Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dream House Progress, A Feature and An Award

Last weekend we went to the site where our dream house is to check on the progress. Framing was done and the exterior finish is next. 

The interior floor plan would look like this, although I am still making a lot of changes. 

Looking at the houses down the street, I just realized how close they are to each other. While we maximize the living space, we are also losing the privacy, a typical compromise of urban habitat I guess. I am having second thoughts about keeping the house. We bought the house with my parents in mind because I was hoping they would live with us. Now that my Dad passed away, a house this size is really overkill for the three of us. I thought I wanted a bigger house, but it's so big that it doesn't feel like a home. 

And when we came home to the sun-filled foyer of our current house like this, the idea of moving got even harder. More on our plan for the dream house later. 

A while ago, Consumer Reports reached out asking for my permission to use my main bathroom photo in the latest "Your New Home" issue. I am thrilled because it's a pretty big deal to be featured in a magazine like Consumer Reports. I heard they are so unbiased that they would even buy cars on their own and test drive them to form their own opinions. None of that "the car is sponsored by ABC but opinions are all their own" disclosure. 

I am the lucky one to win the Best of Houzz 2016 award again, in Design category! Did you see my award badges on the right panel? 

If you've been following me on Instagram, you'd know I am really into grocery store flowers these days. They are an inexpensive way to add a touch of nature and colours during the dreary winter months. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Roundup of Brass and Glass Coffee Tables

Did you know has come to Canada and is now shipping? Exciting right? Long gone are those days when I ran a Google search, was directed to, only to have to abandon my shopping cart at the end due to the hefty import duties and shipping fees. is now priced in Canadian Dollar, and will ship free for orders more than $49. 

The first thing I did on was to search brass (gold) and glass coffee tables. Remember it's on my 2016 project list? Yes, I am trying to get my head into the game and have a head start on this year's decor projects. Procrastination will no longer be my middle name. 

My living room is almost square-shaped, and I want the furnishing to be centred around the fireplace, so it makes sense to get a square or round coffee table. I also really love a two-tiered construction. As you could see from the picture below, the coffee table I made over last year still didn't quite work for the room - not only does it look lonely in a big space, it also doesn't seem to belong, style-wise. 

So here's a roundup of all the brass (gold) and glass coffee tables I like, most of which are available on 
1. Harlan Square Coffee Table: this is a strong contender now due to its less than $300 price tag. It's a tad too small though (only 36" x 36") and I can't say I completely love the brushed gold finish.
2. Hayward Coffee Table by Interlude.
3. Vitya Coffee Table by Uttermost.
4. Laurence Coffee Table by Pangea Home: LOVE the base and that it's two-tiered, but it's rectangular in shape. 
5. Mieka Coffee Table by Safavieh: this is my #1 choice for the time being. It has everything I was looking for: square in shape, gold-leafed frame with two-tiered glass table tops. I just need to convince myself that if I end up spending $1200 on a coffee table, I will love it for a long time. 
6. Scalinatella Cocktail Table by Jonathan Adler.
7. Henzler Coffee Table by Uttermost: love it but again it's rectangular. 
8. Jasmine Coffee Table by Nuevo. 
9. Inga Coffee Table by Safavieh. 

So which one is your favourite? 

A while ago I saw this bench at HomeSense, and I had to fight the urge to buy it. Faux bamboo everything, to me, seemed to be a just phase on my decor journey that I already moved past. I knew I would end up returning it. 

Gorgeous I know. 

And then on this past Boxing Day I found this velvet tufted bench in Louis style, and it came home with me. I am not crazy about the distressed paint job on the legs though, so I will have to repaint them someday, maybe in black or charcoal grey? 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Best of 2015 and 2016 Project List

I know my blog has been lacking lately, and I've been behind on the 2015 recap. So here it is, better late than never right? After 5 years of major renovations, in the past two years I was able to focus on finishing touches and style refinement throughout the house. Decor projects are really fun and enjoyable. 

For reference purpose, the following are the #2015bestnine voted by my Instagram followers. 

In 2016, I have lined up quite a few projects including fixing up an old house we bought as an investment property. Here is a quick list as of now:

