March 17, 2014:

DXV Launch in NYC

Last week I was in NYC for the Media Launch of DXV by American Standard. We stayed at the Bryant Park Hotel which was originally the head office of American Standard which was a really great full circle experience.

The entire team from design to marketing to set design to PR - I don't quite know how to describe them without seeming to blow proverbial smoke but truly the entire team is stupendous. Not once were we greeted with a not possible everything was enthusiastically cheered on and complete creativity encouraged. It was like being on a Bob the Builer Loop - "Yes We Can!" The results really speak to this attitude which after meeting the CEO Jay Gould, is definitely a top down business model.

I haven't really given you the background on how this all came to be though which I should because it's a testament to social media and the community that has evolved as a result of twitter. I've known Veronika Miller of Modenus and Blogtour Inc for over three years now. Through Veronika, I was introduced to Nora DePalma who does that PR for American Standard. I've gotten to know both of these fabulous ladies thanks to the Blogtours I've been on and those I've crashed and through KBIS. We thank Twitter regularly for the opportunity to know each other and become friends and now co-conspirators in something truly fabulous.

Mid November we received an email from Veronika that was a bit cryptic but asked if we'd be interested in a fabulous collaboration opportunity. I said yes before reading the fine print. Given the players I knew to be involved, I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of - without a second's hesitation. Once we got the "dirt" we had about two weeks to hand in our concept and our "shopping list" so to speak. I knew I wanted to work with Walker Zanger's Jet Set from the get go and was thrilled when they said yes as quickly as I did. The same goes for Zack Taylor at Wesley Hall, Marcia & Paul Priven of Zia Priven, Robert Allen, Arteriors and Global Views. All of these vendors with their generosity and willingness to collaborate made this project what it is and I am indebted to all of them.

After our concepts were handed in, including CAD/Sketch Up renderings we began working with Earl Kendall's studio out of Minneapolis. We coordinated back and forth over the design elements, finishes and the styling. I've already mentioned their genius and when I look at my sketches, renderings and then the finished product - GOOD SWEET JESUS THEY NAILED IT! I mean it's incredible really. It's wonderful to have your vision understood so completely and celebrated.  It's why I fight tirelessly for creatives and the sanctity of their work. It MUST be credited because it's born out of them and it often takes others pouring their own heart and soul into the execution of the vision. It DOES take a village. The design was built about a month after it was conceived. Impressive. We then flew to Minneapolis to style and give our blessing on the translation before it was shot and videoed into what it has become.  My day on set was just that, a day. The set itself was built in two halves so that it could be shot properly. Now you think that there is an abundance of tile in my 15ft x 20 ft bathroom but it was carefully constructed so that certain shots had flow but the tile itself is actually reflected thanks to Photoshop and the single sink was moved from side to side,  photographed then joined together in post production. I mean it's truly brilliant. 

We decided to shoot my bathroom as a nighttime shot because let's be honest, we often use our bathroom in the dark more than we do in the brilliant sunshine. Those of us who live in the north for SURE spend a lot of time using a darkened bathroom with reduced sunlight opportunities. Most bathrooms are shot with bright sunny light flowing in but I thought it would be great to see a moody, sexy bathroom which is no less stunning without the natural light. Heck I just designed my own bathroom to be moody and light and airy thanks to this project.

We were sent final proof shots - mine arrived while I was in Vegas for #BlogtourVegas and I couldn't contain my squeals of delight. It was getting embarrassing because I couldn't share. People knew something was up. We were all about to burst but we knew that the end of February would provide the release of all this built up excitement. A relatively short design period from start to finish - most of our projects are longer than that and so fulfilling. I want to do more. I am obsessed with ideas of how to improve and take things to the next level.

The line will continue to grow over the next few months but over the next little bit I will be sharing some of the individual pieces with you. They are working on some exciting "Meredith Approved" finishes that will be coming out sooner rather than later. They talk in three year plans. I am impatient. 

This was my rendering of the space before it was even built. I mean have you ever?????

