Bathroom Makeover - Without the Overhaul!

Thinking of updating but don't have the time or budget to gut it and start over?  There are so many solutions that will make your room feel fresh and updated that doesn't involve ripping out drywall.  This also means less dust, which is also a bonus. Take for example this boring, builder's beige of a bathroom (no offence to my favourite contractors, but you shouldn't be in charge of aesthetic decisions - that's just the way it is).   This bathroom screamed "basic model, no upgrades" of the previous homeowners, which didn't suit my vibrant and stylish clients.  

 Original Basic Tub Surround

Original Basic Tub Surround

They had just been through two big renovations (see their beautiful kitchen here) and didn't want the headache of a big reno.  Plus, the floor and shower tile was still in great shape, it was just too beige for my client, so demolishing it would have been frivolous and wasteful.  My suggestion was to replace the bathtub tile only with a proper stone tub surround and panelling detail.  Another issue was the lack of storage - everything sat on the tub ledge which looked temporary and cluttered.   My solution was to add built-ins to one side that sat atop the new stone tub deck. Not only did it add much needed storage, but it warmed up the bathtub area. Throw in a little white subway tile and it's a whole new look!

 New tub surround, panelling and built-in shelves

New tub surround, panelling and built-in shelves

 

Previously it was so empty and cold feeling - who wants to bathe in that environment?   Now it is cozy with loads of visual interest.   We added a new grey vanity and Voila! a whole new vibe.   And all without ripping out a single wall - or floor or shower tile!  If you need help with something like this, feel free to contact me for a consultation - I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Valentine's Day! Bonne St. Valentin!

Well, rather than send you all a candy heart or roses (which really isn't my style), I'm going to give you some design inspiration for Valentine's Day.  And the theme is "Red is Best" - one of my favourite kid's books, by the way, by Canadian author Kathy Stinson (thanks to my sister for introducing it to us).

Source: www.kathystinson.com

I'm currently in the process of de-cluttering my office space and have decided to get rid of my tear sheets (thousands of them, I assure you) by scanning them and saving electronically.   With so many online resources for cataloguing my inspiration, like Pinterest and Houzz to name a couple of my favourites (psst...follow me!), I have decided to go digital.  Well, mostly; there are still some versions of the print magazine I cannot live without.

Anyway, I digress as usual.  In the process of going through my tear sheets I found a lot of red (which didn't surprise me) and it inspired me to share these images with you for some Valentine's Day inspiration.  Every room should have a little red, and these examples show how much life red can add to a room.   So, have a great Valentine's Day and remember "Red is Best".

 

Source: Blueprint Magazine

 

Source: Style at Home, May 2012

 

Source: Style at Home, May 2012

 

Source: House Beautiful, March 2011 

 

Source: House Beautiful, March 2011 

 

Source: Homes & Gardens, October 2010

Tour the model cottage...

(Photo courtesy of Matt Filion, cottagelife.com)

Here is the tour of the model cottage at the Fall Cottage Life Show.  There are pictures of the interior to give you an idea of how I styled the cottage.   It was such a great experience and the whole Cottage Life crew were amazing to work with - so supportive and fun.

If you have seen anything you like in a picture, have a look at the previous post to find sources.  Most of what I used was from a variety of helpful and amazing vendors at the show.   Thanks to all of you that helped make it such a wonderful experience!

Fall Cottage Life Show - Sources and paint colours

First of all, thanks to all of you that came out to the Fall Cottage Life Show!  It was a great success and there were line ups around the model cottage for a lot of the weekend.   I have to say, it was an amazing experience and so much fun to style the cottage.   It was so nice to get such such positive feedback from both the people visiting it, as well as the generous and helpful vendors that participated.  Please have a look at the source guide to see who participated.

 
Or, you can click here to go to the Cottage Life site to have a closer look.

Also, there was great interest in the paint colours I selected.  Therefore, I thought I would post a list and it is as follows:

Living Room/Dining Room/Kitchen:

Grey Owl: 2137-60

Children's Bedroom:

Pale Celery: 2150-60

Master Bedroom and Ensuite:

Grey Timber Wolf: 2126-50

Main Bathroom:

Summer Shower: 2135-60

Mudroom:

Grey Owl: 2137-60

All trim and ceilings:

Cloud White: OC-130

* All colours are the Benjamin Moore brand.

 Thanks for your interest and check back soon for more images of the model cottage!


 

The Fall Cottage Life Show

(Image courtesy of: cottagelife.com)

Well, it's official...I have the privilege of styling the first ever model cottage at the Fall Cottage Life Show this October 26-28th, 2012.  It's a first for the show, having a real full-size cottage, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.   And as you can see from the website, I will be doing cottage tours daily and answering design and decorating questions.

In addition, I will be acting as a guest blogger on the Cottage Life Blog leading up to the show.   I will provide links to the blog as we go, so check back to find out when I get to go on about one of my favourite things - "cottaging"!  

Online design magazines...

Although I still love hard copy magazines the most, I do have my favourite online magazines as well.   So, I thought I would share a few.   Normally, I feel like the last person to find out about cool stuff so thought everyone knew about them.  But, after speaking to what I consider one of my coolest friends today, realized this isn't true.   She hadn't heard, so I thought I would share with everyone...

My absolute favourite is Lonny Magazine.   It is from the creator of Domino magazine (R.I.P.) which was a magazine I looked forward to and loved every month for years, but is no longer.    But, the same vibe and style can be found in Lonny.  

(Photo courtesy of: http://www.lonnymag.com)

Another goodie is Matchbook.   It is more general lifestyle than design and decor, but has great resources and an amazing layout and themes.  