  • Remove popcorn ceiling in some rooms in our primary residence (can you believe I still have stucco ceilings in my current house?!).
  • Living room: 
    • Replace the coffee table in my living room, with something like this, a two-tiered brass and glass number. 
    • Replace those blue drapes with something moodier like this Schumacher Pyne Hollyhock fabric. This is going to cost a ton but I think I am ready to take a break from those blue drapes. I don't want the first impression of my living room to be "blue". Remember "eclectic" should always be the goals. :)
    • Replace the chandelier, add a ceiling medallion. 
  • Master Bedroom and Ensuite: 
    • Replace the chandelier in my master bedroom with this
    • Replace the mirrors in my master ensuite bathroom. I am thinking Venetian, or minimalist with thin black metal frames. 
  • Renovate a guest ensuite bathroom. 
  • Foyer: 
    • Replace the foyer floor with black, white, and grey marble tiles, similar to what Christine used in her Piano Room project. This project is a maybe for now because I still like the existing Crema Marfil porcelain tiles.
    • Paint the walls above the wainscoting in the same shade of white; or extend the wainscoting to full walls and paint them in white. 
  • Laundry room:
    • Tile the walls around sink and cabinets with white subway tiles. 
    • Paint the rest of the walls - colour to be determined. 
  • Last but not least, a master flip of an old house in the Leaside neighbourhood! I can't wait to get my hands on it. 

Now onto the food department. My future sister-in-law baked the most delicious cookies for us every Christmas. This year she upped the game and opted for something completely professional like this - the polka dot turquoise box was too pretty to open up! 

I had to put it next to my KitchenAid stand mixer and took a picture of the colour match. 

Last week on a whim I decided to make a fancy lattice apple pie. It was my first attempt at the lattice-top crust and it turned out nicely. Although the silicon pie crust shield I used was an epic fail - not only did it not prevent the crust from burning, it also crashed part of my perfectly fluted crust. I will switch back to my good 'ol aluminum foil in the future. 

Do you use Himalayan pink salt? I am obsessed with it and have been using it in everything I cooked. It makes seafood taste so much better. White marble bowl with brass spoon is from Indigo. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Roundup of My Favourite Brass Chandeliers

My recent score of this vintage Murano glass leaf light triggered yet another round of research for my living room chandelier replacement. Back in March 2014, I was dead set on this Paris flea market chandelier by Visual Comfort. I am still loving it, just not so sure about hanging it in my living room. Lately I crave for something slightly more modern and edgier, but still glamorous and elegant. Here are a few of my favourites. Are you surprised they are all in antique brass finish? 

1. Arteriors Hanley chandelier in antique brass. 2. Visual Comfort EF Chapman Paris Flea Market chandelier. 3. Hudson Valley Mason chandelier. 4. Visual Comfort Thomas Obrien Vivian chandelier. 5. Vintage 60s Kinkeldey chandelier. 6. West Elm Waterfall chandelier. 

I even did up a few mockups as follows: 

With Hanley chandelier. 

With Visual Comfort Vivian. 

With my recent vintage Murano score. 

With Hudson Valley Mason.  

I immediately ruled out 5 and 6 because they are too small for my living room. The vintage glass leaf one isn't a good fit either size wise. After swinging between modern and traditional, I found myself always drawn to something more classic and timeless like this Hudson Valley Mason chandelier, with upward lights, clean and slender arms. By classic and timeless, I meant something I would likely stick to for a little bit longer before changing my mind again. 

So what do you think? Which chandelier would you install in my living room?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 Holiday Home Tour

You must be wondering where I've been all this time. You would expect that I posted my holiday home tour pictures long ago. My dad passed away recently - it's still too painful for me to talk about it. Days went by quickly when I had work to keep me occupied; nights have been long and dark as I would find myself awake, obsessing over endless what-ifs and if-onlys, and really missing my dad. I didn't think I was even going to be able to finish decorating our Christmas tree this year. But a wise man once told me that grieving was going to be a journey, and that I shouldn't be afraid to lean on my mom and Anthony. I am very fortunate and grateful to have the unconditional love and support from both of them, as well as my extended family. It could've been a lot worse for me without them. 

They also encouraged me to continue with my holiday traditions - my dad was an optimist all this life; he was also an enthusiast for any festive celebrations, so he wouldn't have wanted me to skip the holidays. I was also hoping that doing what I love and getting back to routine would help me cope with grief and loss. 

If you remember I started planning this year's Christmas decor back in early November, with these DIY sharpie ornament balls. So I carried the black, white and pink theme throughout the house this year. 

Picture below: my 2015 black, white and pink Christmas tree, all lit up. I put my tree in the foyer again.

Under a different lighting, before I added faux white poinsettias to the tree. 

These glass paz trees from CB2 are so chic. Pink gold (or is it copper) is an unexpected choice but nice. 

The glass sputnik ornament is also from CB2. 

Some close-up shots below: can you believe this bird ornament is from Dollarama? 

My favourite ornament this year has to be these dusty pink half-dipped glass balls from Ikea Vinter 2015 collection. Ikea, you've outdone yourself again! 

Gifts under the tree were also wrapped mostly in black, white and pink. 

Now onto the living room. I didn't do much here this year but to add some faux greenery over the fireplace mantel. 

So that's my 2015 holiday home tour. For my dad in heaven. 

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