March 27, 2014:

Design Disappointments

We've all been there.

As designers, we regularly have our hearts ripped out of our chest, thrown on the ground and then backed over by a German Automobile. That fabric scheme we "KNOW" is brilliant, gets filed away for FCU - Future Client Use. We re-source a more client-centric light fixture despite swearing up and down that this is the PERFECT fixture, we don't even need to look anymore. Not to mention the client calling to say that our fabulously, designed to the nth detail room is on indefinite hold as the roof just caved in.

I've also gotten in my car and headed out to meet prospective clients who have passed muster enought to warrant a meeting to get there and discover what we "MUST" work with or what we have to ignore or we discover that the budget cup does not in fact, runneth over. This requires a designer's skin to thicken. You have to let it roll off of you even if every nerve in your body is screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I recently had a lighting saga unfold with a project. I spec'd lights initially that were deemed out of budget. So we went with another more cost effective and funky option that the client loved UP until the point that they were installed. The glass wasn't golden as much as it was YELLOW. We then took a few more months to try and find something new.  Dozens of emails back and forth. Trips to shops. More trips including a day where I tagged along. We finally found the perfect set of lights. We ordered them. Guess what they are - yup, the first set of lights that I specified over 6months ago. 

Not that I need to say I told you so, but I DO do this for a living.  If you go to a doctor because your skin itches and they discover you have a heart valve problem do you say - leave my heart alone and just give me the skin cream? That would be foolish. Why is it any different with design? If you want light and bright and airy - why on earth are you settling with your existing dark and dreary furniture? If you are going to blow out the back half of your house, don't you want the front to match?

I know it can be scary handing over all of the decision to the designer, but if you give them all of the information they require, if you are open and honest with them about your goals and your budget maybe you should let them run with it. You get to approve everything and make key decisions but they will be the ones serving up the choices. They will be using their experience, to drive their selections which includes budget considerations, practical use/wearability and function and previous trial and error (aka first hand experience) to help you make those decisions.  Freshening up is one thing but it's rarely enough unless you've already got fabulous design on which to work off of. 

There's nothing worse than decorating around a $500, $1000, $2000 mistake. It hurts sometimes to admit this but it's true. Big Picture thinking is where it's at. It's the perfect cure for these Design Disappointments. Hiring a designer and placing your trust in them is a great way to ward off DD from happening from the start.  You'll occasionally break your designer's heart but stick to the big vision and they will be forgotten. Hold the course. Tried and True.

Decidedly NOT a disappointment. A possible contender for a certain shower curtain....? Too trad? I am my own worst client. I can't commit to a direction though I feel that Raging Drama Queen MAY have to be the style summary on this one.

A Nursery Contender....

I love it in all the colour ways. OBSESSED.

I need to upholster with this.

I have a really hard time saying no to a Paisley.

Maybe THIS works as a shower curtain.

Indoor Outdoor fabric folks. HALLAFARKINGLUJAH

March 26, 2014:

Zee $*%(#*(*$ Shower Curtain

It's Goldilocks Time in my bathroom. I can't decide on a shower curtain fabric. I'm also putting together a new monthly newsletter (you should register for it - wait, I need my new website to be up for that to happen $(%(*#*#&) which means I'm trying to decide on a name for that and a font which I'm off-roading about because looking at fonts is apparently VERY much like trying to find the perfect fabric for my shower curtain... a few really good contenders but part of me is hestitating thinking that the best is still out there un-discovered. This is always the way for designers. Too much selection and you want it to be perfect. You know it will end up on Pinterest or in a magazine or both and it just needs to say the right thing. Figuring out what that conversation is exactly, always the challenge. It's remarkably easy to make the choices for a client - unless you yourself are the client.

I am on the fence because I can't decide if I want the shower curtain to go away or if I want to make a bold statement with it. The bathroom is teeny tiny so on one hand it really does bode well to disappear so the space feels bigger. However, all good designers know that a bold fabric/print/pattern can actually expand a space visually so I am keeping that in mind in my selection which may actually NOT be helping.

It's a decorative curtain - the fabric liner is the workhouse, however, it still needs to be water friendly. And toothpaste friendly - given that I found a hell of a lot of toothpaste in odd spots in our old curtain. Even with washing it, it seems like the toothpaste bleached or etched itself into the fabric. Okay, who am I kidding - I'm looking at ridiculously expensive fabrics so it is what it is I'll just have to push the curtain AWAY from the vanity. 

So on the left we have a Jonathan Adler embroidered number. Probably not washable - dry cleanable. The one on the right is a Soleil Bleu polished cotton that is really quite remarkable. The major issue with that one is the particularly vibrant yellow that is in it. It actually reminds me of drapery fabric I used to have in my kitchen in a house I owned a lifetime ago. My mom made the Russian Balloon drapery for me. It wasn't tacky - actually it was the height of vogue at the time and I actually believe that it would still be amazing today - now 15 years later.

