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!

A nip here and a tuck there...

It's a debate that many of us have had: Should we sell and find/build a new house OR make the one we have work?  Well, this client decided to stay and fix what they had and I think the results are spectacular.   Plus, I got to work with amazing clients and a wonderful team that made a dream become a reality.   And it all started with Alan from Alan Heron Homes who was tasked with making it all happen.

First order of business: Modernize the exterior and re-locate the entrance.  This is where Will Hudson of Hudson Architecture started to make the client's dream a reality.  The entrance was originally on the side of the house and didn't allow for an inch of entrance space, which was a huge hassle for this family of six.  Re-locating the entrance allowed for a completely different layout on the main floor and the addition of an Ensuite bathroom in the Master bedroom.

 

The new entrance allows space to move. The antique armoire is a family treasure and this location gives it more presence and creates a focal point upon entering the house.  It also sets the tone for the home; mixing old with new; modern with vintage.

Walls came down and opened up the whole main floor.   The open kitchen has loads more storage and the island in a dark grey adds another layer of colour.   These bar stools were a great budget-friendly purchase that the client found online - they can easily be spray painted to change up the look.    

The glass backsplash adds a hit of colour and the gloss finish reflects the surrounding potlights beautifully.

 The soft grey paint that we used throughout the house is the perfect backdrop for displaying the children's artwork.  The almost rustic looking flooring throughout the house is a mid-tone brown that hides wear and tear perfectly.

 

The new Ensuite bathroom had to be squeezed in, as to allow for closet space.  Therefore, the client found the perfect space-saving vanity that set the contemporary tone for the rest of the bathroom.   

It was important to maximize the floor space, so we installed a rectangular drain along the wall and had a curbless shower intalled using the same floor tile as the rest of the bathroom.  The shower door is a fixed panel that helps keep the feeling open.  

Smaller mosaic accents in the shower and behind the vanity elevate the finishes giving the Ensuite a real custom feeling.

 

With four children, the family bathroom had to be hard-wearing and functional.   Each child has their own storage in the vanity and a hook for their own towel.  Anyone with children knows how important ownership can be and this bathroom gives each child their own space. 

The accent stripe in the shower and on the vanity wall adds interest and a hit of pattern to liven things up.

In the end, the client will be able to enjoy this functional, modern and stylish home for years to come.  The house has been given a new lease on life that will adapt to the client's changing needs as their children grow older.  Rather than start from scratch, they were able to create an updated, more functional home that they love from what they had with help from the following team:

Architect: Hudson Architecture

Builder: Alan Heron Homes

Interior Design: Rebecca Purdy Design

Kitchen: Aya Kitchens & Bath

 

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

The most challenging bathroom design...(and not because of the clients!)

Bathrooms are pretty straight-forward as far as layout and planning.   Things tend to be in standard places because they work there - sometimes there isn't any point to re-inventing the wheel.  If it works it works. Recently on "Leave it to Bryan" I was faced with the most challenging bathroom yet and given the 4-week timeline the pressure to figure it all out was ON.

Here is a plan of the existing bathroom (smallest family bathroom I have ever seen!):

The challenge was incorporating a separate bath, shower, large vanity and storage in such a confined space that was limited by the stairs.   The only option was to go long and narrow.  Here is the plan I proposed:

In order to combat the bowling alley feeling, or long corridor, I proposed dividing the bath and shower and putting double pocket doors right in the middle.  

 

The space is so long and narrow that it was impossible to take and overall picture of the space.   Therefore, have a look at the left side of the bathroom:

And now the right:

Another trick was to use frosted doors.  This isn't always ideal in a bathroom settting, but, they are right in front of the vanity so privacy wasn't as much of a concern. This allowed the light from the bathroom to spill out into the hallway.  In taking more space for the bathroom, we also stole the only other window from the adjoining laundry room and stairs, making it quite dark.  The frosted glass doors helped eliminate this problem.

The clients were hoping for marble throughout, however our budget (although healthy) did not allow for this once the structural issues and building costs were calculated.  Therefore, I suggested marble mosaic accents with an inexpensive tile for the main tile which is how the stripes in the shower came to be.  By using more stripes in the inexpensive tile we were able to save money and create a fabulous focal point.  It is definitely one of my favourite showers (plus I'm partial to stripes).

All in all, the homeowners were thrilled with the result and now have a bathroom fit for the whole family.   In fact, they wrote a wonderful testimonial for me when the job was done.   It's always nice to help great people get what they want in a renovation.   Thank you Ian and Jacqueline for being such great clients!  

