Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Update: #ProjectTownHouse

Hello Tuesday! It has been a few months since I shared with you my new project: #ProjectTownHouse, and let me tell you, it is going to be a beauty!  As you may know, I am mostly doing e-design these days so I don't have to pack my weekends with client meetings / progress updates with trades.  #ProjectTownHouse started as an e-design project but when a client came along loving absolutely everything you proposed (better yet, have already purchased them for install), you just have to give back some love!

Since the initial take on the living room, here is the new plan for an ultimate showstopper space to lounge, relax, and to entertain with the best of friends!  The sofa and side chairs from West Elm and the burl credenza gave us inspirations for a chic, contemporary look with an art deco flair.  Then we fell in love with the Odin sofa by Konstantin Grcic from Avenue Road, the zimba wallpaper from Schumacher, the striped fabric from Robert Allen, and the brookhaven diamonds by Sarah Richardson for Kravet.  The IC lights by Michael Anastassiades from Flos, the creamy stitched hide rug, the I-Beam side table from Style Garage, and the Platner coffee table from Design Within Reach provide function and create a sense of airiness.

For a touch of glam and drama, we scored a vintage Sciolari glass rod chandelier and I dream of Nicole from The Aestate framed in a lucite box!       

You will see the rest of the first floor soon but for today, let's check out the bedroom and the office on the upper floor!  Ever since the first time I saw the Nuvolette by Cole and Son, I knew I have to use it one day and here is my chance.  This bedroom has great natural light and with a round window reminding me of sailboat, I immediately zoomed in for a relaxed, charming retreat with an industrial edge.  The supra bed from CB2 is a fine example of effortlessly elegance and that curve headboard, need I say more?

Then I decided to inject brass, black, and blue accents to complement the breezy nautical look with a pair of Equestrian side tables by Nate Berkus for Target, the cord chair from Avenue Road, the grasscloth console and Teal Umbrellas from Black Rooster Decor, and the Clint floor lamp from West Elm is the perfect mate to echo the Dyad sconce from Apparatus Studio.  And just before we close the book on the bedroom, I am also eyeing the comfy and stylish Aiden upholstered armchair from Pottery Barn, the graphic Phoenix wool Dhurrie from West Elm, and the Atom chandelier from Lightmaker Studio that reminds me of the stars!  

My client isn't a "girly" person but in the office, she wants it to be glamorous and elegance, and THIS is what I came up with! In palette of creamy white, soft rose quartz, and classic black + white, this office could easily be mine!  The accent wall will be covered with this spotty wallpaper from Caitlin Wilson, a hand painted fabric as drapery by Hollie Cooper Interiors, and the super whimsical Globo table lamp by Jonathan Adler + The Porter 1 by Gray Malin.  The via rose gold and marble bookcase from CB2 and the pink swan chair by Fritz Hansen add a refreshing hit of pink.

I am always up for incorporating vintage finds in my projects for character and charm.  In this office, we have a stunning Murano glass chandelier and a pair of incredible sconces to pair with a super super chic goat skin credenza and a sexy polished brass table from Scout Design Studio.

And of course who wouldn't want a lounge area in the office after a few hours of work right? The Harry chaise by Sarah Richardson is absolutely perfect and I would love to upholster it in one of the serene fabrics by Rebecca Atwood

Ok ... that's it for now.  I can't wait to check in soon to show you the progress!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Our Home: Condo Living in Style

Hello Tuesday! I hope you all had a fantastic long weekend.  Yours truly spent most of his time by the pool soaking up the sun and enjoying every minute of the gorgeous weather Toronto offers this summer.  Then I had a thought, how do we extend our beloved summer into the cooler months?

Taking inspiring from Mother Nature, summer is full of vibrant colors.  From tomato red, citrus orange to pineapple yellow and dark purple plum, it is only natural to welcome pops of bright colors into our homes for those grey winter days.

It has been awhile since I did a home tour and today, we are touring a chic, contemporary condo in the heart of downtown Toronto.  

First impression is key and in this front foyer, the home owner created an inviting and vibrant welcome through a large neon yellow acrylic mirror (I also picked up a green one ... hope to have it hung in my foyer soon too), an ocean blue glass jar, and of course a shot of tangerine in the name of Hermes. 

