Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Baskets are great for so many things. I love the texture they add to any space whether it is traditional, country or modern. Crate & Barrel has some great ones, including the colourful ones in this photo - it is so fresh the way they have grouped these colours together. Can't you just see this in your home at the front door as a catch all for keys and change, or in your bathroom for small toiletries to keep them tidy looking? They carry an orange/red/yellow combination as well.

Ikea, Pier 1 Imports, Pottery Barn, Home Outfitters, IQ Living and so many other stores have such a variety of great baskets to consider. They are a great problem solver for your organizational needs. Consider a new one today and enjoy the texture they add to your space.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

dinner party

Is it always a good idea to prepare a meal that you don't have to fuss with while the guests are at your house for a dinner party? This past weekend I prepared two large lasagnas for eight of us in advance. Easy - especially since the instructions say to let it sit for 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven. It was a long day of preparing, but once it was in the oven, it was done. The salads, garlic bread, appetizers and dessert were ready to go as well.

In a perfect world it would have worked out perfect, right? But for all the planning you do, you can never predict all the circumstances. The last four people arrived 50 minutes late, so although I expected them late, I didn't expect them that late. It made for a cold lasagna that had to be re-heated, and thus overcooked a bit.

My guests, being the sweet lovely people they are, only had good things to say and they even all had seconds, so of course it was worry on my part about the lasagna for nothing. We ended up eating and drinking for hours so by the end, who even remembered what!?

My advice - don't expect perfection. And if you know you have tardy guests, perhaps the meal shouldn't be so prepared and easy after all - throwing a steak on for eight minutes after they arrive would have been much easier and at the perfect temperature; vegetarians - well, you'd have to stick with cold salads with that kind of a meal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

my doctor's office

While at my doctor's office today, I was looking around at the decor. Not great, but better than it was a year ago. Last year they had a faux finish treatment on the walls in an ugly orange colour with mismatched chairs that didn't relate to anything. As I often do in public spaces, I 'critiqued' the decor in my head. I was not impressed. I did, however, feel much better about the freshened up space. The walls were all simplified with a soft warm beige, and there were all new chairs that matched each other and the grey floor.

It was through someone wearing a bright yellow scarf that I then realized it was perfect - there were so many people coming and going that the simplified, cleaned up space with all matching chairs really made the people become the focal point. It was interesting watching everyone and just taking in the sites of all the dynamic individuals.

I like to think our decor is an extension of who we are, but in this doctor's office I realized it was just nice to have a simple background because it truly is all about the people there. I was happy to see the place nicer, felt better about sitting in comfy matched chairs, and it was through this simplicity that I appreciated the true nature of a doctor's office. Sometimes I just have to stop critiquing decor!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

moving on

The best part of decorating for others is that I get to follow a plan - we come up with what the client wants and then we implement it. I can then walk away from it and feel proud. I like to see my clients enjoying their new spaces, ultimately giving them the pleasures of a well designed home for their very personal needs and uses. The plan is great.

But then sometimes the plan changes - what is thought to be a longer term home can suddenly become a home that needs to be sold. I personally get very attached to my own personal homes, but have always had the common sense not to do that with others' homes.

The home of the client whose new basement family room is shown here somehow feels different. I was very excited about all the phases of getting this home looking perfect and hoping the client would want to stay forever, but then the news came - they wanted to sell.

I was asked to stage the home and will most likely help out with the next house, but the thought of someone else reaping the benefits of what we just finished with such beautiful, personal detail, seemed sad. Who else but the clients it was designed for would appreciate it as much?

I do look forward to the next house and the next phases and do believe the relationship with the client goes on, but that house... well, what can I say - it's gorgeous and will undoubtedly sell in no time. If the client can move on after 16 years, I think I should be able to too.... next!

Monday, February 8, 2010

wire baskets

I love this clever idea - it's so simple and so practical. And how inexpensive too! Check out flea markets for vintage ones that have even more character, or try a great store on the Danforth called IQ Living for new pieces that are similar to these.

These handy baskets can also be used for many other things - toiletries, toilet paper, in the kitchen for potatoes or apples, in the laundry room for dryer sheets and detergent and in the bedroom for small clothing items on an open shelf in the closet!

Other great ideas are welcome - let us all know!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

oeno gallery

In Prince Edward County, about 2-hours east of Toronto, there is a world of artists to explore, many that are locals. It's so much fun and you get to meet such interesting people. You can start by visiting the 'arts trail' website, but it's not until you get there that you can really get a sense for this wonderful community.

I loved visiting all the smaller artists in their homes, all clearly marked on the 'arts trail'. You can really find treasures for any taste! But my favourite place was the Oeno Gallery. It's as sophisticated as anything you would find in any major city around the world. They even offer art consultations in the GTA if you are interested, which is a great service if you don't feel like making the trip.

Check out the arts trail and Oeno Gallery websites for more details. And if you make the trip there, don't forget to have fun at the wineries and the organic Fifth Town artisan cheese co too! It's a most charming experience!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

y & co

I already have many sources where I like to go for my fabrics and broadloom for myself and my clients, but Shauna called me today from the store Y & Co on Davenport near Avenue. Designer's Walk you might quibble, suggesting you can't afford such a place! And for some that may very well be the case. But consider just one perfect pillow in the middle of your sofa, maybe just 1/2 a metre needed... not so crazy in those terms! And that old English chair you may have inherited could really pop with just a couple of yards of a fantastic modern fabric to make it fun and current and maybe even becoome the focal point of your room.

Check out and have some fun searching their sight and going onto the links that take you into a world of gorgeous fabrics, wallpapers and custom broadloom. It might even inspire you to start something today!

Be sure to mention you visited my blog and they will be sure to pass on a special discount to you.

Have fun! And do come back and comment here if you get there - everyone will benefit if you share your personal experience.

my Haiti donation - $16

Thank you for your comments and for looking! Keep looking.

I have calculated 16 comments in total so in addition to all my donations at stores and on-line, I will be adding another $16 to the Canadian Red Cross for Haiti on behalf of all of you. I encourage you all to do the same as you can.