The renovation fizzle is in effect.

You know what I'm talking about...the hype of the renovation has died down, things are functioning so the pressure is off, everything left to do you can live with undone.   I am officially down in the dumps about my house again.  And yes, this is normal.  I say it to everyone else and I know it is part of the process, but it still sucks.

We are all familiar with it, it doesn't just happen with renovations.  Life takes over, priorities change and we have to move on to the other facets of our wonderfully complex lives.  Next thing you know, you're living with windows and doors with spray foam hanging out all over the place for two years and you don't even notice it anymore.   And now you understand the multitude of candidates available for shows like "Disaster DIY" on HGTV.  It just happens.

But, I WILL NOT let this slump get the best of me!  Here is my cure - I am going to review the kitchens that inspired me to do this in the first place.   They won't look like my kitchen, but, they motivated me to get to it and I'm hoping they will again.   And I'm also hoping my husband and contractors have a look and feel inspired to wrap it up and make their work in my kitchen shine as well.    In fact, they are going to get a special e-mail with a link to this page just to help out.   They love it when I'm in this mode.  They call it nagging, but I call it getting s*&t done!

 Source: www.southernliving.com

Source: www.youpaidmorethanme.blogspot.com

Source: www.wherethesidewalkbegins.blogspot.com

Source: www.doyoulovewhereyoulive.com

Source: www.rebeccapurdy.com

Source: www.countryliving.com

Source: www.housetohome.co.uk

Hope you enjoyed some of my fave kitchens and cross your fingers that I'll have some of my own beautiful kitchen shots to share in the VERY near future.  Take care and connect soon!

Coolest project EVER!

And I'm really not exaggerating this time (yes, I occassionally add some flair for the storytelling aspect).

Friends of ours have embarked on this amazing architectural adventure, Project Octopod, and I wanted to share it with you.  It is a cabin in the woods, but, definitely not what you picture when you think cabin - it will be made out of eight shipping containers and will function completely off the grid.  

Not only is it completely creative, environmental, technically savvy and exciting but they are doing and documenting a ton of research throughout the process so we can learn from them.   And, if you are so inclined, you can do it yourself with their assistance.  

I don't want to speak too much about the project because it is all laid out perfectly on their website.  Go check it out at Sea Container Cabin.  

And construction is beginning, so you can see it unfold over the next several months.  I will definitely be following the progress and maybe I'll even get to help design the interiors (hint, hint Jason!)

So close, yet so far.

This is the part of a renovation that I love, but also hate.  It's almost finished and the basics are functioning, but, the little stuff takes the longest to do.   This finishing part is excruciating to me - I can see the final product, but the trim isn't finished, the plate covers have to go on, the wall needs patching, and so on.  It's the part with the least amount of impact, but most amount of work.  

It's where people start saying "we can live with that for awhile" and it never gets done - and running out of money starts to dictate the decisions.  This is definitely one downfall of the DIYer version of renovation.  It's also why were are leaving our hideous honey-coloured living room floors for another year.  Out of time, energy and money.  But, it's all about compromising without sacrificing your total vision entirely.  The floors can wait another year - I don't think they will mind.

But, here are the positive things.

I have grey grout!

 

When it first went on, I panicked.  I thought I had really screwed up.  I usually experiment at my house, so clients don't do the suffering and was sure this was an experiment that failed.   It didn't help that everyone that looked at it said it screwed up their eyes and reminded them of that computer-generated artwork where you had to go cross-eyed to see the image!  However, with a little elbow grease I worked the grout back a little and am now thrilled with the result.  If you stare too long, things still go wonky, but that will stop once I have kitchen things in front of it, and then it will sing!

And my countertop is installed!  Look at it in all it's simple off-white-with-a-touch-of-sparkle glory (not to mention the amazing shadows at dinner time):

Thank you again John from Beyond Tile & Stone for this one!

And a special thank you to Kevin from TMK Mechanical for doing all of the plumbing!  You may have noticed my faucet and soap dispenser also installed.   I have water - the best news for days!

And my lights, my wonderful lights.  They are nothing you haven't seen, but, I love the impact of them all together over the island.   And Paul (my electrician) was wrong - they aren't too big for the island and I don't care what he says about it.  You definitely couldn't ask for a more honest electrcian at RK Electric.

But you were defintely right about my hall lights - I don't need the cork insert for waterproofing because I'm inside.  You can keep making fun of me for that.  Until you see how great it's all going to look pulled together.   

