August 26, 2012:

I’mmmm Baccccckkkkkkkkkk

I surivived a week away with my inlaws. I turned 40 in the process. I am bitten by dozens of mosquitos but the truly savage thing that happened to me while away, was the lack of consistent internet connection.


I found a way around it but it wasn't up to snuff - my snuff that is.

I'm still on vacation time. I've got a ton of work to do this week coming. Exciting stuff so I'm conserving brain power so for now I am going to say HELLLLLOOOOO and share with you some amazing sneak peeks of our #Boston project in progress.

I got a few while I was away and yes that was me screaming from excitement on the east coast that you heard.

Amanda Nisbet Blueberry Fabulosity for the Master bedroom.

The Breakfast Room. Isn't it the most delicious shade of blue??? More blue and green to follow!! The vintage Chippendale faux bamboo chairs are going in here along with a curved banquette.

The reason for the curved banquette.... the room is round!

Zee backsplash.

Zee master shower.

High Gloss Blue in the foyer. There's a ton of white wainscotting in this space.

Living Room mantel. It's breathtaking. Cannot wait to see the over mantel.

Powder Room wallpaper. I weep. So beautiful. A lot of blue but wait til you see how we are accessorizing and embellishing the house.

Magazines, I'd speak now if you'd like the exclusive. I mean COME ON....... ha ha ha Look at that I'm gone for a week but I'm already plotting!

August 16, 2012:

It’s Not You… It’s Me….!!!

How many bloggers say that each day I wonder? This week has been killer and with one day to go until my vacation, the shit is literally hitting the fan. The "We Will NEVER EVER EVER" hire/recommend/refer this Plumbing Company AGAIN group threw out the mounting hardware for the toilets for the bathrooms at our #25Liberty project. A week to make and have shipped up here at the minimum the toilets can't be installed without.

Also - nailheads on a sofa. Who would just put them on the front of the sofa and not return them on the sides? Has everyone taken a mental leave today?

Between that, Skype meetings, meeting meetings, birthdays, packing, passport pictures and applications and a few other curveball surprises (good ones) I have sat down a few times to write a blog only to find myself saying the following:

"Oh, I can't share that just yet."

"Hmm, maybe this isn't blog-safe?"

"Oh look online shopping for purses and shoes!!!!"

there are about a dozen more I've typed and deleted I'll share with you over gin.

This makes me so damn happy. 

#Boston is getting close to installation. We're looking at art. If you have art that you want us to see... get in touch.

#Boston client's husband is loving the wall colour we picked for Mantown and thinks Golf prints would look good in there. This is the only golf print I will endorse. VINTAGE. A lovely series here will tie in perfectly with the Ralph Lauren Plaid ottoman we've designed.

Have a client who sent me a note saying they'd love me to do this over their dining table. Me likey, me likey a lot.

Sneak peeks coming next week while I'm in Nova Scotia of our almost finished #25Liberty project. If you've ever seen Game of Thrones - what they do to the Dragon King in Season One... hopefully I won't be too tempted to do that using a toilet to the head of the plumber. What's a post from me unless I'm threatening violence right?? Okay, Gin Me. Nova Scotia Here We Come!!!

August 14, 2012:

Current Obsessions/Fixations/Must Haves

I have a slightly obsessive personality. I actually have the weirdest fixations as they are entirely random. My house can be an utter tip and I'm fine with it but if I spill coffee on a light coloured piece of clothing I can not sit down or rest until it is scrubbed out. Same with blemishes. I will have to excuse myself to resolve matters if I feel something creep up on my face. Of course, the slight imperfection is then made all the more noticeable but I don't care. It can not be allowed to remain. I once went an entire day with a dime sized white headed zit on my face without my husband telling me. I died when I noticed it in the bathroom. Total #1stWorldProblem right there but hey....

