discover that this lot # would fall on an evening following a Blue Jays playoff game, so attendance would be low. Lucky!! The hammer fell after just a few bids and I finally had my coveted Louis XVI commode.The plan is to hang artwork on the wall around and above the television (Gasp! A tv in the bedroom!!) to disguise its existence, but putting holes in the wall is such a big commitment that I'm hesitant. For now I've leaned one of my favourite photos by photographer Robin Waters behind a tray of colourful perfumes. Can we pause for a moment to appreciate that stunning marble top? I love the veining of this natural beauty!! more furniture shopping. Now what?[...]

Finally Found: Satin Brass Hardware


What's this? I have a design blog? For the past few months I've barely thought about blogging...I've been super distracted by work & this thing called life. You haven't missed anything. There haven't been any updates at the condo, and projects that I started in January (you mall recall this post about the front hall) remain in limbo as we speak.I did manage to complete one quick project that I've talked about before. A year ago March I expressed my desire to swap the existing satin nickel kitchen cabinet hardware for brass pulls that would help tie the kitchen into the rest of the open concept space. With the gold highlight on the wall trim and multiple brass accents throughout my home, it just made good design sense. The biggest stumbling block was finding stylish satin brass pulls; there just weren't any out there that I liked. Plus with 29 pulls to replace, they needed to be affordable. The good news is that I finally found what I was looking for during a recent excursion to buy reno supplies at Home Depot for work. I picked up one of these Richelieu pulls as a sample and it turned out to be perfect.I suppose "before" photos would have been a good idea, but I wasn't necessarily planning to blog about this little project at the time. Take my word for it - this is just a small change, but it's soooooo much better!  Initially I worried that the brass wouldn't blend well with the stainless steel appliances, but to be completely honest, I think it looks just fine. And it really does help to tie the kitchen into the rest of the space. I especially like the way the new hardware looks on the multiple pantry doors:The new pulls are more classic in design than the previous modern hardware used by the builder (see what I had here), but these definitely are more suitable to my personal design aesthetic and the architectural elements which I've added to the open concept space. The added bonus of the new hardware is twofold. One: No more drawstrings, belt loops or pockets catching on the ends of the old hardware. That used to happen constantly and drove me bananas! Two: I have an extremely low pain tolerance and I once smacked the back of my hand so hard on the end of one of the old pulls that I had to lie down on the floor and talk myself out of fainting. Thank goodness that won't happen again!What simple changes have you made in your space that made a big impact? Share your projects in the comments section below![...]

Character Homes of Milwaukee


I recently took a few days out of my not so busy schedule to visit my sister in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It's a lovely city, sprinkled with great restaurants & shops, and tons of great architecture. I took a stroll through my sister's neighbourhood one afternoon and photographed some of my favourite homes within just a few blocks. These houses have so much character!!

These were my favourite brick homes; obviously I'm a sucker for Georgian architecture. Just imagine how these will look when the trees and shrubbery leaf out in the spring. The big home on the lower right is currently on the market, listed for $899,900:

There are also a lot of painted homes in the area, which reminded me of San Francisco. I imagine it must be expensive to maintain these exteriors, but they are all extremely well cared for:

My absolute favourite was this beauty on Shepard Avenue. Seriously, y'all, it's such a pretty shade of soft lilac. And notice the realtor sign on the front lawn? This 4 bedroom, 2 bath is currently listed for $349,900. Homeowners in Toronto and Vancouver must be losing their minds right now!


Oopsie DIY


I love reading inspirational blogs for new ideas and one of my absolute favourites is Jenny Komenda's "Little Green Notebook". Jenny takes on a lot of DIY projects; some are simple, while others are more complicated. Recently she blogged about an easy project where she dyed an inexpensive cream flokati rug to a lovely blush pink. I decided that I would like to do the same with my flokati - I would dye it a soft lilac to complement my master bedrooom. OOPS. It turns out that my Ikea sheepskin was the genuine wool version, meaning that it was much more absorbent than Jenny's acrylic version. The fibers took the dye much faster than I expected and after just a few minutes in the dye bath, the rug was already quite dark. The soft lilac I envisioned came out about 10 shades too dark. Boo :( Does anyone have any ideas how to soften the colour? I'm wondering if bleach would work or if that's a bad idea.At least it matches, so I can live with it, but I wish it was the pretty lilac shade I was aiming for.[...]

