Friday, December 31, 2010

It's All About the Fabrics

I always felt the job was half done after we painted our kitchen in ICI Silver Cloud. Why? The beige drapes attracted unnecessary attention, and didn't complement the fabulous grey wall color. I was debating really hard against spending another few hundred $$$ to replace those drapes, and there's no guarantee I would like the new ones so that would be a risky move.

I truly believe everything has a "silver" lining. Just as I was in such a dilemma, my mom came to visit. She suggested only changing the "headers" of the drapes with silver sateen and the best part is, she would help me sew them! So here we go, after a few hours of her work I now have like brand new drapes in Silver Sateen. I love love them! (I love my mom even more!)

I took the opportunity to ask her opinion about the chairpads for the bamboo chairs I picked up last month for $40. We went to the Fabricland together where they had tons of Christmas sales and everything else at 40% off. I picked up this blue floral outdoor fabric for $4/m (original price tag was $14/m). Altogether, the four custom-made chairpads/cushions cost me $33! Plus free labour and craftsmanship courtesy of my dearest mom! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can put these chairs outside of my patio door under the pergola.
While I was at the Fabricland, I also picked up this cheerful Richloom Cornwall Garden
medallion fabric. I didn't know what I wanted to use it for at the time but I just couldn't take my eyes off the patterns! They are so detailed and intriguing!
Well, here is a sneak peak of what I used the medallion fabric for. I've always wanted a round box cushion (call me old-fashioned -- I am an old soul trapped in a young body), but they can cost an upward of $200. This is yet another master piece of my mom's -- I started to wonder if she regretted visiting me so often -- I don't seem to be shy of asking her for anything. :-D
Happy new year everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kitchen in ICI Silver Cloud Paint

It is now common knowledge that grey is the new beige. Looking back, from my first few condos with builder white walls, to my last house in a vibrant Tweety yellow, to the current house in neutral color palettes, I have come a loong way when it comes to picking the right paint colors for different rooms. I've learnt to take my time and research to death before I commit to any paint color. So after much needed consideration and debate over tens of grey colors, I went ahead with ICI Silver Cloud for my kitchen.

Here is the kitchen now in ICI Dulux Silver Cloud. I used their VOC-free Dulux Lifemaster line. The coverage was amazing and it was virtually odorless. ICI Dulux gave me a free membership with 25% discount entitlement off every order, so I think I am going to stick with this brand for a while. The Silver Cloud color is so elegant and sophisticated (my camera doesn't do the justice), and echos a certain shade of the Bianco Carrara backsplash. Here is the dining area inside the kitchen. The pedestal table is from Anne-Quinn Custom Furniture, and the "O" chairs are from InVu/BB Bargoons. I still think the drapes and blinds look too plain so I may switch to roman shades and darker color drapery. Any suggestions?
Oh, and here's the Alessi Michael Graves Kettle I got in the mail today. Anthony is still getting used to the bird whistle but he will get there.
And here are the Paderno Pepper/Salt Mills I ordered. Together they cost me over 100 stones! In hindsight they are not smart buys. Oh well.

That's it for today. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Year 2011!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Am Hosting Christmas Dinner...

...and I want to look fab and smell nice. This year we are the lucky ones again to host family's Christmas dinner, and I am determined to pick a few no-fuzz easy-to-prepare dishes so that I will have time to shower and look fresh when my guests arrive.

I've always been a fan of Gucci's perfume such as the Original Rush (not the Rush II), so of course I can't pass the Gucci Guilty with the same amber-based notes. The Gucci Guilty not only smells but looks sophisticated...I can already see how wonderful the bottle looks on my Sarah Richardson's dresser.
I have my Christmas outfit already planned in my head -- mostly from the pieces I already own: the GAP jeans, GAP Favourite Tee, BURBERRY Scarf, ECCO Bouillon Ballerina Flats and Swarovski earrings. The bottom line is -- comfort and being myself.
I am not biting my nails yet about the Christmas dinner but I need to start the planning. I am not that type of hostess that has a few signature dishes up her sleeves, so perhaps I should turn to my trusted advisor -- Williams-Sonoma's cookbooks.
So here's what I am thinking:
When guests arrive and before dinner is served: Smoked Salmon H'orderves (the bonus? I pretty much don't need to cook anything in this dish.)
I am no wine pairing expert, but I know a thing or two about the wines I love. 2007 Pinot Noir from Speck Family Reserve is one of the best Pinot Noirs I've tried so far; I always have a weakness for Shiraz and Rosemount Diamond Estate's 2006 Shiraz fits the bill and taste; and of course who can go wrong with our own Ontario's Henry of Pelham's Chardonnay?
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus will be one of the appetizers. Hubby hates asparagus (or any vegetable), so I need to be creative to replace it with something else. Any suggestions?
I guess I do have one fool-proof dish after all -- my Coq au Vin Blanc as the entrée. I can almost taste how wonderful it is pairing with Speck's Pinot Noir, or the Chardonnay that's already in the sauce.
And saving the best for last, how could we call it a Christmas Feast without Anthony's famous Penne Arrabiata, right? The spicy Shiraz will undoubtedly kick up the flavour by another notch!
And Christmas Dinner is served! Dessert anyone?