And another one (three for good measure!) is Rue.  Another lifestyle driven one but great to look at and very inspiring.   

These are the ones I look forward to each month.   I am always on the lookout for other great ones, so if you want to share please leave a link in the comments section below.   Or, send me your feedback about the ones above.   

Thanks and enjoy!

Things I don't seem to tire of...

Over the years, I have started many collections and am drawn repeatedly to the same things.   That's not to say I don't also like trends.  There is definitely a time and place for trends in most designed spaces.   But, there are always the things that are comforting and reliable and that I will always love in a space.  At least I have for the last  10 odd years.   I thought I would share a few of the things I never seem to tire of...

Jade-ite Dishes (Oh. and salt and pepper shakers too!)

Mixing patterns - adds such a dynamic quality to a space.

Small cabinets with doors and latches 

(and, in case you don't already know - GREEN)

Old Suitcases

Drawers, especially metal ones

And chalkboard paint

Our wall in our kitchen is blackboard paint and we truly use it all the time.  Most of the time it looks a bit of a mess, but I think it still looks okay this way.   My husband and I use it for our brainstorming sessions about furniture design, kitchen layout (that's his chicken scratch way of writing "kitchen" by the way - it really doesn't say kill) and lists.  Those are the preliminary drawings for the side tables we collaborated on (see entry Build up to Built-ins).  

 Thanks for having a look...check back soon!

Dash of vintage...the perfect kitchen!

When I style a room for "Leave it to Bryan", this is my favourite part.  I also love picking the elements that make it a room like the tiles, cabinets, paint etc. but there is nothing like seeing it all come together for the reveal.   Each room is unique and fun to do, but, I especially love when I get to mix in some personal style and some of my own stuff.   We recently did a kitchen and I am still longing for it to be my own (yes, I'm waiting to do mine - it's hideous!).   You will have to wait to see the final kitchen when the shows start airing on HGTV Canada in the Fall, but I wanted to share some gems from the styling part. This photo is my own kitchen and that is a wall of blackboard paint.  I could do a whole entry on how much I love black board paint - maybe next time?

I found these adorable gingham loaf dishes at Homesense and they were my "jumping off point" - to use a little stylist lingo.   Obviously, I liked them so much I bought myself a couple!  Anyway, it was the perfect opportunity to use some of my vintage tablecloths that have been aching to be on television - I hope they don't get cut!  My Mom started me on this collection and it's a fun one.   Also, my Mother-in-law found this completely odd red and white tea set for three.  It's so unique - perfect for Christmas or Valentine's candies as part of a centre piece too.  

It's become even more fun to add my own stuff into reveals because my friend Missy tries to guess which things are my own personal stuff and which I purchased for the homeowner.   Don't worry...I never prop a whole room of my own stuff and then clear it all out so the homeowner is left with nothing.  That would be mean!  I just add an element or two...

So, keep posted to find out when you can see the whole kitchen on HGTV Canada - it was one of my favourites.   And feel free to write if you think you have guessed one of my own items correctly - I'll even tell you where I got it!  Or, watch last season's episodes and try to spot my knick knacks.  

 

What does "adult" design or decorating mean to you?

My husband and I bought this piece over the weekend (Kijiji - a steal at $250!).  It's a well made and practical piece as it stores a tonne - as you can see from the beginnings of my "propping" (yes, I sometimes "prop" my house).   However, the reason I'm writing about it is because of something my husband said: "I love it, but it makes me feel like such an adult".  And I totally know what he means, as I'm sure many of you do.  What's funny is that my neighbour said the same thing to me a couple of days ago about her kitchen.  She has just renovated it and put a different, funky knob on every cabinet because she didn't want it to be too adult.  

It's not that we aren't adults - we all have kids, own houses and vehicles, hold down steady jobs (I'm getting overwhelmed with adult here!).  It's just that some things FEEL adult.  I think adult-feeling design is when things feel intentional and cohesive - we aren't just using the hand-me-downs and hodge-podge street finds anymore (although this is still one of my favourite ways to acquire furniture).   Maybe it's that we are starting to tailor things to our style with a big picture in mind, instead of a more impulsive "this is a cool colour" and painting it?  I'm not really sure what makes something "adult".   Investing more in it?  It reminds us of our parents?  Of what we imagine adults decorating with?   It's hard to really pinpoint where the feeling comes from.   But, I hear it from enough people to know that it exists for many.  

It's not always a negative thing either.  I think my husband is okay with the piece feelig a bit "adult", as long as his house doesn't become too adult.   One thing I find interesting is how most of us seem to understand this feeling of "adult".   In my profession, sometimes all I have to say to someone is "Does it feel too adult?" to determine if they like something or not.   Or, to the contrary I say "Do you want it to feel more adult?" and this will help them decide.   Which goes to say, we all know what "too adult" or "not adult enough" is and feels like, it's just hard to define what makes it so.  

What makes something too adult for you?   Or, not adult enough? I'm curious and fascinated by this topic and would love your insights. 

 

DIY: Bulletin Board

Here is a simple way to make a bulletin board.  It's a fast and easy way to add colour and interest to a room.   You can make it small or large, horizontal or vertical, even change the fabrics from square to square.

You will need the following; fabric, acoustic ceiling tiles (from any hardware store), glue gun and scissors. 

1. Cut fabric 1.5" larger than the ceiling tile you have chosen

2. Glue fabric to back of tile (the tile has a lip which is a great place for the glue)

3. Trim excess fabric

4. Attach tile(s) to wall in whatever pattern you choose.   The way you attach the tile will depend on the type of wall you are applying it to (I sound like Ikea instructions right now!)

5. Use regular push pins to attach objects.