Me and V at the most amazing dinner before the launch at Del Posto in NYC with the rest of the Marketing and PR gang - Jeanette, Debby, Nora, Lisa, Flo my amazing friends and fellow designers; Marilyn, Corey, Mary, Susan, Cheryl and of course Jay Gould our gracious and inspiring host.

My Uber Talented business partner and husband Asa Weinstein. I am so glad he was able to make it to NYC for the launch. His Sketch Up skills and patience not to fire me as I insisted it be done this way or that way repeatedly...

It's a bit surreal to see your name on such a thing, it drives home the accomplishment and maybe it's the Canadian in me but it was both humbling and a reminder that I need to dig deeper and challenge myself more. So much gratitude to be invited to the table to participate in this discussion that we are starting with DXV.

Did I mention that they had three screens with our videos and our spaces on a loop. I was convinced that Corey's was on screen more than mine. I think he had a fast forward clicky.

The Team.  We really do build each other up and support one another. What a gift to be able to share this experience with this much talent and generosity.

I'm usually part of the press invited to these launches. I don't really know how they run. Apparently the press comes in, grabs a drink, maybe a bite to eat, does a circuit and high tails it out of there after checking out the wares. Not this launch. Full House from start to finish and then we shut it down! Karate Chop as Corey would say. We were then a wee bit starving so Jay had us back to his hotel room where he DELIVERED on the after party with eats to die for. First Class.

You've never seen designers hoover Truffle Parm Fries so fast. They actually sent in a second helping. We were animals. Talking plumbing and design apparently causes quite the appetite to emerge.

I made the wait staff hold everyone back so I could snap this picture. Could have lost a finger otherwise.

Marilyn and I at least POSED with our food before wolfing it down. Who am I kidding, this may have been our third helping at this rate. FAMISHED.

I left NYC as excited as I was in this photo snapped by Corey. While my Magnolia Red Velvet cupcake was disappointing the smile on my face here stays with me after this experience with DXV and American Standard. I SO look forward to developing our relationship further...

March 17, 2014:

A Tile Story…. #MadisonAve

Without a fabric palette to start me off, I often have to use tile as the inspiration for a renovation project. Both our #LongBranch and #MadisonAve projects began with a twist because we weren't starting off with furnishing the spaces. Major Renovations had to come first and then with our #LongBranch project we had to see what was left over in the kitty for furnishings as we knew going in that it would be a phased project.

Our tile has begun to go down over at #MadisonAve and let me tell you - INCREDIBLE. It's actually the sort of thing that has me break into a streak of swearing or french sometimes swearing IN french. Sacre Bleu!!!!

Tile MAKES a space if it is a space that requires tile.  It's the perfect storyteller and a foundation on which the rest of the space begins it's conversation. Don't believe me?

Spacious. This tile design we've put down in the master bath was done with the intention of making the space feel bigger and grander than it is. It's a big room, don't get me wrong but we are putting the walk in closet in the middle of the bathroom so it was important to choose a floor material and design that wasn't too busy or repetitive. We designed it to be tile that felt more like a parquet floor than a tile per se. By putting it on the 45 we offset some of the weird angles that already exist in the space and the mixed stone helps to throw off a grid like feel that can happen. A fool of the eye to make the space feel bigger and more open.

Our Third Floor Loft and Kids' Room's will have this bathroom. The grout will be black because otherwise it would be unforgiving with kids. We've added this border to a simple, cost effective tile to harken back to the original period of the house and to allow the space to grow as the kids' grow. The walls will be painted black in the W/C and we are pairing this floor with a 4x4 white ceramic in a brick pattern in the shower again with black grout. The fixtures will be gold.

The black legs belong to the vanity that is going on the third floor. We custom designed all the vanities in the house to give each space it's own distinctive look and feel. Bespoke. Well-thought out. This is what we want to say with our bathrooms in this house. The posts on the left are for the 2nd floor guest bathroom.

