Tagged: design planning

add drama with architectural salvage

One of the joys of working with an old house is finding and restoring the home’s original elements; i.e. trim, doors, corbels and stained glass. In the yellow brick beauty, we are restoring what we can, replacing when necessary and taking the time to search for just the right piece of trim, door or window to honour the house’s history. The old bathroom sent us on a search for some reclaimed floorboards, just in case we could either save what we had (100 years of urine – not going to happen!) or to replace the entire floor with something similar to the original.

What a lucky day when we discovered Artefacts in nearby St Jacobs! It is certainly worth taking a couple of hours to visit the shop and if you have something specific in mind, the shop owner (Chris Blott) is happy to take you through room after room of trim, moldings, windows and more. This must be what decorator heaven looks like!

Here are a few pics of what you might find on your visit. Artefacts also has a workshop where beautiful furniture and decorative pieces are created with salvaged materials. Inventory is always changing, so if you see something you must have, snap it up! I’ll be making a trip back with a truck for some door trim (they have the perfect match for my house). I’d better hurry!

A few tips to make your trip even more worthwhile:

  • make a list of what you are looking for
  • bring your measurements and measuring tape
  • take pictures of the trim you are trying to match (there are very subtle details that you might not remember when looking at a large inventory!)
  • keep an open mind, items can be modified
  • look beyond an item’s original use, small bits of salvage make great art pieces
  • talk with the shop owner, he is happy to share ideas and help you problem solve
  • keep in mind they have much more than what is in the showroom
  • set aside enough time to really look, don’t rush this!

Maybe I’ll see you there! xo


your sweetie wants a recliner, oh no!!!!

Just say no…Or say yes, and kindly offer a few tasteful suggestions :)

The key to a stylish recliner is to keep it streamlined – simple lines, narrow arms, neutral and masculine. The following items will blend into any decor. Say no to anything puffy and oversized, and for the love of good taste, no cup holders!!! xo


West Elm






West Elm

Or some classic recliner alternatives…


Design Within Reach


Design Within Reach



West Elm

And for those looking for a stylish glider, this is the loveliest I have seen!


West Elm



the project management triangle

The project management triangle is a good principle to keep in mind for any renovation project. The three elements are: speed, cost and quality. Unfortunately, you may only choose two of the three elements. We have decided for the yellow brick project that we would sacrifice speed to keep the budget in check and assure high quality. When I get a little antsy about the length of time the project is taking (ahem, a tarp for a bathroom door!) Adam kindly reminds me of what we call the quality triangle.

project management triangle

Here is a story that illustrates how the quality triangle is playing out in real life right now. On a visit to Toronto in December I found a gorgeous vanity at a higher end bath store. At $3,000 each, they were not possible within our budget. So we began designing our own and with the help of an expert wood worker friend, a lot of time and patience we are, four months later, almost finished building a pair of lovely floating vanities. The learning curve  was huge but the results are something we are proud of.

To keep costs down we purchased:
IKEA sinks (Yddingen)
Single lever matte black faucets from Rona
Double sided walnut veneer plywood


And, because we choose quality and cost over speed, you will have to wait to see the finished product!  xo

bathroom plan (remix)

Has this ever happened to you? The tub is ready for pick up, the lighting has arrived, the faucets will be in next week, the new toilet is sitting in the dining room – all the design elements are on their way and WHAM! you decide to completely change the plan. I MEAN COMPLETELY!

We originally planned to tear out one of the walls in my office to expand our tiny bathroom, so we decided to remove all of the lath and plaster walls to insulate the office (might as well, right?) Once that was done we couldn’t stop thinking about using the entire office for a spacious, bathroom retreat. What about resale? Losing a bedroom? Turns out this large bathroom will add value to our home (thanks Veronika Jovicic!)

And you know what? I love this design even more than the last! Luckily, all of the purchased (and handmade) elements will fit in the new design (plus an additional vanity).

This house has much to teach me about patience, flexibility and being in the flow. I am listening. xo

new bathroom plan



book review: The New Bohemians

For a free-spirited, break-all-the-rules look at decorating, pick up The New Bohemians: Cool & Collected Homes, by Justina Blakeney. It’s filled to the brim with gorgeous saturated colour, patterns and texture. I know I could use a dose of this bright, happy decorating style here in Canada, especially during the last throes of winter. Most of the homes are in sunny California, and granted, maybe the decorating is a little freer, “hippier” and inventive. What do you say we throw caution to the wind and get inspired to use odd combinations and collections to create our own unique living spaces. To display a little more of ourselves in our homes. After all isn’t that what decorating is all about?


“Today’s bohemians seek to erase the distinctions between work and play, and our living spaces reflect that lack of boundaries. The new bohemian home is a multifunctional playground  for exploration and experimentation…Our new bohemian lifestyle is rooted in freedom: free-spirited, free-form and free of rules.” Justina Blakeney

This riot of colour and pattern is definitely not for everyone, but if it resonates, you will appreciate that at the end of each house tour is a section called “Adopt an Idea” which gives practical and simple ways to add Bohemian chic to your home. Fabulous!

Image 2

What I like most about this book and the homes it showcases (besides the textiles and inventiveness!) is that style isn’t about how much money we have, but about how much individuality, creativity and care we put into our homes. And no matter your decorating style, that is something we can all agree upon. xo

bathroom plans

Ooooh, the bathroom is starting, the bathroom is STARTING! We decided on the layout for this small bathroom with a little help from my talented friend and ex-business partner Susan (Toronto Designers) and  from Shane, our fabulous contractor (True North Renovations). After much consideration, we have decided to take a couple of feet from my office space in order to enlarge the main bath. Is it worth sacrificing a bit of office space for a separate shower? We say YES!

The Floor Plan

The room has a sloped ceiling on the left side so it made the most sense to put the tub and toilet underneath (our current shower is under the slope and the biggest impetus for the renovation). For those of you with a keen eye, rest assured, there will be a door. We haven’t decided on a pocket door or a door swinging to the left. Your preference?

Find a wide open space in another part of the house and use painters tape to lay out the actual floor plan to scale as in the pic below. This gives you a view of the complete space, impossible to do in the existing bathroom with the wall still up. Walking into the taped out space helps you to get a more accurate sense of size and spacing. And yes, I did actually get into that ‘tub’ with a glass of wine and it works just fine.


More to come soon, off to find a tub and toilet! xo

create a home that supports your intentions

A new year brings renewed energy and intention. What is your intention for your home and how you live? What if your decorating plans weren’t about getting a new sofa or light fixture but developing a deeper relationship with your home? You can create a home that supports your dreams, your hopes for your future, your evolution. This is a home with consciousness, a home with soul.

Inspiration for your future goals could be as simple as creating space for these activities to occur. Set up a writing corner, art table, reading nook, meditation room, or a place to roll out your yoga mat. Make a list of what is most important to you.

Don’t think you have enough space?  Take a moment to walk through and review how you currently use your home. Go room by room, write things down. What can you let go of to make room for your new aspirations? How about old projects that have long been abandoned, seldom used exercise equipment, clutter that belongs to people who don’t even live in your home, etc. Let them go. Don’t be afraid to switch things up. As we evolve, so should our living spaces.

So this year, when planning decorating projects, ask yourself: “Does my home support how I really want to live?” Living each day in a space that aligns with your dreams and intentions is possible and feels absolutely amazing! I’d love to hear your design plans for the coming year. All the best in 2016, happy decorating!