The striped runner has got to be one of my favorites with its magnitude of colors and totally in the style of Paul Smith

Condo living often means you will live with awkward placement of HVAC essentials such as your air return and temperature control central.  The good thing about them is that they are often in white and here is how they disappeared to make way for a captivating feature wall featuring fluid wall art and sculptural furniture pieces.

Staying natural doesn't mean you can only use white, grey, or beige.  When you want to step out of your comfort zone next time, try purple plum!  It is sumptuous, luxurious, elegance, and it's the color I am so using in my next condo!

Tight in space and not sure how to fit both the living room and dining room into one open concept space, especially when there is a column right at the corner? Try putting these zones on "an angle".  This smart layout allows both zones to live large visually and in style.  The sleek, streamline furniture offers function while the color play of the chairs is purely genius.  Who says the chairs have to be the same color!

A simple living art + an ultra modern lighting fixture, I will have to RSVP myself at the next dining party!  

I have been spending a lot of time thinking (and rethinking) of the kitchen layout at my next condo.  The unique design of this island caught my eyes.  The "wrap-around" design is sophisticated and it is far less expensive than the default waterfall style.

It's now time to check out the bedrooms.  This condo comes with 2 bedrooms and first off is the guest retreat.

I don't know about you but I absolutely loved everything in this sophisticated bedroom! The natural walnut, the sculptural sensibility of the furniture choices, and the layering of textures, I would be more than happy to say "hello, I live here!".

For the master, I love the juxtaposition between the warmth of natural wood and the industrial vibe of the stainless steel.  While the grey linen drapes echo the stainless element, the vibrant crystal blue captures your eyes in this monochromatic space and brings this room to live.

I am crazy about the Logico table lamp form Artemide and that three dimensional wall sculptural had me at hello!  

I hope you are inspired by this incredibly sexy and stylish home as much as I do.  I am going to apply many of the tips I've learned here in my future home.  What's your top takeaway design tip from this home tour?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Treasure Hunting 101

Hello Tuesday! Summer is absolutely amazing in Toronto and besides my love of peonies in June, hunting for vintage treasures at garage sales, thrift shops, and antique markets is one of my favorite pastimes on the warm, sunny weekends.

Today I am sharing with you my top 5 tips on shopping vintage + a peek at my ever-growing (an addiction really) accessory collection.

Tip 1: Be Focused

Sometimes it's hard to know "what you are looking for", especially when you are spontaneously checking out garage sales and antique markets.  Rather than buying everything you love and ended up with boxes of mismatched decors in random styles, pick a specific design style that speaks to you and make that your focus.

I love mix metals so you could imagine my excitement when I picked up a pair of art deco inspired silver plated candlesticks with brass ball accent when I was in Vienna in spring.  I also like a classic silhouette because its timeless aesthetic works all the time! This bud vase has a gorgeous shape (needs a little cleaning but I love the patina) and it's by Birks!  It also came from one of the most jam-packed shops I have ever walked into and my eyes spotted this beauty under a pile of "stuff".

Tip 2: Be Connected

Local online treasure hunters are a great resource for one of a kind vintage finds.  Best of all, they are locals and you can meet them in person to save on shipping and custom charges.  Kijiji and Vintage Fine Objects are some of my go-to only resources.  Doug_Fritock of Modern Geometry 101 is also fabulous in the states.

I love birds and these glass sticks are just adorable!  Then of course I also couldn't resist the juicy fruit collection for my next summer party.  Thanks Jen!  The hex trays are made in Italy and believe it or not, they were scored from two different thrift stores!

Tip 3: Be Creative

I always look beyond the intended function of the objects and imagine the real potentials.  In this case, a solid glass candleholder is reimagined as a bud vase and this cheerful "Love Brings Rainbow" plate will be framed as wall art!

Tip 4: Be Brave

Vintage shops are often not as neat and tidy compare to regular home decor stores.  So when my friend and I accidentally discovered an AS-IS location of a thrift store, we both thought: jackpot!  This location literally has boxes of stuff and furniture on top on each other.  After some digging into the boxes and peeling back layers of furniture, I found this blue and white marbleized vase and a pair of brass "Z" side tables at unbeatable prices!  I am so going back for another visit.

The hex faux bamboo side tables are local kijiji finds and if you are interested, I have three of them just for you!

