Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Am A Sucker...

Remember I am a sucker for pillows and mirrors? Well, I couldn't put mirror up on every single wall inside the house, but I could fill up my couches, chairs and benches with plushy pillows. And the best part is, since they are so inexpensive (compared to major furniture piece), no long-term commitment is required, and I can change/alternate them whenever I feel like it. I must have at least 20 pillows present throughout the house, and another 20 covers tucked away somewhere in storage.

I thought I'd share some of my recent favorites. Can you tell I am into geometric patterns these days? :-) Most of these pillows are in my living room and bedrooms.
(Click on the picture to enlarge it)
1. Blue Chevron; 2. Moorish Tile Pattern in Apple Green from Williams-Sonoma; 3. Windsor Smith in Pelagos Cove from Etsy; 4. P. Kaufmann Clarice in Dove from Etsy; 5. Imperial Trellis in Black from Etsy; 6. Fretwork Ikat in Espresso and Oatmeal; 7. Dwell Studio from Tonic Living; 8. Windsor Smith in Pelagos Lime; 9. Morrish Tile Pattern in Black from Williams-Sonoma.

Before and After: Windsor Chair

Shortly after I finished the makeover the writing desk for our guest bedroom, I was in search for a chair to go with it. I found this sad little guy on CList for $20. This comb-back Windsor chair is an antique piece, and was passed down to a pastor from his family for generations.

 He seems in high spirit after a few coats of paints in Martha Stuart's Chinchilla.
 Look how perky he is dressed in a blue chevron cushion? The chair pad is a DIY job by yours truly.
 And now they are finally an item in our guest bedroom waiting for to be used by our lucky guests!
Total costs = $20 (chair) + $0 paint leftover + $0 fabric remnant + $5 foam insert = $25.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

West Queen West

One of our investment properties is located in the West Queen West District, and naturally we go there from time to time to check on the area. It always amazes us to see the area has become so artsy and hip; new lifestyle and fashion boutiques are filling up both sides of the Queen Street West; and the shopping crowds are getting bigger and bigger each time we were there.

Another reason for us to go down there this weekend is to check out a few stores that I've always wanted to go but never got around to. One of them is Chatelet Home located at 717 Queen Street West. The store is small, but it's packed with tons of quality and elegant furnishing and decor items: French Provincial and English Country are the predominant styles offered.

This is the store front of the Chatelet Home. If I still owned a bachelorette pad, I would definitely haul these two chairs home.
 And this pink headboard too!
 Love the trellis/lattice pattern in the lamp shade.
 Take a guess of the use of these cute little ceramic mushrooms...salt and pepper shakers they are!
I didn't end up buying anything from Chatelet, but I did find this Mersman Mahogany End Table at Captain's Treasure on Bloor West. The store is cramped and untidy, and there are piles and piles of junk all of the place, but if you look really hard, you might just find something of value and to your liking. This was my second time at the store (I call it Craptain :-)), and I found this Mersman Mahogany End Table made in 1920s for $39. The table is in perfect condition, and it's valued at $250 at whole bunch of antique/collectible sites. So yet another super score to add to my "Design on a Dime" list.

And as if we didn't have enough excitement in one day, we also went to West Elm to check out the Essex Upholstered Ottoman I was going to buy. The real thing looks even better than the pictures from their web site, and I really really love the feather grey Ikat fabric pattern and the turned bun feet. Unfortunately the ottoman is too short relative to my sofa and all other major pieces of furniture in my living room so I had to let it go.
 Love love the azure Ikat fabric!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Living Room...Day 1

Today was a big leap forward for us away from our "bleh" beige wall in our living room, and we have Expert Crown Moulding to thank for. This is the third time we used their service, and they have never disappointed us. Look at these full-wall picture-frame wainscoting. It's late and I am tired so I didn't take any close-up pictures --- but the work is flawless!

I was debating whether to go with the full-wall wainscoting up until last night but I am so glad that I went through with it. Just wait until how divine these walls look when they receive a couple of coats of antique white paint. Yes, white is in, and following footsteps of Janice at Life Begins at Thirty and Lindsay at Aubrey & Lindsay's Little House Blog, I am painting my living room white too!

See the three frames above the mantel? The arched mirror from Uttermost (out of stock until May) will go in the middle, and the two sconces will sit in the narrower frame on each side.
I would like to take this opportunity to bring up Expert Crown Moulding again. They didn't just put up full-wall wainscoting in my living room today (and it's a very large room), they also installed this half-wall wainscoting in my foyer and along the curved staircase. And they did all this in one day from 9am to 8pm!
Now here comes the downer! I just found out the Troy Alta Sconce I love so much has been discontinued. There are some odd sites in the States that still sell it, but I don't know if I can trust them.
And then I fell in love with this Twinkle Crystal Sconce from Chameleon. I was so heartbroken when I saw a silver-finish one costs $1,800! I just can't justify spending two grand on a tiny sconce like this, as much as I so dearly adore it. So the hunt for a new sconce goes on.
So that's it for Day 1, enough excitement in one day. We are going to take the long weekend off, do nothing but eat and sleep...ah, La Dolce Vita!

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Falling for Hermès...

