Monday, October 6, 2014

Elements of Style Book by Erin Gates

There is no shortage of design blogger books in the market today. I am not the type who would typically write a book review, but I have to say, I am really impressed by the Elements of Style Designing a Home & Life book by Erin Gates. I would even go so far as to say that this is probably my favourite design blogger book! 

Go ahead, judge the book by its cover! Erin went through a few iterations but finally decided on the black & white striped spine with a touch of gold. What a great decision! The book cover is clean, elegant, yet dramatic and attractive - just the type of style that would catch my eye!

I see a glamorous addition to my coffee book collection. 

I am yet to go through the book - this is the type of book I would need to take some downtime to savour, but I really like that the book organizes the contents by room.  

Each room has a clear sectional cover page - how could I have missed a gorgeous floral pattern like this?!

I am already eyeing this Schumacher Pyne Hollyhock pillow in charcoal. Oh so moody and romantic! 

The book is packed with high quality images from Erin's home and projects.

I just can't get over how perfect this room looks. I want everything in it. 

For each room, Erin gives a few ideas of the looks you could go for and their key components. 

I also really love all the illustrations throughout the book. All the opinions are my own - I wasn't incented in any way to write this post. 

On an unrelated note, I found a crystal pineapple in our basement storage and I swear I must have come across it numerous times every time I went through that closet. This time I really wanted to donate it because I have so many smaller decorative objects lying around. For me, it has always been in with the new, and out with the old. But then an idea struck me - what if I tried to glam it up by painting the pineapple head in gold? 

And bam! it looks amazing! I gave a plain-looking crystal pineapple a new life in my decor world. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

New Garage Doors

I never thought I would be so excited over a pair of overhead garage doors. Our old wood garage doors which came with the house were falling apart. Cracks after cracks they were beyond repair, and quickly becoming an embarrassment. Our builder used the most basic wood panel doors: they should have been treated and painted at factory but I suspect they were painted on the construction site instead. And they were probably lying around for a while. By then the moisture would have got into the wood and the rest was history. 

Our old cracked wood garage doors. We tried patching up using adhesive caulking then painting over but as you could see, it did very little to slow down the inevitable.

I suppose I could have left them alone for another few years until we move but you know I am not that kind of person. My OCD got the worst of me so last month I brought in a friend's husband John who is a garage door expert to replace them. 

Our new garage doors are from C.H.I Carriage House collection, model #5983

I knew I wanted a certain carriage house style, but I had no idea about other tech specs: insulated or not; insulated with Polystyrene or Polyurethane; how high do we need to go on the R-value; steel, aluminum or fibreglass? John inspected our existing garage doors and recommended the model based on our needs.  I picked out a style from the brochure (because that's all I knew :)), and he was able to have that style made with all the features from model #5983 - he made this whole thing too easy! 

That's not all. On the day of the installation, he arrived on time and got to work. He replaced all the rails inside our garage and even re-aligned a crooked support beam. A few hours later these beauties were hung. Our new garage doors are now rock solid and most importantly weather-proof with 27-gauge deep-draw quality steel inside out, and CFC free polystyrene insulation. We also have real (tinted) glass inserts this time so it is now so much brighter inside our garage. 

The colour of our garage doors is Sandstone. Another thing I love about our new C.H.I. garage doors is the customer service from this company. I needed to paint the trims to match the new garage doors so I emailed C.H.I. and they replied overnight with a set of custom paint codes I could take to Sherwin Williams. The store I went to however wasn't able to pull up the combination because it's a commercial custom colour in the States. I called C.H.I. customer service hotline from the paint store, and a real human picked up the phone after two rings; within seconds I was transferred to a service agent who offered to ship a quart of paint to John. I didn't want to wait that long so I asked the paint store associate to try to match the colour. It was a very challenging task for Sherwin Williams because the paint chip is a piece of textured steel, but the associate was able to get a perfect match after multiple attempts. So if you have C.H.I. garage doors in Sandstone, and would like a paint colour match please email me for the codes. 

