Friday, October 31, 2014

Your Next Kitchen w/ Panasonic Cooking

Hello Halloween Friday! The weekend is almost here and with the weather taking a dip to the single digit, I may stay in to look after some long overdue paper work and perhaps cook myself some lunches for the week.  My schedule is pretty hectic during the week.  So Chris and I usually cook up a storm on Sunday and survive the week via microwave.

I was at the Panasonic Cooking event this week, and was amazing by how easy it was to prepare a fresh and delicious meal with an incredible line of kitchen appliances.

image via Your Next Kitchen, Panasonic Cooking
Baking a sensational chocolate cake without the oven and a beautiful seared salmon with crispy crust is no longer a two step process (pan fried first and then broil in the oven), that's the magic I learned at the #panasonicstyle event with the fabulous Janette Ewen and amazing cook Chef Craig Harding of Campanolo.  I am getting hungry just looking at these plates again.  I may just have to try cooking a couple of them at home this weekend.    

Now speaking about Panasonic Cooking, the company has recently launched a new website filled with experts' tips and advices on how to create the kitchen of your dreams.  Thinking about a kitchen remodeling?  Janette shares her knowhow on kitchen excellence with her signature three-step approach:   

image via Your Next Kitchen, Panasonic Cooking
Narrowing down your personal style maybe easier than you think with the innovative tool that guides you though critical decisions such as paint, backsplash, counter top, cabinet, floor, and more importaly appliances at Pansonic Cooking.  I looked over the options and here is my style!

image via Your Next Kitchen, Panasonic Cooking
Now that you have defined your style, it is time to plan the most efficient and effective kitchen layout that is both practical and beautiful.  Kitchen and bathroom sell houses ... this is not the area where you want to make a wrong investment. 

I am planning my dream kitchen on paper at the moment, and Janette has got me covered from essential kitchen layout to top mistakes to watch out for when desiging the ultimate entertaining kitchen.  Remember I was cooking up a kitchen layout last week, this U-shape layout is absolutely perfect for my open-concept kitchen / entertaining central.  Thanks Janette!!
image via Your Next Kitchen, Panasonic Cooking

Step 3 is to pick the right appliances.  Luckily Panasonic Cook has done all the hard work and created the dream kitchen trio (oven, cooktop, and microwave) that married state-of-the-art technology and great design.  Let's face it, I would probably pick my appliances based on a look vs. function ratio of 60:40, especially when most specs sheets tend to put me to sleep.  So not only was I blown away by how sleek and stylish the Panasonic Cooking appliances look, but also how efficiently the appliances were in creating the mouth-watering meals for us at the event. 

Seeing these appliances in action certainly makes me a true believer.  Now if you also get headache reading specs sheets like me, Pansonic Cooking has summarized all the important facts in three informative videos.  Have a look:


Built-in Oven

Induction Cooktop

The Pansonic Cooking website also includes a section filled with simple to prepare delicious recipes. Here is one of my favourites!

image via Your Next Kitchen, Panasonic Cooking
Are you planning or tackling a kitchen redesign? I would love to hear from you! 

Happy Halloween friends! xo

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bathroom Inspiration with Sarah Richardson

Hello Tuesday! What a roller coaster ride in the weather department the past few days.  From crazy windy to bright + sunny, and today it is 20C! That's right folks, 20C on Octomber 28th! Wish the sky is bright but hey, I will take the warm weather. 

So I have been doing more brainstorming on my dream condo, #ProjectPreDevelopment, over the weekend and since the builder has given me the go-ahead with my layout re-imagination on the guest bath, today I am sharing with you a few of the key elements I am envisioning in this luxe, sumptuous bathroom.

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
So the original layout of this small bathroom has a tub and a door opening on the angled wall.  I don't really think my guests will be taking baths during their stays, so I've decided to do a glass enclosed shower instead.  I am also not a fan of the angled wall, especically how the clearance of the door eats into precious square footage.  Instead, I am going for pocket door and since pumping is running at the opposite wall, this detail should not impact the construction side of the business. 