I digress.

So here's where I am at. Where I'm headed, not too sure but sometimes it is the journey not the result that makes things interesting.... toothpaste notwithstanding.

March 25, 2014:


I need this for beside my desk. While I love and adore my spots, and I'm entirely terrified about putting something on them I think this may be the PERFECT piece of art to go there.

I love being obsessed with beautiful things. Finding that "Gotta Have It" piece or jumping off point for a room or a house for that matter is essential. That's when you know you are hooked and committed. Feeling your way through a design plan viscerally is my preferred working style. If it is too logical, too calculated the results are often flat. 

I want our clients to have a torrid love affair with something in their home.

Debauchery. I love it.

Wanten need. Must have it.

Jump and the net will appear has been my motto for forever. I think this speaks to that.

March 24, 2014:

Looking Forward to a Kick Ass Week

I am feeling very determined. This winter has not beaten me yet (and frankly I feel guilty even complaining about it seeing as every time I've left Toronto, I have missed some sort of Snowpocalypse and I've left quite a few times). I think it's been wearing everyone one down so I've decided to kick start this week. Spring baby. It's here. I'm looking forward to new projects on the roster and putting a few we've been tinkering with into full gear.

Our #LongBranch project has got tile DOWN! This is very exciting. It's really starting to take shape and I couldn't be more excited for our client who is also a very good friend. Walking through her house last week I was up on the second floor. It felt so familiar to me and I had this moment of thinking back to what the house was like before we renovated it. It was at that point that it occurred to me that I couldn't be remembering the old house because, the old house DID NOT have a second floor. Crazy. I have looked at these plans for so long, it actually felt like I'd already been in this room. I think this is totally auspicious and speaks to how much we have nailed the design for our client.

The first coat of paint is up and even that looks amazing. I cannot wait to see the Guest Bath on the 2nd floor and powder room final paint done. We've planned some unexpected twists to each. Okay the powder room isn't all that unexpected, you know I need to have a navy room but we're doing it in a gloss. We're also painting the sunroom navy because it's mostly a garden glass ceiling with very little wall space. Tons of light. The bathroom though... well I will leave that a surprise a bit longer.

I'll give you a teaser though with the tile in!

I am. The sun is shining, the birds (yes the goddamn birds - my husband has one of those sleep things that sets off birds chirping into your room and I woke up at the first tweet tweet and started my day. I'm working on the enthusiastically part still) twirping and a great chat with my friend Jonathan. 

This is pretty exciting stuff. If it does not excite you, why exactly are you on here again? My favourite on a budget item may be 4x4 ceramic tile laid in a brick pattern with only very slim grout lines. 

Now to decide on if we do navy grout or stick with white. This may capture my mood regarding grout....

March 21, 2014:

The Business of Creating

We have been working on a nursery for a baby girl for our #Nobscot project. Now please keep in mind, we've done the entire house. We had a pretty easy time with almost every room in this 7000 sq ft house - I mean sure we debated sofa fabrics FOR. LIKE. EVER. and a few lights really had us debating a whole new world order but for the most part, we blinked and it was all selected.

The nursery not so much.

Sometimes when you do a house this big, it's hard to fall in love with every fabric for every piece in every room. Some rooms have to settle for a serious like others, it just has to work. I often tell clients that we can't be wild and in love with everything. Somethings have to be a solid relationship builder or foundation piece on which we will layer LOVES. If you plan on living with these pieces for a decade, you shouldn't be too hot and heavy or else you'll burn out. A solid plan means being able to go the distance. I do believe your sofa should be much like your spouse. Sturdy, Reliable and a safe haven after a long shitty day. You can quote me on that.

So we found a million wallpapers we liked but we were not feeling many of the fabrics. Well Celia and I were loving a few - some her more than me. The client, loved the wallpapers but not the fabrics. Then she broke the news to us, she hates horses. I should add that she respects the beasts themselves but too many years spent mucking out stalls, she doesn't want them adorning her baby's nursery. I can't really fight her on this.

As far as process goes, I like to start with the fabric and I actually like to throw them all over the table, the floor, drape them over chairs hell I'll pin them up if we need to figure out how they will hang even. It's a visceral way to design and more organic. I can't believe people put things on boards in this day and age. So stiff, so NOT how to feel the vibe being created. If clients can touch and feel vs just see, they believe. They will buy. My beautifully styled office - well looks like a fabric and wallpaper bomb went off.

I freaking love it.

If you want to see what we are playing at with the fabrics - check out my instagram. Don't just stalk me though - FOLLOW me. Join the conversation.

A beautiful mess.