Friday, December 3, 2010

All Set for Christmas!

Realizing how monochromatic my kitchen appears after the recent makeover, I am determined to introduce some color pops to create visual interests. And what better time to do so than Christmas, 'tis the season to decorate with splashes and splashes of colors!

I fancy this Alessi Michael Graves Kettle with Small Bird-Shaped Whistle from Gabriel Ross for a while (or anything Alessi, I've been hooked on their designs since I did a MBA case study on them years ago), so I brought home this pretty lady online just in time for some high tea with girlfriends during holidays. I picked up the Paderno Pepper Mill in Blue from HomeSense by chance the other day, and since bought a Salt Mill in Yellow and another Pepper Mill in Red to complete the set. Paderno Canada web site has a great sale going on now where you can get these mills at 30% off. And how can I be all set for Christmas without the tree and lights?! This year I am also going for a chance: instead of one humongous 7-Ft tree I used to put up every year, I picked up two of these 5-Ft Prelit Potted Christmas Trees from Canadian Tire. I added some vintage balls (yes, they are from my mother-in-law and just as young as my husband) and voilà, I have them flank the entrance to the dining room to make my guests feel like VIPs.
We are adding exterior potlights before Christmas so that's all we put up this year so far. That's is for now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bamboo Chippendale Chinoiserie Chairs

I am always intrigued by the Hollywood Regency design style with a dash of Chinoiserie accent. After reading a fellow blogger 8 foot 6's Toronto Craigslist Scavenger blog, I was so happy to pick up four of these rattan/bamboo chairs for $40! Aren't they gorgeous?

I've started to think about which color I will spray-paint them in and the fabric cushion to go with it. I haven't decided where to put them yet, perhaps as an alternate set to the kitchen dinning table in the summer, or in a seating area underneath a pergola immediately outside of the patio door (or the so-called bring the inside out). Here are some color options:

Option #1: spray paint in glossy white, coupled with vibrant color cushion

Option #2: spray paint in apple green, coupled with white or neutral color cushion

Option #3: spray paint in glossy black, coupled with neutral color cushion -- this appears to be the most conservative option

Option #4: spray paint in blue/turqoise, coupled with white cushion -- this is how I always envision Jonathan Adler-alike chair to be like so perhaps I will pick something blue. Stay tuned for the reveal..

Friday, November 26, 2010

Family Room Chandelier Showdown

It all started from my family room. The chandelier with fabric shade is not doing much to the room but to create visual obstruction. So just when I thought I ran out of things to do on the first floor, I've decided to look for a chandelier replacement. I haven't decided on which one so I welcome any suggestion.

Option #1: Orb Chandeliers
1. Antique Nickel Sphere Pendant from Union Lighting: $490; 2. Antique Bronze Rings Sphere from Union Lighting: $255 ; 3. English Bronze Orb (similar to Restoration Hardware) also from UL: $500; 4. Axel Orb from Lighting House: $2,140.

Option #2: Chandeliers with Fabric Shade
1. Double Shade Fabric Pendant from Overstock: $160; 2. Troy Aqua from Troy Lighting: $700 ; 3. Woven Metal Shade Pendant from Uttermost available at UL: $360; 4. Chandelier with Acrylic Shade and Crystals from Overstock: $245.

Option #3: Classic Chandeliers with No Crystals
1. Oil Rubbed Bronze Chandelier from Target: $99. 2. Otis Pillar Candle Chandelier from Overstock: $275; 3. Monroe Pillar Candle Two Tier Chandelier from Overstock: $370; 4. Chandelier Twisted Rope Accents from Macy's: $260.