Here's Paul's response when I asked him how much longer he'd be working at my house (this is the polite version of the photo - the other one involved a middle finger!)

And my oven hood is up! But, the old stove is in (I guess it's not THAT bad...)

Well, I think that's it for now.  We are going to start pulling it together soon and I've started unpacking my stuff. I'm not going to show final photos until I have "propped" it all.   I thought: "Hey, I prop rooms for everyone else, why not do it for myself?" So that's what I'll do.  I'm pretty sure I won't start crying when I walk in for the final reveal though, but who knows?  I am known to cry easily (What? Some commercials are REALLY moving). Take care for now and next post, there will be some real beauty shots!

I'm not the one who needs the straight jacket!

I think it's all of the wonderful people I have been working with on this kitchen (now main floor, stairs and hallway) reno.   I'm sure I've been driving them all nuts with my indecision, plan changing, generally neurotic tendencies and they will be in need of the padded walls and straight jacket.  Here are my guys Todd, Dave, Josh and Scott - you may have also seen them on Leave it to Bryan. They are contractor superstars! 

Funny, it's SOOOO much harder to design your own space.  I think it might be a case of knowing too much about all of the amazing products out there and having a hard time choosing one?  Who knows...I just know I'm so much better with someone other than myself as a client!  But, you'll be relieved to know I have made a lot of final decisions and they are all getting installed as I write.

For example, I've picked my floor.   I went with Marmoleum Click in 1' x 3' sheets from E-Floor in a black and grey stripe pattern.  My husband installed it and we are thrilled with the results.  

 

It didn't start out well - after four sheets and about a thousand cuss words he smashed his thumb.  It ended up swelling so much he had to go to the hospital and have the nail pierced and the blood drained.  Important thing to remember from this: Nails don't feel pain, so it's not nearly as bad as it sounds!  I must add that I was a great supportive help through the whole thing - I kept reminding him that there were children on either side of our house, not to mention our own, and dropping the F-bomb as often as he did was TOTALLY inappropriate.  For those of you who know me, you are probably thinking I will be struck by lightening for saying this.  Might I remind you - I am very aware of the right time and place for swearing (mostly!).

We've also got a backsplash that's up, just not grouted.  It will be soon though - right Todd?  I'd also like to say a a special thank you to John at Beyond Tile & Stone who has been driven particularly nuts by me, but hasn't said a word about it (at least to me).  Such restraint!  And so helpful!

 

And hardware - done!  Went with two types from Lee Valley Tools and you couldn't beat the price.  I know it's great to splurge on hardware, but, I think this stuff just looks like I splurged.

And fabric for the roman blind - I received it today!  Here's a sneak peak before it's made:

 

And lights...I'll wait to show you those in the big reveal.  Some of them won't make sense until you see it all pulled together.  My electrician Paul from RK Electric is questioning my design ability after seeing one of my choices, but, that's okay.  I'm used to being second guessed, and he usually comes around after it's all installed. He also deserves a huge thank you after re-wiring almost my entire house unexpectedly.  Who knew knob and tube would be rampant throughout my house?  Well, I did, but was hoping for the best.  

That's it for now.  Can't wait to share the final reveal with you.  It won't be long now.  Floor, cabinets, some counter and backsplash installed, it's only a matter of days now.   So grateful for my new kitchen and all the people that helped make it happen.  But, the biggest thank you goes to my husband.   We couldn't have done it without all of your hard work, injury and swearing! 

 

 

 

We're getting there...

At least that's what I keep telling myself.  We've had a mild case of the "project creep" around here.  Actually, I haven't, but my husband sure has.  All of a sudden we "need" to take down all of the plaster and lathe so we can insulate the exterior walls.  Sure, it is economical in the long run, but, my countertop budget is getting smaller! We don't freeze in the Winter, it's just a little chilly.  And we are replacing the windows next year.  I didn't see the big deal - put on a sweater! Plus, all of this happened while I was keeping the kids away up North.  And how convenient that I couldn't get in touch with my husband until it had already happened.  That's what I get for leaving my husband and my electriciam alone - now they are in cahoots!

But, the good news...My stairs are supported!  The supporting wall is a little bigger than I had wanted, but, I removed an 18" base cabinet from the island and now it all works. 

See that...new drywall EVERYWHERE.

And look at how amazing the sun is coming through the kitchen window.  It will be so nice to have that spilling into the entire main floor with that wall removed. 