Sometimes I Get Crazy Ideas...This One Leads Me to Georgia


Here's something you may not know about me: I love good tv dramas. So many people say that they don't watch television, as if they're too intellectual for such behaviour, but I'm pretty sure they're lying. The have been some amazing, extremely well written television shows recently, some on cable, many on Netflix: House of Cards. Orange is the New Black. Homeland. Breaking Bad. The Walking Dead. The best part of Netflix is binge watching a show non-stop and within those hours forming a hard and fast bond with the characters.Which leads me to my crazy idea: I want to move to Georgia. More specifically, I want to move to Senoia, Georgia and open a little boutique on Main Street. (There really is a Main Street in Senoia, Georgia, isn't that perfect?) Why Senoia? Well, it's the small town near where The Walking Dead is filmed. Senoia restaurants, bars and shops are flourishing with the influx of TWD tourists. And real estate is cheap there, I could buy a 4 bedroom house there for significantly less than the price of my Toronto condo.The most expensive of my choices & just outside town, a 4 bedroom, 3 bath asking $254,900:This 4 bedroom, 2 bath house is listed at $249,900 y'all: Are you kidding me? The asking price on this 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath home is $199,900:This house isn't for sale, but I found it on Google Street View and I want it. I mean, come on, it's PINK! Plus, it would be within walking distance of my Main Street boutique.Sigh... These are the things I think about when the winter drags on too long. If spring doesn't come soon, who knows where I might end up.[...]

The Last of the Red Carpets: Oscars 2015


There were several lovely dresses on last night's Oscar red carpet, many boring dresses (I'm looking at you, Cate Blanchett) and surprisingly nothing terrible. All in all it was a pretty good year, but I expected a lot more from the big stars; after all, the Academy Awards are the place to bring out your very best dress!! There were a few fashions that I'm sure the so-called "experts" will love which I don't, such as Naomi Watts' "backsplash" dress and the pearl dress worn by Lupita Nyong'o. Those gowns, designed by Armani and Calvin Klein respectively, got no help from the famous designer labels - I  wasn't impressed.Let's talk about my favourites. Looking at my list, I realize that when it comes to fashion I'm a fan of simplicity and fit. The perfect fit can make the difference between an average dress and a fabulous one. Most of my picks have very little embellishment, but the fit is impeccable and the fabrics are luxurious. So without further ado, my best dressed list for Oscars 2015:Gwyneth Paltrow is the best of the night. A simple dress, perfectly tailored in a shade of soft pink that suits Gwyneth's complexion. Designed by Ralph & Russo Couture, that shoulder flower is everything. Her sleek hairstyle and statement earrings are just right.Zoe Saldana in blush pink Versace. Wow! The fit is amazing, emphasizing her curves in the best possible way (less than 2 months after giving birth to twins)!! My fellow party attendees and I thought maybe the skinny straps were a bit too casual, but I can overlook that because the fit of the dress is perfection.Another perfectly fit gown, this time in a slightly more vibrant shade that suits Anna Kendrick perfectly. The Thakoon design uses a tonal belt to emphasize her tiny waist. The necklace detail adds just enough sparkle to the simple design. I only caught a quick glimpse of this Romona Keveza dress during the E! red carpet coverage, and I love this column dress on Jennifer Hudson. The fit is amazing, the length is perfect and the thin gold belt adds a touch of style. Plus I love butter yellow!! Image via Oscars.go.comRita Ora looks beautiful in this midnight blue Marchesa mermaid dress. Lacy gold details at the bustline and a gold accent at the waist make this an absolutely stunning gown. Rita keeps the rest of her look simple with sleek hair and a dazzling pair of Lorraine Schwartz earrings.  Image via Daily Mail UKRosamund Pike finally got it right on the red carpet with this strapless Givenchy Haute Couture gown. The white Vera Wang dress she wore to the Golden Globes was a disaster and she followed that up by wearing a black Dior to the SAG Awards that did not flatter. Thank goodness she got it together for the Academy Awards!! This perfectly illustrates my point about the importance of a good fit.Images via Star MagazineRene Russo still looks ah-mazing at 61, and this J. Mendel dress is another impeccable, figure flattering fit. I love how the layers of gauzy fabric draw the eye to her small waist which is accentuated by a tonal belt. Her only fault are those dark leather bracelets on her right wrist, she should have left those in the town car.  I'm a bit on the fence about this one, so I left it for last: Emma Stone in Elie Saab. I'd be willing to bet she was the only one on the red carpet wearing chartreuse, it's such a tough colour to wear, but she makes it work. I like the fit, I like the fabric, I like the sparkle, they are all good things. I just wish I loved it.All photos via In Style unless otherwise noted.[...]