Option #4: Classic Chandeliers with Crystals
1. Maria Theresa Crystal Chandelier from Overstock: $300. 2. Alexandria Chandelier from Restoration Hardware: $750; 3. Classic 5-Light Crystal Chandelier: $175; 4. Similar to RH Alexandria from Overstock at 1/3 of the price: $250. Option #5: Lanterns
1. Troy Sausalito Gold Silver Leaf Lantern: $800 this one is in my foyer. 2. Antique Nickel Lantern from Overstock: $185 ; 3. Hurricane Foyer Lantern from Overstock: $240; 4. Troy Lighting F9994 Morgan 4 Light Foyer Lantern: $700 -- this one has Troy's signature all over it.

Option #6: Modern Classic Nordic Design
1. Sputnik Light from Elte: ~$400; 2. Artichoke Lamp from OS: $500 ; 3. Sputnic Chrome Chandelier Atom Light: $300; 4. Cluster Pendant from West Elm: $200.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Picking a Grey Paint Color for My Kitchen

After the recent kitchen reno, I've decided it's time to get rid of the blah cream wall color that comes with the house. I've also decided to give the stinky Behr a rest, and investigate some other brands that I've never used before such as Para. And yes, you guess right, it is the Sarah Richardson's Paint Collection that I am after.

As hubby was busy saving lives over the weekend, I picked out a deck of paint chips from Lowes trying to save our kitchen from the eternal boredom. When Anthony got home I couldn't wait to show him how much I had accomplished by narrowing down to six colors. "So, what do you think of these colors?", I asked. "Grey, grey, grey, grey, grey, and grey." He replied, looking darn serious. Okay, it'd appear that I am talking to a guy with the creative part of his brain suppressed and overpowered by his analytical hemisphere. This looks like yet another me and moi's decision.

So here are the six grey colors I picked for my kitchen wall. I want the hue to echo the Bianco Carrara marble backsplash and Kashmire White granite countertop. It can't be too blue or purple otherwise it's too spa-like; it also can't be too taupe or beige otherwise I might as well use the Revere Pewter again.

I am deciding between Powder SR1 and Vintage SR4. What do you think?
And then there is another grey paint used by Sarah Richardson in her own house -- the ICI Dulux Silver Cloud. I can't tell you how much I love this color! The only concern is that I haven't seen it in person yet, and it might just look fantastico in Sarah's house with the pictures taken by a professional photographer.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Reveal - Kitchen Dining Set

It's funny how tipping point always works: it took me months in search of a perfect dining chair to go with the San Montego round table; yet it took one comment from Janice at Life Begins at Thirty (thank you Janice!) to help lock down my choice. Here I present you the "O" chair from InVu Drapery, upholstered in sateen available in cocoa, bronze (what I picked) and fog. The fog color from the web site can be very misleading since it looks nothing like silver in real thing but a dingy greenish grey. Here are some pictures:

The "O" Chair with Back Cutout in Bronze Sateen
Look how big the "O" cutout is in the back: I felt my ribcage could fit through the hole if I shed another pound or two. :-D
The "O" chair from the back. The chair is nicely constructed with elegant piping wrapped around.
And this is how the kitchen dining set looks like now. They are good-sized chairs and comfortable enough for a long chat over afternoon tea with buds.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Look What I Found at HomeSense!

I randomly walked by the area rug isle, and saw a few ladies flipping through piles and piles of rugs. They threw the rugs around while making not so nice comments on every single piece they looked at. And then they paused on a couple of eye-catching pieces that looked way too familiar to me --- could...could they be the Imperial Trellis rugs? My heart was racing, but I couldn't possibly snatch those rugs from their hands. So I quietly observed those ladies hoping they would drop the rugs just like they did with the others. I grabbed those rugs before they even hit the floor when those ladies decided against them as expected! I refused to believe these rugs were mine until I paid and walked at light speed outside of the HomeSense! I can't tell you how much I heart Schumacher's Imperial Trellis pattern! However, at over $120 per yard just for the fabric and often only available for purchase through special trades, I would never imagine I could own Imperial Trellis rugs, yes, rugS, not just one, but two of them at a ridiculously low price. I am however aware though that this must be some violation of Schumacher's copyright.

Handwoven in chenille, this ivory/taupe/cream Imperial Trellis rug is soft, lush and shimmering under certain lighting.
A close-up look of the pattern.
This is one of the two now at the end of our bed in the master bedroom.
So for those Imperial Trellis pattern lovers, what are you still waiting for? Go buy them before they are all taken!

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