Tip 5: Be There

This is a tough one especially when we really don't "need" anything.  But if I only go to the St. Lawrence Antique Market in Toronto on Sunday when I "need" something, I would have never found this stunning coffee set! LOVE the mix metal and those handles!!

This doggie letter opener had be at hello and the tent-like silver box was from my trip to the East Coast last summer.  The faux bamboo chair was a kijiji find while all items on the bottom right image were from a garage sale for $2!

Hope you enjoy my tips on treasure hunting and inspired to check out your local shops or garage sales this weekend.  I would love hear what you've brought home!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tea Party w/ bluebellgray

Hello Thursday! Are you all enjoying the beautiful summer? The weather couldn't be any more perfect in Toronto and I am looking forward to spending my weekends at Chris' balcony to savoy every moment of summer.

Now whether you are a tea or coffee lover, sweet treats in the afternoon or breakfast on Sunday wouldn't be completed without the gorgeous fine china from bluebellgray!

images courtesy of bluebellgray
The artistic watercolor florals + delicate delightful palette make the bluebellgray collection my go-to choice for pure elegance and serenity.  The organic white backdrop complements Fi's abstract, oversized watercolor blooms harmoniously and the soft colors make the collection an absolute bliss to decorate / style in our homes.

images courtesy of bluebellgray
A quick trip to bluebellgray (also available at The Bay in Canada), I have found my favorite items for the next tea party:

kettle / toaster / bowl / tea plates / teapot / cups / tray / cake stand 
I can't wait to collect them all, especially the sensational kettle and toaster collaboration with Dualit and the amazing Tetbury large cantina tray, for my next brunch at the patio! 

Are you inspired to host a tea party this weekend? I would love to hear which bluebellgray collection wins your heart! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2016

Hello Monday! What a beautiful weekend and it was just perfect for the 55th Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in Toronto!  I have been a fan of the show for years and this year, the exhibition features 314 artists showcasing their best work and believe me, I wanted many pieces myself!

Today, I am sharing with you some of my favorite artists.

logo and bottom image courtesy of Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
The first booth I walked into this year was Ben Sellick.  First-timer at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, my eyes were instantly captivated by the scale and vibrancy of Ben's work. I was wowed by the intricate patterns, his technique, and I was most impressed by his meticulous attention to detail, patience, and his steady hands! 

Each of these pieces is composed of thousands of small pieces of color papers and magic happens as Ben creates art one tiny piece of paper at a time.  I love the radiant quality of the pink ring but the three dimensional aspect of the aqua ring.  So I debated for a couple of hours and before I could make up my mind, both pieces were sold!! 

Ben we will be in touch to create a showstopper for my living room! 

Speaking about impeccable attention to detail and steady hands, the paintings by Matt Beasant are entirely painted with paintbrushes.  I have no idea how Matt creates the silky smooth texture and seamless transition of colors but Matt did say it takes hours to perfect each piece!  Inspired by the Canadian wilderness, Matt masters abstraction and create harmony between sharp geometric objects and the tranquil backdrop. 

bottom left image courtesy of Matt Beasant
From painting to charming woodwork, I am crazy about these enchanting pieces by JB+DG.  The feather motif surely caught my attention (you all know I love birds), and their wooden planters turn the simple cactuses and succulents into sophisticated centrepieces! The flat round bowl with a little succulent in the middle is so chic!  Joseph and Dayna, we should talk! 

I first met Brett Lundy of Merganser Furniture at the Interior Design Show since I was attracted to his  handcrafted woodwork and superb workmanship. The console table with storage and fancy feet is still one of my favorite pieces to-date, and now I am in love with his wooden vases and the intricate patterns on his benches!

Graving for a glass object to make a statement? You have got to check out these beautiful bubbles  by Courtney Downman.  The juxtaposition between the organic silhouette and whimsical jellybeans inspired hues makes these glass vases sophisticated and fun!  

bottom left image courtesy of Courtney Downman Glass
The translucent quality and the aqua minimal inspired palette have drawn me to the work of Cheng-Ou Yu since I walked passed Harbourfront Centre in winter.  These vases exude elegance and grace when presented individually yet so impactful when they are showcased as a collection.

The crystal-like color reminds me of the turquoise water of Lake Louise and I was blown away by the beauty of Mother Nature.  I may just have to add this watery vase to my pottery collection!

top left image courtesy of Cheng-Ou Yu
The circle motif always gives me a sense of calmness thanks to its quiet and soothing form.  It is not surprising that I love these silver spoons, sugar bowl, and olive picks by Jay Joo.  Love the way Jay presented his products and I may just need to pick up the sugar spoon for my next tea party!    