Party Time: Academy Awards 2015


The fancy invitations were sent out to arrive just as this year's Academy Award Nominees were announced in January. RSVP's were received and party plans were made. The big day is finally here, party prep is in full swing and guests will be arriving soon. We'll watch the red carpet arrivals and cheer for our favourites during the ceremony.^^ This is the beverage station - this year's theme is pink and gold, so I'm serving up cream soda & PC blood orange italian soda (so good!!). Guests are free to pour their own which takes drink duty off the shoulders of the hostess.^^ And this is the ballot station, we don't mess around - ballots are available for $2.00 each. I think we can all admit that viewers at home don't have a vested interest in who wins for best sound mixing, but the small wager keeps things interesting. Whoever guesses the most categories correctly wins the pot!!One of my favourite movies this year was The Grand Budapest Hotel, it is a beautiful film and is a shoe-in for Best Production Design. I also loved Whiplash, and I can guarantee that J.K. Simmons will win Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Fletcher.  Watch for my red carpet fashion roundup tomorrow!![...]

Trinket Tray


So, how many of you are "thrifters"? Do you stop into every Value Village, Salvation Army or Goodwill store whenever you get the chance? I wish I had endless hours to poke around, but luckily I'm close enough to a few good locations that some evenings I can hit 3 or 4 on the way home from work. I haven't found too much lately; either people are donating less or thrifting has become so popular that it's just slim pickins for the evening shoppers.Yesterday I had a bit of luck. Here is the long version of the story: Just before the holidays I saw these beautiful porcelain trays with artwork by Caitlin McGauley. You may also remember that Caitlin is one of the talented artists featured on the Tiger Flower Studio website which I blogged about last year. (I also love her leopard wallpaper!!)  At $185, the trays were beyond my budget, but I loved the idea of a gorgeous trinket catcher on the bedside table. Photos via www.CaitlinMcGauley.comFast forward to yesterday at my local Value Village. I found an ashtray to use as a "seat filler" until my fairy godmother brings me that zebra^^^. Now I know the word "ashtray" sounds rather icky, but this one didn't look as though it had ever been used for such a purpose. With two fierce cheetahs and a touch of green trim, I thought it could be just the thing to hold a bauble or two on the bedside. Made in Italy by Borghi, I would even venture a guess that it's made of porcelain and that the trim is hand painted. Not bad for $1.99.  [...]

Another Red Carpet: BAFTA Awards


I've really been enjoying this year's awards ceremonies, particularly for the red carpet fashion. Today the BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts) Awards were held in London, England, and although they weren't televised here in Canada, the good old interwebs kept us up to date. Check out my faves below (click on photos to enlarge and zoom in for details).Amy Adams in Lanvin.Simple, sleek, stunning!Photo via Hello MagazineReese Witherspoon in Stella McCartney.The deep purple seems appropriate for British royalty.Photo via Hollywood LifeJulianne Moore in Tom Ford.She looks amazing in this dress, and it's appropriate for the cold London temps.Photo via Hello MagazineJenna Coleman in ??I don't know her, but she looks beautiful, and this dress is possibly my favourite.Photo via UK Daily MailGugu Mbatha-Raw in Prada.This shade of pale lavender gets me every time.Photo via BreakingNewsFor a change, I'm including the gents in this little fashion roundup, since they really brought their fashion A-Game to the BAFTA Awards red carpet.Michael Keaton. Love the charcoal grey jacket, and check out those velvet loafers.  Photo via UK Daily Mail Benedict Cumberbatch with fiancee Sophie Hunter, both in Alexander McQueen.All class. Photo via Hollywood Life Eddie Redmayne in Giorgio Armani with wife Hannah Bagshawe in Valentino.Navy velvet, oh yeah!Photo via UK Daily Mail David Beckham in Tom Ford.He's not an actor, so I'm not sure why he's there, but I'm gonna let it slide...Photo via Hollywood Life Douglas Booth.I don't know him, but I like that he took a minty green velvet fashion risk.Photo via Hollywood Life[...]