 And finally...my inspiration page.   If you check out my Pinterest page, you may have seen some of these images.  But, for those of you who don't (and I honestly think you should!) here you go:

Anyway, the end is getting so near and I'm so excited to share it with you.   In the meantime, I'm questioning my sanity.  For someone who loves colour as much as I do, I can't believe I have just decided to paint white.  It's the first time in my entire life and I'm feeling a little nervous.  White cabinets, white backsplash, white walls - maybe all that's left are padded walls and a straight jacket?  We'll know soon enough....

My Kitchen is a Dump (But not for long!)

Hear ye! Hear ye!  The renovation of my very own kitchen has begun.  That may not be exciting news to you, but I've been waiting four years for this.   My kitchen has been an embarrassment to me as an Interior Designer. Not that I picked the hideous tiles circa 1978 or the peach-flecked wall tiles that don't even match (not that matching the floor would have made things better).  Here, have a look for yourself:                                              (Obviously a little messier than normal - hey! We're renovating...)                         

Anyway, we were all ready to start gutting it and discovered asbestos around the ductwork in the wall we are removing.  If it's going to stay in your wall, it's not such a big deal but exposing it to the house (and the kids) was the big concern.  Therefore, we did the job properly and called in the experts to test it, as well as the plaster.  We have a pretty old house, so anything is possible.  

Fortunately, we just had to have an abatement (proper removal of hazardous materials) .  I use the word "just" lightly because having a mold or asbestos abatement can be intrusive and very costly.   For example, I asked how much it would have cost if we had found asbestos in the plaster and I was told anywhere between $20,000-$30,000 to remove everything.                                                                                                                           (Where the duct was removed - take note of the craftmanship of the stud; not good foreshadowing for the rest of the renovation)

On that note, thanks a bunch Tara from Environmental Services Group and Mark from Kryztiuk Contracting Inc. for your help in managing our asbestos issue.  I will sleep easier knowing we did it properly. This may not be the exciting part, but, it is definitely a part I enjoy - knowing we are taking care of things and making our house safe again for ourselves and most importantly our children.   

The fun part is almost here.  I can't wait to show you the floors I have chosen (Marmoleum), the countertops (Butcher block AND Quartz), the cabinets (Ikea, Adel - yes, I really do love Ikea cabinets and you can't beat the price!) and the penny round backsplash.  

I will share all of my excitement, trials and tribulations.  I might even tell you about some of the arguments I have with my husband. Like the one today when I asked him not to demolish the floors just yet because it takes longer than the 2 hours we had to remove 4 layers of flooring and concrete.   Plus, who wants a two and a five-year old running around in that sort of mess?  He eventually relented and saw my point.  And if you are thinking "happy wife, happy life" please spare me and keep it to yourself.  I hate that expression (even if there is a slight possibility it is true!).                                                                                                                                           (Does this LOOK like an easy floor to remove?  I didn't think so.  I love you Christopher xo)

I could go on and on, and I probably will, so check back regularly to see how it goes.  Take care!

Kitchen Favourite - Part I


This was one of the many kitchens featured on "Leave it to Bryan" on HGTV.  But, it was one of my favourites and I'm sure it had a lot to do with the amazing homeowners we were working with.   They were a lot of fun and intended to maximize the experience of being on a television show.  And they did it really well - rolled with the punches, handed over control, made quick decisions and stayed positive through the whole thing (even in the face of not getting everything they wanted!)   

 

We used Ikea cabinets in the Lidingo white.  Due to the ceiling height I was able to  add an extra row of cabinetry to the top using a combination of fan cabinets and additional fridge cabinets, depending on the depth needed.  In the corner near the back door, we couldn't use regular counter-depth cabinets, so I stacked upper cabinets to match the height I wanted without impeding access to the back.  I'm so jealous of the amount of storage they have!


Which brings me to the other reason it was a favourite kitchen - I was living vicariously through them.  My kitchen is a dump (no word of a lie) and I got to pretend it was mine for a day - I even used some of my own stuff staging it (sorry guys for taking some of it away after!)  Anyway, mine will get done in August, even if I rip it out with my own bare hands, so I will be sure to post pictures of the progress and final "reveal".  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy looking at this kitchen as much as I enjoyed creating it.  And thank you Emma and Scott for your amazing testimonial!

 

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!

House of Bryan - Paint Colours

I'm not sure why, but I've been getting a few requests for the paint colours I selected for "House of Bryan".   Maybe there has been a marathon on?    Anyway, I have e-mailed a couple of people the list, but thought it might be helpful if I posted it.   All of the paint is Valspar available at Lowe's.