The vanities drawers.  We've carefully selected hardware for each vanity that shows attention to detail and ties into our light selection and our tile selection. Our third floor bathroom has a chinoiserie meets Soho Loft feel to it. Our 2nd Floor Guest Bathroom is Roman Chinois and our Master Bath is Parisienne Pied a Terre. Our powder room will blow your mind.

March 12, 2014:

NYC DXV & YYZ DXV

I'm in NYC celebrating the launch of DXV but I'm also celebrating DXC Chez Moi.

Some toilets are a religious experience.

Self-closing lid and seat. Can I get an Amen??!!!!

The Wyatt Toilet is narrow - hallelujah!!!! This is a must when you have a teeny tiny bathroom. It's also allowed us to FINALLY add a vanity to our bathroom. 10years without a vanity. I mean can you even imagine?

Here's a little taste of our transformation.

Choir of Angels I tell ya.

Changed out the knobs that came with our Cascada Vanity from American Standard.

Oh Hi. This ol' thing. I can't even try that with a straight face. I mean HAVE YOU EVAH???? This is the Broche chandelier from Crystorama. Now I just need to figure out a fabric for a shower curtain. Thoughts?

March 11, 2014:

NYC Launch for DXV and a Lil Update on #MadisonAve

I'm off to NYC for a few days and I am so excited to see my DXV peeps again and to share our work with the big hitters in the Media. Make sure to follow my instagram for a sneak peek on all the festivities.

We have two projects who are in the final stretch toward completion. Our #LongBranch gets a first coat of paint this week and tiling begins and our #MadisonAve project already has it's first paint coat and floors and tile are going down as we speak. The house is really beginning to life - amazing to watch your vision come together one detail at a time.

 

Arches are our thing with this house. The front of the house has several of them and we've repeated them in the doorways on the main floor.

Lucky client gets this window. I wanted to lacquer these walls, still hoping that may come to pass but for now this dining room has one exquisite window and a few surprise details coming soon. Can we say herringbone floors....?

This is from the kitchen into the living room and all the way out to the back garden. We've added some unexpected contemporary elements to the house to achieve maximum light and well it turns out to be more economical. That's how I get the better finishes!

This is looking out from the kitchen toward the dining room. We're going to dress these arches to the nines.

March 10, 2014:

Inspiration Vault

Whenever I'm interviewed, I'm asked about where I derive inspiration from. I always chuckle to myself because the truth is so not glamorous. I will say that when I see something that strikes my fancy it undoubtedly involves colour or pattern and I have an all consuming urge to eat it up with a spoon. Truly. When I'm inspired, it's full on - I am compelled to bear witness to it and desperately try and photograph it or commit it to memory so that it stays with me.

Last week I walked by the perfect shade of periwinkle. It was greyed it was blue it was truly perfect. It was a logo on a new building being constructed - I think it was the developers. It was exquisite.  About 8 or 9 years ago, Asa and I took a trip out west to the mountains of BC in the middle of winter. We drove through Banff National Park and all along the road side were rivers and creeks. The colour has left it's mark on me. A rich deep peacock teal to a green glass and the water so clear that you could see the sandy bottom that was filled with rusty rocks. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

We love to go to Allen Gardens just down the street from our neighbourhood here in Toronto. This time of year is the best as it's filled with spring flowers. After this winter, spring flowers were just what the doctored ordered. Of course Luke, like his mother, is obsessed with the colours. He loves everything that is pink. I love the colour combinations and the unexpected.

This may be the perfect shade of bricked coral. 

I've never seen this variety of daffodil. Again - not usually a peach fan but this shade of corally blush is too good to ignore. 

I need to blow this picture up. I am in love. I've done a lot of houses over the last three years with this palette. I'm getting requests for more. We know that I use indigo as my base and then change up the accent hues to achieve different effects. I love the fuchsia and the deep green with it. With a spoon I tell ya!

I've always had a thing for purple/red/persimmon I can't explain why. Maybe it's because it's very chinois to me. I don't know, love it though.

Best inspiration there is. This guy.