One tip I picked up from Sarah is to avoid seeing the toilet the moment you open the bathroom door.  To fix this problem, I am switching the toilet and the vanity location, so the beautiful vanity is the first thing you see in the bathroom. 


Looking to Sarah for inspiration, I am dreaming of a dynamite feature wall with a sleek glass shower.  The pony wall allows me to add antoher hit of pattern and perhaps the perfect spot for a hand towel ring. 

My bathroom won't allow for a beautiful vanity with multi-level + open / closed storage.  But I would love that in the master ensuite!

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Another sensational bathroom with similar design elements.  This time the shower stays simple while the vanity wall gets a royal treatment with sconces, pendant, and marble penny rounds as embellishment.  Divine!   

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford

Since the bathroom is rather small, I could have the entire space tiled for a high impact, luxurious look.  However, this approach will be costly (since I am aiming for white marble) and I don't think there will ever be a splash issue in this space.  So perhaps I should focus my energy and budget on more intricate mosica patterns and better lighting plan with a mix of pot lights, pendants / sconces.  

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford

Now here is an idea: tile only the wet zone and paint the other walls. This kid bathroom is still one of my favourite bathrooms by Sarah thanks to the intense acid green accent, the challenge of finding a home for the toilet so it's not in your face, and the effective tile play that is high impact without breaking the bank.  I am also loving the pendant over the mirror idea, especially when it's going to be tight for wall sconces on the side and I really don't want a fixture over the mirror.   

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford

This incredible tile carpet is definitely my absolute favourite in Sarah's entire TV series.  Sky is the limitation, and with such small square footage, why not splurge a little to create a showstopper tile carpet in a small bathroom? My only concern is that angled wall and how I could create a pattern that works with that corner without giving my tiler a heart attack.  Maybe I will do this in the master ensuite or the front foyer!  

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford

And this is the ultimate bathroom that has everything I am looking for in my guest bath: 
  • glass enclosed shower with hand shower + rain head
  • large format marble tiles inside the shower and continue as wainscoting thoughtout the bathroom for visual interest & practical backsplash
  • dramatic floor tiles (the triangles will work amazingly with the angled wall)
  • pendant fixture over the mirror 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Now if you are looking to update or renovate your home, here is your chance to have a go-to reference to all your design questions.  Sarah Style is available for pre-order now and better yet, a chance to meet Sarah (and Tommy if you are in Toronto) and have your copy autographed!  Be sure to order your copy and mark the dates on your calendar!  

image via Sarah Richardson Design

Friday, October 24, 2014

Style at Home: Black + White Stunners w/ Christine Dovey

Hello Friday! Are you ready for the weekend?  Ever since my shoes were stolen at the gym (well it was really only a few days, but it felt like weeks!), I have been super active hunting down a replacement pair.  I have some specifics in mind (color, style), and that just makes it a bit more challenging to land on an ideal pair, especially when I want them NOW!

The candidates I spotted so far were in black.  Perhaps I should take that as a sign and just roll with black.  Black is a classic that always looks sharp and polished against white right?

Speaking about black + white, the Style at Home Special Makeover Issue features two sensational makeovers by the lovely and talented Christine Dovey I absolutely love!

image via Style at Home
Christine is known for her feminine yet daring & edgy design aesthetics. I'd like to think of it as a classy lady who going to a rock concert.  Even though I tend to go for the streamline, mid-century look, I've found myself totally addicted to her work! Have you seen the Piano Room and #ProjectGreenbay?  #IDIED!

image via Christine Dovey 
image via Christine Dovey 
Yes ... Christine's space is luxe and effortlessly elegant, but I think it's the undeniable sense of confidence in her work that has kept me wanting more.  Believe in yourself and no appology when making a design statement!