I have a bunch of fixations on the go right now. First off and not shown below is my need to find comfortable footwear that will not give me blisters in Italy. Everything gives me blisters. Flip flops, ballet flats hell even crunchy granola Rockports do. I have extremely wide feet with even narrower ankles. My feet, in short, are an utter and complete trainwreck. Suggestions welcome. If you say Fluvo-ggaaaagmewithaspoon-gs I will beat you within an inch of meeting your maker. 

My fixations are pretty random. I'm like a total magpie, three days out from vacation. We've got one restaurant project wrapping up, another one starting. A condo renovation, #Boston and a two houses in the Beach we are working on right now and this is considered by me to be a light load. In addition to fixations, I'm also a project junky. August often gets very quiet in Toronto. I hate that about Toronto. I'm resigning myself to the ol' if you can't beat em join em and hence I'm actually looking forward to this first vacay. I think I have mentioned that once or twice.

Of course I have a few projects that need photographing, submissions to different publications, stalking of other ones who are still considering etc etc.

Not to mention my bathroom renovation, family room overhaul (explosives may be a faster route), my mom needs a bathroom renovated as does a client x 2 bathrooms oh and I'm planning a fresh start for our main office area. A total revamp. Time to re-invision and to be frank, I want to sell off almost all of the furniture and start from scratch. I have big plans... I just need the time/energy/resources to make it all happen - hence vacating right?

Are you exhausted yet?

I'm also watching the clock tick down on my exterior plans. Time is running out and I've accomplished nothing except that I've managed to keep a few things growing. I need a retaining wall and painting done pronto. Oh and some millwork. I need to make a list. I need someone to track the list. I need to win the lottery or you can hire me! I've almost got the human cloning thing down pat!!!

Modern Traditional for sure is the direction we are headed in for this gorgeous family's family room. So loving the mood we are creating.  Totally digging that artwork hanging on the millwork too. That ottoman is killer.

We are designing a gourmet burger & grilled cheese restaurant. Industrial meets rock n roll meets mod. Seating is going to be interesting given the tight space. This is a cool option.

Anything Morocco anytime. I love everything about this. I struggle with loving such texture and detail and wanting a complete absence of it. I'm always a paradox.

What's not to love?

I need to own this.

The condo we are gutting has a baker in it. Also, she is an organizational junky. We are spending a lot of time planning where things will go in creative and resourceful ways. Makes the 1/10th Virgo in me entirely happy.

My birthday is in less than 10 days. I should own this too.

Images via..

August 14, 2012:

Currently Traveling Through My Brain

An Excerpt...

Seriously? People really spend money on that? It's not even ....


What do you mean I have to order a minimum of 5 yards?

It takes HOW long?

Is it woven in invisible gold or something?

Why do people do that?

That's bloody well it. I'm making my own!!!!!!!

Also, a client suggested that we (rhymes with spock but begins with C) block a spouse on bookcase styling. I'm weeping with laughter at that one.

I just thought uncharitable thoughts regarding a fabric suggestion from Celia that was a joke. I am now about to ichat these to her. I believe Over My Dead Body would be an accurate paraphrasing of what went through my head.

I'm really looking forward to my vacation that begins this Saturday. I'm also planning for the inevitable deluge of creative ideas that will assault me as soon as I decompress. But truthfully, for the first time in a long time, I am welcoming the break and the chance to step away from the business side of things. Yes, apparently even I have a limit with regards to how much I am working. That will last a nano second but hey...

Dear God I just realized that I have ten days left of being in my 30's. I will say that my 30's has seemed to lasted longer than my 20's. Lord knows I've accomplished more in my 30's than I did in my first 20 years. Okay before I get all sappy, back to Time Billing which is my LEAST favourite anything to do.


Me. IN A BATHING SUIT. IN PUBLIC. IN A PHOTO. I think the last time I allowed a picture of me in a bathing suit to be seen publicly was back in the 90's. 


August 12, 2012:

The Trouble With Me as a Dinner Guest….

Is simply, I redesign your house. 

