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!








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!

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!


Leave it to Bryan - Season 2

Watch HGTV Canada tonight at 10pm for back to back episodes of the new season "Leave it to Bryan". It's been great making it (we're half way through) and we've had some amazing homeowners. How they are so trusting I'm not so sure? Although I trust Bryan completely would I be able to hand over a big chunk of money and let him go to town on my house without any control? I'm not so sure - it's a pretty brave move. Although the more I look at my kitchen floor tile (circa 1971), my caving in garage roof or my possibly leaky basement the more I think I would. Actually, let's get me on the show! I need some major work on my house - and yes, I might actually be able to hand over control to Bryan. As long as he promised no tumbled marble! It's not my thing...
Anyway, enjoy the show! I certainly will.

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.  


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

House of Bryan - On the Rocks!

Well, another season of House of Bryan is upon us.   It all starts tonight at 10pm.   I'm feeling excited (and naturally a little nervous).   It should be a great season filled with lots of drama.   But really, whose life isn't filled with drama when building a house, even doing a renovation?   Watch House of Bryan on HGTV to see it all.