Enough of me screaming "I love you Christine!", here is Christine's hip and stylish white living room.

image via Style at Home
Once pretty in pink, the freshly painted white walls now serve as the perfect backdrop to showcase Christine's vintage treasures, modern art collections, and a celebration of the sculptural beauty of her eclectic furniture pieces.  I love that Christine didn't trade in all her whimsical flair for this sleek modern personality bypass.  Check out that tension and visual impact resulting from the juxtaposition between the flirty pleated drapes & high drama animal motifs vs the tailored velvet sofa in black + a pair of iconic art deco chairs!

image via Style at Home
Something old, something new, and something totally unexpected, that's why Christine's living room is such a treat to the design savvy eyes.  That antique settee is absolutely divine and hello to that ultra modern painting in blush, plum, sky blue, and fuchsia (yes … the model is cute too)!
image via Style at Home

You have now seen what Christine can do with white, but wait until you see her ravishing and sumptous bedroom in black!

image via Style at Home
This is certainly not your everyday bedroom.  My own bedroom is bright and airy, while Chris' bedroom is more moody in grey.  It takes guts to paint your entire bedroom black and I am crazy about it!  The pair of antique mirrors echo the traditional elements such as the panel moulding and the antique settee, while sharply contrast against the contemporary bed and bedside tables.  They also help brighten up the room by capturing and reflecting natural light.   
To make matte black comes to life, Christine injected lots of white in her decorative elements.  My absolute favourite: the hand painted drapes by Hollie!  

image via Style at Home
Want to know how to create Christine's fearless signature look? Here is how from Style at Home!  Love the black & gold ceramic votives (available at Black Rooster Decor) and that zebra fun!!

image via Style at Home
Are you planning to makeover a room or you in your own home? Pick up your copy of the Style at Home Makeovers with Style this weekend and be inspired! 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kitchen Island Inspirations w/ Sarah Richardson

Hello Tuesday! If you are following me on Instagram, you might have noticed I had a fantastic time with the Home Depot Blog Squad team (#HDBLOGSQUAD) at Terroni brain storming ideas on colors, kitchen, bathroom, and flooring.  What an inspiration group and I can't wait to work with the team on project in the upcoming year!

One of the topics we talked about was kitchen design.  From latest kitchen gadgets to timeless cabinet styles and colors, I am now ready to tackle the kitchen of my dreams ... on paper at least.  I know I am way early to start planning (since this kitchen of mine won't be built for another 3 years), but being proactive in ironing out a game plan at such early stage means the builder and the architect actually gave me the go ahead to alter their original kitchen layout (limited counter space + a dining zone) to an efficient / entertainment central hub.

So my plan is to pack the sink, dishwasher,microwave, and casual dining right all at the island.  Given the location of the island, it will likely be the first thing you will see as you walk toward the living space.  So it has to look airy and not a big visual block, meaning I want a mega-functional without being a giant in my open concept space.

So I have turned to Sarah for kitchen island inspirations, and that's what I want to share with you today.

Case Study no. 1: Country Living

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Compact in square footage but big on style and function, this kitchen at Sarah's country home is on top of my list.  I love all the extra storage built-in by the breakfast bar and how the extended storage on the left supported the marble overhang without the extra supporting brackets.

Another goal I try to achieve in my kitchen layout is to avoid seeing the fridge.  Sarah has tucked the counter-depth fridge on the side wall and has effectively made it "disappeared".  One thing to keep in mind here is that I will need to factor in clearance for the fridge doors/ drawers + traffic flow. 

The microwave is stored on the side wall as well ... definitely worth considering if I need to up my dining capacity at the island.   

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Case Study no. 2: Timeless Classics

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Similar design concept for the island but this kitchen layout will get me a larger island since I no longer need to consider clearance for the fridge.     

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Case Study no. 3: Fresh Country Kitchen 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Of course I love the barnboard detail on the island (my inspiration for #ProjectChris) and the kitchen layout is pretty much what I have envisioned for my dream kitchen.  Casual dining capacity for this island configure is 2, because Sarah has put another dining area right next to kitchen.  I don't have the square footage to destinate a separate dining zone, so maximizing seating capacity is key for me. 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Case Study no. 4: Raise the Bar 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Country or city, these two islands both maximize on storage, offer seating for three, and come with multi-level surfaces for visual interest and to hide chaos in the kitchen.  This elevated serving counter concept is the one thing Chris has asked for to prevent splash issue specially now that I have proposed to move the sink to the island.       