I should start off with, I don't arrive at your house expecting to and if you invite me for dinner expecting me to or hoping that I will, you will be entirely disappointed. After 15 years give or take, freebies aren't really my style unless I love and adore you. I also am very much aware that if I give you free advice, you will A) maybe or maybe not take it b) maybe or maybe not butcher it c) ignore it entirely. I take zero responsibility if it turns out crappy but reserve the right to take full credit if it rocks the kazbah.... and you think I'm joking. HA!

So we went to dinner at a dear friend's house this past weekend and I was immediately struck by how warm and inviting the house was in a decidedly cool and funky way - LOTS of unexpected despite it being a suburban home.  I don't care how much money you spend, how many gorgeous pillows you adorn the house with, if your house doesn't ooze with your own warmth and character, it's not a successful design. I get no greater compliment than to hear other people's impression of our client's homes after we are finished with them - specifically when they say "It feels just like you...." 

As designer's we are our own worst clients and often we need the trusted eye of a fellow designer or staff person to help us with our own spaces. We also tend to need a magazine shoot to finish off rooms because we are too busy doing it for everyone else. I've waxed on about that since the day this blog was born but it is worth reminding people. It's why we are SO FREAKING STRESSED out when anyone new comes to our house. I'm laughing just thinking about relatives who stopped by this morning to pick up clothes we are handing down to their little boy that Luke has outgrown - they walked into a shoe explosion, dining table piled high, camera equipment, (notice this isn't even KID RELATED YET) lego, books, computers, the Olympics blaring and Asa and I struggling to down our first coffees of the day. There are new books out on the market featuring Designers at Home in their own homes but man... I should do a REALITY version of it for a tv show or something. I mean you would be horrified on our behalf I'm certain.

I'm sure my friend was equally as nervous to have us over but at the same time I think she was glad to have someone discuss different ways to tweak what was already fantastic and on its way. She's recently decided to move her office/studio into their GIGANTIC basement which has massive ceilings and is very cool space already. So many people are choosing this as an option and it makes a lot of fiscal sense. It also allows you to justify embellishing parts of your home as a legit business expense to serve as showroom. I'm SO in favour of this and would do the same if I lived in a home that allowed me to have the space to make it happen. So how do you make it work?

The Studio space is being shared with a recreational space which includes fireplace, TV Audio equipment, sectional, exercise equipment, music equipment and a desk area for kids. Here are a few ideas I've whipped up to maximize all the positives in the space and build on what they've already got. This alone will be a fanstastic tool for A to share with her clients to show them how they can create versatile living spaces that serve different functions/family members etc.

The family has the classic leather sectional in a deep brown that many families opt for with growing kids. To make it seem less Ikea-ish I've suggested finding some sort of great Indian or Moroccan throw to drape over the sectional - two in fact both parts of it could use it and then layer in exotic/ethnic pillows for texture. Because it is open to the design studio, keeping to a neutral palette including browns/blacks/beiges/metallics and creams is advised. Yes Erin Mc, I just suggested beige but only because I knew you enjoy that one!  I also envision an upholstered folding screen to block off the exercise/music/desk area and soften the corners of the entire space. We'll use a firescreen to block some of the audio equipment that has to be open for use too.

What's lacking between the Recreational Family Space and the Office space is a spot to actually take a meeting or make a presentation. A marble topped Saarinen table seems like an obvious choice along with Cherner chairs to keep the neutrals working but vary up the materials and textures. With all the height in the space I think a Fiddlehead Fig would be a great addition to play up the accent wall that the fireplace is. Work that height to your advantage. Would love to see some hammered metal pendant(s) over the table as well.

The walls are a gallery owner's dream. HUGE, white, blank canvas. Again, you have to be careful to add character without overly personalizing the space. It's a fine line to walk. I think oversized photography or simple graphics shown above would be awesome. I am mad about those photographs. A pair that size would be perfect above the sectional.

So now we'll see if I get another invite back or if she conveniently suggests dinner in the city instead right??