Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cottage Life: Dining Room Design

June was off to a crazy start at work. A month flew by before I realized I was yet to finish the cottage dining room post saved in the draft status. Normally we would be somewhere else globetrotting in early June. Not this year. Busy at work was one reason; then there's the cottage to get ready for; and then there's all the Spring blooms I missed in the previous years. I am so happy that we pushed our travel schedule to later in the summer, because for the past month, I've been enjoying the fruit of my labour, my Spring jardin de fleurs. 
Pink Korean lilac from my backyard. 

Rhododendron didn't disappoint this year. Vibrant pink flowers adorned the tree - it looks like a giant bouquet from distance. 

 Blue Lilac Miss Kim issued super fragrant flowers for a good two weeks. 

Wine & Roses Weigela put on an impressive show with hundreds of small bell-shaped pink flowers. 

Blue Irises came out in mid June but only last for a week. 

Smoke tree in the backyard. Hidcote blue English lavender is about to bloom - they smell sensational! 

And then there's the white flowering Dogwood Kousa. I didn't know what to expect from it this year: a lot of young trees don't bloom for a number of years; and some of them may not even come back because GTA is really a stretch for Dogwood's hardy zone. Fortunately, our Dogwood didn't just come back; it issued hundreds of clean white flowers! 

Now onto our cottage dining room design. This is the design board. 

The jumping off point was these Elbow chairs I scored from HomeSense, for a fraction of their normal going prices. Gotta love the Scandinavian design which perfectly infuses style into comfort. You can find similar ones at Rove Concepts here

As for the dining table, I started the hunt with everything MCM and Danish, but then decided to go a more rustic yet still modern direction. A live-edge table with hairpin legs fits my vision perfectly. Picture below: the Reno solid Acacia wood dining table from Structube - that's a lot of table and style for the price!

I wanted to use a pair of the Ikea Almsta as host & hostess chairs but unfortunately they are not very comfortable and only intended for indoor use. 
I found this chair of similar style to the Ikea Almsta, an all black version of the ever-popular Paris cafe bistro chairs in rattan and aluminum frame. The best part is it's commercial grade and all weather proof, so I could use them in my dining room as well as porch dining area. 
So in love with them! They will be put to good use during family/friend gatherings and long chats around the dining table. I will be back to write about our screened-in porch design. 

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. 

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