Last but not least, I am officially obsessed with the brilliant work by Kal Mansur.  Instead of me trying to describe these exceptional masterpieces, here is Kal:

"Klash Inside creates acrylic art objects that reflect and refract light.  The works appear to be paintings, but a complex sculptural arrangement belies the surface and draws the viewer in.  

Each piece has a luminous quality and seems to be illuminated without a source of power.  They change with shifting viewing angles and varying light conditions."

Are you blown away by Kal yet? Well I am and Charcoal Valkyrie 8 is coming home with me!

image courtesy of Kal Mansur Studio
Hope you all enjoy the 55th Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition! I would love to hear what you've purchased for your home! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

#ProjectChris ~ Balcony Summer 2016

Hello Tuesday! Hope you all had a fantastic and fun long weekend celebrating Canada Day, Pride2016 in Toronto, and Independence Day! The weather couldn't be any more perfect and the brilliant sunshine ... I LOVE SUMMER!

On that note, it's time to show you how Chris' balcony looks like for Summer 2016! 

Chris moved into his condo two years ago and for its first summer, we created an urban oasis filled with patterns, colors, and flowers.  Big Thank You to the Style at Home magazine for the amazing feature and Donna for your fabulous photo!

image courtesy of Style at Home & Donna Griffith
And for Christmas 2015, we added festive charm to the balcony with hollyberry branches, mini Christmas trees, and filled the planters with fresh cut greens.   

Then of course good old winter took over, leaving the balcony in a desperate need of TLC. 

... and that's exactly what we did in June!

Admittedly we have started the makeover late this season and by the time we tried to hunt down the begonia, all the yellow ones were gone (I love yellow and they looked so good last summer!).  Instead, Chris found a pair of topiary inspired plants with pink blooms for the tall planters and vivid orange begonia for the low planters. 

Orange and pink isn't my usual color palette but I love a challenge and I couldn't be happier with my result!  My first call of order was to introduce a geometric pattern on the floor to give this space a more modern, contemporary feel.  It was love at first sight when I saw this pink quartz and light sand rug from HomeSense.  I put three of them together and with the fringes, this supersized rug looks like a million bucks!

I fell in love with this whimsical butterfly pillow from Indigo at its Spring/Summer preview, and I just love how it enlivens the space.    

Just as Chris thought we were done, I thought why has only one look when we can have two!!  A quick layout switch + a bench doubling as coffee table and voila: an intimate outdoor cafe for two.

Love the tropical vibe of the Swaying Palms from Tonic Living and how it echoes the orange and pink palette.  I am a firm believer of more is more when it comes to something you love ... and that's precisely why I have added Swaying Palms on the bench as well! The navy blue piping looks sophisticated and it allows me to introduce various shades of blue as accent to take it up a notch.

Thanks Janine for the beautiful pillows and cushion for a touch of hollywood glam!

Did you give your outdoor space an update this summer? I would love to hear about your makeover stories!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The 2nd Annual DX Design Auction + #Giveaway

Hello Tuesday! Are you obsessed with iconic designs and dream to outfit your home with a piece or two statement pieces to cherish for years to come? Then you will have to come to the 2nd Annual DX Design Auction on June 14th!

Taking place right on the historic Trading Floor at the Design Exchange, the live and silent auction features a curated selection of sought after home furnishings and decor with 100% of the proceeds supporting the museum toward exhibitions, talks, workshops, and youth education programs, demonstrating the relevance and importance of design to everyday life.

Looking through the list of featured auction items, here are my top picks for a vibrant, whimsical home:
images courtesy of Design Exchange Design Auction
As for my next sleek, contemporary living room, I am loving this look!
images courtesy of Design Exchange Design Auction
Tickets to the 2nd Annual Design Exchange Design Auction are available and thanks to DX, I am hosting a giveaway! One lucky winner will be coming to DXDA on June 14th and that person could be you! Simply check out the list of auction items, pick your favorites, and leave me a comment. For additional entries, follow both Design Exchange and Design Maze on instagram and repost my Design Exchange Design Auction pictures with #DMxDXDA!

Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Monday June 13th!