An Argument for Antiques


In today's National Post online, I've been quoted in an article about buying antique furniture vs. new. The article, written by Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco, talks with Enric Rose, a former antiques dealer; Barry Gordon, founder of MaxSold; Cripsin Butterfield, of Urban Theory Interior Design and myself. We all share the same view: that antiques can be incorporated into a modern home as long as the combination is in balance. In fact, as I've stated on this blog many times, antiques are extremely affordable when found at estate sales and auctions, both live and online.

"...That’s exactly what Pamela Graham, the Gen X blogger and interior designer behind Cherish Toronto did recently for a young client on a limited budget. She looked at the lines — and imagined the possibilities. “We bought two antique bedside tables for a lot less than we would have paid in a big box store. They weren’t fine antiques, but they were solid. We painted them white and changed the hardware to make them look more modern, and they were gorgeous...”

Read the full National Post article here.

The Weekend in Review: IDS 2015 & Other Stuff


This was meant to be an easy weekend, but the unlisted tasks (4 loads of laundry) and the impulse tasks (rearranging decor accessories) had me up past midnight late Sunday. Regardless, all was accomplished and I'm ready for a new week. To review:1) Empire Auction preview (starts at 10 am Saturday). Done.2) IDS Globe Style Saturday (Jonathan Adler @12, Alexa Hampton @2, Thom Filicia @4). Attended!3) Paint final coat of Aspen Valley green on both doors in front hall. Done. Thank goodness! 4) Go through three years of House Beautiful magazines and tear out inspirational pages, recycle the leftovers. Done.5) Catch E! "Live from the Red Carpet: The 2015 SAG Awards". Done & blogged.Saturday afternoon was spent at IDS where I was able to enjoy all of the Globe Style Saturday presentations by Jonathan Adler, Alexa Hampton & Thom Filicia. In fact, thanks to my media pass, I was able to personally meet and briefly chat with all three of these talented designers in the VIP lounge. Such a thrill!!☺A key takeaway from each presentation: Jonathan Adler advises each of us to enjoy "rules free living" and to "embrace vulgarity" by adding gold accents to our decor. Alexa Hampton shared a lot of great tips. I love the "Sharpie method" she employs to envision a new design by drawing on a photo of the existing space with marker.Thom Filicia passes on a piece of advice he was given by the late great Albert Hadley: "Always have an element of surprise in your design."In other weekend news, I stopped in at Empire Auctions Saturday morning for the preview, but that was a strike out - no classic marble top commodes this month. On the bright side, this gives me at least another month to save up for the splurge. I also finished the final coat of Aspen Valley on both doors in the front hall and added gold highlight to the trim. Later this week I'll be able to put the doorknobs back on - yay!! Lastly, I got through several stacks of decor magazines, tearing out tons of inspirational spaces. I guess I know what I'll be working on next weekend...lots of trimming & organizing to do:[...]

SAG Red Carpet Fashion


Just a quick post about my choices for best dressed on the Screen Actors Guild red carpet. The pre-show was a quick 2 hours, but that's all it took to spy a bevy of beautiful gowns.Julianne Moore in GivenchyShe always looks beautiful in emerald green! Julianna Margolies in Giambattista ValliAnother jewel tone - stunning!Tatiana Maslany in Oscar de la RentaLove the abundance of fabric, such a luxurious gown!Joanne Froggatt in Honor Absolutely lovely, styled by Canadian Brad Goreski!Kaley Cuoco in Romona KevezaThere's something to be said for simplicity!Felicity Jones in BalenciagaPretty in Pink!Reese Witherspoon in Giorgio ArmaniOne shoulder white, fits to perfection!Claire Danes in Mark Jacobs A unique gown with amazing detail along the side!All photos via E! Online. [...]

