29 July 2011

friday favourites!

Two great kitchens that use wood in very different ways. I love them both! Which do you prefer?

Plaza Towers Condo Renovation modern kitchen

27 July 2011

a showhouse-inspired slow home

The real life Houston home featured in the latest issue of Traditional Home is based on ideas gleaned from show homes, but it also stands out as a great example of what I consider a slow home. Virginia Mary Brown carefully considered the design of her home to suit her family's needs, to preserve history, and to responsibly re-purpose materials salvaged from her grandmother's home that used to sit on the property.

For example, look at all of the light coming through the windows that were put on three sides of the house for maximum ventilation. The sofa is handed down from grandma and recovered in white cotton duck.

The wonderful brick pavers that run from inside to outside are from her grandmother's home. The downstairs is open concept in order to keep the family close together, but the big sliding barn doors can be closed to separate the family room from the kitchen when needed.

The reclaimed pine floors are warm and stand up to kid traffic.

The kitchen is deliberately placed so that everyone goes through it to go in and out of the house. It is therefore a gathering spot, and has a big table in the middle to accommodate all kinds of activity.

All of the bedrooms were placed upstairs, bucking the trend for a downstairs master.

The fantastic marble mosaic tiles in the bath were purchased at a hotel salvage sale.

This home was obviously well thought-out and its contents were found and purchased with deliberation and patience. Finding the right pieces can take time, but it is worth it in order to end up with a home that is highly functional and durable, will grow with your needs, and will last for generations. All that and high style as well! Not bad.

25 July 2011

real life colour inspiration: weekend delights

Happy Monday everyone! I had a lovely weekend exploring a local country farmers' market and hiking in the mountains, which are chock full of wildflowers right now. I was attracted to some great colours and found myself thinking about how to use them in my home. Inspiration comes from many things and places, not just design magazines, websites and stores. Remember to keep your eyes open and make a mental note of colours and textures you're drawn to.

Here are some of the things I saw and loved this weekend, and the palettes they inspired.

23 July 2011

spotlight on...tufted benches

Tufting was born under Napoleon III, a period of opulence and abundance, but it is a classic look that has stood the test of time. Buttons and tufting resurfaced in a modern way in 1929 when designer Ludwig Mies van der Roh created his famous Barcelona chair.  The 1930's Hollywood Regency style touted tufted chairs and benches, and tufted tub chairs were all the rage in the '60's. 

Today's look can be both modern or vintage, with all kinds of materials used. I would love to have any of these benches in my bedroom. 




from ebay


22 July 2011

i'm obsessed with...yellow

Ah, the colour of one of my favourite things - the sun. I'm loving yellow this summer as a refreshing and sometimes unexpected colour in decorating. I started seeing inspiration far and wide, and found so many wonderful yellow things I just couldn't stop! No yellow submarine though.


21 July 2011

refreshed bedroom project

My mom would like me to refresh her master bedroom and has given me a few directives. She wants something airy, since there is only one window in the room with limited light. She loves apple green or blue. Wallpaper is a must for the wall treatment. There are two existing wooden dressers that we can paint, along with a built-in bookshelf. The bed with black iron headboard is staying. The floor is a lovely medium toned wood and will stay.

So, here are two options. Both wallpaper choices are available in-store from Home Depot. The only other purchases will be paint for the dressers, fabric to cover a bench that already exists in the house, pillows, curtains and a maybe a lamp. Overall it is a budget and consumption-friendly make-over.

Which option do you like best?

19 July 2011

green idea: save old bathroom tile

So you're tackling a reno on a bathroom that looks like it belongs in a highway rest stop. In the '60's. Before you swing the sledgehammer, stop and really take a look at all of the individual elements in the room. Can anything be saved? Take a close look at the floor tiles. They may be a garish colour and look horrible with the pink tub, but picture them in a new and modern room. Will they actually work? The answer is often, surprisingly, yes. Retro tiles in unusual patterns and colours are making a comeback, and look great with contemporary fixtures and a neutral colour scheme in the rest of the room.

Take a look at this bathroom reno featured in Country Living. Simple and cost-efficient.


And this one by Rachel at Just a Touch of Gray.  Love the blue floor in the renovated room.

Here are some other cool examples of refreshed bathrooms with vintage floors.

via Country Living
via Apartment Therapy

Gast Architects: Projects traditional bathroom

Slow down and think twice before demo day. Sustainable choices can be stylish!

18 July 2011

11 reasons to turn a garden shed into living space

The lowly garden shed has grown up. Europeans have embraced using sheds as living space for some time, and it is now catching on in North America as well.  It's a way to expand your living space without having to build bigger. Here are 11 reasons why you should think about building a shed in the backyard, or turning your existing shed into an extension of your home.

1. It can be the space you don't have in the house for a home office. Also great if you have clients that come to your office, since they don't need to go in the house.
converting a garden shed to an office
via sunset.com
2. It's a retreat, separate from the house and the rest of its occupants and responsibilities.

11 reasons to turn a garden shed into living space
3. It can be an art or craft studio where everything has a place.
11 reasons to turn a shed into living space
4. It's an extra room for the kids toys where there's no worry about a mess.
shed turned kids play space
5. It can be a hobby room for say, a musician or gamer, where they can be as loud as they want.

6. How about a yoga studio or gym space?
backyard yoga and exercise studio
7. It's a great way to extend outdoor living space from house to patio to dining area.

backyard entertaining
via sunset.com
8. Make it a greenhouse to grow fresh herbs and veggies year-round.
glass garden shed turned greenhouse
via bhg
9. It can actually be a beautiful gardening and storage space.
turning a shed into living space
10. It's cost-effective. Only having to design and fill one room is reasonable on the pocketbook but gives a big payout.
shed turned living space
11. It will add value to your home. An extra room that is fully functional will certainly add immediate value to your property, in a sustainable way.
11 reasons to turn a shed into living space
via sunset.com
So, is your shed living up to its potential?

15 July 2011

green idea: diy painted floors

Need to get rid of bad carpet or linoleum but can't afford new flooring? Paint your floors! It takes a little work, but will only cost you a can of paint. With durable options like Benjamin Moore deck paint, it will outlast even the heaviest traffic. If you are lucky enough to have plank flooring, you can achieve a great cottage feel. But even the normal plywood subfloor boards painted out can look amazing.


All images and sources (plus more!) via my Pinterest board. 

Happy painting!

14 July 2011

creating an inviting guest bedroom at the cottage

If you're lucky enough to have a cottage you most likely also have an unlimited number of guests as well - invited or not! What a great reason to refresh a guest bedroom to make it cottage chic. That is, unless you would like your guests to make their stays short ones.

How to make a guest room inviting and cozy? Keep it clean and simple. No personal things or family photos. Keep colours to a minimum. Think about your guests and their needs. How many typically stay in the room at one time? Are there kids? How long do they typically stay? Will they have many clothes to unpack? Consider a comfy bed (or two), crisp sheets, a duvet and some extra blankets, plush pillows, a night stand with a lamp for reading, a clock, and a bench or dresser to lay clothes on. You might also install some hooks to hang clothes, and keep a basket filled with necessities such as towels, a toothbrush, a glass for water, and tissues handy. And add some fresh flowers- always a nice touch!

Here are some beautiful and simple cottage guest bedrooms for inspiration. 

All images from Coastal Living magazine. 

Good luck with your cottage bedroom project! If you have any great ideas, let me know and post them below. I'd love to hear from you.