Happy painting! Just be thankful I'm not the one doing it - I'm a terrible painter.

Main Floor

Foyer and Stairwell    6005-1B, Villa Gray (may be called Oatlands Subtle Taupe)

Dining Room                5005-3C, Jekyll Grand Dining Sea Mist

Family Room                5005-3C, Jekyll Grand Dining Sea Mist

Living Room                 6005-1C, Smoked Oyster

Family Eat-in Area        6005-1C, Smoked Oyster

Hall to Powder Rm       6005-1C, Smoked Oyster

Kitchen                        6005-1B, Villa Gray (may be called Oatlands Subtle Taupe)

Powder Room              4008-2B, Almost Charcoal

Laundry Room              5001-3C, Blue Arrow

 

Second Floor

Hallway/Landing           6005-1B, Villa Gray (may be called Oatlands Subtle Taupe)

Guest Bedroom            6005-1B, Villa Gray (may be called Oatlands Subtle Taupe)

Guest Bathroom           5006-2A, Wet Pavement

Master Bedroom          6001-3C, Hazy Jade

Walk-in Closet     6001-3C, Hazy Jade

Master Bathroom         6001-3B, Mint Frost

Quintyn’s Bedroom      6005-5C, Herb Cornucopia

Charlotte’s Bedroom    6003-1B, Frappe

Kids’ Bath                    6007-7B, Grasshopper

Bidding "the Rocks" farewell...

I'm sure it's obvious to you all by now that I have left "House of Bryan 2: On the Rocks".   I left wishing Sarah and Darren good luck with the project and exited as graciously as possible.  Not to be confused with gracefully - that is not my strong suit.   

I have had a lot of questions and concerns that is wasn't "real" and people thinking that it was staged for television.  Acting is another skill that is not my strong suit and I can say with total honesty that I left because I wasn't happy with the way things were going.   As you saw in the episodes, I was being excluded from material sourcing and product selection, as well as any information on what budget we were supposed to be sticking with.  Interior designers can generally only do their job when there is honest and regular communication with their client.   I decided to leave because I was not going to be held responsible for how the cottage turned out and for a budget that was headed for the sky.  Cross my heart....

As for Bryan and I, we are fine and still work together on "Leave it to Bryan".  In fact, we are almost finished filming our first few houses for this show.   I greatly appreciate his ability to separate personal and professional and he has proven himself once again on this front.   Bryan and I have our tense moments, as most Designers and Contractors do. However, he is always like a brother to me at the end of the day - annoying, loving, friendly, annoying, frustrating, funny, annoying, and mostly supportive.  

Now, let's get ready for another episode of "House of Bryan 2 - On the Rocks".  I'll still be watching (and tweeting) - I need to hear what they say about me! 

Should I stay or should I go?

This is a "cat fight"!  What happened with Sarah and I on House of Bryan last week is not.

Obviously it got a little tense between Sarah and myself.   Some people tweeted about it saying it was a cat fight - a bit of an exaggeration.  It was more like two people in a working relationship who aren't happy with the way things are going.   I'm not one to passively aggressively act on something that is bothering me.  I would rather get it out and discuss it.   If you didn't know this about me before, I think it is becoming clear.  And since we both signed up to do it all on television, it got filmed.   And a little bit of drama has never hurt a reality show in the past, I'd say.   Well, tune in tonight to see what goes down.   Thanks for watching - "cat fights" and all!

(Note: Photo courtesy of www.phillyburbs.com)

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. 

 

Rant: Criteria for a non-functional kitchen?

Since when is a kitchen not functional because you can't open all of the appliances at once?   Who does this?   Is it really necessary to have the fridge, oven and dishwasher open all at the same time?  Call me crazy, but I think this would be non-functional even in a big kitchen!  On two separate home shows recently, I have heard homeowners criticize a kitchen because things would be tight if you had all of the appliances open at once.   Seriously?  How often are you loading or unloading a dishwasher, basting a turkey and putting leftovers in the fridge all at once?  Even two people in the kitchen wouldn't be doing all of this at one time.  And if you are, you shouldn't be!  It's dangerous!  Call it small, call it ugly, say the layout sucks, but, not having everything open at once doesn't make it non-functional.   I agree this rant may seem trivial, but I just couldn't resist commenting on the ridiculousness of this concept.  Thanks for listening!