What's Up This Weekend


I know I said this last week, but c'mon, how can it possibly be Friday again so soon? It was a busy week with the antique auction, IDS breakfast preview, Indigo summer preview and IDS gala - all time well spent! (Somewhere in there I also went to work.) This weekend will be more of the same; Empire holds their auction Sunday through Tuesday, and I'm heading back to IDS on Saturday to hear speakers Jonathan Adler, Alexa Hampton & Thom Filicia.

Weekend To-Do:

1) Empire Auction preview (starts at 10 am Saturday).

2) IDS Globe Style Saturday (Jonathan Adler @12, Alexa Hampton @2, Thom Filicia @4).

3) Paint final coat of Aspen Valley green on both doors in front hall.

4) Go through three years of House Beautiful magazines and tear out inspirational pages, recycle the leftovers. (Last weekend's leftover task.)

5) Catch E! "Live from the Red Carpet: The 2015 SAG Awards" (Sunday 6-8pm)

I'm should be able to do all of this with time to spare. What are y'all up to this weekend?


Three Out Of Ten Ain't Bad


I want you.

I  need you.

But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna afford you.

Now don't be sad.

Cause 3 out of 10 ain't bad.

I came away from yesterday's french antique auction with 3 of my top 10 choices, which is more than I realistically thought I would bring home. The prices were surprisingly affordable, although not on my coveted marble top commode which sold for $1400.00 + commission & tax.

I managed to come in as high bidder on the brass & marble coffee table and two fabulous sets of sconces. The set on the left will go to my good friend Tim, and I'll keep the set on the top right. Please do not ask my where any of this is going. I'll figure it out. Eventually.(image)

French Antique Auction


By the time you read this, I'll be fidgeting nervously at the auction house, fist tightly clenched around my paddle as maximum bids roll through my head. In early January my friend Jasmine alerted me to this auction, and I've dreaming about nabbing a few pieces ever since. French Antique Auction? Yes, please!!

I sifted through the preview images and narrowed my choices down to these ten exquisite pieces. If nothing else, I need that marble topped dresser (I've always been outbid at past auctions). If I come home with more than that, I may have to move again. But c'mon, I know I can find a spot for those sconces...and that statue...and that mirror...

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with news of successful bidding. Please cross your fingers for me!!(image)

Front Hall Progess & Aspen Valley


Yesss! It was another successful weekend - I came painfully close to completing all of Friday's "to-do" list items. I knew it was an ambitious list, but in the end I just plain old ran out of time. The weekend could have used another 5 hours, or maybe I could have skipped that Sunday evening nap ;) 1) Cut to length all trim for both interior doors in front hall. Done 2) Paint all lengths of trim & both interior doors in front hall in Aspen Valley green. Done 3) Nail trim onto doors, fill nail holes & sand when dry. Done 4) Caulk around all trim. Done 5) One more coat of paint on all trim to touch up nails holes and cover caulk. Incomplete 6) Go through the last three years of Style at Home & House Beautiful magazines and tear out inspirational pages, recycle the leftovers. 1/2 Done, 1/2 IncompleteAs you can see by the list "check off", a good amount of progress was made on the doors in the front hall. This time I tried a new method, painting the door fronts and trim separately before attaching the trim. It seems a bit more labour intensive to paint all around the trim once it's up (meaning more brush, less roller). Regardless of my efforts to shortcut, the doors still need one more coat. Hopefully I can get around to that soon so that I can put the doorknobs back on (one of these doors leads to the guest bath). In other good news, I really, really like the look of Para's Aspen Valley green. Hopefully I'll get through the pile of House Beautiful magazines tonight (list item #6) because the rest of this week is going to be busy. I've got a fun event happening Wednesday evening (watch for Wednesday's post), Thursday morning will be an early start for the Interior Design Show breakfast and Thursday evening I'm going to check out Indigo's Spring & Summer preview. Speaking of IDS, it's happening this weekend, January 24th & 25th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Will I see you there?[...]