Monday, May 29, 2017

Cottage Life: Living Room Design

Our cottage living room and dining room are right next to each other, so it kind of makes sense to design them together for a more seamless look. I am already onto multiple iterations of the design boards, but below is the latest one for the living room. I am taking a different design direction from my primary residence. My cottage will be more casual, modern and with a lot of Scandinavian chic influence. I enjoy following the trends, but when it comes to design a space for ourselves, I stay true to whatever pleases my eyes. I am a Narcissist that way. This cottage almost feels like a design do-over for me. Whatever I can't change in my house, either because it would trigger a chain reaction or I am too tired to go down that path again, I get to start afresh at my cottage. 

Because our cottage is still being built and we won't take possession until late July, I can only start to line up some purchases and have them ship to my house for the time being. It's quickly turning my primary residence into a warehouse of new and awesome goodies. The first to arrive were these Norman Cherner style counter stools in walnut from Rove Concepts. I am so so in love with them! They will definitely add warmth to a white kitchen. Btw, did I tell you I am finally getting a white kitchen?! :D

Love shopping with Rove Concepts. Each item was well-packed and shipped fast. 

I also scored this Forma Galaxy lounge chair from HomeSense for a fraction of the price. It will be used as a side chair in the living room. 

On the opposite wall facing the side chair, which is adjacent to the dining room, I will be setting up a storage/entertaining nook using this Ikea Regissor sideboard

Isn't it elegant? It has a ton of storage room as well, but man oh man, was it difficult to put together. Every part had to fit perfectly otherwise you're in for a lot of hammering and swearing. Assembling Ikea furniture definitely put our marriage to the test! :) Allora, it's done and I can almost see how great it would look when paired with a round mirror. 

Now onto the main piece of furniture for the living room. I decided to go with this timeless Florence Knoll style tufted sofa

I managed to get one of my friends who is in the biz to custom make this for me, in a fabric I can see and touch. I always know I wanted a sandstone-coloured textured fabric to complement the grey rug, not too grey, but can't be beige/cream either. I found this perfect one called Nubia 061. The fabric is stain and water-resistant so it can be spot-cleaned, just what I need for a cottage! 

This is what the fabric looks like when made into furniture, pretty cool to be able to visualize how it would look on my sofa. 

It's Lilac season and the Korean lilac bush in my backyard is blooming like no tomorrow, all thanks to the abundant rain we've been having this month. 

Life is a collection of small but sure happiness. I am slowly learning to savour them. 

Rhododendron is next up! 

I will be back to write about the cottage dining room. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

New Abstract Flower Art By Celine Ziang

I've always wanted a sizable piece of art in my living room to anchor the space. But which style? What colours and medium? Uncertainty was my best excuse for procrastination, and over the years, I think I've perfected the art of it. The search went on and off, until recently I came across Celine Ziang's art. It became clear to me that I was still mostly attracted to the more traditional oil-on-canvas medium, so oil painting it was. 

Picture below: the original abstract flower painting from Celine Ziang Art, 40x40 inches - it looks so small in my living room! Did you notice I also replaced these cream Dupioni silk drapes with the lilac gray ones? It's all part of my 2017 Spring refresh. 

Love all the moody and cooler colours and abstract strokes in this painting. Ordering artworks from Celine was so easy - it was probably the best online shopping experience and customer service I've ever received. She even helped me with a mockup to show how the artwork would look in my own space. If you are in the market for an original piece of art, you can use the discount code amdolcevita15off to receive 15% off and choose from Celine's endless collection of paintings at
Abstract flower oil painting #LX38A 

I am still debating whether to frame it or leave it as is. The procrastination goes on! 

Here is a shot of the opposite side of the living room. If I make one more change to this room, I am pretty sure my husband is going to divorce me. :) 

I will be back to write about my recent purchases for my cottage, la maison dans les bois (still trying to come up with a catchier name for it). It's been so hard to buy for a place so far from the city core. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cottage Life: Finding The One

We've been searching for a cottage on and off for a few years. Mr. and I both have a very demanding job we are committed to. As much as I love travelling around the globe (43 countries and counting), I often felt they were those I-need-a-vacation-to-recover-from-my-vacation type of trips. Not to say it was always challenging to sync up our schedules when we could both be off. I often imagined us going somewhere reclusive on a Thursday night, doing a bit work, and starting our weekend early during summer months. Or just take off whenever we feel like it, without any planning or buying any plane tickets, and get to a place where we can decompress. We've looked at all the cottage country hot spots but decided they weren't for us, mostly because of the already crowded waterfronts and the impossible cottage traffic. 

Enter Prince Edward County, a consummate cottage country with 35 wineries all within 20 minutes driving radius, a historical town called Picton as pretty but not as bustling as Niagara On the Lake, and numerous antique shops for a vintage collector and design aficionado like me to boot. What really pushed us across the finish line was the traffic, lack of that is. With Highway 407 now extended to 412, we easily cut down 20 minutes of our travel time. It was also a stress-free easy highway drive pretty much all the way. 