I usually take the Spring clean time to replenish my wardrobe. Just like a Chanel suit can make a lady feel legit, I see Hermès scarf complete a career outfit.

I picked up this Grand Manège Silk twill scarf (36" x 36") from Hermès today. I am hoping it will add a dash of colors to my boring grey, black and indigo suits.

Take a look at the vibrant colors and vivid design patterns in it! I have this bad feeling that this scarf is going to trigger a whole chain of shopping spree -- I am already onto their Home collection!
This is how the Grand Manège scarf looks like when knotted. There are supposedly 25 ways to knot a Hermes scarf.
And yes, I am already at the Home section! I've spotted this Avalon Signature H Blanket numerous times in decor shows and magazines, and I was totally in love with it. It seems so close to me now that I could almost sense the softness when my hands caress through it. All it takes are a few clicks away from my computer and a piece of plastic! However, at almost $1,500 after taxes and shipping, I think I will hold my horse for now and perhaps it will show up on our wedding anniversary day. (wink!)
 Doesn't it look divine in this light grey shade? I know just where it'd go in my house! Do you, hubby?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jonathan Adler In the House

Believe it or not, if you look around in your house, you might just find at least a couple of decor/furnishing items that are Jonathan Adler-alike. Hint hint, all those wannabes, knockoffs and lookalikes from HomeSense?

Jonathan Alder is known for incorporating perky and vibrant colors into his design objects. In fact his design is so versatile and the spectrum is so broad that you can easily find any style to your liking: ranging from mid-century modern, to Hollywood Regency, to French Romantics, etc.

Though his portfolio is so comprehensive, you can almost always spot his design from a mile away. Take this picture below for example: Chippendale Bamboo Chairs in Lime/Chartreuse, Black Herringbone Rug, Turquoise Drapes and I really need to go on here? It screams "Jonathan Adler" in every aspect.
With my growing interest in this designer, I picked up these two books "Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Colors" and "Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Accessorizing".
I also summarized a few of my favorite Jonathan Adler items in the following picture:
  • How many times have we seen HGTV designers like Sarah Richardson used the Giraffe lamp in nurseries?
  • How many Whittier or Capri-lamp lookalikes have you come across at HomeSense?
  • How about the Black and White Ikea Stockholm Rand Rug?
  • And need I remind you the Tripod Bamboo lamp I scored for a mere $115 from HomeSense?
So to sum it up, believe it or not, look around and you will find Jonathan Adler in your home.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lowes, You Rock!

And Canadian Tire, You Suck!

It's nice, sunny and breezy today, and we decided it's time to buy the gazebo I wanted for our backyard. It's in my landscaping plan to extend the indoors living out. I was looking for a 8'x8' gazebo that's perfectly scaled to the seating area I carve out for the backyard space (see design plan below). As far as Internet research can take me, there are only two places that carry 8x8 gazebos: Canadian Tire and Lowe's, except the CT one doesn't come with insect/mosquito net and is not made of steel. We thought we'd give CT a try since it was on our way back from lunch. So here's what happened to us in the next 20 minutes of life that we'd never get back:
  • We scanned through the Garden/Patio section and couldn't find the 8x8 gazebo, yet the web site clearly says they have it "In Stock".
  • We went to the Customer Service counter and hubby pressed the "For Assistance" button. 
  • 2 minutes later no one showed up and hubby pressed it one more time.
  • Again nothing happened for another 3 minutes before I went out to the floor and grabbed a sales associate.
  • The associate said the gazebo might be in the back storage and she didn't know how to check inventory.
  • She in turn paged the store manager (the same Brandon that screwed up my patio set order last year, surprised that he still works there) to the CS counter.
  • 5 minutes later not a single soul showed up, and we couldn't find any associate nearby to ask any question at all.
  • Finally an associate showed up and paged the store manager again.
  • 3 minutes later not even a ghost.
  • Hubby said "Let's get out of here. They clearly don't want our business."
  • And after wasting 20 minutes waiting for nothing, we left.
  • The verdict? Canadian Tire, You Suck!
We drove to Lowe's to try our luck. And man, let me tell ya, what a difference in shopping experience! I've always loved Lowe's but with contrast they stand out so much more today.
  • As we were walking through the Garden/Patio section, an associate came up and asked if we had any question.
  • We asked for the 8x8 gazebo and he immediately led us to the aisle where they stored the item.
  • We wanted to take measurement of the box to make sure it fitted into my SUV, but the sales associate without looking through any record spelled out "7.5 feet long"! Wow! He knows the section and all the items he looks after by heart!
  • He helped hubby load the huge and 100-pound box onto a platform buggy, and asked if we'd like him to push it to the checkout counter for us. Sure.
  • We paid and the cashier asked if we needed help load the box into our car. She called and three guys showed up immediately and loaded the box for us.
  • We spent about 5 minutes altogether at Lowe's from browsing, loading, paying, reloading into the car to driving away with the gazebo!
  • The conclusion? Lowe's, You Rock!
Here is the backyard plan I drafted in PPT. It's still subject to changes depending on what our landscaping company finally comes back with.
This is the Lowe's Garden Treasures 8x8 Gazebo (Insect Net not shown but included) with Steel Frame, Scroll Fretwork, Canopy and Insect/Mosquito Net.
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