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IDS 2011: overwhelmingly wonderful

January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Let me just start by saying the Interior Design Show was wonderful. And overwhelming.  I started with an initial walk-through to check out the lay of the land and to see what this year’s show had to offer. Then I ate a granola bar, listened to a panel discussion, used the washroom, took a big breath, and then back-tracked through all the exhibits.  In all fairness, I think I needed to do a third and fourth walk-through to do all the exhibitors justice.  But as I said, I was overwhelmed with all the amazing furniture, finishes, designers, and products represented. Now, if I or one of my clients was in the market for a high end kitchen with fancy-schmancy appliances, or a luxe bathroom with an uber-cool tub and hardware, I would have spent a lot more time looking at some of the fantastic new products on the market. However, that was not the case. I was just there to take it all in and get inspired. And inspired I was.

The Studio North portion of the show was my favourite (Studio North = representation of forward-thinking, edgy Canadian Design from right across the country).  Here is a round up of my favourite exhibitors….

Jean Willoughby is aToronto-based furniture and product designer is driven by a philosophy I appreciate and gravitate towards: purposeful, practical, functional, strong lines, and timeless neutrality. This curved concrete and wood side table was on display on the prototypes stage. It was very cool. Yet warm.  Loved the wood and concrete combo.

Textile designer Julie Moschenross is the creator behind the Manor 12 line. Each piece is hand printed and made here in Toronto. I loved the colours, patterns, and textures of the quilts and pillows on display.  Comfort, quality, and beauty.

Earlier this week I was introduced to the Carroll Street Woodworkers by a great post over on the marion house book so I was excited to see them at IDS.  Let me tell you, this booth was packed everytime I walked by (I walked by three times because I really loved their turned wood light fixture and had to check it out from all angles).  This desk is pretty darn cool too- cords run down the leg and quirky little buttons pop out to reveal hidden storage compartments for your pens.

My day job has nothing to do with design. At all.  When I am is my design groove I care not to think about “work” at all.  But I had to smile when I saw the designs of Nicole Tarasick today.  My client is a major Canadian airline and I’m accustomed to referring to the major Canadian cities by their airport code (Toronto=YYZ , Montreal=YUL, Vancouver=YVR, etc). Nicole’s mission is to handcraft textile goods with bold design, patriotic content and a minimal environmental footprint. Even though I don’t want to think about work when I am at home, I am thinking about purchasing one of her graphic pillows through her Etsy shop. They are just so Canadian.  I dig that.

This coffee table/dinette by TILT is an example of great design. Seriously. Hey teeny tiny condo owners, here’s a space-saving solution for you!


Montreal-based TOMA offers up everyday objects designed to infuse a little humour and whimsy into the hum-drum of daily living. How about this boot mat?  It’s 100x better than my Canadian Tire special. And offered at a very decent price at that ($45CDN). I also adore their hangars – designed to hold your coat and scarf at once.  Or better yet, just leave them hanging empty because their whimsical shape is just so pretty!

I’ll wrap this post up by declaring my delight about the Sarah & Theo Richardson “Sibling Revelry” space. I will admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the red-themed dining space but I was over-the-top-pleased that the main feature of the room was the same Holzberg Summerhill print I have hanging in my foyer. Yay me.


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[room of the week] velvet, silk, and emerald

January 26, 2011 Leave a comment

As evidenced by the red carpet at the Golden Globes, rich and luxurious emerald green is in.

via NY Daily News

My choice for Room of the Week echoes the classic glamour donned by the leading ladies of Hollywood.  Designed by Tazmin Greenhill, this divine room is full of rich fabrics, warm antique touches, an elegant palette, and art-deco-inspired touches. How welcoming is that lush velvet sofa?  And how lovely is the patina of the mirrored wall surrounding the fireplace?

via Tazmin Greenhill via The Nero Chronicles

loving the gallery wall

January 24, 2011 6 comments

Gallery walls are everywhere and I am loving them. A gallery wall is such an efficient use of a small space (or you can go nuts in a large space) and it is a great way to pull together a mix of your favourite pieces of art.  Here are a couple gorgeous examples….