The post in the picture above indicates the centre location of our future cottage. Beyond the woods up the ramp lies the lake, a mere 1 minute walk from our front door. The door and a covered porch will be facing the woods - I can't even imagine how stunning the views will be during the fall! 

Maybe like this?
Picture taken during our Bruce Trail hike in the fall 

Or this?

Another reason why I really love about this project is that it's a new build so we can enjoy the cottage life from day one, no dated decors to fix or worse yet damages to repair. The cottage will be built with all the intricate colonial features including exterior sidings and interior window headers and windowsill aprons. 

The exterior sidings will be painted in this peppy pale yellow shade called Woodland Cream. We didn't choose this colour - our lot only came in this finish which was predetermined by the builder. 

(not our cottage, just the same Woodland Cream sidings)

I could so live in a pastel yellow cottage like this! This is indeed my perfect cottage dream come true! 

We expect to take possession in July. Are you surprised I've started the design boards? I am so thrilled to have a blank canvas to work with, a place where I can bring my new design inspirations to life. Unlike my primary residence, my cottage will take on a much more modern style, with quite a bit mid-century Scandinavian influence. Here are the two boards I whipped up so far for my cottage living room and dining room. 

The to-do and shopping list is a mile long but I am super excited. I will be back to blog about anything and everything about our new cottage life. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Design a Boutique Master Bedroom

~ This is a featured post.~

Do you find yourself falling in love with the bedroom designs of the boutique hotels that you visit while on vacation? Then why not recreate that atmosphere in your own bedroom so you can enjoy it all year long? Check out the tips below so you can design a boutique master bedroom of your own. 

It Starts with Your Bed
Your bed is the focal point of your bedroom, so dressing it up right will definitely take your overall design to a new level right away. That’s why this is the first step that you should take when you’re redesigning your space. An attractive set of sheets and a luxurious comforter, along with plush pillows, will transform your ordinary bed into one that will be fit for royalty. Check out some of the many Woolrich bedding options to start generating some ideas. 

Choose European Pillows
Speaking of pillows, stick with European pillows, which are used in many boutique hotels because they’re super comfortable and perfect for when you want to lean back without lying down, such as when you’re reading before bed. These pillows are square and big, and they also provide an impact visually, so they’re just as attractive as they are useful. Just be prepared to purchase the special pillowcases that these pillows require. Once they’re on your bed, you won’t regret taking this route, though, as these pillows are really luxurious and totally worth it.

Clean Off Your Bedside Table
Provided that you have the room for one, a bedside table is a useful and attractive addition to any boutique styled master bedroom. Make sure it matches the rest of your design scheme in terms of color and style. Then keep it clean and free of clutter. While an alarm clock is certainly fine, you don’t want to overdo it. Maybe place a bottle of hand lotion on the table that you can use before bed, along with a book or magazine that you’re currently reading and your phone. Remember, less is more. 

Add a Place to Sit
You can also set up an additional seating area in your bedroom, provided that you have the space, of course. This is a great way to make your bedroom feel more like a hotel retreat than an ordinary room that looks like everyone else’s. Choose seating that is comfortable and luxurious, and make sure it matches the rest of the room’s overall vibe. Then place it in a convenient area, not too close to the bed but not too far away, and in a spot that’s out of the way. 

Keep the Lighting Warm
When you walk into the most fabulous hotels, you’ll notice that their lighting is warm and minimal. Sconces and lamps are common, rather than just relying upon harsh overhead lighting. So, when you design your bedroom, be sure to include lamps, and maybe even some sconces, to add some warm and calming lighting to the space. 
By following the easy tips above, you can transform your bedroom into a boutique inspired space that you’ll never want to leave. Have fun with the process and then enjoy the rewards of your efforts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Brita Hard Sided Bottle #worldwaterday

Years ago while in university, I participated in a global economic sustainability study. I gained tremendous appreciation for environmental preservation and how the quality of our natural surroundings impacted the quality of people's life. Clean water, as a basic human right and something we take for granted, can be such a luxury in certain parts of the world. I am religious at recycling, and I rarely, rarely buy bottled water. Instead, I carry a portable Thermos with me just so I could have a sip of cold/hot beverages on the road. When Angie from Devon Consulting approached me to write about Brita's new limited edition water filter bottle, I was beyond excited to be able to participate in this good cause. 
Brita's new hard sided water filter bottle

Brita Canada and have partnered on a sustainability initiative to provide a community in Kenya with clean water, through the build of a borehole (a series of water wells). This particular campaign supports a borehole in Irkaat, Kenya that provides the community of more than 1,800 with access to clean water. 

With each Brita Hard Sided Bottle, you can get 700 ml portable bottle with replaceable water filter. It's NSF certified to reduce Chlorine (taste and odour) and particulate (Class VI). Just ONE Brita Bottle filter can replace up to 300 plastic water bottles. Best part is, with the purchase of every bottle, someone in Kenya will receive a year of clean water. Not only is this a wonderful way to give back, using a Brita to-go water bottle saves hundreds of plastic bottles from ending up in the landfill. 

As the warmer months are upon us and our lives become more active, remember to take a Brita bottle with you. Buying bottled water may be convenient, but drinking from a Brita is the right thing to do. 

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