I am glad I went with the wrought iron decorative hardware John recommended because all other options (spade, Barcelona 1 &2 ) are just thin pieces of metals which look cheap. 

If you are interested in C.H.I. garage doors and would like to get in touch with John, please email me. I highly recommend his work! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drone, Cornfield and BBQ Party

Sorry to disappoint, but there was no alien involved. We made good use of the gorgeous weather we had this past weekend by having a backyard BBQ at my friend Jack's house. 

The first picture was taken using DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ drone with camera - aerial photography is something I could really become obsessed with. 

The water was just warm enough for all the kids to take a dip. 

Forget about Weber or Napoleon, a simple grill rack over stacked bricks using maple wood from Jack's backyard produced the best-tasting BBQ meats. 

The yard backs onto a cornfield - how fantastic is that? 

Lastly, a picture of me with one of my friends' son Evan. Are you into plaid this fall? 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Les Touches Pillow and Stuck on Hue Etsy

I am still obsessed with animal prints, and all those stripy and spotty fall fashion outfits didn't help. They constantly reminded me of just how much I love Brugweg & Fils' Les Touches fabric. I know I sounded like a broken record - I said I wasn't going to fork out that much money for a pillow; but I also know that Les Touches Black and White would look amazing in any room of my house, so I couldn't let it go. 

I exchanged emails with Hollie of Stuck on Hue on Etsy on and off a few times over the past couple of months, mostly because I couldn't decide whether to bite the bullet. Hollie was extremely helpful and patient, and worked with me to pick out a section of the fabric that would show a symmetrical yet organic pattern. I finally decided to go through with it, and I ended up ordering not just one, but two of them! 

I have to say this is by far my favourite pillow/fabric in my house right now - the Brugweg & Fils' Les Touches in Black and White. 

Gorgeous, right?

The other one is now on my foyer sette. 

Hollie has tons of other gorgeous pillows in her Etsy store, all handmade by herself with superb sewing workmanship. Her choice of fabrics is on trend yet timeless. I am already eyeing this Kelly Wearstler's Channels in Ebony & Ivory.

It would also look great as a long body or lumbar pillow like this. 

Hollie's pillows are widely used in interior designers' homes and projects. Like this 20-inch leopard velvet pillow in designer Sherry Hart's dining room. 

And the banana leaves pillow covers paired with a black and white striped headboard by Sara Lorton Designs. 

And there are so many more in her Etsy store. 

Hollie is also the talented DIY blogger behind I'm Busy Procrastinating. Check out this amazing DIY Black & White abstract art she painted for her living room. 

And the ceiling medallions as statement wall art, how creative! 

Hollie is on vacation until early October so her Etsy store is temporarily closed. Be sure to check back for all the fabulous designer pillow covers she offers at likely the best prices you can find anywhere online. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Porch

September has been so busy that I haven't been in town much, or had the time to do one of my favourite things - blogging. 

I picked up a few of these wicker planters from Home Depot during the fall clearance sale, and I like how they look with yellow fall mums on my front porch. It kills me a little every time I lay my eyes on those steps. The concrete steps were there when the house was built. I didn't have our landscaping contractor yank them out because I didn't want to cause any structural damage to the porch. Plus at the time we were having both front and back yards hardscaped at the same time, so in the midst of chaos I had decided to leave the steps alone. And I regretted it ever since. 

There is a paver-stacked platform at the end of the steps, see below. I don't want to touch what's already there, so my only option might be the stamped/patterned concrete. Do you have any experience with stamped concrete landscaping? How do you like it? I think I am going to replace those railings too with wrought iron or black aluminum ones. By the way, I also hired a landscaping company to clean up our front yard: we downsized the four Rose of Sharon trees to two because they were growing out of control; we also gave away a few shrubs to our neighbours so our front yard would look clean and uncluttered, just the way I like it. 

Lastly, Ikea is having a 20% mirror sale until Sept 21. I picked up the Stave mirror and hung it on the wall behind our bedroom door. I like the mirror long and narrow so it doesn't take up much room yet it still allows me to check on my outfits before heading out. I think Miffy likes it too. 

Have a great weekend everyone! 

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