via photo problem

via desire to inspire

And here are a couple more fun and vibrant examples…

via lonnymag

Having recently moved into a new space, the biggest challenge has been deciding which pieces of art I’d like to hang.  We are currently renting and plan on staying for no more than 18 months so I don’t want to make too many gaping holes in the walls.  But at the same time, I am intent on making the space ‘ours’.  As such, I decided to do a small gallery wall in our foyer with a few favourite pieces that would add a punch of welcoming colour. On a related subject, I should mention that I am a big proponent that every piece of art you own should have some personal meaning.  It doesn’t need to be expensive by any means, but whether it is a photograph you’ve taken, a postcard from an old friend, or a print you’ve picked up on vacation, the art you hang on your walls should have some special meaning or story for you. Without further ado, here is our new gallery wall (please excuse the absence of any other accessories…that is another work in progress).

1. Four years ago my man and I went to Paris for 10 amazing days.  During that time we left the city for two days to visit Reims and the Champagne region. One of our favourite champagne houses was Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin. We brought home several bottles of VCP including their ‘Paint Tin’ collection of four mini bottles. I re-purposed that tin two ways: (1) I framed the lid as shown here and(2) I potted a fern in the base of the can.  Long after the champagne was gone, this souvenir just keeps getting better!

2. I am addicted to Etsy. I really love a lot of the typography and graphic prints being made right now.  I came across this print and knew that my man would be pleased with it (he is a huge Radiohead fan) and I will admit that I love the literal meaning (I am a bit of a neat freak).

3. I picked up this mixed-media collage in Havana a couple years ago when I was visiting Cuba with my Mom.  The colours are so vibrant and it really captures the vibe Havana today (which is certain to drastically change in the near future).

So there is our gallery and why I chose the pieces I did.

We also have a Ben Mark Holzberg print hanging on an adjacent wall.  I posted about that here.

[room of the week] norwegian greys

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Today I am debuting a new weekly post, a featured ‘Room of the Week’. I realize I just posted a bedroom yesterday, but I just had to share this one with you. This image was found on the blog of  interior photographer Franciskas Vakre Verden.  Though I can’t read Norwegian, I gather this is a bedroom at the Norefjell Spa & Resort in Norway.  Perhaps I have been influenced by the cool temperatures and greyness outside, but I think this bedroom exudes a perfect mix of brooding tones and bright creamy whites. I love how understated the headboard appears beneath the amazing tree print.  Book me a night in this room!

via Franciskas Vakre Verden

blue monday

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

So apparently today has been named the most depressing day of the year.  It’s cold and dreary. Your bills from Christmas are arriving in your mailbox. You realize you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolutions.  I say to heck with it and stay in bed.  Especially if your bed looks like this….

via The Design Files

[homework] top trends of 2011 – the new country

January 15, 2011 1 comment

It’s time for installment #3 of my take on Canadian House & Home‘s top trends of 2011. This week I am looking at the “New Country”. Gone are the red accents, borders, and kitschy prints. The new look is sleek and artisanal; country kitchens for the modern world. Think clean simple lines, whitewashed colour palette,  organic textures, hand-hewn tables,  and industrial appliances.

(images: 1-lonny mag, 2-the selby, 3-house of turquoise)

Here is my take on the look….

RELATED POSTS:

You can read my first two posts on the Top Trends of 2011 here:  the new modern and the new vintage.

[inspiration board] baby girl’s nursery

January 10, 2011 1 comment

I recently completed a nursery project and I thought I’d to share a bit of the design process with you. My client’s wanted to convert their small home office (8’8″x8’2″) into a nursery for their little bun in the oven.  Wishing to keep the gender a surprise for everyone including themselves, I was asked to make this space gender neutral until the little one was born.  The advantage of doing so, was that all the major expenditures (furniture and art) would be usable for the next time ’round.  As soon as the little one was born (a girl!) I added some feminine accessories.

Here are some of the design elements we discussed during the initial consultation:

Once my client and I had decided on a design direction for the nursery (modern but not stark), I came up with this design board for the nursery.  (rug + pillows added after the birth)

Stay tuned for the second installment of this posting, where I reveal the final nursery!