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
I have also been thinking about how to create the elevated section without having the side profile looking like a "big block".  In this all time favourite kitchen of mine (Sarah's House 1), Sarah used two tall and narrow cabinets as her building blocks.  

Side note: love the glass doors and the open display shelves.

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Another brilliant kitchen with a raised breakfast bar.  I love the walnut accent, the backsplash, and hello bar stools!! 

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Now I maybe onto something: how about unique metal legs for support?  Perhaps a vintage piece on the left to keep the space looking airy while doing the tall, narrow cabinet on the right for storage.  Possible seating for 3 + storage, now this may just be it! 

I am also considering adding a little wine or cook book corner next to the fridge.  It doesn't take up a lot of space but probably reduce the risk that fridge door hitting the wall when Chris swings it wide open.  (I know … don't even ask me why is that a concern.

image via Sarah Richardson Design, courtesy of Stacey Brandford
Thanks Sarah for sharing with us many of your expertly designed and beautifully decorated spaces on TV and on Sarah Richardson Design.  Now if you want to learn more from Sarah and to have a go-to source right at home, you have got to pick up a copy of your Sarah Style!  It is available for pre-order now! Don't miss out on Sarah's book tour!

image via Sarah Richardson Design

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Brilliant Inspirations @ House Beautiful

Hello Thursday! Hope you all had a fantastic long weekend!  Yours truly didn't have turkey + gravy or beer at Oktoberfest, but the smoked meat I had was simply delicious and I had a relaxing time hanging out with friends.

We also stopped by the presentation centre to finalize our paperwork for #ProjectPreDevelopment (not sure if I am crazy about the name yet … oh well, I have 3 years to dream up a new one before the place is ready for decorating!), and that got me researching for some ideas for the project.  Clipping the magazines on Monday had me inspired by three beautifully designed spaces featured in House Beautiful … and that's what I want to share with you today!

The first home is by Steven Gambrel and really, how could I not love it? The spaces are bold in colours, punctuated with dynamite patterns, and luxurious through and through.  From foyer (floor), powder room (walls), to the study (ceiling), I simply can't get enough of Steven's ingenious injections of patterns!  

image via House Beautiful
The guest bedroom in #ProjectPreDevelopment is truly a space to satisfy my wildest dreams (or at least that's what Chris says now).  High gloss lacquer walls, built-in bookcases around a sofa (probably need to double as bed) + sconces, super sexy desk & chair for an office setup, and a killer fireplace … just a few things I want to incorporate in this second bedroom.

image via House Beautiful
I did say I am dreaming big for this room right? Here is a fantastic closeup shot as my inspiration.

image via House Beautiful
Now another area I started brainstorming is the foyer and hallway.  I am dreaming grasscloth wallpaper, dramatic lighting fixture, and a mirror that says "look at me!".  This elegant yet gutsy first impression is designed by Lilly Bunn.

image via House Beautiful
Seems like dramatic, glossy wall treatment is calling my name at the moment.  Solid natural backdrops enlivened by bright poppy red, now that is a timeless approach to beautiful design that can stand the test of time.  

image via House Beautiful
The beauty of symmetry: what is not to love especially with a pair of gorgeous white lamps, brass side tables with deco charm, and faux bamboo chairs for some chinoiserie fun?

image via House Beautiful
From sumptuous glossy hues to bright serene white, this casual elegant space by T. Keller Donovan led me to dreaming a Miami inspired outdoor oasis.  Not exactly how I am going to pull this off yet but lush green + darling coral pairing with crisp white may well be the palette!

image via House Beautiful
Here are a few more detail shots of the space.

image via House Beautiful
And what I love the most in this home are the pagoda chandelier and that Chippendale style mirror!  I already have a mirror and a pagoda style chandelier, now I just need to dream about where to put them! 

image via House Beautiful
So what do you think of my inspirations? Any elements you would use in your own home?

Before I sign off, we also have our winner for the HomeSense giveaway!!  The computer has once again done its magic and our winner is Pat!! Congrats Pat and please email me your contact info!

Happy Thursday friends! xoxo

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Big Renovation w/ Genevieve Gorder

Hello Thursday! How is your week? Yours truly have been busy cooking up a kitchen plan for the next #ProjectChris as I need to finalize some details with the builder this weekend.  This kitchen at Deb's home offers me details and layout inspirations.

Speaking about inspiration, I have always loved the warm, cozy, and elegant spaces designed by Genevieve Gorder.  I first met Genevieve when she was one of the designers of Trading Spaces.  Genevieve paid attention to the wish lists and despite the tight timeline (2 days) and a very limited budget ($1,000),  she created many beautiful and heart-warming transformations that brought happy tears to the homeowners.

Fast forward a few years and I loved Genevieve's show, Dear Genevieve, on HGTV.  The transformations were dramatic and I specifically loved the episode where Genevieve made over the tiny apartment shared by her two assistants.  Such an eye opener on how to incorporate stylish and practical storage with precious square footage in NYC.

The latest show added to Genevieve's portfolio is the renovation / expansion of her own home, Genevieve's Renovation.  Thanks to HGTV and HGTV magazine, today we are taking a tour of this fresh, sophisticated, and eclectic home.

image via HGTV 
Our first stop is the dining room, which is also connected to the kitchen + the staircase to the second floor.  Formerly a dining/living room, the space is now solely designated for dinner party and entertaining.  The stately herringbone floor works beautifully with the creamy white walls, the black framed windows, the stone fireplace, and the amazing built-ins.  With all these characters and charms, I felt like I was in a super chic apartment in Paris!

image via HGTV 
A couple of key elements for my next project: unique lighting fixtures and dynamite bookcases.  Love how Genevieve painted the back of the bookcases black to accentuate her colourful book collection and  decorative accessories.  A library ladder … I want that too!

image via HGTV 
This gourmet kitchen features streamlined, contemporary cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling to make use of every square inch as storage space.  The stone counter and backslash, the sexy matte black faucets and range hood, the trio of pendants over the island, the textile interest (and the pop of colours) from the recycled woven saris, and the black & gold ladder system … just to name a few of my favourites in this chef-envy kitchen.

image via HGTV 
Also on the main floor is this gorgeous guest bathroom with the incredible Morocco inspired tiles, plus brass shower system, vanity, and accessories.  The vintage door and handle work seamlessly with the old-world charm aesthetic in this bathroom.  It is such a departure from the bright, modern dining room and kitchen, but what fun!!  

image via HGTV 
The bedrooms are on the second floor, and here is Bebelle's super adorable bedroom completed with a swing! 

image via HGTV 
Painted pale pink + a playful wallpaper as special feature, this bedroom is anything but a room to sleep for a 6-year old. The pair of white book cases are practical solutions to keep the "toy situation" under control, and they look custom thanks to the updated hardware and canvas bins.  The brass and glass chandelier looks like the Northern Star, while a family heirloom is painted black to punctuate and anchor the space.  The peacock was picked out by Bebelle herself and Genevieve tied room together with a couple more peacock blue pieces such as the pouf and the chair.

image via HGTV 
Ready to check out Genevieve's private retreat? It was a lot of work but definitely worths it.  Just check out the amazing doorway leading to the master bedroom!

image via HGTV 
Genevieve's bedroom is calm, soothing, and every piece of furniture here has a history or story.  The bedside tables were her great grandmothers' sewing tables, and the bed was constructed with vintage wood fences and columns.  A pair of wall sconces provide lighting and free up valuable tabletop space.

image via HGTV 
One of the bedrooms was converted into Genevieve's office and isn't that table to die for? I am sure Chris will want that in his office.  As for my favourite elements in this room: the floor tiles laid in a chevron pattern and the brass sconces! 

image via HGTV 
I have saved the living room for the last as its colorway is such a drastic contrast to the rest of the home and what a bold, dramatic statement!  The black walls make the space feels cozy and inviting.  Genevieve balanced the black with light colored pieces such as the sofa and the area rug.  The brass accent and the moroccan tables in nature wood add warmth to the living room, and don't you just love the chevron drapery panels and the zebra above the antique cabinet?      

image via HGTV 
Thanks Genevieve for sharing your cozy home with us! I can't wait to follow along on your next project!